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JavaRanch stewardship and SEO

paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20692
    ∞

Once in a long while, the rach staff get an idea about SEO and then we talk about it and then one thing out of four actually gets implemented. Probably not the most professional approach to SEO.

It occurs to me that there might be lots of ranch fans that would like to contribute to this space. Some might learn some things and some might have a lot to contribute.

In the next few minutes I intend to upload .... stuff ... that could be of use to folks interested in this sort of thing.




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paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20692
    ∞

Here are the stats for the last 14 months for several parts of the ranch.

1) FAQ/Wiki
2) www.javaranch.com - the static pages
3) the coderanch forums



[Thumbnail for faq_traffic.gif]

[Thumbnail for traffic_saloon.gif]

[Thumbnail for traffic_javaranch.gif]

paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20692
    ∞

All of these numbers are from GA (with all of the problems that come with GA) and show only google traffic.

The dips represent the weekends.

I'm curious about the google spike on aug 3, 2009 for the static pages.

Google thinks there are 267,000 pages on our forums, but there are really about 490,000.

paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20692
    ∞

This is the forums since we started using GA in august of 2007.



[Thumbnail for forum_all.gif]

paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20692
    ∞

So!

I have at least 20 ideas for things to try. But I think I should hold back on those a bit and see what others have to say.

kev grant
SEO Wizard
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 02, 2010
Posts: 43
ok well there's only so (not very) much we can tell from just looking at overall google traffic graph

re the spike, dig deeper in and see what caused it? maybe there was some big Java event going on that you rank well for or something?

with regards to the Google site search its been very unreliable for a long while now, same as the Toolbar (pagerank)

and re your list of 20, probably best to just fire away.. ?

paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20692
    ∞

1) Jeanne has modified the software so that we can fiddle with the URL a bit. I plan on going through and tinkering with the section and forum URL stuff in a few days. Mostly to make the URL's shorter.

2) Pagerank is way down. Way, way down. I think this is because we have not been active in getting links back to us.

3) Google thinks we have half the pages we really do. We should explore this.

4) I think we should do some pagerank sculpting. I think it would be good if we had an algorithm where staff can do a thumbs up on a thread and based on number of thumbs up and time, we show a top ten list on the javaranch home page. So focus pagerank on our best threads.

5) I think our pages may be far too bulky. And google is charmed by pages that load fast. We should clean up our HTML.

6) Our old Journal articles should be moved to the campfire and SEO optimized. And future journals should be managed with a at least a little SEO in mind.

7) At one of my other sites, I have done some social networking tinkering at the bottom. See my lawn care article. I think it's fun to see the numbers. I think we can do something similar here for FAQ pages and threads.

8) thread merge - complete with URL preservation

9) thread split - complete with preserving the old URL

10) image SEO

11) Pick out some of our best content and consider how to improve the SEO for a single page. Repeat for the best 20 pages or so.

12) Encourage folks here to use quirk: not just so we all better understand bits and bobs of the site, but also to build alexa ranking (of debatable value, but my impression is that alexa is getting to be of more and more value)

13) Encourage javaranch fans to use stumbleupon, reddit, digg, etc.

14) I think the bump in FAQ google juice comes from mapping certain keywords in the forums to the FAQ. I think it would be wise to explore that more. And maybe we should also explore links from FAQ pages to threads saying "discuss this in this saloon thread"

15) We should book up on keyword phrases that would be appropriate for us and figure out how to serve those phrases. Like "java certification" - we should probably create an article for each phrase.

16) DMOZ

17) canonical links on our static pages

18) meta tags to make non-google stuff happy. Including the one about which image to use for facebook (which is used by others).


-------

more about the community, but in the long run it helps w SEO:

19) I really think we need a strong focus on our forum "meaningless drivel". More jokes. More youtube links. More literature discussion. I would really like to see it evolve to be much bigger than it is - so when people find us via google or whatever, they choose to hang around.

20) The bunkhouse overhaul is underway.

------

This is just off the top of my head. I said "20", so I hit that pretty quickly. And I hope that my listing these 20 doesn't somehow get people to forget their suggestions.




paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20692
    ∞

Of course, probably the 90% of our SEO is determined by people making links to us. I started a thread here about that.

I think what might help is if we make some funky copy-and-paste javascript badges to do fun things in this space. Like the popular threads or maybe something that shows the number of posts a person has made to javaranch.

Links, links, links ..... I know I have really fallen short in this space for the last ten years.



kev grant
SEO Wizard
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 02, 2010
Posts: 43
ok I answered the stuff i can contribute to, some of your stuff Im not familiar enough with to comment.

paul wheaton wrote:1) Jeanne has modified the software so that we can fiddle with the URL a bit. I plan on going through and tinkering with the section and forum URL stuff in a few days. Mostly to make the URL's shorter.


as in auto constructing the urls from the titles? titles tend to have the relevant keywords in them, this usually works well, although to be fair kw urls play only a tiny part in rankings these days.

paul wheaton wrote:
2) Pagerank is way down. Way, way down. I think this is because we have not been active in getting links back to us.


ok firstly, toolbar PR displayed isn't worth losing any sleep about. honestly. it's very unreliable these days, goes down and up for no apparent reason, and to my mind is used more as a smokescreen or misinformation, than for anything constructive.

