Guest Post from “Nick James” (Swags2804)
Firstly I’d like to thank Matt for giving me the opportunity to make my voice heard over here. I appreciate it immensely.
Matt recently ran a small competition to compile a list of sage SEO tips that would be valid for 2008. His own suggestion was:
“Whatever industry your business is in your website will benefit from starting a company blog written by employees. As well as providing unique fresh content for your site this will open up opportunities in terms of networking and trust building…”
It’s a point that I agree wholeheartedly with, for the unprecedented success of blogs, blogging and various forms of social media have opened up an array of marketing opportunities away from just the old school, traditional SEO.
Now don’t get me wrong here, I’m not saying for an instant that traditional SEO no longer has a place or is of any less importance. It can never be drummed into heads too many times that all those ‘repeated cliches’ about title tags, keywords, content, inbound links, and all the rest, are ‘repeated cliches’ for the simple fact that at present they do have a bearing on where a website ranks in the SERPs. SEO can affect a website’s performance although obviously not control where it will eventually land up within the hallowed halls of Google Search.
But as a means of bringing traffic into a website, the search engines are no longer the be-all and the end-all. In fact, they have even made their own forays into the world of social media with varying, if far from astounding degrees of success, because at present their existence is governed by the end-user utilising their search boxes in the hope of finding the most relevant replies to their requests: content that is produced and supplied by other users, not Google or the other portals.
But I digress. Back to the original point and that of starting a blog. This particular tidbit of advice is in fact a two-edged sword with regards to SEO. But a nice two-edged sword…
In fact it could be seen as ‘the gift that keeps on giving’, so to speak.
Firstly, if regularly updated with unique and informative content, Google will take note and increase the rate at which it crawls your website specifically to keep up with all these little gems you’re casting out into the cyber-latticework of the internet. At present a continual turnover in the content of your website is seen as good and aids in ranking issues, specifically over a website that may be targeting the same keywords as you, but has remained stagnant since its inception.
But there’s more. If a blog is continually providing this type of informative content and is being successfully promoted through social networks and bookmarking sites, then it will receive an influx of traffic and inevitably a steady reader base and subscriptions. This in turn will increase your blogs standing through the various networks as more and more people bookmark various articles or submit its content, making it available to their own group of friends and so on and so on, ad infinitum.
This will attract plenty of one-way, naturally formed, inbound links, the holy grail of SEO – the only downside of this scenario being the general inability to choose your anchor text – and hey presto, there’s suddenly all these other blogs and websites pointing their digital fingers at your pages. Taking into account that this hasn’t happened overnight and not all the inbound link text is identical, a search engine might just think… “Hmm… All these other sites pointing to this one. These boys must be good. Authority’s even. I’ll give them a foot-up through the rankings.”
It’s like a vicious circle, except it isn’t particularly vicious. Not even mildly perturbed. More of a warm and fluffy one. Social media providing a comfy chair for SEO to take the weight off its feet for a moment or two and let somebody else do the work.
But that’s just a basic outlay of the benefits a blog can have for a business and what counts in particular, people visiting the website and eventual conversions.
But that is not all. I’ve never been one to say in a short, sweet and succinct sentence what can also be said in twenty pages of rambling nonsense, which is probably why my application for staff editor at ‘Monosyllabic Monthly’ was swiftly turned down, but the title of this post refers to a onetime funny man of these shores: a certain Frank Carson and in particular his famous catchphrase.
All right, he wasn’t actually of these shores being from Northern Ireland, but what’s a small splash of water (the Irish Sea) between friends?
In his prime Frank Carson, like myself, could ramble for England (or Northern Ireland) but amidst his continuous patter of banter and bumble there was always the razor-sharp delivery of gags. As he would continually remind us, “It’s the way I tell ’em”. Which finally, is what I’m trying to get at with this post.
If you’re not an already established blogger or an authority site, how the deuce do you get yourself noticed above all the other blogs and noise in your niche vying for the same attention? Well disregarding any ‘black hat’ techniques to promote your blog, providing a unique voice with which to deliver your content is a must. Just take the common or garden SEO blog for instance; there are only so many times you can go on about the irrelevance of metatags before it’s drowned out beneath the clamour of everybody else saying or having said the same thing. Of course, there are a multitude of other topics to discuss within SEO, but if you’ve not carved out your particular recess or found a distinctive voice by which to brand yourself, then that groundbreaking item of search news that you’ve spent months researching for and testing against – the one that was set to be guaranteed, solid gold link bait – might pass by unnoticed, or even worse be picked up upon by a more renowned yet less scrupulous blogger who proceeds to steal your thunder and bask in the glory that was rightfully yours (masses of unadulterated, organically formed, one-way links).
If, however, you have successfully cultivated a unique voice and a unique style of writing, then it will give you some leverage with which to attain that extra few inches to raise ourself above the crowd. A rather tall hat can be as equally effective…
But wait there just one moment, young man! Just who the devil are you to tell us about unique voices and writing styles? What exactly have you achieved?
Well nothing really. And I’m certainly no authority on blogging, with an audience of thousands waiting upon my every word. But I know what I like and what I look for in the blogs that inhabit my feed. And I can only carry on with my particular style and hope it keeps a steady readership both informed and entertained.
A blog is a powerful marketing tool, but as I’ve said before it shouldn’t be just that. Its upkeep should be taken seriously, for if you take it seriously, remain genuine, and don’t regard it as solely a way of earning a few extra shillings, then your readership will start to grow and return your commitment with their loyalty.
You have to set yourself apart from the crowd if you wish to be heard. In a cutthroat world where success or failure can depend on the turn of a coin, so to speak, you have to have that something that sets your voice apart from the clamour fighting for the same attention all around you.
So the next time you sit down to write that post on ‘10 Things Danny Sullivan Eats For Breakfast’, remember, “It’s the way you tell ‘em.”
About the author
My name is Matt Ridout, I've been working in digital marketing for 9 years; worked for agencies and currently Head of SEO at fashion startup called Farfetch. Try to test my own theories.