First, I’d like to mention that I had my final guest posting article on DeAnna Troupe’s blog post last week, titled You Can’t do It All When You Work For Yourself, a small business topic many folks need to learn as soon as they can. I hope you check it out, and I thank DeAnna for asking me to write it for her.
by Randy Aquilizan
You know, ever since I wrote my post on guest posting, it seems I’ve been coming across many other posts about the subject as well. One of those posts I commented on, and it’s created an interesting exchange that has prompted me to write this post. It’s from a blog called We Build Your Blog, and the post was titled Guest Blogging – Why don’t you do it?. Andrew is the guy who writes it, and he had recently commented on my post above, which is what prompted my return visit. By the way, that’s the great thing about CommentLuv; thought I’d plug that while I was at it.
Anyway, his response here left me wondering what he might be getting at, because, well, truthfully, my mindset wasn’t geared towards how he responded. When I went to read what he had to say, my mind cleared up and I knew where he was coming from. And it’s something that, personally, I won’t do and never have done, and never even thought about doing, yet something he recommends. First, I hope you go read his post and comment; it was nicely written.
It’s this concept of actively seeking out blogs to write guest posts for to help spread the word, get backlinks, and help PR, which in this case, I assume, is page rank, though I could be wrong on that. He talks about asking some of the big boys if they would accept guest posts, and how sometimes they accept it and other times they turn it down for whatever reasons they have.
As I said, the concept of asking someone else if they’d accept a guest post of mine has never flickered in my mind, but while reading his post, it reminded me of an old post that Dennis wrote when he alluded to the thing about if I wanted to write a gust post for his blog to just ask him, and in my mind “why would I ask someone if I could write for them, for free, instead of just putting it on my own blog and moving on with life?” Not sure if you remember that exchange, Dennis, but it remains clear in my mind.
Once again, I’m left wondering whether this is a generational thing or a cultural thing in why, to me, such a thing as asking someone else to accept a guest post of mine is anathema to my way of thinking. Maybe it’s couched in some way in some of my history of others claiming my work as their own and not getting credit for it. Maybe it’s tied in with the fact that I never asked out first any of the women I ended up having any sort of relationship with. Or maybe my mind sees it as a favor to me to ask people here and there to guest post here. I do see it as a compliment, I must admit, whenever someone asks if they can guest post here, but I know that not everyone sees things that way.
It’s probably the same reason I think the way I do about posting to article directories. I see that as someone else getting the benefit out of what I write rather than my getting much benefit out of it. That point can easily be argued both ways, but the way I see it, when I get those monthly stats showing me how many people looked at an article I’ve written, it’s not much higher than when I post articles to my own sites.
By the way, on Andrew’s blog, I responded that, because of my own pride, I have never asked anyone if I can guest post for them, and probably wouldn’t, that I don’t care about page rank, since this blog has no page rank anyway (but my Alexa rank is now around 115,000, and getting better weekly), and that at this point going for more backlinks probably isn’t going to do much more for this blog, though I welcome them when they come.
So, I put the question out there; how far will you go to promote your blog? I don’t mind guest posting, and I don’t mind people asking me if they can guest post; I want to make that clear. I just don’t do it, and can’t see myself doing it. What say you?
If you remember, back on January 1st I had a pretty comprehensive post on Page Rank and SEO, where I did an examination of this blog, and another blog, to figure out where page rank and SEO might have some sort of affect on the pages within a blog. I pretty much came to a conclusion that it was hard to to proper SEO to a blog because even if you only write on one thing, there are so many other variables on a blog that it’s hard to get a good page rank; that is, if you really care. I decided to do another long project, adding something else into the mix. So get something to drink, sit back, and either read or listen, via that Odiogo button there at the top left of this post, because this one’s going to be long.
What I’ve done is gone through this blog, my business blog (Mitch’s Blog), and my main business website. I’ve selected the top 10 visited pages, or articles, for each of these entities, based on Google Analytics. I’ve checked them for page rank, and then I’ve checked them on Google Rankings to see, based on the main search terms, where they might come up, if at all; only the top 500 this time, though, so I could get through it all. My point, which will be proven, is that SEO efforts for websites can bring some nice results, much nicer than with blogs, even if the niche is more defined. Yeah, there’s a lot of link love I’m giving myself, in case you ever decide you’d like to see what all I’ve been writing and creating over all these years, but hey, it’s also a research project, so forgive the indulgence. I do this for you, my faithful readers. My story and I’m sticking to it. So, let’s begin.
