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Pajamas Media – Proceed with Caution

Duncan over at the Blog Herald has considered the new blog network being proposed by Pajamas Media (which I linked to a couple of days back). Duncan has taken a look over the documentation that Pajamas Media sent out to interested participants in the program and expresses a number of concerns with what he reads.

It seems that despite some of the concerns that have been raised that many have signed up for the program – Roger posts that over 150 have signed up to be a part of the network.

Duncan questions the legality of the documents sent out by the Pajamas Media team and points out that there is a 3 month exclusivity clause which stops publishers talking to any new advertisers and publishing networks. In a sense what bloggers are being asked to do is take something of a step out into the dark without knowing exactly what conditions Pajamas Media will offer. He goes on to talk about concerns with the secrecy clause in the contract, confusion between the two programs that they seem to be promoting at once and lastly about the right wing political nature of most of the bloggers behind this program and the implications that this might have.

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Creating A Search Engine Copywriting Plan

Karon Thackston wrote a good piece recently over at WebProNews that I’ve been meaning to link to. She breaks down the posting process into 9 elements for writing posts and articles that will rank well in Search Engines. They are good, basic, non technical tips for bloggers wanting a simple starting point for thinking about SEO. It is easy to get caught up in the technicalities of SEO – but if you at least start with these tips you’ll be on the right track.

1) Use Three Keyphrases Per Page
2) Have 250 or More Words of Copy
3) Write In Natural Language
4) Use Keyword Phrases In Headlines and Sub-headlines
5) Use Keyword Phrases Once or Twice Per Paragraph
6) Use Keyword Phrases In Bold, Italic or Bulleted Lists
7) Do NOT Use Keyword Phrases As Substitutes For Generic Terms
8) Use Keyword Phrases As Anchor Text In Links
9) Test and Track

Found via Learning SEO

How Most Visited Blogs Make Money – Visuals

Dutch site Marketing Facts has posted a little table to visualise the post I did on how top traffic blogs are making income.

Businessmodel-Blogs-2

Professional Blogging Frenzy – June 2005

Boy oh Boy do I have a treat for you readers in June when I go away for a month (we’re heading to Turkey for a few weeks and will have a little time in London also – purely holiday apart from one or two meetings in London).

I’ve just emailed some of my favorite bloggers asking them to be guest contributers while I’m away and the replies have just started coming in – so far there are some pretty amazing bloggers who are agreeing to post here over that four week period while I’m taking a bit of a break.

I won’t drop any names yet – but needless to say that these are people I read daily and am excited about having write all in the one place – even if its just for a few weeks. It could be quite the professional blogging frenzy around here in June. More news on who is coming over to ProBlogger to play as we get closer to June.

If there is a Blogger you’d like to see write on Pro Blogging in June – let me know in comments below and I’ll see if they are willing to participate.

Search Engine Marketing Tools

Three tools that you might like to use to analyze how well your blog is going are over at Marketleap. They are:

  • Search Engine Placement Check - gives you a ranking for a particular keyword in 7 search engines.
  • Search Engine Index Check - gives an indication of how well saturated your blog is in different search engines (or how many pages each SE has indexed for your blog).
  • Link Popularity Check - compares how many inbound links your blog has to other sites and blogs. You can enter a number of others to compare yours to and can see how it compares to other popular sites. This one is my favorite (this blog is more popular than coke.com!)

Sub-Niche Posting

Stephan Spencer writes a good simple tip on keywords.

‘To rank for the most generic (yet still relevant) keyword possible, your page content needs to be focused on one (or possibly a couple, but certainly no more than three) central keyword theme. Each page of your site should “sing” its own unique “song” (keyword theme) to the search engines.’

This is one of the key pieces of advice I am constantly giving bloggers. The way I look at is that each Blog should be focused on a niche – but that each post (page) within it should focus in on a sub-niche of the larger one.

To take Stephan’s ‘song’ analogy – see your blog as a compilation album (I’m thinking of some of my 80′s CDs) that is a collection of songs on a larger theme. Each song (post) has its own characteristics and focus that tie into a larger theme.

