Tracking your Blog’s Performance in Search Engines

If you’re interested in tracking the performance of your blog you might like to start using UrlTrends – a tool that checks page rank in Google and Alexa as well as tracking the incoming links to your site.

It looks like a useful tool – although when you first use it the information might not be that dynamic as its not likely to have been tracking your performance previously. Your first checking of your blog will simply add you to their database and show you graphs with just your current performance. However if you come back over time you should see it tracking your performance.

I also use a free keyword tracker over at Digital Point which also tracks a number of key performance indicators for your site or blog. It Not only tracks your page rank and incoming links, but also checks how you rank on keywords in Google, Yahoo and MSN as well as telling you how many of your pages have been indexed in the search engines.

The only down side of this tracker is that you really need to use it regularly in order to get the best out of it as it only checks the above features for you when you manually stop by and ask it to. I do this as a part of my daily blogging rhythm.

Blog and Ping

T.L. Pakii Pierce has a great rant about Blog and Ping and the growing trend of using blogs for the purposes of Spam. Especially the emerging automated mechanisms that allow spammers to ‘blog and ping’ hundreds (if not thousands) of times in a very short period. I won’t link to such services out there because I don’t want to give them page rank – however they’re out there and becoming increasingly popular.

I’m getting increasingly frustrated with these attempts to climb the search engines by exploiting blogs in this way and worry that in the long run it will harm the rest of us who blog. I’d be particularly worried if I was blogging on Blogger because they are increasingly getting a bad reputation and I suspect there could be some flow on effect of such a reputation unless Blogger/Google come up with some solution.

Also a concern to me is the way that ‘Blog and Ping’ is increasingly being talked about blogs as a legitimate method of growing your site’s rankings in Search Engines. One or two blogs that I had previously respected as quality sites have recently been promoting it and linking to the automating services – this to me is unethical, dangerous and plain stupid.

If you’re tempted to get into ‘Blog and Ping‘ can I suggest that you pause for a second before you swallow all the rubbish that is being said about it to sell these automatic services. The consequences of blog and ping may bring you some short term benefits – but I suspect in the long term you run the risk of being black listed by the search engines for spamming. You’ll also ruin your own reputation and possibly the reputation of the rest of the blogging community whilst also creating yet another collection of rubbish which is already cluttering the internet.

If you want to climb the search engines and stay at the top can i suggest that the quick fix strategies that people use are not worth it. Rather work hard, do it honestly and build a quality website or blog that naturally grows over time – these are the site that will be most profitable over the long term – and you won’t be selling your soul to do it.

Not for Profits and Blogging

Wayne writes on the topic of Non Profits Profiting From Blogs. He believes that not for profit organizations can gain incredibly from blogging which is something that I’m also a strong advocate for.

‘The value of blogs to any non-profit is almost unlimited.

First of all, a blog provides a powerful informational vehicle for the association. The Board of Directors and association staff can keep the membership up to date with the latest initiatives and activities of the organization.

Because a blog is constantly updated, with fresh content, the organizational leaders can maintain up to the minute contact with the members.

Since one of the major difficulties faced by many non-profit organization is membership recruitment and retention, a blog can display the benefits of membership, in real time. Regular postings of how members benefited tangibly from joining the non-profit, can be a useful and interesting series on the blog….’

Over the past few months I’ve had the privilege of consulting for a number of non profit organizations here in Melbourne who have set up blogs and needed advice. Like Wayne I see incredible potential for some of these sorts of organizations for blogging. Particularly I noticed the interactive nature of Blogging between blogger and reader coming into play in these instances with readers/supporters/volunteers not only finding relevant news and information but able to add their support/advice/questions etc via comments. Hopefully we see more not for profit organizations taking on blogging in the future.

If the Blogosphere were a Nation

Paul has been imagining if the Blogosphere was a Nation and has started putting together some office bearers including:

Well – I agree with Robert who responds to Paul’s nomination with a very gracious post about everyone being the president. Whilst these lists are fun they do tend to be a bit of a mutual admiration society and miss most of the amazing bloggers that are out there – many of whom I’m loving getting to know over the past few months.

My only addition to Robert’s thoughts are that when I showed my wife Paul’s post she laughed her head off – I think the thought of me in charge of anything to do with money really amused her to the point of hysterics. Thanks Paul.

Update – Jeremy posts his Blogosphere Heads of State.

Ears Burning? Vanity Check Blogging

Ever get a feeling someone is talking about you? My mum likes to use the phrase ‘my ears are burning – someone must be talking about me’.

