Less privacy means better search results – By Paul de Sousa
These days almost everyone knows that one of the biggest algorithmic factors that taken into consideration by the major search engines when ranking sites have been links. So essentially the history was something like the more links that point to a website, the more important that site must be. However savvy blackhatters and spammers and anyone wanting good rankings started acquiring backlinks hand over fist in order to get better rankings. Once the cat was out of the bag, there was a need to find a different factor and thus more authoritative factors needed to be incorporated and thus saw more influence from sites such as Educational (.edu) and Government (.gov) sites. Again this was short-lived because of the fact that backlink hunters found ways of acquiring links from these sites through various and often nefarious methods. So the next step in the evolution of the perfect algorithm would be to see who links to you and not what links to you – hence the growing importance of the author attribute in links (rel=”author”)
The way that its starting to appear is that Google is starting to place emphasis on people who link to sites and not websites or webpages that link to other webpages or sites. While conventional link measuring will still be around and part of the algorithm for a long time, it will eventually start taking cognisance of “verified authors” hence the hype to push the Google + platform as this is the starting block of starting to build profiles on web authors. Essentially everyone who is a web author will over time become recognized and classified. Potential spammers will be flagged in a negative manner, reliable sources will be flagged in a positive and we may very well see links by known spammers getting less recognition and known authoritative authors will lend more clout to links.
So what does this mean for the average person? Well, in order for this to work correctly, it would make sense that your presence on the internet will be logged and monitored in order to be classified. Where does this leave the privacy issues? You work it out. All those porn sites you linked to will come back to bite you in the ass
A nice graphic that shows international search engine market share.
I recently wrote to Matt telling him about our strategy using WordPress and he blogged about it on his blog.
I am quite amped about it although I am a bit sorry that I have neglected this blog for what seems to be forever.
I promise you that I had no intention of not blogging, but due to certain circumstances, I had to rearrange certain priorities.
However I am thinking that I may be back.
I went off on a bit of a tangent to see how Search Engine friendly I could make a WordPress site and bought a domain specifically for that purpose, slapped on wordpress, tweaked the bejesus out of it, seo’d it up to the eyeballs, splashed it silly with content , ploughed plugins into it, linked to it from various sites to get the spiders to find it quickly and put it live.
Within a couple of days I was finding links to it on Google and Yahoo! and from January 1st to the 15th it has atracted more than 4000 UNIQUE visitors.
I’ll blog about that sometime too.
I signed up and did a few searches, hoping that I was stumbled upon the next best thing to hit the net, however , like many others, I was bitterely dissapointed with the search results. The novelty of the attached mini articles will wear off, although I do like the idea, it’s pretty novel.
I just hope for their sake that their search results improve.
The idea of including a mini article on the serps can definitely be improved on, kind of like Ask, but hopefully not that over done.
Wikipedia founder’s search engine gets bad reviews
But founder Jimmy Wales is as optimistic as ever.
By Farhad Manjoo
Jan. 07, 2008 | “We are aware that the quality of the search results is low,” Search Wikia points out in a bold-faced notice on its site, but the concession isn’t silencing many critics. The new search engine, an ambitious effort spearheaded by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, has been so long in the making — and so overhyped — that on seeing the product for the first time today, critics couldn’t contain their scorn.
TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington calls it “one of the biggest disappointments I’ve had the displeasure of reviewing.” And at Search Engine Land, Chris Sherman labels Search Wikia “essentially useless as a search engine,” and he wonders if the project can ever succeed, and, indeed, if it’s even necessary.
As Wales conceives it, Search Wikia is not just a new kind of search engine, it’s an entirely new kind of Web project.
Jimmy Wales wants people out on the Internet to help build something as complex and useful as Google, in much the same way that people took his desultory online encyclopedia and transformed it, over the years, into the world’s best reference source. In fact, this project is even more ambitious — here people are working not only to edit text but to edit computer algorithms and policies, the arcane set of systems that companies like Google need an army of developers to run.
