My experiences with blog communities for SEO

For a couple of years now I’ve been playing around social bookmarking sites, blog communities and other widget type sites like Blogrush, and for almost as long I’ve been meaning to write up my thoughts about them. Well, at long last, here it is.

Technorati and SEO
I started with Technorati like most bloggers do, I even have all of my tags set to the Technorati standard so they get read properly by the Technorati spider, and it wasn’t until I did this that I noticed any traffic from Technorati. I’m one of the fortunate few who use Serendipity as my blog software so I have a plugin that automatically converts my tags into the format they use, and this really is absolutely necessary if you hope to get any serious traffic.

Technorati users seem to work almost exclusively on tag searches. Out of interest, almost all traffic I get is to entries with descriptive titles, and doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the description or first paragraph so if you want Technorati traffic, use tags and write good entry titles.

Social Bookmarking
I’ve also tried Digg and del.icio.us which can be great sites for gaining backlinks and traffic but need to used wisely. Both of my profiles are examples of how not to use these sites if you want to be successful. Let me tell you why, I haven’t really used their services for anything other than a half hearted attempt at self promotion, and if I was serious about using them I’d be digging or bookmarking worthy sites within my keyword niche as well as a few of my own entries. In terms of traffic, I get nothing from either of these sites but I’m going to change the way I use them both and try to improve that.Get Stumbled
Stumbleupon is a service I use for fun, I won’t link to my username there since it has nothing to do with this blog, so of course I haven’t been able to generate any traffic from SU on my own. I have however had entries that were stumbled by other readers, some of which have been spectacularly successful for generating traffic.

However, looking at the stats for these times, very few of these people visit other pages, the majority don’t seem to stay very long, which kinda suggests if the info isn’t compelling they won’t even bother reading below the fold. This is useful information for anyone hoping to get good results from Stumbelupon. My most successful entry has been the 4 SEO tips for bloggers which I think works so well because the 4 pointers are introduced by a bold headline. Other SEO experts have mentioned that lists work really well with SU.

Blogrush is a dud
For several months I had a blogrush widget on this site, and honestly the only value I got out of it was using the widget on my own site to find other blogs I could make comments on, I don’t think I generated any traffic to my site using the widget, and the time delays on accessing the blogrush network were intolerable, with page rendering slowing down by as much 10 seconds or more at times. If anyone else has had success with blogrush I’d love to learn how since the concept seems so attractive.

MyBlogLog is a great way to make new friends
MyBlogLog is wonderful, I love their widget, although traffic is still small but in fairness to them you really need to visit a lot of other sites that have the mybloglog widget to generate enough views of your profile to in turn generate the traffic. Tags are also really important in the MyBlogLog world but I’ve found that the tags I’ve used just don’t work for me, so this is an appeal to my readers, please visit my profile and tag my site.

As for friendships, so often your site readers are anonymous, all you can tell from your stats is the country of origin and which pages they view, and if you’re interested, some of the details of their PC like screen size etc. Not useful if you want to connect with your readers. But by visiting a reader’s profile page on MyBlogLog you can send them a message, visit their own site and really connect with why they visited your site. I’ve developed a few nice online friendships from this, my latest being Jillian, a lady from California who has some weird ideas for blog entry titles.

Blogcatalog is slow but gives good traffic
Another service I like is blogcatalog which is a directory of blogs but they also have a widget similar to MyBlogLog. Most of my readers don’t have a blogcatalog profile so the widget shows people who visited this site as much as 8months ago, but the directory generates good traffic, at least one visitor per day, most of which is highly targeted at my keywords. Despite the fact they’ve been around for a long time and still seem to have such a small member base I’m keeping an eye on Blogcatalog. I think they have potential.

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