Increasing googlability
August 12, 2007 7:18 PM   Subscribe

Increasing google visitors to blog?

I've been using google analytics to track visitors to my blog, and now I'm a little confused.

Each of my posts is about a different subject. It seems that immediately after I post, I get a number of visits from people who googled that subject. But then a few days pass, or I post something else, and my blog must stop popping up on google in relation to that subject because I stop getting new hits with those same search terms. For example, I posted about Chinese American history. For a few days, I got a bunch of visits from people googling "Anti-Chinese Violence" or "Chinese in the Gold Rush". But now that time has passed and I've posted other stuff, I don't get those visits any more. I don't understand why the google results appear higher when I first post than they do a week or two later. Any suggestions?

In a related question, I can't decide how many posts to display on the front page of my blog. Now, I have all my posts on the front page. My thought is that that will encourage folks to read further. But if someone comes to my page through google, they don't immediately see what they're looking for (like, Chinese Americans during the Gold Rush for example) becuase google will tend to link to my blog's main page - not that specific entry - and what they want is buried towards the bottom of the page. Any ideas about what's best for helping people find what they're looking for?

Thanks folks.
posted by serazin to Technology (16 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I don't understand why the google results appear higher when I first post than they do a week or two later.

The inner workings of Google are dark and mysterious, but here's some ideas;

(1) I imagine Google places greater value on more recent content - once your content gets older, Google may direct visitors elsewhere. What do you find if you google "Anti-Chinese Violence"? Someone else's more recent information?
(2) All the SEO jerks have figured out that Google values constantly changing content; the new hotness is making websites that pull in lots of different, ever-changing content from elsewhere so that every time Googlebot hits, it sees something different. Auto-generated blogs, RSS etc. This clearly reduces the quality of information for Google to link people to, and I imagine Google may be finding ways to combat this - unfortunately, it might have a negative impact on legitimate blogs.
(3) Are people hitting the archived, non-front-page version of your posts? You do have the Google Analystics code installed on these archive pages, don't you?

It might just be the balance of things; in the first few days after you post, Google may value your posts particularly highly because they're "fresh". After a while, it may start to value other alternative sources more highly as your posts grow old.

becuase google will tend to link to my blog's main page

But ideally it should link to the individual archived pages - have you made it easy for Googlebot to find them? Maybe a sidebar listing the titles of the last 20 or 30 posts? This should help real people find them as well, so they explore your site deeper.
posted by Jimbob at 7:30 PM on August 12, 2007

Some people may be using Google Blog Search to look for information. Google Blog Search indexes by time/date.
posted by acoutu at 7:31 PM on August 12, 2007 [2 favorites]

I wrote a blog post about this. It may or may not be helpful.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 7:39 PM on August 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

One thing that helps immensely is other people linking to your posts. Build up a network of blogging friends and link to each other. The words you use in the link should be related to the content of the post liked to (This part is very important). By the way: If you look at the source code of certain websites you may see a rel="no follow" in the links. These links are avoided by the google and are totally useless for driving more traffic to you (increasing your ranking).

For example:

My friend posted about these great african elephant penises.

Mouseover the link and you'll see what I mean.
posted by IronLizard at 8:08 PM on August 12, 2007

Google keeps its rating heuristic secret and constantly changes it, because all kinds of people are constantly trying to figure out what it is so they can game it.

You are hardly the only person who'd like to increase the number of refers you get from Google.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 8:15 PM on August 12, 2007

Maybe the exact method is a secret, but googlebombs have shown us the way.
posted by IronLizard at 8:23 PM on August 12, 2007

For a more concrete answer...if you want to get more Google hits, there are ways to force the issue. The biggest and most guaranteed is to purchase an ad campaign through adWords. It can be expensive if you let it be (I've spent up to $400 in a month for my last employer, but I currently have a campaign running for my own site that is limited to $0.80 per day and a maximum payment of $0.08 per click on an ad on Google's search results. You can get kind of sneaky on these and purchase phrases and keywords that are less than perfectly up-front. To steal IronLizard's example, if I had a site about elephant penises and there were 100,000 other sites having something to do with e.p.'s, I would possibly buy a phrase like "elefant penises" or "elephant pneises" to capitalize on people's bad spelling or typographical errors.

Past that, you are going to have to deal with Google the standard and stable way that it ranks sites. Get more links to your site, and get people in a number of varied places talking about your site, and your ranking may increase. However, it's an uphill battle. Precisely because so many people fight and push and tweak for better rankings, Google works to make sure no one rises quickly when it's not deserved. If you create something that is bloggable by others and gains attention, Google will ultimately compensate you for that in the short term. For long term benefit and ranking, as a general rule, have a multitude of items that individually gain attention.

