Is Your Site Faster than a Fortune 100 Company?

Google and Yahoo on Faster Web Pages

Earlier this month, Google announced that they would start considering the speed of a site as one of the ranking signals that they use to rank pages in search results.

Yahoo published a patent filing last year that also described how they might use page load and page rendering times as ranking signals as well. I wrote a post soon after it was published, Does Page Load Time influence SEO? exploring how Yahoo and other search engines might look at different factors regarding the speed of pages, including the experience of users on web pages.

Google’s Matt Cutts wrote about the recent Google announcement, and provided some more details, telling us that it’s likely that less than 1 percent of queries would be affected by this change.

Who Benefits?

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How a Search Engine May Identify Undesirable Web Pages By Analyzing Inlinks

The term “undesirable web pages” is used in a patent application from Yahoo published today to refer to pages that rank highly in search results based upon links pointed to those pages solely for the purpose of increasing their rankings for specific queries even though those pages may not be very relevant for the query terms in question.

“Undesirable” appears to indicate that these are pages that Yahoo doesn’t want ranking well in search results at their search engine.

So, what might Yahoo (and possibly other search engines) look at to determine whether a page is undesirable based upon the links it sees to that page?

Analyzing Inlinks for Manipulation

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How do you start a blog post?

How do you start a blog post? Do you follow a pattern in the way you write your posts, or do you mix up how you present what you write, and how you reach out to your audience?

Here are some approaches that one could use:

a. Using a journalistic inverted pyramid style, where you begin your post with the most important text first, answering typical journalist questions such as ‘who,’ ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘when’ and ‘how’?

b. With a story or anecdote or case study that might capture visitors’ attentions rather than first providing the central fact or opinion behind your post.

c. With a statistic that might surprise or generate responses or both.

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Phrasification and Revisiting Google’s Phrase Based Indexing

A newly granted Google patent on phrase-based indexing calls for a new look at that approach to indexing phrases on the Web, including a process referred to as phrasification.

Say you want to find out who the chief of police is in New York City. You might type the following words into a search box at Google:

  • New York police chief

When Google attempts to find an answer for you, it may break your query into individual words to find all of the documents that might be a best match for your search:

  • New AND York AND police AND chief

Google may then take all the documents that are returned, and see which ones contain all of the terms you used, and then rank those based upon some of the ranking algorithms the search engine uses to try to show you the best matches for your query.

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Web Browsing History Better Search Engine Ranking Signal than PageRank?

There are a number of ways a search engine may decide upon how important a web page might be. That measure of importance might be used by search engines, along with a determination of relevance, as one of the ranking signals used to decide which pages to show first in lists of results shown to searchers. That importance might also be used to decide which pages a search engine crawling program should crawl and index, and revisit to see if content on those pages have changed.

A search engine might view the links between web pages, and decide that pages linked to frequently are more important than pages that aren’t. It might also determine that web pages that are linked to by important pages are more important than pages linked to by less important pages. Google’s PageRank is one approach for determining how important pages might be based upon looking at links between pages.

There are other ways that a search engine might use to decide how important a web page might be, including actually attempting to see how many people actually use that page.

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Search Based upon Concepts: Applied Semantics and Google

A recently granted Google patent from the founders of Applied Semantics discusses a search interface that could help searchers find web pages based upon the meanings of their queries rather than just pages that include those keywords.

In the late 90s, Adam Weissman and Gilad Elbaz decided to start a search engine that would search on meanings or concepts instead of keywords. Along with a few friends and family, they formed a company named Oingo, and along the way filed for a patent on a search based upon meanings rather than keywords.

The technology they developed could be used in a number of ways in addition to search, and provided an interesting alternative to keyword based search that would lead to some significant developments in the world of search engines.

Oingo Changes Directions

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Mapping the Deep Web

There are a lot of pages on the Web that conventional search engines can’t find, crawl, index, and show to searchers. The University of California (UC), funded partially by the US Government, has been working to change that.

When you search the Web at Google or Yahoo or Bing, you really aren’t searching the Web, but rather the indices that those search engines have created of the Web. To some degree, it’s like searching on a map of a place instead of the place itself. The map is only as good as the people mapping it.

An Agricultural Adjustment Administration worker making prints for a $3,000,000 map in 1937.

Map makers have consistently worked to develop new ways to get more information about the areas that they survey. For example, a New Deal program in the 1930s under the Agricultural Adjustment Administration led to the creation (pdf) of a $ 3,000,000 map. Continue reading Mapping the Deep Web

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Good SEO

Paul Boag wrote a post at his site Boagworld asking a number of questions about SEO. I started writing a comment at his blog, but it quickly grew to become longer than his post and the questions and comments that he had about SEO, so I decided to post my response here.

In Paul’s post, Why I don’t get SEO, he came up with five reasons why he had doubts about SEO. My response doesn’t address his concerns in the order that he asked them, and it touches upon some of the comments written by others as well. If you have questions or concerns about SEO that aren’t addressed in this response, please feel free to ask them in the comments below.

What is Good SEO?

Good SEO is not “cheating the system,” or “manipulating search results.” Good SEO is part of a marketing plan that makes it more likely that the good content you create will be found by people who might be interested in what your web site has to offer.

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