Hi AR friends,
Just in case you missed this... AR will be down on May 9, tonight, from 9:00-10:00 p.m. It is only for the best!
Have a great day!
We've been working hard behind the scenes to improve the SEO on ActiveRain. SEO is a funny little monster. Our friends at Google are never shy about keeping the target moving and in our effort to continue to hit the mark, we've been dedicating a lot of resources toward making site improvements with the sole objective being to get ActiveRain member content ranking better.
To that objective, we will have some scheduled downtime to push out an update to the site. Our downtime will begin at 10pm Pacific time on Wednesday, May 9th and last for approximately an hour.
What will be changing? Glad you asked............
Blog post snippets instead of ten full posts:
In our continuing effort to please the Google monster, we have made some changes to the way your main blog page displays content. In the past, if you were go to your main blog page on ActiveRain (located at activerain.com/blogs/(username).......mine is located at http://activerain.com/blogs/arbob because arbob is my user name) you would see the ten most recent posts and be able to scroll down and read every post in its entirety. After today, your most recent post will show as a full post, but the remaining 9 posts in your blog will only show as snippets.
Why? Because I said so..........haha, ok not really. The why has a few reasons. The first one is that showing the full post on your blog page means that the content is potentially being indexed on the same domain in two different locations. And continues to show on ActiveRain in two locations. It gets indexed on the direct URL, but also on the main blog URL. Now, your direct URL will be the main place that search engines will index the content. We're removing the chance that Google will see the content in two locations and potentially penalized us and you.
The second reason is this will allow your main blog page to load much faster. Google likes faster and has been using it as a variable in their algorithm since early 2010. It will also allow those main blog pages to load faster for any users accessing your content via that route. Granted, most of the traffic you get from Google is landing on direct pages, but this change will help load times across the entire site.
The third reason is this will limit the number of links that show on your main blog page. If one link is good, then 100 must be great, right? Well, not exactly. The more links you have on a page, the less benefit each additional link will provide.
Character Counter When Creating Blog Titles:
There is a best practice in creating page titles that suggests keeping your page title to 70 characters or less. To this end, we have installed a character counter when you create the title of your blog post. On ActiveRain, the title of your blog post becomes the page title of the URL at which your blog lives. The page title is also the clickable component of a Google search result. It's your main 'ad copy' so to speak in the search engine results. Google will show the first 70 characters of the title. So it's important that your page title relates what your post is about in the first 70 characters.
It's also important that you get your keywords closer to the front of the page title as opposed to later in the page title. We'll have a little ? mark that explains some best practices next to the area where you enter your title. Take a second to click and read it. Once you go over 70 characters we'll try to convince you to limit it to 70. Can you make it longer? Yes. Should you? In some cases maybe (like if the post is members only and you know it's not going to show in search results).....but generally you'll want to limit the title to 70 characters.
Channel Page Cleanup:
When we first launched channels, we allowed members to create topics under each channel. Since it's release, ActiveRain members have created over 600,000 topic pages. It's become unruly and from an SEO perspective it's just not adding any value to the site. In fact, it may be sending negative signals to the search engines. So we have taken a more limited approach in selecting topics when you place your blog posts in a channel. You will now see that any time you go to place your blog post in a channel, the topics will be defined. This is an effort to eliminate a massive number of links that were sending poor signals to the search engines and also attempt to make the channel pages more relevant for a predetermined number of topics. We'll be keeping a close eye on how this new design impacts traffic and most likely making adjustments to the topics which you can select when creating posts.
Stay tuned, more updates coming in two weeks!