Loading

Grow Smart Business


teaserInfographic
Close

Search Articles





Get Great SEO Results with Your Small Business Blog

February 17th, 2010 ::

Blogging has become a staple in every company’s marketing strategy yet, very few understand it. Still, people upgrade their web sites to include a blog, they might start out with trying to publish every day and after a week or two realizing that this is actually work, they give up. The blog then languishes dead on arrival and people wonder if you even care about your business. Yeah, it can look that bad.

The upside of utilizing a blog goes beyond thought leadership, communicating with customers or whatever mission you have set for the blog. The biggest upside is that it can help your small business get found far easier and faster with the right people coming to your site. You want traffic to your web site, but you want the right kind of traffic. A blog is catnip for search engines and we have put together some great tips from our experience and a few from some other places to help get great SEO results and get your business found.

Do Your Setup Right from the Beginning

Get Your Titles and Blog Links Right – You should closely look at your titles because great blog links to great SEO results. Glen over at the viral marketing firm, Viperchill, has a few great points in the blog setup:

  • Tweak the Permalinks – Permalinks are simply the URL’s of your blog posts and pages. By default, your URL’s are setup like http://www.viperchill.com/p=8 which isn’t very pretty and doesn’t give an indication to what the page is about. In Settings >> Permalinks I use the custom option and type %postname%. This means that my URL’s can be something like http://www.viperchill.com/launching-new-blog/ which is both pretty and informative.
  • Enable Threaded Comments – In the past I would have installed a plugin for this, but now WordPress offers this as standard. In Settings >> Discussion you can choose to enable nested comments and select how many levels deep you would want these to go. This enhances the conversation in your comments and allows you and other readers to reply to specific comments directly.
  • Add Ping Services – You probably won’t have to do this, but when I installed my blog there were no ping services in the Options >> Writing section of my WordPress admin panel. Adding ping services means that you can send trackbacks to other blogs which lets them know when you link to their posts. It also gets your site listed in Technorati and other blog aggregation services.

Add Some Critical Functionality

Once you are setup on your blog, there are a few basic things I usually do with a blog for a client. First is to add a few pages. If this is a self-standing blog, you should have an about page or a navigation that leads to your about section. You should also have a contact page and form especially if you are trying to gather leads. This should be extensive and in different places if lead generation or specific landing pages are a part of your marketing campaigns.

You also should have a few posts right out of the gate that do two things – give people something to read when you launch the blog and tell everyone about it and to show people what kind of stuff you write about along with the style/voice you will have on the blog. People will want to subscribe if they like what they see and you usually only have one shot at getting them.

Speaking of subscribers, join Feedburner and hook your blog up to it. Feedburner allows you to keep track of how many subscribers your blog has and what services your readers use. You can easily setup email subscriptions and insert social bookmarking links directly into your feed. Plus, if you need to change the blog address on the backend you can do it without impacting the readers who subscribe through the Feedburner feed.

Use Killer Plugins

There are so many plugins out there for your blog, especially if you use WordPress. I found this great SEO plugin list from Michael Wolf of Graywolf Consulting. I have used many of these and create a short list below:

  • Meta Robots WordPress plugin – Adds meta tags automatically to posts
  • Aizatto’s Related Posts – Adds related post information to posts and feeds
  • Cross-Linker – Set up commonly used words to link to posts or redirects (also useful for affiliate links)
  • Sitemap Generator – Automatically builds and HTML style sitemap
  • Google (XML) Sitemaps – Automatically build and ping multiple sitemap services with an XML file
  • HeadSpace 2 – A monster plugin that lets you rewrite titles, meta data, and host of other features watch the video on the page for the full list of features
  • SEO Title Tag – Don’t need all the power of Headspace try SEO title tag
  • SEO Slugs – keeps slugs from becoming too long

For my WordPress installations, I also really like the “All-in-One SEO” plugin which has quite a lot packed into one plug-in.

