Teens and Technology

There’s an interesting report at Pew Internet on Teens and Technology which is the second this week that highlights the opportunities for tapping into the younger internet using market. Here’s a snippet of their introduction:

‘The number of teenagers using the internet has grown 24% in the past four years and 87% of those between the ages of 12 and 17 are online. Compared to four years ago, teens’ use of the internet has intensified and broadened as they log on more often and do more things when they are online.

Among other things, there has been significant growth over the past four years in the number of teens who play games on the internet, get news, shop online, and get health information.

Not only has the number of users increased, but also the variety of technologies that teens use to support their communication, research, and entertainment desires has grown. ‘

G’Day World – ProBlogger Podcast

Cameron Reilly (from the Podcast Network) and I have a semi regular breakfast together and today he pulled out the microphone and interviewed me for his G’day World show podcast.

Cameron may just have been desperate for an interview (or maybe he was impressed my deep thoughts on everything from blogging, to emerging church, to my reflections upon camera phones, to my thoughts on Paris Hilton) because in just a few hours it’s already online. If you’d like to hang out with me in an auditory fashion today you can download the podcast here.

It’s not a purely ‘blogging’ interview – but some of you might be interested.

I had fun and came home again wondering if maybe it’s time to dust off the old microphone and do an occasional podcast myself. Tell me what you think (be brutally honest!).

ProBlogger – the Comic

I’ve been immortalized at in cartoon form at Comic Strip Blog. I’m not sure that I’m really in the league of Robert Scoble and Dave Winer or deserve the compliment of the strip – but it’s definitely a first – an a pretty good likeness at that!

See the full cartoon at Comic Strip Blog

Google Ranking Factors

I want to give a prize today to one of the most ugly yet useful sites I’ve seen for a while.

I hope I don’t cause any offense by saying that – but the prize goes to Google Ranking Factors.

Don’t let the ugliness factor put you off because if you scratch a little under it’s spewy color scheme and boxy look you’ll find some very useful information on factors to keep in mind as you think about optimizing your blog for Google.

The factors are divided into four sections.

1. Positive On Page SEO Factors – things that you should consider including on your blog/web page

2. Negative On Page SEO Factors – things you should avoid including on your blog/web page

3. Positive Off Page SEO Factors – factors that you should seek from other web pages that point to your blog

4. Negative Off Page SEO Factors – factors you should try to avoid in those that link to you

Keep in mind that SEO advice is often speculation and that one can become obsessed by it. Rather than treating this as absolute truth you might want to try to keep some of these factors in the back of your mind as you blog.

Chinese Blog to List on NASDAQ

China Economic Net has an article on a Chinese Blogge, Fang Xingdong, who is looking at listing his blogging business on the NASDAQ.

‘One of China’s most well-known bloggers hopes to ride the current boom in personal online journals and transform his blog site into a U.S.-listed Internet giant.

“We are building a blog-based portal and we will be the first blogger ever to list on the NASDAQ,” chairman and chief executive officer Fang Xingdong said.

Fang, who previously made a living as an online commentator, or blogger, said the company would receive US$10 million in financing next month from three American venture capitalists, Hong Kong-based venture capitalist Softbank Investment International and a mainland investor. He declined to name the individual investors as the transaction has yet to be finalized.’

The mind boggles at the massive potential readership of Chinese blogs and the numbers of bloggers that a country of that size could generate. The opportunities are definitely there and dwarf most of the blog projects that many of us in the West hold up as ‘big’. It’s a story to watch!

How To Be A Blogging Idol Instead Of An Idle Blogger

Todd Mintz writes a very worthwhile article at How To Be A Blogging Idol Instead Of An Idle Blogger which I think is a must read for bloggers wanting to start out in ProBlogging.

Whilst I don’t completely agree with everything Todd writes (I’ve never entered into a link exchange program or never bought a text ad for that matter) the article is brimming with useful information that Todd learnt in experimenting with blogs on the topic of American Idol contestants last season of the show. In particular he has had some success with the Bo Bice Blog.

Among Todd’s more useful tips are:

Have a narrow focus: The quickest way to drive traffic to your blog is through excellent search engine rankings. If you blog about lots of unrelated topics, you won’t rank well for any of your key terms….

Press Releases: Online press releases are an excellent way to generate notice for your blog. I created a press release announcing the launch of the blog, and once I decided to “actively” blog Bo, I wrote a release each week recapping the show and featuring highlights from the blog….

Involve Fans: When my blog reached a consistent 500 visitors a day, I decided to actively solicit posts from Bo’s fans. Sure, most blogs give readers the ability to post comments…but I thought that if I ran the comments as actual posts, I could create a “buzz” about the blog and generate large numbers of repeat visits….’

I subscribe to each of these tips and many of the other things Todd writes and think they apply not only to fan sites like the one he runs (keep in mind fan sites are hard to monetize…. I’ve been trying for a while now) but to most blog topics.

Yahoo! Publisher Network Coming Soon?

There’s an interesting post over at SEO RoundTable that speculates that the Yahoo! Publisher Network could be Coming Soon which will definitely bring something of a shake up to Google’s stranglehold on the contextual advertising market through Adsense. They write:

‘Nick at ThreadWatch then wrote a thread, Yahoo Publisher Network to Debut in August? In that thread, he uses some logic to determine that it is very possible that YPN will be here in August. The logic comes from the announcement by JenSense about the recent listed panel on the SES San Jose 2005 Contextual track Earning From Search & Contextual Ads. On that panel is an individual by the name of Will Johnson from Yahoo! Search Marketing.’

So the question is – who will be tempted to move over from Adsense to Yahoo’s publishing system? Will you be tempted to give it a go or will you stick with Adsense? What would convince you to switch?

Can you have too many inbound links to your blog?

A well known Search Engine Optimization strategy that most serious bloggers keep in mind is that the more links that you have pointing to your blog from other sites the higher your page will be ranked in search engines like google. This is a generally accepted strategy for building the profile of your blog and is in fact one of the strengths of blogging (as at the heart of our medium is the linking that bloggers do to one another).

But can you have too many inbound links pointing at your blog?

The growing opinion of SEO experts is that you can. In fact a recent patent by Google indicates that sites that have big increases in inbound links to them in short periods (especially young sites) can actually be treated as spam sites by Google’s algorithm.

[Read more…]

Google introduces RSS to Personalized Pages – An Opportunity for Bloggers?

Many bloggers have been commenting on Google’s addition of RSS feeds to their personalized home page (see Steve Rubel and John Battelle for starters) but I’m yet to see anyone suggest that adding your own RSS feeds to your personalized Google page could be good for SEO (search engine optimization) purposes.

Longer term readers will remember the tip I posted a few months ago regarding how adding your RSS feeds to a MyYahoo! account seemed to get you indexed quicker and better in Yahoo!

As soon as I heard about Google’s move to add RSS to it’s personalized home pages my mind went back to this post and wondered if the same thing might be true for improving one’s rankings in Google. Needless to say that yesterday I added every RSS feed I have to my own Google page and am waiting and watching to see if it has any impact on my ranking in Google. Nothing to report yet (and I’m not sure how I’ll know if it does have an impact – unless it’s dramatic) – however it can’t hurt can it?