Saturday, 18 February 2012

Geekmummy answers your Geeky Questions (New Bloggers Fortnight)

We can count ourselves as very lucky today, for on the blog we have the lovely Ruth who blogs at Geekmummy, she won the MAD blog award last year for most innovative blog and she fully deserves it. Have you ever seen any of her excellent vlogs?  She puts me to shame with my QVC inspired ones! I'll let her introduce herself properly -

Hi I'm Ruth, and I blog at geekmummy.com. I've been blogging in various forms since 2005, and I started my geekmummy blog in August 2010 as something to keep me busy whilst on maternity leave from work after having my son (as if looking after him and his older sister wasn't enough to be getting on with!). As I'm both a Mummy and a geek the name wasn't too hard to come up with! I was very flattered when Michelle asked me to participate in her New Bloggers Fortnight by answering some of your geeky questions – I love being able to help other bloggers. So here goes…
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Can you sum up SEO for a novice?

SEO stands for "Search Engine Optimisation", which is a phrase that seems to strike fear and confusion into the heart of many a blogger. When you visit any search engine (like Google or Bing) and type in what you are looking for, that search engine must decide which of the many millions of web pages it knows about is the most relevant to you. The precise way it works this out is a fiercely guarded, and frequently changing, secret, for if it was public knowledge then content producers would be able to "force" themselves to the top of the results pages, and the search engines would lose credibility with their users.

The good news is that the search engines generally like blogs as their content is regularly updated. And whilst you can spend a lot of time studying SEO, installing SEO Plug-Ins and improving your position in search results, there are a few simple things you can start doing now that will make the search engines rank you higher in their results.

• When you're writing a blog post, think about how people might search to find that article. Use those words in your post title, and again in the first paragraph of your post. These are called your keywords.

• If your post answers a question, consider using that question as your post title.

• Tag your posts - your blogging platform should allow the addition of tags to your post - again make sure you use these, and include your keywords

• Tag your images - most search engines have the ability to search for images as well as text, so again add relevant keywords to your images

Can you sum up what measures matter in the Ebuzzing and Tots100 rankings?

I can certainly sum up the measures used in the Tots100 rankings, as they are publicly available. There are seven metrics that make up your Tots100 score, and for each metric all blogs in the Index are scored relative to each other (i.e. it's not your absolute score that matters, it's your position relative to all the other blogs). I recommend reading the Tots100 primer over on the Tots100 website for a great explanation of how the index works, but in summary here are the seven metrics:

• Number of links to your blog (found via Google)

• Number of those links in the past month

• Number of links to your blog (found via opensiteexplorer.org)

• Your blog's MozRank (found via opensiteexplorer.org) - this a measure of how influential the sites that link to you are)

• Your Klout score

• Your Technorati score (this measures how many different blogs have linked to you in the last month)

• Number of subscribers your blog has in Google Reader.

It is harder to say how the Ebuzzing rankings are calculated, as Ebuzzing do not make that information public. What they do say is that blog and article popularity are calculated using their own algorithm, which takes into account content shares and recommendations on Twitter, Facebook and the primary content exchange platforms. It does seem that links to your blog are a major factor, and links from other blogs within your Ebuzzing category are weighted more heavily than other links.

In general I recommend focusing on producing great content that people will want to link to and talk about as the best way of improving your position in these rankings.

What exactly are backlinks? And how are they counted? Do they all stack up with time?

A backlink is a link to your blog from another blog or website. They are counted by search engines, who use the number of backlinks as a way of deciding how "authoritative" your blog is. In general your number of backlinks will increase over time, as the old ones don't tend to disappear (well unless the linking page is changed or removed), and you should be getting new links each month.

Can you explain ‘no follow’ and do many blogs use that?

To explain "nofollow" I first need to explain a little bit about how search engines explore your site and decide how "authoritative" you are. Search engines trawl the web with "crawlers"; programs which follow links and read the content they find. Each time you link to a site, you're effectively telling the search engines that this is a site that you think is relevant to your blog content. If the search engine keeps finding content it doesn't think is relevant (for example if you mostly talk about parenting issues but keep linking to financial sites), it will decide it doesn't trust you as much, and consider you less authoritative. This damages your page rank, and thus the position you'll achieve in search results. The nofollow tag can be used in a link if you don't want the search engine crawlers to follow the link - it's your way of saying "here's a link, but I don't want you to consider it relevant to my blog content". If you write sponsored posts this is essential, and indeed some companies that offer sponsored posts, like eBuzzing, insist on the use of nofollow links. The simple rule is if you're linking to something else, and it's not directly relevant to your content, use a "nofollow" link otherwise you may damage your own search engine ranking as well as that of your target.. I would also recommend if you're posting sponsored content you use nofollow links.

You make a link into a "nofollow" link by switching your blog editor into HTML view and manually adding the text rel="nofollow" to the link, so that it looks like this:

<a href="http://www.anothersite.com/" rel="nofollow">Click on this link</a>


If you're on WordPress self-hosted there are plugins you can add to your site to make this process easier, unfortunately if you're on Blogger or WordPress.com your only option is the HTML one.

I hope you’ve found this information useful. If you have any more questions please let me know – you can find me on Twitter as @geekmummy.



Thank you so much Ruth, I know that people will find that so helpful, me included.  I have never yet made a link 'nofollow' and I do sponsored posts, so something for me to have a play around with.

We are nearing the end of New Bloggers Fortnight now, in fact after today the fortnight is up but I still have a couple more posts and hence it will continue! Next up is Lou blogging at Bloggomy, who had one of those moments just recently where she wondered if she should just delete her blog.  Thanks heavens she remembered why she blogs and she is sticking around. Monday Lou questions how much you should share on your blog and the things to think through.

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