Search Engine Optimization Strategy

By: Jon Rognerud

Blogs - Structure and Layout

I work in the field of Search Engine Optimization. It has a wide range of options, from the technical to the more strategic. Tons of discussions are found on off-page and on-page factors, latent semantic analysis, content scope, quality, HTML/CSS development, site navigational structure, spamdexing, 301 redirects, plagiarism, link strategies, directories, blogs, search engine news, email marketing tips & online (internet) marketing. Most all of the top 10 SEO firms out there agree that blogs are a "must" for driving traffic and get established in the Internet community.

There is a right way, and a wrong way. We'll discuss these below.

Be warned - too many folks out there are thinking about "how to outbeat the search engines" and use the latest-and-greatest (blogs) to elevate their rankings, essentially via content and blog spam. Blogs are a powerful way to get seen by the search bots. Blogger (Google's own) is an important key to the puzzle, but there are many.

THE UN-OFFICIAL TOP 7 BLOGGING BEST PRACTICES FOR SEO

Start here, begin a quick review of the world's top blogs:
(the gorilla blog listings - updated daily)
(this guy makes 16,000 USD / monthly)
(web 2.0 blogs and news)

Get an account - it's free. log in - and - don't start!?What? No, you must first continue by scanning the list above and get a sense for what people are writing about. This could be more generic at first, but start looking to yourself. What do you know? What do people come to you for? Anything that you specialize in? (Hint: don't think "how can I sell this" - but "how can I share this?") You'll also learn how to use trackback functions to allow other people to be notified. Permalinks are great for SEO and should be used where appropriate. So, now you learned something big: be yourself!

Think about an interesting headline. You don't need to be copywriter, but you should think about your headline and the topic at hand. More importantly, is it something that you are passionate about, or can contribute something to? It's ok to spend some time here, writer's block can come up. Think about other sites, can you re-write their UVP (unique value proposition)? How would you write yours (thinking theme here). What I've found to work is simply sit back and start talking as if you were discussing a (hot) topic with a friend, and then breaking it out into sub-groups from there.

Writing tips: casual, friendly and interesting (meaning you have something to write and you don't copy others) works well in blogs. Make sure you stay on topic and that you are truthful. Would you lie to your mother? Of course not - then think about this when you are writing online (and she will not come after you). Yahoo's blogging policy is a good one: "Be respectful of your colleagues, get your facts straight, provide context to your argument, and engage in private feedback."?Also, make sure to include images (flickr) and video (youtube, google video) where you can. Make the images rich and colorful, don't worry about sizing too much.

Committment, persistence and disciplin. Sound like an extract from Jim Rohn or Anthony Robbins? Well, they probably are - but it applies to most of the things you do in life. So be it with blogging. Carve out 1/2-1 hour every day to nurture to your blog business. Think of it as your morning ritual - right after you have attended to your family and other duties. Plus, often you are not going to be in writing mode - but rather, maintenance mode - reviewing and responding to other blogger's input.

Search engines start picking up your blog, and traffic increases. Be prepared and if it gets out of hand, be able to manage that too. I'm not simply talking about traffic, but as others join and comment, you may need to defend your stance, including admitting mistakes if / when you make them. Folks appreciate other folks who are big enough to admit mistakes if it gets there.?For example, you may have folks who don't like you - even if you're Bill Gates. This guy created a Corporate Weblog Manifesto that I found interesting.

Run and host your own blog service. More expensive, but this could have a large impact on your ability to control not only the content, but custom HTML layouts, code and information architecture that are important to search engines. You can offer this as a service to others in your niche market. is a great resource to use for starting this process, and more hands-on development companies like can be an option for you. Keep in mind that the market has developed niche-companies, from real-estate to healthcare, and you should research those specifically.

If you have writer's block - make sure to read the next section, content is important for Search Engine Optimization - be on top of it.

How To Be Creative RE: Blogs (and SEO)

Here are some tips about being creative with blogs. Funny, but poignant.
(Taken from )

Ignore everybody.

The idea doesn't have to be big. It just has to change the world.

Put the hours in.

If your biz plan depends on you suddenly being "discovered" by some big shot, your plan will probably fail.

You are responsible for your own experience.

Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten.

Keep your day job.

Companies that squelch creativity can no longer compete with companies that champion creativity.

Everybody has their own private Mount Everest they were put on this earth to climb.

The more talented somebody is, the less they need the props.

Don't try to stand out from the crowd; avoid crowds altogether.

If you accept the pain, it cannot hurt you.

Never compare your inside with somebody else's outside.

Dying young is overrated.

The most important thing a creative person can learn professionally is where to draw the red line that separates what you are willing to do, and what you are not.

The world is changing.

Merit can be bought. Passion can't.

Avoid the Watercooler Gang.

Sing in your own voice.

The choice of media is irrelevant.

Selling out is harder than it looks.

Nobody cares. Do it for yourself.

Worrying about "Commercial vs. Artistic" is a complete waste of time.

Don?t worry about finding inspiration. It comes eventually.

You have to find your own schtick.

Write from the heart.

The best way to get approval is not to need it.

Power is never given. Power is taken.

Whatever choice you make, The Devil gets his due eventually.

The hardest part of being creative is getting used to it.

Remain frugal.

Voila - that's it, there you have it. Watch how the search engines will start picking up your content. You can run tools to see how you are ranking, how often you are showing up in the search engines. We like www.UrlTrends.com as a simple beginner starting point. However, it's not 100% accurate, other SEO tools can provide more detail.

Keep your content fresh, updates daily is preferred - and definitely once a week and your search engine marketing (which includes search engine optimization) will become more visible than it was just last week. Then, use to alert search engines that you have made updates. It's a free service, and will help your visibility.

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