Science of SEO Debunked in One Word

When I started Atlanta Tech Blogs as just a project to stay on top of the Atlanta tech startup scene, one of the concepts that kept popping up was “SEO“. I was familiar with SEO, but not in a guru kind of sense. I knew what it meant and I knew that if you want people to find you via a Google search, you need to pay attention to SEO.

Aside from that, I really didn’t know – or care – about SEO. But once I started running Atlanta Tech Blogs, I quickly realized that if I wanted more website visitors, I needed to think about SEO. Since the site is built on WordPress, I also learned that Yoast SEO plugin was the way to go. A million people can’t be wrong, right? That part was easy.

I set one goal, and that was to be on page one of the Google search for “tech blogs“. That’s it. Meanwhile, I was banging away at curating more content, automating as much as possible, and building the social media presence for @atltechblogs on Twitter. Side note: I went back and forth with Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+, but ultimately decided to keep them going, and even added Tumblr, really just as a test.

And that’s what this whole “project” has been: a test. A bunch of experiments in content marketing, social marketing, content curating and aggregating. So I kept experimenting with different ways of doing things. Here’s how Atlanta Tech Blogs works today.

  • Blog posts are curated via RSS feeds, and a post is created from each feed item. If a blog doesn’t have an RSS feed, like this one, then that blog doesn’t get promoted. If you have a blog, make sure you have a valid RSS feed. It’s built in to most blogging software.
  • Titles of blog posts are changed to reflect the content of the post, rather than a title that only that blog’s organic audience would understand, so anyone can glance at the title and have some idea of the content of the post.
  • Blog links are published to the front page as rel=nofollow outbound links only. I’m still on the fence on this one, as to whether nofollow is better for SEO or not.
  • We capture whatever is included in the RSS feed (the source controls that), but redirect all traffic to each blog post back to the original blog, so that content is never seen on our website, other than the new title on the home page.
  • We include the canonical link as part of each post title link, so the original author is always recognized by Google, and so no one mistakes us as the author or source.
  • All new posts are tweeted with their new titles, and also auto-posted to Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Tumblr.
  • Every day, Mailchimp’s RSS-to-email system gathers up everything that we posted since the previous email, and puts it in a nicely formatted digest for easy clicking and reading for our subscribers.

That’s it. It’s simple, and best of all, it has worked. Up until mid-February, Twitter generated most of our traffic by a long shot, but in the middle of that month, traffic from organic Google search surpassed that of Twitter, and the gap continues to widen. Also, at that time, we made the front page of Google search results for “tech blogs.” As a bonus, we’re very high (sometimes first) for the following Google searches:

My next goal is to hit the charts for “startup blogs“, but we’re not even close there. Yet.

All this is to say that, other than using the Yoast plugin for WordPress, there is no dark art or black magic or pseudo science that has gone into our SEO. Nothing. Here’s what gets us great SEO:

  • Exact match domain name for what we do.
  • Publishing new content every day.
  • Using Google Webmaster Tools (including a sitemap).

Yup, that’s pretty much it. I don’t write code, nor do I know or do anything related to meta key words. We curate content, promote content, and change the titles of the blog posts we promote in order to give the random viewer a better idea of what the article is about. I tried using https, but that had no effect. Our WordPress theme is mobile friendly by default.

So, what do you make of these three amazingly complex and double-secret probationary tactics? Getting an exact match domain is tough, and not always tempting. AtlantaTechBlogs.com is 16 characters (not counting “.com”), whereas Buffer says the optimal length for a domain name is 8 characters. Anyone can – and absolutely should – use Google Webmaster Tools, so no excuse there. What’s left?

Content.

Brand new content every day. Period. Content is king for SEO. Want better SEO results? Publish more content.

What do you think about that?

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