Monday, June 09, 2008

Relevance Yields Readership And Search Reputation

This blog is "The Real Blogger Status". If somebody went and Googled for "The Real Blogger Status", they would likely get a search list that included this blog, with this blog (hopefully) at the top of the list. Being at the top would increase the chance of a casual visitor clicking on a search list link that leads to this blog, and I would get another reader.

How many people are going to Google for "The Real Blogger Status"?

I want search list entries for "blogspot connectivity problem", "custom domain 404 error", or maybe "layouts templates spacing issue", to lead to this blog, and to the articles that I have written.

Those are real live search lists - things that people might actually search on, and things that would get me readers who want to read my wisdom now, and return later for more. Those folks won't be searching for "the real blogger status", they will be searching for real solutions to real problems, and real solutions are what I try to provide.

You get search reputation from having people click on the search list entries that lead to your blog, and more people click on the search list entries that are at the top of the lists. If your content is relevant to the searches, not juiced using SEO techniques, you get readers who will read what you provide, appreciate what you write, and return later to read more. That produces search reputation, which in turn leads to search list entries at the top of the lists.

And that's what real live search lists are, and why you want them. And none of this comes immediately - it takes hard work, and it takes patience. Not SEO - hard work. Part of the hard work includes knowing when and why you get readers, and understanding why your reader count will cyclically rise and fall.

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16 comments:

AstroNerdBoy said...

Thanks for posting this. To be honest, a year ago when my blog traffic exploded for a six-month period, I had no clue as to why my blog was showing up in the first page of many anime-related searches. The majority of my hits were (and still are) from search-engines, especially Google.

That said, I'm equally puzzled by the bottom falling out of my traffic in April. I do understand that because I'm blogging some older anime titles at present that this would result in a traffic drop off and indeed this happened. However, at the end of last month, my traffic dropped 20% all at once. The first few days of June saw a return to my previous traffic levels (recovering all of the 20% loss and indeed, being a bit up in average traffic), but then things dropped 30% and have remained there ever since.

So, if one can get plus reputation points, does one drop reputation points simply because not as many people are searching for content I have? I still get 52% of my traffic from web searches (the rest coming from places linked to me or people who regularly visit my blog) which is down from where it was at my peak, but not significantly down percentage-wise.

Chuck said...

Astro,

I would suspect your relative reputation (and traffic) could drop because of any of several factors.

If your blogs indexing depends purely upon your sitemap, and your sitemap is feed based, it's limited in size to 25 entries. If you write lots of small posts that not as many people read or search for, that could make your bigger, more popular posts drop off the sitemap. Off the site map = less indexing by the spiders. My theory anyway.

If your competitors become active, they could raise their reputation at your expense. If your SERP drops, you'll get less hits, and still lower SERP. That's a decaying effect.

If your readership depends upon first time readers coming from forums where you post, and if you post less for a while, you'll lose readership there, and your forum inclicks will drop. That too will lead to lower search engine rep.

And if your readership depends upon "Next Blog" inclicks, you'll suffer when you post less, and when the spammers post more.

The answer, I think, is to develop a varied portfolio of readership. That way, if you lose reputation because of one factor, your overall rep won't drop as fast. Again, my theory.

Marf said...

It's good to see a blog like this that isn't all about just SEO.

With sitemaps via feed, there is a way to have more than 25 entries with a blogger blog. Enter this for a sitemap in Google Webmaster Tools:

atom.xml?redirect=false&start-index=1&max-results=100

The redirect=false is because I'm using feedburner with my feed, and I don't want this to be redirected to it. (a sitemap must be on the same domain as the site)

start-index=1 tells it where in the feed list to start.

max-results=100 Here's the magic. With this, you'll get 100 entries instead of the default 25. I've read the max value is 500, but that some search engines don't like over 100 entries per feed.

Now, what if you have over 100 posts? No problem! Just add another sitemap, and change the start-index to 101. You can do this as many times as needed, incrementing by 100 each time. (201, 301, 401, etc...)

