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SES London: Getting The Most Out of Blogging/RSS

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In the last few years the blogosphere has swelled, or evolved perhaps, from a loose and obscure collection of early adopters shooting from the hip into an all-encompassing theater of discourse. In this theater nowadays, your presence as a business professional is just short (very short) of required, but shooting from the hip, or half-arseing your online presence, is an enterprise best left to the MySpace drones.

Your blog is important. But the problem is navigating an ocean of text, which is a familiar issue in the SEM/SEO community. There are four to six million articles posted daily, according to Ask.com’s Thomas Alby. How do you get your important content noticed?

And so, Ms. String-of-letters-behind-her-name Amanda Watlington, Ph.D., A.P.R of SearchingForProfit.com, put together an essential guidebook to optimizing blogs and feeds for better exposure on the Web, as well as building and retaining an audience.

WebProNews guest correspondent Deb Harrison sends her notes on Watlington’s presentation at the Search Engine Strategies Conference in London. This is what became of them.


Optimizing Your RSS Feed

1. Subscribe to your own feed and claim it on blog engine Technorati
2. Focus your feed with a keyword theme
3. Use keywords in the title tag; keep it under 100 characters
4. Most feed readers display feeds alphabetically, title accordingly
5. Write description tags as if for a directory; keep them under 500 characters
6. Use full paths on links and unique URLs for each item
7. Provide email updates for the non-techies
8. Offer an HTML version of your feed
9. For branding, add logo and images to your feed


Optimizing Your Blog

1. Simplify archiving structure for shorter, cleaner URLs
2. Use CSS to improve usage of H1, H2, and H3
3. Tweak titles for keyword placement
4. Add robot.txt and favicon
5. Widgets: use them sparingly; test one at a time
6. Blogging platforms WordPress and Moveable Type can make the process more user friendly
7. Use a separate domain


Linking

1. Use keywords in anchor text with links; do this a lot
2. Link to topic authorities
3. Give lots of link love in general
4. Delete the word "permalink," replace with real title
5. Create link lists directing to other useful information
6. Cross-link blog and main website
7. Deep link to content on target site
8. Inbound links are valuable
9. Become a "link hub," an authority site, a real resource


Promoting Your Blog

1. Get content or feeds syndicated in other publications
2. Use full-text feeds – "don’t be stingy"
3. Increase items in feed from 10 to 20
4. Highlight popular posts and chestnuts on your blog
5. Publish feed as an HTML page (RSS Digest) or as a podcast (Feed2Podcast)
6. Publish headlines from your blog on your website, your MySpace page, etc.
7. Make sure pinging is turned on
8. Use MyYahoo and MyMSN accounts to submit to these search engines
9. Post often if you want to become an authority over time

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