but you were PR7? for how long? to attain PR7 needs a significant amount of very high power links, or 100s of thousands low / average power links. it's difficult to see how this "just happened" if you weren't actively courting links?

paul wheaton wrote:
3) Google thinks we have half the pages we really do. We should explore this.


again, dont stress about what the site search shows you, it varies constantly, by as much as 50% on a day to day basis. for example I just site: searched coderanch.com, today this is what is gave me

Results 1 - 10 of about 2,020,000 from www.coderanch.com. (0.36 seconds)

paul wheaton wrote:
4) I think we should do some pagerank sculpting. I think it would be good if we had an algorithm where staff can do a thumbs up on a thread and based on number of thumbs up and time, we show a top ten list on the javaranch home page. So focus pagerank on our best threads.


makes sense. it's only the nofollow element that's out of favour, "link equity sculpting" is a better phrase.

paul wheaton wrote:
5) I think our pages may be far too bulky. And google is charmed by pages that load fast. We should clean up our HTML.


this is speculative, and a second order effect. I have never seen any signs of speed being involved in rankings whatsoever, and lots of slow sites with very big pages rank very rank well. it may become more important moving forwards, but it isnt yet.

paul wheaton wrote:
6) Our old Journal articles should be moved to the campfire and SEO optimized. And future journals should be managed with a at least a little SEO in mind.


11) Pick out some of our best content and consider how to improve the SEO for a single page. Repeat for the best 20 pages or so.


always a good idea, but with a site as old, trusted and powerful as yours, the best improvements will likely come from sitewide template improvements, letting linkjuice in and around better, if you pay attention to pagetitles and linkflow it will rank for anything and everything.

paul wheaton wrote:
12) Encourage folks here to use quirk: not just so we all better understand bits and bobs of the site, but also to build alexa ranking (of debatable value, but my impression is that alexa is getting to be of more and more value)


i dont know what quirk is? and I definitely pay no attention to alexa whatsoever. what value? it's utterly inaccurate and no-one really looks at it or cares what it says?

paul wheaton wrote:
13) Encourage javaranch fans to use stumbleupon, reddit, digg, etc.


some of them probably do anyway? you just need to get them plugging you.

paul wheaton wrote:
14) I think the bump in FAQ google juice comes from mapping certain keywords in the forums to the FAQ. I think it would be wise to explore that more. And maybe we should also explore links from FAQ pages to threads saying "discuss this in this saloon thread"


not sure what you mean by the bump in Googlejuice? but relevant (for a user) internal links usually help.

paul wheaton wrote:
15) We should book up on keyword phrases that would be appropriate for us and figure out how to serve those phrases. Like "java certification" - we should probably create an article for each phrase.


you should always have a good idea what your primary (top level) keywords are, otherwise you end up wasting your ranking power, like.. http://www.google.com/search?q=friendly+greenhorns&pws=0&hl=en&num=10

and bearing in mind it also does this.. http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&pws=0&q=java+certification&start=10&sa=N

..you have a considerable amount of latent ranking power. I would bet that if you just used the words in your homepage main pagetitle, you'd likely jump 3-6 places upwards on recaching. but if you're a cult forum, users probably know about you anyway?

if you want to rank higher for java certification, it would be pretty easy.

paul wheaton wrote:
16) DMOZ


what about them? submit to? i didnt look at your links in, but would be surprised if you hadnt made it in there in the past 12 years?

paul wheaton wrote:
17) canonical links on our static pages

18) meta tags to make non-google stuff happy. Including the one about which image to use for facebook (which is used by others).


metatag schmetatags whatever makes you happy.


-------
paul wheaton wrote:
more about the community, but in the long run it helps w SEO:

19) I really think we need a strong focus on our forum "meaningless drivel". More jokes. More youtube links. More literature discussion. I would really like to see it evolve to be much bigger than it is - so when people find us via google or whatever, they choose to hang around.

20) The bunkhouse overhaul is underway.

------

This is just off the top of my head. I said "20", so I hit that pretty quickly. And I hope that my listing these 20 doesn't somehow get people to forget their suggestions.


this stuff comes under content and isnt really my remit. Good content, of course brings users, links and rankings.
kev grant
SEO Wizard
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 02, 2010
Posts: 43
paul wheaton wrote:Of course, probably the 90% of our SEO is determined by people making links to us. I started a thread here about that.

I think what might help is if we make some funky copy-and-paste javascript badges to do fun things in this space. Like the popular threads or maybe something that shows the number of posts a person has made to javaranch.

Links, links, links ..... I know I have really fallen short in this space for the last ten years.



if you were PR7, you didnt need to worry about links, and you probably still dont now either.
paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20692
    ∞

Oh wait! I have one more thing I need to add.

I definitely don't want to do SEO where we're gaming the search engines. Nor am I saying that I think that those that come up before we do are gaming the search engines. I think that this is a space we've neglected. And those that are ahead of us have just been a little more savvy and have taken the time to tinker more.

