Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Blog Your Way to the Top

By developing a successful blog, your company can propel itself to the top of the search engine rankings. A wealth of fresh content and links make blogs appealing to both visitors and search engines. Do the math and you see that adding a blog to your site can improve visitor traffic and enhance your optimization efforts at the same time.

Blogging Basics

Put simply, a blog or “weblog” is a journal that is available online. Blogs are often dedicated to the discussion of a single topic, such as company news or industry commentary. One or more writers may contribute content to a blog and most are easy to update, with posts appearing as frequently as every day.

Don’t underestimate the role a blog can play in your search engine marketing strategy. Blogs are, by design, rich with fresh content and tend to attract many inbound links (links from other sites or blogs that link to your blog). By offering relevant, keyword-rich content that brings back readers, a blog establishes your site as a topic expert. The search engines favor this quality in sites.

Your additions to the blogosphere aren’t just informational resources for its visitors; they also pave an avenue for you to reach potential customers. By posting content that makes people return over and over again, you’ve established a regular flow of traffic that can be directed to your commercial site. The people who read your blog may have found it because they were researching a purchase decision. Now, not only have you provided a helpful resource to these people, but you’ve also led them to your products and services. Even if your readers don’t make a purchase today, you’ve begun to build brand loyalty that can lead to future sales conversions.

According to “The Unfair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars” by Planet Ocean Communications, blogs score highly when it comes to the three critical elements of top websites – link popularity, page reputation, and page importance. The influx of new content from a blog builds a dedicated visitor following, encourages search engines to index the site more often, and draws inbound links from other sites – all of which improves your standing in the search rankings.

Helpful Hints for Your Blog

Starting a blog is a piece of cake. Turning your blog into a resource that gets attention from readers and search engines is the hard part. To help you give your blog the boost it needs, consider the following points:

- To build loyal readership, identify your audience, stay on topic and provide interesting, easy-to-understand content.
- Include a link to your main site.
- Optimize your blog with keywords, in the same way you would optimize a standard site.
- Post frequently. The more often you update, the more often your readers and the search engines will return.
- Spread the word about your blog by commenting in other blogs and newsgroups that you read. Make sure your comments add substance to the conversation. Include a blog link in the signature or the body of each message.

Blogs combine content, keywords and links in a convenient package that the search engines love. If your site needs an added edge to drive it to the top of the search engines, it’s hard to imagine a better tool for the job. At Digital Brand Expressions, our SEM team creates optimized content for blogs as well as websites for a variety of industries, so if you’re interested in developing a regularly refreshed blog as part of your optimization strategy and want our help in setting it up or maintaining it, let us know. In the meantime, welcome to the blogosphere!

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