Rankings, Linkbacks, and Google SEO
What is in a number? Do you pay attention to rankings, links, mentions, and search engine optimization? Lately I’ve been talking with Ed Reese, SEO guru of Sixth Man Marketing. Ed knows analytics, google, and conversion rates like nobody else I know. He happens to have an office at the LaunchPadINW space just above my future tasting room. When you type “SEO Spokane” in Google, he comes up first. When you Google “Social Media Spokane,” LaunchPadINW is first. These are two good resources to know.
While I am not an expert, let me give you two examples from my blog. One of the most consistently viewed posts on my blog is one called A Mojito Kind of Night. One hot summer evening, I was bored. Wine didn’t sound good so I decided to make mojitos. I got out my video camera, recorded the process and 45 minutes later I posted the “how to” post. The post is THE single most viewed post on my wine blog – go figure.
Yesterday I woke up at 5:45AM to get ready for a morning event. Like I do every morning, I grabbed some coffee and logged into Google Analytics (yes I’m addicted). I was blown away to see that 500+ referrals to the site had come from people Googling “Leavenworth Christmas Tree Lighting.” The day ended with over 1000 referrals and my highest traffic day ever. Why? Two months ago a post titled Leavenworth – Bavarian for Wine? In the post I mentioned the Leavenworth Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony which just happens to be going on this weekend.
What did I do right? Both of these posts had good SEO optimized key words. Both had images that referenced the same key words. Both had video that referenced the same key words. Both were referenced on other people’s sites with link backs. Google likes these things. When Google finds more things it likes about your site and your post…BOOM, SEO rocks!
I love the fact that when you Google Spokane Wine, Spokane Wine Events, or many Spokane wineries by name, you get a NectarWineBlog post. While I wish I could say that my maniacal plan has come together, in reality I’ve just stumbled into most of it. However, now that I’ve seen the power of proper search engine tagging, more time is going into optimizing each post before pushing the publish button.
Linkbacks, Trackbacks, Incoming Links, and References
As I mentioned before, Google loves link backs (incoming links). These incoming links act as a circular loop that plays to Google’s crawling algorithms. Having an incoming link (being referenced) by a high ranking site or trusted site (news, college, reference resource) scores you bonus points. This is another reason why content is king. Content drives consistent readership. Readership builds interest. Interest causes you to be referenced or quoted or used as a resource. These are all incoming links.
Search Engine Optimization leads to effective Search Engine Marketing (SEM). Where is the first place you go when you’re looking for information on something? Google. Who goes to the yellow pages anymore? With 21% (50% by December 2011) of Americans using smart phones like Android, iPhone and Blackberry, these devices become portable information mines. Out on the town looking for a restaurant that serves Thai food? Google it. Looking for a local store that stocks the latest Mark Oldman book? Google it. SEM means that people using Google drive sales. Investing in good placement is good marketing.
So, what is a number? If you blog for a hobby, the number might be useless to you. If you blog to be recognized as a leader in an industry (Ed Reese, SEO; LaunchPadINW, Social Media), then that number is critical to building business.
Wikio ranks blogs by the number of link backs. More link backs equals higher rankings. More link backs by top rated blogs equals even higher rankings. Here is how they describe it on their site.
“The position of a blog in the Wikio ranking depends on the number and weight of the incoming links from other blogs. Our algorithm accords a greater value to links from blogs placed higher up in the ranking.
A blog linking another blog is only counted once a month i.e. if blog A links to blog B 10 times in a given month, it is only counted as having linked to that blog once that month. The weight of any link decreases over time. Also, if a blog always links to the same blog, the weight of these links is decreased.
Only links found in RSS feeds are counted. Blogrolls are not taken into account.
In December 2010, retweets were added as an additional factor to the ranking algorithm. For each twitter account, only one backlink per blog is taken into account each month.”
So, to put it more succinctly:
- Link backs are cool
- Link backs by top ranking sites are cooler
- Multiple link backs by the same blog don’t count
- Buddies who always link you are weighted lower
- Blog rolls don’t count
- Re-tweets were counted for December
So, get talked about (especially by top sites) and you’ll rank high. What excites me about the December ranking (besides the obvious number 2 position of my own site), is that FIVE Washington focused wine blogs are listed in the top 20. My friends at Wine Peeps, Vinotology, Washington Wine Report and Paul Gregutt all score high! I’m not exactly sure how the heck I’m ranked up there above Palate Press, 1 Wine Dude or Tom Wark (Fermentation). November was a big month for me (with the magazine and the tasting room). I’m sure there was just a lot of buzz that mentioned the blog. I certainly do appreciate it, but I have a long way to go. When you Google the words Wine Blog, you don’t find me until page 6. I’ll throw a party when you Google the words “Wine Blog” or “Wine” and I’m ranked at the top (spots currently held by Vinography and Wine.com.
Numbers, rankings and Google SEO matter. Proper SEO can drive SEM and revenue. Take the time to tag your posts, key words and images before you push publish. That extra time could make the difference between 100 hits and 1000 hits, or better yet, one extra customer.