Apr. 8th, 2009

boutell: (Default)
The Symfony plugins site has implemented a clever scheme of "I Use It" buttons. These let you share the fact that you're actually using a plugin, as long as you have a developer account, which anybody who's created or contributed to a plugin does.

If you're using any of my Symfony plugins, kindly vote for them. Thanks!
boutell: (Default)
After a lot of patient investigation I have come to the conclusion that Google loves blog home pages, and hates individual blog articles. It's pretty much true across the board.

I guess this is fine if you want to promote your brand in general, but if you want people to be able to actually find the information that prompted them to get your blog as a search result, it would be a much better idea for search results to point to the permalink and not the home page of the blog... which has changed by the time the user arrives.

Google's new BlogSearch is just as bad in this regard. It's useful if it was just blogged about today, useless if the post was made a while ago because it still wants to give you a home page, or page seven of the home page (which has itself changed by now to show content of another era), or what have you.

The only blogs that seem to get links to the individual articles in search results are those that display only a teaser for each article on the home page of the blog.

I am thinking we may have to do the same to get search results that actually help the long-tail searchers who comprise most of our true readership... or would if they could find the content at all.

Displaying only teasers on the home page also means that people are more likely to be on the actual article page when they decide to tweet it out or otherwise share it with others. Which is also a win from an SEO perspective.

The only trouble is that it'll annoy people who read our blog via RSS. I may be able to deal with that by arranging things so that RSS gets the whole thing while the home page on the web site displays just the teaser. Which would be an... ironic choice... but an effective one.

An alternative would be to use some sort of "hey Google, the definitive home of this content is over here on this link... see, it's really there, I'm not lying to you; please index THAT not THIS" strategy. It would be great if Google supported something like:
<a 
  href="/2008/05/05/awesome-article-title.html" 
  permalinkfor="story1">
Awesome Article Title
</a>
<div id="story1">
This is the body of the story as found in the home page. 
You'll find this same story on 
/2008/05/05/awesome-article-title.html, which Google should 
please, please, please index rather than the page it found 
this story on. Of course, if that page doesn't actually contain 
the same content you see here, Google should feel free to 
ignore the permalinkfor attribute in the link above.
</div>

Then again, Google could just start recognizing subpages that contain, just once, content that is aggregated on a parent page and making the deduction that they are blog permalinks. That'd work too.

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