The official Google Webmaster Central Blog has a few interesting snippets for those interested in optimizing their blog for search engines:
Should You Cross link Your Blogs?
Many bloggers cross link between their blogs in the hope of getting a little Google Juice. I’ve done this for a long time – but have found in the last year or so that it seems to have less impact. Google recommends not doing it unless they are relevant links:
“Before you begin cross-linking sites, consider the user’s perspective and whether the crosslinks provide value. If the sites are related in business — e.g., an auto manual site linking to an auto parts retail site, then it could make sense — the links are organic and useful. Cross-linking between dozens or hundreds of sites, however, probably doesn’t provide value, and I would not recommend it.”
At b5 we’ve changed our blogroll strategy for this reason and now instead of linking to every blog in the network from every blog in the network we keep it to those in the same ‘channel’ (or wider topic). This means more useful links for readers and hopefully a little more Google Juice.
Server Location Matters:
I’ve long been aware that having a localized domain name helps you in localized Google searches (for instance a .au domain tends to rank higher in Google Australia’s search than in the .com search. However it seems that they also use the location of the server in determining the relevancy of a site for local search:
“In the absence of a significant top-level domain, we often use the web server’s IP address as an added hint in our understanding of content.”
I find this a little odd as increasingly I’m finding that bloggers are using US based servers over local ones simply due to cost issues. My own blogs with a .au domain and largely Aussie audience do this and have done reasonably well in Google Australia’s search engine so I suspect it’s just a small factor and not anything to get too concerned about though.