Moderator Andrew Goodman introduced his panel, Amanda Watlington (Owner - Searching for Profit), Lee Odden (CEO, TopRank Marketing), Massimo Burgio (Founder and Chief Strategist, Global Search Interactive).
Amanda, who has been one of the earliest proponents of optimization for blogs, provided the audience with loads of tactical advice on improving results from investments made in blogging. She rapidly provided advice on everything from optimizing RSS feeds (e.g. using keywords in feeds) to employment of blidgets to cultural issues like aligning the internal (company/organization) blogging team.
She stressed the need for original material, rather than simply reflecting what's already been said. There is no substitute for quality.
Massimo followed suit regarding blog content - stating as his first SEO rule = content is king. Only after this has been done should we concentrate on optimizing it.
He then contrasted the use of categories versus the use of tags, and reconfirmed the critical need to focus on keywords . . . the right keywords . . . ones that help reach general audiences as well as niche audiences. He stressed the importance of good linking and optimization of feeds, with some good "how to" information (including an eyechart slide that showed the full text of an RSS feed).
Once blogs and feeds have been optimized, they need to be submitted. Massimo's advice would be to submit broadly, listing 36 possibilities (from Google to the Guardian Newsblog) for consideration by the audience. He also provided suggestions for promotion of blogs through the blogosphere and social networks, including blog rings. His key message - share to grow.
Lee concluded the panel presentation with a set of case studies (small-medium-large from a budget standpoint). He noted that 112 million blogs are now being tracked by Technorati, 2600 of which have thousands of links and at the end of the long tail, those with less < 20 inbound links. From an SEO standpoint, blogs are great - they are a source of fresh content, attract links, serve as a platform for social promotion.
- Case #1 - Small development company - UMV increased by 500%.
- Case #2 - Online book retailer - Tactics = SEO'd the blog, then Facebook, Twitter, Flicker, etc. - UMV from 2K to 283K in less than 2 years.
- Case #3 - Online Marketing Blog (his own) - Intent was to create though leadership, visibility and lead generation. Tactics - Publish a regular schedule of unique content including how-to's, interviews, conference coverage, reviews, photos, videos, etc. Social bookmarking has created 40K inbound links. Results = 3 to 4 business inquires per day! First blog as a media sponsor of SES, SMX, PubCon, etc.
- Goals drive content
- Automate SEO as much as you can
- Refine and repeat
Question from the audience:
- How you avoid duplicate content on the blogs - should we handle with robots.txt?
- Should I draw content from other people's blogs? (Answers stressed the use of aggregators, rather than simply using content that others have generated.)
- Why should we not "fidget with widgets?" (Some slow your site down - others are really efficient)
- Why blidgets? (They are a great testing tool)
- Don'ts? (Stop blogging, Post on a 3rd Party, blog when mad or drunk, have a blogging policy but don't be too strict, don't send untrained bloggers online, etc.)
Disclaimer - Amanda Watlington, Searching for Profit (City Square Consulting, Inc.) is my business and life partner of 37 years.