Sunday, June 25, 2006

Basics of Blogging - Keywords, Tags, Categories - Oh Vey! I Am So Mixed Up!
Ted Gross


Okay so now we know all there is to know about content and keywords. Hah! But you did get the basics. It may be a good point to stop and talk about Keywords, Tags, Categories and all that as well. Logically, in progression this should come much later, but because there seems such misunderstandings about Technorati, Del.icio.us and other tagging systems, it may be a good place to put this down.

These articles began because of a thread at Absolute Write called "What Is Your Technorati Rank?" On perusing that thread I realized that many writers were placing their hopes in something that just was not going to happen. More so, they were actually misreading the importance of certain "rankings" and thus ignoring the more important factors.

If you read the previous articles in this series you now hopefully understand "keyword basics". So we are going to use Technorati for our example.

So along comes techie #1 and says:

"Hey, you know what. Blogs are becoming mainstay business. They are great for people with no knowledge of HTML and you can literally put up a web-site Weblog in minutes. So now they are multiplying over the net faster than rabbits, and the Search Engines are ignoring them for the most part as most of them contain personal musings and ramblings. So why not create a sophisticated search engine for blogs?"

"Great idea," says techie #2, "a search engine from blogs. And that means anyone who has a blog will want to register with us. But how are we going to build it. Obviously, normative search engine technology is not what we want."

"You know what?" says techie #1 "we are going to take keywords, call them by a different name and create a closed system!"

And thus Technorati was born.

What essentially goes on in Technorati, is you define what you write with "tags", Technorati tags. These are keywords, (with a special HTML parameter). Keywords just like you will learn to use in your meta tags. Technorati then in a CLOSED SYSTEM connects all the blogs with the same keywords. Technorati does not look at content to a great extent (to my knowledge), they pay attention to the tags re: keywords that you input. If you do not input keywords they use your keywords in your Blog setup.

Okay this is great for all those people looking for blogs say about hairdressing. So they come to Mr. & Mrs. Hair's blog because the Hair couple input keywords as Technorati tags. Simple.

Technorati now goes one step further. Technorati rates your blog based upon a few parameters. One of those "important" parameters is how many other people in the Technorati Network (Only those IN the network, or those using Technorati tags) have linked to your blog or a post on it. So by gaining links (there is no concept on Technorati as "bleeding links" as far as I know), you move up in the ladder. But even Technorati also keeps track of how popular your blog is. You can have 200 links into your blog, but if no one visits then your standing will not go up to the top 100.

Okay, that is Technorati. Important for bloggers? Well it is a popular site, and growing. So the answer would be yes. Important for Google, MSN and Yahoo --- not on its own...yet there is one critical Caveat.

When someone links to your site in a blog or web site, the href HTML links are in the code. The Search Engines when they read the code with their bots (see how much web lingo you know already!) sees these links. Those get added to the amount of sites linking to you. They are "hot links" or "back links" into your blog or posts in your blog. So linking not only works in the closed world of Technorati tags, but also works in the Wide World of Search Engine placement. Those links are important. Now if you get linked in a very popular blog, that counts for a lot in the world of Search Engine placement. (As we discussed in the previous articles.)

So while it is nice to know your Technorati ranking is going up, what is IMPORTANT is to remember to use their tools of tagging and linking to get others to discover and link to your blog. That gets noticed by the Search Engines. Not immediately to be sure but if you are being hit a great deal and have links to you, sooner rather than later the Search Engines will pick up your blog and your keywords. They will NOT look at the Technorati tags though, they will look at your meta tag keywords and your content. (Oy Vey! so many things to remember)

Del.icio.us and others work on the same concept, though del.icio.us is more centralized and called a "social book-marking service". Just remember the rule of thumb:

The more sites that link to you and your post, no matter for what reason, the better it is for you and your position in the Search Engines.

Okay now what are Categories? Categories really belong in Wiki format, and this is not the scope or place to discuss Wiki and the technology behind it. I own a new Wiki site, and you are welcome to peruse JewishPedia because on a Wiki site you can view all the code to each article.

Categories in blogs (Wordpress implements them automatically) are a way to search for something. I have Categories in my blog, but this is a code implemented Category Listing in Google's blogger system, where when you click, the blog does a Google Blog search in my blog for all articles related to that word. And thus it depends on Google's specific Blog Search Engine (not their regular search engine).

Remember, Google and others have specific Blog search engines. It is important to be on the top in those as well, BUT for mainstream, if you are using a Blog for whatever reason, your goal is to be in the normative search engines as well, and in a good placement there.

So there you have it. Tags = Keywords. Technorati uses them in the closed world of Technorati. The employ linking counts as well. These keywords and links, if done correctly, are also very useful for Search Engine rankings if your blog is popular. deli.ci.ous uses them for "social" blogging.

So don't give up on Technorati. Just don't believe it is the golden answer to be good rankings in the Search Engines. It is but one of the myriad of possibilities.

"The more sites that link to you and your post, no matter for what reason, the better it is for you and your position in the Search Engines."

Copyright © 2006 Ted W. Gross. All rights reserved. (You may publish this article in its entirety with the following author's information with live links only.) Ted W. Gross's very popular blog, Cobwebs Of The Mind contains daily updated posts and articles on technology and writing. He also owns Amor Enterprises which maintains Virgin Earth Article Submissions which is designed to accept articles about any country or place in the world. Ted Gross is also a published author and maintains a web site for his works.

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