by: Roger Dooley

Got a brand new website you want to promote? Wondering how to get
traffic and improve Google rankings? Google’s webmaster Svengali Matt Cutts clued us in at the recent Pubcon in Las Vegas: start a blog. (You were expecting, maybe, “buy a bunch of links?”
) Matt pointed out that Wordpress was mostly pre-optimized for search
engines - the latest versions reduce duplicate content issues, page
structure, titles, etc., fit Google’s recommendations, and keyword URLs
are easy to generate. We’ve been blog advocates for years, but Matt’s
blunt recommendations was still a bit of a surprise. Let’s look at why
adding a blog to a new (or even old) site can be a good idea.

Content Freshness. Depending on a site’s
technology, adding new content can be difficult. It may require a
tech-savvy employee or even a Web developer/designer. By comparison, a
blog can be a very easy way to get new content onto a site. Even
non-technical staffers can put up posts by simply filling in a web
form. There’s almost no barrier to adding fresh content, and the
content appears immediately. Search engines like fresh content and,
more importantly, so do site visitors.

Inbound Linkage.
We all know that links drive traffic and also improve search rankings.
Bloggers tend to be far more generous than other webmsters in linking
to things they find interesting, and often those links go to other
blogs. While simply adding a blog to a site won’t guarantee new links,
creating a body of quality posts will almost certainly result in many
more links.

Blog Search Traffic. Getting to
the top of Google is difficult and time consuming for all but the most
obscure words and phrases. The Google sandbox can further delay
progress. By comparison, blog searches are often sorted by date and
time, with the most recent posts shown first. Technorati blog search is
set up this way by default, and Google blog search has a toggle to let
a user sort by date/time or “relevance”. This means that even your
brand new blog can be at the top of search results, even if that
position lasts only until some other blogger publishes a post
containing the same term. If you are posting about Britney Spears or
Barack Obama, your post will get pushed into oblivion quickly; but if
you are posting about a more obscure topic, it may remain visible for

Feed Readers. Blogs can also be
consumed by those with feed readers. While this doesn’t have any direct
impact on your search traffic, it may keep readers engaged and result
in additional site visits.

Community. Another
way visitors can be engaged with a blog is comment functionality. Not
all blogs develop a real community of commenters, but some do. If a
blog succeeds in developing a robust community, that benefits both the
commenters themselves (who enjoy the interaction) and even new visitors
(who enjoy reading the dialog). In addition, this user generated
content can impact search traffic by adding new keywords to a page and
increasing the amount of topical text.

Why don’t companies or
webmasters add a blog to their site? The biggest reasons I’ve
encountered (at least among my corporate clients) have been fear of
negative commentary and a reluctance to commit to regular posting.
These are weak arguments in the face of the benefits of blogging. If
you don’t believe me, believe Matt Cutts. The video is a bit shaky, but
you aren’t subject to motion sickness you can view some of his comments
below. Matt has also posted links to his various Pubcon interviews.

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