Working The Knowledge Graph

As I’ve said before, “Search engines are based on programs or algorithms which do their best to interpret what a searcher wants and, attempting to replicate human understanding, gives it to them based on the text or written content it can find.”

So Google’s announcement of, Google’s Knowledge Graph, a major shift in the way it looks at searches, focusing on trying to “think” even more like a human, i.e. less in keywords and phrases.

The Knowledge Graph enables you to search for things, people or places that Google knows about—landmarks, celebrities, cities, sports teams, buildings, geographical features, movies, celestial objects, works of art and more—and instantly get information that’s relevant to your query. This is a critical first step towards building the next generation of search, which taps into the collective intelligence of the web and understands the world a bit more like people do.

More at Mashable, where the funky infographic came from.

Your Best Tool For SEO (Or, Why Search Engines Are Your Friends)

I believe search engine optimization (SEO) is best and primarily served via the content you write. If you believe that, you may stop reading; but if you aren’t convinced…

People seek entertainment and information the same way online as they do in the real world: by asking questions. The only real difference is that a lack of complete sentence structure and punctuation won’t get in your way online. *wink*

You and I may differ wildly in terms of our demographics, interests, and needs (for example, perhaps you are a 20-something male interested in the latest tech gadget while I’m a 40-something female who may be looking up some obscure silent film actress), but we each end up doing the same thing. We each find ourselves at some search box, be it at a search engine, sales marketplace, or favored site, typing in text and clicking to get the results. Those words we typed are the questions we have; on the Internet, these queries are called “keywords.”

What Google and other search engines, including internal search engines on individual websites, try to do is provide the best possible answers to our questions, the most relevant information that matches our query. Search engines are based on programs or algorithms which do their best to interpret what a searcher wants and, attempting to replicate human understanding, gives it to them based on the text or written content it can find.

In trying to take the search as question and help the person find the answer, Google et al employs not just what you say about your site (meta tags, descriptions, folksonomy, etc.), but what your site actually says. In other words, it ‘reads’ your site.

Every word in every post and page.

Including your links out to other sites (because if you’re not having conversations with others, you might just be a mad mumbling fool talking to himself).

To check how much of authority or credibility a possible answer has, search engines also look to see not only who links to that page or post — but for what. And just how do those links get there? By people who read your content!

Ah, the power of the written word.

But it doesn’t end there.

Back to you and I as question seekers on the Internet…

After we’ve posed our questions and received a list of possible answers, we evaluate the responses to our questions.

We each use our own individual criteria for trustworthiness, we have different ideas of what’s funny or entertaining, etc., but we each sort through the options or answers provided to us and make determinations about what we find. And what do we questioning searchers use to evaluate the possible answers? We read the content.

First, we read the brief snippet of content shown with the link, as grabbed by the search engine; if that passes the mustard, we click and go on to read more of that page or post. If that’s what we seek, we likely read the whole post or page — maybe even reading more pages at the site, clicking what’s recommended there, etc. If it’s still not the answer we are seeking, we go back to the list of possible answers or try phrasing our question differently and begin our search for the truth all over again.

This is why written content is so important; what you write is how you are found and how your site is evaluated.

Believe it or not, search engines are our friends and partners in our quests, so there’s no point in trying to “beat” Google or any search engine with SEO tactics.

What’s the point in trying to divert those seeking information on silent film stars over to a site dedicated to tech gadgets — or vice versa? Annoyance?

You can give yourself a little nudge with some basic use of technology to assist in SEO; but frankly, your time is best spent on creating unique content that will address the needs and interests of the question seekers.

The PR Of PageRank

PageRank, or PR, is one of the most misunderstood metrics in the measurement of your website’s success.

What PageRank Is

PageRank is a whole number between 0 and 10 (i.e. PR0, PR3, etc.), with the most popular pages having a PageRank of 10, the least having a rank of 0. The ranking reflects a page’s popularity, primarily based on the number of links to it and the rank of those sites linking to it. (Words used in text links, the size of the page itself, the page’s content and words used in headlines, number of outbound links etc. are said to factor in as well) This rank is per page, not the entire site. So your site’s main page usually has a much higher rank than any other page or post on your site.

