Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Whether SEO or WOSE, Text is KING

My take-away message from the introductory chapter of Michael Miller's book is that Text is King as far as searches go. It's a very text-centric world out there and the crawlers and searchbots are trained to sniff out web pages based on text only. Hence, text analysis is featured as one of the primary considerations that determine page rank. At least this is as things stand now. It does not mean that images become immaterial, but that one has to anchor it with some kind of text in order to score any point.

While quantity, or length in this case, might not be all that important, a shorter text can be deemed as less relevant, and is often accorded a lower page rank, all things being equal. Then again the page ranking algorithm reputed to be the top secret of the highest degree can sense any word padding, no matter how subtle it is, from a mile away, easily. Thus pruning a page for readability and more important, substance, is much more rewarding than playing the word game.

Another thing that struck me is pages are stored verbatim in the so-called document servers operated by these search engines for lightning-fast retrieval. Once stored, a page only gets updated, but is never totally removed from cyber storage. That would mean that a simple click of the delete key to annihilate even those files in the trash folder or Recycle Bin to oblivion is as good as out of sight but still floating in limbo somewhere in cyberspace, ready to be resurrected to inflict nightmares via another click by those who have the means and the incentive to do so. Wonder whether there is any kind of virtual shredder that makes stitching back so difficult that it becomes a futile venture for those who are so inclined.

Then it struck me, again, that SEO as Search Engine Optimization is actually a misnomer. What we try to achieve in raising the profile of our web pages as denoted by page rank through SEO is more like Website Optimization for Search Engines, rather than Optimization of the Search Engines themselves as the common usage of English would dictate. So, perhaps they should have been WOSE consultants.

I learned today too that the Google ToolBar actually includes a PageRank icon that displays the page rank of a particular webpage/site, but visually in the form of a filling horizontal bar. Readers can judge the page rank by mentally dividing the bar into ten slots (corresponding to the range of 0 to 10) and see how many slots are filled. This website of mine was adjudged by yours truly to have a page rank of 1 to 2. On the other hand, the Wikipedia website is like a 9.

This would appear to be a quick way to find out whether my SEO (or WOSE) efforts actually make any headway, or not.

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