This weekend it occurred to me that I hadn’t written a blog post for quite some time so I thought that it was time to do something about that. With the papers full of the news that Bebo had been named as the ‘best social network’ I decided to write a response, explaining why I thought it was a meaningless announcement.
Now, at this point those of you who are avid followers of this blog may be wondering if you’ve missed something, as no post of that sort has been published here. But you’d be right in thinking that, as I actually wrote the post on another blog, SEOmoz; one that, in the loosest sense of the word, could even be thought of as being a competitor to our own. Why? Because in the world of blogs & social media, if often pays to give stuff away.
For those who have been told by their search agencies that ‘content is king’, it may seem strange to give content away, but in fact it makes perfect sense for a number of reasons.
- Community is king: In the world of social media, you often get what you give. By being an active member of online communities, you can drive traffic & we’ve proved this many times over; in our first 3 months of blogging as eyefall SEOmoz was one of the single biggest drivers of traffic to our site. Whilst it is no longer so high in our list of referrers, that is only because we’ve widened the net, so to speak.
- Links are king: As the author of a post on SEOmoz, I’m able to include a short bio at the end of the post, which includes a link back to our home page. And as the link doesn’t have a nofollow attribute, I’ve included optimised anchor text which should help us rank better against one of our targeted phrases. Whilst I can also do this from a post here, it has more value coming from an external site, and should help our own SEO.
- Networ-king (sorry!): Last year I was contacted by a journalist at a major US business magazine who was looking for some help with an article he was writing about some of Google’s linking policies. And how did he find me? Because I had left some comments on a search forum on that particular topic. Again, this just goes to show that being part of an active community can be a great asset, but also highlights the fact that you don’t even need to write a whole post to benefit.
There are plenty of other reasons to look at placing content on sites other than your own, but these points cover the main ones. They also highlight the fact that you don’t always need to build a website for every product or marketing campaign that you have; in many cases there will already be a perfect place to carry out your marketing, and the old assumption of “build it & they will come” simply doesn’t hold water any more.
One thing that you should always bear in mind though is that, like the magic penny, you need to love what you’re doing, or what you’re writing about. The main reason that I contribute to SEOmoz is that I am a huge fan of the site, have been for some time, and am thrilled to be able to give something back to something that has provided me with so much excellent information. But if you give content away, and do so in a cynical manner, your magic penny might just turn out to be a dud.
Header image: tstadkler at Flickr