One of the interesting things about having a blog or two (or twenty) is that people do talk about you from time to time. Sometimes its because they like something you say, other times its because they don’t. But its always nice to know if they are and what they’re saying because it takes your blogging into a new interactive zone. So how do you know when they’re talking about you? Is it just an Ear Burning sensation or can you be a little more sure than that.

Fortunately there are a few tools that you might like to use:
TrackBack – Probably the best way is to enable trackback on your blog – this will notify you if someone links to your posts.
Technorati – This tool is pretty cool – set up a watch list or manually check who is linking to your blog (example)
Bloglines – Set up a search feed on Bloglines with your name, your blog’s name etc. I do this and am amazed at the articles and posts that I come up in. Its actually alerted me a few times to being quoted in papers that I’d never have known about otherwise.
Referals – Stats – Check your stats to see where people are coming from. I like Sitemeter because it tells you the last 100 referrers.

I’m sure others of you use other methods – share your ‘Vanity Check’ tips in comments below.

Pro Blogger Qualities – Open Mike

What would be your top 5 qualities for a Pro Blogger to have (in order of preference)?

Discuss below in comments if you like or write about it on your own blog and leave a link below.

Google’s Record Earnings and the Blogger

With the recent reports of Google’s massive surge in profits ($369million) for the first quarter of 2005 I can’t help but wonder how much of it is due to bloggers like us.

Of course its a little arrogant of us to take all the credit – after-all they do have a few good income earners out there that are not blogging related – but a large part of their earnings is obviously from Adsense which is increasingly appearing on every second blog. This ABC News article says that most of the income is from text ads:

‘Google makes virtually all of its money from the text-based ads that are tied to online search requests. The company gets paid each time one of the links are clicked on Google’s home page or hundreds of other sites that display the ads.

The text-based ads, which are priced using an online auction system, are becoming more expensive. Advertisers bid an average of $1.75 per click in March, a 6 percent increase from February, according to Fathom Online, a research firm.’

Interesting. $1.75 per click is the average earning? I wonder how much of that $1.75 per click goes into the publisher’s pocket? If my 20 blogs are anything to go by we’re not getting much of it.

Of course no one really knows (outside of Google) what percentage goes to advertisers (or even if we all get the same revenue share as one another) but it does make you wonder how it gets split up – I wonder when the day will come when a Google employee is convinced to spill the beens and leak that kind of information.

Looking at my own Adsense stats for the first quarter – I’d say I’m doing ok. Whilst I didn’t have a six fold increase in what I earned from Google I did have a 300% increase in monthly earnings from January to March. Not a bad return (although the poor figures at the end of December make it look a little more impressive than it actually was).

In a semi related idea – wouldn’t it be fun if instead of paying cash to publishers that Google issued stock options!?

ProBlogger Taglines

Thanks for all those who submitted ideas for a new tagline for this blog. As a number of your advised – the ‘Helping Bloggers Earn Money’ line is probably worth keeping – it sums the site up in so many ways and to change it would be to go against my own advice to make it clear what you’re blog is about to new visitors.

Having said that – some of the suggestions were very good and I’ll use them in different ways. I’m thinking of putting a rotating quote from readers on the side bar at some stage – also some of them would make excellent T-Shirts (but would anyone want to buy one?). I thought I’d highlight the suggestions made here – for a bit of fun. Feel free to add more in comments.

Here they are:

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ProBlogger has left the Building

Monday is a public holiday here in Australia (and New Zealand) – its ANZAC day where we remember the troops that have died over the years from our countries in war. Its a pretty massive holiday here in Australia – getting bigger every year.

I’m headed down the coast with some friends for a couple of days – back on Sunday night in time to go to the football on Monday.

So talk amongst yourselves on some of the previous posts if you wish to get a ProBlogger fix while I’m gone. There will also be a couple of posts which I’ve already written go off over the next 48 hours to watch out for.

Otherwise – have a good weekend. The ProBlogger has left the building.

Does Professional Blogging = Non Interactive Blogging?

I’m always fascinated by the approach that different bloggers take when it comes to interacting with their readers and other blogs. I’m not going to name names but this week I’ve had a number of email correspondences with editors/owners of three medium to large blogs (bigger than any of mine) that have highlighted the variety of approaches that people take to this.

In each case I’d emailed them to notify them of stories that related to their blogs tipping them off to a development that I thought was relevant to their blogs – I included a short statement summing up the story and a link back to where I’d posted about it. I don’t normally do this with many bloggers – but all three ask for such tips on their blogs with links to contact forms or email addresses to help us to do so (I’ll qulaify now that none of these blogs are on the topic of blogging – its unlikely that anyone who regularly reads this blog has anything to do with any of these).

So how were my tips received?

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