Despite the title I’m not going to tell you how to improve the SEO on your website. If you have a website, you really do need to understand SEO but I’m not the one to tell you.  Instead I’m going to tell you what SEO is and how it affects your searches on the web for usable information.

SEO is Search Engine Optimization. This involves carefully crafting your website to maximize your ranking during a search query. It’s obvious that you want your website to come up at the top of any search.  Being on page one of a search inquiry almost guarantees that you will get read. Being on page 20 of the results almost guarantees that you will not be read.

Many of my initial posts had short one word titles. Great from an engineering point of view, high efficiency with just a touch of mystery. Disaster from an SEO aspect. One word titles give the search engine nothing to rate. The SEO guidelines I use suggest a title between 40 and 70 characters.

Another suggestion is to make sure that your title reflects your subject and that the body of your post contains your focus words as often as possible. If I’m writing about SEO, I need to say SEO as often as possible.

One of the interesting concepts I’ve discovered is readability. Readability is measured using the Flesch Reading Ease test. Wikipedia does a good job of explaining it. It’s not a measure of how interesting it is to read, only how easy. Speaking of easy, the length of the post is as important as readability. My SEO guidelines recommends a post be greater than 300 words. My typical post is right around 600 words and about 70 on the readability scale.

Add a few pictures, a couple of outbound links, a few subtitles and you have an almost perfect SEO post. Of course a perfect score only helps your position. You also need to be visible. When Udacity put a link to my Statistics post on their Google+ and Facebook pages, my SEO scores jumped. Think of it as street cred. The more places my website is mentioned on the web, the more important I must be, so my rankings are increased accordingly. Every time someone posts a link to their Facebook page, tweets a link or mentions my site on their blog, my street cred goes up and my ranking increases.

I’m using WordPress SEO by Yoast for my guidelines. The guidelines make sense and my traffic seems to have increased. While I have no advertising on my site, at some point I will be trying to make money from it. To do that I need to have as many visitors as possible. Since I started this about 5 months ago my website has had 3600 page views. That’s not bad for starting out but the revenue I could expect from that traffic would not even pay for my dog biscuits.

Now what does all that mean to you? It means I owe a few of you an apology. I’ve carefully crafted my posts to come up even when the information you are seeking is not in my post.  When you do a search on the cost of fixing old appliances or is it worth fixing old appliances, I’ve done my best to make sure my post on Know When to Say Goodbye to Your Appliances will come up. When you do a search on Udacity Statistics, it’s almost a given that my post on Probability, Statistics and Udacity will come up. When you do a search on how to cancel your Nexus 7 order, my post Communication, Google and a Nexus 7 comes up. Hint, give them a PO box address, unfortunately it worked for me.

All of these represent actual searches that found their way to my site. I doubt they found what they were looking for. Unfortunately, since they left immediately, I’m doubting they found anything of value in my writing either.

There are a few posts that are meant for family and close friends where I feel free to ignore most of the rules. I liked the title Bell, Book and iPad and wanted my wife to understand why she got her bell back. If you found that one by search engine, I’d really like to know what search terms you used.

The next time you do a websearch and the engine comes back with a number of sites that really are not talking about your interests, don’t blame it on the search engine. The people running those sites took great pains to cast as wide a net as possible. Take the time to read a few anyway, they might prove entertaining.



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