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Search Engine Optimization

Darren Yates has published an article that picks on key elements of Google’s recent patent application. His article may help determine why your site’s not showing up as expected on Google. About a year ago I asked a friend who works as a SEO (Search Engine Optimizer) to review the various steps I had taken to optimize the site to be more search engine friendly. Thankfully the review came out positively. After reading Darren’s article I decided to take some time to make some changes to my personal blog. The worst part about search engine optimization is that it may take upto a month before you reap the rewards of your work. However, with the various search engine wars between MSN, Google and Yahoo, you may notice their spiders visiting your site more frequently than before. Below are some of the changes that I implemented across the blog:

– Page titles are set based on the post title

– Header tags for each post title

– Created a robots.txt file

– Meta tags to index the actual post as opposed to the archive page.

– Meta tags (keywords, description) to accurately describe each page. Most SEOs will say that the major search engines do not look at these meta tags to rank your site however, I still put them in.

Technorati tags for each post. This feature is not fully implemented because Blogger does not support categories. Ideally you would want each post to be associated with a specific category which was tagged for Technorati.

– Inbound links from various sites. Generally, this is both the fastest and easiest way to boost your search engine ranking. It’s also an easy way to get severly penalized if your site appears to be listed on a site that has been intentionally setup for search engine spam. So try and be a bit careful with who you exchange links with. Darren describes the ‘aging delay’ of a link that is based on the minute that new sites start linking to yours. For example, getting Scobleized or Slashdotted may boost your initial ranking or age delay however, relying on that alone may not prove fruitful. So blog away and always give credit to the respective authors you cite. Before you know it someone will end up linking to you and your overall rank will continue to gain credibility.

– The patent application also describes some issues that may be totally out of your control. For example, the registration date of your site plays a role in determining the legitimacy of your site, the information for technical, owner and administrative contacts for your site and even your website’s host IP address can help pinpoint a credible site. Apparently Google, weighs all these elements when ranking your site.

– Fresh Meat. Perhaps the most important element that you can control on your site is keeping your site upto date. So, the last change that I’ve made is a self change in trying to start blogging more – not just more updates but more quality updates. The things we do for a little Google juice.

As always, if you have more time on your hands you can always monitor and review the United States Patent Office’s website for submissions on information retrieval, indexing or any other search spidering related research; for the rest of us there are always sites like Search Engine Watch.