I think it is good site stewardship for us to know about SEO and to do what everybody else is doing.

kev grant
SEO Wizard
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 02, 2010
Posts: 43
heh, ok well lets bomb this myth right out of the water to start with.

please define "gaming the search engines" ? ..would it be the same as "presenting your information in a manner Google will understand better, and therefore rank higher" ?

if so, I'll bow out now.

otherwise, we'll be fine.

kev grant
SEO Wizard
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 02, 2010
Posts: 43
if Javaranch was suddenly mine, this would be my first target.

http://www.google.com/search?q=java+forum&pws=0&hl=en&num=10

a solid and untouchable #1 here.
Jeanne Boyarsky
author & internet detective
Marshal

Joined: May 26, 2003
Posts: 30924
    
158

kev grant wrote:please define "gaming the search engines" ? ..would it be the same as "presenting your information in a manner Google will understand better, and therefore rank higher" ?

No. It's that stupid stuff where you see a site built entirely for search engines and not humans. You've probably seen them - thousands of keywords, some Google ad banners and no useful content to actual people.


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Jeanne Boyarsky
author & internet detective
Marshal

Joined: May 26, 2003
Posts: 30924
    
158

kev grant wrote:ok I answered the stuff i can contribute to, some of your stuff Im not familiar enough with to comment.

paul wheaton wrote:1) Jeanne has modified the software so that we can fiddle with the URL a bit. I plan on going through and tinkering with the section and forum URL stuff in a few days. Mostly to make the URL's shorter.


as in auto constructing the urls from the titles? titles tend to have the relevant keywords in them, this usually works well, although to be fair kw urls play only a tiny part in rankings these days.

Yes. JForum didn't do this by default so we put it in the initial version when we migrated from JavaRanch to CodeRanch in January 2009. It uses the forum name and the first few words of the subject. I gave the ability to use different words than the forum name on demand. Which is what Paul refers to.
kev grant
SEO Wizard
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 02, 2010
Posts: 43
ok, well then just being aware of and the occasional tweaks to thread titles when users waste opportunities would be all you'd really need seo-wise on an ongoing basis.

I'd incorporate this into a mod's role, "SEO Mod"

effective SEO is much more "what you type" rather, than "what you code" into the system.

(well, when you already have an unoptimized "authority site" it is, anyway..)


paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20692
    ∞

kev grant wrote:
paul wheaton wrote:
2) Pagerank is way down. Way, way down. I think this is because we have not been active in getting links back to us.


ok firstly, toolbar PR displayed isn't worth losing any sleep about. honestly. it's very unreliable these days, goes down and up for no apparent reason, and to my mind is used more as a smokescreen or misinformation, than for anything constructive.

but you were PR7? for how long? to attain PR7 needs a significant amount of very high power links, or 100s of thousands low / average power links. it's difficult to see how this "just happened" if you weren't actively courting links?


Hmmmm ..... I think we were a 7 two years ago.

I have no idea how it happened. I have to admit that I really haven't been paying much attention to this stuff.


kev grant wrote:
paul wheaton wrote:
3) Google thinks we have half the pages we really do. We should explore this.


again, dont stress about what the site search shows you, it varies constantly, by as much as 50% on a day to day basis. for example I just site: searched coderanch.com, today this is what is gave me

Results 1 - 10 of about 2,020,000 from www.coderanch.com. (0.36 seconds)



I google for site:coderanch.com - the numbers seem a bit more consistent.

kev grant wrote:
paul wheaton wrote:
5) I think our pages may be far too bulky. And google is charmed by pages that load fast. We should clean up our HTML.


this is speculative, and a second order effect. I have never seen any signs of speed being involved in rankings whatsoever, and lots of slow sites with very big pages rank very rank well. it may become more important moving forwards, but it isnt yet.



Based on one of the matt cutts videos.

kev grant wrote:
paul wheaton wrote:
6) Our old Journal articles should be moved to the campfire and SEO optimized. And future journals should be managed with a at least a little SEO in mind.


11) Pick out some of our best content and consider how to improve the SEO for a single page. Repeat for the best 20 pages or so.


always a good idea, but with a site as old, trusted and powerful as yours, the best improvements will likely come from sitewide template improvements, letting linkjuice in and around better, if you pay attention to pagetitles and linkflow it will rank for anything and everything.



Please tell me more about linkflow. This one is new to me.

Does "pagetitles" mean something different that the title on the page? Or the stuff in h1 tags? Is there room for improvement here?


kev grant wrote:

paul wheaton wrote:
12) Encourage folks here to use quirk: not just so we all better understand bits and bobs of the site, but also to build alexa ranking (of debatable value, but my impression is that alexa is getting to be of more and more value)


i dont know what quirk is? and I definitely pay no attention to alexa whatsoever. what value? it's utterly inaccurate and no-one really looks at it or cares what it says?



I was in the same boat about three months ago. And then I got on a jag reading lots about SEO with a focus on very recent stuff. Of course, it's hard to tell which SEO stuff is for real, which is a load of horse potatoes and which is simply outdated. I agree that the alexa algorithm is far from perfect, but I do think it is having more and more weight with ..... stuff. While your position is "no-one really looks at it or cares what it says", I am now of the opinion that many people now do look at it and care what it says and they are perfectly aware of its flaws. Further, I speculate that in the months to come, it will be given even greater value, whether it is deserved or not.

Just my obnoxious opinion, nothing more.


kev grant wrote:
paul wheaton wrote:
13) Encourage javaranch fans to use stumbleupon, reddit, digg, etc.


some of them probably do anyway? you just need to get them plugging you.



Probably. So I guess it would be good to find those folks and say howdy. And it would be good to let others know about them.

