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Blogs and SEO

Are blogs good for seo

     

chessmaniac

11:34 pm on Jan 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Hello I am new here and this is my first post. I have been pulling my hair out for about 6 month trying to figure out and understand SEO. I started reading about blogs and thought ok this is what I should do. So I have started to switch my site over to blogs on every page. Now I am not sure this was the right thing to do. I noticed that as soon as I switched to a blog on my main page my PR on google tool bar dropped. Or at least I think it dropped. I used to have about 1/4 of it filled with green. I don't understand this. When I check my site at google it is not even listed so how can I have page rank? I am confused about the SEO process. Blog or not to blog is the question.

Thanks

[edited by: ciml at 6:29 pm (utc) on Jan. 13, 2004]

Dreamquick

4:04 pm on Jan 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Did you change to blogs because you thought they suited the style of your site or because you thought they'd give you an advantage in optimising your site?

Sorry if it's an odd question but I'm just trying to get my head around how a blog would work as a main site ... the only way I can think of it working is for a content site but I know (from trying to maintain my own content site) that there are frequently moments where I need to do something that I probably wouldn't find easy to do in a rigid CMS such as a blog.

I'm assuming that the page templates the blog s/w uses lend themselves to optimising rather than being the typical bloated pages that just happen to look good.

The only other generic thing I can think of is did you redirect traffic from the old pages to the new blog-format pages or just leave the old pages as 404s?

Anyway, without getting a little more background on what you were trying to do with this idea it's hard to say if/why it may have caused problems - it could just be the nature of pagerank and algos that's seen your site drop.

- Tony

kazonik

4:15 pm on Jan 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Blog on top page....

+++ more outgoing links
PR goes leak leak leak....
not enough PR left in your site ---(
site is gone from SERPs!

seems logical to me, Basic PR 101

Unless you now have more people linking to your site? (injecting more PR)

wackybrit

6:30 pm on Jan 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I had a domain that just had a blank page on it. It was like this for a couple of years. Then I started a blog, using Movable Type (this is kinda key, since Movable Type generates a unique HTML page for EVERY post.. meaning tons of pages = good PageRank!).. and after 6 weeks it was a PR6.. and still is.

It also comes up as #1 for my full name, which is also the name of the guy who invented a bunch of stuff, and is semi-famous as an American pioneer. I tend to get a lot of Google traffic based around things I posted about, and particularly from search queries which match things in the post titles.

So, depending on what game you're in, weblogs can be a great idea, but you have to do it properly.

(Oh, and consider wikis too, they are also pretty good for SEO purposes in some situations.)

BigDave

6:32 pm on Jan 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member bigdave is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Not all blogging software is spider friendly.

ajsinclair

6:36 pm on Jan 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I agree that it just depends on what you want to do and how you set things up. I had a blog using Blogger (not pro) and switched to Moveable Type. Traffic went way up because each post was a page and because I have lots of links that are rich in related text (I use the title of my entries as a permalink).

Basically Moveable Type had a natural effect of doing everthing right for SEO: relevant titles, relevant links, good structure to help out the spiders, etc. It's not the fact that it's a blog but just the application of good SEO principles.

cbpayne

9:25 pm on Jan 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



"+++ more outgoing links
PR goes leak leak leak....
not enough PR left in your site ---(
site is gone from SERPs! "

So how come DMOZ still has PR9 with 4 million outgoing links?

wackybrit

10:20 pm on Jan 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



The only thing Movable Type doesn't do, for me, is allow me to specify file names for the posts, rather than just giving them numbers. This may be something that's in an add-on though, but would definitely help the SEO angle a tiny bit more :-)

kazonik

10:01 am on Jan 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



"So how come DMOZ still has PR9 with 4 million outgoing links?"

Valid point :)

perhaps its the 500,000+ links coming in?

my comment was just food for thought, obviously without examining chessmaniac's site in detail, nothing but hypthesis.

ciao

ajsinclair

12:49 pm on Jan 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



The only thing Movable Type doesn't do, for me, is allow me to specify file names for the posts, rather than just giving them numbers.

