A month ago, I reviewed Zemanta, the blogging extensions service company that provides contextual images, links, latest articles or blog posts and tags to your blog posts. I was a little harsh on the somewhat lack of relevant images and sometimes even irrelevant links that Zemanta offered up to me in their feature bar that appeared neatly embedded in my Typepad and Blogger publishing tools. I think my exact words were “all hell broke loose.”
Since then, I’ve still not incorporated Zemanta suggested items into this WWD blog but have used them more and more often on some of my other blogs, particularly my personal blogs where I have less stringent writers guidelines to follow and anything goes because they’re mine. Now Zemanta has added a few more features that have caught my attention.
Zemanta says their tools can help increase traffic to your blog because of:
1. better annotation of posts, links, images with actual crawlers for Google and Yahoo can rate the post higher and glean more context from your post; and
2. placement of links to related posts across blogosphere helps get more track back for the post which can also increase traffic.While Zemanta admits that their product is still geared more toward the personal blogger versus the professional blogger, they suggest more layout flexibility and augmented features that will be of interest to pro-bloggers are coming down the road.
Here are some of the new developments with Zemanta:
1. Zemanta is no longer just a Firefox plug-in but is also available through Internet Explorer.
The new release also increases the number of images suggested from the grid of nine and adds a scroll bar to view more images while keeping the older images visible, provides more image context including a description and licensing information, and suggests more articles.
Another great little addition is links to Amazon. When you mention a book title in your blog post, Zemanta recognizes it as a book and suggests a link directly to that book on Amazon. Future iterations of the software will also allow you to personalize Zemanta with your Amazon affiliate account information so you get your due commission for directing your readers to the bookseller.
Other features of note include mapping and geotagging. Mention a place in your blog post and have the option to link directly to the location on Google maps or add a geotag, part of an experiment for adding embedded maps. Zemanta also is adding a Popular Page that shows you the most popular articles or blog posts that are being linked to by Zemanta members.
And I’ve saved the best for last. The new Reblogging feature. I love the concept of this feature. Basically, it helps readers of your blog to more easily quote parts of your blog and incorporate it into their blogs ensuring accuracy and links back. The Zemified button that appeared at the bottom of blog posts using Zemanta features will be renamed “Reblog” and when readers click on it, they’ll get a new window with the blog post text included as well as tools for them to add any portion of the blog post that they highlight directly to their blog. They also have the ability to add in their own text to comment on or give context to the quoted blog text.
Anyone using the Reblog feature should keep in mind copyright laws and fair use practices when selecting the amount of text to quote.
The folks at Zemanta hope to extend their relationship with Six Apart to fully integrate Zemanta features into their Web-based blogging tools. That will most likely be an announcement for another time.