Blogging and Web Site SEO: Begin at the Beginning!

Reblogger Lenn Harley
Real Estate Agent with Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate 303829;0225082372

SEO BEGINS AT THE BEGINNING!

At last a web designer/SEO pro who understands that SEO is the beginning of launching a new web site. 

Of course, I'm no expert, but this makes so much sense. 

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Original content by Dustin Luther

Yesterday, I asked the AR Community what topics I should cover, and I got a ton of great feedback...  With Harrison Painter starting off the requests by asking for some more SEO information...

Not wanting to get ahead of myself, I thought I'd start with an overview of what is SEO in the context of blogging.   Of course, I look forward to going into more detail in the future, but we gotta start somewhere, so might as well start right at the beginning!  ;)

There are as many ways to understand optimizing your website as there are SEO "experts"... In many ways, good SEO is a science, while great SEO is an art.   However, before you become an SEO Artist, you got start with a "good" solid foundation...  With that in mind, here's the anatomy of blogging SEO:

anatomy of blogging seo

On the highest level, good SEO strategy focuses both on the stuff you can do on your site (on-site SEO) and the stuff you can do elsewhere on the web that affects how your website ranks (off-site SEO).

On-site SEO includes things like the articles you write, the titles you use, the tags you create for the post, and the page (or URL) structure you use for your site.  But here's where blogging really helps!   When you blog about stuff relevant to your market, the most important elements of your on-site SEO take care of themselves!  No kidding.   Blog platforms like ActiveRain and WordPress doing a great job optimizing your page/URL structure, metatags, etc.   As long as you write relevant content then much of your on-site SeO takes care of itself.   Of course, you could always improve your content, and you will with experience, but in terms of generating traffic and clients, you really should be focusing on off-site SEO....

Off-site SEO is all the stuff that happens elsewhere on the web that links back to your site...   And this is the money stuff!   If you have to focus anywhere with your SEO efforts... as a new blogger you want to focus on ways to generate more quality inbound links!    But before I got deeper, I should probably give some background on the three most relevant terms.

Off-site SEO Terminology:

  • Inbound Links.  In SEO circles, we often talk about "inbound" links because those are what can really help your site's ranking.  But in reality, every link is both an "inbound" and an "outbound" link.  The term you use really depends on your perspective.   For example, when I link to this post about affiliate marketing on 4realz.net, it's an "outbound" link from this ActiveRain blog and in "inbound" link to 4realz.net. 
  • Anchor Text.  This is simply the text you use when you link to another site.    In the above link, the words "affiliate marketing" are the anchor text.
  • No-follow link. Because of all the link gaming that was going on around the web, google created a concept of a "no follow" link.  This allows website owners (i.e. bloggers) to link out to another site without passing that site any of the SEO benefits (often called "google juice") to the other site.   For new bloggers, the most common place you'll see "no follow" tags are in the comments of blog posts.   In practice, this means that if you put a link in a comment on most blogs (including all activerain blogs!), then a "no follow" tag is added to your link that takes away the SEO value of that link.   The result is that if you're going to link to another website in a blog comment, do it because you think it will add value to the conversation, not because you think it's going to help you off-site SEO!  

Traditionally, when real estate agents wanted to get inbound links to their site, they joined directories, where they could get one big fat link back to their homepage.   However, from the search engines point of view, many of these directory links were pretty poor quality because often the only requirment to get listed was that you paid the appropriate listing fee.  The result is that the search engines have severly discounted the value of directory links (and links to your homepage in general), so that it takes a lot more than getting yourself listed in directories to get your website to rank for most real estate terms.

What is a "quality inbound link" and how do you get them to your website?  

The concept of "quality" links is something I'm going to save for another post, but here's some backgrond on how to get them to your site.

As real estate blogs have earned the trust of the search engines over the past few years, they've become one of the fastest and most common ways to get quality inbound links...  The result is that the easiest way to get your blog to rank quickly is to reach out to other bloggers. I've seen lots of people find success by linking out to other bloggers, leaving comments on their site, bonding with bloggers on social networks and (sometimes) directly reaching out to them via email and phone calls.   Once you've bonded with a blogger, my experience has been that good bloggers will look for ways to link out to you!

The great news about this kind of SEO (i.e. reaching out to bloggers) is that it's pretty timeless.  This type of strategy has been working since the begining of google and I've been teaching this for years (see my post on the importance of linkation for an example post from December 2005)

There's so much more to be said about generating quality inbound links, but before I go there, I think I'll save some of the details for another post.  In the meantime, if you really want to dive a bit deeper, check out my post on getting SEO value out of your social media efforts...  

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Rainer
178,939
Mark MacKenzie
Phoenix, AZ

It is amazing what a difference a chart makes rather than just words broken into paragraphs.  I have read a lot of stuff about SEO, but this chart makes all of that information very clear.

