April 11, 2006
Liz published this at 8:31 am
Learning by Getting It Wrong
Remember your first web site or blog? You had to learn so much about coding and Search Engine Optimization. Bet you learned most of what you know now by doing–OJT, On the Job Training, otherwise known as getting it wrong and fixing it. Those were valuable experiences.
The thing about learning by getting it wrong is that you remember what you did. Tweaking a template and having your sidebar fall off is WAY more powerful than anyone telling you how not to code something.
As much as I wish that WordPress had an undo button, I know I’ve learned more because it doesn’t.
Think like a Search Engine
SEO folks think like Search Engines. They buy and read Aaron Wall’s SEO Book and its updates. They follow and discuss Matt Cutt’s blog, and the Google Blog–probably not this one, the Google Blog, but this one Google Research Blog–or maybe all of them. They check in at Yahoo’s Search Blog, MSN Search, and with other SEO hangouts, such as Search Engine Watch, Search Engine Round Table, and Threadwatch. So I do some of that–the first half at least.
But reading doesn’t help me half as much as doing does.
Thinking Inside-Outside the SEO Box
I’ve been searching out experiences to help me think like a search engine. I use my stats to watch how search engines route traffic to my blogs. Sometimes they hit right on the page that has the content being searched for. That’s not interesting. I expect that. They’ve invested powerful resources into research in doing that right.
Sometimes they hit right next to where they should. THAT I find puzzling and intriguing, especially when the page in question is tagged with the exact search term that was entered.
It happened again this morning. Someone searched for “nextsplogs.” The searcher was sent to the home page of Successful Blog rather than to the page called SOB Business Cafe 04-07-2006, where Nextsplogs actually appears twice–in the text and as a tag. Is it because the term is singular in one and capitalized in the other? Hmmmm. I wonder.
I don’t like things I don’t understand, and I want to understand this.
I’ve learned a lot from watching my stats, but this kind of thing my stats can’t help me crack.
Build Your Own Search Engine
Just when I was about to give up on my chance of knowing, along came this post from the MSN search weblog, Build Your Own Search Engine. I thought, here’s a way to learn by doing. It’s not an actual full-blown search engine–it’s search engine macros–and it’s an early BETA version. That suits me just fine, though. It gets my brain and hands in the process and I can even watch how the parameters have to be tweaked to work right. Just reading the comments about it, I can feel myself getting smarter.
Go on over. Take a look. It’s an inside-outside the box way to learn SEO.