What We Learnt at #TOWIB about Blog SEO

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So, yesterday saw another addition of The Only Way is Blogging (#TOWIB) as run by the lovely Hayley of London Beauty Queen. There was a massive turnout and I live tweeted the whole event, which was nearly foiled by a dying iPhone battery, but rescued by a friendly hotel staff member. I thought it would be useful to do a few blog posts to sum up what we learnt, so that everyone can take something useful aware from the event.

This first post will cover some of the SEO tips that we received from eBuzzing, along with my opinion and feedback. Luckily, for me my husband is a SEO Account Manager at a London based agency, so I’ve asked him to contribute to this post as well, to elaborate and give his opinion on some of the points that were discussed. He’s asked me to let you know that this is just his response to the comments made, he could go into a lot more detail and if there is demand we may be able to arrange this.

How Google+ Can Influence your Blog SEO

Ok, so we’ve all complained about how dull Google+ is as a social network, but as an SEO tool, it’s the latest addition to Google’s ranking of all websites. You’ll notice the +1 icon next to every results on Google now, if you click this you are rating that site as a good page, which now improves that sites SEO. However, with very few bloggers taking Google+ on board, the question is, should be bother?

What Matt Says: This is a point that will be a lot more pertinent in a couple of years time. The fact of the matter is, Google+ is still in its initial phase and although some elements of Social Media, specifically Twitter, are playing a more important role in SEO, Link Building and original content still make up the major elements of Google’s ranking algorithm and more focus is still needed on these elements than Google+.

A great way to demonstrate this is if we search in Google for the highly competetive term “Women’s Shoes”, for which ASOS rank in 1st place. Now, ASOS have regularly updated, original content on their blog, nearly 78,000 links to their domain and nearly 300,000 followers on Twitter, but are only in around 900 Circles on Google+. What’s more, hardly any of their blog posts are +1’d but most are Tweeted and linked to.

Google+ may become more important in a few years, when people are actively using it, but at the moment it is not crucial for gaining rankings. For another thing only a small percentage of all websites have Google+ buttons or accounts so at this point it simply wouldn’t work to rank sites based on this, as you could end up with deserving sites not ranking, such as insurance or finance sites that should rank but will not be heavily invested in Google+.

What Type of Content Will Improve Your Blog SEO?

Now, when I tweeted these comments, I was responded to with many disagreements, so don’t take this as fact at all. eBuzzing’s SEO person, explained that Google will value news-worthy content (so something that is breaking news or new content to the internet) however, with Google taking around ten days to register new content, this may be tricky to maintain on a blog. eBuzzing also suggested that blogs should avoid competitive content, so basically, if everyone is blogging about what was in their Glossybox, maybe you shouldn’t? It was suggested that content that was unique or exclusive will give you more chances of improving blog SEO.

What Matt Says: First and foremost original content is key. It is ok to blog about what others are discussing, but it should not be a carbon copy but rather your own original take on it (pretty obvious).

Now, when it comes to the news element of content it depends what approach you are taking; if you are going to try and submit your content to be indexed in Google News results, which are pretty much instantly indexed (not 10 days) then yes your content has to be news worthy otherwise Google will not put it in the news results.

However, if you are a pure blog and not a news feed then the news element is neither here nor there, the more important element is that the content is original and shareable. Blogs become successful through word of mouth and so if you can create content that is shared by users across Twitter, Facebook and their own blogs then you are on to a winner! If you think a breaking news article will get you this then go for it but opinion content, video blogs or reviews can also be successful through sharing.

If your content is interesting to read it doesn’t matter whether it is a news article, review or just a rant it will do well!

How to Use Keywords to Optimise Your Blog SEO

So, everyone’s basic understanding of SEO is about using the right keywords within your content. eBuzzing spoke about this, telling us that Google doesn’t understand puns in blog titles and that using a title that sums up what the post is about will be more beneficial. Thinking about what your audience will be Googling for will also help you tweak you content to incorporate keywords that are relevant. You can also use Google Analytics to see which keywords have lead to your blog, which will help you identify what topics to focus on. You can also improve your SEO, by using keywords as meta tags on your images.

What Matt Says: Are keywords important? YES. Are Meta Tags important? NO!!!

Yes, it is important that your blog titles make sense as these will get indexed and should be relevant to the content. It is also important to use keywords within the body content and also in the sub titles (ideally placed in H2 or H3 tags), but not to go overboard! Placing the keyword in every paragraph will be overkill and will read poorly. Keywords are important in a blog but don’t go mad with it.

On to Meta Tags and basically these are outdated and not useful any more. If you already have them on your blog, fine you might as well leave them, they definitely aren’t going to damage you, but if you are thinking of going through every post and adding them don’t waste your time!

Around 3-4 years ago they were a very important part of Google’s algorithm but they have been replaced by other elements and now have no real SEO benefit.

How Linking Will Benefit Your Blog SEO

Linking is perhaps an SEO technique that fewer bloggers are familiar with. Links to your site from well optimised, quality sites will boost your SEO, as will links from your site to other valuable sites. You can use your Blogroll to add this quickly and easily. I wish they had elaborated more on this topic, but they did not. What do you think Matt?

What Matt Says: As an SEO expert this point angers me quite a bit! Yes links to your site are important, very very important and you should be targeting links from good quality sites. But outbouns links will NOT help your SEO! There is no SEO benefit for your blog by adding links to other blogs! They will get the benefit not you!

Now, when it comes to getting links to your site, there are many ways you can do this, but the most effective and natural way (which Google loves) is through guest posts. If you can write guest posts on other blogs and include a link back to your own that will be incredibly valuable.

Please do make sure though that the link is a follow link and not tagged with rel=nofollow and if you can have the linked placed under keyword anchor text, such as “fashion blog” even better! But please, please do not start adding loads of links to other sites on your blog to try and help yourself, it wont!

 

Conclusion: What Does Google Take Into Consideration?

To sum it up, Google will be looking for the amount of social shares of your site, good formatting and spelling and positive inbound and outbound links.

What Matt Says: To sum up, you want natural looking inbound links (guest posts are ideal), original content (news or blogs) and a strong presence on Twitter (don’t worry about Google+ yet!)

 What do you think? Do you have any questions we might be able to answer?

Comment below via Disqus or Tweet me @JayneJRead

You can find my hubby, Matt on Twitter @matthewread88 or check out his Book Blog.

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6 thoughts on “What We Learnt at #TOWIB about Blog SEO

    1. Hope you like it! Just so you know, blog will be looking pretty again soon, sorry for the current dull looks of the page. Had to have a friend repair the site.

  1. What a helpful post! Unfortunately I’m still so untechnical that most of it has gone over my head but I’m sure plenty of others can make use of this. Thanks for the live tweets btw xx

    1. Well let me know if you have any specific questions or areas you’d like more information on and I’ll see if I can organise something simpler.

  2. Amazing roundup from that talk. Although I heard all the points first hand this is actually far easier to understand! Thank you.

    Love your blog design and that arrow over there on the right for scrolling. Brilliant. 🙂

    1. Thank you! I’ll be doing similar ones for the other topics. Hubby is a pro on this topic, so I think his input was really helpful. Let us know if you have any specific questions.

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