RSS, blogs need optimizing: SES Chicago

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CHICAGO - Optimizing for blog and feed engines is crucial to make your Web site findable, panelists said at the Chicago Search Engine Strategies Conference and Expo's "Blog and Feed Search SEO" session.

There has been a tremendous growth in the usage of both blogs and RSS feeds, according to Amanda Watlington, principal of Searching for Profit, Charlestown, MA.

"2007 will be the year of RSS," she said. "Feeds will not be just from the tech savvy - but for everyone."

Blogs also have proven popular. When asked, a majority of the people in the room raised their hands to indicate they blog.

It is important to optimize the content in a blog post, Ms. Watlington said. When making the blog post, keywords should be used in the post and in its headline.

In terms of choosing keywords and when writing the blog, writers should look for places where you can be less generic and more descriptive, she said.

Stephan Spencer, founder and president of Netconcepts LLC, gave the following tips for optimizing feeds:

  • Full text, not summaries
  • 20 or more items
  • Multiple feeds
  • Keyword-rich system
  • Your brand name in the item
  • Your most important keyword in the site
  • Compelling site
  • Don't put tracking codes into the URLs
  • An RSS fed that contains enclosures, like podcasts, can get into additional RSS directories and engines

"If you've got a multi-author blog and those bloggers have their own independent Web sites, they will probably want and appreciate getting links from you," Mr. Spencer said.

He said using emphasis tags on keywords in your copy will allow for search engines like Yahoo to identify these terms easily and will give these words more weight than others.

You optimize your blog by rewriting URLs so that they have keywords and hyphens and no underscores.

In addition, maintaining legacy URLs even after switching blog platforms is also useful.

Rick Klau, founder of FeedBurner, talked about what's new in this area. He said that there has been a move from 301 to 302 redirects.

"The launch of Internet Explorer 7 and Firefox, which is now out, will have drastic effects in the growth of both RSS feeds and blogs," Mr. Klau said. "Style sheets have also been helping feed visibility."

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