SEO & Blogging Secrets with Glenn Murray
Glenn was generous enough with his time to do this interview with us. Thanks Glenn!
If you stay all the way through the 17 minutes, you’re in for a treat, it’s a cracker!
In Part 1, Glenn answers:
- In your SEO Secrets ebook, you talk about the importance of blogging – just how important is blogging for SEO?
- Can you share your story of how blogging has impacted your own SEO copywriting business, Divine Write?
Just how important is blogging for SEO?
For most businesses, blogging isn’t just important. It’s all important. Most businesses don’t have the luxury of thousands of pages of user-generated content or viral content that is just so amazing that people can’t help but link to it. Most people are in a situation where they have to work at their content and they have to work at getting links to it. That’s why blogging is so effective because blogging allows you to easily create lots of helpful, informative and on-topic content that’s keyword-rich. It’s updated easily and when combined with an effective social media strategy, it allows you to get the word out there so the people know about that content and link back to it. Google also likes blogs because they tend to be content that is up to date, current and topical. That’s an important factor in Google’s success, being up to return that sort of material in its search results.
Link other blogs
Other bloggers like blogs too. It sounds like a given but it’s important in the respect that you want people to link to your blog posts. In order for you to convince Google that your blog is important, you’ve got to have lots of links pointing to it. That’s how Google assesses importance and quality. So, it is important that other bloggers like blogs as opposed to liking just a static article. Bloggers prefer blogs, that’s where they feel at home and general social media users do too. If you’ve ever tried to sustain blogging for a period of time, you know that it’s not easy. You know that to write blog posts and to keep coming up with quality content is very difficult. Bloggers tend to look to other bloggers for inspiration. They might use your blog post as a reinforcement of a point or to make a point. When they do that, they’ll probably link to you. That’s the money-link. That’s the important thing for your ranking. That’s the link that will tell Google that your site and blog post is important because it tends to be keyword-rich. The anchor text tends to vary because people naturally write it so it might be the same on every site. The link tends to appear on a page which is relevant to your content because otherwise that blog wouldn’t be linking to you if you were irrelevant. Also, it tends to appear in a site that is relevant to yours for the same reasons. Blogs work for both Google, for the readers and other social media users and bloggers and that’s why they are very effective for SEO.
There has recently been some mounting evidence to suggest that if a lot of people link to your post or your site in Twitter or they have a general conversation about your site in Twitter, those links and conversations may actually impact your ranking. I spoke to quite a few SEO writers who have performed tests that suggest this is the case. I’ve asked Greg Grothaus from Google about this and he didn’t really deny it but he really answered my question with another question. In my experience, that’s an indication that something may be going on. So, there is some evidence to indicate that the conversation in Twitter and the links in Twitter can increase your ranking and can get your site and your pages indexed quicker. This is important because from a blogging perspective because bloggers are those who tweet most often. They’re using Twitter to support their SEO strategy. By blogging and by engaging in social media, you’re accessing the people who are most likely to be linking, tweeting and having conversations about your content. Therefore, you’re most likely to be in the position to leverage this new ranking signal.
What impact has blogging had on your business?
My blogging stories aren’t very typical because when I started blogging I actually already had an established site and a high ranking. I established my high ranking through the use of article marketing, which is a practice where you write lots of useful, informative, helpful articles you make freely available to other webmasters to publish on their sites in return for a link. It’s a trade. The link has to be a follow link of course. The trouble with that practice is:
- It got spammed a lot.
- But secondly, I simply ran out of time to do it.
Writing an article takes about the same time as writing a blog post, so it can take anywhere from two hours to a day to write. However, distributing that article to all of the websites that make them available to other webmasters, can take anywhere from a day to a week just for a single article. So you can imagine if you’re trying to write an article a day, you could physically do that. Especially if you’re not very busy with client work and you’re trying to build up your client base. But there’s no way in the world you could distribute those articles. That practice for me became unsustainable. It was okay before I got really busy but I once I got very busy because I had a high ranking, I couldn’t sustain the practice. So I stopped and I didn’t focus on SEO at all for probably a couple of years. And because I wasn’t blogging, I didn’t have lot of new content going up on my website and over that couple of years my ranking slid from being in the top five for all my magic keywords to being on page two, sometimes page three. I had repeat clients, which was good, but you don’t like all your eggs being in one basket. I decided that I had to invest more time in SEO. Article marketing wasn’t going to be to go.
As it happens, I was at an SEO conference and I met Darren Rowse, who is Pro Blogger. Not surprisingly, he was talking about the benefits of blogging and tweeting and I decided to follow his advice and get back on the blogging bandwagon. I had done a bit a lot of blogging in the past, I just hadn’t done it very well or very strategically. As soon as I started following some good practices and investing time in my social media presence, two or three months later my ranking had popped back up again so. I was once again in the top five for things like copywriter, copywriting, SEO copywriter, web copywriter – all the important key phrases out there. That was entirely due to my blogging and my social media presence. Beyond that, I’ve met a great number of really cool people and developed some good relationships in the social media space and that’s partly due to my blogging and twitter use.
In Part Two, Glenn answers:
- How much time should you commit to blogging?
- What tips can you give to speed up getting traction on your blog?
- Who are your favourite bloggers?
- Finally, who should buy your ebook “SEO Secrets” & why?
How much time should you commit to blogging?
