The SEO mess on joining blog aggregators

 

Mug shot of Paris Hilton.
Image via Wikipedia

 

If you are an analytics blogger who writes, and is aggregated on an analytical community- read on- Here’s how blog aggregation communities can help you lose 30% of all future traffic long term, while giving you a short term.

The problem is not created by Blogging Communities (like R-Bloggers, or PlanteR, or Smart Data Collective or AnalyticBridge or even BeyeBlogs )

It is created by the way Google Page Rank is structured- you see given exactly the same content on two different we pages- Google Page Rank will place the higher Page Rank results higher. This is counter intutive and quite simple to rectify- The Google Spider can just use the Time Stamp for choosing which article was published where first (Obviously on your blog, AND then later to the aggregator).

How bad is the mess? Well joining ANY blog aggregation will lead to an instant lift of upto 10-50 % of your current traffic as similar bloggers try and read about you. However you can lose the long term 30% proportion which is a benchmark of search engine created traffic for you.

So do you opt out of blog aggregation? No. It’s a SEO mess and it’s unfair to punish your blog aggregator, most of whom are running on ad-supported sponsors or their own funds on dry fumes to publish your content. Most of the fore mentioned communities are created by excellent people I interacted with heavily- and they are genuinely motivated to give readers an easy way to keep up with blogs. Especially Smart Data Collective, Analyticbridge and R-bloggers whose founders I have known personally.

You can do one thing- create manual summaries in the excerpt feature of your blog posts- it’s just below the WordPress page. And switch your RSS feed to summary rather than full. It avoids losing keyword rank to other websites, it prevents the Blog Aggregation from gaining too much influence in key word related searches, and it keeps your whole eco system happy, Best of All it helps readers of Blog Aggregators- since most of them use a summary on the front page anyways.

An additional thought on Google Page Rank- something I have sulked over but not spoken for a long long time.  It ignores the value of reader- If Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and 500 ceos from Fortune 500 companies read my blog but do not link to it- it will count daily traffic as 500. Probably it will give more weightage to Paris Hilton fans.

A suggestion-humbly- you can use IP Address lookup of visitors to see if traffic is coming from corporate sources or retail sources -Clicky from GetClicky does this. Use it as feedback in Google Analytics as well as Google Trends.

And maybe PageRank needs to add quantity and quality of visitors as additional variables . Do a A/B test guys some Chi Square juice- its not quite Mad Men Adverting but its still good fun.

 

PageRank
Image via Wikipedia

 

and the world is one big community as per xkcd


Towards better analytical software

Here are some thoughts on using existing statistical software for better analytics and/or business intelligence (reporting)-

1) User Interface Design Matters- Most stats software have a legacy approach to user interface design. While the Graphical User Interfaces need to more business friendly and user friendly- example you can call a button T Test or You can call it Compare > Means of Samples (with a highlight called T Test). You can call a button Chi Square Test or Call it Compare> Counts Data. Also excessive reliance on drop down ignores the next generation advances in OS- namely touchscreen instead of mouse click and point.

Given the fact that base statistical procedures are the same across softwares, a more thoughtfully designed user interface (or revamped interface) can give softwares an edge over legacy designs.

2) Branding of Software Matters- One notable whine against SAS Institite products is a premier price. But really that software is actually inexpensive if you see other reporting software. What separates a Cognos from a Crystal Reports to a SAS BI is often branding (and user interface design). This plays a role in branding events – social media is often the least expensive branding and marketing channel. Same for WPS and Revolution Analytics.

3) Alliances matter- The alliances of parent companies are reflected in the sales of bundled software. For a complete solution , you need a database plus reporting plus analytical software. If you are not making all three of the above, you need to partner and cross sell. Technically this means that software (either DB, or Reporting or Analytics) needs to talk to as many different kinds of other softwares and formats. This is why ODBC in R is important, and alliances for small companies like Revolution Analytics, WPS and Netezza are just as important as bigger companies like IBM SPSS, SAS Institute or SAP. Also tie-ins with Hadoop (like R and Netezza appliance)  or  Teradata and SAS help create better usage.

4) Cloud Computing Interfaces could be the edge- Maybe cloud computing is all hot air. Prudent business planing demands that any software maker in analytics or business intelligence have an extremely easy to load interface ( whether it is a dedicated on demand website) or an Amazon EC2 image. Easier interfaces win and with the cloud still in early stages can help create an early lead. For R software makers this is critical since R is bad in PC usage for larger sets of data in comparison to counterparts. On the cloud that disadvantage vanishes. An easy to understand cloud interface framework is here ( its 2 years old but still should be okay) http://knol.google.com/k/data-mining-through-cloud-computing#

5) Platforms matter- Softwares should either natively embrace all possible platforms or bundle in middle ware themselves.

Here is a case study SAS stopped supporting Apple OS after Base SAS 7. Today Apple OS is strong  ( 3.47 million Macs during the most recent quarter ) and the only way to use SAS on a Mac is to do either

http://goo.gl/QAs2

or do a install of Ubuntu on the Mac ( https://help.ubuntu.com/community/MacBook ) and do this

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1494027

Why does this matter? Well SAS is free to academics and students  from this year, but Mac is a preferred computer there. Well WPS can be run straight away on the Mac (though they are curiously not been able to provide academics or discounted student copies 😉 ) as per

http://goo.gl/aVKu

Does this give a disadvantage based on platform. Yes. However JMP continues to be supported on Mac. This is also noteworthy given the upcoming Chromium OS by Google, Windows Azure platform for cloud computing.

Buddypress for Analytical Buddies??

Let us assume there are top 100 analysts in the world mostly using WordPress or Typepad or Blogger to make posts

Managing them is quite a challenge.

What is marketing ROI of analyst relationships for a Business Intelligence vendor- Curt Monash is the Aerosmith of Business Intelligence Analysts so he can tell it better.

How about a magical community where you just use their mostly Feedburner of Feedblitz RSS feeds to create a self automated community.

Serach Engine Optimization can be tricked by keeping that community website free from Google or Search Engines ( yes it can be done).

Use numerical etc as in Linkedin to spur rivalry by shifting their page positions up and down, or by clicking repeatedly on some posts to manipulate their views on blog posts.

What would SAS pay to have all SAS analysts in one webpage. or SPSS to have all SPSS analysts in one webpage.

Six months later suddenly open the website for search engines, and the RSS feed has downloaded all the posts of all the top 50 analysts of the world. Google advertsing wont matter because hey we have a mega vendor sponsor- while individual bloggers / analysts have no collective strength now as the community is too big.

So much blah blah-

What software would you use.

you can choose between

Ning.com ( but it mostly non Blog feeds based)

or Wordframe.com ( which interface and name sounds suspiciously like WordPress software)

Or you can choose a customized WordPress Solution called Buddy Press.

Here is the software-

BuddyPress

BuddyPress will transform an installation of WordPress MU into a social network platform.

BuddyPress is a suite of WordPress plugins and themes, each adding a distinct new feature. BuddyPress contains all the features you’d expect from WordPress but aims to let members socially interact. Read More ?

Note this was just a generic case study for making a case for open source based community softwares. Resemblance to any thing is a matter of coincidence – except for Curt Monash of course.

Cost of Customized WordPress Software for communties is a big zero- it is free and open source and tjousands of plugins can be installed and maintained for it.

See an existing installation here

www.decisionstats.com/community

or at www.buddypress.org