I have to admit that I'm pretty new to this sort of thing, but so far I really groove on su and reddit.

kev grant wrote:

paul wheaton wrote:
15) We should book up on keyword phrases that would be appropriate for us and figure out how to serve those phrases. Like "java certification" - we should probably create an article for each phrase.


you should always have a good idea what your primary (top level) keywords are, otherwise you end up wasting your ranking power



Yes. And ... well .... I think we have not been as good about that as we should be. And by "we" I guess I should say "I" - it's my responsibility and I've fallen short.

kev grant wrote:

..you have a considerable amount of latent ranking power. I would bet that if you just used the words in your homepage main pagetitle, you'd likely jump 3-6 places upwards on recaching.


Well, yeah, we could change the title to something like "java java java: for java programming, java people and java thoughts" - in fact when you google for java, there is a site ahead of us that does exactly that!

I want to leave the title as is, and the H1 on the home page. I think we say "java" enough on the home page as is. Adding more seems like it would start to get .... a bit off?

It does seem that javaranch should naturally hit page 1 of google when searching for java. We're just that big. And our primary focus is java. But we don't - and that has to be tied to us not being as SEO aware as we should be. I think when we're done tinkering we probably will be there. And without "java java java: for java programming, java people and java thoughts"


kev grant wrote:
if you want to rank higher for java certification, it would be pretty easy.


I agree. I think we need to make a java certification page and then do the thing where we auto hot link to it.


kev grant wrote:
paul wheaton wrote:
16) DMOZ


what about them? submit to? i didnt look at your links in, but would be surprised if you hadnt made it in there in the past 12 years?



I think we should actually look there to see if we are, or are not, listed there. And we probably have 20 different bits and bobs here that should be listed there.

kev grant wrote:
paul wheaton wrote:
17) canonical links on our static pages

18) meta tags to make non-google stuff happy. Including the one about which image to use for facebook (which is used by others).


metatag schmetatags whatever makes you happy.


I've been in the schmetatags boat for a long, long time. It's only in the last two or three weeks that I can see the value of it. Especially with stuff like facebook. If folks like doing facebook links to us, then that improves SEO, right?

Therefore, metatags stop being schmetatags.







paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20692
    ∞

kev grant wrote:
paul wheaton wrote:Of course, probably the 90% of our SEO is determined by people making links to us. I started a thread here about that.

I think what might help is if we make some funky copy-and-paste javascript badges to do fun things in this space. Like the popular threads or maybe something that shows the number of posts a person has made to javaranch.

Links, links, links ..... I know I have really fallen short in this space for the last ten years.



if you were PR7, you didnt need to worry about links, and you probably still dont now either.


It seems to me that if a person goes to google and types in "java" then JavaRanch should appear on page 1. We're on page 4. This tells me that something is wrong. And I think 90% of that is links. We just haven't done things for links in the last 10 years like the others have.

I suspect that pagerank is an indicator here. We now have fewer links and other sites have more links.

We should, I think, tend to that.

I think it is fair to say that until JavaRanch gets to page 1, I have been a poor site steward.



paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20692
    ∞

kev grant wrote:heh, ok well lets bomb this myth right out of the water to start with.

please define "gaming the search engines" ? ..would it be the same as "presenting your information in a manner Google will understand better, and therefore rank higher" ?

if so, I'll bow out now.

otherwise, we'll be fine.


We delete spam every day where it is from somebody trying to game google. So we definitely don't want to be like that.

I don't want to change the home page title to "java java java java java java"

I guess I want to follow what matt cutts suggests in his videos: focus on the content and along the way try to be wise about what makes good SEO. For years we have focused only on the content and didn't give a damn about SEO. And I think it shows. So now we are trying to mend that.


paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20692
    ∞

kev grant wrote:if Javaranch was suddenly mine, this would be my first target.

http://www.google.com/search?q=java+forum&pws=0&hl=en&num=10

a solid and untouchable #1 here.


Well, kev, what might be the number one thing we can do to make that happen?

Personally, I would rather shoot for "java forums" ....

Maybe we should start a new thread just for that. We'll make it our goal and we'll come up with some good bang-for-the buck ideas. And ....


kev grant
SEO Wizard
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 02, 2010
Posts: 43
paul wheaton wrote:

I google for site:coderanch.com - the numbers seem a bit more consistent.


possibly, but Google site search is broken http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4121704.htm

and has been for some considerable time.

paul wheaton wrote:
Based on one of the matt cutts videos.


worth taking into account but commonly seen as part fact, part propaganda, part misinformation by those who know (AND TEST!! )

paul wheaton wrote:
Please tell me more about linkflow. This one is new to me.


internal link equity - http://www.seodesignsolutions.com/blog/link-building/stop-think-before-you-build-another-link/

Jeffrey explains this stuff so much better than I do.

paul wheaton wrote:
Does "pagetitles" mean something different that the title on the page? Or the stuff in h1 tags? Is there room for improvement here?


h1 titles not very important. help a little, not much.

pagetitles are THE most important thing on the whole website wrt rankings, get these right it hardly matters what on the actual pages.

how about

paul wheaton wrote:
I was in the same boat about three months ago. And then I got on a jag reading lots about SEO with a focus on very recent stuff. Of course, it's hard to tell which SEO stuff is for real, which is a load of horse potatoes and which is simply outdated.


