News and Views - August 2016
Rude comments, however, will be summarily deleted.
Driving Traffic to Your Website: 13 hints for getting real people to visit.
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09.01.16 Driving traffic to your website: Final Warning!My other website gets roughly 1000 file transfers a day, and there's no reason you can't achieve similar results. That's the good news. Now for the bad news:
08.30.16 Meta Tags: Write good descriptions and first paragraphs.When you're searching for something on the web, the search result contains a little bit of text below the headline and URL. This is called the "snippet." You want to make your snippet as interesting and informative as possible in order to get as many actual people as possible to click through to your site. I searched for "pc games free" and used the the Word Count tool in MS Word to determine the number of characters, including spaces, in the snippets. Just as Google says, the maximum is about 155 to 160. (I trust no one.) Our interesting description needs to be about that length.
I also checked again (see 8.23.16) to see whether Google is getting the snippet from the description or the first paragraph. Yes, and once from the second paragraph. I noticed that several times the description and the first paragraph (or at least the first sentence) were identical, and Google used those words. I still haven't figured out what their algorithm is for choosing between the two if they differ. I have also noticed on my other website that when I write something short and pertinent above my page headline, Google tends to use that.
So my final advice on the description meta tag is this:
08.24.16 Meta Tags: Write Good TitlesAs near as I can tell, keywords won't help you much and might hurt you in Google and Yahoo, although we need to remember that they aren't the only search engines. Some search engines apparently do use keywords, so we shouldn't abandon them altogether. Your description may or may not get used, depending, as near as I can tell, on the phase of the moon. Titles are our best friend, because they are used word for word as both the headline in search results and on the browser tab when the page is open.
Let's think today about how to write a good title. First, keep it to about 55 to 65 characters, and then search for your site (using your site name in quotes, if necessary) to see whether all the words are coming up. Also open your page and see how much of the title is shown on the browser tab. The title should give real people something that's informative and interesting.
I actually wrote the "right" title just as an example, but it's better than my old one, "Storm Dragon Software: Home." It tells what's on this page, it's a little longer, and it replaces "Software" with "get the game" on the tab. So I'm going to use it for a while. You aren't married to your title or description; change them whenever you get a better idea. Note that the tab changes immediately, but you'll have to wait until your site is crawled for the search-result headline to appear.
Writing a good description is probably trickier, so I'm going to postpone that until tomorrow.
08.23.16 Meta Tag: DescriptionI Googled "game companies" and compared each headline of the search results with the words on the tab and the words in the title tag.  Guess what: they match!  Here is something that we webmasters apparently can actually control!  I am so excited!
The reason I'm so excited about the title tag is that I also compared the text description below the headline in the search results (the "snippet") with the "description" meta tag and with the page text. The results are out of control.
Wikipedia's snippet is clear but boring. There is no description meta tag, and the snippet is taken verbatim from the first paragraph on the page, which consists of one sentence and three links. For a random page of my other website (not about games), there is a description meta tag, but Google ignored it in favor of the links at the top. Does Google necessarily prefer links? No:
So I am officially confused. Google says that they use the description meta tag 'in many cases', but I told you above what I discovered. Bottom line:
08.22.16 Meta Tag: TitleOkay, a title isn't a meta tag, but it's an important part of the top end of your page so I'm going to discuss it here anyway. The html looks like this:
<title>Your Title Here</title>
Each one of your pages should have a unique title. I think the current recommendation is about 55 to 65 characters in length, although people are probably not going to see the whole thing unless they hover over the title with the cursor. As you open more and more webpages, the title tab typically gets shorter and shorter. It's a good idea to put your brand in every title, but consider putting it at the end: "Downloads - Storm Dragon Software" instead of "Storm Dragon Software - Downloads." That way, instead of seeing Storm/Storm/Storm/Storm/Storm, the Visitor will see Storm/Product/Download/Polici/Contact, and so on, making it easier to navigate your site. So bottom line:
08.19.16 Commented HTMLProbably you know all about HTML comments already, but babies are born every minute, so I'm going to discuss them very briefly. Commented material is written like this:
<!--Your Comment Here-->
08.18.16 A Realistic View of SEO OffersYesterday I said, "Anybody who sends you an email guaranteeing to put your website on page one of the Google rankings using keywords is at best deluded and at worst lying." Today I am willing to broaden that: Anybody who guarantees to put your website on page one using any tool or combination of tools should be regarded with deep suspicion.
Let's do the math. Wikipedia has an alphabetical list of active game developers, and I counted 100 before I got to "F." (Your count may differ.) Storm Dragon Software isn't on the list, and I suspect lots of others also aren't. If you search for "computer game" on Google, 10 results are on the first page, and only five of those sell computer games.
If, for $100, someone could absolutely guarantee to put a game company on page one for "computer game," how many developers would pay that? A hundred, maybe? We would. [SEO Optimizers: Don't call us; we'll call you!] So you've got 100 paying customers, and best case, you get 5 of them on the first page.
Now, if you search for "storm dragon software," we're right there on page one. Unfortunately, the person searching for games already has to know about us and know that we are a game company. "Computer games NM" - nope. "Game companies NM" - nope. "Game company Albuquerque": NO!
So yeah, I could easily get you on the first page under your own name, but what good does that do you? There's a word for this: "scam." If you desire to throw your money away, send the hundred bucks to me. I'll use it to buy chocolate, but at least I'm honest about it!