Blogs versus websites
If you are concerned to bring lots of traffic to your online property, then there’s no discussion about which is the better choice. A blog will perform very much more strongly than a website for reasons we will shortly discuss. Indeed if blogs had come along before websites, there would now only be a small fraction of the websites we see on the Internet.
Blogging is Proactive
The biggest reason why blogs outperform websites is that blogs are proactive while regular websites are reactive. A blog can signal to Google or the other search engines the instant that new material has been added. On the other hand, if you change a web page, Google will only be aware of the change the next time one of their spiders happens to check out that specific blog post. That factor alone has an enormous impact on the search engine visibility of blog posts. However the specific visibility of any particular blog can be improved or diminished by more detailed decisions on particular features of the blog.
By observation, this search-engine visibility of blog posts is greatly speeded up now with the adoption by Google of its new search infrastructure, ‘caffeine’, during the summer. You can check this by doing Google Alerts on keywords in your post and seeing how rapidly these are triggered. It really is most impressive.
Ways to improve your blog visibility
Two particular practices can materially improve blog posts visibility.
- Regular blog posts, even if short
- Add links to blog posts to interconnect
Regular blog posts have a number of important benefits, all of which ratchet up the search engine visibility:
- The RSS news feeds are pinging the search engines more frequently
- Web pages that change more frequently encourage the search engine spiders to crawl the web pages more frequently
The other useful way of strengthening important blog posts is to add links to them from other blog posts. Although internal links are probably not as important as external links, they do provide paths for spiders to follow and will encourage more thorough indexing.
What to avoid with your blog
Although blogs do have this inherent search engine visibility, it is possible to severely handicap how visible the individual blog posts will be. The key parameter here is the number of times a new blog post appears on the blog front page. It turns out that the extremes reduce the impact of individual blog posts.
- Having a static ‘Home page’
- Having too many blog posts on the ‘front page’
With a static home page, new individual blog posts only appear as singles or as entries within category or tag pages. Although they may be no less visible to humans or search engine spiders that follow the news feeds, general readers visiting ‘the blog’ may never click on a link to spot the latest web page.
If one goes with the default home page of a blog, where say 5 or 10 blog posts may appear in sequence, then again the potential search engine visibility of the individual blog posts is reduced. By showing only say 3 or even only the latest blog post, that content gets the added advantage of recency coupled with the greater ‘PageRank’ strength of the home page.
Sometimes these ‘big picture’ questions about the basic blog site architecture get forgotten, However by making some right choices, the overall search engine visibility of the total blog content can be significantly improved. That is something no blog owner should casually overlook.