Actually, Movable Type does allow this. Thomas Korte explains how to set it up:

just add this line in Blog Config >> Configuration >> Individual Archives:
<$MTEntryTitle dirify="1"$>.html
It will replace the default number URL with the name of your entry and '_' for spaces

chessmaniac

9:19 am on Jan 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I read this and my head is exploding. I should have spent a year reading this site instead of putting all of my effort into a site.

I will answer a few of your questions. First, I just used a standard blogger.com template. I added archives to it and my site index. I choose a blog because of what I have been reading about them. I have read how great they are and how they can increase page rank because they add content. I mainly use it to link to news sites with stories about chess. I use googleís blogger feature on the tool bar to highlight some of the text and blog it to my site. I include a link to the news article so my users can read about chess. My site is a free chess-playing site and I get a lot of repeat visitors. So I thought it would be cool if I could take all of the news about chess and place little blurbs about each article with a link to the site. Maybe this is why my page rank nose-dived and disappeared.

Regarding movable type I donít even know what this is. (I use the title of my entries as a permalink). What is permalink?

The only other generic thing I can think of is did you redirect traffic from the old pages to the new blog-format pages or just leave the old pages as 404s?

I replaced my index page with the new blog so that links were not affected. Basically I just added whatever information I had on the original pages onto the new blogs and overwrote the old files. I still have the other files however.

I donít know if this answers enough of your questions. For your information I did contact google and asked them why my site had been dropped from the index. They were very nice and said they would send my email to the engineers. After a few days I did search on chessmaniac and it showed up again. However, my page rank has not recovered.

Thanks for your input,

Dennis

ChessManiac

ajsinclair

6:16 pm on Jan 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



A couple of your questions are my fault - so I'll explain a little more...

Moveable Type is like Blogger - its software that allows you to publish a blog. You have to install it to your server or you can try their "typepad" service.

One thing it did differently than blogger (I haven't looked at blogger in a while) is that it makes a page for each entry. If you want to link to that page, it's called a permalink because it's permanent (as opposed to a link to your index page, which will only be relevant until you update something).

For example: If your made a blog entry today about "chess strategy A" and I wanted to link to it, I should link to your permanent page "chess strategy A" so that my visitors will get to the right place. Even though today I just go to your main page, in a couple months that might be about "chess strategy X".

chessmaniac

6:48 pm on Jan 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Hi ajsinclair,

I am basically using it to blog news about chess from other sites. So I have a lot of out going links. Are you saying that I might want to create content on my site that I would blog on my index page with a link to a page on my site? Wow! this is maybe why I am losing page rank. I have a bunch of news blog post that take you to other sites.

Am I on the right track?

Chessmaniac

panic

7:09 pm on Jan 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I've asked this question before, and I've never gotten a straight answer, but from an SEM perspective, how is blogging any different (or more effective) than daily adding a page of new/good content to a site?

feeder

7:15 pm on Jan 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Bloggers link as a matter of due course. Other styles of web site tend to be more reticent about providing links.

If you don't put out, don't expect to receive ;)

panic

7:35 pm on Jan 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Other styles of web site tend to be more reticent about providing links.

But if you truly have good content, you'll get incoming links wether you have a blog or not.

Vespasian

7:39 pm on Jan 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I have been puzzled by the blog craze, too. If I already make good and simple .html pages, why even use a blog, which is by it's nature less flexible on what you can put up on the screen. Is the main advantage of blogs merely that they offer a simple, quick and easy way to add content?

rogerd

7:43 pm on Jan 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



how is blogging any different (or more effective) than daily adding a page of new/good content to a site?

In most cases it makes no difference - however, blog software used as a CMS system lets new pages to be added very easily and integrated into the site's linkage without editing other pages. That's handy if you are in a hurry or if you have non-techies who can add content.

