Most days, I read an article or two about search engine optimization and/or online marketing. With various sites, I apply the strategies that seem reasonable. But, the realm of SEO techniques is riddled with false and outdated information.
However, I am certainly not an SEO guru. Further, I'm initially skeptical of anyone or any single product claiming to elevate your site to the first page of Google search results.
But, Google does seem to favor blogs … slightly. Why? They contain timely, fresh, and relevant information on a narrow topic (target niche). Therefore, they are best able to fill certain deficits in the listings that the search engine compiles.
This site went public on March 17, 2011. On the 24th, I notified Google of the site and submitted a sitemap. I believe this is a vital step for a new blog. It took three days for Google to spider and start listing articles. It took Yahoo! 16 days. And, after three weeks, Bing still hasn't listed any articles. Thank you Google.
BTW, I used the Google XML Sitemaps for Multisites plugin for this purpose. You can read about it and the single-site version at that review article link.
It's great to get links from other sites. If they're in the same niche and ranked highly, your site ranking certainly improves. Even though our site is new, we are starting to get some backlinks. Thank you.
It is worth noting that Google does penalize “link farm” listings and “black hat” SEO tactics. So, avoid the temptation.
A popular plugin that I use on most blogs is the All in One SEO Pack. This is a great utility for managing your SEO strategy and for automatically building your keyword metatags. I normally use Post Tags for the keywords. Thank you Semper Fi Web Design. They also have a Pro version with added features.
Google Search Results
Certainly, there's a lot more you can do to boost your rankings … over time. But, this is basically all I've done for our new blog. Moreover, the great news is how quickly Google responds by listing our articles. In only three weeks, 19 of our 30 articles are either on the first or second page for some of our chosen keywords.
Since this is my first blog of this type … source code intensive … I'm amazed at these Google results. About a month ago, Google announced that they were penalizing “content farms”. I believe that action is part of the reason several blogs have moved up in the search results.
As an example of Google's fast response time, I updated my article about fixing the custom permalink bug with WP 3.1 on April 4th to include a hotfix for pagination errors. Before this, there was no mention of pages or pagination in the article. However, within 24 hours of updating the article, I was getting search hits for “WordPress pagination errors”!
This next example completely caught me by surprise. The first article I wrote for this site (before it even had a DNS listing) was entitled 4 Nifty String Functions. One of these was a simple PHP strLeft function. Just after Google spidered the site back in March, I noticed a couple of hits for that search term. So, I used the Google Adwords: Keyword Tool to ascertain how many searches that term gets. It averages 280 searches per month.
That's certainly not a niche on which to build a web traffic success story; but, to me, every visitor is someone who might return because they found some useful information. Today, I did a search for “PHP strLeft” to see where my article ranked. Amazingly, it was listed THREE TIMES on the first page … and THREE more times on the second page. Click the first page screenshot thumbnail to view an enlargement. Thank you Google.
Google can be a powerful influence to guide traffic to your blog. Are you seeing better than expected results for your keywords on Google lately?