We’ve all seen tag clouds. I even considered putting one on my site, but I realized that tag clouds don’t really look nice. The other day I discovered Wordle.
Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes.
I started playing about with it and was quite impressed. I put in the RSS feed for this site and my delicious bookmarks.
They way Wordle displays the collected words is rather interesting. More so then just a straight tag cloud. Now to create something like this on the fly and embed it on a site…
February 8, 2009
On the 12th of November Google came out with a SEO starter guide. I thought since this will be my very first post about SEO that I would review what they had to say. They have 12 points that they make, most of which are common knowledge. This comes on the heels of Google’s Tricks and Treats webmaster event where they dispelled a few common myths about SEO and gave an idea about Google’s stance on SEO practices.
I’m going to take a look at this from the stance of building and designing websites for people (rather then robots), since that is what Google has always said.
So before I ramble on…
Create unique, accurate page titles
No problem here. It only makes sense to have unique, accurate page titles. Would you want a page title to say “Fish Market” when the page was really about coffee? I didn’t think so. As for the uniqueness of a title make sure you don’t have two pages with the same title. With the page title you are telling your users where they are with a quick glance.
Make use of the “description” meta tag
Well fancy that. Google telling us to use one of the meta tags. I know some people that are going to be a little upset about this one. Google makes it pretty clear how this helps users. They (sometimes) take the description meta tag and use it in the search results. Helpful? Maybe… Though it is another place to give a little bit more information about the page/site.
Improve the structure of your URLs
Google says to make your URLs make sense. That is to make your URLs have human readable words in them so that people can understand where they are. Not much to say here…
Make your site easier to navigate
Hrmm they suggest adding sitemaps and Sitemaps to your site to make it easy. That is one way of doing it, though having a good navigation on all your pages would seem like a better choice for your users. They do start to talk about that a little bit seem to rely on Sitemaps a little too much I think.
Offer quality content and services
Well Duh… “Users know good content when they see it…” I beg to differ. There are some places that users would not know good content if it walked up and slapped them in the face. But they did hit this one right on the head. Good content/services will bring users back.
Write better anchor text
Yup. No more “click here“. But alas people still do it.
Use heading tags appropriately
I think this section should really be about writing good markup. It would go far if Google started saying that good clean HTML meant something to them. Using markup how it was meant to be used should always be done.
Optimize your use of images
Ahh Google I love you. You used “alt” attribute and not “alt” tag. Good for you. Remember kids use your attributes wisely. Not only will they help people who can’t see images figure out what is they but they will also save lives!
Make effective use of robots.txt
Robots.txt is for robots and not users. There’s no other way to put it. Though in a round about way users use Google to to find your site and if you have a directory hidden then the users won’t see it in the search results. Err umm… yea I say we start a standard called humans.txt for use by humans… yea… that’s it.
Be aware of rel=”nofollow” for links
Again rel=”nofollow” is for robots. Unless you want to look at the source code of a site most people won’t even know its there. Also in this section they mention using CAPTCHAs for spam… NO! Damnit Google I thought you were better then that. W3C has been saying since 2005 (or longer) that CAPTCHAs are in-accessible. Bad Google bad bad bad…
Promote your website in the right ways
Not much to say here other then: Google can you give us examples of the wrong ways to promote our sites? I mean are there any?
Make use of free webmaster tools, Take advantage of web analytics services, Helpful resources for webmasters
“Oh hey there, I’m Google, I hope you enjoyed this guide of mine. I’m going to sell my products to you under the guise of an SEO guide. I make a lot of products that you should use. So I’m going to put ALL my links at the end of this SEO Guide so that you’ll click on them. YAY!” said Google over enthusiastically.
Well kids that’s pretty much it. I hoped you enjoyed my “review” of Google’s SEO Guide.
November 17, 2008
I’ve gotten on a kick lately of finding one pagers. That is: sites that only have one page and sometimes provide useful information. Some say that I love them, though I find the concept of them more interesting. I’ve been looking for these for a bit now and haven’t been able to find all of them.
Some that relate to web and design:
Special Characters? Yup. They are so damn special they get their own websites.
Then we have our political ones:
And strange ones:
November 14, 2008