Sunday, January 24, 2010
It was a lot of fun to meet other South Shore birders, and it was certainly inspiring to watch the slide shows of the pros.
There was a short presentation from Joan Walsh, Coordinator of the Massachusetts Breeding Bird Atlas 2, and I have to say her speech was motivating- I would love to participate and help them finish the breeding atlas. I'd definitely need to go out with a pro and have some coaching on how to look for breeding behavior, but the biggies (like if they're carrying sticks/nesting material, and obviously if you see them going back and forth to their nest) I think I've got down.
Has anyone participated in a breeding atlas before?
Friday, January 22, 2010
In my opinion it's a nice-to-have, but if you're also optimizing the image file name and are using good captions immediately before the image you don't need to optimize the ALT attribute. If you want that extra search engine ranking boost- go for it. Email me of you would like more information about how to do it manually.
Friday, January 15, 2010
3. Keyword Suggestion Tools: There are many free SEO tools available online, including keyword research tools. Use keyword suggestion tools to explore a bird topic you're interested in blogging about. Tools like the Google Keyword Tool can generate ideas based off a single topic or a URL. Since birding is a very specific hobby, consider using a niche keyword tool like WordStream's Keyword Niche Finder. Simply type in a broad term like "woodpeckers" and the tool will suggest various "niches" and topic areas to explore.
Friday, January 8, 2010
Some of you may be wondering, "What is SEO in the first place?" SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Other names for it are Natural Search or Organic Search. This is to differentiate it from Paid Search, also called PPC (pay per click) or SEM (search engine marketing).
SEO is the practice of crafting your content (in our case our bird blog posts) so that it shows up at the top of search engine results. And most importantly, so that you are showing up on the keyword phrases (things like "peregrine falcon pictures" "binocular buying tips," etc.) that you want to be found on.
The first tip I want to share is also the most important! I thought I'd start with the good stuff first to entice you :)SEO Tip for Birders: Put the most important words at the beginning of your blog post title.
Why? Search engines will consider this your "primary" keyword phrase and therefore; the main topic of your blog post. It will appear in the URL of your blog post, which is crucial to showing at the top of search engine results.
Take a look at some of my blog posts for examples of how this is done. You'll notice that I'll often lead with the bird species name or the topic that I want to be found on in my blog post titles. You'll also notice when you hover over my blog post links the primary keyword phrase appears in the URL.
Stay tuned for my next tip, which will be about choosing the right words and phrases to target in your bird blog posts.
Monday, January 4, 2010
I love this picture- I'm excited to have my very own picture of a Carolina Wren at a suet feeder. It's such a common picture for carolina wrens, and I'm glad this guy came around on Saturday to pose for me. This suet actually was a Christmas gift from my mom- it's a Berry blend and the birds love it.
Carolina Wren and Downy Woodpecker:
On a related note- not sure how to tell the difference between a Downy Woodpecker and a Hairy Woodpecker? I wrote a post about it nearly a year ago.
Dark-eyed Junco (I like how you can see the darker feathers with its neck stretched):
Dark-eyed Junco (tossing up the snow!):
The birds love to hang out on our grape arbor. Especially in the morning- it's the first spot in the yard to get direct sunlight.
I thought this would be a nice closing pic since it's so sharp, you can see the falling snow, and there are so many birds visible in the shot.
Purple Finch, Dark-eyed Junco, Carolina Wren:
These pictures were taken Christmas Day. I didn't need a bird blind- I just had to open a 2nd-floor window and my zoom lens did the rest of the work.
Dark-eyed Junco (with a mouthful of black-oil sunflower seed):
There were also lots of black-capped chickadees, tufted titmice, and northern cardinals. Great backyard birdwatching and great holiday! It was so nice to have some days off and spend time with my family.