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SES San Jose: Blog Optimization

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Moderated by Detlev Johnson of Position Tech, this SES San Jose panel included: Stephan Spencer of NetConcepts, Rick Klau of Technorati and Amanda Watlington of Searching for Profit.

SES San Jose
First up was Amanda with yet again, a unique presentation. There is still lots of unclaimed territory with blogs.

 

Less than 6% of Fortune 500 companies are blogging according to SocialText. 35% of companies plan to start a blog in the next year.

RSS distributes content and drives traffic.

Build your feeds right from the start. Questions to ask:

- How many feeds are necessary
- How much content is needed to keep it fresh
- Should you publish an excerpt or the full feed
- Will the feed include other media
- How will you propagate the feeds initially and on an ongoing basis
- How to measure performance

RSS is not just for blogs

- Affiliate
- Syndicate content to other sites
- New products
- Security alerts
- Product use tips
- Customer communications
- best sellers, out of stock, special offers
- Press room
- Career channel/job listings

Poll of the audience: Large part of the audience does search optimization, so how do you optimize a blog?

Optimize the blog itself

- Socialize your blog and optimize its relatioship with the rest of the blogosphere
- Submit to blog search engines
- Make it easy to subscribe to feeds

Optimize the template

- Archives
- use cleaner, shorter urls
- CSS
- tweak to improve usage of H1, H2, H3
- Titles
- Keywords first
- Permalinks
- Other
- use robots.txt and favicon
- Validate code
Use plugins to increase functionality of WordPress and Moveable Type.

Optimize the content and do what you would do with web site optimization.

- Develop a keyword list
- Don’t use graphics where text will do
- Use keywords in category names
- Use keywords in other places on the page
- "SEO Sites I Like"

Steps to Powerful Keyword Rich Content
1. Write your post. Focus on your message.
2. Review your keyword list for the phrases more relevant to the post you’ve written
3. Keywordsin headline

Harness the link power
- Free giving of links in content
- Ample use of anchor text Amanda recommends publishing a blog as a separate site to become a link authority.

Socialize your blog for link power
- Inbound links are important
- Cross link site and blog
- Notify other bloggers about your blog via comments/email Social bookmark tool- http://www.ekstreme.com/socializer

Ramp up traffic
- submit your feeds
- Make subscription easy
- Chicklets (Added: here is a handy tool for making chicklets)
- Include bookmarking sites (Added: here is a tool to add bookmark links to your blog)
- Enable auto discovery – Burn your feed with Feedburner

Optimize your RSS feed
- Use keywords in post titles
- Write description as you would for a search engine directory
- use full paths on links and urls

Measuring Results
- It will get easier over time
- Stats come from many sources *FeedBurner *FeedCraft *SimpleFeed *Nooked *MeasureMap *SiteMeter *Technorati ratings Next up is Stephan Spencer of NetConcepts
- "Optimize for blog a feed search engines". Shows how different search engines show blogs in search results: Yahoo, Google, Technorati, Feedster, PubSub, MSN

Optimizing your feeds:
- Use full text
- Show 20 or more items, not just 10
- Multiple feeds (by category, comments)
- Use a keyword rich title
- Use a brand name in the item title
- Use your most important keyword in the site title
- Do not use tracking urls in your feed url – it creates a duplicate url which can be a problem for search engines

Optimize your blog
- Modify your internal linking structure
- Use the ultimate tag warrior plugin
- Related posts
- Top 10 posts
- Next and previous posts

Build inbound links
- Add Technorati tags to you posts
- Get onto bloggers’ blogrolls – one way to do this is to meet bloggers in person
- Trackbacks and comments wont help with link gain because they are no follow Use Tag Clouds that show posts according to how frequently you use certain tags IF you tag with a certain keyword phrase often, you will often rank well for that phrase.
- Title Tags: Put the name of the blog at the end of the title tag
- Tag name should go in title on a tag page
- Customize with additional keywords for display only on your home page

URLS
- Rewrite to contain keywords and use hyphens not underscores
- 301 redirect from non www to the www version of your url
- Maintain legacy urls even if you switch blog software

Anchor text
- Post titles loink to permalink
- Use "Neat-o-tool" http://www.webuildpages.com/neat-o to look for opportunities to request revisions to anchor text of links coming into into your site

Sticky posts – Posts always appear at the top of a page
- (Adhesive plugin for wordpress does this)
- Emphasize tags within posts (bold strong)
- Use one click subscribe buttons
- Track subscriber behavior – Subscribers
- Reads through web bvugs or images
- Clickthroughs through clicktracked urls

Last up is Rick Klau from Technorati: "Blog and Feed SEO – What’s New, What’s Important" Rick offers a perspective from a service provider point of view. FeedBurner is the world’s largest manager of feeds.

What’s New in the past six months.
- 301 vs 302 redirects
- IE7 will affect how many people are aware of feeds, It will recognize the autodiscovery tag. That means sites with a RSS feed might have a slight visibility advantage.
- TechMeme shows a tren in mem tracking, favoring full text feeds.
- Style sheets helping feed usabiolity
- no more raw code. i.e. when people click on a feed, users don’t see raw XML code, but rather a visually appealing web page
- PubSub, Yutter offline Technorati will now give users the ability to use 301 redirects, There is a SEO advantage to this but a tracking accuracy disadvantage. 302 redirects which will do a better job of tracking will still be available.
Full text matters because it includes links. Use full text links so news services like Techmeme can undestand and reward your posts. Having links within the feed post will dramatically increase your feed awareness.

Ping
- FeedBurner offers PingShot or you can use Pingomatic. When IE7 ships, then 80% of the browser market will be able to recognize feeds.
For full coverage of Search Engine Strategies San Jose 2006, be sure to visit Search Engine Roundtable.

Watch for continued SES San Jose coverage at WebProNews and WebProWorld.

Lee Odden is President and Founder of TopRank Online Marketing, specializing in organic SEO, blog marketing and online public relations. He’s been cited as a search marketing expert by publications including U.S. News & World Report and The Economist and has implemented successful search marketing programs with top BtoB companies of all sizes. Odden shares his marketing expertise at Online Marketing Blog offering daily news, interviews and best practices.

SES San Jose: Blog Optimization
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About Lee Odden
Lee Odden is CEO of TopRank Online Marketing, a digital marketing and public relations firm in Minnesota that specializes in search, social and online PR consulting and training for companies worldwide. Odden has been cited for his internet marketing expertise over the past 10 years by the Economist, Forbes and U.S. News and contributed a chapter to the book, "Online Marketing Heroes" published by Wiley. For the past 5 years he has also been the editor of TopRank's Online Marketing Blog, a Technorati 100 favorite blog and one of the top marketing blogs according to Advertising Age. WebProNews Writer
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