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Lee Odden

SEO for Blogs & Feeds – SES Chicago

By Lee Odden     Blog Optimization, Blogging, Online Marketing, RSS, Search Engine Strategies, SEO

Blog & Feed SEOMy final liveblogg session of SES Chicago is all about SEO for Blogs and Feeds aka blog optimization. This is a session I know a little something about, having presented on it at SES 4-5 times over the years.

Moderated by Adam Audette, the speakers included Sally Falkow and Michael Gray.

Sally opened things up to talk about Feeds. All blog platforms come with Feeds but there are many other things you can do with feeds. There are many types of feeds including a feed specifically for video. Sally says it’s pretty straightforward to create a RSS feed.

The web isn’t about pages anymore, it’s about streams of content. In fact, the whole social web is running on streams of content. Most of which is through RSS. Surveys show the adoption of RSS is low, but the problem is that most people don’t know what RSS is. If you ask about RSS, you get a blank stare. But if you ask people, “Do you use a My Yahoo, Google page, etc?”, they know what you mean. Asking about RSS isn’t unlike asking people, “Did you use your SMTP today?”.

New SEO Practices for a Google Caffeine World. “Sustainable organic growth requires a commitment to unique and valuable content creation on a regular basis and the wherewithal to deliver effectively.”

Real time web surfaces a lot more content and engines are after that. You need a content strategy to meet the needs of your customers. Search engines want that content too. There are a lot of things that you can write about to create content and then deliver to clients. You just have to figure out what and how.

SEO Advice from Matt Cutts:

  • Know the search terms your audience uses
  • Write good meta tags
  • Spotlight search terms on your page
  • Create a blog and post often
  • Syndicate your content
  • New Caffeine algorithm requires lots of fresh content and “citations” in the social web
  • Get relevant sites to link to you

Think outside the blog: Types of content on a web page that could have a RSS feed include: News, articles, recipes, product updates, press releases, etc.

Pay attention to keyword strategy with the feeds you publish. Segment feeds topically for focused content (and keywords).

RSS can drive new visitors to your site by syndicating to destinations elsewhere on the web, which then link or point back to your site from within the feeds. (At TopRank this is one leg of what we call building a channel of distribution)

One platform to centralize content for syndication is an online newsroom.

Feeds and SEO – ROI
Feeds attract links, attention of bloggers, provide content to the social web for citations, boost search engine rankings and traffic to the website.

Next up is Michael Gray aka “Graywolf“.

The first slide Mike shows is: “Partial Feeds Suck” showing a woman who just sucked on a lemon.

Most publishers put out partial feeds to bring users to a website and measure them in analytics, for advertising or to prevent content scraping. There are ways to combat all those problems, so publish full feeds.

Why I love Blog Scrapers
If you publish links in your posts, blog scrapers (most of which are stupid) will retain those links back to your content. Don’t worry about them throwing off your link profile unless you’re a weak site.

How to help search engines realize your version of the post is the canonical verison? Hard code a link to your post at the end of your feed. Add keywords at the end of your posts (in the feed) as well.

Schedule your posts

  • Know what days of the week you get the most traffic
  • Know what time of day or what time zones bring the most traffic
  • Schedule posts so tha tyou always have new content when people come looking
  • Schedule your important posts, or social posts, to coincide with traffic spikes’
  • Use holidays & special events to your advantage – Do it enough before that it can take hold
  • You can write posts days or weeks in advance

Tweet your stuff multiple times

  • A few times in one day, not six or seven
  • Tweeting when you post may not always bring you the most traffic. Tweet at the best time of day for Twitter
  • Tweet archived or best of posts that are not timely

RSS is a Lie

  • Unless you are publishign about marketing, social media or topics on Techmeme, RSS adoption is low
  • Even some tech subjects like gaming have low adoption
  • Use email, Twitter, Facebook or other methods to bring people to your site
  • Use others in you field to guage you success

How to deal with Dates in the SERPs

  • Google can extract dates from the body of posts, comments and URL
  • Generally, Googel tries to take the first date form the page
  • Old dates generally have a lower click through rate
  • Remove dates from posts that are 6 months or older
  • Currently you can “forge” dates and “fool” Google, however this may change in the future

Takeaways:

  • Use scrapers to your advantage
  • Schedule your posts to get the most traffic
  • If it’s important, share multiple times on Twitter, Facebook, etc
  • Repost “Best of” content
  • Don’t worry about RSS in industries outside of tech sectors
  • Be aware of dates on your pages and how they show in the SERPs

My Question (because I get different answers from different speakers): How to configure a blog to avoid duplicate content between the blog home page, category and tag pages?

Answer (Michael): Excerpt the actual blog posts so only a portion appears on the blog home page and category pages. Use No Index, Follow not Robots.txt to exclude either category or tag pages. Add sticky content to the top of the category pages.


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