This post has been submitted by Croak from The Bavarian Falcon.
Technorati is getting a lot of attention these days, good and bad. But as a portal into the blogosphere, it is fairly prominent, and more and more readers are coming to rely on it, especially for its tag search and content search.
As a problogger, you should be ready to leverage what Technorati can do for you.
The very first thing you should do is create a Technorati account. If you’re problogging, it might be a good idea to think about what name you would like displayed (your own name, the name of your blog, your pseudonym, etc.). What you decide depends on the subject matter of your blog, but it is important, as it’s one of the three ‘linked’ results that show on a Technorati search, and it takes searchers to your Technorati profile page.
Spend a minute or two filling in your profile (or make plans to come back to it), but don’t upload your portrait yet (see below).
Technorati will may crawl your blog if you’ve claimed it or not (if it’s been pinged), but with a claim comes the ability to add details to the search results, and perhaps most important, it allows you to add up to 20 ‘static’ tags to your blog, for use with Technorati’s ‘Blog Finder’ service (which lets you search blogs based on those 20 static tags). You don’t need to use all 20 tags, and you can always edit/tune them later, as well as the blog description.
TAG, YOU’RE IT!
When Technorati crawls your blog, it is looking for tags. Your best bet for a successful Technorati crawl is to use the tagging format that Technorait prefers:
* a href=”http://technorati.com/tag/[tagname]” mce_href=”http://technorati.com/tag/[tagname]” rel=”tag”[tagname]
Technorati doesn’t care if you link to them or not, you can also link to any URL that ends in the tag name, like:
* a href=http://www.problogger.net/tag/chitika” rel=”tag”>Chitika< -don't try to navigate here, it's an example, not a real page on Problogger
There are countless blog plugins and tools for automating the tagging process when you create posts, and Technorati is smart enough to use many pre-existing formats (WordPress ‘Categories’ for example).
But whatever method you use, you should be serious about tagging your posts. Without the tags, Technorati is ineffective. Obviously it’s easier to tag as you go, but it’s worth the time and tedium to go through your archives and tag them as well (more on that later).
Another benefit of tagging (and displaying those tags) is that readers who bookmark you to del.icio.us can see what tags you’re using, and will often copy them.
Use relevant tags, and if possible, keep them to one word each. Don’t go tag crazy and add a tag for every word in your post.
IMAGE IS EVERYTHING
Getting back to the portrait: You should create an attractive/catchy 100×100 (or thereabouts, but keep it square) logo to use on Technorati. Technorati will reduce images down to a 60×60 version for your profile page, and a 40×40 version to use elsewhere, but the higher quality 100×100 original (or larger if you’d like) is nice to have for other uses
A good logo is a worthwhile time and/or money investment. Besides using it for Technorati, you can also send it to Adsense for the “advertise on this site” link and site search results page banner, and it can be reduced down to an 8×8 favicon as well, though doing that requires some planning, what looks good at 100×100 is could be a pixel blur at 8×8.
– If you have the logo professionally done, be sure to ask for a .png file as well, rather than just a .jpg or .gif. This gives the ability to edit layers in the image later, and it makes it easier to create a modified version for shrinkage, etc.
Posting as an authority and getting a fair amount of Technorati tag listings on a particular subject is always very good. But getting those listings and making them instantly visible with a spiffy logo is even better.
When doing a tag search, most readers scan the tag “headline” (another reason you should write good post titles) then briefly touch on the contents if the headline seems to fit what they’re looking for. The problem is, Technoratiís content snippets don’t contain a lot of info, so the headline has to do most of the work for you.
Adding a logo, (especially when several of yours show up on a tag search) lends a lot of “weight” to the decision to click on your link in Technorati, and takes some of the burden off of your headline. If it’s a decently done logo, it also adds an air of professionalism to your blog.
Portraits (such as your handsome/pretty face) don’t seem to be as effective; people tend to screen out faces, especially when they’re in the 40×40 format. Much of that depends on the type of blog you’re running; a product blog doesn’t benefit much from portraits on Technorati, but a commentary or social blog could.
Do a Technorati Tags or Blog Finder search on “BMW” for an example, you’ll see that even though I’m not at the top of the list, my logo tends to make you want to do the clicky thing.
Having a logo is also important for one other thing. Technorati rotates “Featured Bloggers” on the main page, and without a logo/portrait, you will not be included in this rotation. It’s a nice little bump to traffic (and ego) when you make the cut, though short-lived.
HELPING TECHNORATI HELP YOU
For new Technorati users, (or those that just went through their archives and tagged everything), you should have the main page contain as many posts as possible (until the first Technorati crawl), so that all the relevant tags from the archives are found . (Technorati doesn’t seem to crawl archives, just the main page and posts that are pinged as recent).
Depending on your blogging software and where you placed your tags, you may need to expand your posts (remove ‘more’ tags, get rid of the ‘bump’.) so that Technorati can find them.
–There’s always the option of using ‘invisible’ tags, by hiding them in the meta keyword data, but that technique is frowned on by Google.
Once you’ve verified that your tags are live on Technorati (this could take a few hours), you can revert back to a smaller main page and redo your bumps.
It’s not really cheating, it’s just making sure your content gets found and indexed. The downside to this is that Technorati will see all those posts as new entries, and date-stamp them accordingly, so even though you wrote a post two years ago, Technorati will mark it as recent. The good news is, Technorati remembers URLs, so posts that are already indexed by Technorati won’t be repeated.
The main page expansion method is also a good way to get your tags listed on Technorati if it’s had a crawler hiccup (there are cases where Technorati stops crawling a site for some reason, usually because of excessive XHTML errors. When it starts crawling again, it will only look at your main page).
With a little effort, Technorati can be a valuable asset to the professional blogger, so there’s no excuse why you shouldn’t do as much as possible to maximize the services offered.
Croak runs The Bavarian Falcon, a niche blog dealing with most things BMW that has been growing nicely the past few months thanks to tips from people like Darren Rowse. He has plans for expanding into other subjects with other blogs in the future.