Monday, April 11, 2005

Searching for Google

We recently began to consider more seriously the question of Google, in particular how to get more googly goodness going for things written here. Three posts here have gotten some traffic from Google: the post about the death of Brennen Bremmer; the one about exploding maple trees; and a few hits for the gorillas in the corn kerfuffle. All told these generated around 100 visitors, with most of them looking for info on Bremmer.

We have done a little behind the scenes to make the site more Google-friendly. Reportedly, html errors on a page reduce the "score" of the page assigned by Google. Changing the DOCTYPE to "transitional" instead of "strict" and checking/fixing/rechecking with html validators rooted out the errors, and there were quite a few. This was a fair amount of work, which we hope was of some benefit. It's hard to say, so far, but it's a leap of faith.

Since these guys were the number one hit of thousands on a Google search for how to improve your Google rank, they must know something. The site is more directed toward regular web sites than blogs, but some ideas cross over well. They have a good list of Rules to Better Google Rankings. The number of sites linking to a page is very important, but these factors are also critical:
In other words here's the things Google looks for before it calculates Page Rank:
1. Finds all pages matching the keywords of the search
2. Rank accordingly using "on the page" factors (proximity between words, frequency, repetition etc)
3. Calculate the relevancy of inbound anchor text

So looking for people to link to your site will only become important if you've got the first three discriminating factors nailed.
The third item leads to:
1. Links that you receive should always have an appropriate description to the page it is linking to.
2. We don't like inbound links that use "More" and "Click Here" to link to us.
3. Inbound links should always be consistent in case as Google is case sensitive and will display different results for upper and lower case URLs. See the consistent case rule for details.
Note that we did not help them by linking to them above with the anchor text "these guys." What the heck, they're already at the top of the heap, and our second link to them in that paragraph will help.

They suggest you get a Googlebar for your browser so you can see: 1) your page rank; 2) the cached version; and 3) who links to you. So we did that for the main page of this blog and the other most important sites in the blogosphere. The results are in the table below. The score, which can fluctuate, is Google's rating of how "important" your page's content is. Interestingly, the page we are quoting here has a score of "only" 4, yet it was the top hit of thousands.

Blog NameScoreLinks to
Don't Let Me Stop You0/100
Grizzly Mama4/10120
A Republic, Madam, If You Can Keep It0/1032
Sysphean Musings0/10544
Plains Feeder0/105
Scylla and Charybdis4/10201
Ryne McClaren: A Weblog5/10911
Roger L. Simon6/1015,000

Not only did Don't Let Me Stop You get a goose egg, there wasn't even a cached version for any of the pages. Well, we never! Perhaps this is a sign that we should stop mucking about with the template? There are links that Google is either ignoring or unaware of, obviously. We know DLMSY definitely has more than zero incoming links, and Plains Feeder has more than 5.

We can also see that while incoming link count is important, it is not the whole story. Grizzly Mama's score is interesting, particularly since the link count is significantly lower than other highly ranked pages. Perhaps Monica and Ryne have some tips for the rest of us. We're all ears (or eyes?). :-)

But seriously, folks, comments from all are encouraged on this post, as we are looking for suggestions. Also, if you would like your blog stats removed from (or added to) the list above, leave a comment or send an email.

This page is from the original Don't Let Me Stop You blog. We have moved to a new site: Visit DLMSY on WordPress.

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