What are the SEO strategies, if at all, followed by popular blogs ? Do they give importance to SEO ? If they do, are there anything to learn from it ? Is it different from the regular basic SEO ? Let’s find out if we have answers for the questions above.
Do popular blogs have to follow SEO in the first place ?
One argument I’ve repeatedly come across is that if your blog is popular, then you don’t need to really work on the SEO part. Very fair observation that but I can’t completely agree, though I’d love to. The reason is that this is a chicken-egg problem. Do you have to first do SEO and then get the site popular, or get the site popular first then do the SEO.
In my opinion, SEO comes first irrespective of whether you’re popular or not. SEO is one of the basic foundations of a website and I can’t think of a reason why it should be ignored. Anyways, the fact is that many popular blogs, while they want to focus more on content, the SEO basics are well taken care of. Let’s dig deeper.
1. Healthy Publishing frequency
One of the major signals to Google, about the authority f your blog is higher publishing frequency. If your blog can churn out 25 quality post a day, that’s no amateur blog. Note that the number is not the sole factor here but the quality factor of each of them. There are several “splogs” out there that copy content from popular blogs from their RSS feeds. But none of them can be counted as “authoritative” as their content is copied and duplicate.
If an upcoming blog, can match up to the biggies with good publishing frequency and original content, then you automatically gets upped to a better authority/trust level with Google.
2. Efficient Interlinking
If you look at any popular blog out there, you’ll see that most of them rely heavily on keyword based interlinking. This means that a clever strategy is behind the whole scene. Interlinking can be done in many ways. From simple “Read more” links to proper keyword based deep linking. The idea is to use the homepage PageRank of the website and leverage it onto inside pages, interlinking them with well targeted keywords.
3. Getting the basics right
The crux of the matter is that with all that overload of content coming in, its impossible to always check for keyword densities and keyword research indexes. Instead, the way out is to create a good basic foundation built strong on SEO and then let everything else fall into place by itself. Many of the popular blogs have the basic SEO metrics covered well in advance even before going full swing with their content. Good amount of time spent building a solid foundation based on SEO is worth all the time you’d spent on it later.
4. No unnecessary focus on keywords
If you watch closely, unlike SEOs who sometimes appear to others as a little too obsessive about keywords, popular blogs does not really focus much on the keywords to the extend of repeating them unnecessarily for the sake of keyword density. The content is unique, rich and social media friendly, not entirely SEO friendly. Even if the authors wanted to, not all the time could they do an SEO formula check on articles. So beyond the basic title/headline optimization I cannot see a scope for detailed keyword analysis or focus.
5. Efficient control of Crawlable space
As a part of getting the basics right, content focused blogs has a huge challenge in front of them, of managing the bots. As important as creating search engine friendly content, is important to manage the bots and controlling them into crawling certain spaces while clearing out others. Webmasters essentially has to have a good grasp about what part of their website is important and what not. If that sounds rude, what part is search engine material and what not. So to enable the bots to crawl those pages/part of the site that’s search engine material, its essential to control them using advanced SEO tool such as Robots.txt files, Nofollow/NoIndex tags etc.
Essentially, the idea is that popular or not, you need to have the SEO basics in place to build a website, and as and when your blog gets popular, there might be restrictions to the possibility of going into details of keyword research and competition. But the fact is that if you have a good sound SEO foundation, then things will fall into place with the content building in on top of everything. However, the focus should be on building authority and trust with Google with popular, shareable and quality content.