Michael Forman

Michael Forman
Author, Singer, Actor, Photographer. This is where I scratch out things between writing books.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

SEO Blogging: Increased spam and splogging shows SEO working!

You know you're doing well when...

...spammers see your Wordpress blog and try their chances at getting through its back door far more frequently via splogging!

A Splog of my Novel SEETHINGS.
Spam happens. It's there and has always been there. 

Ever since I've had a website, I've had spam. Ever since I've had a blog, I've had spam. In the last six months though, spam on the home-blog have increased significantly and our content is now appearing on splogs. Someone is taking notice and cares enough now to want to leech-off its traffic and content!

For the SEO side of things that's wonderful!

It's not so great in other ways but let's let's stay with the positives of SEO in this post.

SEO Blogging: No SEO Applied

The first spam on the blog came 48hrs after the site was activated (many years ago). Wordpress has filters in place (via Akismet) for handling all the general spam but, occasionally, one gets through the system. That's when I see it appear it at my end. Sure, over the years, spammers have worked harder to find holes in those filters but Akismet works just as hard to close those holes as they become exploited. It's a lovely symbiotic relationship they have but it's also one that sustains an important status quo. The percentage of spam and splogs that fools Akismet's filters should, more or less, remain constant... unless another factor is introduced into the equation: SEO
A Spam Collection in a Wordpress Blog

SEO Blogging: Adding-in The Next Step

Search engines know every site's traffic and all their back-link data as part of bettering their service to searchers who look for stuff on the 'net. Algorithm's that once used to only examine a site's content-relevance also factor in (and have done for some time) web-presence (popularity) by looking at the amount of traffic going in and out of that site. 

There are scores applied to that site and then applied to that updated algorithm to work out the site's ranking against all those other sites that claim to share the same kind of information. It's kinda complex but logical. Without it the Internet would become too random to be useful to anyone.

It is my educated-guess that the growth in our splogs and spam is directly in line with our growth in traffic and what we did with SEO. 

Sploggers and spammers aren't stupid. Just like Google they'd prefer to focus their efforts on successful sites. They would also take that special algorithm (or one just like it) and apply their resources on popular blogs. It makes sense, right?

A year ago, we used to see one spam attempt get past by Akismet every two weeks or so and no splogs. Today we get ten spam a day and splogs appearing and then disappearing!

Our blog site is currently encouraging Google to index us for Neo-noir fiction (it's an author's site) - a tiny niche of the book reader's market but it's also a very specific one. Using proper SEO techniques, our Google ranking is now #27. Bing is much kinder giving us an extremely generous #3. (Which search engine do you use?) A year ago the site didn't rank at all!

Each new blog-page written to the site is treated in the very same way. SEO is embedded into that page (and its content) to get it indexed into the right position and draw traffic to the site. I try and include something of 'neo-noir fiction' (in those pages that allow it) so the site's 'atmosphere' remains relevant. (We don't want Google thinking the site has become something else!)

SEO Blogging: Its Limits.

Having said that, good SEO has limits. By itself it won't work and, while site ranking is very important, it's weak compared to that of link building or paid advertising.

We have two pages ranking at #1 in all search engines. One is: "MORETON ISLAND MURDER BAFFLES POLICE. INVESTIGATIONS CONTINUE.' The other is: "KURDAITCHA ASSASSIN. THE #KURDAITCHAISNEAR HASHTAG" but neither generates traffic, not yet anyway. It goes to show how ranking doesn't necessarily make traffic. Something else needs to be applied to get the people to search for those pages and then discover them. There's another layer or two to put on that cake.

The "Kurdaitcha" thing will be activated when we do a special Twitter campaign later this year. For now, the page is static, indexed and ready to go until that event takes place.

The "Moreton" murder is waiting for a real-life story to occur to wake it up. Isn't that totally tragic? No one's been murdered on Moreton Island and I'm waiting for it to happen so I can get the jump on the story. Mine's completely fiction of course (the book I've written has a murder in it at this location). I'm tying the page's content to a future event so I can pull some readers my way. 

Statistically, the chances of it occurring are low... but not zero. (I once posted a page about a murder happening during a Brisbane thunderstorm and then something like that happened in real life. The traffic that page received was absolutely phenomenal! It caught me off-guard and I missed some good opportunities during that time. Now I'm ready for it.)

Opportunism and new ideas is what good business is about, right? Sometimes the work to get those ideas pays off, sometimes it doesn't do anything.

As morbid as it sounds, my morbidity only accounts for 1% of the total efforts applied to my online SEO campaigns. Seeing as though I'm writing neo-noir fiction, it'd be safe to assume that I'd get morbid in my campaigning too! 

SEO Blogging: SEO or No SEO?

Forming business links with related sites can work without SEO. If your product or service is directly attached to another's then that it's even better. 

Let's say you're a picture framer who Blogs How To's on picture framing and you do a link exchange with a photographer. Customers will pick up their portraits from the photographer but they'll also need to frame them. Bingo! That's how it works. I know it's more a face-to-face type of business model anyway but any online example would function perfectly. A business that doesn't require the customer to appear in person will work!

So SEO isn't needed so much but if you're sending out How To's into the blogosphere with the intention to attract visitors that way, then you're knee-deep in SEO. There'd be no point blogging about anything if search engines couldn't make use of the content. It's not going to happen all by itself, not these days, so it needs a good SEO helping hand to get indexed right to be found by your readers.

Paid advertising will attract readers and customers right away. Spend the money and they will come. Google will stick your advertising in the right places, right under the noses of those people who are most interested in your product/service. It'll use the browsing history of electronic devices that are connected to the 'net to present relevant ads to the person operating them. If, at any time, that person has done any research for your type of product/service then they are shown your ad many times (just like the ads you see on this page). Assumedly your ad would have a link back to your own site, landing your visitors on a page specific to the ad's content or hook. 

Having said that, paid ads also need some basic guidance to get where they are going. Even a picture framer will need to include some extra data with their ad to make the best return on the investment. It's not just "picture framing" to all customers, sometimes it's just "framing" or "frames". Another customer will come at it with "Sports Memorabilia" or "Posters" or "Photo Mounts". 

Before taking the plunge, make a list of all or any other relevant keywords. Throw them all down. Listen to how people relate to your product. Think about the market that hasn't yet been tapped by your competitors. Use all of these as a guide and then prioritise which words or phrases are the most important. Google Ads don't offer infinite space for keywords, so choose them well.

And then get prepared to do some business... and an increase in spam and splogs.

Like I said at the top of this post, a successful site generates two things, business and those who want to borrow your success to get some of their own!

-Michael (Author/Blogger)