July 24, 2009

Survival Guide Chapter 3: RSS feeds & blogs

survival-guide-toDeltina Hay Here is part 3 of the series I will post over the next few months based on chapters from my new book, A Survival Guide to Social Media and Web 2.0 Optimization.

This book is meant to be a guide to building an optimized foundation in the Social Web for beginners and advanced users alike.

Chapter 3, the longest chapter in the book, is about RSS feeds and blogs. This chapter is packed with information and useful tips about content preparation, feed readers, optimization, and much more to ensure maximum exposure in the Social Web.

The following excerpts are from A Survival Guide to Social Media and Web 2.0 Optimization:

Chapter 3: RSS Feeds and Blogs

Optimizing Your Blog And RSS Feed

Your RSS feed or blog will do you little good if nobody knows about it or cannot subscribe to it. This section highlights ways for you to optimize and promote your feed. Most of these tips are for both blogs and RSS
feeds, but some of them only apply to blogs. It is made clear if something only applies to blogs….


Your Feed or Blog Content

Edit Your Content
Edit and proofread your feed or blog entries for accuracy every time you post. If you or your staff do not have the time or skills to do so, consider hiring a professional editor. If you write your posts ahead of time as suggested in the previous section, you can save money since editors usually have a minimum charge and can get a lot done in one session.

Titles
Always use at least one or two of your best key terms in your blog or feed titles. This gives you better placement in the directories as well as better search engine placement.

Categories and Tags (tags only apply to blogs)
When posting blog entries, you should assign categories and tags to them every time. Most blog indexing sites use categories and tags to index blog entries. Draw from your top level key terms for categories and all of your key terms for tags.

Links
Link to as many other blogs or Websites from within each of your posts as you can and trackback to them whenever possible. When creating links within a post, use key terms as the link text. For example, link “Facebook” to Facebook.com, link “Facebook application” to the Facebook application page, Facebook.com/apps, and so forth.

Each link in the post also contains a key term that is used as a tag and/or category for the post. This tactic gives each of your posts more relevance in directories and search engines.

Signatures
Attaching a signature at the end of each of your posts can encourage visitors to subscribe to your feed and aid in promoting your other sites or products. This is also a good place for a copyright statement if you need one. It is best to keep your signature clearly separate from the post content. One way to do this is to include three pound signs before the signature.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO For Your Blog (only applies to blogs)
Since WordPress produces PHP as opposed to HTML, posts and pages do not necessarily have the metadata in their source that is required for search engine robots. However, there are ways around this problem. A good SEO plugin for WordPress is The All in One SEO Pack. This plugin lets you assign proper metadata to
each of your posts and WordPress pages so that they get good placement in search engines. You input the metadata from the same interface that you enter the post. The title, description, and keywords entered here
become the metadata for that post.

This plugin also helps you assign metadata for your site as whole.

Permalinks (only applies to blogs)

As discussed in the previous section, permalinks are the direct link to each of your blog entries. You want to use a permalink structure that does not use any special characters (these are often called “pretty” permalinks). Since WordPress is written using PHP, the default permalinks look something like this: http://yoursite.com/?p=6. Search engines often ignore links that contain characters like the ones in “?p=6.” Choose a permalink structure that does not use them. To change the structure, go to the backend of WordPress; go to Settings/Permalinks. To make your permalinks “pretty,” choose any of the options except the default.

External Links or “Link Baiting”

This is actually an SEO tip you can use for any Website. Use meta keywords in any link text that points back to your Website. These are the meta keywords that are in your site’s header, not just arbitrary key terms. Whenever you can use text as links back to your site, use these terms to do so. As an example, we use the following blurb at the end of each article we submit to e-zines and the like for Social Media Power:

Deltina Hay is the principal of Social Media Power, a Web 2.0 development firm in Austin. Ms. Hay’s graduate education in computer science, applied mathematics, and psychology led her naturally to social media consulting. Find out more about using social media and Web 2.0 tools from her new straight forward, easy-to-follow e-book on social media marketing and Web 2.0.

The term “social media” links to SocialMediaPower.com and “social media marketing” links to the e-book page on that site. We are also careful not to clutter these bios with links—two is a good limit. Search engine robots consider external links that are similar to meta keywords very relevant and will increase your page rank accordingly.

Copyright 2009 by Deltina Hay. All rights reserved.

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This chapter also includes information about RSS feed and blog promotion using FeedBurner and other RSS Feed and blog directories. The resource CD offers further reading, linkable resources, and seven fillable PDF forms that you can use to prepare and organize your content.

Read more about this social media book at the publisher’s site.

As always, Socialmedia.biz readers also get a special price of $16 (shipping included — retail $24.95) for this book – just click the buy now button.


Previously

Deltina Hay, a partner in Socialmedia.biz, is an author and educator who develops online curricula on social media and other Internet marketing topics. She also helps businesses prepare their content for semantic search and big data analysis. Contact her, follow her on Twitter and Google Plus, or leave a comment below.

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