The third thing you can do? As I've done above, participate on the web and link to items that you've done or get others to do that. Only do it where it's appropriate and makes sense. Don't be a scumbag.
posted by Kickstart70 at 8:30 PM on August 12, 2007

One more note on the last paragraph. I meant to add an additional link here as proof: geek zodiac.
posted by Kickstart70 at 8:31 PM on August 12, 2007

[btw, all the links in the free-sf8 post are borked.]
I note you got a mention from Ralph Luker. To cultivate the history slab of the blogosphere you really have to go visiting/commenting and maybe sending links/suggestions in relation to carnivals. The more sites pointing at you the better, as said above. So either you are going to have a very very niche market perhaps in the Bay area or you need to go and become a bit noticed - are there other simpatico activism history sites around?
{I also have a bit of a suspicion that google has some sort of weird algorithm applicable for blogspot - I've never been quite able to tell why some search results point at a specific post and why some point at either the archive or the main page - and I think it puts blogspot results down on the normal google page a bit since the blog search engine was launched. I can never be that bothered enough with the stats to try to divine any real pattern though - I just feel victimised occasionally ;- )}
posted by peacay at 8:32 PM on August 12, 2007

Response by poster: Wow, these are great suggestions so far everyone.

I'll try to get on board with the with the carnival thing. And beaucoupkevin, your post was very helpful. I'm trying to figure out some of the code you talked about right now.

Just for the record, I think I get the basics about increasing google rank. I comment a lot in other people's blogs, and maintain my little web-based communities as much as possible. (Good point about doing more in history circles though.) I actually don't expect to ever be hugely popular - my topic is too obscure. And I don't have ads or anything, so I'm not trying to make money (nor can I really spend any on this).

My main issue is with trying to keep specific posts accessible as refrences instead of being buried. So ya, I want the world to see my lovely blog in its entirety, but more, I want someone who is looking for a specific topic (black panther history, chinese-american history, etc) to find my posts on those subjects.

Anyway, keep your feedback coming. I'll read all answers in more detail in a minute. Thank you!

going to fix links in sf8 post now
posted by serazin at 8:53 PM on August 12, 2007

Response by poster: And jimbob- are you saying I should have the analytics code in every post? Then, wouldn't I eventually be tracking like a manillion zillion pages? It seems cumbersome. I'm trying to figure out if that feels worth it to me. I mean, I can google my topic and just see whether my post comes up or not, or where it turns up on the list, right?
posted by serazin at 8:57 PM on August 12, 2007

Have a look at Google Tools too (it takes a few days to kick in after you claim your site). It will tell you what your position is in the search results that resulted in people finding your blog, as well as other useful information and help.
posted by tellurian at 9:05 PM on August 12, 2007

And jimbob- are you saying I should have the analytics code in every post? Then, wouldn't I eventually be tracking like a manillion zillion pages?

Yes, but Google Analytics manages this automatically for you - infact, it's what it's designed to do. I run a forum; the GA code is on every page, and every post of the forum. This allows GA to display a break-down of where in the site visitors have gone to, not just where they've come from. I not only have a record of what search terms they used to reach the site, but which forum posts they landed in.

It sounds like your current GA setup is only telling you what people searched for to land on your main Index page. You really also want to know what people searched for to land on each of your post's own pages. It should be easy enough to add the GA code to whatever template your blog uses.
posted by Jimbob at 9:24 PM on August 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

(That forum has, I think, 6000+ threads at the moment, and it's still easy to manage in GoogleAnalytics.)
posted by Jimbob at 9:27 PM on August 12, 2007

I only have analytics in my main template on blogger and it shows me exactly what page searchers ended up on. No need to paste it in every post as long as your template is the same for individual posts and the main page too (most are).
posted by IronLizard at 9:29 PM on August 12, 2007

To clarify for those new to this, regardless of which weblogging tool you use, you should be pasting your tracking code (for Google Analytics or any other solution) in every template, not every post to your site.

In addition, it should be at the end of the page, so the rest of the page loads more quickly. Keep in mind in this case that the more offsite-hosted gadgets and gewgaws you've got embedded in the page, though, the likelier one or more of them will timeout, and the page won't load completely, and so the Google analytics script will never get touched.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:27 AM on August 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

« Older I use drinking to manage social anxiety.   |   Is Javascript stackable? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.