90% of SEO information is freely available, if you know where to look, and who has any clue. the other 10% is the special sauce that separates successful pros from the rest of the wannabes and forum experts.

the real art in SEO is knowing what works and what's bull.

paul wheaton wrote:
I agree that the alexa algorithm is far from perfect, but I do think it is having more and more weight with ..... stuff.


algorithm? what as in monitoring your traffic rank? and weight with who / what?

paul wheaton wrote:
While your position is "no-one really looks at it or cares what it says", I am now of the opinion that many people now do look at it and care what it says and they are perfectly aware of its flaws. Further, I speculate that in the months to come, it will be given even greater value, whether it is deserved or not.

Just my obnoxious opinion, nothing more.


heh, your call Paul, Im too busy ranking client sites in Google for any speculation outside that arena. ..let me know your findings..

paul wheaton wrote:
I have to admit that I'm pretty new to this sort of thing, but so far I really groove on su and reddit.


again, to be honest social media traffic is notoriously difficult to convert to sales, hence we dont really get involved much. we're more your organic Google rankings / traffic kind of company.

paul wheaton wrote:
Yes. And ... well .... I think we have not been as good about that as we should be. And by "we" I guess I should say "I" - it's my responsibility and I've fallen short.


I think youve done exactly as Google would have wanted you to, launched, and concentrated on users not chart performance.

paul wheaton wrote:
Well, yeah, we could change the title to something like "java java java: for java programming, java people and java thoughts" - in fact when you google for java, there is a site ahead of us that does exactly that!

I want to leave the title as is, and the H1 on the home page. I think we say "java" enough on the home page as is. Adding more seems like it would start to get .... a bit off?


you dont need to say it any more, you just need to include relevant modifiers, carefully worded. you definitely dont want to go Java java Java with java on the top.. twice in any title tag is the max.

paul wheaton wrote:
It does seem that javaranch should naturally hit page 1 of google when searching for java. We're just that big. And our primary focus is java. But we don't - and that has to be tied to us not being as SEO aware as we should be. I think when we're done tinkering we probably will be there. And without "java java java: for java programming, java people and java thoughts"


nothing about Google's top 10 is "natural" any more, SEO is here to stay, time to get used to it ;)


kev grant wrote:
if you want to rank higher for java certification, it would be pretty easy.

paul wheaton wrote:
I agree. I think we need to make a java certification page and then do the thing where we auto hot link to it.


you can do this if you want of course, but changing your homepage title tag would be much quicker ;)

paul wheaton wrote:
I think we should actually look there to see if we are, or are not, listed there. And we probably have 20 different bits and bobs here that should be listed there.


worth a try, but if youre not in there already I wouldnt get your hopes up.

paul wheaton wrote:
18) meta tags to make non-google stuff happy. Including the one about which image to use for facebook (which is used by others).
i dont even know what you mean here? facebook metas? again facebook is not really my thing.

paul wheaton wrote:
I've been in the schmetatags boat for a long, long time. It's only in the last two or three weeks that I can see the value of it. Especially with stuff like facebook. If folks like doing facebook links to us, then that improves SEO, right?


er, traffic wise, maybe.. FB links are redirected though, so no seo benefits in the only way I care about...

I think we need to define "SEO", I mean "search engine" optimization, strictly speaking FB, and all that social media stuff doesnt fall into my definition of that.

I can "advise" but it might seem more like heckling to some..
kev grant
SEO Wizard
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 02, 2010
Posts: 43
paul wheaton wrote:
Well, kev, what might be the number one thing we can do to make that happen?


change your homepage titles thus

<title> JavaRanch Forum - A Friendly Place for Java Greenhorns - blah blah blah </title>

paul wheaton wrote:
Personally, I would rather shoot for "java forums" ....

Maybe we should start a new thread just for that. We'll make it our goal and we'll come up with some good bang-for-the buck ideas. And ....


forum or forums, same thing more or less. in general (but with exceptions) the singular is slightly harder to rank for, and you'll already be ranking for the plural higher than the singular.

kev grant
SEO Wizard
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 02, 2010
Posts: 43
http://www.google.com/search?q=friendly+place&pws=0&hl=en&num=10

another example of ranking power wasted IMO ..friendly, place, greenhorns.. .. all wasted space in THE most important place on the site.

relevant words here could be driving relevant traffic.
paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20692
    ∞

Google site search is broken


good info! thanks!

internal link equity


I think we are doing some of that. Especially with the keyword "java".

pagetitles are THE most important thing on the whole website wrt rankings,


Hmmmm - so maybe we should take a good look at the titles in jforum ....

let me know your findings..


Some guy wanted to do some biz with permies.com a few weeks ago. As I try to talk to him, his position is that his site is big and awesome so a link from some subpage of his is worth a link from all of my pages. I then pointed out that both my pagerank and alexa ranking showed my site as being about 100 times the size of his. I'm glad to exchange links, but it would need to be something equitable.

We never did reach an agreement, but he did start talking to me as a peer instead of me being a pissant.

And alexa even had a graph I could link to that showed the permies.com awesomeness far, far above the other side crappiness.

Very useful.

I would say there have been six similar things from permies so far. Alexa has yet to come up with javaranch.

again, to be honest social media traffic is notoriously difficult to convert to sales, hence we dont really get involved much. we're more your organic Google rankings / traffic kind of company.


