In an ever-advancing world of content creation, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is downright important. There are 100 million blogs being tracked by Technorati today. Where do you fit into that scheme? It’s an impossible amount of information for anyone to completely process, and it’s expanding every day. It is your responsibility as a blogger, reporter, or company to make your information findable; otherwise, your content will never find an audience and your product will never find customers.
There’s something to be applied on every level, but today we’re breaking it down to what is probably most applicable to you – the software your blog is built on. To that end, you want to choose a software that is going to help you effectively advance those goals. This is, admittedly, not a straightforward process. Like many things in life, this decision is one of trade-offs, between ease of use, search presence, complexity, and customization.
It should be stressed that the most important element of blog SEO will (hopefully) always be content based. If you don’t create content on a regular basis you’ll be at a disadvantage when it comes to SEO, and most importantly, with your audience base. After all, SEO results are really just metrics and facilitators for the real prize, people finding and exploring you. But beyond that, popular use engines like Google, Yahoo, and even Technorati put a heavy bias on anything that is updated recently and often.
Each of the major blogging sofwares has its advantages and disadvantages when it comes to SEO. We’ll explore two popular options today, WordPress and Blogger. Both are availible for free download, and blogger even provides a freely hosted option, if you can withstand having .blogspot.com appended to the end of your url. WordPress, while not freely hosted, is a relatively easy install (it’s often provided free by third party hosts) and offers a vast library of plug-ins, articles, and social networks that can help you to meet your optimization ends in a straightforward and efficient manner.
One of the biggest advantages of the out-of-the-box solution, and this applies relatively equally to these two programs, is in website structure. Each has been coordinated to provide a site-wide organizational system that that plays well with the search engines, using well designed indexes, headers, and meta tools that not only organize your site, but make it browseable by the engines.
For these features Blogger is particularly attractive if you’re trying to simply get presence on Google, since it is owned and the software is provided by the search company itself. In fact, a Blogger site created in ten minutes will register just as quickly in a google search (of course where it registers in that search involves a little more work), especially after submitting it into the index.
These inherent opimizations can be broken down over the course of editing and redesigning the site, so it’s important to employ a designer who’s familiar with the core tennants of information architecture and web standards, or to make the best of publicly moderated themes.
Once you move beyond the initially provided theme and structure of the site, the differences between these two softwares starts to really grow. WordPress, with its indavidually catered host and more in-depth CRM client, has a lot of potential to be not just a run-of-the-mill blog but a full-on engaging website. For SEO, plug-ins become indespensible. By adding in popular feed tools and community categorizatation features, you can encourage your visitors to help connect you to the rest of the internet; another essential element of SEO. Adding buttons for RSS, Digg, or Technorati submit, as well as advertising trackback and pingback urls, can greatly and quickly enhance your interconnectivity and thereby your web presence.
In their free versions, both brands of blog creation software make it easy to get in the game and start writing. Ultimately, WordPress offers a wider range of customization, especially in the host process. Furthermore, the recent advent of the Google Sitemaps plug-in, which generates a Google compliant site map, closes the gap between the two in terms of immediate findability. But while WordPress might allow you the option of plug-ins, tools, and other goodies, it all comes back to link building, interconnectivity, and content creation. So the best element of Blog SEO is never going to be what you download, it’s what you create and who reads it. But of course there will always be a few tactics and tools to get what you wite onto more people’s desktops. And if you’ve done everything you can and still don’t have the audience you’re after, well, that’s what we’re here for.