Lee Odden

Blogs RSS, Podcasts – Pubcon Boston

This session covered Blogs, RSS and Podcasts with moderation duties performed by Anne Kennedy of Beyond Ink.
First up is Amanda Watlington of Searching for Profit. “The Art of the Feed”.

The “elegance” in RSS is in the distribution possibilities: Desktop reader, email addon, web browser and mobile devices.

The art of RSS is evident in blogs, sites, pdc, vblogs, rss search engines and web 2.0 applications. (press releases via PRWeb)

Build your RSS feeds right the first time. Considerations:
– What do you want to feed? (content sources)
– How many feeds?
– How much content is needed to keep the feed fresh?
– How much content should you include in each feed entry?
– What kind of content will the feed include? test, audio or video?
– How will you ping the feeds at first and then on each update?
– How to measure performance?

RSS is not just for blogs:
– Syndicating your content on other web sites
– Product announcements, tips, articles and customer communications
– Press room
– Jobs

How to optimize a blog and feed
– Optimize the blog
– Socialize your blog
– Submit you blog

Customize your templates
-Archive structure for shorter urls
– Tweak CSS for H1
– Titles so keywords are first
– Add a robots.txt
– Add a Favicon
– Validate code

Use plugins to increase functionality
– Google sitempa
– related posts
– customize feed
– handle 301 redirects
– social bookmarks
– create tag clouds

Google and Yahoo maps, related entries based on keywords, anti spam filters, link checkers

Optimize the template once. Optimize the content on an ongoing basis.
Use basic search engine optimization tactics:
– Keywords
– Text markup
– Give each post a theme
– Link out to authority websites
– Breakup long posts

Socialize your blog
– Inbound links by with socializing other blogs.
– Cross link your blog and web site
– Notify other bloggers about your blog via email
– Reference other blogs in posts
– Become a link hub

Ram up your traffic
– Submit feeds
– Ping on each post
– Claim you feed at Technorati
– Subscribe to your own feeds at My Yahoo and My MSN (which will submit your blog to those readers)

Make subscriptions easy
– Chicklets
– Add bookmarking links
– Use auto discovery
– Each feed should have a keyword theme
– Use images for branding
– Make feeds available for syndication – feedroll.com
– Use media specific feeds for iTunes and Yahoo Media

Measuring Results
– Feedburner
– Feedcraft
– Simplefeed
– Nooked
– MeasureMap
– SiteMeter
– Technorati ratings

Berkman Center, Baker House – Thursday 7pm 1587 Mass ave

Next up is Daron Babin of Webmaster Radio.

Things you should be aware of if you want to get into Podcasting. Considerations and pitfalls.

1. Start small – Buy basic podcast recording hardware.

One thing you need to be prepared for is bandwidth consumption. Daron relates a story about how he hit 1 Terra byte of bandwidth per month. Need to consider content syndication networks that can handle the distribution. A CDN will push a file out on an on-demand basis, rather than connecting to your primary servers and eating up your bandwidth.

Compelling content is the one thing that will eat up your bandwidth.

2. Need to focus on high quality content. Be very aware of the techincal quality as well. Think about the branding of the program long term. When you name your programming you need to take that into consideration. Also take into account the episodic titles. This is akin to the site title. Also consider the description of the episode.

Also take into account the ID3 tags. Use a ID3 V2 editor. That will allow you to add all sorts of information (think keyword optimization) to the media file.

Optimize every aspect of your RSS feed. iTunes is like Lycos in 1999. It’s there for the taking.

Next up is Greg Hartnet from Best of the Web (botw.org)

How you can get the most out of the blogosphere? The more you put in, the more you get out. It’s not a minor undertaking, it’s a lot of work.

Your readers are going to judge you based on the quality of your writing. Consistent grammar errors will reduce your credibility.

Optimize for Performance
Titles, descriptions, rewrite with just post title in url, categorical archives, enable ping service

Get on the Map
Submit your blog to search engines and blog/RSS search engines – Monster Blog Directory list at www.toprankresults.com/blog-submit-list.htm

Get Social
Subscribe to other feeds. When you find good resources, be sure to blogroll them. Post about other bloggers to get their attention. Take advantage of the vanity characteristic of many bloggers.

Participate in the Conversation
Comment on other people’s blogs. It is very important what you say in other people’s comments. Witty, insightgful and compelling makes you (and your blog) stand out and can drive traffic. Make sure whatever you say contributes to the conversation. If you don’t have something intelligent to say, keep it to yourself (or put it on your own blog).

Community Sites:
digg – Favors technically oriented posts. Graywolf blog has articles on digg.
myspace.com – Referenced article by Roger Monti (martinibuster) about the myspace landgrab.

The Power of Pictures
Images convey an emotion and can be transmitted easily. Images are cross-cultural and


Nothing will attract eyeballs to your blog like video.
Google Video
Can include your url in the video itself as part of the image, or in the description of the video.

(note: Need to consider video distribution as a traffic generator for blog/site)

Heavy Traffic
Once you get a lot of traffic, be sure to be prepared to handle it.

