Thursday, September 25, 2008

Outbrain to improve blog recommendations

I use Outbrain's widget to provide rating stars and recommended reading for each post here. In the next few days you may see some changes as Outbrain rolls out some improvements. Here's the email I recieved from Yaron Galai.

Over the next few weeks, we will begin making a few changes to our service to improve the recommendations we show to your readers via the outbrain widget. Under our rater, we will begin mixing links from your own site with links to external content that is highly relevant to the reader. The recommended content may come from your own site, a major media company or from blogs of all sizes with quality posts. Each content source has been approved so you don’t have to worry about questionable content showing up on your blog. This change is designed to improve the user experience on blogs by giving readers a wider range of content to choose from that’s tailored to them as an individual reader. That said, quality trumps here at outbrain, so if we don’t have a great recommendation for your readers, we may choose to show no links at all.

Here's how the recommendations may appear:


This change has several benefits:

Readers like it: readers love discovering interesting posts and content from around the web. Just as they enjoy your blog for its original content, they will also appreciate your blog for pointing them to outside articles & posts that are interesting to them. Many in the industry have been researching the positive effect of external linking on reader engagement. Scott Karp from Publishing 2.0 is the latest blogger to post about the benefits of providing readers with useful external links. You may want to read this article as Scott points to major sites like the Drudge report for evidence that sites enjoying the highest reader loyalty are those that combine great content with pointers to other interesting articles around the web.

Personalized recommendations: the outbrain recommendation engine will locate the most relevant content from our network to display as recommended links, giving you a “smart” editorial tool to provide personalized value to each of your readers. Often, the best recommendations will be from your own site. We will not sacrifice quality for quantity: if we can’t show a good recommendation to a reader, we won’t try to.

Syndication: by sharing links across sites, your posts may be recommended on other blogs as well, providing you with additional traffic and a wider potential audience.
We’re excited about the change and think it will improve our service for bloggers and readers alike. If, however, you do not want your readers to receive targeted recommendations from trusted sources on your site, and prefer instead to limit recommendations to your own content, here’s how to adjust your settings:

  1. Log into your outbrain account*
  2. Click ‘Manage Blogs’
  3. Click ‘Settings’ next to the blog you want to change
  4. Change the Recommendations setting from ‘Best Recommendations’ to either:
  • ‘Limited Recommendations’ (restricts recommendations to links on your own site)
  • ‘No Recommendations’ (turns off all recommendations)

*If you have not claimed your blog, you will need to do so before you can manage its settings. Claiming your blog will also give you free access to our full suite of reports and blog rating insight. To claim your blog, please follow these instructions after logging in.

And of course, if you need any help feel free to visit our support forum at http://getsatisfaction.com/outbrain or contact us at support@outbrain.com.

Thanks for reading, and thanks again for your continued use and support of our product.


Yaron, and the outbrain crew

1 comments:

Yaron Galai said...

Hey Andrew -

Thanks for using outbrain, and thanks for posting this. If you have any feedback or questions, feel free to drop me a note at: galai [at] outbrain [dot] com

Thanks!