Blog Vs Static, blogs in the lead?
Over the past few months I have been working with clients who had a static traditional website for just over a year, and we decided to mix things up and add a blog on a 3rd level domain to their site.They posted just 4 articles, and within 3 weeks they were ranking on the first page of Google, just 2 placements behind the clients site itself!
This upset my client, but I made me wonder about the role of the blog in the search engines. Fortunately, I got the opportunity to bring this subject up at the SES conference and have a panel of professional SEOers weigh in on the subject.
SES New York was a great venue, and right off the bat they lined up a forum with some heavy hitters in the organic SEO world to field current questions. This won’t go through the full transcripts of the organic panel, but go over a key point.
The panelists for the organic listings panel were Greg Boser, Jill Whalen, Dave Naylor, moderated by Mike Grehan.
I was fortunate to be given the second question to the organic listings panel.
“Is there a current trend where blogs are outpacing static websites, and can that continue since everyone and their mother has a blog?”.
Dave Naylor: The thing about blogs is the platform they’re published on. Blogs are not the silver bullet, they’re a supplement, Same as news feeds and social media exposure. Those kinds of things will give you benefits besides human traffic.
Dave hits on a point about blogs, in that their goal and delivery are very different from a static site. Web sites are intended to remain relevant over time, and usually have their own objective( e-commerce, etc) so the search engines are not going to look for much change in their content on a consistent basis. Once a page is laid out, it very rarely changes, aside from minor tweaking now and again. However, blogs are a different media. They are a “flash in the pan”, bearing extreme relevance to a topic for a short period of time, but then fading into an archive after time passes.
Greg: Sites with RSS feeds are outpacing sites without feeds. Blogs are about a distribution chain for content. That distribution attracts links.
The more authoritative your site is, the more on page factors are used.
Greg hits on two separate points that further explain why blogs get ranked quicker. First and foremost, blogs are on an “RSS feed” this send new data out to subscribed users. Most blog platforms have this RSS feed distributed to a central location, which is then tapped by Google, Yahoo and MSN. Essentially, blogs export their content to Google who no longer has to send a crawler out to find the information to check for new information on the page. Now it makes sense to me that this does have an impact on how Google uses the data gathered from blogs because they have the data sent to them. My hypothesis is that this timestamped data gets entered into Google’s database in a separate index or method that causes the posts to be treated differently than a static site.
The second point that Greg hit on, is that blogs are a distribution system for content. Blog posts get exported to RSS feeders. Quite often this is snagged by Technorati, gets posted to Digg, gets stumbled, and spreads this particular subject quickly across the internet. If you are a blog owner, make sure you have profiles on the social blog sites, to gain the benefit from the links that come in from this process. You gain authority as the source of that distributed content, which helps your rankings.
Dave: Note the number of laptops being used by audience. Web site owners don’t come to a conference and write articles. Bloggers don’t care so much about keeping people on the site, but more about expressing opinions.
The final thought for this post is about the transitive nature of blog posts. Dave Naylor is right, Blogs are in the moment in a way that static sites can never achieve. Take advantage of that flexibility and post about current topics, because there is a downside to blogs. It is much more difficult to keep your blog focused on a particular topic, unless you are keeping up with new articles on that topic. So keep posting on a consistant basis around your central theme.
Good luck on your blogging, there is more to come from the SES Conference!