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Six Apart to buy Live Journal

Om Malik has just revealed that Six Apart are about to buy Live Journal. This would definitely Six Apart up a notch when it comes to competing with Google’s Blogger as it would take them to 6.5 million users.

‘Folks have been predicting a big year for mergers and acquisitions in 2005, and we are starting the year with a bang. I have learnt exclusively that Six Apart, the parent company behind hosted blogging service TypePad, and Moveable Type is about to acquire Live Journal, for an undisclosed amount. The deal is a mix of stock and cash, and could be announced sometime later this month, according to those close to the two companies.’

Gawker Media seeks Corporate Intern

Gawker Media are looking for a Corporate Intern. Of course no sooner had they made that announcement than they’d asked for no more applicants as they’d been flooded with expressions of interest from eager bloggers from around the world.

Categories and Search Engine Optimization

I would add another point to the last post on why Blogs are Popular with Search Engines and comment that it is not only page structure that works well but often overall site structure. The fact that many blog systems like Word Press and Moveable Type allow bloggers to categorize their posts can actually help Search Engines spider blogs and give them authority.

I get quite a few hits to the category pages of my blogs. For instance, one of the more popular entry pages from search engines on this blog is my Adsense page. This is not because loads of people directly link to this page (I can only find one external link that does) but it is because that particular page is keyword rich (ie the word Adsense is all over it ) – not because I’ve rigged it that way but just because its in virtually every title and first sentence of each post. It is also a page that is linked to from every page on this blog in the menu.

One of the disadvantages that I see with Blogger blogs (without hacking them) is that they do naturally come with a categories option. Instead posts are only archived according to date which means that they miss some of the benefits outlined here.

Why Blogs are Popular with Search Engines

Corporate Blogging Blog writes a very good article about why blogs rank well in Search Engines. Of course one of the big reasons is links – one of the major features of blogging is the interlinking between blogs of a similar theme or topic. If you write good content on a particular topic it is likely that you’ll attract inward bound links from other relevant blogs – this of course is one of the major ways that a Search Engine like Google or Yahoo decide how to rank sites. However Frank argues that there are other reasons in addition to links that make blogs attractive to search engines including:

- Keywords, key phrases

- Straight to the point

- Each post’s page structure

- Coding

- One subject per post

- The blog site’s information structure

- Links then…?

Frank expands each point well and his argument makes perfect sense. In fact they are more than common sense some of his points can actually be built upon as a strategy. Learn from what he’s saying. For example – ‘one subject per point’ – the temptation is often to write 10 points on each post that you do. The smarter way to approach it would be to write 10 posts – each with a punchy title and content that tightly focused upon one point. You’re more willing to get picked up and ranked highly by search engines using this method than by a long general essay.

Blogs for business

Electronic Business has a good article introducing some of the concepts around Business Blogs (and Wikis), especially highlighting some of the internal ways that blogs can be used to communicate within a business.

‘Forget about all the hype you’ve heard about blogs (a.k.a. Web logs) as the latest outlet for personal journalism. It turns out they also have a remarkable ability to aid communication in business, whether within internal workgroups or among external chains of suppliers and partners. For an industry such as electronics—where relationships are far-flung and time-to-market pressures require fast communications—blogs can bring a new agility to the workforce….

Gomes suggests, blogs work best internally as a knowledge management tool, because information can be made so easily accessible.’

Find Your Future Google PageRank

So we know Google are doing a page rank update – on some data centers the results are not showing yet. Are you impatient and want to know what your blog’s page rank will be? You might find this future page rank predictor tool useful.

Future PageRank from SEO tools looks at a variety of data centers around the globe and checks to see if there is any discrepancies.

For example – this blog is currently showing a page rank of 3 on Google.com – but after checking the tool it seems that a page rank of 6 is on the way which would be a nice thing.

Dpbsts

It seems most of my blogs have had an increase in page rank which is a nice feeling (one even seems headed for a page rank of 7 – up from 6) – however the backlink update of the last two weeks was not so positive and SERPs and traffic have suffered terribly (see attached graph which is an example of the decrease in traffic over the past few weeks on the blog with the page rank of 7).

