Live Blogging From BlogHer '09 -- SEO and Social Networking

I'm attending a session at BlogHer about learning how to bring readers to your blog. This is not my normal money-saving subject matter, but I thought I'd share what I'm learning for those of you who are blogging yourselves.

BlogHer '09 Session

Panel members: Jen Miner (Twitter ID @MudslideMama) from the Traveling Mamas, Annie from PhD in Parenting (@phdinparenting) and Jessica Smith (@jessicaknows) from Jessica Knows

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tips from these ladies:

1. Don't write cute titles, instead use the keywords you think people would search on Google to find your article. For example a piece about a hotel suite should not be called "How Suite It Is" but rather "Best Suite Under $100 in Chicago."

2. Repeat those same keywords from the title in your first paragraph and throughout the article.

3. Helpful Web site for seeing what keywords people are searching for: Google Trends.

4. One of the things that affects your Google page rank is the ratio between outgoing links and incoming links. So if you add a large blogroll, which is great for community building, you might consider either linking to those blogs with "no follow" links (WordPress has a plug-in that allows you to do this, or you can add it to your page html manually by typing rel="nofollow" inside the link code.) Another solution is to create a static page for your blogroll.

5. Since getting links from other blogs improves your importance on Google, use some "link bait." Strategy one is by linking to others generously in your posts. Strategy two is by writing things others are likely to link to, like controversial posts or top 10 lists. For example, Annie's top post ever on PhD in Parenting combines the two tactics: "Cry It Out: 10 Reasons It Is Not For Us."

Social Networking Tips

1. Whether you are using StumbleUpon, Digg, Facebook or Twitter, do NOT only promote your own stuff. Be friendly and engage in the community. Some people advise to never Stumble your own stuff. On Twitter, chat with people, respond to them, retweet their links and Tweet about their blogs, IN ADDITION TO tweeting about your own posts.

2. It's OK to tweet about every post you write, as long as you engage in the community in other ways. Some people never go directly to blogs or use their blog readers -- they ONLY follow links on Twitter so if you don't tweet your own posts these people will not read read your blog.

3. Do you HAVE to follow everyone who follows you on Twitter, or follow a number of people close to your number of followers? Not all the panelists feel you must. Annie says she stopped following all followers when she got to a number that was as much as she could handle reading (she has 2800 followers and follows about half as many). She only follows people who chat with her and engage her. But Jessica says she still follows every single person who follows her even though she has 22,000 followers!






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