In a recent interview with Priyank Garg, Director of product management for Yahoo! Search Technology, conducted by Eric Enge, we were told that Yahoo breaks pages down into template sections to distinquish between noisy, or boilerplate content, and unique content:
One of the things Yahoo! has done is look for template structures inside sites so that we can recognize the boiler plate pages and understand what they are doing. And as you can expect, a boiler plate page like a contact us or an about us is not going to be getting a lot of anchor text from the Web and outside of your site. So there is natural targeting of links to your useful content.
We are also performing detection of templates within your site and the feeling is that that information can help us better recognize valuable links to users. We do that algorithmically, but one of the things we did last year around this time is we launched the robots-NoContent tag, which is a tool that webmasters can use to identify parts of their site that are actually not unique content for that page or that may not be relevant for the indexing of the page.
If you have ads on a page, or if you have navigation that’s common to the whole site, you could take more control over our efforts to recognize templates by marking those sections with the robots-NoContent tag. That will be a clear indicator to us that as the webmaster who knows this content, you are telling us this part of the page is not the unique main content of this page and don’t recall this page for those terms.
Last week, a confrontation between a San Francisco Police Officer, and a group of skateboarders was filmed and uploaded to YouTube, where it garnered a lot of page views, and had a lot of people on Twitter, in Friendfeed, and in Blog comments asking what the skateboarding laws in San Francisco actually were. I’ve included the video in this post, mainly because it appears to show how much confusion there is over the skateboarding laws. The police officer in the video tells his teen-aged audience that it is illegal to skateboard on any streets or sidewalks within the City and County of San Francisco.
Unfortunately, the scene escalated from what could have been a simple warning, to less than civil language on both sides and an arrest of one of the skateboarders. And it left many wondering exactly what the laws about skateboarding are in the City.
Google’s Webmaster Tools offers web site owners tools and reports to learn more about how the search engine views your site, and to make it easier for the search engine to index the pages of a site.
A patent granted to Google today involves one of the tools included within the Webmaster Tools which can enable webmasters the ability to set different crawling rates on their website for Google’s crawling programs. The description from the patent doesn’t limit itself to that tool, and describes other processes involving the webmaster tools. These include:
The verification process used by owners to claim ownership of their site to use Webmaster tools,
The generation of XML sitemaps,
How XML sitemaps may be crawled by the search engine,
Setting a preferred version of a domain (such as with or without a “www”),
Informing the search engine of a move of a site to a new domain,
If a search engine were to collect a list of links pointing to a page, and all of the text used in links to those pages (anchor text), it might be possible to learn a lot about the page being pointed towards by looking at the words used in those links. But what if there aren’t many links pointing to that page?
Anchor text in a link pointing to a page is often used by search engines to determine what a page being linked to is about, and to determine what words and phrases that page is relevant for.
But, there are a number of issues raised when anchor text is used by search engines in that way. Here are a few of them:
If a page points two links to the same destination page using the same anchor text in both links (for example, in the navigation and the footer of the page), should the relevancy of that link text be weighted twice as much as if there were only a single link from the source page?
If there is a link on every page of a site to a single page of that site (a site wide link) using the same anchor text, should each of those links accumulate in weight to determine how relevant that page might be for the text used in those links?
If there are multiple links on a page to another page, or sitewide links to that other page, and the anchor text is different in each link, should the text in both links carry the same amount of weight in determining what the page being linked to is about?
The purpose behind SEO isn’t to outrank every other site on the Web for certain queries. The purpose behind SEO isn’t to draw large amounts of traffic to a web site.
Rather, the purpose behind SEO is to make it easier for people to find a site that they are interested in, that offers what they are looking for, and that meets some informational or transactional need that they might have.
Ranking number one in search results isn’t always the best place to be. Sometimes it’s better to rank number two, or even a little lower, especially if someone visits one or more of the sites above yours, and sees that those sites don’t deliver what you offer.
Case in point, a site that I’d been working on for years had been trading places between the number one and number two position in Google’s results with another site for a very relevant query term. When the site was at the number two position, it tended to get many more conversions from visitors than when it is at the number one position.
Both sites are very relevant for that specific query term. Both sites fulfilled visitors informational needs. But the other site didn’t actually provide services based upon that information, while the site I was working with did. Being number two seemed like a good place to be.
The Google Onebox is a search result that sometimes appears below sponsored advertisements and above organic search results when you perform a search at Google. An example is when you perform a search such as a city name and the word “weather”. Google also offers specialized Google OneBox for Enterprise results for customers who use the Google Search Appliance or Google Mini.
It’s possible for you to create OneBox results for your own website, using a feature that appears to have originated with Google Coop. Google has a fair amount of documentation on the use of subscribed links, though it appears that the discussion group about subscribed links from that page has been removed from Google Groups for violations of “Google’s Terms Of Service.”
Webmasters sometimes move web sites from one domain to another, change the URL structures pointing to their web pages, or rename those pages themselves.
Changing the URLs for pages isn’t something that should be done without a lot of thought, and without very good reasons. Especially if there are many links and references on the Web to the old URLs. See Cool URIs don’t change for a number of technical ideas on planning what to use for your URLs so that it’s less likely that you might need to change them.
Regardless, webmasters do sometimes change the URLs for pages found on the Web.
This can sometimes happen when the owner of a site decides to change its name, or to rebrand its products, or merges or acquires another site or business and wants to consolidate the web pages from the other site under one name. It can also happen when a blogger decides to change the permalink structure of their URLs. Sometimes product lines are renamed, and the sellers of those products want people looking for them to find the products under the new names. There are many other reasons why the URLs to pages change.