You can read the detailed history and description of PageRank, look at diagrams and calculations of Google’s PageRank Algorithm, but the basic premise is that PageRank is roughly based upon the quantity and quality of inbound links.

What Can PR Do? What Can You Do With PR?

Like Alexa, PageRank remains a popular or useful measuring device primarily because it’s free. It’s available to anyone, and can be used when calculating and negotiating ad rates, etc., and it can be one (of many) ways to calculate your site’s growth. You can check your site’s PR here. (It should be noted that the Goggle Toolbar PageRank value displayed is not the actual value Google uses;for some reason there is a lag in the Toolbar reflecting the actual rank information.)

Many people confuse PageRank with SEO. While the two are related in the sense that a page with higher PR is weighted higher in search engine algorithms (and, in cases of text links, the words in the link itself may help with higher search return placement or SERP), and webmasters and bloggers try to manipulate or “beat” the system, they are not synonymous.

People who were once banking on PR and those who financially speculate on SEO are now complaining and making predictions about PR.

They complain about the difficulty in trying to increase PR today compared to “back in the day.” But Google has always acknowledged the mathematical fact that increases in the number of websites and webpages (including blogs and blog posts) decreases the approximation of PageRank, creates resistance to climbing higher in rank. This is why older sites, even established sites that are no longer active, benefit from their age — even if they no longer receive new links in to them. So the explosive growth of blogs alone has created more friction in the uphill push for higher PageRank.

Others believe that PageRank, or at least the public sharing of the value, is going to be discontinued. The fact that PageRank is not included in Google’s Chrome browser confirms their suspicions. But Google has made a concerted effort to downplay RageRank. “[J]ust because it’s easy doesn’t mean it’s useful for you as a site owner,” pushing Google Analytics instead.

The Bottom Line

The truth is, the easy days of PR have been over for awhile now, but ignoring the importance of links to your site is done to the detriment of your own site. Not simply in terms of PR, but in terms of discovery by new readers.

Links coming into your site are votes of confidence and recommendations from other bloggers and websites. This was the basic principal behind PageRank, after all.

But perhaps even more importantly, links are access to your site. Every link is an open door. So even if you don’t use PR to monitor your site’s popularity, you should focus on getting links to your site.

Advertising & Affiliates: The Basics

At some point, everyone working on the Internet faces decisions about advertising and affiliate programs. Some people even start a blog for this “passive income,” believing that it’s as easy as setting up some links and then sitting back to let the income stream in; but that’s not necessarily what happens…

So I’ve got a white paper on the subject. It’s based on my 20+ years of working on the web; priced at $7, that’s less than 35 cents a year!

This white paper is written mainly for bloggers & website owners, to assist them in evaluating affiliate and advertising programs. However, it will also help those looking to purchase advertising &/or promote their own affiliate programs by helping them to understand the sorts of concerns they may encounter along the way.

Ignore Rude Emails “Offering Links Swaps”

How many times a week do you get the following email:

I’ve visited your website ( url ) and I was wondering
if it would be possible to get a link to my (my partner’s) website on it?

I’ll place a link back to you in X of my (topic or topics, usually unrelated) websites, your link will be placed exactly here:

http://whocares page rank 3
http://whateversville page rank 2
http://bumble-f page rank 2

If you agree, then please link to me using these details:

TITLE: (keyword stuffed)
URL: (a specific page on their SEO seeking domain)
DESCRIPTION: (more keyword stuffing)

Please don’t forget to send me the title of your website after you
place my link so I can do the same in less than 24 hours, otherwise you can delete my link from your site.


You can rest assured that these requests are 100% spam, no matter if they correctly contact you about one of your own sites. Here’s the proof:

1) These requests don’t even make sense because, generally speaking, my sites are so far off their topic they do not serve their best SEO manipulating interests. A human would recognize that.

2) The fact that they want you to go ahead and post a link to them first isn’t just rude (the one requesting should always place first and then notify, asking for notification of the recip), it’s them counting on a (however small) percentage of those emailed to place the link, giving their sites either a quick bit of juice &/or, counting on people forgetting to verify the promised link(s), giving them free un-reciprocated links.

Just delete and move along with your day.