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[Discuss] BLU's SEO

At last night's talk someone raised the question of what could be done
to improve BLU's SEO. Here are some thoughts I had:

-consolidate BLU's online properties from 3 sites (main, wiki, desktop
blog) into one site. The down-side is that the replacement would need to
be a CMS, and would take more work to setup and maintain than the
current simple site supplemented with outsourced hosted services. The
"cost" to do this may exceed the SEO benefit. Although a "one-click"
install of a good CMS at a shared hosting provider may prove adequate,
and low maintenance.

-make more use of embedding to show content on from the various
outsourced services, like Flickr, Picasa, Google Calendar, Wikispaces,
etc. YouTube was specifically mentioned at the meeting, and John Abreau
has already started doing this ( The only change
I'd recommend is embedding the videos along with the meeting summaries,
so a search turning up the meeting summary also shows the video. For
example, this talk:
should embed the video.

-the speaker, Joseph, suggested the idea of having rotating guest
bloggers as a way to build up content on, which is great, but
BLU actually has two good sources of fresh content: the meetings and the
mailing list.

Some steps could be taken to package up the post-meeting information to
present it better, make it easier for a human to navigate, and easier
for a search engine to index. (Here's where a CMS could help.)

For the mailing list, the archives are already published in multiple
places and indexed by search engines, but not in an ideal way for bring
traffic back to Someone seeing a BLU Discuss posting in their
Google search results is more apt to get taken to or than If you want the canonical location for a message
that people link to to be on, you need to run a higher-quality
list archive UI than pipermail. And the message archives need to be
framed with the usual site navigation elements so you can explore what
BLU is about. Take a look at a message from the official archives:
There are no links back to learn what BLU is. No logo. No branding.

The other way to repurpose the mailing list content would be to create
an automated system that lets subscribers rate messages for
quality/usefulness, and then automatically surface the highest rated
messages on a blog on (As an added bonus, blog postings seem to
get a higher page rank than archived list messages.) (Ideally the
blogging UI would be tweaked to direct users who want to comment to the
mailing list.)

-something easier to implement than any of the above and potentially
more impactful would be to list BLU in various user group directory
sites, like (already used by the Desktop SIG). With the other
techniques above, someone looking for an answer to a specific Linux/UNIX
problem might uncover a BLU posting or video, but they may not be "in
the market" for joining a user group. In contrast, people searching the
group directory at places like are "ready to buy." The only
reason BLU doesn't already have a presence is that
 charges a monthly fee.

-lastly, BLU is pretty well connected with all the social networks, but
it doesn't seem to make much use of them. (For example, I haven't been
posting the meeting announcements to the LinkedIn group.) Ideally, we
should build a small web app that automates publishing of meeting
notices to the announce list, Google Calendar, adding to,
posting to LinkedIn and Facebook (and as events, and
posting a summarized version and a link to the other networks.

If the idea to surface notable list postings on a blog is implemented,
references to those postings would be another good stream of content to
distribute via the social networks.

(Note to BLU organizers and volunteers: I don't say any of the above as
a criticism. In a volunteer organization, getting information published
for the least cost/effort is often more important than things like SEO.)

Anyone have other ideas?
Anyone want to volunteer to work on any of them?


Tom Metro
Venture Logic, Newton, MA, USA
"Enterprise solutions through open source."
Professional Profile:

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