A Slow Learning Engine?
Posted 27 March 2006 - 07:51 AM
I have a handful of blogs, ALL of the highly focused original pages get zero traffic from Google and it is almost like they were tossed out.
Matt Cutts has said repeatedly to "Start small and build out" does this mean that people who do not feed their slow learning engine at the correct pace lose? I find it to be extremely annoying.
Want to see my deadzone of a website? http://www.water2garden.org (yep that's me!)
Posted 27 March 2006 - 08:15 AM
Are you using Google Sitemaps? If so, you might be able to check the search phrases for which your site comes up, who knows, it might be interesting - perhaps your site ranks for things you don't want it to rank for? Which keywords are you aiming for? "water garden" brings up 106,000,000 results, so you'd have to do some (a lot) of work to get your site to rank for that...
I usually push my test sites out at a much faster pace, sometimes putting 1000 pages online a half hour after buying a new domain name. It gets into Google and ranks pretty good (usually ). (now if only I could turn a test site into something that contains real content and makes money, lol)
Posted 27 March 2006 - 08:15 AM
There's several things here, but for the moment, let's not go beyond the specific question you asked (without going into the specific site).
on day #1 post ten focused articles covering all the various aspects of "water gardening. Since the 10 articles basically complete the website I leave it alone and get a couple backlinks pointed at it. A year later I come back and those 10 articles are still not even in the top 1000 when you do a search for the keywords.
Okay, so we have a website built in a day and abandoned for a year. At least, you can see that's how it would look from the SE perspective right? No ongoing link growth or interest that can be detected. Looks like a speculative project ignored by all. So that may well be how the search engines would treat it.
You haven't finished building a business once you have the office and business cards sorted have you? You have to build up the business activity, the pipeline of incoming leads, and the processes of delivering the work before it is done.
Likewise your site isn't finished when the HTML is uploaded. You have to build up the pipeline of ongoing interest, the visitors, the viral link growth, the signs that the site is live, tended, or interest to at least the author. Seems that's the part forgotten here.
So, get active. Get some life into the site, some activity and interest. Otherwise its a non-event in the billions of web pages out there that all need spidering and that grow in number exponentially. Leave the site alone only after it can hold its own. Don't leave it still-born and expect the robots to bring it to life for you.
Posted 27 March 2006 - 08:30 AM
I think it just bothers me that Google will toss out content and only go for new posts when the site has reached a certain level of maturity. I have a few sites that are doing great but the original articles are still completely dead even though they are highly focused.
Again, what troubles me the most is that it appears that once Google visits a page it will not return and rank that page even after a year or more, those pages are trashed, those pages can be an entire website. It almost forces us to blog and become useless content spammers.
BUT I have plans for my water garden site this spring; I will paint it with a magic wand and watch it grown because I uderstand annoying stupid robots now. Itís just sad that even my hobby sites require SEO and link building.
Nice to chat with you BK and get advice from a master :ph34r:
Posted 27 March 2006 - 08:40 AM
I've done a quick overflight of your website and I have good news and bad news. The good news is that I saw nothing particularly bad: your web pages are indexed by Google, you have some inlinks recorded by Google and the overall structure of the website seems fine. For a human visitor there may be too many occurrences of the phrase 'water garden', but I don't think that will affect dear old Google.
The bad news is that for a search for 'water garden', Google sees 93 million web pages. That's a very, very competitive phrase so it's not going to be easy. My quick view did not suggest any ways of trying to make yourself visible in the crowd of domains that have water and garden in some combination in their name. Perhaps PPC is the only answer but that may not fit with whatever you're trying to achieve here.
<edit>I was held up on a telephone call so find others have leapt in while I was completing my answer. Agree entirely with BK and Softplus.</edit>
Edited by bwelford, 27 March 2006 - 08:43 AM.
Posted 27 March 2006 - 08:48 AM
No PPC here, I am not selling anything, it's simply an edited wordpress blog template for my personal hobbie. I am building a water garden this spring and am going to walk people thru the steps. You guys bring up a great point, the SERPS are quickly filling and to "compete" in any phrase something robust is needed. Hence, there is blog code in the background of my water garden site and I plan to bring it back to life and launch plan B, content spamming. (Well not really, I know a lot about this subject)
It should not be this way!
