Posted this in response to an internal email titled “What makes Google notice a blog?”, it’s pretty universal and applicable to most search engines so I thought I’d share it as a blog article.
Here’s a few suggestions, hope they help. Wayne.
1) You may want to write your blog in a manner which is spider, as well as human, friendly.
Re: Tags / Meta-Data / Micro-Formats – I use the Operator plug in / add on for Firefox, this informs the user about semantic data embedded in a viewed web page.
Re: Keyword Analysis – I use the SeoQuake plug in / add on for Firefox, which allows me to do dynamic keyword (and related key word) analysis.
Here’s an article I wrote on Tag format standardization, I recommend that you standardize on a Tag format that is Search engine friendly: ‘Tic, Tag, Toe‘. Don’t over tag nor under tag, but try and match your articles tags with other similar articles, try and join in with the subject matter’s folksonomy if at all possible (i.e. the tags people are using when talking about that subject matter, technorati and delicious are both good examples).
As well as embedding all the tags for all of the articles on the front page (have a look in Operator if you decide to use it or another semantic data ‘explorer’) I also embed tags to major blog directories and social bookmarking sites on the individual page for each entry, here’s an article which demonstrates this: ‘Roller Weblogger blog post tag link code for blogs.sun.com, technorati and del.icio.us‘. I’ve superseded this code now, with a nicer layout and having added more blog directories / social bookmarking sites, you can see the example at the end of the page for any given blog article I’ve written, give me a shout if you’d like the newer code.
2) Google’s PageRank algorithms work on links, inbound, outbound, number, and the PageRank of those inbound and outbound links.
Link to sources, get inbound links from sources / reciprocal links if possible.
Don’t forget to trackback articles that you reference, if the trackback fails try leaving a comment with a link to the article that references it.
3) Make sure you let sites such as Google know you’ve updated your site and that you’d like it re-“spider”ed, indexed and advertised.
This is done by “blog pinging” search engines and blog directories so that they are informed that your site has been updated and to send over there spiders when they get chance (most search engines / blog directories want to do this quite quickly as they want to be first with any potentially newsworthy content that draws traffic).
Personally I wanted a more granular level of control over this than offered with the standard blog ping functionality embedded in roller and so I wrote my own stand alone version: ‘Free XML-RPC blog ping site submitter: “Blog Ping”‘.
4) Other things to consider…
PageRank of your site and individual pages; how well does your article compete with articles of a similar nature.
Have pages been bookmarked in del.ici.ous, technorati, etc., i.e. are they being shared.
P.S. This article doesn’t mention quality of written articles, cadence of posts, timeliness of posts to current events, etc., as it focuses purely on the current electronic mechanisms for getting noticed by a search engine like Google and not the related, but extremely important, human and social element that gains you readership.