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#41 Michael_Martinez

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 12:43 PM

Has there been a significant change in traffic? How about referrals from other sites? Are you tracking mentions of the blog domain names?

#42 bwelford

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 01:21 PM

Hi Michael, those are all good questions but it will take some time to give probably partial answers.

The first blog was switched 14 days ago and the other three 2 days later. I have been publicising these tests to an extent so traffic has increased but what part the changes in SERPs may have caused is difficult to estimate.

My working hypothesis runs as follows:
1. What the search engines have indexed for any blog posts existing prior to the changeover will be unaffected by these changes as will traffic to them.
2. Since the change, any new blog post web page will have accumulated extra, direct back links while it was the 'front page' of the blog. It may also have been assigned (through the 301 redirect) back links that previously were assigned to the domain home page.
3. Once this web page moves off the 'front page', then it may progressively lose these assigned back links perhaps over a long period of time. The back links it would have accumulated either by direct reference from other websites or via the internal blog structure will be registered as usual.

If this hypothesis is true, then you might expect that new posts will be more visible in the SERPs and that these increased rankings would persist.

#43 Michael_Martinez

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 03:51 PM

I can actually start to see some practical uses for this technique. I'm just afraid if you publicize it too much people will abuse it. Nonetheless, I applaud your openness.

#44 bwelford

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 04:07 PM

Thank you, Michael. I want to get a bit more history before pronouncing on this, but I'm not sure I see any greater opportunity for abusing this than with regular blogs.

Indeed I'm beginning to think that the standard blog with an ever-changing front page but always the same URL may have a tendency to create less relevant SERP entries.

#45 bwelford

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 12:07 PM

Just a further follow up on that Video Games blog post, which is still showing as the blog 'front page'. It's something I'm noting that web pages can improve their position in the first few days. As of this morning, if you do a Google search for video computer games lisa barone, it's a fairly competitive search with 106,000 items. Lo and behold the new blog post is at #1. Here is what I'm seeing (YMMV)

Posted Image

The interesting question is whether this 'front page' blog post will keep this visibility when it is bumped from the front web page. I noted this morning that finally the Golden Ears Bridge here in BC is appearing in Google Maps, 28 days after Mapquest spotted that the bridge was now in the Tele Atlas mapping database. It's also after 9 months of operation and two years of construction prior to that. That certainly deserves a post.

#46 Michael_Martinez

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Posted 29 April 2010 - 02:05 AM

Thank you, Michael. I want to get a bit more history before pronouncing on this, but I'm not sure I see any greater opportunity for abusing this than with regular blogs.

Indeed I'm beginning to think that the standard blog with an ever-changing front page but always the same URL may have a tendency to create less relevant SERP entries.


I'm thinking of the trend spammers who try to fool people into downloading malware on pages targeted toward breaking topics.

Of course, it could be argued that since they are already moving content into the SERPs on the spur of the moment, they probably don't need to adapt your technique (or have already figured it out for themselves).

#47 bwelford

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Posted 30 April 2010 - 07:56 PM

I continue to see extremely exciting results in the SERPs from following this approach. I am in general trying to think of posts that will be covering fairly competitive topics, so that I can better see how well this LMNHP approach works.

Accordingly I launched a post on April 28, covering the very tardy appearance of the Golden Ears Bridge on Google Maps. At the time I issued the post a search for 'Golden Ears Bridge BC' produced the following results:

Posted Image

The first 6 results are clearly stiff competition, with Wikipedia, Translink, owner of the bridge and a PR7 website and the Google Forum discussions with Google itself having PR10.

I was monitoring the SERPs and 36 hours after the post went live here is how that same SERP then appeared.

Posted Image

I imagine it may be difficult to outrank that Wikipedia entry but I'll continue to watch.

Edited by bwelford, 30 April 2010 - 07:57 PM.


#48 AbleReach

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Posted 30 April 2010 - 08:23 PM

Do you think you're getting good click-thru from these results? Or are people searching for the bridge, hoping for a transit authority, maps or wikipedia result?