This is always a big question and this tends to be the speed hump that stops a lot of people getting into blogging. The truth of the matter is, any SEO is like any other form of promotion. You need to invest in it, whether it’s money or time. If you’re doing your own blogging you really need to invest as much time as you can in blogging. I would imagine most people struggle to blog more than once a day. I wouldn’t generally recommend blogging more than once a day, anyway. Whatever you do, blog as often as you can. As long as you’re not blogging more than once a day, you can’t do any damage. This is in fact the advice that I offer to freelance copywriters who contact me asking how to become a successful copywriter. You’ve got to invest every spare moment in SEO (blogging, Twitter or other social media) and every spare cent in web design.
What tips do you have on speeding up traction?
Everyone wants to talk about traction because it’s frustrating if you’ve been blogging daily for a months and you know no one’s listening or you feel no one’s listening, no one’s commenting, no one’s subscribing, no one’s tweeting about you or your blog posts. It’s good to know that it’s possible and it’s good to get some advice about traction but unfortunately because my experience is not really typical, I may not be the best person to offer advice. I already had traction when I started blogging. I had a good search engine ranking and some presence in the SEO field and the copywriting field, so it wasn’t so hard for me to get traction. I’ll offer what I can, but I’m by no means an expert on this.
- Obviously, the first thing I have to say is the same thing that everyone else says – write great content. If you want traction, you’ve got to write great content. There’s no way around that.
- Follow people on Twitter. Follow people who you think will be interested in your content. And when you post something that you legitimately think will help them (not sales or promotional material), let them know. Contact them directly and let them know. Either an @ reply or if you can contact them and give them a call, even better. Engage with them and help them out.
- Comment on other people’s blog posts. It seems crazy but when you comment, you show that you’re engaged in a community and prepared to help. People will listen and discuss and they might check out your blog and perhaps subscribe to it or at least talk about it.
- Guest posts are another useful way to go about it. For a similar reason, people will look at what you’ve got to say and you get in front of an audience that you wouldn’t normally get in front of. They may then come back to your website and read the other things that you’ve got to say and perhaps subscribe.
One really important thing that I think isn’t discussed too often by people who talk about traction is your web design. It plays a very important part in the effectiveness of your blog. Let’s say you run a business website and your blog is there to support your SEO efforts. Your blog needs to be easily accessible, it needs to be a very prominent call to action and your blog itself needs to be in the top level navigation– Home, About Us, Products, Services, Blog. It needs to be one of those top level navigation items.
Once people get to your blog, you need to try and keep them there, so make subscription really easy, prominent and understandable. Don’t just settle for RSS because a lot of people don’t know what RSS is and a lot of people aren’t comfortable with it. I know what RSS is but I don’t subscribe to any blogs by RSS because it just doesn’t fit with my work practices. Whenever I subscribe to a blog, I’ll subscribe via email. I have wanted to subscribe to blogs before and found that they didn’t have any email subscription facility, so I didn’t subscribe. Since then, I’ve found a facility called “Feed My Inbox” which is a website that allows you to subscribe with email to blogs that don’t have an email subscription. But most people won’t know about that. If you want to capture a large percentage of your audience who won’t use RSS, just give them an email subscription, it’s easy.
If you want to hear from people who blog all about this stuff all the time, follow Darren Rowse. He’s ProBlogger on Twitter. He blogs about blogging inwww.problogger.net. Follow Paul Cunningham on Twitter and his blog www.bloggingteacher.com. They both know their blogging stuff. They come at it from different angles and they’re both worth reading.
Who are your favourite bloggers?
Darren Rowse would have to be one of them. He blogs about blogging. He’s a professional blogger, that’s what he does and that’s what he knows. He’s very good, he’s also a good guy. Paul Cunningham is another and again. He blogs about blogging and blog developments as well. Angie’s Copywriting – www.angiescopywriting.com. She blogs about copywriting and SEO issues.
There’s one called The Frontal Cortex and it’s about brain neurons and psychological facts in decision-making and buying. The blogger is Jonah Lehrer and the blog is The Frontal Cortex – www.scienceblogs.com/cortex/ Of course, Jonathan Crossfield is another one of my favourite bloggers. His Twitter handle is Kimota and he’s a copywriter. He’s very prominent and a good guy.
Who should buy your ebook SEO Secrets?
If you’re a hardcore SEO writer already, you’re not going to get much value out of it. But if you’re new to SEO or if you’re a marketer who’s finding it a little bit confusing or an owner of a small business. It’s called SEO Secrets. It starts from the basics and works its way through. I’m actually an ex-technical writer from the software industry. For nine years I wrote manuals, so it’s kind of a manual on how to understand and make use of SEO. If you are relatively new to SEO but you want to go from the basics right through some pretty hardcore stuff, then you’ll find a lot of use in that book. I actually sell another book called Practical SEO Copywriting and that is for more hardcore practitioners. If you already know copywriting and you wanna learn SEO copywriting, that book’s for you. If you’re an SEO copywriter and you want to really brush-up on your skills, that book is for you as well.
Follow Glenn Murray on Twitter via @divinewrite.
As proof it works, Bluewire has made it to #3 for Web Design Brisbane (the most competive keyword phrase in our industry)!
Set up your blog: if you’d like help setting up your blog (using what we know from Glenn), call Bluewire Media on 1300 258 394.
And of course there’s Glenn Murray’s web design company Silver Pistol to try as well!
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