Popularity remains outside search realm.
A recent Boston University Study finds the majority of blog traffic can be directly attributed to search, according to Web Pro News. Traffic is considered a critical component to calculating a website's value. Despite the intimacy between traffic and search, however, optimizing a blog for search engine algorithms does not win the blogs retention or popularity.
The study also found that while search engine optimization may assist in building traffic, it does little to help build "site stickiness," the elusive quality that keeps readers returning to a website. "Unlike traditional web pages, blogosphere access patterns are much more dependent on the social networks that they catalyze," Boston University researchers explained.
This suggests that while high search rankings get traffic through the door, bloggers must still ensure the presence and accessibility of quality content relevant to what people are seeking. Involvement in a network of similar bloggers can also help a website flourish. Even in the blogosphere - perhaps especially - popularity remains a networking game.