Well, we're not selling anything. We're just a bunch of geeks talking about programming.

But! You mention a company. Are you saying that your full time job is SEO stuff?

I think youve done exactly as Google would have wanted you to, launched, and concentrated on users not chart performance.


Thanks!

Although I have watched it some. And from time to time I try to figure out what I'm doing wrong.

nothing about Google's top 10 is "natural" any more, SEO is here to stay, time to get used to it ;)


And my lips are purple from the kool-aid. So I'm trying to make up for my past coasting.

you can do this if you want of course, but changing your homepage title tag would be much quicker ;)


Yeah, but the site is about far more than certification. This is one of those things where what is best for the site and the community, or what is right, weighs more than SEO.




paul wheaton wrote:
18) meta tags to make non-google stuff happy. Including the one about which image to use for facebook (which is used by others).


i dont even know what you mean here? facebook metas? again facebook is not really my thing.


I think there are about 50 different big sites that will use this information if you wanna make a link.

So if somebody starts a thread and they are really grooving on it, they can feed the thread to facebook, digg, reddit, twitter, etc. And some of those will fish out the meta tags to dress up the link.

And then you have a nice link from a site to javaranch.

The link is a good thing in itself, but, it also happens to charm google. Just like any link does.

And if there are 100 of these a day, I would think that google would be charmed a lot. And those threads build juice which lends juice to the whole site.

So, meta tags do not charm google directly, but I think the indirect google charm is worth thinking about.

er, traffic wise, maybe.. FB links are redirected though, so no seo benefits in the only way I care about...


My impression is that bots know about the redirect and figure it out. Not so?


paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20692
    ∞

kev grant wrote:
<title> JavaRanch Forum - A Friendly Place for Java Greenhorns - blah blah blah </title>



I put a request in for something like this on the forum home page.

Ernest Friedman-Hill
author and iconoclast
Marshal

Joined: Jul 08, 2003
Posts: 24187
    
  34

Hmmm. The third hit for "Java forums," right below Sun and right above us, is (perhaps not surprisingly) a site called "www.java-forums.org", a site I've never even heard of. It's relatively small -- 100K posts by 33K members. It's got the words "Java forums' all over the front page. Hard to compete with that, frankly. #1 for "Java answers" is a site named "javaanswers.com". I detect a pattern there...

On the other hand, we're right below Sun for "SCJP", and #1 and #2 (above Sun!) for both SCJD and SCWCD, #1 for "Java exam mock tests". #1 for "SCJP forum".

Honestly, not sure how with so many #1s, our page rank could be anything but great. And I think Sun (Oracle) is not going to give up the #1 spot for "java forums".




[Jess in Action][AskingGoodQuestions]
paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20692
    ∞

kev grant wrote:http://www.google.com/search?q=friendly+place&pws=0&hl=en&num=10

another example of ranking power wasted IMO ..friendly, place, greenhorns.. .. all wasted space in THE most important place on the site.

relevant words here could be driving relevant traffic.


Yes.

And this is also the title that people see in the list of google results. And at the top of the browser.

I wonder how often people search for:

java
java community
java forum
java forums
java certification
learning java
java beginner
beginning java

..... it seem that this sort of thing would be an important stepping stone.

What about "JavaRanch - a friendly place for java greenhorns - forums and other java resources for beginners"

??






kev grant
SEO Wizard
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 02, 2010
Posts: 43
paul wheaton wrote:
internal link equity


I think we are doing some of that. Especially with the keyword "java".


i think i saw this in action on the forum? but if so, you need to switch the nofollow off. in fact personally I would switch it off full stop. if a link deserves to be there at all, it deserves to be live IMO.

pagetitles are THE most important thing on the whole website wrt rankings,


paul wheaton wrote:
Hmmmm - so maybe we should take a good look at the titles in jforum ....


take a look at them everywhere ;)

paul wheaton wrote:
Some guy wanted to do some biz with permies.com a few weeks ago. As I try to talk to him, his position is that his site is big and awesome so a link from some subpage of his is worth a link from all of my pages. I then pointed out that both my pagerank and alexa ranking showed my site as being about 100 times the size of his. I'm glad to exchange links, but it would need to be something equitable.

We never did reach an agreement, but he did start talking to me as a peer instead of me being a pissant.

And alexa even had a graph I could link to that showed the permies.com awesomeness far, far above the other side crappiness.

Very useful.

I would say there have been six similar things from permies so far. Alexa has yet to come up with javaranch.


ok cool, I see where youre going with that.

again, to be honest social media traffic is notoriously difficult to convert to sales, hence we dont really get involved much. we're more your organic Google rankings / traffic kind of company.


paul wheaton wrote:
Well, we're not selling anything. We're just a bunch of geeks talking about programming.

But! You mention a company. Are you saying that your full time job is SEO stuff?


yep, very definitely, 70 plus clients, 70-80 hours a week most weeks.

http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=business+seo&pws=0&hl=en&num=10

http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=seo+design+service&pws=0&hl=en&num=10

http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=advanced+onsite+seo&pws=0&hl=en&num=10

I think youve done exactly as Google would have wanted you to, launched, and concentrated on users not chart performance.



paul wheaton wrote:

Thanks!

