So I am learning a bit about SEO which stands for Search Engine Optimization, which is the “art” of getting Google et al to put your page at the top of the list when people are searching for terms. In the past people did this by putting several hundred words in the text of the page that had nothing to do with the page, and were practically lifted out of a dictionary so that when Google or some other search engine crawled the page it would find those words and it would think the page relevant to a great many terms. These words were all “hidden” by being the same color as the background of the page, e.g white on white, black on black, etc. Fortunately search engines have cracked down quite hard on such things, and have been continually refining their algorithms to be better and better and give better results for their users. But this means that it is no longer super easy to get top search engine results.
For this blog, I have attempted a few things, but unfortunately there isn’t a whole lot that can be done with a WordPress blog, and anyways there is no way to monetize a wordpress blog if it is hosted at wordpress.com so whats the point? I blog here at my pleasure, not to get large amounts of hits, not for an ego boost and not for money. So I won’t be doing much with it.
To start with, check your Page rank here: Page Rank
A page rank is how “trusted” your site is, and the number goes from 0-10. This blog is a 3, Elusive Wapiti and Dalrock are both a 4, Vox Day is a 5, en.wikipedia.org is an 8. My page rank of 3 is enough to get me to the top of Google for several searches, such as “gatorade gout” (and several such combinations) which links back to two different posts of mine. I am on the front page for searches like “manly poetry” and “cosplay pics blog”. So a 3 is by no means bad.
How to improve Page Rank:
Page rank can be improved by three main things: Longevity, Links, Authority
Longevity: How long has your site been around AND updated on a semi-regular basis. An old site that doesn’t get updated will lose its page rank.
Authority: Largely to do with what it is that you post. Consistency on a topic will improve this, and if the search engines don’t flag you as being a site set up specifically to get high results. Linking plays a big part in this as well
Links: Who is linking to you? And to a lesser extent, who are you linking to? A search engine takes a sites PR into account when it links to someone. So if a PR 1 site links to you, it doesn’t mean much. But a few links from bloggers like EW or Dalrock mean a fair amount. A link from a site like Microsoft.com (PR 8) would really bump up your rating. Similarly, your outbound links “should” have an affect on your PR as well, but I haven’t seen a definitive answer on that.
So what should you do to up your PR? Link, link, link. This is a part of what the blogroll is about. The common practice of link-sharing is a great way of mutually increasing one anothers PR. If you happen to be writing on something someone else posted, link back to them in your post. This is also important with social media like Facebook and Twitter.
When linking, the “anchor text” is used by the search engine to know what the other site is about. So when you link, don’t put “click here”. Much better to put in something like: Gout: Symptoms, Cures, Treatments, Relief or Colorado Photography. This “anchor text” will then be used to say that the following site is about “x” and will then show up higher in the search results. This was done not too long ago when many of us bloggers helped In Mala Fide get to the top of Google for the term vajazzle.
Edit: Closing comments as this post is a spam magnet