Blogging Questions & Answers 28

By Daniel Scocco

questions and answers

Time for Blogging Questions & Answers. The questions on this post are coming from edition 24, so if you asked one on edition 25, 26 or 27, just hold tight until I arrive to yours. If you posted one before batch 24 and have not seen an answer yet let me know because I might have missed it.

1. Fimldr asks:

What do you do (if anything) if Google keeps highlighting one of your minor, less interesting posts for other people’s Google searches? I wrote a post about a relatively obscure horror film, and for some reason, I’ve gotten way more Google-related hits from that than from anything else.

Search engine traffic can be unpredictable. Sometimes your targeted and structured posts will draw no organic traffic at all, and other times a post where you had no great expectations whatsoever and that took 10 minutes to write will bring an avalanche of traffic.

The latter case is not a problem, since getting good traffic for a post that you didn’t expect much from is always a pleasant surprise right?

The former, however, is a symptom of poor search engine optimization.

If your targeted and structured articles (also called pillar content) are not ranking well for their keywords and not bringing decent traffic, it could be related to one (or more) of the following causes:

  • the overall trust of the domain is low (i.e. few backlinks and low pagerank on your domain)
  • the individual trust of the article is low (i.e. few backlinks pointing to the article itself)
  • highly competitive topic (i.e. there are too many authority sites competing for that term)
  • poor on-page optimization (the basic SEO factors like the title tag or H1 tags on your page are missing or not optimized)
  • duplicate content issues (i.e. your article can be found on other places, either on your website on on external ones)

So make a quick check-up to see where the problem might be coming from. Usually it is a matter of targeting highly competitive keywords. If that is the case with you, I would re-do my keyword research and aim for less competitive terms first. Once you have conquered them, move up on the ladder.

Finally, be patient. As long as you are putting quality content out there and promoting it to make sure people will know about it, the links will come and so will the organic traffic.

2. Rick asks:

I’ve been studying the web ecosystem for a while now and there’s still one thing I can’t figure out. I have google alerts out on various keywords, and often I’ll get pointers to ‘junk’ sites (scraped or garbage content on default wordpress themes, for example). When these sites have ads on them, I understand the motivation. But I see many of these sites with no ads, and I’m trying to understand what purpose they serve (I’m assuming there’s some black hat purpose).

Here are some of the potential purposes that come to my mind:

1. The guy will eventually put the ads. For now he is just testing the niche to see if it brings any traffic. If that s the case, soon enough he will be loading it with his AdSense units.

2. The guy just wants to get his domain name indexed by Google and possibly gain some PageRank. Somethings the mere fact of the domain being indexed can improve its value for a potential buyer.

3. The guy wants to create a small network of websites to reap the link juice afterward. Suppose he has a big site about toys. He would then create mini scraper sites about geek toys, kids toys, adult toys, and so on, and once those mini sites acquired some Pagerank, he would make them point to his main site with highly targeted URLs and optimized anchor text.

4. The guy has no clue about what he is doing and just want to have a “website.”

3. Bugjee asks:

Which is the best Related Posts WordPress Plugin?

I think that the most complete and reliable one is the Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (this is a link to my review).

4. Greg asks:

Daniel, I have a question about trademark infringement pertaining to domain addresses and website names. If there is a website with a particular name and domain address, and I create a website with the same name and domain address except that I add the prefix “the” in front of it, would I face any trademark infringement issues? Take AutoBlog.com for example. If I were to register TheAutoBlog.com and name my website The Auto Blog, would I face any legal issues from AutoBlog.com?

First of all keep in mind that trademarks are given by use and not by registration. That is, a specific company or individual does not need to register its trademark to be protected, it just needs to be using it.

I am pretty sure I could claim that Daily Blog Tips is my trademark for example, even without an official registration with the U.S. Patents and Trademarks Office (scrapers, take notice!).

That being said, the prefix thing is a tricky question. Here is a quote from the Trademarks office website:

After an application is filed, the assigned examining attorney will search the USPTO records to determine if a conflict, i.e., a likelihood of confusion, exists between the mark in the application and another mark that is registered or pending in the USPTO.”

So the key thing here is “likelihood of confusion.”

If your name, using the prefix, will have a likelihood of confusion with the existing name, and I would avoid it, because it could bring you legal problems down the road.