Edited by AbleReach, 30 April 2010 - 08:23 PM.


#49 bwelford

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Posted 30 April 2010 - 08:46 PM

I'm sure folk do such a search for a variety of reasons. Perhaps some reasons would make my entry an appropriate one to click. For others, although it was not a fit, they might be intrigued to click anyway.

#50 Michael_Martinez

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 03:09 PM

It's interesting for me in a new way, Barry. Last week I launched a blog to help fans of the Legend of the Seeker show mount a campaign to convince ABC Studios to find a way to keep it in production. I didn't have time to set up a custom domain and I didn't want to put something temporary on Xenite.Org so I used a Wordpress account to create a new blog.

The new blog has published up to 19 posts a day as we track progress on the campaign. Although the blog is indexed it doesn't rank for anything. I suspect it has broken trust filters everywhere in Google's algorithm despite earning numerous links (most of which, however, are nofollowed from Social Media sites like Twitter and Facebook).

The blog is receiving upwards of 1,000 visitors a day nonetheless, but if I search on its name my other, older Wordpress blog is listed first (specifically relating to a post announcing the new blog, but it is the old blog's root URL that is listed).

So now I see for myself the very problem your experiment is trying to address. It just takes Google too long to get the PageRank sorted out. You may be on the verge of pioneering an important new SEO methodology, but we still don't know what all the ramifications are (and I applaud your conservative approach to this).

#51 bwelford

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 09:04 AM

As I watch further what is happening in the SERPs with blogs using the LMNHP approach, I have become aware of just how badly Google handles those long scrolling blog home pages. Your blog is not too bad, Michael, with only 5 posts on the Home Page, but even a single post on the Home Page does not avoid the problem.

I explore the topic further in a post entitled Home Pages Suck On Google. I find Seth Godin is a particularly intriguing case: he has 25 posts on his Home Page. It would be interesting to hear why he believes that is a good decision.

#52 bwelford

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 10:00 AM

I note this morning that Search Engine Rountable has an item, When Does Google Prefers 302 Redirects?. This refers to a a Google Webmaster Help thread where JohnMu says

For what it's worth, a 302 redirect is the correct redirect from a root URL to a detail page (such as from "/" to "/sites/bursa/"). This is one of the few situations where a 302 redirect is preferred over a 301 redirect.

So far I have been using a 301 redirect in exactly this situation. I have not had any messages via Google Webmaster Tools, but I'm wondering about the pluses and minuses of what I'm doing versus what is being recommended. I'm just not sure "what it's worth". ;)

#53 A.N.Onym

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 10:35 AM

Well, one could argue that it *is* a temporary redirect to a particular page, so you should try it out and see what happens ;)

Edited by A.N.Onym, 07 May 2010 - 10:35 AM.


#54 Michael_Martinez

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 01:27 PM

But the whole point of Barry's technique is to redirect root URL PageRank (temporarily) to a leaf node page. I can see the search marketing reason for this and I can see why a search engine might not like it.

If the practice becomes widespread, Google could choose to take that into consideration in its algorithm by either penalizing the practice (which I don't think is very likely) or by diminishing the value of redirection in short time frames (which I think would be more reasonable).

Of course, I'm in no position to speak for Google.

#55 bwelford

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 01:45 PM

Perhaps I can state the counter-argument. I believe Google is being manipulated by people using very long multi-post blog Home Pages. For example Seth Godin has 25 posts on his Home Page. Given that his blog has a high PageRank, this maximizes the content for which his blog may come up. You too, Yura, have said you like multi-post blog Home Pages for the long-tail keyword searches.

The downside of that is that when Google gives the link to the Home Page, it is the very devil to find which part of that long scrolling Home Page is relevant for the query. In other words, the page delivered has limited relevance. Using the LMNHP approach there is only a single post with its unchanging content and unchanging URL (and Title and meta description). What you see is what you were looking for.

