Unless you’ve decided to blog in a vacuum and don’t care if anyone reads what you have to say, at some point you’ve probably looked for ways to encourage new readers to find your blog.
When I started blogging in 2004, it wasn’t uncommon for a blog to be part of several blogrings. A blogring is essentially a community of bloggers all linking to a central list of other bloggers in the same niche (the niches in some cases were extremely broad). The downside to these blogrings was that they tended to be so all-encompassing that they were useless. You couldn’t find a specific blog type unless you already knew what you were looking for. You could certainly find new blogs to read, but you could do that just by reading someone’s blog roll. And, because the blogrings usually listed blogs alphabetically, if your blog’s name started with anything after the letter D, you probably weren’t receiving any attention at all. Blogrings slowly died out, but they were the precursor to today’s blog networks.
In addition to blogrings, many bloggers listed their blog with Technorati, long considered The Site to determine your blog’s influence. Claiming your blog with Technorati lists your blog in the Technorati directory and allows you to start building authority. Recently, though, even Technorati’s influence is waning and bloggers are finding new ways to determine how to promote their blog and find their audience.
In Are Blogs Losing Their Authority To The Statusphere? Brian Solis writes:
So why do I believe that blog authority is losing its authority?
It goes back to the definition of authority. Links from blogs are no longer the only measurable game in town. Potentially valuable linkbacks are increasingly shared in micro communities and social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and FriendFeed and they are detouring attention and time away from formal blog responses.
Micha Baldwin, in his article HOW TO: Measure Online Influence writes:
(S)ince Technorati’s Authority Rank stopped consistently updating (read: lost the trust of bloggers), there hasn’t been a single tool for measuring the potential online influence of an individual blogger. Until that happens, the best measure is getting recommendations from friends.
That’s exactly what I’m hearing from my blogging friends as well. In a conversation with other bloggers I was interested to find that few of my colleagues actually bother to register their blogs anywhere at all. Instead, they turn to social media to promote their blogs, using sites such as Facebook, Twitter, My Blog Log, etc. At the same time, I heard from the ladies that few of these sites (except Twitter) actually resulted in significant, long-lasting traffic.
When I discussed this topic with a fellow developer, Daisy Olsen of Blue House Blogs, she said she usually only submits a sitemap via Google Webmaster Tools.
Megan Smith and Amanda Padgett have both found some success with Blog Catalog. I had dismissed Blog Catalog as a flash in the pan when it first opened its doors and hadn’t considered it since. I was interested to find out other bloggers were using it to some success. My question is whether the traffic generated is long-term or drive-by? Is there any status associated with being part of it (as there is/was with being ranked by Technorati)? That, of course, leads to the question does status derived from being listed on a particular site really convey the value of a blog?
The trend seems to be that listing your blog with the traditional sites like Technorati aren’t cutting it any more (can you really be “traditional” in something so evolving as new media?) and bloggers are finding new ways to promote themselves. I’d be interested to know what, if anything, you do to promote your blog. How has the blogosphere changed since you’ve been a part of it in regards to promoting your blog?
This article is cross-posted at BlogHer.com.
I can remember a time when I spent as much time blogging as I did submitting. I still think there has to be a better way to ferret out what I want to read, but we are on an upswing 😉
I agree with some of this but at the end of the day you should be doing ALL of the SEO options.
People tell me “I don’t want drive-by traffic” or “I only want traffic from PR4+ sites” but this confuses me. Do you want traffic or not? I assume you do so would you rather have 5 people that visit every day from PR4+ sites or 1000 people who visit from time to time from wherever? I know what I would choose. Traffic is traffic. Every person that sees your site/blog is a new visitor and potential client. Turning any traffic away is stupid and should be avoided if you want to succeed. Also remember that backlinks from high PR sites will increase your PR (although PR is nothing to do with SRPs, it’s merely aesthetic).
