The constant war to optimize a blog for traffic and gain new visitors is one that any serious blogger understands. I’m about to tell you a trick that I’ve been experimenting with for the past month and have seen pretty good results from. So listen up.
One of the rules of SEO is to keep external links relevant. That means that if this site is about blogging and new media, links to sites discussing blogging and new media are better for me than links to sites about… cats. The other unwritten rule is that every blogger who uses WordPress looks at his dashboard for new inbound links. Of course, there’s the Google search or Technorati search that can do the same thing, but WordPress users have it easy and new inbound links are listed in the dashboard for easy reference.
So leveraging these two rules, we can take one step and improve traffic flow and enhance your blogs SEO – and it can be done on any blog.
First off, go to Technorati or Google Blog Search (I like the latter for speed) and do a search for a relevant search term or phrase. For the last month, I relied on Technorati for the search term WordPress 2.1. I used this term because I wanted to monitor discussion surrounding WordPress after 2.1 had been launched. Now, I use Google blog search to search for the phrase new media blogging. Much more relevant to a greater part of my blog.
Now, having made the search, you can grab the RSS feed for use on your blog. If you’re using WordPress widgets or WordPress.com, you’ll want to make sure you’re grabbing the RSS feed and not the Atom feed.
Now, using whichever sidebar RSS aggregator you wish (again, WordPress.com has widgets and you can find similar functionality for WordPress, TypePad, MovableType or Blogger), use the feed from the search to parse out headlines into your blog sidebar.
Now you might wonder if this is considered spamming and the answer is no. First off, only use headlines. Do NOT produce full content. Make sure that your implementation includes a link back to the source blog. Generally, this is done by making the headline a link. This link will be visible to the source blogs and may attract them to your site. In addition, because your search is a relevant search based on the topic of your blog, search engines will consider your links higher than non-relevant links.
In essence, this one step will not necessarily serve your current readers, but will attract new ones based on curiosity of “who’s linking to me?”. This has had positive results for me. My traffic continues to climb, feed subscribers continue to grow and my Technorati ranking is approaching 2000. Let me know how this trick fares for you.