#56 bwelford

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 10:20 AM

The LMNHP approach continues to perform well on my four blogs with rapid visibility for new blog posts.

I have written a post with the title, Design Entry Pages Not Home Pages. The essential point is that Google and RSS news feeds send visitors directly to internal pages so you should start off by designing the template for them. You can do the Home Page, if you're still doing those, as a second priority.

Thinking further on that, you could see the Home Page as an unnecessary extra step you force visitors to take in order to get to the web page that really responds to their need.

Now that should be controversial I assume. If not, I assume you'll all be giving up on your Home Pages. :)

#57 Michael_Martinez

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 12:41 PM

I don't know if it's controversial or not. Most of Xenite.Org's traffic goes directly to its deep content. The home page only gets a fraction of our daily visits. It's been that way for years.

I think real value draws the traffic. No matter what I put on Xenite's home page, it's just a root URL that acts as a portal to the rest of the site.

#58 bwelford

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 01:09 PM

Exactly, Michael.

If I go to your website Home Page, it's a little blah, but I guess my reactions aren't all that important since I'm not in the niche.

However for what it's worth, could you not have a current front page that really goes to town on whatever is the hot news item today or this week or two. It will eventually become one of those deep pages but perhaps it could have its moment(s) of glory.

#59 Michael_Martinez

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 04:00 PM

However for what it's worth, could you not have a current front page that really goes to town on whatever is the hot news item today or this week or two. It will eventually become one of those deep pages but perhaps it could have its moment(s) of glory.


If I had the time, sure, I could do that. But I don't have the time for it. I update the "In the Spotlight" section every couple of weeks.

#60 AbleReach

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 04:47 PM

If I had the time, sure, I could do that

Spoken like a programmer. :)

Home pages need front end design that works for users, back end programming that streamlines repetitive tasks, and infrastructure that makes content available in a way that Search Engines interpret.

For me, Barry's experiment shines a light on a big problem in letting default settings take over. He's focusing on how Search Engines interpret the rapidly changing content on blog home pages. A usability person might look at this discussion and get ideas for how to better design the user interaction part of a "magazine" style blog theme. A SEO may focus on how to funnel link juice into rankings.

These areas all require different sorts of awarenesses and skillsets, and they've all got to click. No out of the box solution will do it all, and that's where well-rounded webdev people can make their money while performing a needed service.

#61 bwelford

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Posted 24 May 2010 - 05:08 PM

For those who are following this story, I continue to monitor SERP performances on the four blogs where the LMNHP approach is being adopted. I am constantly amazed by the high rankings that are rapidly achieved by new posts. For critical tests I use Firefox using the Global Search Extension to avoid getting personalized search results. Today I saw a result that was really mind-blowing. Recency of post may play a part in this but it still is noteworthy.

I saw a post on the Problogger blog, which clearly has some authority. I took issue with the content and so wrote a post that was uploaded just over 24 hours ago. This is the result when doing a relevant keyword search. This is a 9.0M item search so there is high competition for this. The result is shown in the SERP below, which was shown by Google Australia (clearly far from Canada).

Posted Image

As you will see, the blog post I wrote is at #3 while the Problogger post I was commenting on is at #4. Searches on other Google centres using non-personalized search had the two close together, sometimes in this order and sometimes reversed. I still find this hard to believe. Your mileage may vary but if you do a search rapidly for 'Professional Writers Blog', you may see somewhat similar results.

#62 AbleReach

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Posted 24 May 2010 - 06:45 PM

How quickly does the post stop ranking that high, after you 301 to the next new post?

#63 bwelford

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Posted 24 May 2010 - 07:51 PM

These are my current working hypotheses on LMNHP from what I'm seeing in SERP analyses, some of which have been running for over 4 weeks.
  • The long term ranking of web pages is unaffected by the LMNHP approach, which is more concerned with the first few weeks.
  • The packet of URLs that have been assigned to a given blog web page will persist with that web page and will likely only slowly disappear
  • In consequence, the 301 redirect transfer to a newly published blog post web page does not cause any downward penalty. Rather this merely signals that the process of adding further back links to the given web page has now ceased.