Can such a thing ever work? Wales can be a big talker, but mainly he’s self-effacing. When I asked him, a few months ago, about the difficulties of his project, he admitted, “I could fail. I have no idea. But I’m going to have fun trying.”
He also noted that the first version of the search engine wouldn’t be very good at all. He was right. You can try it out here. I ran many searches and, like other testers, found that a great deal returned poor results.
As one example, type in Paul Greengrass. The first result is the Amazon entry for the “Bourne Ultimatum” DVD (which Greengrass directed), followed by several haphazardly ordered links to reviews, sketchy DVD stores, and questionable foreign sites. Search for the same term in Google and you find, first, a link to Greengrass’ filmography at the Internet Movie Database, and next a Wikipedia entry, which tells you Greengrass is a kick-ass movie director. The results page is superb.
Search Wikia’s spotty results are by design. The trouble with the sort of project Wales is building is that, even if it may one day succeed, it’s got to start off sucking.
At its birth, the Google search engine pretty much beat out every competitor — that’s what made it so successful so fast. Search Wikia, like Wikipedia, will improve only if people help it. The site allows you to rate the search engine’s results — you can do so by clicking on the stars that come up next to some links. You can also alter its white list (which tells the site which pages to include in its results), and, more generally, you can help create new policies determining how the whole thing will work.
Wales wants people, now, to start doing that work. In an interview a few minutes ago, he told me, “We have enough features there that people will find useful in their day-to-day work. They’ll find that a reason to stick around and use the product even while the search results are improving in quality.”
In time — a long time, at least two years, Wales says — Search Wikia will return results that are as good as those of the other engines.
But search quality is not his only goal. Wales says we need an open-source, transparent search engine — one that explains why it’s returning the results it is — because search determines how we understand the world. What we get on a Google results page is too consequential to keep the method behind those results hidden.
Really, then, the debate over Search Wikia is more about philosophy than functionality. I mentioned to Wales that he’s got a chicken-and-egg problem — he needs people to use the search engine in order to improve it, but people aren’t going to use a search engine that gives them lousy results.
Sherman suggests that Wales’ push for transparency and community may not be enough of an inducement for people to join the project:
And as searchers, do we really want or need that transparency? Ten years ago I could look under the hood of my car and fiddle with my engine when I wanted to modify something. Today, just about every system in my car is computerized, completely inaccessible to my tinkering. But given the virtually maintenance-free operation of my car I’m perfectly happy with that change and don’t long for the lost days of “engine transparency” at all.
But Wales believes people are yearning for transparency. He says that he has no worries that nobody will want to work on Search Wikia; what he worries about, in fact, is that he’ll get more volunteers than the project can effectively manage.
Wales was right about this for an online encyclopedia. Eventually we’ll know if he’s right about search, too. But not soon.
My apologies for not blogging recently.
Working for a giant corp like Johncom can be a burden on one’s blogging/social life.
Apart from being involved in another massive project, recovering from bronchitis and attending courses my life hasn’thad much thrown at me that I can blog about.
Having said that, a week ago a friend of mine asked me how he could get started with SEO.
The reply I gave him was pretty much worthy of being added to this blog, and I’ll share it with everyone.
as a starting point… there isnt really a starting point because there are just so many things to take into consideration but here are the best tips I can give you.
My top 25 or so tips
1 .Make sure you have a site map
2. Make sure your code and css are valid (xhtml transitional or nothing)
3. Make sure your site is hosted on a fast server (surprisingly, hardware & bandwidth plays a huge role in ranking, if your site is slow and the hosting server is taking strain, the search engine spiders will report back to the search engines that your site is sow to respond and will will give your site negative rankings)
4. Keep your pages small in size, use small , optimized images
5. Dont try any smart “black hat” techniques like doorway pages
6. Make sure all your links are valid
7. Keep incoming links high and outgoing links low
8. get links from sites that are associated with your site , a link from a baby food comany’s site wont help your car website
9. make sure ALL pages are linked to each other through a daisy chain effort, 1 links to 2 , 2 links to 3 and so on.