SEO is all about time. The more time you put in the better your results will be. That’s it. There is no opinion or argument involved. Do 10 hours SEO per day and you’ll get better results than 1 hour per day. Backlinks, directory listings, social media – all of it is good. Remember, it doesn’t matter how many times you post your link on your Facebook or Twitter account – Google will only count it once. You may reach more people quickly by having lots of friends or “likes” but it will do nothing for your SRP. Also think about who you have as friends on these sites. Are they likely to be potential customers? It’s no use having 1000 “likes” if they are all people you know – Facebook marketing needs to address what a “friend” or a “like” actually is. What I mean is neither “Friends” or “Likes” are recommendations of you or your site. They do not mean you provide good customer service. They do not mean your product is better than the rest. In fact, in most cases, it means nothing.
Saying that, if you want your site to be found in SRP’s then forget the off-site SEO and concentrate on the On-Site SEO. This is what really matters. Place keywords in the title (and domain name if you can), create unique, relevant, keyworded content (but don’t over-use keywords), don’t fill-up page with images/videos, update regularly.
That’s it. Nothing else required. Your site will be found. SEO is for increasing exposure, not creating it. A lot of people think if they don’t do any off-site SEO that their site wont be found and this is simply not true.
I have had great success with getting traffic to our blog. Several of the blogs are on the first page of Google for the keywords that are in the title of the blog. This was unintentional, but a nice surprise. The vast majority of our sites traffic now comes through, 1. Google searches 2. social media sites (linked In, Facebook, Twitter, in that order.
The first thing to do is get your domain some Page Authority. See seomoz.com and down load their free tool bar to measure this. The basics are adding some quality back links to your site. Once your domain has some Authority (it will transfer some of that to your blog if it is hosted on your domain) then add some quality links directly to your Blog. Link Building is not as difficult as many think, and it’s just good old fashion PR. There are lot’s (zillions) of companies that will do it for you, I would suggest you do it your self, or be very careful about who you chose. Use a company that can provide strong RECENT references, if you go that route.
If your blog is not on your domain, just do link building to your blog URL. Seriously… you will be amazed how much Google traffic you will pick up after a few months of adding a few good links weekly.
is it worth my while to submit my blog to Blogged or Zimbio?
I agree, Len. Things have changed drastically over the last two years. Thanks for stopping by.
I find that using a well thought out social media marketing strategy returns far better traffic results for the same amount of time spent adding blog links to what I suppose could be called, ‘old school’ blog directories. I still use directories but the amount of time invested in submitting and maintaining links is far less than 5 years ago and mostly do so to generate back links. I believe the better traffic is a result of more people migrating to social media and if they need to do a search for specific articles or information they’re doing so using Google, rather than doing a topical or niche blog search using a directory.
With my newest blog (it’s only several weeks old at this point) I have decided that I have chosen a format and content theme suitable enough to promote it seriously, rather than to friends and whoever else comes my way. The problem that I’m facing now, as I’m sure everyone else does, is that I spend copious amounts of time trying to attract readers– most of whom seem to stick around long enough to read a post or two (my posts are short, I’m happy with this ATM). But I can’t seem to get the interaction that I’m looking for.
Maybe I’m just too new to the scene at the moment, but it feels like the market has become too saturated for anyone to garner attention feedback unless you have serious readers/connections that have been in place for some time.
That said, I’m off to register at any listings I can find.
Would love to know where others get their readers from. I write for blogcritics.org which links back to my blog when I write articles but going back to uni means I won’t be writing as many articles there by not gaining as much exposure so would love to know what others do. Would love to find others that have similar blogs as well… any suggestions for blog searches??? Thanks for the post btw
Lots of guys write about this subject but you said really true words.
What are the implications of using twitter to promote blogs?
I’ve been blogging for over 5 years now and remember how important belonging to blog directories and rings were. Now I wonder why I even bother with MyBlogLog and Blog Catalog, which seemed very important to do even a year ago. Social networks (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) to promote and social bookmarking sites (Digg, Kirtsy, etc.) for backlinks. I’m also experimenting with Google Friend Connect. Otherwise, it’s good old fashioned read blogs and leave good comments – and connect with other bloggers on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter – and in person at conferences like BlogHer and BlogWorld.