Search Engines

Creating an RSS Feed on Your Static Website

10

Subscribe to Elliot's BlogOne of the downsides of using a “static” website for Lowell.com and Burbank.com was that they don’t automatically come with RSS feeds built in to them like platforms such as WordPress.   The options I had were to create one by hand or to purchase a program/script that automatically creates a feed and updates it.   As you can see by these two sites, I like to manage things by hand, so I wanted to create a RSS feed for each site.

These days, everyone uses RSS feeds in some way, and it can drive a considerable amount of traffic to your website. Not only do people (you probably) have RSS feed readers, but Google and Yahoo also use RSS feeds to get news for delivery via their alert system.   I use Google for alerts on just about everything related to Burbank and Lowell, and in order to have your articles automatically pinged to potential visitors, you need a feed.

Anyway, I have very little technical knowledge – or as I like to say, “I am technically stupid,” so I posted a note asking for info on a couple of domain boards.   Don Williams (aka biggiedon ) a moderator on DN Forum sent me a link to a great site that taught me how to build my own feed by hand.   It walked me through all the details, and then led me to a Feed Validator, which said the feeds are working (albeit with a couple minor issues).

While I do know much more can be added to RSS feeds than just the title, description, and link, I am hopeful that this will be another method to growing my traffic.   I’ve heard that Google loves RSS feeds because it leads them to new content. As I write articles for my sites (and eventually source this writing), I hope it will lead to Google visiting more often, driving more visitors to my sites.

Check out the finished feeds:

http://www.burbank.com/feed.xml

BLAH” class=”delete_me_please

Getting the Ax: Sidebar Links

1

Subscribe to Elliot's BlogI’ve had a few conversations with some people who are involved in SEO, and all agree to an extent that there are (well, were) too many links in my right sidebar and that could hurt my blog’s rankings and PR. The problem I have is that I find it difficult to say no when someone asks me to add them to the sidebar – especially when I know the person. A common email I receive is goes a little something like this:

“Dear Elliot,
I read your blog…. etc… I just started a blog/website/journal…etc and added a link to your blog. As a courtesy, please add a link back to whateverblogistarted.com. etc…”

Lately I haven’t been responding to these emails because my blogroll became gigantic and I don’t think it looks good or is helpful to anyone (except those who want to benefit from the “link juice”). I feel badly about it, but I also don’t think it’s fair to be asked to be added to my blog especially from a brand new blog that may die once the owner realizes how much work a blog is.   I never asked anyone ever to add my blog to their blogroll, and I felt it was an honor to be added (I still do think that way).
So… after conversing with a few SEO friends, and after deciding that an overhaul of the design of my blog will be done by my developer and introduced in January (once I finish re-developing Lowell.com), I removed most of the links in my sidebar and added them to a resource page on the site with “no follow” on them. If you are pissed off or offended by this, I am sorry. I am spending less and less time reading other blogs and domain news sources because of the work I am doing on my sites, so maybe I haven’t been to your site in a while or ever.
I will admit that I do ask for link exchanges on some other sites with my geodomains. The difference though is that my geosites have long been established (even before I owned them), receive considerable type-in traffic, and have Google page rank, so it’s an even exchange or possibly better for the person that I contact.

Grow Your Mini Sites

10

Subscribe to Elliot's BlogI’ve been busy today working on the just launched Secaucus.com, which I had created by Rick and his guys at aeiou.com.   Secaucus is a city in New Jersey, located about 4 miles from Manhattan.   It was voted the 11th best city to live in New Jersey in 2008 by New Jersey Monthly magazine.
While the mini-site Rick and his team created looks great, I wanted to add more content to the site.   IMO, content is what drives traffic to a site, and the more content you create, the more traffic the site will receive. As a result, I expect to earn more Adsense revenue and hopefully get advertisers to want to buy links and advertising space.
Since Secaucus.com is the smallest of my geo websites, I wanted to build a mini site with good information but required little upkeep and maintenance.   I just started adding commonly searched for information, such as lawyers in Secaucus, Secaucus gas prices, and Secaucus banks.   I will continue to add pages with the hope of building traffic and generating revenue.
My aeiou.com mini site template got me off to a great start, and I am going to take off running with it.

