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Optimizing your Blog for Google Panda

Google Panda and BlogsThe recent update made by Google (Panda) is the first major change since 2009. There were many blogs that were affected by this update. Some experienced a drop in their traffic, while some experienced a surge. Whatever change your blog experienced, I’m sure you have noticed a lot of buzz around these algorithm changes. What is Panda all about? Let’s take a look:

No gibberish

According to Google, the Panda update was made to enhance the quality of search results. This made spammy sites disappear from the results. Though there still are some gibberish sites on search results, there are many websites that were pushed down in the search rankings. The Panda update is not perfect, but it did make considerable changes.

The update targeted low quality sites with superficial and shallow content, and brought down their rankings. The websites that were hit the hardest by Panda were content farms and article sites.
Click here to read the full blog post!

Corporate Blogging Guide (7): Blog Performance Tracking Tools

A blog’s success is measured through both its number of active readers or of RSS subscribers and its performance in traffic: number of page views, of unique visitors, popularity, page rank and many others.

There are a few methods to obtain the needed statistics to track and measure such indicators.

1. Access and traffic statistics

Google, the most powerful and popular search engine in the world, provides bloggers with traffic statistics though its free Google Analytics service.

By choosing a free Google Analytics account, you can view stats regarding your blog’s page views, number of unique or returning visitors, keywords used to reach your blog, the most visited pages you have posted, geographical tracking of your visitors and much more.

Google Analytics is currently considered to be a very accurate and relevant tool. Other services you might consider are StatCounter or Woopra with its live tracking and analytics features.
Click here to read the full blog post!

The FeedBurner Subscriber Count Drop Issue

Over the past few days many of us have seen a significant drop in our RSS subscriber count in our FeedBurner account.

The FeedBurner help group – if we can call it that way, as no one ever seems to answer – is filled with messages from users who have “lost” even thousands of subscribers overnight. What’s the answer these users get? The silent treatment. And it’s not the first time users report these drops and get no answer.

OK, we’ve seen a pattern in these drops and it involves the Google Reader subscribers. With Google Reader being probably the most popular feed subscription tool worldwide, there’s no wonder that the drop percentage ranges from 30% to 70% in some cases.

So, just for the sake of remaining optimistic about this situation, let’s presume that Google is working on a way to better integrate these two services (FeedBurner and Reader) to provide better statistics to us users.

Even so, this does not explain the lack of updates on the FeedReader Status blog or the lack on a 2 line message on the help board that would definitely calm down the spirits. And as the case is not singular, and the lack of communication seems to turn into a habit, I cannot help but thinking that ever since Google took over FeedBurner, the relationship between the project team and the users has gone from good, to bad, to worse.

A change of attitude is required in this age of instant communication, otherwise even if Google is running the service, competition will eat it up. “All this has happened before, and will happen again” as they used to say on my favorite TV show, Battlestar Galactica.

Update: After 3 or 4 days of madness on the boards, a Google team member addressed a short message confirming that the issue is related to Google’s Feedfetcher and has been reported to the responsible department. It took a while…

Update 2: An acknowledgement of the issue is finally made official on the FeedBurner blog. 3 to 4 days after users started to ask questions about it.

PageRank update in progress. The new Alexa.

Those of you interested in website rankings and SEO, you’d better check out your sites’ PageRanks. As we speak, a new update is in progress (one that has been rumored about). Over the past few hours I’ve seen pagerank updates on most of the websites I’m working on, going up, and back dow, and up again. Let’s see how and when it will stabilize.

And also, Alexa.com has just updated not only their design, but most probably their ranking system too.

New Alexa Design and Ranking System

New Alexa Design and Ranking System

One day ago, Blogsessive was still ranking around 70,000, and now the rank has been updated to 49,130.

Could it be the pressure of Compete and Quantcast breathing down Alexa’s neck? Who know. What’s important is that they seem to be taking steps toward perfecting their ranking system and updating their online image. And that’s good as it was about time to do it.

Blog SEO Tips: XML Sitemaps and the Google Webmaster Tools

Back in 2005, the folks at Google took on an “experiment” that later proved to be a very popular tool for webmasters and SEO people: the Google Sitemaps. Their exact words on the official Google blog were:

We’re undertaking an experiment called Google Sitemaps that will either fail miserably, or succeed beyond our wildest dreams, in making the web better for webmasters and users alike.

Ever since sitemaps where added, the Google Webmaster Tools became more and more used and useful, many new features being added over the time.

How do sitemaps help you?

Based on the main reasons that lead to this successful “experiment”, sitemaps are meant to improve the way your website is indexed and crawled by the GoogleBot.

Furthermore, through the Webmaster Tools interface and using sitemaps, you have access to vital information such as pages that could not be crawled, broken links, search queries that returned your website’s content, queries that drove traffic to your website and many more features worth discovering and using.

How do I build a XML sitemap?

As a blogger, you should not worry about that. Arne Brachhold developed a wonderful WordPress plugin that is very easy to manage and automatically generates a standards-compliant XML sitemap based on your blog’s structure. This is one plugin that I include in every WordPress blog I create or administrate, so, from my point of view, it’s one that I “could not live without”, so I highly recommend it.

Download Google XML Sitemaps Generator Plugin here.

Once you have the sitemap ready, it’s time to upload it to your Google Webmaster Tools account. In order to access these tools, all you need is a Google account. You can use your Gmail login info to access them.
Click here to read the full blog post!

Blogosphere News / May 23rd

Some interesting things happened recently that are of interest to any blogger. Check out these blogosphere news:

Download Flock 1.2 Beta

Flock 1.2, “the social web browser” based on the Mozilla engine goes into beta stage. I’ve gave it a shot and I can say that for a person that pretty much depends on social networking, Flock is a very good solution. Social bookmarking and networking services, all your friends and all your stories under one roof seams like a good deal to me.
The only downside (and for me it’s a big one) is that the RSS feeds take TOO long to update. The “reload” option did not work any magic either, but I guess that’s why it is a beta right?
Get over there, download it, try it and share your experience. I’m sure they’d appreciate the feedback.

Mixx announced Twitter integration

The folks over at Mixx don’t like to waste time, and there’s not much time to waste when their community seams to grow very fast. They’ve recently announced a new option of automatically post a tweet on your Twitter account whenever you add a new story to Mixx. Useful, helpful? You decide, at least it’s better to have it, than not to.

You can find out more on the Mixx Blog, and while you’re there, check out Blogsessive’s Mixx profile.

Third-party ads on the Google content network

I guess pretty much everyone who uses AdSense got the email, but just in case you’ve missed it:

“We’re happy to announce that the Google content network now accepts display ads served from qualified third-party vendors. During this initial release, only ads in English are eligible, although we look forward to offering more options in the future.

If you’re currently opted in to image ads, you’re already able to receive third-party ads. If not, you can enable image ads to start receiving third-party ads immediately.”

Head over to the Google Blog if you want to read more.