I have seen some other iintriguing phenomenon on when a domain is recognized and when a single post URL is recognized. There are also some interesting considerations as to whether this LMNHP approach is more or less effective dependent on the frequency of blogging. I'm beginning to think that it all should be pulled together into an e-book, given that so far SERP behaviour is extremely beneficial.

#64 AbleReach

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Posted 24 May 2010 - 10:49 PM

Thank you for sharing your experiment with us, Barry!

#65 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 01:34 PM

I'm going to be persnickety and theorize that you would have gotten those same rankings for [professional writers blog] even if your blog was still using the old, normal way. I can't prove it, of course, but then again, you can't prove that your new method has any real influence over this particular ranking.

While I love the test you're doing, I do want to caution everyone to remember that cause/effect relationships can be easily misinterpreted.

#66 bwelford

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 04:19 PM

This is only one rather mind-blowing example of the many tests I do. I can assure you, Donna, that compared with what is normally achieved for these PageRank 3 blogs, I know that I am getting higher rankings than othewise.

Independent of the ranking, perhaps the more important factors are that with these Titles and snippets (which reproduce exactly the meta description tag for the post), you have a much better chance of attracting the click.

Also the content you access by clicking is exactly the content that is appropriate for the keywords. If you have a default Wordpress setup with say 3 posts in either full or Read More format, you may be left searching on a long page for the part that is relevant for your search.

It is of course very difficult to do tests to show the exact effect of the LMNHP approach. However I believe a logical comparison of the mechanisms involved will suggest that this is better than the Wordpress default setup.

#67 bwelford

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Posted 26 May 2010 - 07:59 PM

Here's another example of a high ranking post and the SERP has a most intriguing content. Here is what it looks like. It's a keyword search for Google Adsense Split. Can you spot what is surprising about the first and second results after the News item.

Posted Image

What is most surprising is that the SERP has two apparently similar items from staygolinks.com with different URLs showing as #1 and #2. The first shows the domain itself, www.staygolinks.com, and the second is the individual post about the Google Adsense Split.

What is particularly gratifying is that the post by Danny Sullivan on Search Engine Land on which the blog post was based comes in at the #4 position. Out-ranking such a post is a significant indication of how well the LMNHP approach works. If you would like a longer explanation with some more data on this, you can find it here.

#68 bwelford

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Posted 19 September 2010 - 10:27 AM

Just to update you all, most of my blogs continue to use the LMNHP approach and rank well for relevant keywords. I have been blogging less frequently during the summer but have seen no detrimental effect on rankings.

I switched one of the blogs back to the traditional WordPress Home page with only one post on this Home page about a month ago. This produces a result that I find surprising. I would be interested in reactions. If you do a Google search for Elizabeth Rocks, the #1 entry is the Home Page of the blog. This still ranks well in a relatively competitive search with almost 8 million items.

The surprising thing to me is that the Title shown for this entry is the standard Blog title rather than the title of the individual post. The words 'Elizabeth Rocks' only appears in a H2 heading for the post and two or three times within the text. This may be enough to get the high ranking but the entry in the SERP looks wrong and somewhat irrelevant versus other items in the list.

Does this mean that the Title currently has less weight within the ranking algorithms? Perhaps the Hn headings have more weight. Has anyone tested this by having somewhat irrelevant Titles and seeing whether their posts still rank well for what is in the content, including the headings.

#69 iamlost

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Posted 19 September 2010 - 11:07 AM

One thing I noted, Barry, while checking [Elizabeth Rocks] was that it varies by domain:
* google.ca : currently number 1 as you say.
* google.co.uk : currently number 2.
* google.com : something quite interesting that confirms some thoughts about new Google 'Instant' search, G-Suggest, and G-SERPs.