Google Chrome for Mac

5

Google Chrome looks like it’s going to change web browsing habits if it’s widely adopted. Unfortunately, Google Chrome for Macs hasn’t been released yet. According to the download page, “Google Chrome for Mac is in development and a team of engineers is working hard to bring it to you as soon as possible.
At face value, after reading a few reviews, it looks developing domain names will be even more important, as users only have one box to enter a search term or domain name. If the user enters TropicalBirds.com, he will see this website and possibly other websites that are related (although I can’t confirm whether entering a specific website will return similar websites).
As I have witnessed with some domain names, Google does not seem to like parked domain names in their search results.   In fact, many domain names I’ve purchased that were previously parked are completely out of Google’s algorythm and I’ve had to submit a reinclusion request.   If you type them into the Google.com search bar, they won’t even show up.   This doesn’t bode well for parked domain names that rely on type in traffic because if browsers type in the domain name into Chrome and it’s not in Google, they may not be inclined to visit – or they will be dissuaded by seeing a website that doesn’t look developed.
Again, user adoption is going to determine the impact Chrome will have on search.

What Comes First, SEO or Site Development?

14

This might be a dilemma faced by other domain owners/developers, but I always seem to have an issue with my search engine optimization once my websites are developed. When I consult with friends who do SEO, most give some very good tips, but it can be quite an exasperating amount of work – especially after a site is launched. So, my question is, how do you prioritize your SEO while developing your website?
Much like you can’t expect your web designer to be a master coder/programmer and visa versa, you can’t expect your web developer to be a master of SEO. As a result, there may be some major issues related to the SEO that would require huge back-end changes, which is something a domain owner/developer doesn’t want to hear after a site is launched. When major issues come up, there is a whole lot of redesign that might need to be done, costing a great sum of money. That said, how do you overcome these issues?
Take TropicalBirds.com for example. The site averaged less than 1 visit per day before launch. A couple weeks after launching, it was receiving over 100 uniques per day, with the majority of the traffic coming from Google. People were finding the site via searches for tropical birds and other long tail keywords – just as I anticipated. In fact, only the home page is indexed in Yahoo – and the site has been live for close to 2 months! The RPC is very low, but it was a neat topic and the site is making more money than before.
For some reason (probably natural occurrence), after a month and a half, the site dropped from #4 to #20 for the term “tropical birds” in Google. Traffic has been down, and I can’t really figure things out. I have in links from bird breeders, although I do have dupe content on the bird breeder and bird veterinarian pages. I started a forum, although I am currently blocking the Googlebot from seeing it because there isn’t a ton of content, and the free forum software would probably be considered duplicate content.
Anyway, long story short. The site has been launched after a considerable amount of time and effort. I want to help grow the site, but I don’t know how to tackle it via SEO. I know that in links are important, but those are very difficult to gather. In general terms, how does one go about building a good looking, informational, structurally sound website that also utilizes great SEO techniques? How much can someone expect to spend to on improving the SEO for a completed site like TropicalBirds.com?

Cool SEO on Dating Website, but is it Invasive?

0

I did a Google search using a friend’s name today, and I saw a great search engine optimization concept. In the meta description on one of the first results for this person’s name, I saw a JLove.com link, with a meta description of “Meeting Xxxxxxxxx Xxxxxxxxxxxxx and an assortment of other fantastic Jewish singles is easy, it takes but a moment to upload your very own profile to get involved in Jewish dating!
I think this is a cool approach to SEO in case a person is looking up someone they just met and perhaps want to get to know a little better. However, if I was performing a Google search of a potential job candidate, this could be perceived as being invasive. While many people aren’t shy about admitting they are involved in Internet dating (I have 2 married friends who met on Jdate), it seems inappropriate to use people’s names as search bait.
While I’ve noticed social networking companies like Friendster and MySpace using this cool technique, I question whether this invades users’ privacy, especially if they don’t even know the site is doing this.

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