Coding with Jesse

Was this link useful?

December 6th, 2006

I had a bit of a shock this morning. I was logged in to Google, doing a normal search thing.. you know, click a link, click back, and then WHAM:

Google asks: Was this link useful?

Crazy times we're living in. Now, I don't even need to tell you how this will affect Search Engine Optimization. Now there's a whole new technique those black hat marketing people can use to make their pages rank higher: Make them more useful!

Update: It seems pretty random. It disappeared on even when I was logged in, but then it showed up when I was on and wasn't signed in. I guess it'll just be a random thing like moderation on Slashdot?

5 Basic Search Engine Optimization Tips

September 3rd, 2006

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has grown into an entire industry. There are tons of companies who do nothing except help web sites rank high on Google or get lots of search engine traffic. Most of these companies charge a lot for their services. I'm going to outline a few simple things you can do to your own site for free. This isn't a complete list of things you can do, but you can do very well on search engines by following all of these.

  1. Use a strong title

    Probably the most important place on the page for search engines is the <title>. Rather than cram a thousand keywords in your titles, try to keep them simple and to the point. Describe the contents of the page in plain language. For example, I titled this page "5 Basic Search Engine Optimization Tips" rather than "SEO For Dummies" or something else tricky.

  2. Pay attention to the URL

    The worst URLs for search engines are like "". It's much better to use "". Do everything you can to get the same keywords into the actual URL of your page. Also, make sure you separate the words by a dash "-" instead of an underscore "_". Google sees a dash as a space but sees words attached with an underscore as one big word.

  3. Use header tags appropriately

    Use <h1>, <h2>, etc. whenever you can. Don't use them to increase the font size, use them to mark your titles. Doing so tells search engines that these words describe the page or section of the page. So be sure to put good descriptive keywords into these tags. This will increase the page's relevance to those keywords.

  4. Keep all the words in the HTML

    A lot of sites have titles and navigation made up of image buttons and links. It's better to just use plain text with a background image. If you really want to put words into images, make sure you at least use the alt attribute. Also, try to put the same words in the HTML, hidden by CSS if necessary.

  5. Write good content

    This is an obvious one, yet usually forgotten. Good content will have a lot of keywords relating to the topic. By using lots of synonyms and clear descriptions, you'll give more words and phrase for the search engines to find. Even having user-generated content such as comments or reviews will give more opporunities for searchers finding the page.

Hopefully following these simple tips will help you get some more traffic. There are a hundred tips and tricks out there, but the best tip of all is to just write lots of great content and make good web pages which are useful and easy to read. The rest should come naturally.

Random SEO success

June 12nd, 2006

In November, I put some tools written in JavaScript on here. These are mostly conversion tools, things like pounds to kilograms, kilometers to miles, etc.

I had the idea of coding and hosting some random JavaScript things on here, but since then I haven't added anything.

Then I forgot about them.

Now, I get most of my traffic on these conversion tools. As of recently, if you search millimeters to inches on Yahoo!, my site is #1. Because of this, I've gotten a whack of traffic just on this one page.

I wonder what it is about that page that Yahoo! considers so special. There aren't even any sites that link to it. It's really some kind of SEO marvel.

Google PageRank Updating

February 23rd, 2006

That's right, Google's Toolbar PageRank seems to be updating today. It seems really uneven though. Some pages are updated, others aren't. Perhaps it'll take some time to finish updating. Currently this site is still sitting at a PR2. Let's see what happens by the end. :)

By the way, you can see the different PageRank values with this Live PageRank tool. It'll give you an idea of how your pages are doing across different data centres, and compare Toolbar PageRank to "Live" PageRank. Good luck!

Update: Live PageRank is now a thing of the past. It is reporting 0 for every domain, and Matt Cutts doubts this will ever change. Well it was fun while it lasted.