Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Build a Blog and Get Ranking

Blogs have been around long enough to become standard elements of the web landscape. They're easy to construct and manage, they create fresh, user-generated content and, if well-executed, blogs draw crowds and the attention of search engines.

Whether starting out with a new domain name, or a domain that's been around for a decade, you can rank your blog on Google if you just do what Google wants you to do. So here are 25/50 tips to get your blog ranked by the world's biggest SE.

Wordpress is a blog platform that's open source (free), robust, extensible and easy to use. Add Feedburner, which equips site owners to broadcast RSS feeds and develop user metrics. Next, synch up Google Analytics and a sitemap plug-in to simplify populating the blog and developing useful, actionable metrics. Also, make sure your blog is pinging www.technoratti.com and other social-ranking sites like www.digg.com.

Don't worry about page rank
PR is highly over-rated as a yardstick of online success. Connectivity within a web community and expansion through content syndication and guest blogging are more critical to building site credibility than page rank. PR will take care of itself over time if you do it right.

Differentiate your content on every post. Cover lots of editorial ground. Dry, starchy academic writing is strictly for the textbooks. Write words that people "hear" instead of read. Birds of a feather do, indeed, flock together. So, if one of your regulars shares an interest in philately, chances are s/he has other friends with an interest in stamp collecting.

Remember SEO basics
Use provocative, keyword-rich title tags, meta keywords and descriptions, and only link to high-quality sites. Never over do it. Keep your posts relevant, natural, accurate and, above all, current.

Don't stuff blog post titles with keywords.
It's a form of keyword stuffing and spiders hate keyword stuffing. The ratio in headlines should be 40% keywords, 60% non-keywords.

Submit your URL to blog directories. There are "best of the web," and paid directories, like Yahoo, and free directories like the Open Directory project at www.dmoz.org. Every directory listing is another link to your site and another way visitors can find you. Just google them to find more.

Content quality counts
Research topics about which target readers want to learn. Write something new, useful and relevant. And don't forget to regularly update older posts. Things change fast on the web so last year's "next big thing" is this year's hackneyed cliché.
However, be consistent, as well. Keep blogging. It can take time for a blog to catch the notice of a search engine spider. Add links from their blogs and establish your site's link community. There are people within your web neighborhood with opinions and good information. Contact them to invite submissions to your blog and your site in general.

Don't use duplicate content
The only duplicate content that appears in your blog posts are quotes, and they should be identified with quotation marks. Make friends with other bloggers in your commercial, business or NFP space. Ask to become a guest blogger, or seek endorsements from the "names" within your site sphere. Develop some friendly contacts on social media sites and participate in the community. Ask contacts to promote your blog content. Also ask for contributors. People love to express their opinions.

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