Whilst there is a place for the larger post that is a little more general in topic – its can often be more effective to break such posts up into smaller ones (a series if you like) and make each part focus upon one element (keyword).

Reasons for being banned or penalized by Google

Search Engine Journal has a good post on reasons that your blog might be banned (or penalized) by Google. So if your blog has disappeared from their index you might want to consider one of these seven issues:

1) Duplicate Content – where multiple pages have the same content.
2) Cloaking – where pages are created purely for Search Engines – ie where readers get one version and SEs another
3) Hidden text or hidden links – links that are not seen by actual readers that are there purely for SE spiders
4) Keyword stuffing – putting too many of your keywords in your page (either in meta tags, invisible text, in image tags etc).
5) Linking to bad neighborhoods – linking to pages that use Spam techniques – or link exchange programs.
6) Buying links for Search engine ranking – hard for Google to detect but if they catch it penalties occur.
7) Machine Generated Web sites – spamy type sites created by automated systems – hundreds and thousands of pages at a time (usually only slightly different from one another).

Read more at Banned from Google and Wondering Why?

Cost Per Influence Advertising

Jason has a good post critiquing the CPI (Cost Per Influence) advertising that some have been talking about a bit recently. The theory is that some are trying to come up with an advertising system that rates ‘influence’ of blogs and connects this to the advertising rates that they are able to charge because of it.

It’s a nice idea – in theory – but as Jason say my experience is that advertisers are generally pretty smart at working out how influential a blog is by themselves – I’m not sure a CPI program would help them too much to do this. Jason writes it better than I could so I’ll just let him say it (and I’ll get back to packing boxes for our move this week):

‘To be blunt, as I’m prone to be, the CPI concept is appealing to those folks who don’t have the traffic to back up the claim that they are influential or who don’t want to wait till their traffic reaches that level. It also appeals to those who don’t have the ability or time to demonstrate to advertisers that they are influential.

One thing I’ve learn running online media businesses for the past 10 years is that people buy what they like to read. The advertisers in WIRED, Industry Standard, and the Silicon Alley Reporter were the folks who read the magazine and felt affiliated with it in some way.

Advertising is about affiliation more then influence. High-tech advertisers want to be affiliated with Engadget, hip companies want to be affiliated BoingBoing.net. Some day very soon advertisers will catch up with the highly-influential, but lower traffic, blogs folks like Doc, Jeff, Joi, and Kottke (who knows if these fine folks even want ads, but you get my drift).

When they do catch up it will be because of a combination of those folks increasing their traffic and their sales ability, as well as the advertisers finding them. It’s a natural process, and CPI isn’t really necessary to get it done.’

A Blogging Perspective OS X Tiger

Tigershipping20050429Last night I was in town and treated myself to the new OSX – Tiger. This afternoon I’ve installed it and have been playing around with it – asking myself how it will improve my blogging.

Here are a few initial reflections:

Dashboard – one of the main things that Apple have been selling this upgrade with is the new Dashboard feature which allows users to download desktop widgets. At the click of a button these widgets appear on your screen giving you up to date information on a variety of topics – ranging from stock prices, weather, world time, dictionary, calculator, wikipedia look up, mini rss reader. I’m going to enjoy this – I’ve already got an array of world time clocks which are going to be very handy as I think about posting times and talking with my many international blogging friends. Another useful widget that I’m going to enjoy is the ‘Translator’ that converts words and phrases between English and 10 languages (including Dutch and Germany – which I always am trying to translate as this blog is read by and linked to by many bloggers of writing in these languages). If there are any widget developers out there – I challenge/beg/suggest to you to please develop a widget for Adsense statistics (like the firefox plug in). Please?!?!

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Weblog Empire Network to Launch

Word on the Street is that Duncan (from Blog Herald) new Blog network (mentioned previously here) will be called Weblog Empire – domain name is registered but not live yet.