The problem is determining if there is likelihood of confusion or not, I know. It is something subjective after all.

I think that between TheAutoBlog.com and AutoBlog.com there is a likelihood of confusion, so I would not register it. You could just pick another prefix and be safe though. For example ProAutoBlog would already be sufficiently different to protect you.

5. Transcriptionist asks:

I couldn’t find an XML sitemap in your blog. Do you have one? If no, why are you reluctant to include an XML sitemap?

I don’t have an XML sitemap on most of my websites. Google only recommends webmasters to use it, but it is not compulsory. Many SEOs (and I include myself here) believe that if your website link structure is functional and optimized, Google will crawl your site in the same way whether you use a sitemap or not.

You need to remember that Google is in the business of collecting information and providing it back to its users in a logical and reliable way. It is in its best interests therefore to crawl your website and to find if your content could be useful to its search users.

I believe sitemaps can be used for websites that are having crawling problems, or that have changed their link structure recently. In all other cases I don’t think having a sitemap is necessary or beneficial.

6. Richard asks:

Is there a place, site, whatever, containing definitions of technical, or other, blogging terms (alt text, etc.)? Thank you.

I wrote the Bloggers Glossary a while ago. While it is not exhaustive, I should give you a good start. There are over 40 terms there I believe.

7. SlamBlogger asks:

How do you feel about Facebook Connect? After it launches, would creating profiles for users on your own site be pointless?

I think that Facebook Connect is a good initiative. It has the potential to become pervasive on the web, especially because they are securing partnerships with some popular services like Digg and Six Apart.

But, it is too early to tell if they will manage to become the de facto web authentication system. I think it is a good idea to wait and see how it will develop, and just implement anything on your site or blog only when you see a real trend going on.



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22 Responses to “Blogging Questions & Answers 28”

  • medyum

    @Peter Lurie.Thanks…

    Danial ????

  • Bilingual Blogger

    Hi Daniel,
    I have a question that is very timely in light of the current economic climate. It’s about professional blogger etiquette and how to handle non-payment for posts.

    Another blog in my niche approached me a few months back about becoming a regular contributor to his blog. He said he was willing to pay. I agreed and filed 14 posts on time and with no problems. For the past month, I’ve been trying to get paid. He owes me over $500. I’ve heard several excuses mixed in with promises of a payment “next week.” Finally today he told me that he doesn’t have the money and that he will try to pay me within the next 30 days, but obviously I’m not counting on it.

    So, my questions are the following:
    Should I delete all my content from his blog or should I let it stay there? (There is another contributor to his blog who I know has been paid because she told me so. Also, he had given me a username and password to his blog so that I could write my posts directly, so that’s how I would be able to delete them.)

    On one hand I think it is not right that he has had the use of tons of original content that I spent several hours writing specifically for his blog. But on the other hand, I don’t want to burn any bridges since the niche I’m blogging in is kind of a small circle of the same people.

    All of my entries on his blog have links back to my blog, so at least there’s that benefit, right? Although, to tell you the truth, the traffic I’ve gotten from his blog has been minimal.

    So, what do you recommend? Should I send him an email notifying him that I’m deleting my posts and he doesn’t have to worry about paying me? Say nothing for now but wait 30 days and then delete my posts if there is no payment? Or just leave everything as it currently is (meaning leave my content on his blog)?

  • Peter Lurie

    Hi!

    I have a question about IE6 – a client has driven me mad, by demanding IE6 compatibility. I have seen on several websites (& WP Theme sites) that designers no longer support IE6. This specific site worked on everything except IE6, which was weird, as it was the splash page, created in FireWorks and Dreamweaver CS3, that wouldn’t load.
    My splash page was called index.html, and the start-page of the blog was called index.php. Why would this only have been problematic for IE6 and not for other browsers?

    Thanks
    Peter

  • Tom Lindstrom

    Thanks for the informative Q&A post.The first question about Google´s search results was something I have been wondering about too.Sometimes when you write a post and don´t think too much about the SEO aspect, you notice that the post is getting loads of traffic and fast.Funny how things work.

