Thursday, 17 September 2009

Is the future of search about technology?

Or is it about language? The more I examine the results thrown up by search engines, I become increasingly convinced it is more about language. The reason I believe so is a simple observation of how G00GLE, for example, decides on relevance of information. What I mean is that I have had high results for search terms that are not really relevant to my site. The parser had simply found the three or four words in the query in close proximity to each other and decided that this was one of the most relevant answers available. In fact it could not have been further from the truth. Yes it found the words but what did it not find - the context. And this is the main problem, I believe, with search engine technology, it cannot interpret context and that is a crucial matter for finding the correct response to a query.
This, incidentally, is the issue which has plagued the world of automatic translation since its inception as a science. Understanding context. Now I mentioned in the previous paragraph that the parser had simply found the words in close proximity - something which search engines make use of when looking at a web page - the language before and after the keyword which was input. Machine or automatic translation has tried the same techniques in attempting to understand context but this has not been blessed with success.
I think we must face the truth that human lanuage is infinitely more complex than we first realised when we embarked upon ambitous projects in getting computers to translate human language. This remains the barrier with search technology and it is a barrier which will be hard to oversome.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

A simple way of getting visitors to your website - (and it's free)

This  method  of  "casting the net" as I call it will only be successful for websites that have at least a minimum of organic traffic - by "organic traffic" I mean  visitors who are finding your site throught search engines and not through paid programms, traffic exchanges, or paid inclusions. The reason for this is simple, the keywords with which visitors find your site on the search engines are the pillars of my strategy.
So now your first question is: how do I know with which keywords people are finding me on search engines? If you do not know this then you should do the following. Sign up with a service which monitors traffic to your webste. I use because it is free of charge and supplies me with the information I require to implement my strategy. You sign up with the programm and insert the code it provides you on a page of yoru site.
Now on a daily basis you go to statcounter and by clicking on "Recent Keyword Activity" on the left hand side of the page you will see the traffic that reaches you through search engines and the actual keywords that they used to find you. All you have to do now is put these keywords into the keywords metatag of your site. Additionally you can use these keywords as a hint as to what sort of content you should be including on your site. That's it. try this over a couple fo weeks and tell me your results.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

SEO a job for the future - if that's what you believe send me some of what you're smoking

Over the past history of the Internet, which is indeed a short one in relative terms, we have come to be told that Search Engine Optimization is the key to success on the Internet. Well, know what, it isn't. I can optimize most sites with a little patience to get you on the first page of google, and it won't make you any more successful than you are today. The Net has evolved, so have the search  engines and if you are a professional SEO, my advice is retrain fast as you will soon be out of a job.
The web is a pretty fast moving train, just a few years ago the SEO expert could show visible and obvious results to the hungry market and get suitably appreciation and money. Now with social media it's over. The large social media sites incorporate their own optimization so what is the SEO expert going to do with them?
Well, now that the SEO market is vanishing and the skills needed are pretty basic and can be acquired and implemented over a week-end, the SEO experts are busy changing their business cards to SME - SOCIAL MEDIA EXPERTS. That's it. Let us make a real marketing mess of the social media, let's turn twitter into junk mail - we are already doing a pretty good job at that.
And think of all those others - Facebook, etc etc. Let's market the social media where SEO is dead. That's the current reality.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

SEO tips - giving images a meaningful name

Sometimes things in life are so obvious that we simply miss the trees from looking at the forest. In search engine optimiation (SEO) this is particularly true of images we use on our website. I have noticed that nine times out of ten the images on a website are usually just given an alphanumerical name like "DSC421". Something worth thinking about and which will certainly help search engines recognise your content is simply to give your images a meaningful name. By that I mean if you are a photographer and have a website instead of the alphanumerical name why not call your image 'evening-view-of-Athens" if it were a photo you had taken of Athens at sunset. Why bother, you ask yourself?
The most important thing to bear in mind is that search engines recognise text, they can index words but they cannot recognise or index pictures or images. Thus if you call your photograph "DSC421" this will mean nothing to a search engine. Should you name the photograph 'image-of-evening-view-of-Athens" then at least the search engine will index this text. This technique I also find useful when I am blogging. To give any blog a little more attractive appeal, it is always wise to include images to break up the text. Here again I name the images in accordance with the context of what I am writing about in my blog post. Anyway, try it yourself and I believe it is something which requires little effort and which you will not regret.