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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Few people can dispute the power of blogs. We saw how they

affected the U.S. presidential election of 2004. When used

correctly, blogs can have an amazing effect on your Web site. In

fact, I would go so far as to say I believe every business site

needs a blog . . . if used properly and in the manner in which

they were designed to be used.



What are Blogs?



Blogs are online journals that can be used in a variety of

different ways. In a personal sense, families can keep track of

each other across the globe by posting to a family blog. One

family member posts, then another member adds their comment

underneath the post, and so forth.



Businesses can announce new products and services, discounts,

discontinued items, or holiday promotions in their blogs. I'll

cover additional ideas for the use of a business blog further in

this article.



The biggest challenge is to get your target audience to read your

blog. That's why you need a "blog with a purpose." You need a

reason for your audience to visit your blog on a regular basis.

What would make your blog special to your audience? Why would

they want to bookmark your blog? Why would they want to link to

it and tell others? That should be your ultimate goal.



Think about your own site, and let's start talking about "blogs

with a purpose."



Five Example Blogs with a Purpose



1. Free Directory Listings http://webseodesign.com/blog/



For some time now, I've been steering people away from reciprocal

linking, due to the inherent problems associated with it.

Submitting to directories can certainly help your Web site from a

link popularity standpoint, which we all know is crucial, but how

do you know which directories to submit to? There are a lot of

scammy directories out there, so you need to know which ones to

stay away from. Plus, it can cost you a lot of money to submit to

directories. What if your pocket book is a little tight at the

moment?



Martin Preece at WebSEODesign came up with a novel idea. He

decided to submit his site to free directories, and then keep

track of when the site was accepted into each directory, the PR

of the directory, whether he has to link back, and other

statistics. He shares all of his experiences on his Web site for

readers to follow. All you have to do is follow in his foot

steps. Here's the link to the actual listing of free directories:

http://webseodesign.com/resources/free-directory-listings.htm



Then, he set up a free directory listings blog where he reports

on the progress of his free directory reviews. He also writes

"how to" articles in his blog, such as how to submit to

directories.

http://webseodesign.com/blog/2005/04/free-directory-listing-101.html



Martin has created a "blog with a purpose." People visit his

blog, because it benefits their Web sites and their link

popularity building efforts. Why should they spend the time

finding and researching directories when Martin will do it for

them?



How does it benefit Martin? He's getting traffic to his site,

building link popularity, gaining potential clients, and getting

visibility from the search engines. It's a win/win situation for

everyone.



Plus, his free-directory-listings.htm page isn't doing too badly

in the rankings. It's #1 in MSN for "free directory listings" out

of 6.5 million, and #14 in Yahoo! out of 130 million.



What has he done, in part, to achieve those rankings? He's linked

to his free-directory-listings.htm page from his blog using

absolute links and using "free directory listings" as the link

(anchor) text.



For example, this is an absolute link:



<A HREF="http://webseodesign.com/resources/free-directory-

listings.htm ">free directory listings</A>



Below is a relative link. This is the type of linking convention

most Web site owners use when linking to a page on his/her own

Web site.



<A HREF="free-directory-listings.htm">free directory listings</A>



Tip: Always use absolute links when linking to interior pages of

your site from your blog, and always use keyword phrases in your

link text when pointing to those interior pages.



2. Wordtracker KEI Observation Deck

http://www.searchengineworkshops.com/weblog/



Yes, this sounds like blatant self promotion, but when you hear

the story about this blog, you'll understand why it needs to be

included in the article.



A few years ago, we had a plain old blog. We posted information

about our site on the blog, articles, etc. The search engines

loved it, but the visitors didn't. Why? We didn't give the Web

audience a compelling reason to want to visit.



The blog was . . . boring.



My partner, John Alexander, and I teach Wordtracker strategies in

our courses, and we believe that the key to success with any Web

site begins with solid keyword research. We constantly hear

students tell us how they can't find high KEI numbers in

Wordtracker -­ that the competition is just too high.



So John came up with a fabulous idea. He set up the KEI

Observation Deck on our blog. He spends about 10 minutes a day

finding high KEI values and posting them on our blog. He's using

the blog as a teaching tool, because we're educators.



People love it. He's proving to them that Wordtracker is full of

high KEI values, if you only know how to find them. Affiliate

marketers flock to his page to see what John will come up with

next. SEOs have syndicated the blog through the RSS feed, so they

can keep up with John's latest research. Search engines spider

the page almost every day.



How is it benefiting Search Engine Workshops? John can use it to

promote our other products and services. Wordtracker has linked

to the blog, which is definitely a plus for the site.



The blog is no longer boring . . . it's effective -- a blog with

a purpose.



(Continued in Part 2)



================================================================

Robin Nobles conducts live SEO workshops

(http://www.searchengineworkshops.com)
in locations across North

America. She also teaches online SEO training

(http://www.onlinewebtraining.com).
Localized SEO training is now

being offered through the Search Engine Academy.

(http://www.searchengineacademy.com)



Copyright 2005 Robin Nobles. All rights reserved.



by: Shawna Seigel



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