If you are involved in the blog link-exchange thing, that might help in the short run, although I'm not bullish on that kind of linkage.

werty

7:46 pm on Jan 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator 10+ Year Member



Panic, it just makes it easier to update, you can "blog" from any computer in the world, as long as it has Internet access. With Standard publishing of a page you would need notepad, or your WYSIWYG editor, an ftp program...

Personally I feel there are other advantages to "blogging" as well. Fresh Content, niche directories, pinging sites when you update a page to show on the home page of Blogger.com, RSS feeds, features such as track back...

Now back on topic. Your page rank of your home page could have changed for numerous reason...but it is most likely due to less incoming links.

My thought is this, you said you changed your whole site over to a blog? If you changed your internal file/page structure it will take a whole "crawling cycle" to re-index and to recount the links back to your home page...this would be enough to account for the change.

My guess is still that one of your incoming links changed and that is where you saw the influence.

The most important thing to keep in mind is not your page rank, but it is your traffic and ranking, have you seen a major change in either?

Vespasian

7:50 pm on Jan 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



That's what I thought, rogerd. The one time when a blog might be handy for me, is to add stuff easily while traveling. I could even use someone else's computer.

One of my servers has fantastico, which makes installation of certain programs easy. For blogs, it has:

b2
b2evolution
Nucleus
pMachine Free
WordPress

Does anyone have enough experience with these blog programs to make a recommendation. Mainly, which would be best as far as natural search engine optimization?

panic

8:14 pm on Jan 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Panic, it just makes it easier to update, you can "blog" from any computer in the world, as long as it has Internet access. With Standard publishing of a page you would need notepad, or your WYSIWYG editor, an ftp program...

You don't necessarily need any kind of program to add content to your site. If you setup some kind of content management system, it's easy to add content.

Other than that, if outgoing links are just passed around like nothing, doesn't that essentially make the links worthless?

rogerd

8:27 pm on Jan 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



If you setup some kind of content management system, it's easy to add content.

Exactly. Blogs can be set up for CMS purposes, and with powerful software like MovableType, the line between CMS and blogs tends to blur.

Historically, blogs had a big linkage impact on Google. I foresee continued efforts by Google to keep blogs in their place and not give their linkage patterns too much credit. I'd recommend removing software footprints as much as possible if you install blog software; but then, I recommend the same thing for any software that creates web content.

tedster

8:50 pm on Jan 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



efforts by Google to keep blogs in their place

I've been looking at a recent situation where a friend with a technically oriented blog got a link from a prominent PR8 blog home page. Google never showed the backlink. Even now with the thread archived on a PR 5 page, Google is not showing the backlink. Makes you go hmm....

chessmaniac

9:37 pm on Jan 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Thanks for all of your replies and comments. I just wanted let you know of something that occurred on my site. I posted a few sentences from one of my forum topics on my blog, which is now my index page. I got 392 views to that topic in the forums. It was a record for my forums. It had to be from the blog pinging site. I realized that I really don't need to worry about google page rank. I am still getting the same number hits. In fact the number of hits has increased as my page rank went down. Very strange but maybe it is telling me something. Besides my site is indexed with alltheweb who I feel serves up better content and better info in their searches than google does. Is google becoming passť?

chessmaniac

martink333

12:21 am on Jan 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Interesting conversations here. I started using blogging software on my main site about two years ago, first Blogger then Moveabletype (MT). About six months ago I converted all of my static pages onto onto MT, using it as a content management system that has made it easier for me to keep the content updated, since I can make changes from whatever computer I'm at. I've tweaked MT so that the static pages have regular file names (often the same as the names I had before). Since MT creates static files everything looks the same to the search engines and I've maintained my PR 7 rank.

Being an MT fan I converted my mostly-ignored personal site to a blog, mostly of religious issues. I'm getting a lot of interesting search engine traffic from searches I would never even think of. Google likes the site: four days ago I made a post whose title included two small religious movements and if you type their names into Google now my post comes up number 1. This is very nice from a SEO viewpoint, but also nice from the content side: since the posts allow comments I can now encourage a conversation between the two movements.