Although I have watched it some. And from time to time I try to figure out what I'm doing wrong.

nothing about Google's top 10 is "natural" any more, SEO is here to stay, time to get used to it ;)


And my lips are purple from the kool-aid. So I'm trying to make up for my past coasting.


you can do this if you want of course, but changing your homepage title tag would be much quicker ;)


paul wheaton wrote:
Yeah, but the site is about far more than certification. This is one of those things where what is best for the site and the community, or what is right, weighs more than SEO.


you need compromise and write titles that work for both. they need to a) rank for the right things, and b) make the user click your site over the ones above or below you.

past Google, pagetitles dont matter at all do they? who ever looks at the top bar of the browser once in a site?


paul wheaton wrote:
I think there are about 50 different big sites that will use this information if you wanna make a link.

So if somebody starts a thread and they are really grooving on it, they can feed the thread to facebook, digg, reddit, twitter, etc. And some of those will fish out the meta tags to dress up the link.

And then you have a nice link from a site to javaranch.

The link is a good thing in itself, but, it also happens to charm google. Just like any link does.

And if there are 100 of these a day, I would think that google would be charmed a lot. And those threads build juice which lends juice to the whole site.

So, meta tags do not charm google directly, but I think the indirect google charm is worth thinking about.


which tags are you talking about specifically Paul? this really is the first Ive heard of this, but nearly all those social sites are "dead" links I think, nofollowed, redirected etc.

paul wheaton wrote:
My impression is that bots know about the redirect and figure it out. Not so?


no, theyre mainly redirecting to stop spammers getting any benefit, they trap the PR and just send the user onwards.
paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20692
    ∞

paul wheaton wrote:
kev grant wrote:
<title> JavaRanch Forum - A Friendly Place for Java Greenhorns - blah blah blah </title>



I put a request in for something like this on the forum home page.



the change is in.
paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20692
    ∞

Ernest Friedman-Hill wrote:Hmmm. The third hit for "Java forums," right below Sun and right above us, is (perhaps not surprisingly) a site called "www.java-forums.org", a site I've never even heard of. It's relatively small -- 100K posts by 33K members. It's got the words "Java forums' all over the front page. Hard to compete with that, frankly. #1 for "Java answers" is a site named "javaanswers.com". I detect a pattern there...

On the other hand, we're right below Sun for "SCJP", and #1 and #2 (above Sun!) for both SCJD and SCWCD, #1 for "Java exam mock tests". #1 for "SCJP forum".

Honestly, not sure how with so many #1s, our page rank could be anything but great. And I think Sun (Oracle) is not going to give up the #1 spot for "java forums".


I guess for "java forums" we should focus on coderanch.com/forums - and being second to sun seems about right.

For "java" we should focus on javaranch.com

Ernest, good points abut the other searches!



kev grant
SEO Wizard
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 02, 2010
Posts: 43
paul wheaton wrote:
Yes.

And this is also the title that people see in the list of google results. And at the top of the browser.

I wonder how often people search for:

java
java community
java forum
java forums
java certification
learning java
java beginner
beginning java

..... it seem that this sort of thing would be an important stepping stone.

What about "JavaRanch - a friendly place for java greenhorns - forums and other java resources for beginners"

??


go here. https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

cut n paste that list in, and see. the numbers themselves are not accurate, but in relation to each other they are.

title-wise, yes, now we're getting there. you want to use the highest volume (hence toughest competition) searches on the homepage, and then work into the site.

another good thing to do at this stage is think of it like this.

http://superior-seo.us/advanced-web-design-techniques/ (this is another of our sites, it's evolving into the "educational" one)






kev grant
SEO Wizard
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 02, 2010
Posts: 43
guys, without meaning to be condescending, I think you basically have no idea just how powerful your site could be

i think you could get past sun and oracle, without too much effort. that java-forums.org is childsplay

have a look at this SERP, specifically the sites below me here..

http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=google+upgrade+tool&pws=0&hl=en&num=10

my site will be 3 years old in Nov 2010.
kev grant
SEO Wizard
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 02, 2010
Posts: 43
Ernest Friedman-Hill wrote:Hmmm. The third hit for "Java forums," right below Sun and right above us, is (perhaps not surprisingly) a site called "www.java-forums.org", a site I've never even heard of. It's relatively small -- 100K posts by 33K members. It's got the words "Java forums' all over the front page. Hard to compete with that, frankly. #1 for "Java answers" is a site named "javaanswers.com". I detect a pattern there...

On the other hand, we're right below Sun for "SCJP", and #1 and #2 (above Sun!) for both SCJD and SCWCD, #1 for "Java exam mock tests". #1 for "SCJP forum".

Honestly, not sure how with so many #1s, our page rank could be anything but great. And I think Sun (Oracle) is not going to give up the #1 spot for "java forums".


Toolbar PR is nothing much to do with ranking any more. real PR (which we cant see or measure) very definitely is.
paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20692
    ∞

i think i saw this in action on the forum? but if so, you need to switch the nofollow off. in fact personally I would switch it off full stop. if a link deserves to be there at all, it deserves to be live IMO.


I think the java links don't have no follow.

And I think some changes are going to go in to eliminate a lot of the nofollow stuff soon. I think we will still leave some in due to spam concerns.

yep, very definitely, 70 plus clients, 70-80 hours a week most weeks.


seoibiza.com?

