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Blog and Ping ? A Search Engine Traffic Bonanza
Everyone is talking about blogs these days as the magic money-making marketing tool. Some of the hype may actually be true, but I suggest you cut through most of what you read about blogs just long enough to understand why every business needs a blog.
Right now, that's not to say this won't change, search engines are in love with real blogs. By real blogs I mean blogs that are set-up and run by businesses that offer useful content on them. Like every successful marketing method there are people out there setting up fake blogs and dumping garbage, but keyword rich, content into them in order to trick the search engines into ranking the content highly. [Please resist the urge to add to this form of search engine spam as it may actually get you banned by a search engine.]
When you understand a little about how blog software works you get a better understanding about why search engines love blogs. Here are the top reasons that business blogs and search engines go hand in hand.
Lots of Pages
Each blog entry is shown in chronological order on a blog's homepage but, each entry is in reality its own web page, with its own unique URL and title. So, an active blogger can create hundreds of keyword rich web pages in a matter of months.
Change Is Good
In order to claim your place at the blogging table you must commit to making posts often-4 or 5 times a week perhaps. This commitment means that you are creating, updating, changing some portion of your site several times a week. The typical small business web site is lucky to receive an update several times a year. Search engines like change.
Wake Up Call
Because search engines love changing content, they are ever ready to visit a site when it is updated. One feature unique to blog software is something called a pinging. Basically, what you are doing is sending out a message to various blog directories to come and visit you site because it has been updated. Once a search engine has located your site, this is like a personal invitation to come back and get the new stuff. I use a site called Ping-O-Matic to send pings to multiple services. Some blog software can be configured to do this automatically.
Blogs also have a built in distribution method known as RSS. This allows you to push your updated content out to people who subscribe through an RSS reader such as Bloglines or FeedDemon as well as Yahoo and MSN. This ability allows you to communicate directly with subscribers but it can also help get your main site noticed and indexed by the major search engines. Yahoo, for example, allows people (including you) to subscribe to your blog's RSS feed. On the day you create your blog, you can subscribe to it via a free MyYahoo account and Yahoo will visit and index your blog for free. It has no choice.
Linking Is Key
Part of the blogging culture is the predisposition to link to and from quality content that relates to the subject your are blogging about. In other words, bloggers like to link. Links from other high quality blogs will send traffic and get your blog and web site noticed.
So, your blog marketing strategy a little like this: Set-up a blog and start posting. Ping each time your make a new entry. Submit your blog to the major blog and RSS directories. Start looking for link partners. Repeat
In the last few weeks I set-up blogs for an attorney, a label manufacturer, and a remodeling contractor. In each case, the blogs were indexed and spidered by the major search engines within 48 hours. Traffic to the main web sites for these businesses (although a bit meager to start with) has already doubled or tripled. Traffic from each of the major search engines is now showing up for a large number of important search terms and phrases.
Who knows how long this blog traffic bonanza will last but at this moment a blog has never made more sense.
If you're convinced that you need a blog but don't want to hassle with setting it up and learning how to promote it properly, check out my basic blog coaching package. I do the work, you're up and blogging and promoting your blog in a matter of days.
Copyright 2005 John Jantsch
John Jantsch is a marketing consultant based in Kansas City, Mo. He writes frequently on real world small business marketing tactics and is the creator of "Duct Tape Marketing" a turn-key small business marketing system. Check out his blog at http://www.bloggingbusiness.com
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El Marketing, Das Marketing, Le Marketing
While reviewing site stats, I noticed 18 foreign countries as domain origins. This prompts my curiosity. Should I hone my marketing efforts to serve these visitors effectively in their native tongue? My college age daughter studies French, German, and Spanish simultaneously. The Word "marketing" is an "American" word she informs me; distinguished in Spanish, German, and French with slight nuance. Although my daughter learns conversations in Spanish, German, and French, much more talk is in Chinese.
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Do you remember as a child having to do something you really didn't want to do because it was difficult?
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The Fun and Ease of Online Shopping vs. The Brick and Mortar Option
When my sister and discussed our shopping plans this year we found to our surprise that our attitudes were much different. She was the hip New Yorker, living in a trendy section of Brooklyn and commuting in to her publishing job in Manhattan. I'm a down home Midwestern type of girl who prefers to drive everywhere and I love my suburb. We were chatting together on my mother's couch after we had stuffed ourselves with cake from our parent's anniversary party, and when we got onto the topic of shopping (my favorite pastime), my sister gave me quite a shock. While I was dreading the upcoming birthdays and Christmas, but my sister had a very positive outlook. She was looking forward to the experience, and I was flabbergasted.As it turned out, she was a devote of shopping online, and so she was looking forward to surfing around, researching options and deals, and getting all her shopping done early. I argued with her, saying that the personalization of actually finding a gift by oneself in person was something that couldn't be duplicated by a machine. Also, many of the really great items I would like to get were not the kind of items that were technologically oriented, and what little vendors would have their stores online?The debate got pretty heated, and soon we decided to bet on it. We bet each other a new iPod player (pretty technologically oriented there, but I figured that I could sort it out once I won) that the other person would have much better shopping runs if each of us used the other's techniques. I was positive that if she could discover how nice it was to go into the brick and mortar shops, she'd forget all about online shopping ? and I definitely knew that I would like shopping online. Since we were basically buying gifts for the same people, we'd have a fair contest. We'd be fair in our evaluations, as well, and insist on telling each other how we'd done. Each of us would rate the shopping system on ease, quality, price, and getting gifts that was appropriate and appreciated by the recipients. Here's our results:For our brother's present, I hopped onto the internet and typed in bird watching into the search engine. After searching through a couple options, to my surprise I quickly found a birding book that was specific to our state, plus a CD of bird calls. The site not only offered free shipping, but would wrap the package and mail it to the my brother. "Well", I thought. "That was easy ? but I knew books and CDs were easy to get via the internet. How about something tough?"I thought I'd cheat a little bit by trying to find something that could only be bought locally. That failure would take my sister's idea out the utility of online shopping and blow it completely out of the water. For this specialized task I picked one of my favorite foods ? the organic, wild blueberry pancake syrup sold in our local farmer's market. While it's always a pain to wake up early on Saturday mornings to drive all the way down to the market, it's worth it to get this locally-made, yet exotic product. Unfortunately for me, it was easy to find. I entered the phrase Blueberry Syrup into Froogle and it was the first product sold there. I had no idea they sold this stuff on the internet! The new franchising and marketing opportunities have enabled the local growers to market and ship their product all over the states.One last shot ? I'd look for something for my sister, to get something so personal and unique that you'd definitely have to go there to get it. It was an item that we had seen on a friend's wall, and for years now my sister had wanted one of her own. As it turns out, Thai elephant painting (the elephants grab paintbrushes with their trunks and then paint a canvas) is now online, and yes, they will take custom orders. I hadn't really been willing to fly to Thailand to get a painting, anyway, but I certainly hadn't thought that would have been online.I called up my sister in defeat. After two hours online, I had bought all my major presents. Sis answered her cell phone and said that she was still stuck in rush-hour traffic on the way to the store.
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Thirty years ago, I sold information via small classified ads in "ad-sheets" on how to make money teaching others how to make money. We sent out these packets of flyers called "Big Mails." We sent them to people who answered out ads and sent us the postage or a self-addressed stamped envelope.
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