Let’s start with this blog. To begin with, it’s not always easy to figure out which search terms to try to find blog entries for. This means that the ranking figure might be skewed too far one way or the other. But we’ll take it as it’s worth. Here are my top ten articles, my Google rank, and my Yahoo rank; none of these pages has a Google page rank, so why even chart it. Here are the other numbers:
9 Instant Tips On How To Leverage The Power Of Squidoo (used to be 1) 4 Google, 0 Yahoo
Out of those 10 posts, I think only two can really be considered as legitimate as far as the search engines go, those two being the one on Google Desktop and NYS Internet Taxes. The rest,… well, iffy at best.
Next, let’s take a look at my business blog. This one, it’s slightly easier to see how the SEO efforts went, but this time some of the posts do have page rank, so it’s included this time around:
As I said, more of these work as far as being able to see how my SEO efforts worked, but probably four of them aren’t all that valid.
So, those are the two blogs, and truthfully, though some of the numbers on this blog look pretty good, I don’t think they’re valid. And for my business blog, more are valid, but I’m not sure anyone would be looking for the keywords I used to search for those articles.
Now, though, we’ll take a look at my business website, where most of the pages we’re going to look at would offer legitimate search terms I might be found for. Notice the PR difference, as well as the more legitimate search term rankings:
Employee Evaluation Module (this is actually my most searched and reviewed product page, which I’ve never mentioned here because I doubt there’s a single person who visits this blog who could use it, as you’d need to have employees) PR 2, Google 1, Yahoo 1
As you can see, every page here except for my bio page is ranked by either Google or Yahoo (I didn’t even know what kind of search term to use for my bio, so I left it alone), and the search terms are more accurate because, on a website, it’s easier to define what each page should be about. Now, many people forget two important things about internal pages. One, to optimize them at all, which is the strangest thing I’ve ever seen. That would explain why so many internal pages aren’t ranked on most websites; I’m happy to say that the majority of my pages have a page rank of some kind, if only because it shows that they have been optimized. Two, if they optimize, most people use the same exact meta description and keywords on every page of their site, which is a mistake because every page on a website isn’t optimized for the same thing, and the search engines will ignore pages where the optimization doesn’t match what the page is about.
Now, let me be clear here; I still don’t care all that much about page rank. However, unless they’ve banned you for some reason, it’s still a nice indicator of whether or not you’ve optimized your site pretty well. It still doesn’t mean anything as far as visitors or even making sales or more money, but it does mean you have a better opportunity to be found on the search engines, if only because someone just might put in search terms that will lead them to you. Just like we look at Alexa and Technorati, or any of the other little things we can choose to view (see the two ranking icons to the upper right, above the Twitter bird) that rank us in some fashion. It’s better being on a list, or a ranking of some sort, than not being noticed at all.
I believe I have achieved my purpose, but I need to define it a little bit better. There are things we can do on our blog to help generate more interest, to get people to read more of it, and hopefully to get it to rank in some fashion, long term, on the search engines. But when all is said and done, it’s quite possible that blogs are just so active that posts don’t really get a chance to get rankings, even posts that continue getting visits years after they’re written, if you’re lucky (that’s where internal linking might be able to help), so don’t kill yourself trying to make every one of your blog posts optimal. If you can stay somewhat consistent on a topic, as I do with my business blog, you will have a better chance of attaining and keeping a page rank, because every blog post I mentioned on my beginning of the year post, at this point, has lost its page rank. Don’t beat yourself up over it.
However, when it comes to your real websites, using good SEO skills can help your pages get ranked, which means you’ve probably optimized them well enough to have a legitimate chance to be found on the search engines. With blogs, it seems to be more important to generate visitors in other ways, such as commenting on other blogs, and many of the other ways that so many people have written about that I’m not going to bother going into it again. When it comes to your blog, just write, and write as well as you can. It’s a blog; have some fun with it.
