What Every Blogger Ought to Know About SEO
The problem with most blogs that want more search engine traffic seems to be their lack of linkworthy content, or linkbait.
You might be blogging consistently, publishing your 3-5 300 word posts week in and week out. However, that in itself will not get you a lot of search traffic.
To get a huge increase in search traffic, you will need links from authority sites. Authority sites include the popular sites in your niche, the well-branded sites, the about.com’s on the net, the blogs that get 10+ comments per post, and the sites with Alexa ratings under 100,000. Also, The EatonWeb Blog Directory lists blogs based on authority.
Google gives a lot of weight to these links because they are harder to build than the average link. These links can’t be bought (usually). Instead, they have to be earned with linkworthy content and diligent marketing.
So, how often do you create linkworthy content?
Many bloggers overestimate the linkworthiness of their content.
Here are some examples of recently published linkbait.
- 23 Ways to Keep Fast Food in Your Diet
- 11 Colorful Optical Illusions
- Seven years since — looking back and forward on 9/11 [PICS]
- E-Mail Addiction: Five Signs You Need Help
- 10 Things Millionaires Won’t Tell You
- Is hip-hop haunted by ghostwriters?
In the last couple of weeks, have you created anything similar to the above content? Have you produced something interesting, useful, and/or entertaining that has a good chance of attracting links?
If not, you’re missing out on a lot of links that lead to a huge search traffic increase – not to mention the direct traffic from those links as well as improved branding and reputation.
Linkworthy content is the backbone of a good linkbuilding strategy.
Linkbait vs. No Linkbait
Here are two graphs to help you understand the importance of this type of content.
In the above graph, you’ve blogged for two weeks without publishing anything linkworthy. You get two authority links, which increase your link popularity. The blue color represents link popularity.
I’m being generous with the two authority links. Many blogs will not get an authority link for months.
Compare that graph with this graph.
In this graph, you cut down you post frequency to spend time creating linkworthy content and emailing authority sites to tell them about your content.
A couple authority sites linked to you. You got a great amount of link popularity. Not only that, but the link popularity from the linkbait is bleeding over to your other posts and those posts are ranking better. See with Google, if you build authority links, even the pages that don’t get links receive a boost in ranking.
Imagine if most of your two week periods looked like graph #2 instead of graph #1.
In a couple months, you’ll be an authority site with a ton of search engine traffic. Other people will be emailing you to link to their site. You’ll be well-networked in your niche because you connected with other bloggers through your emails. And your branding will have improved because you’ll be known as the blogger that wrote that great resource or that funny list. You’ll be known for your linkbait.
Why the Higher Word Count for Linkbait?
I symbolized linkbait with the higher word count because linkworthy blog posts are usually much longer than the average blog post. Also, these posts have more elements like video and images.
Long posts stand out from the crowd of short posts. They are unique and bloggers are more likely to link to unique posts.
Why Keep the Short Posts?
There are a couple reasons to continue publishing short posts.
- Quality linkbait takes a lot more time to create.
- Short posts serve as great search engine fodder. The more blog posts you publish, the more keywords you target.
- If your site is consistently updated, readers will expect new content and return to your site more frequently.
- Your blog looks active.
- It shows your passion and expertise for your niche since you always have something to say.
Basically, doing a mixture of short posts and linkbait is a good SEO strategy.
Balance is the key. And if you don’t have a lot of time to blog, if you produce just one linkbait a month, you’ll be way ahead of most blogs.
Why Linkbait Works for SEO
The reason linkbait works so well is because Google’s algorithms are heavily based on the quality of links. Google used to focus more on anchor text but anchor text has taken a back seat to domain link popularity (aka the number of high quality links pointing to your site).
Yes, you still want keywords in your anchor text and title tags. However, it’s much better to have a link from about.com with the anchor text “click here” than a link with great anchor text from a blog without much traffic or PageRank.
Why Other Blogs Can Get Away Without Doing Linkbait
Some blogs didn’t have to linkbait to get their search traffic. Usually, they were one of the first to enter the niche. Since they had this advantage, they got a bunch of great links because of the lack of competition. I’m assuming most of you are blogging in niches that are already established with many competing blogs. In this situation, you’ll need to differentiate yourself from the other blogs with your linkworthy content.
Also, Google tends to rank older sites better than newer sites. But if you’re consistent with your linkbait, over time you’ll overtake those blogs that don’t publish much linkbait.
Learn More About Linkbait
It will take a whole new post to cover the basics of linkbait creation. The main principle is to take some time to do research on the sites in your industry. What are they linking to? Why are they linking? Then, based on that information, you can create content that they would want to link to.
Also, here are two resources to help you get started.
- Screencast Video: Here is an Easy 4 Step Formula to Create Linkworthy Content
- The Link Baiting Playbook: Hooks Revisited
How often do you create linkbait and market it to other bloggers?