Blog & Feed Search SEO
Oh my goodness. My head is still spinning from this one.
The Blog & Feed Search SEO session led by Amanda Watlington (Searching for Profit), Rick Klau (FeedBurner) and Stephan Spencer (Netconcepts) was a fast-paced introduction into how specialized blog and feed search engines gather content. The session also provided several tips on how to best optimize your blog and its feed to capitalize on the growing number of blog readers.
Amanda kicked off the session stating that when it comes to blogs, there is still a lot of unclaimed territory out there. Amanda says the blogosphere is "far from saturation and far from maturation".
Really? Far from saturation? That was surprising to hear, especially since hundreds of new blogs seem to pop up every minute. But Amanda doesn’t seem to be talking about the million or so blogs being created by the eternally bored on Blogger. To back up her assertion, Amanda notes that 94.2 percent of Fortune 500 companies are not blogging. For the non-mathematically inclined that’s like, all of them. What are they waiting for?
Well, maybe this year. Thirty-five percent of that big chunk says they plan to implement a blog this year. Finally, they get it.
Blogs may not be "saturating" the market, but there’s no shortage either, which makes your job of getting your blog to show up at the top of the SERP that much harder.
Here are some tips on how to optimize a blog and its feed:
- Optimize the blog itself – Customize your template: tweak CSS; use shorter, cleaner URLs (use hyphens, not underscores); simplify your archiving structure; use your keywords in your titles, validate your blog; use plug-ins to increase functionality (link checker, anti-spam filters, etc.), list related entries based on keywords; optimize your content using keywords and themeing; use tagging and tag clouds; create author profile pages.
Once you do all this – stay put! Don’t move your blog around or you risk having to repeat this long, laborious process.
- Socialize your blog – You’re not in the blogosphere alone and if it’s your job to interact with your peers. How do you do this? Crosslink your blog, notify other bloggers about your existence via comments or emails, join in the conversation by referencing other blogs, create a blogroll, get your blog listed on social bookmarketing sites (technorati, techMeme, etc.) and become a link hub.
- Optimize Feed – Use full text, not summaries; create keyword-rich items; put tracking codes in the URL; show the twenty latest items (not just ten); and always use your brand name.
- Make it easy to subscribe to: Include chicklets, enable autodiscovery, burn your feed with FeedBurner for easy management, optimize your RSS feed (use keywords in title, write descriptions for the feed, use full paths, etc.), convert your feed to a podcast.
Abiding by the tips above will help your readers find you. Once implemented, the panel advised using Technorati ratings or programs like MeasureMap (once it’s up and running again) or FeedBurner to measure results.
We can’t stress the importance of blogging enough. If you’re not doing it, you should be. And if you’re doing it, you should make sure you’re optimizing your blog and its feed to help it tackle the competition on Google Blog Search, Yahoo! News, Technorati, Feedster and the other blog engines. Otherwise you are just lost in the abyss like the 14-year-old ranting about her affection for her cat. We hear her name is Princess.