Sorry today’s Byte is kind of long – but hopefully helpful to some folks. Also for folks in the Twin Cities, I wanted to invite you to a fundraising dinner for the TC Daily Planet. (I’m on the board and I think they do good work training folks to use media for community advocacy.) The dinner is Aug 29 – it’s 4 courses (and wine!) for $40 at the Black Dog in St Paul with Shelagh Connolly (of Mildred Pierce Café) as chef. You can get more info here: https://www.thedatabank.com/dpg/262/donate.asp?formid=TCM-Event&c=7852940
And now with our regularly scheduled Byte…
Google Caffeine was created to index sites faster. It was officially unveiled in June so that searchers might come back to Google for real-time search results (such as update on a tornado happening in Blue Earth or score of sporting event). Most of us had moved to Twitter for that kind of info. Also I think it’s an attempt to tie social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) more closely into the search results.
Google Caffeine refers to their new process for indexing. http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.html
So the big question is – how can we keep (or get) our good search engine rankings? I think many of the rules remain the same. You want good content (that uses good keywords), you want good links to your site (but not bad ones) and you want fresh content – or regular changes.
- Here are some priorities I might shift to accommodate the changes:
- Stress fresh content even more. I’d find social media tools to add to that content. So maybe it’s time to add a RSS feed from the blog(or Facebook or Twitter) to the homepage rather than a static link.
- Download speed is more important than ever. It used to be a courtesy – but now you will be judged on speed.
- Build a sitemap and rebuild as often as necessary.
- Double check links – good code is starting to count more too.
- Keywords in the URL (domain name, file structure) are gaining importance too. It wouldn’t make me change my address, but I’m going to think about it more.
- Meta-tag description. I haven’t tested this myself yet but I’ve seen more folks mention it. Meta-tags were *big* 10 years ago, then they lost favor with search engines so adding them become due diligence but not a priority. It looks as if the description tag maybe seeing a comeback.
- Title tags remain *very* important.
- Be prudent in your links. Do not link to bad (link farm) sites. Really think about why you’d want to link to unrelated sites too. At best unrelated links aren’t helping you.
- Three link rule – yup, everything old is new again. We used to design sites to be flat so that you could reach almost everything in three links. (We did that because the Internet was slower and clicking was a real time commitment.) Now a flat architecture makes it easier for robots to crawl the site.