Posted 27 March 2006 - 09:22 AM
It should not be this way!
Why do you think your site should be more authoritive than the 90+ million other sites out there (or at least within the top 1000 / top 100 / top 10)?
Consider that people have been visiting your site for a year now (you'll have some traffic, I assume?). If your site were the absolute top autority on this topic, do you not think that you would have links / recommendations from all over pointing to that site, with the number of links steadily growing (the wikipedia is a good one, did you place the link there?)? As it is now, Google is showing 9 links, MSN 45, Yahoo! 118. That would be a good starter, but that does not make it look like your site has been the authority for over a year now .
Also, as Ammon mentioned, a good site keeps the visitors coming back. Otherwise they wouldn't need to link to it, to keep it in their bookmarks. When I link to a site, it is just as much a reminder for me to keep checking back as it is a recommendation for my visitors to take a look.
Just like a water garden, a website is not something that you build and let sit, expecting visitors to come by and enjoy "forever". It needs constant care, ripping out weeds, regular checking of the "water quality", replanting, moving, changing, finding the optimal layout. Imagine what your garden were to look like if you were just to let it sit for a year
Posted 27 March 2006 - 09:55 AM
I think the discussion on the website gets in the way of the real discussion you should have with yourself. It sounds as though you would be happy to have say 2,000 random water garden builders out there, who would follow along with you and you'd all end up with better water gardens. Is that the picture?
My mantra is Focus, focus, focus. I don't think you can get 2,000 random water garden builders. Why would they want to hear what you have to say? I think you want to figure out a particular niche of water garden builders who want to do something special and where you are an expert. Then you consider a marketing strategy where you have a Unique Selling Proposition to offer them. That's something where you can do better than the competition. So how do you create the buzz marketing around this? The website then becomes a strong support to this total process, involving your blogs or whatever.
Posted 27 March 2006 - 11:55 AM
Well, there's a perspective issue here. You're thinking purely as the owner of one site, and you've clouded your own vision.
will toss out content and only go for new posts when the site has reached a certain level of maturity.
Google hasn't forgotten or tossed out your site. It simply thinks that it isn't important enough to rank highly out of tens of millions. The site is indexed, remembered, and probably ranks well for some more specific phrases that relate to specific phrases and paragraphs on your site.
Now think of the broader world, and the millions of pages about water gardens, about gardens with water features, and about gardens that need watering. As I said before, from Google's perspective, this site appears abandoned and forgotten even by its creator. It may be as good as any other site, but that's not enough. I don't stop using what I have to use something as good. I only stop using what I have to use something better than what I have.
Make something special. Something market-leading. You'll find that the SERPs, and your traffic, will react to that lead. We're back to Seth Godin's "Purple Cow" - something remarkable.
Your water garden site should have seasonal updates. A calendar of when to do what things perhaps. It should deal with issues such as ice, burst pipes, dry seasons, water shortages, unwanted insects, fungi, and all other important (to someone it will be vital) aspects of tending to the water garden in general, for all situations you can cover.
Then it becomes a top resource. Something special. Something people will love because they see that you love it. Something where they get to share your passion and interest. Something people will link to without being asked to, simply because they want to share it.
Suggested Inspirational Reading:
Unleashing the Idea Virus, Purple Cow - Seth Godin
Cluetrain Manifesto - Doc Searls, et al
Tipping Point - (Malcolm Gladwell?)
Note well that nothing here is about 'promotion' in the classic sense. Certainly no link swapping or mass link building via "push marketing". This is real marketing. Having a product people will want, not one they have to be forced, tricked, or nagged into taking.
Posted 27 March 2006 - 03:17 PM
Hold a contest - the best and worst of amateur water gardens. Attract a few amateur experts willing to review people's designs/half-finished nightmares/"uh oh..." issues. Make me want to come back over and over.
