We’ve been offering the free SEO Test for about two months now, and can now look at the aggregate data1 and see what people do right most often, and what SEO mistakes they make with the greatest frequency.
The most missed SEO opportunity we’ve seen is not having a blog that pings.
It’s easy to understand why. People who aren’t in the habit of publishing content might think a blog is really hard to manage, or may not think a blog applies to their own business. But as I mention in our SEO training workshops, there are huge advantages (SEO and otherwise) in adding a blog to your site.
Why Are Blogs Good for SEO
- Google cares how fresh your content is. All else being equal, Google will give a higher ranking to a new page than an old page. A blog allows you to easily create new content to feed the search engine spiders. (Note, however, that a new page on an old site is better than a new page on a new site.)
- More content means more chances to match up with someone’s search query. Obviously if I have 10,000 sentences on my site, there’s a better chance of there being a keyword match than if I only have 10. People tend to be hesitant (with good reason) to add new static pages to their websites, but with blogs the threshold is lower, and you can generate content more casually, more easily, and again give the search engine spiders something to eat.
- Blogs give you a chance to give to the community. If you have some particular expertise that you can share without undermining the main product you’re offering, give it away. Being generous with what you know encourages people to link back to your website, which is good for immediate traffic, and boosts your overall ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs).
- Pinging: if you’re using any of the major blog tools like Wordpress, Blogger or Typepad, they all “ping” when you post. Which is to say, each time you post something new the blogging tool sends a note to the search engines saying, “Hey, Google (or Bing or Yahoo), there’s new content over here you should be aware of.” In other words, it significantly boosts (and nearly guarantees) that Google will index your content.
There are other advantages to a blog, too, for human users and search engines. Blogs show that, even if the rest of your site doesn’t change, there’s someone still minding the store (i.e., this isn’t a 6-year-old site that’s been abandoned). Blogs invariably have “share this” tools, making it easy for people to put your web links up on sites like Digg, which will help your immediate traffic and your Google ranking.
For those who are still scared of blogging, the best thing to remember is that blog posts can be short. Very short. This one, for instance, is too long. You can get huge SEO results from a blog, without investing huge amounts of time.
Footnote 1. The SEO test categorically doesn’t collect any data about you. Not your ISP number, nothing about your website, your location, your browser… All we gather is the number of times people click “1″ for each question, how many time people click “2,” etc.