On occasion I’ve mentioned this WordPress plugin called All In One SEO. It’s supposed to help blogs with their search engine optimization goals. I first added the plugin back in May, I believe, so it’s had some time to do its thing with posts after that. Let’s see how things have gone for me.
I figure that a good month to look at is August. We know that there was a page rank update in late September, and since I’d been running the program for a few months at that point, it should have been able to do something with some of those posts, or so I’m thinking.
What do we find? Unfortunately, at this point I’m not a good endorsement for the program. Out of 16 posts for the month, 15 of those posts are totally unranked. One of the posts is ranked at 0 out of 10, which is supposedly better than being totally unranked, but not by much.
I do know how to use the All In One SEO program. For those unfamiliar with it, you have the option of leaving areas blank and letting the program take over, or adding in some words and having the program help to enhance whatever you’ve stated. The three areas you get to write something in are Title, Description, and Keywords. If you leave them blank, the program is supposed to take care of it for you, though I’m not sure how it knows what to do.
Anyway, I thought that was somewhat interesting, but I wanted to try to be even more fair. So I went through all the posts for both June and July, and even thought to take a look at September, when comment started to grow. Nothing, nada, zip. I really wasn’t expecting anything for September, but one would think that at least one of my posts would have even a zero; nope.
Now, what I have done is gone into Google and looked up some of my titles, and they do show up on the search engines. But since I write my titles, one would expect that they’d show up, so that’s not really much of a test.
What does this tell me? Is the All In One SEO program at fault because it’s not doing what I was hoping it would do, or am I at fault for not purposely taking more time in making sure that whatever I’m writing about has lots of keywords to help it generate them? In other words, am I supposed to write keyword rich content for SEO purposes to help the program help me do the same thing? Isn’t that kind of like cleaning up the house before the cleaning lady arrives?
One more caveat. I agree with my friend Sire that page rank isn’t all that some people want to make it out to be. SEO tactics obviously may not always result in high page rankings, and that’s not really the purpose either. If your page is ranked badly but you still get visitors, that’s always a much more important metric. Still, I do go to some blogs where a post has a page rank, so I’m thinking it’s not supposed to be impossible. At least my site has a page rank of 3, so I’ll accept that for the time being.
Just wondering if my expectations of All In One SEO are legitimate, and, as a last thought, did I say the name All In One SEO enough times to get a page rank on this one?
How do you write? I find it an interesting question, especially for blogs, because, for most of the time, I tend to write pretty quickly about pretty much anything. I don’t concentrate on length or anything like that; I just write until I feel like I’m done; kind of a blogging Mozart. lol
by Charles J. Danoff
I know that some people take a lot of time to think about what they want to write about, then write it over the course of a few days. I remember Steve Pavlina saying some time ago that he likes to take two or three days putting his posts together, but he tends to write posts between 5,000 and 7,500 words. Of course, he’s not doing that right now, as he’s doing some test with some kind of drink and talking about his results on a daily basis.
Darren Rowse of Problogger fame said he likes to write at least one post a day on all of his blogs, and these days it’s much easier for him since he’s pretty much turned himself into a corporation, so that when he’s on the road someone else steps in to write posts for him. However, if you look back into his archives (which I did, of course), you’ll find that he used to write multiple posts a day, very short posts where he’d state a topic, write something relatively short, then have a link to the person where he got the idea from in the first place.
By the way, I find it oddly comforting that it took him about as long to start getting visitors and readers to his blog as it’s taken for me, and he also had many posts at the time that got either very little or no activity, just as I sometimes do now (although I am pimping this post of mine again because it was pretty personal, and I’m thinking someone should have commented on it for some reason).
Even when I’ve researched something first, I tend to write pretty quickly afterwards. But you have seen some of my really long posts, and every once in awhile I’ll put up something that’s pretty short, just to communicate something. For instance, the day I posted the quick little blurb about the end of BlogRush, which I got to post as kind of a breaking news story (posted after immediately being written by John Reese himself) was one of the shortest posts I’ve ever written, and it still got a lot of comments.
