If you are concerned that the ability of blogs to rank well in search engines may be some kind of fad, read on.
1) Both Google and Yahoo have invested in building blog search engines
-Google’s: http://google.com/blogsearch (in beta)
-Yahoo will be launching something soon
Blogs already rank well in Google and Yahoo’s regular search results, but both companies are investing in separate blog searches because they see growing demand for them. One of the major benefits of a blog search is that the search index is updated constantly while the regular search results are relatively static. For example, if Microsoft announced an acquisition right now, you could go to Google’s blog search almost immediately and find tons of news, information, and analysis that you would not get through the regular search engine.
2) Blogs rank very well in search engines but they don’t rely on search engines exclusively for traffic
For example, much of our blog traffic comes from sources other than the search engines. We have a variety of traffic sources that result from the design of blog and the format of our postings:
• When we do a post to our blog, our entry is immediately syndicated to over 200 sources (including blog search engines like Technorati). Much of our traffic comes from those sources.
• When you reference another blog in your posting, you often get a link back from that blog which can send you traffic. As an example:
• We commented on a post from Google’s company blog (google.blogspot.com). We were immediately (and automatically) given a “trackback” link from that particular page. Bottom line, we got hundreds of clicks to our website over a few days simply because we found a topic that was getting a lot of attention on their blog and linked to it.
• We also linked to a BusinessWeek article and got a lot of traffic back from that. We’ve used this technique a lot.
It may seem that a successful blog must contain completely unique ideas and must build a loyal reader base. But are not the only ways to go about it. In terms of building traffic, we’ve found that “blogging” about issues that are both popular in the media and relevant to the blog is very effective because it puts us in a position to feed off of the interest in daily news stories.
Every Monday we send an email out to our mailing list that has a recap of all of the important postings on our blog in the previous week. This way, we’re able to use the blog content to stay in contact with clients by email. It keeps our name out there. For you, it could lead to traffic (and repeat sales) from your existing customers.
3) There is no reason I’ve found to expect that blogs will start getting blacklisted by the search engines, or fall off within a year.
If anything, blogs are great for search engines like Google. Blogs offer timely, relevant content. That’s what keeps companies like Google in business. In my opinion, there’s more of a risk that an e-commerce site will face hard times in search engine results than blogs. Arguably, blogs are a threat to traditional e-commerce sites. Many new blogs are launched every day, and since blogs have more content than standard websites, they may start jeopardizing the placements of e-commerce sites.
Blogs are websites that are easy to maintain and syndicate, but unlike websites, the goal of a blog would not be to get top 5 placements on a single term. The goal of a blog is to get placement on many terms over time. Our blog has hundreds of posts, and as a result, the numbers game is kicking in and we are getting traffic for a variety of search terms. Once your blog has thousands of posts, and hence thousands of pages, it will become a true force.
Businesses that assume the risk of financing a blog now and do it right will find that they have a substantial asset further down the road.