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Re: [SearchCoP] Search engine visibility: are root domains more visible than folders?

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  • Richard Wiggins
    Well, this was asked of me by folks at a particular college at the university where I work. Without purporting to be an SEO type -- which I am not and do not
    Message 1 of 7 , Nov 29, 2007
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      Well, this was asked of me by folks at a particular college at the university where I work.  Without purporting to be an SEO type -- which I am not and do not so claim to be -- I've learned over the years a few things that guarantee your site won't be visible or findable.  So I've advised them not to do those things, and, sure enough, their visibility has improved dramatically.
       
      In fact, even though I explicitly tell people I do not purport to offer SEO skills, if you go to Google and search for...
       
        college of education
       
      ... the very first hit is now this college.  I was tempted to print up SEO brochures and business cards but then I remembered that what Google giveth, Google can taketh away.
       
      I tend to think that longer URLs as measured by the number of slashes on average will rank lower in the popular search engines, but my guess is going down only one directory level isn't going to outweigh other factors such as the popularity of inbound links.
       
      /rich

      On Nov 29, 2007 2:36 PM, Lee Romero <pekadad@...> wrote:

      That's basically what I was thinking - probably a question more for
      people focused on SEO activities (are there any here?)

      I would also imagine it will depend on the search engine as to what
      the answer is. On my company's site, we use an engine that does
      adjust relevance down the longer a path is (in terms of directories in
      the path), so that acme.com is higher relevance than
      acme.com/directory1 which is higher relevance than
      acme.com/directory1/directory2, etc. Though I believe that the
      adjustment is very small and might be hard to detect with all of the
      other factors included in relevance.

      Are you speaking of a specific search engine in your question, Richard?

      Lee



      On Nov 28, 2007 1:28 PM, Walter Underwood <wunderwood@...> wrote:
      >
      > That is a question for a search engine marketing group. I could guess, but
      > it would only be a guess.
      >
      > wunder
      >


    • Melanie Kendell
      OK Richard, I m sure everyone on this list promises not to sue you if we don t achieve spectacular results - what are your few things that can help make a
      Message 2 of 7 , Nov 29, 2007
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        OK Richard, I'm sure everyone on this list promises not to sue you if we don't achieve spectacular results - what are your "few things" that can help make a difference?
         
        I'm curious because where I'm working at the moment they are discussing this particular point and there seems to be a lot of opinions but not a lot to back those opinions up. We even had some expert advice but some people's contradictory opinions are being held in higher regard for some reason.
         
        I'd like to just have your shortlist in the back of my head to compare these opinions to, then I'll have something to judge them against. I have nothing to do with the actual decisions, I just want to know whose opinions I can rely on into the future.
         
        Thanks
        -Mel

         
        On 30/11/2007, Richard Wiggins <richard.wiggins@...> wrote:

        Well, this was asked of me by folks at a particular college at the university where I work.  Without purporting to be an SEO type -- which I am not and do not so claim to be -- I've learned over the years a few things that guarantee your site won't be visible or findable.  So I've advised them not to do those things, and, sure enough, their visibility has improved dramatically.
         
        In fact, even though I explicitly tell people I do not purport to offer SEO skills, if you go to Google and search for...
         
          college of education
         
        ... the very first hit is now this college.  I was tempted to print up SEO brochures and business cards but then I remembered that what Google giveth, Google can taketh away.
         
        I tend to think that longer URLs as measured by the number of slashes on average will rank lower in the popular search engines, but my guess is going down only one directory level isn't going to outweigh other factors such as the popularity of inbound links.
         
        /rich

         
        On Nov 29, 2007 2:36 PM, Lee Romero <pekadad@...> wrote:

        That's basically what I was thinking - probably a question more for
        people focused on SEO activities (are there any here?)

        I would also imagine it will depend on the search engine as to what
        the answer is. On my company's site, we use an engine that does
        adjust relevance down the longer a path is (in terms of directories in
        the path), so that acme.com is higher relevance than
        acme.com/directory1 which is higher relevance than
        acme.com/directory1/directory2, etc. Though I believe that the
        adjustment is very small and might be hard to detect with all of the
        other factors included in relevance.

        Are you speaking of a specific search engine in your question, Richard?

