You’ve probably heard of SEO. You’ve heard about getting in the top 10 on Google. You’ve heard about PageRank, meta tags, and anchor text. And for many of you, it just seems too technical. You say, “I’m a blogger not a search marketer.” You would rather write blog entries and comment on your favorite blogs than learn the intricacies of keyword research. But you also realize most online traffic comes from search engines. And you want a big chunk of that traffic.
Well, I have good news, my blogger friend. SEO has changed significantly. And the changes are to your advantage. SEO has become more about social skills than technical skills. And if you’ve been reading the articles on Performancing, you know that good blogging involves being social and networking.
The Social Web
As I’ve kept track of the SEO industry in the last 12 months, I’ve noticed the shift. SEO experts like Aaron Wall say that SEO is becoming more like traditional marketing, which is about creativity and networking. SEOMoz blog, a widely popular SEO blog, regularly has articles about using social media to rank well in the search engines. Andy Hagans, a successful search marketer, says social media marketing (he calls it “linkbaiting”) is the SEO activity that the provides the highest ROI.
There have been two huge changes that contributed to the increased social nature of SEO.
1. The Rise of Social Media
This article talks about how social media may become the new mainstream media as it grows in popularity and challenges mainstream media. Social media sites are among the fastest growing sites on the whole internet.
About two months ago, I started freelance blogging for Net Business Blog. This blog was started on January 7, 2007. In about five months, this blog sold for $13,000 and was earning $1,000 a month. What was the main reason for the high profits? Multiple Digg front pages. The previous owner used his social skills to build contacts in Digg. These contacts helped him hit the Digg front page multiple times. He got a ton of traffic, PageRank 5, and great search engine rankings.
The rise of social media will only continue. Where do you think the under 25 crowd will consume their news when they turn 30? Digg or CNN? I’m betting on Digg because it’s community-oriented. The under 25 crowd is used to the social web. It’s what they like. They spend a lot of time on social sites like Myspace and Facebook.
And here’s what’s exciting. The popular social media stories are determined by normal internet users instead of paid editors. This is means you can make the Digg front page. You’ve seen how Performancing has been hitting the front page in recent times. It simply takes writing content that appeals to the Digg audience and then making Digg friends that will vote up your content.
2. The Increased Difficulty of Link Building
SEO is 90% getting quality links. However, it’s harder than ever to get those links.
You can pay for links, but Google is doing a better job a finding and discounting paid links.
It’s hard to get links from competitors, or webmasters in the same niche. More webmasters now understand SEO and the importance of links. They know that linking to your site could have hurt their rankings, because both of you are going after the same keywords. However, if you’re a blogger, the rules change. Why? For the most part, bloggers are social creatures that like to link out. By building a relationships with bloggers in your niche, you’ll can get high quality links. Bloggers are more likely to link to their friends even if they’re in the same niche. Lesson here: turn your competitors into friends.
Also, going back to social media, it can get you many links. SEOMoz did an experiment. One of their clients had a site with about 90 inbound links and an average of 50 visitors per day (after about a year online). In three months, they gained over 19,000 links and increased traffic to 5,500 unique visitors a day. They did not do any link building except promoting the site to social media sites.
In the next couple of weeks, I’ll write more about the issues in this post. I’ll give more practical tips.
But until then, reevaluate the quality of your content, because quality content helps build your reputation in the social web. Also, start networking with other bloggers and social media users. These are the main internet users that can help you leverage the social web for search traffic and links.