That proved a couple of things. One, current news counts a lot if you can be one of the first to help break the story. Two, sometimes you can spend a lot of time on something, or put your heart into it, and it won’t merit nary a comment; WordPress doesn’t tell me how many page views, so to speak, a post gets (but Google Analytics does, and that’s a shame; y’all go back and read that post!). I wonder if there’s a plugin for that, and if it would separate how many times I saw it myself. And three, sharing information that someone else comes up with can be greatly appreciated, which is why I’m going to share this page that has a lot of information on page rank, something that a lot of you have been talking about a whole lot lately, which means it’s not only something you seem to care a lot about, but also says y’all need to find a new topic (check this one also). 🙂
Enough of this for now. So, how do you write? How do you decide what to write about? How often do you write? Share with us; who knows, maybe there will be a car as a prize for the most creative post,… nah!
I believe it’s time for my first controversial blog post, because a topic has come up that I see so many people writing about, even here in comments, that it needs some exploration and conversation. There will be another controversial post after this one on a different topic; so much to talk about on a Sunday afternoon.
I wrote my post about blogrolls because I love looking at the blogrolls of other people, as well as having a few of my own. But it got integrated into another conversation about “dofollow”, “page rank”, et al. I don’t necessarily mind that, because it’s what’s on the minds of people, but it just seems like it deserves its own prominent spot on this blog, so here it is.
I love getting comments on my blog; who doesn’t? I’ve also wanted to grow the readership of my blog, for more than one reason. One, I’d like to make some money from my blog; I stated that, in my own way, with my very first post back last December. Two, I like to see that people enjoy my blog, or possibly hate the blog but just can’t stay away. I have always believed that we all should mainly write for ourselves, for the love of writing, but having people acknowledge your writing in some fashion is always pleasing. As a sidebar, I was at a health care conference last week, and at the registration desk I came upon a “fan”, who told me she’s been reading my blog, newsletter, and comments on a listserve that we’re both participants of for years, and once she knew I was coming she wanted to meet me to tell me how much she’s enjoyed my writings. There’s nothing better in the world than having someone not only recognize you in some fashion, but then tell you something nice like that; totally unexpected, and yet, lucky for me, it happens from time to time.
Anyway, I started getting a little bit of comment activity around April, but it was still fairly low. Then I was introduced to more WordPress plugins, and after adding the dofollow plugin and this became a dofollow blog, comments started to rise, especially after I also decided to add CommentLuv and joined Sire’s little F Group blogging community. That, plus expanding my own commenting on other people’s blogs, has really gotten things going for my blog.
However, the most controversial piece of this whole thing has been the dofollow/nofollow controversy. It basically encompasses two things. One, the conversation of page rank. I’ve been doing a lot of reading about this one, and ever since last year it’s been a hot topic, even on Matt Cutts blog, although he seems to always be right on the fringe of deciding how to answer the question everyone wants answered directly. Two, the conversation about paid links and Google penalties, and once again, Matt Cutts comes right to the edge without fully answering the specific question, but on this one he’s more the company man than on the other one. Let’s look at both issues in more depth.
All of us seem to scramble for Google page rank on one hand, then decry it on another. Let’s face this fact; ranks are ranks, and while none of them mean all that much in the long run, some seem more impressive than others, and can help us out in more ways than others. For instance, being a PR 0 or 7 doesn’t help me and this blog all that much because it’s a blog, with a wide range of topics, even if many are concentrated in a couple of areas. I’m much more impressed by page rank as it pertains to my business site because that’s the one I’ve worked on optimizing for specific keywords to generate offline business. I’m number one for quite a few search terms on that site, and yet it just dropped to a PR 3, after being PR 4 for at least 18 months. My traffic hasn’t dwindled, though, and my search terms are still at number one, with many others in the top 5, so what does that say about page rank overall?
Now, it’s possible that I’ve dropped page rank because at the same time I added dofollow to this blog, I added it to that blog, which is attached via subdomain, to my main site. However, I got slightly increased traffic for the site by adding the dofollow and CommentLuv plugins; do I want to give those up and possibly lose participation?
It’s actually the same question to ask for this blog. What’s the better “problem” to deal with; having more visitors and participation and worrying about page rank, or not having to worry about page rank and not having anyone reading my words? I checked my statistics on Google Analytics and the percentage of blog visitors that come here via Google is around 4.6%, which isn’t even half of the traffic I get from search engines, which is 9.6%. So, for this blog, my visitors are coming from other blogs most of the time; why worry about who’s finding me on Google searches at this time? If I can end up going the John Chow route, without directly attacking Google or flaunting any bad practices in their faces, and my traffic grows and I end up with more readers and purchasers, so much the better.
