Do I see myself doing something similar to Brandi Koskie?
No and yes. I don’t see myself writing, updating, and optimizing diet websites. I do see myself writing, updating, and optimizing other sites.
Search engine optimization is hard to pinpoint. In order for Googlebot to find your site, then rate it based on keywords typed in the search bar is a hard algorithm to understand. Koskie’s site dropped from first page search results to second page right after Google updated their algorithm.
The advantage of being on the first page? More web traffic. The advantage of more web traffic? More advertising money you generate.
So how does Koskie interpret the Google algorithm, then act on it?
The “Spiders” are little feelers that go out and determine, based on Google’s algorithm, how credible your site is. Some of the categories include:
Content: Content is king on websites. Static content is like the stagnant water in your ditch. It looks worse each time you go by it. Blogs are great tools that can be incorporated into your website to increase content. By updating your website’s content, you’re updating your readers with any new information.
Metatags: This data is hidden within the categorization of your web pages. You have a home page and then pages that feed from there. If you title these pages, page2 or page_2_100432, the spiders will not assess this a decent structure. Besides, what good does this do to people interested in clicking on the link? The user just sees numbers that feed back to somewhere. While the numbers may feed back to a credible source, page_2_all_about_diets looks better and spiders pick up on that much more.
Linking: So you have this cool site that everyone wants to see. Do they? What other sites are you linking to and from, and how credible are those websites? This moves your webpage up and down along the Google algorithm based on your content, the content you chose to place from other sites, and how other sites (and their credibility) use your content.
These are all really great things that will help you improve your website as a whole anyways, but now that Google is requiring it for improved search engine results, it went from an aesthetic to an utmost necessity.
One of the things about rules and algorithms, people try to find ways around them. So what does Google do to combat this? Google doesn’t have someone sit down and observe your webpage and click every square inch of it. Rather, the spiders are “trained” to look for shortcuts or loopholes people may use in order to boost their site’s search rankings:
Hidden text: Some sites will link to other sites using white text on a white background, or by placing the text behind a picture. This allows websites to link to other sites without the user seeing the links. This may not seem like a big deal, but it’s deceptive for someone to blast their page with hidden links. You’re not using the source, rather you’re using the rank from having it on your page.
Other examples of shortcuts or loopholes include but are not limited to: spam, duplicate content, and broken links.
In sum of the question asked, I do see myself doing something like what Brandi Koskie does. I will not be updating a dieting website, however, I will be updating a site I chose. Using the tools Koskie talked about, and some of the resources around, I feel as though I have a good base understanding of SEO. One thing about SEO though, is a lot of it occurs on the programming level. In order to manipulate things around in your website, you need to understand how the website works. Yes, having a blog link into your site will add to your content, but you have to have a place to put it. You have to program the metatags on your web pages. Websites are becoming easier to manage, especially considering we can create a basic one from a blog, but incorporating these changes into a bigger site requires knowledge, or someone else who knows, on how to make these changes. I completely agree with everything Koskie said, and I think the improvements on the website not only help you in search engine location, but help your website function better overall. I just think that we need to have an understanding of how to set all this up as well. We can say we need to change this page’s tag to make our content more worthy in SEO, but the actual practice of it takes an understand in website building.
On a side note for an appropriate ending: Is us changing our content/structure to fit Google’s search engine a good thing? I say this because people are not changing their content to be more appealing to their customers, but to fit higher in the search engine rankings. We could say that rankings in the search engine location and appeal to customers go hand in hand, but are we changing how we want to do something just so we won’t fall behind in a governing system’s ranking or for the readers?