Blogging and RSS: Predictions for 2006  

by Kathryn Dawson

What's in store for us in 2006? Inspired by Google's poor search relevancy and making friends with Wall Street rather than its users, disaffection is growing apace and surfers are switching their loyalties to Yahoo and MSN. Conspiracy theorists believe that Google influenced pay-per-click and the ranking process to crank up their share price to almost double that of January 2005.

But whatever negative sentiments are shared about Google, all of the major search engines have recognised that users are demanding far more specific search, a trend driven by localised search, personalisation and increased specialisation. These three initiatives are narrowing the scope of the current problems inherent in generic search.

Today, web users are demanding far more selection and choice, with personalised content gaining the upper hand. This has been achieved with syndication through RSS. Today, the web is no longer about surfing and passive reading; it's about creating, sharing, socialising and collaborating. Increasingly, many new websites are disseminating news and views through blogs and articles.

RSS really did make headway last year - and expect even greater take-up this. Instead of the web browser, users are increasingly looking for content via news feeds. This allows them to see at a glance what sites have added new content on any of the topics they select as being of interest. This means less time is wasted on checking to see whether or not a site's content has changed. It also ensures a more efficient delivery platform.

But it's not just news sites that have converted to RSS feeds, companies are increasingly offering information via news feeds using WordPress as a seamless and integral part of their website. This method of information delivery helps users evaluate new content and, as a bonus, categorised sections of WordPress blog are being indexed from the home page. This in turn increases the volume of data on the site, thus boosting PR ranking, and broadens keyword exposure.

Also, professional blogging has a very bright future. Internet search now finds many blog sites on first-page returns. Many professionals are also using external blogs, such as blogger.com. When these keyword-rich blogs are linked to the main site, it helps the site to grow. However, the blog should be fresh, as it would be foolish to merely duplicate content and get the main site blacklisted.

The third aspect of the paradigm is article writing. The aim here is to provide interesting articles that, even though they have limited time exposure on the engines, do find themselves float to the top very quickly.

So the professional blogger has a lot to look forward to in 2006. And as business blogs start to take hold as the new standard for marketing, public relations and SEO, 2006 should witness a huge increase in demand for their services.

About the Author

Kathryn Dawson, BSc (Hons), MBA, is the general manager of Strategy Consulting (http://www.strategyconsultinglimited.co.uk). She is an experienced consultant, former head of Strategic Business Analysis and International Client Administration with multinational corporations in both the UK and US, and is responsible for client, supplier and associate relationships, delivering effective search engine optimisation solutions to her clients.


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