Where is the Best Place to Put Your Blog? (Or, What URL Structure Should You Use?)

Blogging for SEO

Blogging for SEO

One of the the first things we look at upon commencement of a search engine optimization project for a client is whether or not the client has a blog and, if so, where that blog is located (the URL or Internet address of the blog). There are typically three main URL structures for a blog, only one of which is the best way to handle things from the standpoint of SEO.

1. Blog hosted on a third party server or free hosting site. Examples: myblog.wordpress.com or myblog.blogspot.com.

Oftentimes people know enough about blogging just to be dangerous – to themselves, that is. They have read up a bit on the importance of content, typically in a blog, to serve as link bait, and how relevant, inbound links can increase search engine presence. So, they go out and set up a free blog with a URL similar to those given in the examples above, and think they are set. The problem with this type of setup is that while the content in the blog certainly may serve as link bait, the links that are “baited”, or in other words inbound links gained to the blog content, point not to the user’s site, but to the free blog hosting or third party domain. Hence, no benefit to the client site is gained, from a link juice perspective, from any inbound links to the content on the third party site. This is perhaps the worst way to set up a blog if your goal is to obtain inbound links for search engine optimization purposes.

2. Blog hosted on a subdomain of the user’s primary domain. Example: blog.mydomain.com.

While there remains somewhat of a split in the SEO community about whether a subdomain is treated as an entirely separate domain or can inherit (or pass) some authority from (or to) the primary domain, most are in agreement that, at best, a subdomain can only partially pass or receive authority from the primary domain. (For an excellent, albeit somewhat technical, explanation of this, see, e.g., “Multiple Domains vs. Subdomains vs. Folders” by WebSEOAnalytics). Therefore, for the purposes of passing link juice to the primary domain we do not recommend this type of URL structure for a blog. The idea, again, of blogging (at least from an SEO perspective), is to attract links to the primary or Top Level Domain that you want to rank well in the search engines. The use of a subdomain will, at best, only partially aid you in this effort.

3. Blog hosted in a subfolder of primary or top level domain. Example: mydomain.com/blog.

This is by far the best way to ensure that links to your blog content pass authority to your primary or top level domain. Installing the blog in a subfolder of your primary domain attracts links to your specific website url, which in turn should boost your performance in search engines. Happy blogging!

About the Author: Matt Foster is the CEO of ArteWorks SEO, a full service search engine optimization firm headquartered in Austin, Texas. He has been active in the industry since 1995.

When is the Best Time to Begin Search Engine Optimization?

search engine optimization

Quizzical about when to start SEO?

The short answer is: yesterday. And that applies no matter what stage of development your online business is in. If you have been online for months or years, you have been missing out on a wonderful opportunity to use that time to develop your online presence. One of the most often asked questions I get from potential clients is “how long will SEO take?” The answer is, it will take time. And depending on your budget and your competition, it may take lots of time. Don’t believe the charlatan, fly-by-night, snake oil, so-called “search engine optimization” firms who claim to guarantee rankings in days or even a few weeks. These types of guarantees often come with unbelievably low prices. If it sounds too good to be true, it is! But even if the price sounds reasonable (and by reasonable I mean the price would support a decent working wage for an educated individual doing a heck of a lot of work on your behalf each month), any short term “guarantees” should be avoided.

This is why the best time to begin an SEO project is always yesterday. It does take time. And each day that you wait, you are losing ground and opportunity to your competition.

But I haven’t even launched my site yet – it is still under construction!

Well, the song remains the same. You should have begun your search engine marketing campaign yesterday. We’ve had clients, and I’m sure we are not the only SEO firm who has seen similar results, rank on the first page of Google for competitive keyphrases before the client site was even live! Then, when the site is launched, ta-da! Open for business!

One way to go out this is to first go ahead and purchase your domain. Have your SEO firm throw a placeholder page up with some good title tags and a paragraph or two of content related to your future online business. And let your future customers know the full site is coming soon. If you are an established “brick and mortar” business, go ahead and include contact information such as your address and phone number. Maybe include a map.

Then, and this applies to brick and mortar business with a physical address, go ahead and get listed in Google Places. This provides you a free listing on Google Maps. In fact, you don’t even need a website for this. Either way, your SEO firm will know how to do this.

Now, for all businesses, brick and mortar or otherwise, let’s get back to the placeholder page. Include on the placeholder page a link to your blog (yes, you will need a blog, whether you knew that or not). A good SEO firm can install your blog at yoursite.com/blog, while the front end, final version of your site is still under construction. Your SEO firm can then begin creating content on a regular basis on that blog, promoting that content, and building links to that content. Following this methodology, you can get on the first page of Google prior to the launch of your final site. Even if you don’t get on the first page of Google prior to launch, you have that running start for when you do launch.

So the time to begin your search engine marketing efforts is now. Oops – I mean yesterday. Good luck!

About the Author: Matt Foster is the CEO of ArteWorks SEO, a full service Internet marketing firm, who has been active in the industry since 1995. Mr. Foster can be found on Twitter @ArteWorks_SEO. ArteWorks SEO can be found at www.arteworks.biz.