        Lee



        On Nov 28, 2007 1:28 PM, Walter Underwood <wunderwood@...> wrote:
        >
        > That is a question for a search engine marketing group. I could guess, but
        > it would only be a guess.
        >
        > wunder
        >
         



      • Richard Wiggins
        Melanie, To summarize the few things I ve learned are: -- Don t shoot yourself in the foot. Pretend you are a search engine crawler. Make your content
        Message 3 of 7 , Nov 29, 2007
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          Melanie,
           
          To summarize the "few things" I've learned are:
           
          -- Don't shoot yourself in the foot.  Pretend you are a search engine crawler.  Make your content visible to the crawler.  "If it ain't on the page, it ain't on the stage" as they say in theater.  You will be surprised (or perhaps not) how often people make a home page that is flashy (ahem) and does not provide the key terms a search engine needs to consume.  
           
          -- Pay attention to your <title> tag.  Don't waste words on "Welcome to..."  Spell out your site's name in the <title> tag.
           
          -- Follow accessibility rules.  Never serve up an image without a descriptive alt tag.  Make your site friendly for screen readers, and it will be friendly for search engine crawlers / indexers. 
           
          -- Read Steve Krug's "Don't Make Me Think" and design your home page accordingly.  Describe in concise, writing for the Web, terms, your site, your institution, who it should appeal to, what the purpose is.  Don't try to overload the index; just state in plain words what your site's mission and purpose are. 
           
          -- Don't give up on Meta Description.  Google and the rest now deprecate Meta Keywords (though I see no reason not to still publish same) but Google and some of the rest will take your Meta Description and publish it.  Search for "michigan state university" and read what Google serves up.
           
          -- Check your nav thoroughly and be sure you have good links to your institution's key service points on every page on your main site.  Simple example: does your site consistently link to the home page?  It's typical now for the institutional logo to link to the site home page.  Does your site offer a search box that behaves consistently on every page on the site? 
           
          -- Get some prominent friends to link to you, if you can.
           
          /rich

          On Nov 29, 2007 6:14 PM, Melanie Kendell <melanie.kendell@...> wrote:

          OK Richard, I'm sure everyone on this list promises not to sue you if we don't achieve spectacular results - what are your "few things" that can help make a difference?
           
          I'm curious because where I'm working at the moment they are discussing this particular point and there seems to be a lot of opinions but not a lot to back those opinions up. We even had some expert advice but some people's contradictory opinions are being held in higher regard for some reason.
           
          I'd like to just have your shortlist in the back of my head to compare these opinions to, then I'll have something to judge them against. I have nothing to do with the actual decisions, I just want to know whose opinions I can rely on into the future.
           
          Thanks
          -Mel

           
          On 30/11/2007, Richard Wiggins <richard.wiggins@...> wrote:

          Well, this was asked of me by folks at a particular college at the university where I work.  Without purporting to be an SEO type -- which I am not and do not so claim to be -- I've learned over the years a few things that guarantee your site won't be visible or findable.  So I've advised them not to do those things, and, sure enough, their visibility has improved dramatically.
           
          In fact, even though I explicitly tell people I do not purport to offer SEO skills, if you go to Google and search for...
           
            college of education
           
          ... the very first hit is now this college.  I was tempted to print up SEO brochures and business cards but then I remembered that what Google giveth, Google can taketh away.
           
          I tend to think that longer URLs as measured by the number of slashes on average will rank lower in the popular search engines, but my guess is going down only one directory level isn't going to outweigh other factors such as the popularity of inbound links.
           
          /rich

           
          On Nov 29, 2007 2:36 PM, Lee Romero <pekadad@...> wrote:

          That's basically what I was thinking - probably a question more for
          people focused on SEO activities (are there any here?)

          I would also imagine it will depend on the search engine as to what
          the answer is. On my company's site, we use an engine that does
          adjust relevance down the longer a path is (in terms of directories in
          the path), so that acme.com is higher relevance than
          acme.com/directory1 which is higher relevance than
          acme.com/directory1/directory2, etc. Though I believe that the
          adjustment is very small and might be hard to detect with all of the
          other factors included in relevance.

          Are you speaking of a specific search engine in your question, Richard?

          Lee



          On Nov 28, 2007 1:28 PM, Walter Underwood <wunderwood@...> wrote:
          >
          > That is a question for a search engine marketing group. I could guess, but
          > it would only be a guess.
          >
          > wunder
          >
           




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