  • Arun Basil Lal

    Daniel,
    Recently I had been getting some backlinks to my articles from sites that look like genuine sites. These backlinks comes within about 2/3 hours of posting content. My blog is not a very popular blog, so i dont think that the guys found my latest posts anywhere online (like Google or Social sites). I used to think that, these bloggers would have found my posts while random surfing. But then, these things happen very often now, that too from different sites. And the good thing is that, these sites publish only excerts from my blog and a link to the main article. But I do not get visitors from any of these sites.

    My questions are:
    1. How did they find my post within 3 hours of posting the content?
    2. Will linking back from spam sites affect my rankings?
    3. Should I ask them to remove links to my site?
    4. If someone else publishes excerts from my blog, will Google consider them as copies of the same content?
    5. These sites have page ranks of 0 or 1. Will link backs from such sites help me improve my PR..?

  • TwinToddlersDad

    Thank you for running this series. As a new blogger, I am learning a lot from this.
    I have a question that I am hoping you can help me with:

    How can I get my feeds from Feedbuerner to show a “Add a comment” at the bottom? Currently, my feeds are showing this

    Add Star
    Share
    Share with note
    Email
    Keep unread
    Edit tags

    Appreciate your help.

  • Lito | TheFilipinoEntrepreneur.Com

    Your Number 4 answer is very informative. This is a real problem in the online business specially if your country does not have laws regulating online trademarks.

  • Kathy – Virtual Impax

    LOVE your answers to question #2! PRICELESS!!!

  • Shrihari

    Here is my question.. It is with reference to your answer for Greg..

    You say

    That is, a specific company or individual does not need to register its trademark to be protected, it just needs to be using it.

    Are really trademarks given by use and not by registration ? You say “Daily Blog Tips” is your trademark. But i can still apply to register “Daily Blog Tips” as my trademark. Right ? In that case, i’ll have the rights to take your blog down. Am i right ? Or, am i missing anything ?

  • redwall_hp

    Never mind, I was able to find the problem with BookAdvice. I contacted Google Security and they ran some tests, determining that the site itself had been infected, and was redirecting to malware only when a visitor came to the site by way of Google or Yahoo (to try to remain undetected by the administrator, I assume). I was able to hunt through and find out where the malicious code had been slipped in, via a script vulnerability, and fix it.

  • Transcriptionist

    Here is my question for you this week:

    What is your view about hiding whois information? (Domain Shield or ID Protect or Whois Privacy Protect, whatever you call it.) Illustrate the advantages, disadvantages and your recommendation.

  • redwall_hp

    I have a bit of a pressing question, pertaining to a client’s site.

    BookAdvice.net is a legitimate website, and works fine if you access it directly. However, if you search “bookadvice” on Google or Yahoo, and click the result, you are taken to a bogus site that tries to install a smitfraud-type faux antivirus malware package. The SERP looks perfectly normal, as it should be, but when it’s clicked it doesn’t take you to BookAdvice.net, but to the malware site.

    Obviously this isn’t good. It hurts the search engine traffic, and leads searchers to a place where they may be infected, should they be running windows.

  • Arjen

    I read your blog very often, and I like the Q&A series! Some of the questions that people ask are interesting, and very informative.

    Thanks for having this great blog, with useful content!

  • Matt Gio | TheOvernightSite.com

    I love this little weekly series you have!

  • Bugjee

    thanks Daniel for you answer

  • Luca – Reach Success Online

    Hi,
    I love this series of Q&A. Keeps me coming back.
    Thanks for the Glossary – it’s a great resource

  • Ben Moreno

    Daniel,

    I understand you are a full time blogger. Did you work a regular job before you started this blog? If so how long did you have to grow this blog before you were able to quit working?

    People like to hear these kinds of inspiring stories. 🙂

  • Blog Expert

    I agree that search engine traffic can be unpredictable. Some of your crappy posts can get some of the most traffic for your blog. It sucks because it doesn’t show how good of a blogger you are. That’s why you want to write a good post every time.

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Transcriptionist, thanks for the heads up, fixed those.

  • Shafar

    Another informative Q&A post! 🙂

  • Transcriptionist

    Thank you. Change “good” to Google in the answer to my query and “structured” to structure.

    I think you were in a hurry. Some typos in other answers too.

  • Matt Caldwell – 15 Minutes to Riches!

    This is good stuff (especially in answering question 1). Thanks!

Comments are closed.