Webmaster Secret: It’s the Ping, Baby

Blog or Website? Which is better? There has long been controversy over whether one really is better for SEO, and if so, why.

I’ve heard reports that blogs do actually index faster, by a week or so, from a credible source. I’ve not heard any other compelling or believable information on long term SEO benefits that were specific to blogs. There was a time when SEs were indexing every blog and treating them like they were something special, but it was short lived – stopped about the time the spammers caught on and started abusing blogs left and right. There hasn’t been any preference for YEARS.

Faster indexing is the ONLY difference I’ve been able to isolate as having any validity, that isn’t attributable to other factors, which are independent of the structure. Most differences have to do with the quality and desirability of the content, the individual optimization efforts, and the promotional efforts of the site owner. Period. Potentials are equal between most good structures, whether it is WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, HTML, etc.

Speculation runs the gamut… I’ve heard all of these things touted as reasons why blogs or websites are “better”.

  • Search engines like blogs better.
  • Search engines like websites better because they are more stable.
  • Search engines like blogs because they have changing content.
  • Blogs optimize better.
  • Websites build backlinks more stably.

Actually, these factors are all pretty irrelevant.

Search engines don’t really care whether it is a blog or a website. Blogs can behave like websites, websites can behave like blogs, and search engines don’t care. They care about UNIQUE CONTENT. Structure, aside from ability to optimize to a reasonable degree, is completely irrelevant.

We’ve noticed that website pages, or blog pages (posts), index and get traffic long term based on backlinks, and demand for the content. If they are referenced elsewhere, they get more traffic sent directly to them. And if you are the best source for a high demand, low availability topic, you’ll get traffic no matter what structure the site is in (this is, in fact, a great key to getting spontaneous traffic).

Changing content is also irrelevant to the structure. Search engines DO like new content, but ONLY if it is GOOD content. Doesn’t matter how often your content changes if it is trash, Search engines can recognize trash, and they treat it the same way people do. Ever seen those Splogs… You know, those tacky blogs responsible for 99% of comment spam, which consist of nothing but quoted blog posts? Search engines dislike them, and they are a waste of time, because they lack quality original content. The only people who create them are the ignorant, and the dishonest who are charging people for bogus “SEO” services.

Some blogs don’t have regular posts. Some websites have regular updates. So changing content isn’t the reason why some people feel that blogs index faster, either.

So what is it?

It is the ping.

The ONE significant difference in BEHAVIOR, aside from user actions, structure, or quality, is the PING. Potentials are completely equal in all other respects.

Blogs ping when you create a new post. New content has a brief appearance in the latest items index on some directories, then goes into the archives. You have to claim your blog at Technorati and list it with some directories. But as soon as you do, your new posts are announced to them, and fed through RSS.

Some of the blog directories are considered very high credibility links by Search Engines. It helps you get linked faster.

It is important to note though, that the power of the ping is MOSTLY transient. One brief moment in the spotlight, then your page disappears into oblivion unless it is highly desirable information, in which case it will regularly resurface.

So what is the real power information here?

You can make a website ping and feed. You can make pages behave like a blog, you can post regularly, and you can install an extension to make it ping when you update content. Many dynamic site structures have RSS capabilities which can be enabled and used.

The choice of whether you use this or that structure doesn’t depend primarily on indexing speed, or any assumptions of blog preference. It depends on what features are needed, and what the long term growth needs are.

Where SEO is concerned, the playing field can be completely leveled in all other respects.

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