SEO for Blogs – help Google find your older content

Richard Hearne writes (a bit) about Search Engine Optimisation for Bloggers. One point that he made in his review of Pat Phelan’s (Roam4Free) site was how to help Google find your older content. Taking this advice, I’ve installed the WordPress Page Navigation Plugin on this blog – it’s the widget giving the ‘Page 1..2..3..end’ at the top of this site.

Blog Page Views

Without this plugin , all wordpress gives you by default is a single ‘previous page’ link. A user (or Google) might have to follow 15 or so links to get all your articles. Now it is all linked from the home page of your blog.

Almost as important as the number of visitors to the site, is what they do when they get there. You can see from the Google Analytics above , that the average visitor reads one and half pages on this site. (Is this Good? Is this Bad? – let me know) This could be multiple articles (there are about 20 per page), but the number isn’t really moving over time. I’m hoping the plugin can shift these numbers (up) even a little bit.

(Almost) Related Update and links (via Damien) : If you want to know more about SEO optimisation for WordPress, Matt Cutts of Google had a very interesting talk. A transcript of the video and a summary are also available.

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Blogging for Charity – should improve their Google page rank

I’ve been tagged by Ken to carry on Gavin’s blogging for charity idea. I’ve twisted the idea a little as rather than repeat an ever expanding list, I’ll add two of my own and highlight two on Ken’s List:

To continue the flow , I tag the following people:

And for our readers in Paris , a French version of our Website …

Following a conversation with Thomas of Logic Intuition (blogs in English and French), we decided to put up a French Version of our Company website.

FirstPartners.Net logo

OK , we cheated and used Google Translate.

Now, I’ve spent about 11 years studying French (it’s part of my Degree) , including living there for about 3 years. I’ve sold computers over the phone in French in one job , so I must have been ok at one stage. The scary thing is the machine does a better job than I would. The main mistakes I can find are

  • Top left of the screen , it’s translated ‘Home’ to ‘Around the house’
  • It’s translated ‘Irish Blog Awards’ to ‘Irish Blog Compensation’.

Maybe Google knows something about what Damien has planned for the night than we do?

Feed your addiction with Feedburner , MyBlogLog and Google Analytics

You’ve probably heard of Google Analytics – a free service that gives you
stats such as the charts below.

This chart shows the number of visitors (blue) and the number of pageviews (orange). Interesting that in 2 years blogging , the average of pages viewed has always been just under 2 pages per visitor).

Google Linechart
This chart (again from Google Analytics) shows the visits by source. Bit of an usual one at the moment – I would tend to get about 10% of visits each from MSN and Yahoo (not showing at the moment).

Google Piechart

Google only updates it’s stats once a day. If you’re really addicted to seeing your stats (and you really need to get out more) then feedburner updates most of its stats on an hourly basis. Feedburner not only gives you web stats similar to Google (if you’re FeedFlare enabled), but it gives you the number of people who are also reading your site via a feed – the grey box on the top right of this blog.

Feedburner Barchart
Strangely , this feed history seems to have a life of it’s own. Most people read blogs Monday to Friday , so the numbers dip at the weekend

FeedBurner Barchart

If you’re a hard core stats addict , you’ll also have MyBlogLog enabled. These give the photos on the left hand side of the blog (useful in themselves), more stats (very good for incoming / outgoing links) and a widget (see image below) that shows users the most popular outgoing links.

MyBlogLogs Outgoing

Goodbye Bloglines , Hello Google Reader

For various reasons I’ve moved from using Bloglines to Google Reader. Both (sites? products?) allow me to read the 200+ blogs that I follow on a regular basis. And Google Reader allows me to solve my Killer Zombie Blogs problem.
If you’re reading this on the web, these blogs are listed on the bottom right of the page. It’s an auto export from Bloglines, so anytime I add another blog to my reading list, it gets added to the Blogroll.

And there is the problem.

Google Labs Logo[Link to Google Reader]

The script that I use to do this on Bloglines won’t work with Google. So I’ll need to update it. Not a big problem (no more than an hours work), but it confirms the Web2 mantra – ‘Data is the Intel inside‘.

While I’m free to switch between Web2 sites and take my data with me, in practice , it’s not always quite as simple.

And yes, I used OPML to export from Bloglines into Google Reader. James Corbett would be proud of me.

Update: Surprisingly enough, it seem nobody has published a way of doing this (use items from Google Reader in Blogroll). I may get around to writing it myself sometime (don’t hold your breath). In the meantime, I can just export from Reader back to Bloglines.

Technorati finally finds this blog

Finally , I notice that Technorati (the search engine for blogs as popular as Google is on the rest of the web) is indexing this blog and picking up posts. I’ve complained in the past about Technorati’s lack of indexing , and had premature anticipation when they indexed it as a one off.

Technoratic Logo

It’s currently picking up 939 links to this blog (ok, I’ve been blogging for more than 2 years , but when exactly did that happen?). While some of those are internal links , thanks to everybody who has linked here.

I’m still not sure if Technorati is picking up the outgoing links – can anybody confirm or deny this (from the ‘Dashboard’ view of your wordpress blog)

Update: 10 Minutes after writing this blog post , Technorati crashed. Is this a coincidence?

Information Storage for Dummies (and how to make it secure)

Doing a lot of database work for a client right now so now it’s a good time to recap on where you can store your information. This might be basic stuff , but it’s essential basic stuff.

  • Spreadsheets, of which Microsoft Excel is the most popular. How the PC and Microsoft began their 25 year reign. Ironically their availability online (care of Google Docs and Google Spreadsheets) threatens to end the PC era and usher in the Web 2.0 one.Spreadsheets are never secure. If I can get a copy of them (and letting me read one means that I have a copy) then I can read everything. Everything. Most Excel passwords can be cracked within seconds.
  • Take a couple of spreadsheets, glue them together and put links between the sheets. Now you’ve more of less got an entry level database, such as Microsoft Access. It’s aimed at people who need more power than Excel, but are not developers.

    The trouble is that Access is not secure (see problem above) and that it doesn’t scale very well (for more than a couple of people using it at once). Both Access and Excel come with versions of Microsoft Office.

Access Splash Screen

  • So you have your information, and now you want to stick it on the web. MySql is the database of choice. Free, lightweight and with excellent tool support (e.g. phpMyAdmin), MySql is what powers this website. If you know what you’re doing (e.g. Google or Amazon) it will scale very very well.
  • For most people , the next step up is to a serious Enterprise database. Oracle, MS Sql-Server and it’s cousin Sybase are the main contenders in this area. DB2 from IBM is a distant fourth place while Sybase is strong in financial institutions. While MySql is catching up in features, most companies chose one of the main three because of their track record, a long list of people and vendors that support them, and because of ‘lock-in’. Once you choose a database it’s very hard to change.

So there you have it. Don’t let me see you trying to run a company on Excel or Access again. Or at least, don’t complain to me when it falls over!