Krista's Coding Corner

18.07.2012

How to get your page visible in Google, and SEO?

As said in the previous post, with search words ”krista coding” I got my page as first hit (you might not as Google is one slimy fellow trying to please you ;) ).

How did I get my page there?

First of all you need to give Google permission to check you page.

We have this thing called “robots.txt” that can prevent search engines (or any web robots / web crawlers) to snoop your page. It is really a file named robots.txt that is located in this manner: krista.cc/robots.txt, if you wish to use it. If you don’t have it, it means free access to anyone. But sometimes you might not want Google to put your page into its search. I used robots.txt when my mom wanted to have an invitation for her birthday in a webpage. Using robots.txt I tried to ensure that no outsiders would (probably) stumble upon the page, just in case. So, don’t use robots.txt to block Google if you want the page to be visible in Google search.

Now, Google needs to find you somehow. If your page is just hanging totally alone in the Internet, it is hard to find. But if the page is linked from other sources (where Google also has an access) its crawlers can follow the links to your page. Internet is a web and the web is constructed with links if we are only talking about webpages, and crawlers use links as roads to get to other places, like this:

(arrows == links, blobs == pages)

It might take some time before Google notices your page even there would be links to your page. Things take time even in our modern era.

With links and correct use of robots.txt Google will find you but it doesn’t mean your page would be on the top of its list even you would search the name of your page!

This is where we need SEO == search engine optimization. Some think it is some sort of occultism but it’s not. It either isn’t some tricks and cheating or huge tag list. And you should never need to pay to get better rank. No, no, no. It is a way to make the Internet a better place. It would be everyone’s benefit that we would do more of SEO because then we would get better results and would find what we really need from the Internet :) Google even gives instructions how and what to do! Here is a link to it.

Main things are:

Don’t use only flash etc. but pure (HTML) text because it is something crawlers can read. If you have an image that says “Best information of tsunamis in the Internet!” crawlers don’t see it. And if the crawler doesn’t, neither will the people using Google. (Okay, image search techniques are getting better and better, so this might not be totally true anymore.) The point is, use good descriptive names/text and for example headlines that tell what the site is all about.

I do broke this rule with titles like “Zip your zipper ^_^” because it doesn’t describe the topic as well as “What compression and zipping means? Different techniques?” which would also be closer to search words people might use in Google search. Shame on me.

Have lots of links pointing to your page. The more it is linked the more it gains importance. BUT DO NOT just paste a link everywhere with no explanation and other purpose than putting links everywhere. Always think that would you appreciate the behavior you are doing (like putting same link over and over again in same forum even your topic has nothing to do with the forum…). Get real traffic to your page and don’t just try to gain better PageRank. Because isn’t the traffic the real purpose? You want others to see your page and use it, right? PageRank really isn’t your ultimate goal, is it?

Make your page fast. No-one wants to wait a page to download. Check your score and tips to improve your page from here.

To be honest I really haven’t invested in making my page compatible with the needs of search engines. Good things I do have are:

  • All internal links (inside my page) are “clean” meaning there are no weird stuff in my url’s like question marks and the stuff after them.
  • I have no Javascript that would have something to do with the navigation in the page.
  • The page is quite fast and simple.
    • Whole page will be downloaded into webservers cache == there is no need to process the page because it is already made == less work for the webserver == the server gives the response for a visitor faster.
    • Web server zips everything with gzip so that the messages would be smaller -> loading the page takes less bandwidth.

Maybe this is more of comforting myself but: everything doesn’t have to be perfect, just start somewhere. If you just have to have some wonderful background image that is like the worst thing ever in the eyes of Google PageSpeed Tools, then have it. It is your decision. But try still to create pages that people enjoy visiting and make some compromises because some visions just are too impractical. Don’t be too selfish artist ;)

PS. I really recommend reading the Google’s guide to SEO, it was well-written and easy to understand!

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