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Yahoo! announce Search Index Update

Yahoo are doing something that I’m not sure has been done before today – they’re telling us that they are about to do an index update on their blog. This is a great move that I wish Google would take note of and follow. It would take a lot of the guess work, stress and confusion out of the lives of webmasters who sweat on each update.

It’ll be interesting to watch the changes in this latest Yahoo! update – let us know in comments if you notice any difference in your rankings and traffic from Yahoo.

Read more at Yahoo! Search blog: Yahoo! Launching New Search Index Tonight

Making your blog sticky

Duncan over at The Blog Herald has a great post on Making your blog sticky which is a second post (first one is here) on what he’s doing at his great blog to make readers stick around after surfing in for the first time to one of his individual archive pages. Its a great article with some useful tips that I’m going to consider playing with.

I am particularly interested in his experimentation with the ‘Recent Posts’ plug in that he’s implemented at the base of each of his posts. I’ve been considering doing that on one of my blogs which has struggled to get people to view more than one page per visit.

In making this move on Blog Herald he now estimates that 60% of his readers now read more than one article on his blog per session in comparison to 10% a month ago. Thats a serious improvement!

Google’s Sandbox Documented?

If you’re into Search Engine Optimization you might be interested in checking out this article and the comments at this Threadwatch post titled Google’s War on SEO. It refers to a recent patent by Google that could shed some light on where they’re going with their algorithm.

It is pretty heavy stuff – but sheds a bit of light on the legendary and often speculated about Google Sandbox. I’m yet to go right through it all – but one of the initial take home comments seems to be that if you want to grow in Google you need to work on ‘natural’ growth and not the sudden appearance of a large site with loads of backlinks to it (which has been an approach of many SEO experts perviously.

This makes sense and is probably good news to bloggers who in most cases grow their blogs pretty slowly over time with a steady growth in backlinks. Anyway – if you’re into this stuff have a read and let us know what it all means to you in comments below.

There is also a good discussion on the same topic at Search Engine Watch.

Sponsored Blogging

Better Communication Results has a post on Sponsored blogging and podcasting which gets picked up over at Corporate Engagement that examines the question of the ethics of sponsored blogging.

I’ve never had a sponsored post on any of my blogs but have often wondered about them. Do you have any experience with them? Would you be open to someone sponsoring a post – under what conditions would you or wouldn’t you do it?

WordPress Spam Saga Developments

The latest news on the WordPress Spamming Saga is that Google has reindexed their site to give it a page rank of 0 out of 10 – effectively removing it from their index at least in the short term. It seems that Yahoo has done likewise.

Along side this WordPress have now removed all of the 120,000 spam articles from their site (smart move).

Pope Blog Getting Attention

A month or two ago we started a blog to watch the the developments in the Vatican around the Pope who was suffering from terrible illness. With his continuing decline it has been amazing to be involved in a blog that tracks a life like his. I feel like I’ve learned a lot not only about blogging through it but about the topic at hand.

The latest news is that he’s just been read his last rites and is very close to death – you can imagine the type of attention that this story is getting and will continue to get over the coming weeks.

Update – in following developments of the Pope’s health for the past 5 or so hours and updating news as it happens on the blog I’m again amazed at the speed and usefulness of blogs in comparison to the main stream media. The past three or four posts that I’ve put on the blog have beaten main stream online news reports by half an hour or more every time. Our sources are the same (Vatican Radio) but blogs are just so fluid that I have type up a post as I hear it and have it live on the blog within seconds.

In fact the mainstream media reports of the story are sometimes so out of date by the time they are published. As I watch Google New on the topic I’m still seeing reports appearing just now that the Pope’s health is worsening when Vatican Radio reported he’s stabilised over an hour ago. Again it highlights the usefulness of blogging in reporting the news.

How Does Google Share with Adsense Publishers

Have you ever wondered how much of a cut Google takes from Adsense earnings and how much they give to publishers? Its an age old question that Google have never spoken publicly about. This doesn’t stop a lot of speculation on the topic every month or two in the numerous Adsense forums around the traps. SEO Round Table points to a couple of discussions that predict that the publisher’s share could be anything between 59% and 70%.

I’d probably err on the lower side of those predictions – what do you think?

Eyetools seeks expressions of interest in “Community of Learning”

Eyetrack-HeatmapGreg over at Eyetools Research gave me a call on Skype a few weeks ago to talk to me about blogging, Adsense and his wonderful Eyetools Research which I was fascinated in. If you haven’t checked out Eyetools can i recommend you head over to his blog and have a look because its not only fascinating – its also full of very useful information. In short Eyetools is a eyetrack testing tool that watches where people look when they read your blog and creates a wonderful heat map to graphically represent what the hot spots on your site are.

Greg generously ran an eyetool test on one of my blogs and I was very impressed with the results – it explained a number of things and taught me a few valuable lessons in positioning of ads, blog design and layout and the use of different formatting techniques.

Greg today posted that he’s seeking bloggers expressions of interest in a eyetracking “Community of Learning” for bloggers. Read more about what this means at his blog but take it from me that the types of things that Greg can tell you about their research would be well worth paying for and its a program I’m keen to explore more of myself.

Blogging Crushes – Get your Virtual Date Here

Do you have a Blogging Crush on another Blogger? Want to be set up on a ‘virtual date’?

I’m not talking a romantic crush – I’m talking about an admiration, an obsession, a fascination with another blogger. You love what they do but you wonder if they even know you exist! (sniff sniff)

They are at the top of your list of daily reads – you can’t get enough of their posts – you wake up in the morning thinking about them…. ok – maybe not the last one – but you know what I mean.

Who do you have a Blogging Crush on and what would you like to ask them?

If you could have a face to face meet up (a date) with any blogger who would it be and what two or three questions would you ask them?

Leave your answer in comments below and I’ll do my absolute best to get your questions answered. Who knows they might even notice you and a wonderful relationship might ensue.

10 DIY Blog platforms you may not have visited

Duncan over at the Blog Herald has a good post introducing readers to 10 DIY Blog platforms you may not have visited.

The list he compiles is filled with some interesting blogging tools that you might want to check out if you’re looking to start a new blog.