One warning though: by default Movabletype lists each blog entry as a number. When I switched servers recently, something must have happened, because all of the numbers changed. For a month or so Google was sending everyone to the wrong pages. Even worse, I had cross-linked my own site and all these links were broken! Yuck. I got complaints, let me assure you. I've now given my major posts static names made up of my keywords--I make up a PHP file that is simply an include for the numbered MT post. If the numbers ever go wrong again, I just have to replace the numbers of those PHP files.

dannyboy

4:33 am on Jan 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Vespasian, asked about blog recommendations.

I've tried the following and would recommend them in this order:

1: movabletype
2: wordpress
3: drupal
4: nucleus

All 4 apps are of high quality and they have stable developer/community support.

movabletype is the most user friendly and is written in PERL. The other 3 are PHP. Generally they're all capable of creating static link structures that search engines like. I prefer movabletype mainly because of its ease of use. Their administrative front-end is self-explanatory. This is the only blog out of the 4 that creates static pages on the server. If you're going to go this route I recommend you implement some type of dynamic/php template system with header/footer/sidebar includes, which won't require you to "rebuild" the individual article pages if you have changing sidebar information such as "categories" or "most recent entries." For instance, my site has 8 categories on the sidebar. If I create a new category and add an article to it, I have to rebuild all my individual archive/article pages so that the new category link will be displayed on those pages. I should practice what I preach and implement sidebar includes, but I'm too lazy.

I found wordpress to be easy to use as well, but not as well laid out as movable type. This is an outstanding app considering it's less than a year old. It's the successor to the b2 blogging tool. I was quite impressed with how it has covered the most important blogging bases, but it just isn't "there" yet for me.

Even though I'm in a position where I have to purchase a commercial movabletype license, I'm going to continue keeping my eye on wordpress in order to eventually dump movabletype.

nucleus is a clean, straight blogging tool like movabletype or wordpress. I found it's interface to be respectable but not as well laid out as the prior two.

drupal is the most complex of all 4 blogging tools, but it's more a community based CMS than blogging tool. What I mean is that it has user registration, forum & poll support, etc. Drupal is probably too complicated for most users. There's quite a learning curve when using Drupal that's not easily avoided. At this point, drupal is the only blog that supports infinite, nested categories. The next movabletype version is likely to support this, as well as the other blogs.

If you're going to use anything other than movabletype you'll have to understand a bit of the PHP language, because the other blogs aren't equipped with a propriety tag/language format as movabletype is.

theitboy

4:43 am on Jan 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member




If you're setting up a site for a client, that is well optimized and can easily have additional well-optimized content added to it on a regular basis by non-techs, movabletype is the best thing around.

And, of course, it's terrific for blogging :)

wackybrit

5:51 am on Jan 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I wouldn't use it for anything but blogging, personally, it's not a particularly efficient or capable CMS, but great for what it was designed for.

By the way, if you set up MT 'for a client' or use it for non personal use, you have to pay $150 for a commercial licence. I don't think the other options in the list above are under similar restrictions, as I believe they're GPLed.

HughMungus

8:29 am on Jan 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I've asked this question before, and I've never gotten a straight answer, but from an SEM perspective, how is blogging any different (or more effective) than daily adding a page of new/good content to a site?

Easier. You can add content to your site from any web browser.

I know I say this a lot, but, it bears repeating: a blog is nothing more than a streamlined way to put content on a website, not a type of website or a definition of its content.

I have one site where I use a blog setup so any time I have a comment about something or find a funny or interesting article I want to put on my site, I just have to hit the "Blog This" button on the Google Toolbar and it's added to my site. Another (possible) benefit to using a blog is that you get listed in blog indexes. For example, every time I update my site using the blog setup, the update shows up on blogdex.

HughMungus

8:32 am on Jan 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Is the main advantage of blogs merely that they offer a simple, quick and easy way to add content?

Yes. It lets people have web pages, post images, post audio (see my profile), etc. extremely easily (e.g., you don't have to learn a lick of HTML or even know what an FTP server is much less how to use one). The other bonus is that you don't have to have a web host to be able to put stuff online.

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