Q/A added Jeremy Zawodny and Matt Cutts

Q (David McInnis of PRWeb): How do you go about picking a Content Delivery Network
Daron: It’s a tough thing – pretty much by trial and error. Have a network engineer monitor and adjust. Ask what kind of back end reporting features there are. Spend time with them asking questions. Make sure there is a firm commitment to bandwidhth. Ask for a free month to see what bandwidth usage will really be.

Q: What’s the lowdown on search engine performance and blogs?
Matt: It’s interesting that there are still people who want to exclude blogs. For the most part, search engines do pretty well and indexing blogs.
Zawodny: Relates that digg membership want people to post actual stories and not to blog posts about a story.
Greg says something about “craptastic” blog posts, but I didn’t catch what he said.

Amanda: As more plugins are implemented, blogs will look less like blogs and more like web sites. How do you define a blog and how do you define a web site?

Q: The word “blog” doesn’t mean much. Has a web site with a news section, a forum and information pages on each city. Should I convert all that to a blog?
Greg: Don’t change your site to a blog, but add a blog.
Amanda: The blog lets you produce a different voice for your content. Your main web site might be focused on factual information and the blog would be less formal.
Matt: Don’t be thinking of the maximum you can do with the miniumum of content. Think about the user and don’t duplicate the exact same content.
Jeremy: Use the right tool for the job. Blogs are not for everything. Each type of function usually has a corresponding type of software. Ex: Forums, blogs, web site, etc.

Q: WordPress blog using FeedBurner. My FeedBurner feed url is showing up in the search engines before
Daron: Burn all feeds with your branding, your domain name as part of the feed url. Think about it from the beginning. Use a master feed and commit to it. Then if Feedburner tanks, you still have a url under your control.
Jeremy: Points out the auto discovery tag. Explains the issue of auto discovery showing one feed and a FeedBurner link as a link on the page causing dilution.
Greg: Recommends not using Feedburner so he maintains control.
Daron: Recommends putting subscription options in as a pulldown menu and not showing all the chicklets. It simplifies subscription options.
Matt: A lot of feed chicklets gets to be a lot. Keeps it simple with his own feed.

Q: XML feeds show up in search results. Is Google working on that or a directory of RSS feeds?
Matt: You can add a -.xml operator to your query (audience laugh). Yeah, you shouldn’t have to see that. He’ll pass feedback on the Google team.

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Lee, I am glad you covered this because I decided to check out the Organic Search Forum. Great note-taking! Thanks 🙂

  2. thanks for the detailed coverage lee. i am curious about the presentation. did Amanda Watlington go into any details or did she pretty much stick to rolling through the outline? it seems more detail came from daron and greg. the q&a portion has some great stuff too.

    is amanda’s outline style typical of a pubcon session, or are daron’s and greg’s details along with the q&a a better indicator? or maybe most the sessions have both starting broad then focusing in the end?

    i’m just trying to get a better feel of what to expect at these types of conferences. thanks again for the coverage.


  3. Lee, let me ask you. I was in that session. Am I wrong, or shouldn’t the content at WMW be higher level stuff than this? I mean, these are webmasters right?

  4. Thanks Kid Disco, I hope it was useful.

    Chris, Amanda presnted a lot of information in her 10-15 min, and there was no time to get into details unfortunately. Here presentation was very structured with a lot of slides. Daron had no Powerpoint presentation, but Daron doesn’t need one. He’s an excellent speaker and knows his stuff. Greg used mostly large images in his presentation and elaborated conversationally on his topics.

    Each session is a mix of presentation styles and what I hear many people, newbies and veterans alike say, is that just one little gold nugget can come out of one of these presentations and make it all worthwhile.

    Personally, I would very much like to be on the blog marketing panel and could drill very deep into details as well as stories/case studies. Hopefully Brett likes that idea for Pucon in Vegas.

  5. Hi Jim, You’re right, but at the same time, there is both a time limit and a lot of unkowns about the attendees of each session. WMW does not collect any info on who is attending what so presenters have to present information that tries to appeal to a broader audience. Also, this session was combining Blogs, RSS and Podcasts. Each of those topics could have been it’s own session with 3-4 speakers each. Maybe that will change for the next Pubcon.

  6. My notes were not nearly as detailed, so I was glad to come across your post here. This was actually one of my favorite sessions of the event – next to hearing Rae Hoffman and Jim Boykin on link building.

    Personally, I thought that Greg Hartnett did a great job of ‘planting seeds’ in regards to giving us ideas that could generate large spikes of traffic.

    All good stuff! Thanks again for the recap 🙂

    -Lynn Terry

  7. Hi Lynn,

    I’m glad the info was useful. You know, I believe Brian and Teli had me take pictures of you, Teli, Chrissie, Greg and Brian at the Elephant.

    I didn’t make it to the link building session and have a feeling I really missed out.

    Am checking out your blog too. Nice!


  8. Yes, I think you’re right! Those pictures are being organized and posted as we speak, I believe – I’ll try to get my own up on Flickr at least so people can find them easily.

    The link building sessions were GOOD (both of them). Greg Niland (GoodROI) was definitely worth hearing. He was entertaining too, LOL. And Rae Hoffman is a dont-miss in my opinion – she really knows her stuff 😉

    Hope to see you in Vegas!

    -Lynn Terry


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