Google was granted a patent yesterday on Blog Search, and how the search engine might filter blog posts out of blog search based upon a number of factors. The patent was originally filed in 2006, and it’s the first patent filing I’ve seen from Google that uses the term “splog.” The screenshot from the patent below shows some of that potential filtering process
I’ve written a couple of posts in the past about how Google might be ranking blog posts based upon other patent filings from Google, including Positive and Negative Quality Ranking Factors from Google’s Blog Search (Patent Application) in 2007, and How Google May Rank Blogs in 2010.
The patent application from the first post, Ranking Blog Documents, is still pending as of now, and the patent described in my second post, Indexing and retrieval of blogs, was granted at the time that I wrote about it.
I don’t know who said that novelists read the novels of others only to figure out how they are written. I believe it’s true. We aren’t satisfied with the secrets exposed on the surface of the page: we turn the book around to find the seams.
In a way that’s impossible to explain, we break the book down to its essential parts and then put it back together after we understand the mysteries of its personal clockwork.
– Gabriel Garcia Marquez Meets Ernest Hemingway
I’m told that if you want to be a good photographer, you should look at a lot of photos. If you want to be a good painter, you should look at a lot of paintings. I believe that the same holds true with being a blogger, and seeing how other bloggers present their messages, tell their tales, and report their news.
I often write large walls of text, rarely adding images to the words that I post to these pages, and I think that’s a mistake. A meaningful image can draw the eye, capture the imagination, and often explain more in a single glance than hours of reading and reflection.
Imagine if Babe Ruth kept a blog during his days of home runs and hotdogs, shattering hitting records and showing a larger than life personality. Babe Ruth was one of the greatest pitchers of his time, and then one of the greatest hitters, and when someone excels at a sport, they’re often referred to as “the Babe Ruth of __________.”
Baseball can be broken down into moments of drama, to individual confrontations, such as a pitcher and batter facing off against each other. The pitcher striving to push or sneak or cajole a ball past the hitter, and the batter attempting to impose his will with bat on ball. Ruth was an incredible talent, and a single look at his eyes can give you a sense of how he intimidated the strikeout artists of his era.
One of the challenges facing someone when they first decide to start a blog is figuring out what to write about, whom to write for, and how to incoporate blogging into their daily routine. This is true for businesses that to decide to add a blog to their website as well.
Coming up with a blog content strategy can make those challenges much easier. The first step involves asking yourself why you’re considering blogging to begin with. Why blog?
One of the first steps you want to take with a business blog is to define what you want it to achieve. That might include:
Interested in finding a blog about a particular topic or place, rather than individual blog posts? A recent change with Google’s blog search is intended to make it easier to do so. The timing of the change interestingly corresponds to the granting of a Google patent on how Google may index and retrieve blogs last month. The announcement of the change was noted by Google on one of their blogs:
Recently, our blog search team made it much easier to find full blogs about your query, rather than single posts on the topic. This is especially useful if you’re looking for bloggers that post on an ongoing basis about the subject of your query.
— This week in search 8/27/10, The Official Google Blog.
The Google patent describes how the search engine might collect information from a blog’s feed and from the blog itself to attempt to understand what a blog might be about. It might collect information such as the content of posts, post titles, post authors, blog authors, the blog’s title, profile information about the authors, blog roll information, and possibly other information about the blog.
How do you start a blog post? Do you follow a pattern in the way you write your posts, or do you mix up how you present what you write, and how you reach out to your audience?
Here are some approaches that one could use:
a. Using a journalistic inverted pyramid style, where you begin your post with the most important text first, answering typical journalist questions such as ‘who,’ ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘when’ and ‘how’?
b. With a story or anecdote or case study that might capture visitors’ attentions rather than first providing the central fact or opinion behind your post.
c. With a statistic that might surprise or generate responses or both.
A short rant
I try not to hate, but sometimes it’s hard not to hate about some things. I hate being lied to. I hate being lied about. I hate being gossipped about. I hate someone making false assumptions about me based upon a scant modicum of information or even a lack of information. I hate being blamed for being the messenger. I hate being blamed for the words or actions of someone else.
I hate when people refuse to listen. I hate when people refuse to engage in an actual conversation. I hate when people see the world in black and white, and ignore the possibility of gray. I hate when people are so caught up in themselves that they forget about the feelings of others. I hate when people blame others for something without considering their own part, or taking responsibility for it. I hate when someone tries to manipulate me.
I hate when people who have been working and publishing online for a while look down on newcomers, and don’t cut them some slack for mistakes that they might make. I hate when online newcomers look down on those who have been online for a while, and don’t cut them some slack for mistakes that they have made.
I received an email this morning asking for some suggestions on blogging from someone who is just starting out with a blog. I thought about what I might write back, and decided that the question was one that was worth sending out to a larger audience.
If you have a few moments, and are so inclined, please share your ideas and suggestions on blogging in the comments below.
I consider my blog as a place which helps me learn, and thought that I might share some of the things that I find myself trying to learn.
Learn to Listen – It’s tempting to think of a blog as a place to write about your experiences and your thoughts on a topic, or on what you observe in the world, but it’s just as easy to consider it as part of a conversation, where you can publish your thoughts, and receive comments and emails and responses from others.
A conversation worth having is never one-sided. It’s just as important to listen as it is to speak.