So whilst the updates don’t seem to be final I’m left in a strange place – page rank is on the improve but traffic levels remain at an abysmal level.

And still we wait – assured by more experienced blog/webmaster friends that time will tell and that things will improve.

In the mean time the Future Page Rank tool will be a handy one.

[Read more...]

Publisher Driven Advertising

John Battelle also has a great column over at Technology Review that puts forward an idea called Publisher Driven Advertising (PDA). It is an alternative to the traditional approach to advertising where advertisers hold much of the power in the relationship between audience, publisher and advertiser. John argues that with the interactivity of the internet that an alternative economy is emerging that rebalances where the power lies in this interaction.

Of course the recent trend in online ads has gone to pay-per-click (PPC) which John argues is the first step to moving to a PDA economy. PPC represents a significant shift where ‘the advertiser pays only when the ad performs—when someone clicks on the ad itself. Second, paid search networks “disaggregate” advertisers from publishers—that is, advertisers no longer purchase space on the publisher’s site but instead pay for keywords.’

Battelle takes PPC a step further and suggests that the next move to PDA could be something like:

‘Next, imagine that, instead of buying into PPC networks or specific sites, advertisers release their ads onto the Internet….

[Read more...]

Another Look Ahead at 2005

Some of the predictions for 2005 in John Battelle’s Searchblog are worth a read for pro blogging types looking into the crystal ball. Here is a taste of the first three:

’1….We’ll all work on figuring out ways to stick to our principles and get paid at the same time, however, I expect that things might get more contentious before they get better, and 2005 may be a more fractious year in the blogosphere as we evolve through this process.

2…. It will get harder to innovate before it gets easier. We’ll all be surprised by the lack of what we consider “progress” in the RSS/Blogging world, and expectations of major publishing revenues will not materialize as quickly as perhaps we think they should. However, we’ll in fact be making huge strides in understanding the path forward, it just won’t seem like it….

3. There will be two to five major new sites that emerge from “nowhere” to become major cultural influencers along the lines of the political bloggers of 2004. One of them will be sold to a major publisher/aggregator for what seems like a large sum of money, driving the abovementioned #2 and #1…’

Read more predictions for 2005 at John Battelle’s Searchblog: A Look Ahead

Google on 60 Minutes – Adsense Publishers to Profit?

Online Business Opportunity is predicting profits will result for Adsense users after the 60 Minutes show on Google tonight in the States. They say watch out for a rise in earnings due to:

‘- The price per click will rise across all products and services

- AdSense advertisers will be earning more money due to this rise in click prices

- A less sophisticated group of advertisers will be spending money without proper tracking and ROI calculation’

I’m not sure there will be much noticeable difference but will be interested to track it and am keen to get my hands upon a copy of the episode.

Translating Blogs

The Multi Lingual Blog (Blogos) has an interesting post examinging Translation in the Blogosphere.

‘Now that millions of individuals around the world are being empowered, if that’s the right expression, by blog software to file reports from sites that the news media cannot always reach, or expose and share their personal lives in interesting new ways, or engage in intense discussion about issues of moment, far from the exclusive institutions of the nation state, the language barrier suddenly looms up like a wall of ice from the sea of words. How can we free the meanings encoded in those alien tongues?’

This is another of those ‘gap areas’ where I see opportunity for some enterprising person or group to provide some tools that would be snapped up by thousands of bloggers around the world who want to expand the reach of their sites (whether they be purely hobby blogs or professional ones).

I’ve previously experimented with free translation software like Babel Fish or Google’s Translation Tools – but I’ve never been completely satisfied with them. I’ve recently seen a number of bloggers who have people translate their articles by word on a voluntary or paid basis – but this is a slow and arduous task.

The other end of the spectrum is how to monetize your translated pages. Many advertising programs will not allow you to put your ads on non english sites. Adsense now has a number of languages available for its ads, but it can get quite tricky to set them all up if you have multiple versions of the one page.

I’m keen to hear how others have tackled the issue of translating their blogs? Have you seen good models of it? What tools work for you? What don’t? Feel free to leave your comments and suggestions below – share the knowledge so we can all improve our work.