While watching as I typed each letter seniormoneymemos never shows in the dropdown suggest/Instant. When I finish typing at [Elizabeth Rockstroh] shows - because the top of the two in the G-Suggest dropdown is Elizabeth Rockstroh. Elizabeth Rocks is the other.

However once I click 'Search' you then do show as number one in google.com for [Elizabeth Rocks].

Soooo...
I suggest benchmarking G-traffic for that term in both dot-ca and dot-uk and then revisiting log file data once G-Instant is rolled out there as well.

#70 iamlost

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Posted 19 September 2010 - 11:18 AM

Ooops, now see you at number three on dot-com. What goes up...

p.s. your mug is a delightfully weird Google choice as a universal image of a Rockin' Elizabeth :)

Edited by iamlost, 19 September 2010 - 11:19 AM.


#71 Michael_Martinez

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Posted 19 September 2010 - 11:29 PM

Does this mean that the Title currently has less weight within the ranking algorithms?


It doesn't have to mean anything at all. I've seen thousands of sites rank for all sorts of queries where their titles differed from the query terms.

Google says it constantly tweaks the weighting of factors in the algorithm anyway, so trying to picture how much any one factor matters is really a waste of time.

#72 bwelford

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 06:54 PM

Google says it constantly tweaks the weighting of factors in the algorithm anyway, so trying to picture how much any one factor matters is really a waste of time.

.. or in other words, Michael, SEO is bunk. Or am I misinterpreting you. :)

#73 jonbey

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 08:12 PM

I have always thought that. I have not really done much "SEO" other than make a site that I am proud of. OK, I had some advice recently that it was a total mess, so that led to a restructure and redesign (still ongoing). But I really think that Google's ultimate goal if for a search engine to know when a page is good, and when it is not.

but then again, maybe if I did some SEO I would be in a better financial situation ..... hmmmm.....

#74 Michael_Martinez

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 01:19 AM

.. or in other words, Michael, SEO is bunk. Or am I misinterpreting you.


No, SEO is not bunk, but there is certainly a lot of "bunk SEO" being passed around. However, all I really meant was that I don't think you have enough information on what is happening to really draw a supportable or verifiable conclusion.

Discounting 200+ ranking factors in order to determine what impact one specific ranking factor has on search results is pretty much beyond everyone in the SEO industry these days.

#75 bwelford

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 10:10 AM

To round off this topic, I thought it might be appropriate to update you all on what has happened. The use of the LMNHP approach for over a year was certainly advantageous but improvements to the Google search process, particularly for blog posts, mean that it is no longer necessary. Those who prefer the simple standard way of doing things will no doubt be relieved at our return to the fold.

To avoid reading the whole saga, LMNHP stands for Look Mom No Home Page. The approach was applied to the 4 principal SMM blogs starting in Apr 2010. The approach involved an immediate 301 redirect to a single page version of the latest post. This meant that all the links that were pointing at the domain are now redirected to this single article web page. This should give higher PageRank to this web page than it otherwise would have had, while it remains the latest post. This might well mean that the single post has a better chance of appearing high in the Google Search Engine Report Pages more rapidly. That is indeed what was seen.

The only disadvantage as suggested here was that some visitors would be confused since the URL they might have typed in their browser is not where they end up, given the 301 redirect. This has clearly been a problem for a small proportion of visitors. Given this concern, it became a question of whether the SEO advantages of the approach outweighed the confusion generated for some visitors.

Recently I decided to revert to a standard architecture for the SMM blogs and no longer use the LMNHP approach. Accordingly all 4 SMM blogs now have the same format. The Home page for each includes excerpts of the 5 most recent blog posts using the < more > tag, which is a standard feature in WordPress.

I believe Google is giving increased visibility to single blog posts so the switch has not had any adverse effects. You can find more details in the blog post I wrote about the change.

#76 burton

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Posted 12 December 2011 - 11:37 AM

No Homepage well I don't see the point just as you mentioned earlier when people go to your blog they usually go straight to your latest post so does it really matter well I don't think so



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