As regular readers of this blog already know, I’m a big fan of having regular features on your blog. However, as many of you also know, I’ve not yet introduced any such feature on this blog. In essence, I’ve not practiced what I preached, so, as of today, that is going to change. From now on, Monday mornings here on Blogging Experiment will feature reader submitted questions and as many answers to them that I can come up with. Some weeks I’ll only answer one, some weeks I’ll hit as many as I can but each and every day, your questions are more than welcome. So, without further ado, here’s the first question in our new feature:
One thing that I’d like to see you cover is your process of submitting to search engines and feed sites such as pinggoat. Have you done that, and if so, what was the process that you went through to make the greater world aware of your site? Did you use Google Webmaster tools? Or, are you commenting on other blogs and letting the links in your profile/signature page be the hint to the search engines and bots that you’re out there, alive, and well?
I’d like to first start off by saying that I make a conscious effort to explain each and every step I take in promoting and running this blog. However, as we’ve seen a couple of times already, there are some actions or issues that I take for granted due to my search engine optimization background. This is one of those issues. This question is actually quite common and thank you very much, Jason, for pointing out to me that I’ve not yet addressed it.
Search Engine Submission
As for your question, I never bother with submitting my sites to search engines. It’s quite simply, a colossal waste of time. I’ve seen Google index new blogs within hours of the first post and Yahoo and MSN are usually quite quick as well. Any SEO or internet marketing company that offers to submit your site to hundreds or even thousands of search engines is, in my opinion, looking to rip you off. I mean think about it, how many different search engines can you name? I’m an SEO and I can probably only come up with 10 or so. From a traffic standpoint only 3 or 4 really matter (Google, Yahoo, MSN, and Ask) and all of those will find your site without any submissions needed.
I do use the pinging service Ping-o-Matic, that is set as the default setting in WordPress. I’ve used several more services in the past but found pinging too many sites just slows down the time it takes for my post to be published. And, for the most part, Ping-Momatic takes care of the bulk of the site’s I’d want to hit anyway.
Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster tools or Webmaster Central is a very good source of information and can be quite useful as well. Google is famously the Scrooge of information in the search engine world, so any data that they are willing to share with you is worth looking at. The bulk of the benefit from Webmaster tools (at least in terms of making sure Google knows about your site) is the sitemap feature. This is probably a good subject for a future post all on it’s own so I’ll just say having a sitemap that Google can find is often a wise move. However, so far for this site, I’ve not yet created one and I certainly don’t rely on it to make sure Google knows about my website.
That brings us to Jason’s last question about commenting on forums and other blogs and allowing links to do your talking. This is basically the method I use when creating a new site and the method I used for this blog as well. Links are the backbone of ranking in a search engine and you’re going to need them anyway, why not start right from the get go? Besides that, posting in forums and commenting on other blogs can often bring visitors directly, without having to worry about the search engines. Any link that can do that, is well worth having. As I mentioned in my post about keyword research, relying on search engine traffic early in the game is a recipe for failure. Sure some sites manage to rank well for their target terms seemingly right out of the gate, but most of us are going to have to work for a while before we see any type of payoff with the search engines.
One final method of alerting the search engines, as well as the general public, about your new blog or site, is to leverage your existing site or sites. For this experiment I chose not to use this method since I want to make sure this entire blog is something that anyone can reproduce with a bit of work. Unfortunately, not everyone has a network of existing sites they can promote and more importantly for this discussion, link to their new project from. If you are fortunate enough to have other sites at your disposal, don’t be afraid to use them.
Well, Jason, I hope that answers your question. Thanks very much for asking! For the rest of you, I hope this was at least a little bit helpful and be sure to start thinking about questions for next weeks’ Reader Question Session.