Muschamp Rd

SEO: Follow Up

This article is a little dated, I suggest you read my more recent posts in the SEO archive of my blog. A lot of what I said below is probably still true, but social media plays a larger part in search engine optimization than it did in 2005.

This article follows up on the search engine optimization efforts and advice I mentioned in my previous articles:

  1. Search Engine Optimzation: An introduction and guide
  2. Search Engine Optimization Experimentation
  3. More Search Engine Optimization Advice
In particular I will concentrate on:

Monitoring Keywords

Previously I'd been monitoring the results for for the following keywords and phrases:

I'm please to report that as of October 18th, a page from is returned among the top 10 results for all these keyword terms except Gary Lau. This could be due to the fact Gary has a blog now. However it is more likely due to the popularity of the name Gary Lau and the relative lack of effort I've put into optimizing for that term.

The results for for these eight keywords and phrases has to be deemed pretty successful. Clearly I need to chose more challenging keywords than these low hanging fruit. While it is tempting to choose something ultra competitive like "big tits" or Vancouver Hotels, I think I'll go with something a little more realistic, such as the name I'm generally known by and the name of my business school. Therefore I'm going to start to monitor:


The homepage was the 164th result returned for the single keyword search "Muskie" in Google on October 16th. I'm competing against numerous fishing guides and fishing sites as well as the political legacy of former US Presidential Hopeful Edmund Muskie. Why would I link to the competition? Because I'm a nice guy and I doubt I can easily overcome all of these sites in a single swoop. I'd gladly settle for just being on the first page, ie in the top 10.

Sauder School of Business

On October 18th a search for Sauder School of Business in Google revealed that my MBA page was ranked 83rd. Not bad, but I think I can do better. Obviously outranking a major world educational institution for their own name is an unrealistic goal, but once again I'll shoot for the top ten. Hopefully I can harness the power of the Blogosphere to aid in my quest.

Tsinghua School of Economics and Management

Tsinghua is my other business school, this is where I am spending my exchange semester. Although Tsinghua is also a world class educational institution, most articles on it are written in Chinese. As a result I believe it will be easier to rank highly for the term in English. That turned out to be the case, as on October 18th my Tsinghua page managed to rank 46th overall according to Google's current relevancy algorithm.

Monitoring Incoming Links

Incoming links can be seen as a proxy to measure the popularity of your webpage. This is the original basis of Google's search algorithm. I wrote about this before and showed how this can be measured using four major search engines. To follow up on this I simply cut and pasted the HTML and re-ran the searches and once again recorded the results.

Search Engine Pages Indexed Search Term Links to Search Term
Ask 75 Muskie 178*
Google 162 11
MSN 199 625
Yahoo 45 61 link:

The results have changed a lot between July 28th and October 18th. Half the counts of the pages from in a given index have gone down. This doesn't mean my site has gotten smaller, but some of my more trivial pages are not being returned. It appears the Site Map I created did not help as much as one would think. This level of change considering I did not add another single static page during that time frame reflects the differences in the various algorithms and the frequency they index the web and alter their algorithms.

It is a good sign that both numbers went up in Google, as it is still the most important search engine. The biggest change seems to be in the way MSN is measuring links. Apparently I have over 600 more than I did in July. Microsoft seems to be measuring links from comments posted in blogs and forums as well as counting my own blog for incoming links. In Yahoo both measures went down for, I seem to remember some complaints from the webmaster community when Yahoo changed their algorithm recently.

Popular MBA Classmates

Well although I'm not seeing eye to eye with some of my Sauder School of Business MBA classmates, I none the less have spent a lot of time both getting to know them and working on my website. As a result the names of my classmates now frequently show up in my referral logs. I've also recently installed Mint which seems to give slightly different measurements than Webalizer/Analog. So here are the top 3 MBA classmates as measured by Mint:

  1. Mwongera Mberia
  2. Atul Toky
  3. five way tie:
    • Wei Guo
    • Danna Zhu
    • Leila Bijan
    • Francois Lucas
    • Ines Biedermann
and by my host supplied web statistics yields a three way tie for first and way less students:
  1. Danna Zhu
  2. Ines Biedermann
  3. Wendy Chang
I'm not sure how much of this is friends and self googling and how much is potential employers. None the less every month Ines Biedermann is always in my google referral logs. Is it because she is an attractive, single(?), blond woman or maybe it is related to her position in the MBAS.

Of course the more I talk about classmates such as Ines, the more likely they are to be found in my web logs. That said someone still has to be searching the internet for them. I talk about friends of mine such as Owen Curtis or Dave Kelsey often enough but I never see their names in my referral logs.

