Improving search results

By | April 3, 2006

Lets get one thing clear, this is not for the users that use the search engines. I might be willing to do a short article about that at a later stage. So what am I talking about, well its quite easy. You have a site and you want to rank better in the search results, I know you so be bold YOU want to be the first result the users see. Damn that’s difficult isn’t it!

Well that’s what I found out the hard way. A company hired me some time ago, wont mention who just look back a few articles, to optimize their pages for the search engines. Oh sure why not just ask me to pay Google to be first! Simply put I’ve been busy since the beginning of January and it aint all that easy. Granted I’d never done anything like this before, but still. So how do you approach this, well can’t go into much detail but can describe some of how I achieved the results.

Research behaviour
This part oh so many people don’t like, including me considering I’m kinda a technical guy. But you need to find out what attracts visitors to your site.

  • What do you offer them
  • how do you make their lives easier
  • What do they like to see.

Just a few of the questions you should answer for your site, and if you have multiple sections don’t be surprised to have to do this for each section as the visitors might be quite different.

Stay up-to-date with search engines
Oh my god, can it get any more boring! YES, it most definitely can. Especially for those among you that hate math, vector and graph based calculations. Sorry about that, but you are going to have to read tons of research papers on information retrieval. Most of which won’t be used and some of which will help you a lot. I just love those little gold mines. So what do you look for and how. A good place to start is citiseer which contains tons of those papers. Just look for terms like data mining, link structure, page rank and LSA/LSI. Another place to start your educational live is in the patent offices, they contain dozens of patents sent in about the search engines.

Research & Invent techniques
Here I wont lie to you, there are hundreds of techniques that are discussed on the web. Some of which will work and most of which wont. My advice mix it up! Simple ay. You have all the knowledge of the research in search technology so use it. Combine it what is printed on the web. Improve! You will also have to decide what to do. Will you stick with the rules(white hat) set by the search engines or will you push the limits(black hat). Some good resource to start with are probable:

  • Seomoz, especially the blog is useful
  • Cre8asiteforum, basically an alround forum for webdevelopment
  • Search Engine Watch, same as cre8asiteforum but they are a bit more greedy and want you to pay for most access.
  • High Rankings, mostly white hat stuff so don’t expect any miracles

Wait for results. I know this step is boring, but it usually takes up to a month before any results are visible.

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