Dave, I’ve been hearing in the search engine optimization community about programs called “blog and ping” utilities. Supposedly, they are a real boon to getting top search engine ranking. What are they, how do they work, and what’s your opinion of whether they’re worth using?
I too have been seeing this discussion about these B&P utilities and I have to say that I don’t like them. Here’s why…
Weblogs are designed to allow you to easily add material to your Web site quickly and as frequently as you’d like. If you have a website about wedding favors, say, then you might write blog entries about weddings, receptions, dresses, rings, etc etc., to drum up interest in your particular niche of wedding favors. Search engine-wise, these blog entries help you be more easily found for people searching on these related topics too, and if I Google “wedding receptions” and one of the top few matches happens to be an article from your weblog, well, then I’ll visit your site, read your article, and, gosh, you sell wedding favors? Let me check it out while I’m on your site.
Behind the scenes, weblogs have their own search engines and “aggregators” too, search engines that operate on a “push” model: your blog notifies these engines (technorati, my.yahoo.com, etc) by sending out what’s become called a “ping”. The more you write, the more pings you send and the more your material is available to Web folk.
This has some great upsides in that the dissemination of blog information is remarkably fast. My best story: I wrote a blog entry about “Meetup.com” (read it here) and its switch from free to paid event organization, and *90 minutes later* the President of Meetup.com was on my weblog, adding his response to my article.
Put the speed of dissemination, the power and reach of blogs and the ease of spoofing a blogging system by generating pings together, and you have a “blog and ping” program, a program that produces automated content (data from RSS feeds, extractions from a database or similar) on a very regular basis, pinging all these different sites each time something is added, and ultimately polluting the blogosphere and the Web with irrelevant and uninteresting material.
That’s my take, at least, on how this all works.
Fair disclosure: I’m working on a ‘how to blog’ teleseminar series, I just wrapped up a book “Growing Your Business with Google” (it’ll live at findability.info when it’s published) and I run the Blog Smart! series of business blogging workshops, among other things. I also have four weblogs I maintain, on business, tech support, parenting, and personal finances.
Personally, I think the power and value of blogs are all about creating valuable content. It’s not about tricks, sneaky page structures, or any of that other “black hat seo” stuff.
You’ll have to make up your own mind, but that’s my current thinking on this topic.