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SES New York: SEO Through Blogs and Feeds

cross-posted with InsideGoogle

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Stephan Spencer, Founder and President, Netconcepts
Rick Klau, Vice President of Publisher Services, Feedburner
Sally Falkow, President, Expansion Plus
Greg Jarboe, President and Co-Founder, SEO-PR

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First up is Stephan, who talks about RSS. Says you want to go full-text, embed tracking bugs so you know how many readers you have. Notes that most blogs have a ton of feeds, ones for posts, comments, categories, comments on posts, all sorts of things, and you should definitely make sure users know you have that. Says you should make sure to customize things in the feed, especially the description of the blog (otherwise it might be “Just another WordPress blog”).

Make sure your blog is optimized. Use tags so that your blog software will have a page for that tag and rank in search engines for that tag. You should try to have a cool title, but an SEO-perfect title tag. There’s an “SEO Title Tag” plugin for WordPress that lets you customize those, which is great (must install!), you can assign any unique URL a unique title tag.

Already, most useful SES session I’ve ever attended.

You can create tag conjunction pages, combining multiple tags for great SEO. Says you should do what ProBlogger does, putting featured posts in blocks at the top of the page. Don’t use “permalink” to link to your post, use the title (unless you want to rank well for permalink, dope). Try sticky posts, which always appear at the top of your category page to introduce it (WordPress plugin: Adhesive).

Says this is effective, his 15-year old daughter got up to the first page on Neopets related terms in just a few weeks, just by listening to her dad’s tips.

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Next up is Rick from FeedBurner. He talks about redirects, which are important because search engines are now consuming feeds, too. Auto-discovery must be well-implemented on your site so readers can find it. Says that Feedburner lets publishers style their feeds in spite of the browser trying to do so. Mentions Yahoo Pipes, which lets you mix feeds.

Talks about Feedburner using clickthrough URLs to track feed actions. Also, Feedburner lets you choose the kinds of redirects you use for your feeds, a 302 or 301. They recommend you don’t use a 301 permanent redirect, in case you don’t like them (honest guy), and that Feedburner will actually 301 the feed back to you if you ask.

Talks about how feeds are coming from more than just blogs; they’re coming from stores/retailers, search engines, many broad ways. Says full-text vs. excerpt should not be an issue of publishers vs. readers, but just a question of usefulness. If you have an excerpt feed, TechMeme can’t see what posts are linking to others, and you might not get on TechMeme. Says we will only see more sites like TechMeme in the future, and keeping them out will hurt you.

If you don’t want to see your feed in search engine, the noindex tag will be honored by Google and Yahoo, and Feedburner includes an option for that. Rick says you need to effectively advertise your feed, which is easy, and so many people do it wrong. Not including an autodiscovery tag is stupid. Point to all relevant feeds. Pinging is important, because waiting for spiders to get to your site can take a long time.

Adding rich media to the feed is important, especially if you are producing podcast/video blogs. And for gods sake, give the show a title and notes, not just an episode number, or else no one is going to find your podcast in a search engine.

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Next up comes Sally from ExpansionPlus. She talks about how producing content about a topic/brand, making sure it has a feed, and submitting it to feed search engines, it will be found by interested people and get you traffic and awareness. Ultimately, you will get to good positions for your top terms, and lots of terms you deal with and didn’t even realize you were targeting.

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Last up is Greg Jarboe of SEO-PR, and he asks how many bloggers started a blog and started seeing it in the search engines relatively quickly. They did SEO for StubHub, a ticket marketplace, creating 15 blogs around the categories they deal tickets in. Few people want to read a blog talking about your company; they want a blog about news, and you need to use your companies position to create blogs you have an expertise in.

Focusing on the content builds a relationship with readers, turning you into a publisher that happens to drive customers, but you don’t shove it down their throats. You give the consumer useful, actionable information they can’t get anywhere else. In StubHub’s case, they have info from their marketplace that is of interest to all fans, even those not buying.

They targeted terms fans would use, as opposed to terms a ticket buyer would be interested in. They would up with posts about hot tickets. You don’t want unimportant blogs linking to you; you want real people caring about your real information, and that gets you real links.

SEO-PR is beta testing a tool called Buzz Logic, showing you who the top bloggers are, but also who they are using for sources, and who uses them for sources. This identifies the real opinion makers, and they added them to their blogrolls. Mentions the recent patent applications for Google Blog Search, which includes analyzing blogrolls.

Says that the way blogs work is that you need rankings before you get visitors. Interesting theory, could be absolutely right.

April 11th, 2007 Posted by | General | no comments

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