One of the most rewarding things about blogging, at least for me, is when you see people taking action based on something you have suggested.
There are actually 2 distinct stages in taking action
- Awareness & Thinking about a Strategy
- Application of the Strategy
Awareness & Thinking about an SEO Stragegy
Whilst taking action is highly important, at least being aware that SEO exists, and that there are some things you can do to improve your search engine performance is a vital first stage.
Some people will take longer than others in formulating a strategy, and I never look on that as some kind of procrastination.
There is a decision process, and the result of that decision process might result in no action being taken, not because of laziness or lack of technical knowledge, but because after evaluating their own personal circumstances and prioritisation, a need to take action wasn’t determined.
When I see someone like Robert Tsai who is a business development specialist discussing the benefits of seo compared to social marketing factors, in many ways that is more fulfilling for me than if he had just taken action based upon something he read on my blog.
Questioning if an SEO strategy would provide a benefit is as important as taking action if a need is determined.
Is SEO needed?
In a business context, being SEO aware is vital. however many business’s, even multinational companies who I assume have someone on their payroll who is SEO aware, take the decision to concentrate on delivering their business message, whether branding or some kind of sales process conversion.
By making such a decision, they are calculating that they will gain traffic from other sources, or that they will gain a sufficient number of backlinks with related terms in the anchor text to rank for their primary search terms regardless of on page SEO.
Quality of content, linkbait worthiness, and existing subscriber base (either their own or marketing partners) all play a huge role.
Expected longevity of the site, or particular pieces of content also play a factor. A blog created for a short term promotion might never achieve any search engine results before it is already old news.
For a celebrity blog, what Britney Spears did 6 months ago isn’t important.
For a personal blog the author might not care about search engine results. They are writing because they want to, their readers are quite often people they have an existing relationship with offline, and whether anyone else passes by doesn’t really matter.
Also with the massive growth of social networking, there are a huge number of other ways to gain new readers.
If links from related sites drive 95% of existing traffic it might be hard to justify a need.
What is Search Traffic Worth?
Bambi Francisco of Market Watch has some interesting search traffic statistics in the run up to Christmas. Driving Retailer Traffic
According to Bill Tancer at Hitwise, search engines account for 25% of the upstream traffic. That means 25% of the traffic that go to the more than 19,000 online retailers visit search engines first.
What is very interesting to note is the traffic from social networks she has quoted
In fact, Tancer says that 5% of traffic to retailers comes from social networks, with MySpace accounting for 2.5% of that traffic.
One interesting statistic missing from the final list is how much traffic comes from affiliates. Many comparison shopping sites are also affiliates of the big online retailers.
Many of those affiliates gain their traffic from search. At what point do you start measuring the search traffic coming into the sales funnel?
SEO action from my readers
Michel Fortin has been taking action on a number of his sites, partially based on things he read here. He has introduced tagging on his Copywriters blog, although that integration seems to be in a state of flux as I have noticed a change in how the tags are being presented. He has also introduced tagging and a copywriting tag cloud to his central blog.
Some of the other changes he has been making are less obvious, but in a thread on his Copywriters forum he has been going into a lot more detail.
Paul Oâ€™Flaherty is one of my more recent readers. We exchanged a couple of emails after I sent him a private message on Mybloglog. He runs a design and SEO business, and I noticed when I visited his personal blog that some aspects of the SEO weren’t optimal.
He explained to me that as the blog was personal, he didn’t let his SEO team near it. He said he would take into consideration what I had pointed out on his next design update sometime in the future.
Do you see a trend? There should always be a decision process before taking action. I am actually quite pleasantly surprised that after just a few days Paul has already made an update to his seo and design.
If you look at Pauls blog, you will notice that his bookmark links are now using nofollow. They were previously accounting for over 50 external links alone on his front page, and sometimes 50% of his links from internal pages.
For tips on how to achieve this, here is how to modify the sociable plugin.
Paula also took some action recently. Another new reader who appreciated what I had to say regarding seo and blogrolls. Paula is using blogger, so it is much harder to seo other factors on the page as there is no way to tweak the backend code or plugins as you can with WordPress. I don’t know how long her blogroll was previously, but she recently decided to remove her blogroll.
I actually find it quite interesting reading Paula’s blog (I try to read as many as I can, especially when readers add me to Technorati favorites). It seems she has become a lot more active with her blogging in the last 2 months, and is making good use of affiliate links in an ethical way. A good example is her Christmas Shopping List.
I also read Eve’s blog. A while back she took some action and added tagging with Ultimate Tag Warrior. There are still some things she could tweak, but because she is retaining so much pagerank internally with her tag cloud on each page it is not a major priority (the 80/20 rule).
Some things she is doing much better than I am currently, such as the presentation of her individual tag pages. She uses a lot of pictures in her posts, especially when talking about her up and coming wedding. As an example, here is a link to her wedding tag page.
I describe what I discuss as pagerank cultivation and not pagerank hoarding.
By being careful how you link your pages together, and what links you have both on your front pages and internal pages, not only are the value of your internal pages retained more effectively, but you can afford to be more generous with linking.
Here is a great post on the benefits of linking to others on Tech-buzz, but if you are using search status with firefox, you would notice that all the comments are still nofollow. That is personal choice, many bloggers believe followable links encourage spammers. I believe it encourages community.
That internal page however is extremely well optimised.
- It has about 18 internal links (only one in the article).
- There are 3 external links to the RSS feed (those are self serving)
- There is one external link to a 3rd party
Techbuzz is less than a year old and PR6. Part of that is from posting great content that encourages links, but equally important is hanging onto some of that pagerank, even though they frequently share their Google Juice with other sites.
How to Share Google Juice?
Throughout the whole of this article, I have been very selective in the terms or keywords I am using to link through to other sites. Not only that, but I have also been placing rel=”tag” in every single one of the links.
I have speculated about the power of tagging in the past, based upon my own testing and tracking. I believe that not only does it help with searches on sites such as Technorati
, it is also used by Google in part of their LSI calculations.
There is something else about linking I need to discuss, but I will save that for another day.