That method of incrementing by 100 will work for however many posts you have; even over the 500 limit for max-results. (In other words, atom.xml?redirect=false&start-index=601&max-results=100 will work as well, giving you entries 601-700 if you have that many posts.)

And I can say with personal experience, it works. I use this method with my blog.

Cassiopea said...

You have great info but you do understand
that some newbie, like me for example, won't get
all of it right away, right?

I am at the bottom of a steep learning curve so bear with me a second:
-That search list entry will generate itself with general regular posting entries and tags and titles, is that it?
And with time, automatically?

-That sitemap via feed, doesn't google give you the choice to do it automatically when you index with their search engine?
If not, where do I put this code for it to work, and how?

Chuck said...

Cassiopea,

To your first question, I will refer you to an Aesop's Fable, which has great relevance here.

The "reputation" of your blog (a generic term which is the equivalent of "Page Rank") is based upon many factors. Two that are relevant to your question would be SERP hits, and static inlinks. As the search engine spiders index other peoples blogs, and with those other blogs having static inlinks to yours, yours will get indexed. And as your blog gets indexed, it will gain reputation, and will show up in SERPs (search lists); and SERP entries will generate SERP hits. So yes, with time, automatically. Just not magically.

If you have a Blogger blog, you don't generate a sitemap. Google Webmaster Tools defines your site feed as the sitemap, and adds an entry to the "robots.txt" file. You have to use Google Webmaster Tools, and "Add A Sitemap".

faris_jayz said...

thx a lot...this is really helpful... :)
i'm working on music blog...i just started blogging yesterday...

http://tutorial4piano.blogspot.com/

india143.org said...

Thank you for providing so much information... I am new to blogging and after reading i have done a lots of canging like activating navbar(which o removed).. thnk once more

acolborne said...

My blog www.thefunnysideof55.blogspot.com is primarily directed to an over 55 audience but humour crosses all borders...how do I attract a younger viewer as well.

Chuck said...

Think of 2 specific concerns, when you look for a different age group of viewers.
1. Put content into the blog, that will interest the younger viewer.
2. Publicise the blog in places where the younger viewer may be found.
In other words, and again, Publish and Publicise.

Valerie said...

Chuck,

Do you recommend that I get a sitemap other than what Blogger provides me with? Is there any disadvantage to having just the site feed as my sitemap? This is in reference to your recent answer:

<>

Thank you!

Valerie

Chuck said...

Valerie,

I can think of several relevant questions, which I think should be asked in Blogger Help Forum: How Do I?, as peer support.

Valerie said...

Chuck-

I will go do that :-)

And I apologize - your original statement did not get pasted for some reason. It was part of a discussion on how to attract traffic to one's blog.

Thank you again,

Valerie

shriks said...

Hi,
I have a question regarding this. Will giving more labels to a particular post help in it getting listed?

Ex: My current post is on Water Waste calculations, which is entitled "Mad Maths: Water Wastage", and i gave the labels Environment (env conscious issues) and Mad Maths (cuz i plan on a few more posts like this).

Should i also give labels like "Water Waste", "Save Water", "Save the Earth" and more like this which may just apply to this 1 post??

Right now if you google "mockablenews" you get my site, but none of the posts actually get indexed even though i enter their exact title as search.

PS: i have submitted blog to google and technorati.

Thanks.

Chuck said...

Will giving more labels to a particular post help in it getting listed?

Labels are not treated any differently in search engine indexes. Label searches are specifically excluded from indexing. More, or less, labels do not change search engine indexing - other than maybe they make the blog more convenient for your readers, which may have a secondary effect upon reader volume, and upon indexing.

Phanti said...

My blog is about the last 20 years of my life with Crohn's Disease, actually before and after my diagnosis.
Do you know whether or not there are any sites or special search engines specifically for information regarding medicine that I should add my blog to in order to get more traffic?
Or any other advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks.
P.S. You do great work here!

Kathleen said...

Thanks, this was very interesting to me as I have started a money saving blog and it seems like it has been a lot of work to keep up with, especially with few readers. Now that I know I will need to continue to work hard at it I feel relieved to know that I didn't miss some sort of promotional keywords in signing up!