Thursday, July 17, 2014

Who's going to find your website?

It doesn't matter whether you have a photography website or a blog though with a blog there's more chance of people finding it since each entry can have its own meta tags. The question is though - who is going to find your blog or website? How are they going to find it?

Meta tags were mentioned just now. They are one of the keys that used to be heavily used by Google in order to locate websites. According to Google:
When a user enters a query, our machines search the index for matching pages and return the results we believe are the most relevant to the user. Relevancy is determined by over 200 factors, one of which is the PageRank for a given page. PageRank is the measure of the importance of a page based on the incoming links from other pages. In simple terms, each link to a page on your site from another site adds to your site's PageRank. Not all links are equal: Google works hard to improve the user experience by identifying spam links and other practices that negatively impact search results. The best types of links are those that are given based on the quality of your content.
Now that's about as clear as mud. If you want to become even more confused then this is the page to read: How Google Search Works. My understanding is that meta tags help but aren't the whole answer. Throughout this blog, key search terms have been used. These are called "labels" by Google's blogspot. Two techniques have been used for the labels. Initially keyword mirroring was used where keywords and key phrases in the text were mirrored as labels for the blog entries. Subsequently, labels were used that would describe the blog entry or the sections of the blog entry - more as possible search terms.

Somewhere, it was written that people would search for "wedding photographer maui" rather than "Joe Bloggs Photography". This approach to blog labels is currently underway. This didn't really seem to produce any positive results. Indeed, when a search was just undertaken for "zombiestat" this link came up on top: when in fact there is just such a blog entry on this blog - here: Using one of the page rank checkers, the site couldn't be found in the first 10 pages of the Google search using "Zombiestat" or "adsensewatchdog" as search terms.

Looking at the searches that have found my website, they are the following:
calumet closing
led light panel
Now the question having seen this is what difference does having a search term make? Very little, judging from those search terms. People are definitely viewing the blog judging from the viewing figures but absolutely not from any of the search terms that have been entered.

Of the 10 listed search terms that have been used since inception of this blog on July 12th, 2013 (the blog is a year old - yay), 5 have been people typing the web address into a search box instead of into the address box. One has been the result of my Twitter bot - 4 visits from Twitter in a year means that Twitter is worth exactly the money invested in opening a Twitter account. "Pornhub" is a term that has ever been used in this blog until now. Baidu - the Chinese search engine always does lookups under the blog title. This leaves just two entries as genuine searches. That's not promising.

In terms of visitors, the blog is much healthier though how many are human as opposed to robot remains to be seen.
The above is the last 30 days of web traffic. Heaven alone knows why there was such a spike on June 25th. The post on June 25th received just 32 visitors to date.

So, various tactics have been used, including discussing popular current events such as Calumet closing, which received 167 visitors to date. Nothing that has been used in active blog promotion seems to have worked at all. That's incredibly interesting. My other blog doesn't get any advertising at all yet manages to get a background rumble of web traffic that works out at about 50% of the traffic this blog gets. The search terms are marginally more nonsensical with made-up search terms that don't occur anywhere in the blog.

Now let's look at Google's other set of figures - Google Analytics - which matches quite nicely with what one of the independent counters used to say and disagrees strongly with Blogger's figures. Today Blogger says the site (thus far has had 231 page views). Google Analytics says there have been 28. There's quite a discrepancy there. Over an all time range, Google Analytics says there have been 21,462 page views and Google Blogger says there have been 39,527.

Given the fact that none of the perceived wisdom on how to index a website successfully seems to work and given that two sets of figures by the same organization can differ so wildly, is there anything that can be relied upon? Really, who is going to find your website aside from the spam bots and will you even know whether your site has been viewed by a real person or a bot? Are any of the figures really accurate? Is there perhaps just me and a tin of baked beans viewing my blog?

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