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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

PageRank Leak

Introduction to PageRank Leak

When it comes to Google Page Rank, there is only so much information that we, as Web masters and bloggers know is absolutely true. A lot of specific details and the ins and outs of Page Rank are still very much part of the Google room of secrets, but that doesn't stop the hoards of hard-charging SEO experts from speculating and making educated guesses. One of these subjects, which most of the time is controversial at best, is the issue of the possibility of your precious Page Rank "leaking" out to sites that you might not necessarily want it to "leak" to.

You see, this is a very debatable and much talked about issue (the leakage), and when I talk about your Page Rank leaking, what I mean is that when your outbound links "leak" out Page Rank to redundant external links which would normally be distributed to your internal pages, so it reduces your sites/blogs overall Page Rank. For some people, this doesn't concern them because they aren't aware of this possibility, but for others that are aware of this leak that can take place, it gives them chills thinking about it. Think about it - it takes some damned hard work, effort, and time to obtain a respectable Page Rank, and when you finally get that magical number assigned, the last thing you want happening is it "leaking" out needlessly. You earned it and you want to keep it, which is very understandable. What you're about to read are general ways to make sure that you aren't a victim of leaking Page Rank, and these tips are something you should get into a habit of anyway with a blog or a website. These tips are meant as a very basic and hassle free outline of how to help combat Page Rank. I'm no SEO expert, and I don't claim to be, but I know that utilizing this knowledge will help you out quite a bit.

Increase Internal Linking
This is a tip that will help many different aspects of your overall campaign. Increasing the amount of internal linking should be something that you do without even thinking about it. Every time you write that great article, there is almost no reason why you can't link to an older article within it (as a reference). Not only does a hearty amount of internal linking help counter-act Page Rank leaking, but it will also help increase your individual pages PageRank, bring visitors to articles they might not have otherwise been aware of, and overall breathe some life back into those great older articles that you have from the past. Remember to make sure that when you link to an older article that it's relevant to the one you just wrote.

To build further on internal linking, another great way to step it up is to install and use the "related posts" plug-in, which you can find over at WASABI WP PluginsWiki. This is a fantastic and automatic way to increase internal linking on your site without having to even think about it. Also be sure to tag all of your posts, and there are plenty of plug-ins available out there that will automatically do this for you and make it a lot easier.

Something that you probably already have in place (if you don't, then you should!) is having the recent posts and/or popular posts in your sidebar. Again, most people have this, but it's also another easy way to increase internal linking. Reason being, is that since it's in your sidebar, it's being displayed on every page of your site, which if you have an old enough blog or site could mean hundreds or even thousands of pages. I'm glad I just said that because it brings me to my next point....

What you need to get rid of right away is redundant outbound links, as this is the real killer. I just mentioned the fact that links displayed in your sidebar are shown on every page you have. For your most recent or popular posts, this is great, but think of your "blogroll", or that list of top/recent commenters. While it's great to have those available, I highly suggest modifying your code so that it only shows those kinds of links exclusively on your homepage. If not, then you are linking to all of these different sites on every single page you have on your blog. When added up, this could be quite a significant "leak". The best thing to do is to do a quick Google search to find out how to limit your blogroll and other outbound links to your homepage. There are plenty of folks out there who can guide you through this surprisingly easy process. Some people actually add the "nofollow" attribute to these kinds of links, but it kind of defeats the purpose - especially for a blogroll, but technically it would help although you might piss a few people off. However, adding "nofollow" to things like your Feedburner link, Technorati button, and similar items will help cut down any PR that you leak to them.
So the short version of some ways to counter-act (or limit) the effect of PR leaking:
  1. Increase internal linking within the actual post, when possible.
  2. Use the "related posts" plug-in
  3. Tag your posts, always.
  4. Show your recent and popular posts in the sidebar.
  5. Limit Blogroll and Top/Recent Commenters to your homepage.
  6. Include the "nofollow" attribute when necessary.

Don't Be Greedy!

Just keep in mind that while you should be a little more watchful over your outbound linking, it's not in your best interest to be too greedy with it. The reason being is that if you start to become known as a webmaster that doesn't link out much, then karma will definitely pay you back in the same way! If you stop linking to people, they'll eventually stop linking to you, and we all know the consequences that could bring. Just use your best judgment, give credit where credit is due, and you'll be fine. Especially in the blogging community, "link love" is what keeps us all going, and 99% of bloggers will eventually link to you if you link to them, so it's a nice balance. Once again, the "leaking" Page Rank topic can be very complex, especially once you start talking about the algorithms and technical jargon involved, but this article is meant for those that just want the basics without all the fuss.

Following the above tips will no doubt help you in the long run, and it's just overall good practice for your blog/site.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Looking for a way to bring more visitors to your blog? You can try every promotion technique and trick, but good content is the surest way to gain - and keep - readers. If your blog posts aren't interesting and useful, you won't hold the attention of any visitor for very long.

Take some time to visit some of your favorite blogs. Odds are they have one thing in common: They inform you with interesting, relevant articles.

So if you want to drive more traffic to your blog, you'll need to do the same thing. And even if you're not a writer, there are some simple tricks that will help you create blog posts that will interest and inform your visitors.

KNOW YOUR TOPIC: This is one of the most important things when writing blog posts. If you don't understand your topic, you'll have a hard time conveying information about it to your readers. If you're new to blogging, pick a topic that really resonates with you. Do you have a hobby you enjoy? Are you passionate about a particular cause? Find something meaningful, and you'll never have a problem developing topic ideas for your blog posts.

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE: Almost every topic has subsets within it. If, for example, you want to blog about fashion, consider whether you want to write about fashion for teen girls, hip urban moms, professional women, college men or toddlers and infants. Narrow your topic down so that you have a basic understanding of the demographics of your audience. Then make sure your posts are focused on that audience. It's probably not a good idea to write an article about new baby shoes in your fashion blog if you usually focus on college-aged men.

USE KEYWORDS: Keyword rich content will help your blog posts get noticed by people surfing the Internet for your topic. If your blog is about model airplanes, don't waste a post rambling about your last vacation to Tahiti. Instead, focus the content and use keywords so that random Internet searchers will stumble upon your blog. Most bloggers get a lot of traffic from web searches, so keywords are vital to hooking these readers.

KEEP IT SHORT: In today's information age, no one wants to read a novel online. We want our information short and quick. Because of this, you'll need to avoid rambling in your blog posts if you want to keep your readers' interest. If you have a lot of quality information about a particular subject, consider splitting your blog article into two or three different posts. Not only will it keep the posts short, but you'll also get repeat visitors when readers return to read the second and third part of the article.

SET A TONE: Do you like to keep things light and funny? Does your topic dictate a more serious style of writing? Find a tone or style of writing and keep it consistent throughout your blog. It's fine to deviate every once in a while - perhaps you're usually serious, but something tickled your funny bone that day. But in most cases, it's best to stick with the overall tone of the topic so your blog visitors know what to expect.

INFORM, ENTERTAIN OR DO BOTH: Most blogs do one or the other. Some do both. You need to provide content that readers find useful. Otherwise, they have no use for their blog. Imagine what you'd want to read in a blog about your topic, and use that to generate ideas for articles.

Creating interesting, readable posts will help drive more traffic to your blog. Keep your articles fairly short, know your audience and strive to provide good, usable information.