We’re blogging live today and tomorrow from the Blog World and New Media Expo at the Javits Center in New York City. In addition to following our updates here, you can also follow on Twitter, @Century21, and via the photo sharing iPhone app, Instagram. Our Instagram user name is Century21. Be sure to check out the photos!
In this morning’s first session, we heard from Rich Brooks of Flyte about search engine optimization (SEO) basics for blogs. Rich shared that one of the primary elements for successful SEO is having your blog on the right platform. He recommends WordPress due to its set of helpful plug in tools, including several for SEO. More on that in a minute.
Rich also strongly recommends a domain name for the blog. This allows all site traffic to come to your specific destination, not a destination hosted on another URL.
“Every blog post is another opportunity for a consumer to learn about your business,” Rich said. When thinking about SEO he suggests putting yourself in the consumer’s shoes. Think about key words and phrases that address their needs and be sure those key words are in your blog titles and blog posts. Also, consider your competition. What are your business differentiators? Make sure those elements are emphasized in your posts. He also highlighted a tool called Keyword Questions from Word Tracker, that allows you to see common questions associated with a key word. This can help inform your future blog content.
Once you’re clear on what key words and phrases you will focus on, it’s time to put them everywhere. In the blog post title, for example. Rich joked, “The colon is your friend. Use a colon to basically put two blog titles into one. This will help double your search engine results.” Great point.
Rich also urged WordPress users to explore plug ins, including the “All in One SEO” plug in, which is free and allows you more tagging fields for the post, thus giving you more places to include your key words. He also recommended a paid plug in, “Scribe SEO”, which he described as a personal trainer for SEO. The plug in delivers you a report card with each post, telling you where you have room for improvement.
Now onto the topic of links. “Search engines see links as a vote of confidence for your blog,” Rich explains. He advises creating “link bait.” This bait includes popular post styles such as numbered lists, how-to articles, embedded videos and a list of the best industry blogs. He also encourages making sure your blog is listed in directories such as Technorati and All Top.
Another way to drive traffic to the blog is by commenting on other industry blogs. Rich explains, “if that blogger and his/her readers see that you are saying intelligent things, they will click over to your blog to see what other intelligent things you are saying. Based on what they see, they may even offer you a guest blogging opportunity.”
Lastly, now that social media updates appear in search engine results, be sure your blog has a “share this” option at the bottom of each post that allows readers to share the post on Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels.
Thank you, Rich, for a highly informative session!