Tag Archives: websites

Rank building strategy – a foundation for scalability

This is our last article in the series on SEO and web marketing techniques. In this article, we will discuss a strategy for ensuring that you can obtain sustainable growth in the backlinks that visitors create for your site. “The Google PageRank algorithm looks at the pattern of links to your site as they build over time” (http://www.searchengineguide.com/stone-reuning/a-brief-intro-to-link-building-for-small.php). Unfortunately, it is often impossible for a single web developer to update the website with new articles quickly enough to compete with large websites. Review of successful websites reveals that good strategy requires some ingenuity. One may ask, “How would a small team be able to create new content faster than a competitor that has a very large budget and staff? It is even possible for a small group of developers to produce content quickly enough to generate the links required to obtain top search engine rankings and get noticed in this global marketplace?” The answer is actually very simple. The answer is “No, it is not possible for a group of developers to produce content that quickly.” The worried web developer then might reply, “So is all hope lost?” Luckily, the answer to that is also, “No.” But in order to be successful, we must think beyond our own capacities, and we must consider possibilities that we are unable to provide entirely by ourselves. Consider the amazing popularity of successful websites such as Twitter and Facebook. One may ask, “Did the web developers of those sites write all of the content?” In fact, what is unique about those websites is that they merely provided a platform that enabled members of the public to create site content. If we consider the simplicity and rather limited functionality of the original Twitter service, the Twitter developers didn’t even really need to do a whole lot of work. Once they build the core engine, data model, and security infrastructure, they were practically done creating content. At that point, visitors began creating the content, and the project took off like wildfire.

Here’s the vision that Jack Dorsey had when imagining Twitter,

“On May 31st, 2000, I signed up with a new service called LiveJournal. I was user 4,136 which entitled me a permanent account and street cred in some alternate geeky universe which I have not yet visited. I was living in the Sunshine Biscuit Factory in Oakland California and starting a company to dispatch couriers, taxis, and emergency services from the web. One night in July of that year I had an idea to make a more “live” LiveJournal. Real-time, up-to-date, from the road. Akin to updating your AIM status from wherever you are, and sharing it. For the next 5 years, I thought about this concept and tried to silently introduce it into my various projects. It slipped into my dispatch work. It slipped into my networks of medical devices. It slipped into an idea for a frictionless service market. It was everywhere I looked: a wonderful abstraction which was easy to implement and understand.”

(https://www.flickr.com/photos/jackdorsey/182596524/in/photostream/)

By providing a mechanism that allows members to create content, suddenly the role of the developer changes drastically. The developer no longer needs to focus on trying to sell the product. Instead, the developer can focus on adding features to enhancing the user experience and encourage visitors to continue creating content. As members begin to create content, the developer now needs to focus on removing content that violates terms of use (e.g. malicious content, spam, adult content, etc.) rather than trying to create content in the hope that the content will somehow get linked to. And if the platform is truly innovative, your website might even capture attention from major media companies! And those are very valuable backlinks.

Infrastructure is really the key emphasis here. If you create the infrastructure that enables site members with the power to create content for your website, then you deliver value for your site members and also for yourself. You will empower them with tools that help them while simultaneously allowing them to create content for your site. By providing specialized functionality, your site becomes a valuable resource. Valuable sites tend to attract attention. Sites that attract attention tend to grow very quickly when the members are allowed to create content.

A quick note about link brokers:

I highly advise AGAINST using link brokers. Many of these firms are among the most malicious developers on the planet, and they will utilize the most malicious tactics to try and get your links into other peoples’ websites. This is a good way to end up on Google’s blacklist. NEVER BUY LINKS OR DO BUSINESS WITH ANYONE THAT OFFERS TO SELL YOU LINKS. THIS IS AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS PRACTICE. I have known people that destroyed their hopes and dreams for websites by using these types of services. Once you end up on Google’s blacklist, it is often impossible to remove yourself from it. You can have your web domains blacklisted and become completely banned from using any and all of Google’s services. So why would you even consider doing this? How else do you think people make money from writing viruses and malware? Do you think they all just try to steal credit card numbers? Most people know that banks know how to detect credit card fraud very effectively. So, people try to use computer crime to make money through legitimate business instead. When it comes to “SEO,” you need to be very careful to only do business with people you know you can trust. A simple search for “black hat SEO” will provide you with further information about this subject.

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Building an architecture for innovation

Architectural techniques for improving search engine rankings

Devin Bost

March 8, 2014

One of the great challenges for website developers is providing more content with less time. As languages, frameworks, and platforms continually evolve and become more advanced, it can be easy for a developer to feel somewhat lost among the myriad of options available. Questions that a developer might be faced with are, “How should I spent my time? What should I be learning now? And how will I know if I’m moving in the right direction?” Faced with many technological challenges, it can sometimes seem overwhelming for a developer to sacrifice the time required to add content to the website. When I say “content,” I am referring to articles, FAQs, and other information that will be attractive to search engines and visitors of the website.  Time focused on adding content may take away from time that could have been spent improving the infrastructure. Even after massive time spent writing articles, it is sometimes humbling to see your website only barely begin to obtain modest positions on various searches across the internet. Suddenly, when the web developer realizes that they need to spent time on infrastructural changes, such as preventing spam from filling up their contact forms, it can be very disappointing to see search engine rankings rapidly drop. So, you may ask, “What techniques are available to obtain sustainable growth of the numbers of visitors that find my website?” To this question, there is one ultimate answer: architecture.

I will address this topic by starting with a parable. Consider two architects, not software architects, but the kind that construct buildings. The first architect rushes through the design, obtains capital through loans, and quickly leverages available resources to start constructing the beams and walls of the building. The second architect spends much more time in the early design stages. The second architect ensures that every pipe, every room, every door, and every last possible detail are considered. The second architect performs a thorough evaluation of the climate, soil, and risks of major disaster. The second architect doesn’t begin building until absolutely certain that the building has a firm foundation, a foundation that will not fall. Now let’s jump ahead in time. The first architect has constructed nearly half of the building, but he now realizes that there is a problem with the layout of some of the plumbing. To continue with construction, the top half of the building will need to be redesigned. The amount of money required to perform these design changes will be massive, and without starting over, certain structural consequences of the redesign will render the building weak to natural disaster. This building has been built on a sandy foundation. The second architect, however, was much more careful. Every decision was made with the utmost analysis and planning. As a consequence, the foundation was constructed with the future in mind. The construction was able to occur with much greater organization and cost savings. Once the construction gained momentum, milestones began occurring ahead of schedule. The second architect’s building was built on a sure foundation.

Software architecture has many similarities to the architecture involved in commercial buildings. With a good software framework, the developer may accomplish much. I have seen many developers write web applications in PHP only to later realize that it would be very complicated to build software applications that interoperate seamlessly with their website code. Nonetheless, the key to obtaining sustainable rankings in major search engines depends not upon the content you deliver, but instead upon your ability to allow your users to create content. Think about some of the largest and most successful websites on the internet. How many of them became successful without providing an interactive service? The best software architecture is designed with usability in mind. Is your website simply acting like a billboard? Or does your website provide a service that your users need to have? You must consider what the motivations of your users will be. Many websites want to tell their users what to do and what to believe. But far fewer are the websites that listen to their users and act upon what their users say. Take some time and think about the ten most successful websites or web technologies that you have ever seen. How much of their content is generated by their users?

This architecture is the key to obtaining sustainable search engine rankings. Without good architecture, your site is built upon a sandy foundation.