Thursday, September 21, 2006

And now for the news...

Well, I've been very busy lately and that is why I'm not posting on the blog as regularly as I used to. It takes time to sit and think about what I'm going to say, even though I do seem like I ramble all over the place. And I just haven't had time to think much.

One of my biggest distractions this week is that I got into a huge debate about search engine optimization fundamentals -- more specifically, how the Google algorithm works -- over at SEO Refugee's Forums. As I understand it, SEO Refugee was started up by some former members of the SEOChat forum, which sort of exploded in many different directions when the admins at SEOChat instituted some changes.

Now, I've been familiar with some of the people at SEORefugee for some time and when I was invited to follow up to a discussion there earlier this year I forgot to bookmark the site. A couple months later, I decided to check back in and couldn't find the URL. There are many SEO forums on the Web, and it took a random reference to it somewhere to prompt me to return there.

So now I know where the forum is and I've been visiting daily, but I found myself drawn into a huge back-and-forth discussion that began with comments on Matt Cutts' explanation of how you can use content for SEO (that is, use content to achieve good rankings in search engine results). People became upset with Matt because he was poking one of their favorite myths in the eye, and his blog entry hit the top ten for "seo" for a while (in part, perhaps, because a lot of people linked to it).

Well, the content-versus-linking debate won't die down any time soon. But, to be blunt, I judge the depth of SEOs by how much they acknowledge the importance of content with Google. The less they acknowledge that importance, the more they have to learn about the way Google really works. What misleads so many SEOs is that Google's algorithm is fluid -- you can overwhelm it in many ways, but because it's easier to be caught by ramming a page full of spam keywords than by ramming a thousand inbound links full of spam keywords, most SEOs prefer to achieve their rankings through links.

And a lot of them complain about how difficult it is to get good rankings. Duh! That's because you're doing it the slow, hard way, folks. It works, but as Google filters out more and more links, it will take even more time and effort than before.

In other news, I've been talking to companies about where I'll be working next. No job offers yet but I haven't given up.

I've been using much of my time to clean up the mess Xenite.Org had become. Although many people may not agree with my basic page layout choices, they are pretty effective: simple, usually clean, and easy-to-read for most people (although I am concerned about how screen readers interpret all my bold fonts). My goal is to get as many pages fixed as possible so that Dixie and I can devise a plan for converting the content to a CMS system. The less junk I have on the pages, the more uniform I can make them, I think the easier it will be to grab the content and put it into a CMS.

Maybe. We'll see.

I've also been restoring old content that was lost in server crashes (in some cases, several years ago). For example, I have now restored The History of Xena: Warrior Princess, A Norton Companion: Glossary for the Witch World, and my old Dragon*Con reports (among other content). It's been a long tedious process, and most of my work has been under the hood, so to speak, updating HTML formats, restoring or repairing broken links, etc.

And I've created some new content sites, too. For example, I have an experimental Celebrity News site, but I'm not happy with it. It's too cumbersome and needs to be reworked. Also, I'm dinking around with Google Site search again, and they have now made it possible for us to return search results on our own search page. So as I add more Google search boxes to Xenite, they'll resolve to that page. But the search tool is not limited to my domains, and only allows me to specific three domains, and only searches on domain (or the entire Web) at one time. I don't like that. I'd prefer a "network search" interface that ties all the Xenite domains together.

And today I wrote an essay on mesothelioma. The short version is that people who have worked around asbestos develop this cancer about 20-40 years after exposure, but so far only 2-3000 cases are diagnosed per year. I was curious about why so many law firms mention it on their Web sites. I guess there's just a lot of money to be made from mesothelioma lawsuits. And people wonder why insurance costs so much money....

Have been dancing some but I'm not really ready to say much about the dancing. To be honest, the classes have either been even enough that Gloria doesn't need me in the rotation, or else I've spent most of my time working with people who need a little extra help. I don't feel it's right to write up current beginning students, since I often go for the humorous angle. Since I'm no longer allowed to flirt with girls (well, not seriously flirt), I've been paying less attention to who may want to flirt, so that angle is done for now, too.


Miss Cute Reluctant and I talk every day now (guess who the new girlfriend is). We're still figuring out where we want to go and where we'll be, but I'm having a blast with her.

And I have not forgotten the IMPs, but when I became unemployed my priorities changed. I wanted to really clean up Xenite.Org before adding the IMP feature section. I still have a ways to go, but I'll be back in touch with the IMPs soon. I just have a lot of stuff left to work on.

Oh, and I have also been doing some consulting and SEO for other people. That takes up time, too. But keep those inquiries coming. I'm having fun, and as long as I enjoy doing this, I'll have a passion for it that should keep things interesting.


Blogger WBS said...

Hey - if you find you've an excess of time and a dearth of things to do, don't hesitate to join me (and a few friends) in this year's NaNoWriMo (

8:25 PM  

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