Apr 07, 2009 11:57 PM #12
Ambassador
1,976,897
Nestor & Katerina Gasset
International Properties and Investments LLC - Wellington, FL
Realtors, Wellington Florida Homes For Sale

Lenn- A great example of someone who knows and understands SEO and can explain it simply. I love the chart. Dustin is a great guy too.

Apr 08, 2009 12:31 AM #13
Rainmaker
592,656
Lisa Hill
Florida Property Experts - Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Beach Real Estate

Thanks for the reminders! And it's SO nice to read an SEO post that's easy to understand. It's not over-complicated. Thanks again!

Apr 08, 2009 12:58 AM #14
Rainmaker
333,920
Thesa Chambers
Alpine Real Estate - Bend, OR
Principal Broker - Licensed in Oregon

thanks Lenn - I would have missed this - I appreciate you realizing it could be helpful - thanks again

Apr 08, 2009 01:55 AM #15
Rainmaker
649,719
William James Walton Sr.
WEICHERT, REALTORSĀ® - Briotti Group - Waterbury, CT
Greater Waterbury Real Estate

Lenn - As always, your insight in providing this information is so very much appreciated.

Apr 08, 2009 05:46 AM #16
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Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

William.  My pleasure.  We read so much about SEO, it's nice to see a clear picture.

Thesa.  I thought it would be helpful too.

Lisa.  A picture is worth.. . . . .

Katerina.  He surely posted a helpful graphic.

Mack.  Indeed.  It appears to appeal to one side or the other of our brains.

Terry.  Indeed it is. 

Marilyn.  Me too.

Lola.  Dustin's graphic is clearly a "hit".

 

Apr 08, 2009 06:30 AM #17
Rainmaker
403,222
June Tassillo
Owner/Broker RE/MAX Elite Realty - Franklin, NC
Let me help you with the next phase of your life!

Oh Lenn, thanks for making it so simple.  I get confused easily on stuff I really don't care about but MUST learn. 

Apr 08, 2009 03:41 PM #18
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Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

June.  We don't have to learn this stuff, but it sure helps.

 

Apr 08, 2009 04:41 PM #19
Rainer
21,540
Brad Officer
Brad Officer Real Estate - RE/MAX Specialists - Jacksonville, FL
Jacksonville REALTOR

Lenn, great post!  I'm continuously working to build my linkage.

Apr 08, 2009 04:47 PM #20
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Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Brad.  So am I.  So am I.

 

Apr 08, 2009 04:49 PM #21
Rainmaker
251,847
Robert Machado
HomePointe Property Management, CRMC - Sacramento, CA
CPM MPM - Property Manager and Property Management - Sacramento Area

Thank you for the information.  It is a full time job keeping oneself on top of the web searches. 

Apr 09, 2009 10:37 PM #22
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Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Robert.  Indeed it is.  Indeed it is.

 

Apr 10, 2009 04:07 AM #23
Rainer
65,414
Alyce Martin
The Realty Group, LLC - Albuquerque, NM
Albuquerque - THE Place To Be!

Groan - this gives me a headache and my brain just folded up like a taco.  Will have to slowly digest this.  Thanks for putting this together.

Apr 10, 2009 11:31 AM #24
Ambassador
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Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Alyce.  Take if one step at a time.

Everything anyone wants to know about SEO is in the Google webmaster guidelines.

Apr 10, 2009 11:36 AM #25
Rainmaker
172,762
Michael Johnson
Carolina One Real Estate - Goose Creek, SC
Metro Charleston SC

Thanks Lenn!  I love reading your posts.  I always learn something new.

Apr 10, 2009 01:45 PM #26
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Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Michael.  Thanks.  Stick around.  You never know what you'll find. 

Apr 10, 2009 03:50 PM #27
Rainer
196,893
Gary Meek
NewVision Realty Group - Roseville, CA
(916) 995-9385

Thanks for breaking it down for those of us who can barely understand email.

Apr 10, 2009 09:27 PM #28
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Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Gary.  Thanks for the chuckle.

 

Apr 11, 2009 05:40 AM #29
Rainer
156,739
Sandy Childs
Keller Williams Realty - Spartanburg, SC
Realtor - Spartanburg, SC

Lenn: As always you are spot on. Thanks for the information.

Apr 12, 2009 10:46 PM #30
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Jim Crawford
RE/MAX Paramount Properties - Atlanta, GA
Jim Crawford Atlanta Realtor - Atlanta Real Estate

Lenn what can I say, you are right on the money!  I do like the way you broke it down to an even simpler term "on-site" and "off-site!"  Too many persons over complicatethe entire process. There are basic rules.  The domain you choose, the file extension names and most of all relevant content.  The rest is history.

Apr 13, 2009 09:52 PM #31
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Lenn Harley

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