Saturday, May 8, 2010

Geek Speak to English - Volume 1

I remember back to the end of my first marriage, and if it wasn't enough that I had just given up everything I owned for my ex-wife and my ex-best friend, I also watched the collapse of my Bulletin Board Empire I had been building for many years at that point. Those who don't know what a Bulletin Board is, it was a form of “Mini Internet” run on a series of computers that people could dial into using their modems and play online games, download some pornography, leave some rants on the public message boards, share e-mail, etc etc. Think of it as AOL as it had been before they realized everyone could just get onto the internet cheaper elsewhere. Well basically the BBS was what people did before they realized they could log on to AOL and get more content, so it's a cycle.

Now of course the BBS wasn't much of a money maker {and to be blunt I never made more than I spent on upgrading and building} but it was something that a geek who was afraid of the outside world could throw himself into. I learned more about building and tearing down computers {hacking} and writing code that is pretty unnecessary to anything relevant today, but had gotten my finger on the pulse of what people wanted {porn} and how to get it to them. With all the free time on my hands from not constantly building and upgrading systems for a network that nobody was using anymore, I took my programming and design skills to the internet as a whole and more importantly the World Wide Web. The fact of the matter was that I had some decent skills, and thanks to the Clinton presidency there was a burgeoning technology market out there that people understood a lot less about than I did. It didn't take long for me to exploit that, and there was plenty of advertising dollars out there before the tech bubble blew up on us all.

To make a long story short, I had created a series of entertainment based websites, compiled large quantities of data, and gave it all away for free, with the help of internet advertising that was freely available during that time because most money wasn't actually real, and venture capitalists were willing to sink a lot of money into companies that had no actual liquidity {remember Pets Dot Com?} A couple of years of that and I was in the black, had a couple of kids, a new wife, and the one claim to fame that I have is that I broke totally even when the tech bubble burst. Anyone who left that game not owing any money did damn good, so I consider myself having done damn good. Of course I had learned a whole new set of tools in the arena of website advertising and promotion that in the end had become totally useless as the search engines and whatnot had adapted to eliminate people like myself from fraudulently climbing the popularity ladder. Trust me, when you have a dozen sites that don't actually have much practical use, but show up in the top 2 search rankings for almost everything you did good with your Jedi Mind skills, and they had to eliminate your abilities. They hired better Jedis, as well they should have.

Well needless to say I do remember when Google came along and it was “the be all and end all” of search engines. They had every form of scientific algorithms to keep people like me from gaming the system. After four or five days of actively giving a crap about it I like thousands of others were gaming the Google system and possibly easier than when we were gaming Yahoo's system. Several forms of game could be played on Google, and the easiest of which was setting up reciprocal link scams so that you could be linked a lot. Link popularity {how many other sites link your site} was a huge part of the Google algorithm despite what they say, and the whole theory that they eliminated the need for metatags was a hoax too. Now of course as time went they finally did get rid of these glaring fail systems, but not until well after I had given up on my cyber fortune. Of course I still maintain websites so that I can play around with technologies and organize my web crap, so I figured I would try and game the systems again for shits and giggles.

I found out one interesting fact, and that is that Google never really eliminated the “Link Popularity” based results. It didn't take me very long to shoot my site up the ladder using a linking service. The amusing part is that I started using the linking service just to give me a little extra content {yanno we're all in this together and all that crap} and it appears that a lot of people have been convinced that the link popularity algorithm is a myth, while the giants of the industry still reap the benefits. Of course my next move will be to see if I can manipulate metatags as I used to because I figured out another interesting fact. Google is still spidering the other search engines and giving relevancy based on their results. On the off chance that fraudulent metatags don't work on Google {which I think they probably don't} they still work on a lot of the old world engines that Google is cracking into {DMOZ, Webcrawler, Yahoo, and hundreds of other link directories} which leads one to wonder what the easy way is to metatag a page. This was where the geek in me can go mental, but the most important metatag that you will use on any page is the title. You've seen it before in a search engine when a page comes up and it doesn't have a snappy title, so you just basically ignore it. Common sense and knowing your own browsing history matters. The second part when you make key words, keep in mind that you misspell things and that means others do to, so always include common misspellings.

Now the important part of all this gobbledyguk that I just explained is that you will never have to submit your site to Google to be spidered. Google will find you, but all those other sites that Google will look through to see if you are relevant, probably won't find you. This is why you do have to take a day or so to get your most important pages into these directories. This isn't as daunting as it sounds, but it is important to ranking you, and is a secret that the pages above yours in the search rankings already understand. Probably the most important and easy to use of all of these is DMOZ {} which back in the day was the original, but still gets fed to millions of sites on the internet. Here a link there a link everywhere a link link. After you are done with that I suggest that you go to a page called GotLinks {} which will provide you with an easy reciprocal link directory and take care of all the upkeep of it. Neither of these will take you very long, but will give you a good example of how to work your page a little better and hopefully get you some extra traffic. As I said we are all in this together. ;8o)