Wow, then you're giving us a healthy slice of your life! Thanks!

who ever looks at the top bar of the browser once in a site?


As a guy perpetually with 50 windows open, I lean on them pretty heavily.

which tags are you talking about specifically Paul? this really is the first Ive heard of this, but nearly all those social sites are "dead" links I think, nofollowed, redirected etc.


description and something about the default pic.

In the last month I've read quite a bit about how much value google places on these. Especially twitter and facebook.

no, theyre mainly redirecting to stop spammers getting any benefit, they trap the PR and just send the user onwards.


My impression is that google resolves it anyway.


kev grant
SEO Wizard
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 02, 2010
Posts: 43
paul wheaton wrote:
i think i saw this in action on the forum? but if so, you need to switch the nofollow off. in fact personally I would switch it off full stop. if a link deserves to be there at all, it deserves to be live IMO.


I think the java links don't have no follow.


no, if we're talking about the same ones, they show pink in my browser?

paul wheaton wrote:
And I think some changes are going to go in to eliminate a lot of the nofollow stuff soon. I think we will still leave some in due to spam concerns.


you'll get the same amount, nofollow or not. all of our sites are "dofollow", every link out (unless its a spam site I was linking to for some reason) is live. I'm of the definite opinion that linking to good relevant sites actually helps you rank, and comment links out definitely don't "hurt" you, as long as the sites youre linking to are good.

yep, very definitely, 70 plus clients, 70-80 hours a week most weeks.


paul wheaton wrote:
seoibiza.com?

Wow, then you're giving us a healthy slice of your life! Thanks!


yep, and no worries.

who ever looks at the top bar of the browser once in a site?

paul wheaton wrote:
As a guy perpetually with 50 windows open, I lean on them pretty heavily.


the vast majority dont, technical users (your readers) maybe a little more so but in general, the average web user isnt even aware of their existence as a separate entity. I know this because I have to explain it to almost every client or user I ever speak to about it.

which tags are you talking about specifically Paul? this really is the first Ive heard of this, but nearly all those social sites are "dead" links I think, nofollowed, redirected etc.


paul wheaton wrote:
description and something about the default pic.

In the last month I've read quite a bit about how much value google places on these. Especially twitter and facebook.


if you think facebook and twitter are good places to drive user traffic from, then fine, if youre thinking those links will help the site rank, then id have to disagree. beware of placing too much faith in what you read about SEO in general and social media in particular.

99.5% (roughly ;) ) of published seo info is nonsense.

no, theyre mainly redirecting to stop spammers getting any benefit, they trap the PR and just send the user onwards.


paul wheaton wrote:
My impression is that google resolves it anyway.



nope, in general I dont think so. the definitive way to tell is do they show up as links in Google Webmaster Tools?

if not, they dont exist, for Google at least.
paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20692
    ∞

So each month there are

68 million searches for java (we're #31)
6.1 million for jsp (we're not in the first 100)
1.5 million for applet (we're not in the first 100)
1.5 million for servlet(we're #71)
823,000 for how to java
673,000 for java tutorial
673,000 for tomcat (we're not in the first 100)
450,000 for java programming (we're #47)
246,000 for scjp (we're #4 and #5)
246,000 for applets
201,000 for servlets (we're #54)
74,000 for java certification (we're #16)
60,500 for learn java (we're #61)
40,500 for learning java (we're #35)
12,100 for java forums (we're #5)
6,600 for java community (we're #18)

so it seems like a great title would be "java jsp java applet servlet how to tutorial" - right?

Then we need to find a path between that and what we have now, right?

Jeanne Boyarsky
author & internet detective
Marshal

Joined: May 26, 2003
Posts: 30924
    
158

Ernest Friedman-Hill wrote:Hmmm. The third hit for "Java forums," right below Sun and right above us, is (perhaps not surprisingly) a site called "www.java-forums.org", a site I've never even heard of. It's relatively small -- 100K posts by 33K members. It's got the words "Java forums' all over the front page. Hard to compete with that, frankly. #1 for "Java answers" is a site named "javaanswers.com". I detect a pattern there...

I see us lower down than that when searching for java forums. I see sun, java-forums.org, javaprogrammingforums.com and forums.java.net first. Do you have that feature on where google remembers where you have been and adjusts your search results?
paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20692
    ∞

"java string" gets a million. We're #80. That seems like something we should also shoot for. Somebody googling for that is probably a beginner and, so, a good match for us.



Jeanne Boyarsky
author & internet detective
Marshal

Joined: May 26, 2003
Posts: 30924
    
158

kev grant wrote:
paul wheaton wrote:
i think i saw this in action on the forum? but if so, you need to switch the nofollow off. in fact personally I would switch it off full stop. if a link deserves to be there at all, it deserves to be live IMO.


I think the java links don't have no follow.


no, if we're talking about the same ones, they show pink in my browser?

There is a specific instance of it that doesn't have nofollow. I am working on changing it to be more generic.
paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20692
    ∞

kev grant wrote:guys, without meaning to be condescending, I think you basically have no idea just how powerful your site could be

i think you could get past sun and oracle, without too much effort. that java-forums.org is childsplay



Well, that would be really nice.

What about getting our home page onto page 1 of a google search?



 
wood burning stoves
 
subject: JavaRanch stewardship and SEO