Update: SEO is apparently not dead, even though it appears you might actually have to think and take a long term view rather than just keyword stuff your way to higher rankings. Google has also flipped the script by forcing authors to use Google+ and Webmaster Tools to claim their posts, blogs, and domains. All this claiming has lead to a lot of backlinks being pointed at plus.google.com which surely helps them and the author’s profile on Google+ do better in Google’s own search results.
Seems like Google is benefitting from the search engine tactics they used to decry…
So why am I writing this blog post, well why do I write any blog posts? I’ve had a homepage on the Internet since 1995 something even most large corporations can’t claim. I’ve only owned Muschamp.ca for a decade or so, before that my homepage was at the URL www.engr.uvic.ca/~amckay remember when URLs had ~’s in them? They’re called teldes. I also remember when URLs and domains similar to www.the-cheapest-widgets.com were all the rage and people tried to cram as many keywords into a URL as possible using redundant directories? I even remember when AltaVista was the big search engine and AllTheWeb was the next big thing?
Over the years I’ve conducted a number of experiments and read a lot of online forums. I’ve seen SEO techniques come and go. Now it is a career, or at least more than a cottage industry, it sounds classier if you say online marketing or social media maven. That’s right some experts say social media is now the key to search engine optimization.
Remember when just writing stuff people wanted to read was enough to dominate a search term? Do you remember the earliest sites devoted to your favourite hobby or interests? HyperRust has been online forever, but firstname.lastname@example.org is no more. What about the Gates of Fenris anyone remember that website?
So what does all this have to do with search engine optimization? Well how do you think I found those hobby and niche sites, via a search engine. And as someone who has maintained a hobby site by hand for a decade or so, I can tell you next big things come and go, but lots and lots and lots of text is forever. Content is still king.
Whenever I’m in charge of a website it always does better in search engines than it did before I was in charge of the website. How many of these experts have been monitoring words and phrases for a decade and a half, the same words and phrases for 15 years. No I’m not talking about calves, never blog about calves. The keywords I’ve been monitoring that long are vanity ones such as Muskie, Muskie McKay, Andrew McKay, Muschamp, McKay, and of course Nurgle.
At some point during my less than successful MBA I was encouraged to write about search engine optimization as I knew more than most anyone at Sauder about how the Internet really worked. Needless to say I started to do a lot of Googling about the Sauder School of Business and was surprised when the token webpage I put up saying I was accepted to an MBA program ranked in the top 10, sometimes even threatening to be number one. Now over the last half a decade I’ve distanced myself from everything Sauder, but I still rank in the top 10, primarily because I regularly linked to one single webpage and I typed out a lot of crap.
So that’s it the secret to search engine optimization is to regularly link to the same webpage, get other people to link to that webpage, and type out a lot of crap. Pictures help too now that Google and the others started indexing them. Video gets expensive to self-host and YouTube seems to have won video, after all Google bought them. So I don’t worry much about optimizing video content. Stick it on YouTube and choose the right tags and titles and people will watch if it doesn’t suck.
People Spread Awesome!
The real point and reason for this post is I continue to watch my keyword referrals and web analytics and someone was reading my old writings on search engine optimization and I realized I really should see how I’m doing for some keywords lately. It is one thing to say you’re monitoring keywords and phrases, it’s another to keep that data private, it is a whole ‘nother thing to list which keywords you care about publicly and who outranks you.
One of the pieces of advice experts always give to job searchers is to look at their online presence, their social media profiles, and what comes up in Google when someone types in your name. I don’t really think I do badly overall, though if I knew that when April asked to interview me it would become a fixture in my personal Top 10, I would have dressed better, lost weight, and probably lost the Movember sideburns. My mom never liked them.
Here is some links to old published HTML tables of the results of keywords I was watching at the time:
Now I’ve done some of those searches in the last five years and so have other people. I just didn’t see the point of continuing that series on search engine optimization. But what if I took a look at all those searches and results again. And since I don’t hand publish new content much anymore I gotta squeeze those HTML tables into WordPress.
I’ve decided to add and/or remove some keywords, but a few will have data points over many years now. The only big change in Nurgle over the last decade was the arrival of the Wikipedia and me choosing to link to it and let it have first place. I just don’t care enough to try and defeat an online encyclopedia…
|Keyword||Google Ranking||Yahoo Ranking||Bing Ranking|
|Chaos Space Marine||2||13||13|
|Chaos Space Marines||2||10||10|
|Andrew McKay Vancouver||5||11||12|
|Andrew Muskie McKay||1||3||3|
Are Microsoft and Yahoo search results one and the same now, they seem to be. Yahoo’s online empire really has tanked in the last decade or so. In other news Nurgle’s Nymphs, a porn site, is back in results for a term used in a game aimed at kids over 12, but only in Yahoo!
Also it appears I should use my last name more often online. This isn’t really vital when I have Muskie or Muschamp for differentiation, however there are a lot of McKays even Andrew McKays in the world.
Remember Clusty? It must have been one of the next big things back in 2006. I can’t say I’ve used it in years. Maybe I should add IceRocket instead? It appears search engines no longer want to easily give out how many incoming links a website has. Thanks Spammers!
|Search Engine||Pages Indexed||Search Term||Links to||Search Term|
|Images in Google||875|
|Images in Yahoo||211|
|Images in Bing||196|
|Google ranking for “nurgle” image||34||“Nurgle” image|
|Yahoo ranking for “nurgle” image||100+||–|
|Bing ranking for “nurgle” image||100+||–|
|Google ranking for “Plaguemarine” image||61||“Plaguemarine” image|
|Yahoo ranking for “Plaguemarine” image||40||“Plaguemarine” image|
|Bing ranking for “Plaguemarine” image||40||“Plaguemarine” image|
|Google ranking for “Plaguebearer” image||6*||“Plaguebearer” image|
|Yahoo ranking for “Plaguebearer” image||17||“Plaguebearer” image|
|Bing ranking for “Plaguebearer” image||17||“Plaguebearer” image|
|Google ranking for “Sauder MBA” image||7||“Sauder MBA” image|
|Yahoo ranking for “Sauder MBA” image||2||“Sauder MBA” image|
|Bing ranking for “Sauder MBA” image||2||“Sauder MBA” image|
|Google ranking for “Tsinghua MBA” image||8||“Tsinghua MBA” image|
|Yahoo ranking for “Tsinghua MBA” image||13||“Tsinghua MBA” image|
|Bing ranking for “Tsinghua MBA” image||13||“Tsinghua MBA” image|
It also appears my anti-hotlinking efforts may have removed a lot of my images from Yahoo/Bing. I still get the odd referral from their image search engine, so some of my content is getting indexed.
*A Russian site seems to have stolen one of my images and is using it as some sort of search engine/phishing scam HOORAY! They also rank higher than me for the term Plaguebearer with an image clearly stolen from me as it is one of the miniatures I’ve painted over the years.
The data displays acceptably, now I have to do the hard work and hand update it. That’s right I hand check links. Search engines get wise if you rely exclusively on automated tools. Of course they also remember what I personally click and they know my IP and God knows what else, so you may get different results if you run these tests, but it should be reasonably close. Close enough for Muskblog.
Of course publishing this stuff and blogging about it may alter the results. Just in case I better include a better picture of Tsinghua University in Beijing China from while I was an MBA, as the one it is returning isn’t even close to correct. A case of SEO gone wild for sure.
Perhaps I should include some sort of definitive Nurgle image in this post too, as despite years of work, image search engine results can still be a bit hit or miss for a single keyword phrase.