Links and Feeds and Blogs – Oh My!

Successful (SEO) Search Engine Optimization includes dozens of aspects to help your web page perform at full potential in the natural (non-paid) Search Engine Results.

As we have discussed there are two main aspects to proper site optimization.

1. On-Page factors: The things you can directly control on your website by correctly placing content, layout features, meta data, navigation, and the inclusion of search engine friendly elements.

2. Off-Page factors: The are considerations that take place partially or completely away from your website. The main consideration is linking, but also include hosting, age, history, and competition factors.

These two factors are the primary considerations the search engines use when determining your sites placement in the natural search results. The weight each factor caries is generally determined by the competition for a given search term. Search terms that are not particularly competitive seem to rely more on the On-Page Factors to deliver results. Markets that are highly contested increase the importance of Off-Page Factors. In addition, the various search engines have their own formula to deliver results. If a weight had to be assigned to each factor, I would place it in the range of 60%-40% in favor of the On-Page Factors. Sixty percent is still a failing grade!

The Off-Page Factors include a multitude of tools to accomplish the primary task of developing links that point back toward your web site. Some of the most successful tools you can include are RSS Feeds and a Blog.

Lets define what these terms mean first.

RSS Feed: RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. Syndication is a fancy description for distribution or broadcast. By including any content in an RSS distribution format (called a feed) you can automatically broadcast your information to anyone that wants to receive it. They do not have to come to your web site to see what is new, because your web site automatically send out the information!

Blog: A simple software application that allows a user with little or no computer experience to write content and automatically post it to the internet. Blogs are still thought of (incorrectly) as just a place to put an online diary. In fact, the modern blog can be integrated into the web site design, and many times the web visitor never even knows they are looking at a “blog.” It’s just another web page!

The Connection – Putting it all together.

One of the main linking tactics we use in the RighNow Communications (RNC) linking program is to develop generic content around the search engine phrase we want your web page to score high for in the search results. The links back to your site are embedded into the article or information release. Then, the content is listed on the web in an RSS broadcast directory. When the “feed” is picked up by another web site, your links ride along for free. Well placed content can create hundreds of links back to your site in the process. Better yet, potential customers can follow the trail, right to your sites front door!

Another recommendation from RNC is to develop a business blog on your site. Think of a blog as your own private online newspaper advertising. The blog will allow you to add updated information to your website on the fly, building your sites content quickly. In addition, blogging software has a built-in RSS feature that will allow visitors to add your “information broadcasts” to their website or RSS Inbox with a single click! The most attractive part of creating a blog is that the most popular blog software is … FREE! The look of the blog can be customized easily to match the look or your website.

All of the strategies discussed here are considered “search engine friendly” and are quickly becoming internet marketing standards. They combine a complete “Factor” strategy by combining content with linking to form a total package.

Please feel free to contact Dave or Chris to find out how to apply these powerful techniques to you site today.

What are Links?

There are two primary motivations for creating inbound links to your web site. The first is to create inbound traffic to your site from potential customers. I like to call these Advertising Links. The second are links created to increase the search engines understanding of what your site is about, or SEO Links. For the purpose of this article, I will concentrate on this second group.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) consists of many elements that combine to help create a clear picture of what your site is about. Search engines collect data on every web site that they can find. The information is primarily text based, and this is true of links that lead to and from your site. For this reason, most SEO Links are text based, not graphics or logos.

Links are like votes. In general, the more links that cast “votes” for your web site on a specific topic, the more the search engines can be confident that your website will provide that subject matter. Without these critical votes it can be very difficult for your average web page to attain good search engine results. A very interesting example of the power of linking is the Google Search Result for the search term “Miserable Failure.” The very first result is the Whitehouse Bio for George Bush. This is accomplished by thousands of web pages placing the text link “miserable failure” on their web page and pointing it toward that page.

Text links are just what they sound like; actual text that is hyperlinked from an outside source to a page inside your website. There is a very specific formula and process to creating these links. Because the search engines read text, they use a text matching process to decide how relevant each link (vote) is to its destination.

The outside web source where the links reside can be in a number of web based formats. Another standard website or directory is the obvious spot, but there are a number of other powerful linking opportunities. There are many was to add links to information releases like articles, blogs, forums, social networks, and various interaction sites. There is a technique for each media type, but in general, you want to stick to relevant subject matter that is similar to your website.

How many links does your site need? The answer is, “Enough to beat your competition!” This will be different for every market. Take something as competitive as the search term “Travel Agent” – The number one Google result (out of 148 million!) is the American Society of Travel Agents reporting 110,000 backlinks! Compare that with the search term “Ski Ohio” and the number one contender, Alpine Valley, only has 500 links.

Time is critical to the success of any linking additions. SEO Links can take months to cause any effect or change on the results that a search engine displays. Look at the first page results for any search term and you can bet the top contenders are already building links. Most of the time, when you notice your results slipping, it is not that you are doing a poor SEO job, it’s just the competition working harder to beat YOU!

SEO Linking is a time consuming process that is absolutely necessary to help boost your site in the search engines natural results pages. Like everything else in business, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it. There is only room at the top for a few websites for each search term. See You at the Top!