Google Image Search

I've expanded considerable effort in the last few months to try to understand and thus get indexed, images of my classmates in Google Image Search. I can't say I've had any success. This algorithm is much less understood and its' spider is much less active. One day I'm sure I'll do a web search for say Tracy Yang and voila there will be her picture from my site.

This is one aspect of search where Yahoo may actually be beating Google. I haven't done exhaustive comparisons but it seems for a given keyword or phrase more pictures are returned using Yahoo than Google. So if I'm looking for a picture of someone, Yahoo is now my preferred search engine.

The proof is in the pudding or is it? Getting away from my MBA classmates for a second, let's look at some webpages that have been online a little longer. Searching for Muskie McKay in Yahoo returns seven images none of which are actually of me, but all of which are off my website. The same search in Google returns five images again none of which are of me. Google found an image that wasn't hosted on my site though. Trying a second search this time for Nurgle yields 9,730 images in Google and only 6,841 in Yahoo. All these searches were conducted the evening of October 19th 2005. Number of results isn't everything so I decided to conduct one more quick test, this time for my mom, Linda McKay. Yahoo found 125 images none of which seem to be my mom. Google on the other hand returned a picture of me and my mom. So it appears Google keeps its' search crown a little longer.

The Blogosphere's effect on search engines

Harnessing the power of the blogosphere is the new rage in both online marketing and search engine optimization. I previously wrote on how I proposed to make limited use of the blogosphere to increase the rankings of The biggest thing I did was create Muskblog using WordPress.

However publishing your own blog is not the only way to use the blogosphere to improve search engine results for keywords you covet. The spammers hit on this right away, the comment features of blogs, can give you easy incoming links to your site where you choose the linktext. This feature was so abused it almost single handedly led to the nofollow attribute. Guestbook spam also had a lot to do with this development. The problem is automated scripts that post the same comment all over the web. Now for someone like myself who is trying to do well for Muskie I may be able to profit greatly from blogs if I post comments using that handle. Funnily enough that is my handle, but spammers could choose handles like "cheap widgets" or "Vancouver Hotels" and I think some of the anti-spam solutions might let them slip by with one link per comment.

I don't know if I should have typed that last paragraph. Spammers must have thought of this. The people who make blogging software are a pretty smart bunch and they don't like spam. Hopefully the WordPress folks can keep ahead of the spammers so I don't ever have to disable comments on my blog or manually clean up a lot of spam.

Alas, this was wishful thinking. I've had horrible problems with comment spam and bandwidth theft due to my blog and sometimes dubious content I've published over the years.

Another feature of blogs that can probably increase your rankings in search engines is PingBack and TrackBack. I wrote a short piece on the latter over on Muskblog. Basically if you learn how to use these features and become an active participant in the Blogosphere, that means reading other blogs and commenting on them both on their site and on yours, and you set up your blog to use PingBack and TrackBack correctly, search engines may just reward your efforts. Even if they don't website traffic may increase, especially if you hang around really popular blogs.

I also recommend signing up for Blogger and Technorati. You don't need to have a Blogger blog to have an ID. When you comment on Blogger blogs you can use this, which may give your comments and incoming links more weight. It is the same idea with Technorati. It might have other fringe benefits but one is your picture appears beside your blog postings in the Technorati search results, that is if you upload a picture. Alternately you could upload a logo, that would be equally as useful for branding purposes, maybe more so if you're ugly.

Alternative Search Engines

As I'm going to visit their offices tomorrow (October 20th 2005) I should mention Baidu. China is well on its' way to becoming the country with the most people online therefore the most popular search engine in China can not be ignored. It has spidered at least part of my website. Even if you can't read Chinese, if you are patient you can make some use out of Baidu. Supposedly the secret to its popularity over Google in China lies in the feature that allows people to search MP3s.

Although I generally prefer Google of the Big Three, I'm starting to use Technorati more and more. Instead of ranking pages solely on relevance to the search terms, blog search engines consider timeliness heavily. Another popular blog search engine is Feedster. Google and Yahoo have both added blog only searches to the services they provide. Yahoo integrated it in with their news search.

Although I blogged about some new alternative search engines such as Ghetosearch, the two I use the most outside of the Big Three and Technorati still are Kartoo and Clusty. One feature I like of Kartoos is it saves searches for you so I can go back semi-regularly and see the visual map for say Nurgle. Clusty has a bunch of ways you can restrict your search, one way is just blogs. It is worth checking out, but I still stick with Google for everyday use and Technorati for blogs.

Part Six

As if there was any doubt I've written a sixth article, following up on my webpage is doing for various terms as well as passing on the latest news in the SEO world to both my loyal readers.
Words and Images © Andrew "Muskie" McKay.
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