11. create “clusters” of pages that all link to your central home page with relevant information on each page with emphasis on 1 particular keyword or phrase. for instance. you have a site thats dedicated to sweets. have your main home page optimized for a theme : “sweets”, you need to mention the word sweet and synonyms a few times.
Then create sub pages, LINKED TO from your home page . each sub page should then be optimized for “specific” keywords relating to your central theme. Hard boiled sweets, toffee sweets, choclates, makes of choclates, brands etc
the more specific you get the better for your ranking.
this means creating literally DOZENS of pages.
12. your keywords need to appear in the meta tags for both description and keywords as well as in the page title and a h1 header. a lot of people neglect to add a h1 because it is big. Use css to resize it smaller, have at least 1 h2 and 1 h3 . They need to be nested correctly
h3 under h2 under h1
13. do a search for the keyword thats relevant to you, take the top 5 sites and check each site’s code and copy it as best you can.
14. you cant get marked as a spammer if you submit your sites as often as you like to search engines. This is a common myth. If that was the case, your competition would spam the search engines daily with your sites address.
15. DO NOT USE AJAX
on pages that you want to submit
16. submit individual pages as well as your home page to search engines.
17. friendly urls !!! make sure you get this :
into this :
18. avoid using more than 2 dashes in domain names and urls
ie www.my-totally-freekin-hot-site-rocks.com is a huge no no
19. Avoid using subdomains. http://sweets.mysite.com <– rather not.
instead use directories
www.mysite.com/sweets <– much better
20. spend 2 hours a day reading the sites mentioned above.
21 You need a blog associated with your site. ( www.mysite.com/blog )
You need to link from the blog back to your main site and you need to update the blog at least once a day, Content is King.
This will help the search engines spider your site more often.
22.you also need a video on youtube with links back to your site and links from your site back to the video.
you also need a map and phone numbers
If you see Google’s new SERPS when searching for anything imaginable, you’ll see sites with assocaited videos are starting to come up in the rankings
for instance do a google for “Shakira” 4th result is a video
23. You also need an image gallery, same reason as above.
24. dont bother trying to optimize for yahoo, ask msn or any other Search engine, concentrate on Google alone and the rest will follow, although DO submit your site to as many other search engines as possible.
25. Get listed on the Yahoo directory (not the search engine) as well as on DMOZ.org
it’ll take time but they count as some seriously important links.
26. dont call your home page “home” in your menu and use the anchor tag “home page” or “home”
if you have to, use a small image of a house and change the anchor text and URL to “sweet fantasy” or something thats relevant. linking to home page is not gonna help you.
and avoid using “click here” with a hyperlink on it , instead use something meaningful like “more information on SWEETS”
because why ?
because the search term “click here” JUST happens to point to adobe’s website.
any idea why ?
because 8 gazzilion people all pointed their sites to adobe’s web site with the following text
“click here to download adobe acrobat reader”
27. Make sure your hosting server is not in a “bad” neighborhood. Effectively, a bad neighborhood is one where associated sites that are hosted on the same ip range are link farms/ spam sites.
there are plenty more small tips and tricks but I’m tired and my head hurts.
oh yeah, make use of rel=”no follow” on outgoing links.
another thing with regard to rel = “nofollow”
( you write a url like such <a href=”http://www.link.com” rel=”nofollow”>anchor text</a> )
if you are creating “clusters” of pages
lets say you have 4 sections which are clusters around a central theme of sweets, you need to create a “pyramid” of pages working down, linking down
A = chocolates
B = boiled sweets
C = toffees
A1 = dark chocolates
A2 = belgium choclate
B1 = flavoured boiled sweets
B2 = plain boiled sweets
you get the idea?
when linking to a senior page, like the top page of a category from anywhere dont use rel = no follow
say for instance you are linking from B2 to A, or A1 to A or B3 to B or C4 to A then dont use rel = nofollow
but if linking from A2 to B1 then DO use rel = nofollow
you wanna preserve the pagerank within a cluster and only reserve it for outgoing links to top hirearchial pages.
And that my friends, is it.
Please let me know if this was useful to you.