Tools for searching blogs

Although Google does a fine job of locating WordPress content (especially if you alt tag everything and categorize properly) there are other ways to find what’s up on blogs:
Track What Bloggers are Saying – Bill’s Buzz Marketing Blog – ECNext

Blogpulse is an AC Nielsen service with a simple interface and some trending reports.IceRocket searches not only blogs by MySpace as well, another CGM channel that deserves monitoring. IceRocket also offers a trending tool.

Technorati often uncovers blogs not picked up by the other engines, but usually returns the fewest results for searches I conduct.

And of course, there’s the small start up known as a Google. Goog’s Blog Search returns the greatest number of results for the searches I’ve conducted and has that oh so friendly and simple Google UI.

This is by no means a comprehensive list- and there are other sites, like Digg, that help you find out what people are talking about, interested in, or posting about.

Most people don’t start at one of these sites for search, they start at a major search engine like Google, but, times change, and it never hurts to be aware of what’s out there.

Remember, Search Engines don’t all index the same thing- or give the same results, so it never hurts to have many of them available for different searches.

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Want to learn about Google and SEO?

While most of the people who take our seminar know what Google is, they have no clue on how it works. Matt Cutts works at Google, and is used to speaking to people who eat sleep and breathe Search Engine Optimization (SEO) so- some of this will be over a lot of peoples heads- but- he’s posted a series of videos of himself- answering questions:
Matt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO » Google/SEO

I’ve linked to his category- so as he adds more video, they should all be there. As of this writing, he has 10 videos, each about 5 minutes each. The bad thing about answering these as video, is that Google can’t index everything he says- a transcript- which would help him actually achieve Search Engine Optimization. Remember, google can’t tell what a picture, a video, or a podcast contains unless you explain it- either in Alt text or descriptions. Tagging each video with keywords helps, but nothing beats a complete transcript or a very good text description. By writing about his videos and linking back to them, I’m helping make his site rank higher on the subject of Search Engine Optimization- how ’bout that!
Some things I picked up from watching all 50 minutes (so you won’t have to):

Google likes content- optimized for both SEO and the user experience. It doesn’t help to have all the keywords if people don’t want to stick around on your site.

Google doesn’t give blogs a higher rank- however, if your site is totally “crawlable” and has clean code- that sure helps. W3C validation is good- but not totally critical to Google. He says the reason is simple: something like 40% of code out there has syntax errors. If you don’t know what a syntax error is- that’s an even better reason to use something like WordPress which writes most of your code for you.

Speaking of WordPress- I would almost bet my TiVo that Matt is using WordPress for his blog/site- I could be wrong, but I doubt it.

One thing he was pretty clear about- Google people don’t like to be fooled. SEO games to build rank are frowned upon. Always make your site look the same to the googlebot as a regular visitor would see it. Hiding white text on a white background would be bad. The issues of localization and cloaking are described pretty well- and if you need to know more- watch the videos.

If you don’t want to be a Search Engine Optimization slave- the simple answer is have good content- original content. Don’t copy and paste- quote and discuss. The more content you have on your topic- the better.

And as a note- Matt, if you do see this, I’d be honored to have a comment on this site!

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Write better posts!

Writing for me is easy. Writing for some of you is hard.

Creating great content is the key to getting more visitors- so all you English majors out there- rejoice, your diploma may be worth something again. Chris Pearson has a post about content that’s worth reading- so here is the link and an excerpt:

Pearsonified | Best damn blog on the planet.

When you first got into blogging, I’m betting that refining your copywriting skills was likely the last thing on your mind – I certainly wasn’t thinking about it! Five months in, however, I see that developing this skill will pay huge dividends in launching future ventures, regardless of whether they take place online or offline. Simply put, being able to write great copy is one of those transferable skills that I talked about last time – it can help to set you free.
Here are a few of our tips on building content:
  1. Some tips I find useful- google what you want to write about- and then write about what you find (that’s how this post is being done- with the help of the Pressit function of WordPress). You can also set up a Google alert on your subject to find things for you.
  2. Look at your webstats search terms- then combine them in new ways- with meaningful insight- which should help you promote your search rank in the future. See this post.
  3. Ask your readers questions- and see where they take you with their comments- I read a post by Mark Cuban today about the future of movies- he had over 568 responses. I wrote about it.
Those are just a few ideas-
if you have more suggestions- please feel free to share them as a comment below.

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