Marketing Tools the Top 10 SEO Blogs Use
Scott Cohen, CEO of 180Fusion, reveals the top strategies of the top Search Engine Optimization Blogs in his expert blog post:
Are you unsure of what strategies will actually help you rank in search engines? Do you wonder if your blog is optimized for social media conversions? If so, then you might want to take notes from the experts. Here are the things that the top search engine optimization blogs are using for search, social, and conversion optimization.
The top 10 SEO blogs were chosen from the AdAge Power 150, the first page of Google search for SEO blogs, and my personal favorites. They are as follows.
- Search Engine Land
- Search Engine Watch
- Search Engine Roundtable
- Search Engine Journal
- SEO Book
- Search Engine Guide
- Search Engine People
- Matt Cutts
The following technology information is provided by BuiltWith.
Surprisingly, only half of the top 10 SEO blogs use WordPress. SEObook uses Drupal, and the other four blogs either use a custom platform or have their CMS cleverly masked.
Most businesses will not have the resources to create their own proprietary CMS, in which case it is best to go with the platform most widely used – WordPress. At 180fusion, we go with WordPress like Search Engine Land, Search Engine Journal, Search Engine People, DailySEOTip.com, and Matt Cutts.
Subdomains vs. Subfolders
It’s long been known that subfolders are the way to go if you want the link juice from your blog to help your main domain. The top SEO blogs whose posts are not on the main domain’s homepage use subfolders for their blogs: seomoz.org/blog, seobook.com/blog, searchenginepeople.com/blog,, and mattcutts.com/blog.
There are lots of businesses that put their blogs on subdomains or separate domains altogether. Some reasons to do this include making your blog it’s own presence entity or adding extra domains to dominate first page search results for your brand. Â But as far as SEO goes, the subfolder approach is best.
Do SEO blogs practice what they preach when it comes to the rules of on-site optimization for search? Let’s find out. First, let’s start with the homepage SEO for each site.
Granted, meta descriptions don’t help with rankings and they are not always shown in search results, but it’s still best not to have them too long to the point they are cut off. Now let’s look at the actual title tags for each homepage as provided by Rival IQ.
And the meta descriptions (for those who have them).
Several of these blogs do not use customized Meta descriptions when you get down to the post level. While Meta descriptions do not help with keyword rankings, they do show up when you share a post Facebook as the description snippet for the post.
Permalink (URL) structure for the top SEO blogs is all over the board. Here are examples of their recent posts.
You will notice a few key things in these URLs. First, they all use keyword enriched URL structures that pull from the titles of the posts. No one is using the domain.com/?[=123 structure that used to be a WordPress default.
Second, some have unique numeric identifiers in their URL. This used to be a requirement if you wanted your blog to become a news source for Google News search results, but that requirement is now waived if you submit a News sitemap.
All things aside, your goal should be a short URL with important keywords included. Â SEO Book has the simplest URL structure of them all.
Eight out of the ten top SEO blogs include category links in their navigation, either in the header menu or a sidebar list. This can help visitors figure out the key points on a blog quickly, meaning that you won’t lose visitors because they couldn’t find what they were after.
Contrary to popular belief, RSS isn’t dead yet. All of the top ten blogs include a link to their RSS feed. Four (including SEOmoz and Search Engine Land) are still using Feedburner as their RSS delivery service despite the rumoring’s that Feedburner will eventually get tossed by the wayside like Google Reader was.
Social Following Options
Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ are the standard options offered to follow all but two of the top ten SEO blogs. Â Search Engine Land offers the most options, including links to their Pinterest and Tumblr accounts.
Social Sharing Buttons
Facebook Like, the official Twitter retweet, and Google +1 are the common social sharing buttons per post across almost the entire top SEO blogs. Matt Cutts is the exception, using only the Google +1 button. LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Buffer follow closely behind.
The plugin of choice to display these buttons seems to be Digg Digg with their floating buttons to the left and traditional buttons at the top and/or bottom of each post.
While several blogs have the Facebook Open Graph protocol installed on their sites, which can range from being used for the like button to social metadata, only two sites thus far have implemented Twitter Cards functionality for richer shares on Twitter. Not only will a link shared have a larger piece of real estate in the news feed, but people will be able to quickly follow you by using the Follow link beneath your article.
The Google+ Connection
Eight out of ten of the top SEO blogs have their brand name linked to their Google+ page in search results. The only exceptions are Search Engine Guide (no Google+ page) and Matt Cutts (linked to personal Google+ profile).
Google+ authorship doesn’t seem to be as strong as you might expect on these SEO blogs. Mashable actually has the strongest Google+ Authorship showing when you do a search for posts within a specific topic, so whatever they are doing works.
Commenting systems on the top SEO blogs are mixed. Â You will find they use the base WordPress comment system, Disqus, captchas, social logins, and community logins. Considering the rate of spam has to be the highest on a SEO blog over any other kind, it is probably trial and error to find the system that allows the least amount of spam and loss of link juice.
Who do the top SEO blogs trust their WordPress SEO to? WordPress SEO by Yoast seems to be popular amongst the top ten. Aside from social sharing buttons and commenting systems, the other popular plugins found on these blogs were for caching, specifically WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache.
Google Analytics is the obvious choice for the entire group of top ten SEO blogs. Some blogs (particularly those with a product or service) also are using (in order of popularity) Facebook Insights for Domains, KISSmetrics, CrazyEgg, and Quantcast.
What was the most valuable takeaway you have from looking at what the top SEO blogs use? Let’s talk in the comments!