Sunday, January 29, 2006

My Blog Is Often On Page One In Google Type Searches

By Elaine Meinel Supkis

I check the stats of this site daily. One thing I am interested in is how people find this blog. Many do it through search engines and I want to thank them for coming back for more than one read, everyone here is interesting to me because of the you are from so many far flung places and different backgrounds. I want to explain how I think the search engines work.

Here is an example from today's newest readers of my blog:From Google, Germany:
Yachts for sale online - Yachts for sale
Yachts for Sale Super Yachts Mega Yachts for sale online. Buy - Sell yacths online - Super Yachts Mega Yachts for sale ... - 23k - I hurtigbuffer - Lignende sider

Azimut Yachts for sale. Buy - selling - buying - sell Azimuts for ...
Azimut Yachts for sale. Azimuts for sale. superyachts, motor yachts, brokers, ... Buy and Sell yachts online from, please visit ... - 17k - I hurtigbuffer - Lignende sider
[ Flere resultater fra ]

Culture of Life News II: Super Rich Buy Superyachts and ...
Super Rich Buy Superyachts and Supermodels Thanks To Bush Tax Cuts. By Elaine Meinel Supkis The disasterous Bush tax cuts which he wants to extend eternally ... 2006/01/super-rich-buy-superyachts-and.html - 20k - I hurtigbuffer - Lignende sider Working on Yachts and Superyachts: Books
Perfect Partner Buy Working on Yachts and Superyachts with Crewing Aboard A Superyacht: A Guide to Working Af... today! ... - 35k - I hurtigbuffer - Lignende sider

Luxury Yachts & Super Yachts brokers :: Custom Line | Top Yachts
... tailored management, gardiennage, crewing and charter services. Contact us today and find out why you should buy your new super yacht from Top-Yachts ... - 11k - I hurtigbuffer - Lignende sider

Buy and sell boats, yachts, etc. online
Sell/buy new and uses ships or other maritime products. ... Super & Mega Yachts, Sailing Yachts, Motor Yachts, Fishing Vessels ... - 79k - I hurtigbuffer - Lignende sider
This is page 1 of 718,000 web citations. I was #3. I picked up this page from my webtracker. Someone in Germany, (Guten Abend, mein Freund!) clicked on my blog after googling "buy super yachts". If you are planning on buying a super yacht and want to give me a lift, I happen to love deep sea fishing in the Gulf...or Mediterranean, ahem (heh). But seriously, I used to wonder why my blog didn't show up on Google except for page 250.

So one of my wonderful readers, from Australia, gave me a clue about how to fare better with the search engines. Writing for the Web:
Research on how users read on the Web and how authors should write their Web pages. Mainly based on studies by John Morkes and Jakob Nielsen.

Short summary of the findings: How users read on the Web [read this one first]
Full paper (long): Concise, SCANNABLE, and Objective: How to Write for the Web (unfortunately this paper was written for print and not online)

Case study: Applying Writing Guidelines to Web Pages improved usability by 159% when rewriting sample pages from a popular website

Detailed study materials, including downloadable page files, tasks, and questionnaires (only useful if you want to replicate our experiments or conduct new studies in the area of reading and writing on the Web)
It is an old fashioned looking website with annoying aspects but their advice is sound, just don't copy their interface. Here is a paragraph I carefully analyzed and used to change my blog entries:
Journalists have long adhered to the inverse approach: start the article by telling the reader the conclusion ("After long debate, the Assembly voted to increase state taxes by 10 percent"), follow by the most important supporting information, and end by giving the background. This style is known as the inverted pyramid for the simple reason that it turns the traditional pyramid style around. Inverted-pyramid writing is useful for newspapers because readers can stop at any time and will still get the most important parts of the article.

On the Web, the inverted pyramid becomes even more important since we know from several user studies that users don't scroll,(*) so they will very frequently be left to read only the top part of an article. Very interested readers will scroll, and these few motivated souls will reach the foundation of the pyramid and get the full story in all its gory detail.
This is why I have the opening statement and then the relevent news story then analysis and connecting other news stories. Patient readers might even make it to the end, but since most of us have limited hours, the leisure of reading all the way through is something not everyone has. Thus the opening summary.

I noticed that my profile on search engines has shot up. Type in "Siberian Swans" and my blog is again, #3. Or "Deep Space Climate Observatory", I am #2. "Smurfettes", my blog is #1 on page 1.

I use Google a tremendous amount. Very seldom do I see the top popular blogs in the top 10 search items. I am usually sandwiched between the New York Times, the BBC or Washington Post. All of whom I quote a paragraph or two, but the original content is overwhelming, usually, compared to the direct quotes.

I suspect Google has cracked down on mere repetition of articles because many bloggers have gotten very lazy and post most often an opening sentence like this, "Wow. Look at this article!" and ending with, "Wow. That was so stupid/amazing/whatever." So up until recently, when I wanted more information about some topic, I had to plow through dozens of web sites that were almost identical, the search people disliked this because it made their engines a waste of time.

In the last three months, I noticed a change. The variety of links on page one have been much better and the repetition of the same article is nearly gone. No longer do they have 300 Associated Press releases under the titles of 300 different news delivery services. Most of the media use only a few services now since everyone has been firing reporters and reducing their overhead, lending a certain uniformity in the news which is pretty bad, I think.

Everyone is looking for some easy way to be on page 1 of Google. I got there the hard way: by posting diverse, researched, well organized (well, sort of! Heh.) articles, frequently and with origional content, especially the artwork. Many sites try using magic tricks like embedding words or sticking a string of "key words" at the start or bottom, etc. The search engines hate this. Once everyone does the same trick, the people programming the search engines, watching content collapse, retaliate by setting up a different system for grading content.

So the message here is simple: if you have good content, well produced and easy to read and access, you will end up being loved by the search engines. They do test their systems to see if the information retrieved is of good quality. And businesses pay a lot of money for gurus to show them the Golden Land which is the top 10 Google web search items on page1.

Isn't it funny, my odd ball blog has conquered that Mount Everest? And attacks corporate America? Truly, a laugh riot for me.
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