That said, it is indeed frustrating when hobby sites have to compete on the open market. I know lots of really cool niche sites with great content that get very little traffic. I think that reaching the initial "tipping point" where viral marketing etc takes off still requires some intentional "marketing" for most sites - and most hobbyists don't know how, don't have the time, don't want to have to play this game.
Posted 27 March 2006 - 06:28 PM
Anyway, nobody is forcing any web site to be succesful by the standards of SEOs, marketeers, or even web designers.
Before embarking on any project I suggest you set clear goals in mind. I doubt that most hobbiests really care if 10 people a month or 10,000 peaople see their site - as long a s *someone* does. And admittedly, if 10K people did see their site, it would be cool.
But that isn't why they do it. And comparing a hobby site with an SEOed professional site witha budget of $20K is like comparing a row boat with a racer.
It's just not fair.
Posted 27 March 2006 - 06:44 PM
dgeary9, something about your post...
I think the challenge for "hobby" site owners can very much involve SEO challenges. Perhaps I can include the definition of hobbies to include topics people are passionate about, and what to share on the internet, but don't intend to make money from. I have a friend who is passionate about educating parents to install car seats correctly, for example. She had an absolutely fantastic site, content wise. It grew lots of links in related forums, and traffic from those forums, but mostly from parents who already understood that car seat safety was a big problem. What she really wanted was to attract the attention of parents BUYING carseats, and share some important knowledge with them. Parents I referred to her site who were in the car seat buying process found the site incredibly helpful, but to catch a wide audience online, she would have needed to rank well for a term like "car seats". That's an SEO challenge involving a fair amount of time and skill, certainly beyond what my friend wanted to do.
Little "hobby" sites used to do pretty well on the internet, and in non-commerce categories, lots still do. But if your passion intersects with keywords people use to buy, then search engine traffic seems pretty tough to come by.
Posted 27 March 2006 - 07:08 PM
Fair enough. When I think of hobby sites I usually think of people within a click that really just want to give something to (or impress) their friends. Their idea of success is to get kudos from the other people in their group - not the whole web. Maybe I'm the only one that sees it that way. But to think bigger takes it out of being a hobby and into being a business. At that point you are competing against others and the rewards (even if it's just recognition) or less personal.
I think the challenge for "hobby" site owners can very much involve SEO challenges. Perhaps I can include the definition of hobbies to include topics people are passionate about, and what to share on the internet, but don't intend to make money from.
Posted 27 March 2006 - 09:54 PM
Also do not forget that a large percent of the "water garden" indexed pages are spam, heck click on the first link here: http://www.technorat...ag/water garden and see for yourself! Real sites with a little social bookmarking and cool stuff can bust out of that rats nest easy.
I have to say I have not been in an SEO forum where so much "non SEO" advice was givin' before. I am extremely impressed with all of you and it is refreshing to not hear the same old lame advice.
This post was only a test, I will be visiting this place often if you can stand me.
Posted 28 March 2006 - 01:38 AM
And building on what Kim said, if you wanted to keep your site non-commercial, you might have a really good chance of getting links from those companies without having to link back -- much more so than any site that tries to sell products (even just on an affiliate basis). If your site looks honest and does not try to push products of any one manufacturer, you might be able to get some "sponsoring" in form of links from them (say you write an article about some really good item you found, perhaps mentioning their name or even doing a "protected" link to them in the article). Just an idea - and I guess it all depends on what you want to do with the site.
Posted 28 March 2006 - 09:09 AM
Softone - Yes indeed if you checkout "submit to:" here: http://www.seobuzzbo...site-forum.html you will see my social bookmarking area.
Posted 28 March 2006 - 03:25 PM
Just took a look at the "submit to:" section you have. I wrote the Socializer to solve that exact problem: link crowding and space saving.
By the way, your Technorati link is "wrong": the link you have doesn't submit to Technorati Favorites but actually searches for the link. To add to the favorites, use this kind of format:
I also agree with all of what has been said above. If you want, Seth Godin )mentioned above) gave a very good talk at Google. It's a bit of a download, but an excellent marketing lecture. It really hammers in the point about why people do marketing and what's so special about successful marketing campaigns.
Posted 28 March 2006 - 10:29 PM
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