Which leads me to my second point, that being paid links. In reading Matt Cutts post on Selling Links That Pass Page Rank, the premise seems to be that it’s all on us individual bloggers or website owners to make sure that every advertisement that’s on our sites are set up as nofollow, as Google has a right to determine that paid links are there to help page rank only. I have some problems with this, as do others.
For one, having any paid links on one’s site is only for the purpose of making some money; we all know that having one way links doesn’t benefit us in any way except for either making some money or passing along information. Look at all the links in this post already; there’s more coming. Not a single one of these is a paid link, and not all of them link back into my blog; what algorithm is Google going to run to determine whether any of these links are paid or not? And no, I haven’t typed nofollow into any of these links, one because I don’t feel like it, but two, because Google themselves have acknowledged that it’s not that they don’t index nofollow links, just that if it’s there they won’t count them in their algorithms.
Therefore, Google’s expecting me to do their job for them; and that benefits me how? Oh yeah, that page rank thing again; well, I already talked about that. Now, am I selling space? I ask this question; is my having Text Links Ads any different than some blogs that have banner ads saying that people can pay to advertise there, or already have advertisers there? Matt Cutts said in one of his blog posts that Google doesn’t care about affiliate ads or whether they’re dofollow or nofollow; once again, how would they really know? Relevance is a red herring in this discussion.
For two (I’m never sure if one says “for two” or just “two”; does it matter?), just what is Adsense anyway? It’s paid text link ads that come from Google, and if you’ve ever checked (just right-click on a link, then go to Properties), you’ll see that every Adsense ad is a dofollow link; interesting. So, if Google is doing it for their advertisers, why are they so gung-ho to deny it to anyone else’s advertisers? Why? Because they can; just like the government, they’re the big dog, and big dogs don’t play by their own rules.
I wrote a comment a few days ago on someone else’s blog, I believe, that I also find it interesting that Google’s present ad partner, Yahoo, is allowing sidebar ads to run for this Text Link Ads company, and that company comes up number on if you use Yahoo search; seems these two big dog partners haven’t quite connected on a common philosophy as it regards paid links. And yes, Yahoo is also running Google’s Adsense these days, and of course it’s dofollow there also; what a dichotomy. Also, isn’t it troubling that Google can just erase a company from its search engines, which is supposed to be impartial? Try typing in Text Link Ads on Google; you’ll notice that the site itself doesn’t come up for even its name, but it’ll be listed as a topic of discussion on many other people’s sites. Hey, at one time in America, blacks weren’t considered as people either, but property; that’s a different conversation, though.
So, let’s ask some serious questions, and relate it to comments I’ve seen on this blog, other blogs, and many other articles I’ve read over the past couple of days. One, is Google really going to come after someone like me, who still has fewer than 2,000 physical visitors a month stopping by, just because: my blogroll, which is dofollow by default, shows up on every page, no matter how many links I put up; because I have a dofollow blog, which means every commenter who writes here gets some love from me; because I have two Text Link Ads that just started on my blog a couple of weeks ago, that’s going to net me less than $10 and is also “only” on my main page, but is also more than I’m going to earn from this blog from Adsense for the month?
Two, is my page rank going to overly suffer because of the same reasons I listed above? And, if it does, is that the end of my blog in the blogosphere?
Three, is fear really so rampant that people are afraid to try to do a few things here and there to improve their blogs, their monetary status, and their minds? Will fear suddenly make people scared to post here, or fearful of what they write and where they write? And, fear of Google, of all things? Does Google have a gun to your head? Sure, they’re the number one search engine, and I like Adsense just as much as many other people, but would that end my life on earth as I know it?
Four, have I done anything sneaky and below reproach? Have I done a single black hat SEO thing? Have a link farmed this site?
Five, and what about Naomi? Okay, just threw that in to lighten the mood a little bit and to see how many people actually remember it.
I know where many of you are going to stand on this issue, so I’ll ask the question this way, though you can still comment as you will. Realistically, just what is your main fear, and if it came to fruition, would it be the end of how you run your blog, or would you find another way? That’s all; I’m out!