Ramp Up the SEO Juice

This is final step in the getting the blog operational for great SEO results. Glen over at the viral marketing firm, Viperchill, did a great job covering this part, so I will let him do the talking. Here you go:

  • “No Follow Certain Links – Adding the nofollow attribute to certain links tells search engines not to pass Pagerank to them and not to give any ‘benefits’ to the receiving page or site. This attribute was created due to the influx of spam on the Web and is used by default in WordPress comments. I also not follow links to pages that don’t need my link juice such as About or Contact and even things like my RSS feed. Google engineer Matt Cutts wrote that Google frowns on this sort of activity so use it at your own risk.
  • Change Your Title – Anyone with a clue about SEO will tell you the most important thing to optimise for on-site SEO is your title tag. By default, the WordPress title tag is backwards. What I mean by that is it will show you the website name first before a post title on individual post pages. Instead, I prefer to simply show the post title by itself and then choose my own title for the homepage. My code for this being: <title><?php if(is_home()) { echo ‘Viral Marketing : ViperChill’; } else { wp_title(”) ;} ?></title> The title of your homepage should include the keyphrase you choose from the next point.
  • Choose a Keyphrase – Tons of people like to simply name their website after what it’s called, and not what it offers, and that’s fine. I, on the other hand, like to kill two birds with one stone by choosing a title that is both descriptive and has the potential to get me search engine traffic. Head over to the Google Keywords tool and find a term that is relevant to your niche and gets a lot of searches. Once you have decided on a phrase, put it on your title and try to get backlinks to your site with this as the anchor text. For example, if you ever write guest posts then you can link to your website with this term as the hyperlink. There is a lot more to SEO and getting rankings than this, but that should get you started.
  • Get My Social Media Profiles – If you’re hoping your site will become a well known brand in your niche then it’s important to get accounts on the top social media sites with your site name to stop people hijacking your brand in the future. These should also help you ‘dominate’ the search results for your name. To start with, I recommend signing up to: Twitter, Technorati, MyBlogLog, YouTube and Flickr and any other sites that are relevant to your niche.”

What Are Your Results? Need some assistance from SEO professionals?

Have you implemented any of these tips? What have been your results? Do you need some additional help from some SEO professionals?

Photo: Jay Lopez

The views expressed here are the author's alone and not those of Network Solutions or its partners.

Get more small business resources from Network Solutions

Web.com is now offering forums designed to support small businesses in cities throughout the US. Learn more about these forums here: http://Businessforum.web.com/

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Marketing, small business, social media, Technology | 12 Comments »

  • http://DCincome.com/blog TJ Corruthers

    Killer plug ins can be really useful, SEO juice is what we rally needed

  • http://DCincome.com/blog TJ Corruthers

    Killer plug ins can be really useful, SEO juice is what we rally needed

  • http://DCincome.com/blog TJ Corruthers

    Killer plug ins can be really useful, SEO juice is what we rally needed

  • http://www.firstpagegoogleresults.com/ video seo

    Search and Retweet all the lead SMB News, all the best Small Business Tips, and all the best Small biz tweets.

  • http://www.firstpagegoogleresults.com/ video seo

    Search and Retweet all the lead SMB News, all the best Small Business Tips, and all the best Small biz tweets.

  • http://www.firstpagegoogleresults.com/ video seo

    Search and Retweet all the lead SMB News, all the best Small Business Tips, and all the best Small biz tweets.

  • http://www.firstpagegoogleresults.com/ website marketing seo

    however that information can be deduced with a bit of analysis and keyword organization.

  • http://www.firstpagegoogleresults.com/ website marketing seo

    however that information can be deduced with a bit of analysis and keyword organization.

  • http://www.firstpagegoogleresults.com/ website marketing seo

    however that information can be deduced with a bit of analysis and keyword organization.

  • Anonymous

    Learn how to build your business blog into an inbound marketing machine. …!

  • ericafiller02

    Learn how to build your business blog into an inbound marketing machine. …!

  • ericafiller02

    Learn how to build your business blog into an inbound marketing machine. …!