The Mender

Metamend's Website Optimization and Marketing Newsletter
Issue 29
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Welcome to "The Mender" Issue 29

SEARCH ENGINES AND RELATED INDUSTRY NEWS

COMING EVENTS

ADMINISTRATOR'S CORNER - The Numbers Game
by Richard Zwicky

On their Home Page, Google claims to have 3,083,324,652 web pages in their index. This represents a HUGE jump from the 2,469,940,685 web pages listed just a few weeks ago.

I tried a few quick searches and while unscientific, I didn't noticed any particularly new content or depth to the results. In fact, I noticed that the results in one search still cut off at the same 754 pages it had previously, in spite of the fact that I know there was lots of new content added over the previous 4 months. I should mention that I perform the same unscientific check every time I see any major search engine make this type of claim. So, if they have added new content, I couldn't find it. Thus I am really not sure what they are counting. It could be that the number of non-English documents have shot up. For the fun of it, I tried some searches in French, Spanish and German. Nothing new. Perhaps I was looking in the wrong area.

Here's what I was able to determine. It is possible that what has occurred is Google has changed the way that it counts pages. While Google claims 3,083,324,652 web pages, it seems plausible that they add the images which reside within their image database, and all their USENET newsgroup postings. Apparently these Usenet postings alone , found in the "Google Groups" area, total approximately 800 million postings. This would go a long way to explaining the large change in numbers.

Since this number was updated in early November, (if it's a real number,) why hasn't it changed? Has nothing changed in the index over the last 3 weeks? I'm pretty sure new web sites have been added to Google and to the Internet as a whole, during this time frame. I know for a fact, (a scientific, measurable fact) it -has- changed, because some of our new customer's web sites have come online and new content from existing customers has been added. Did Google drop content to make room for the new stuff? I doubt it.

Why do the leading search engines even bother with these numbers? Do they really matter? Do the search engines really feel they add value with these number games? It makes me wonder if it's truly accurate? Does anyone really believe that John Doe visits Google because they claim to have the most web pages? Does anyone use FAST because they claim half the number, but deliver results FASTer than anyone else? Does anyone visit any of the general search engines because they think it has a larger, faster, deeper database? No, of course not. People use a particular engine because they like it. They feel it gives them better results, more often, than other engines. So when Google, or any of the other major engines update their running counts, I always think, why bother? Who is this supposed to impress? Most people I know are impressed by good accurate results. Period.

MARKETING - A Year in Hyperspace
by Robert McCourty

It's that time of year again. Year end. Maybe not the fiscal one but the calendar one for sure. It's been an interesting twelve months. How has it been for you? Computers were supposed to simplify our lives. Boy, was that statement wrong! Every new invention brings with it an initial learning curve. Remember trying to install software from 5 inch diskettes or those first operating systems? DOS? We've leapt light years in technology within a relatively very short period of time and it shows no sign of coming out of hyperdrive soon.

Tangents shoot out for each new piece of technology introduced to the masses. Everyone is scrambling not only to keep up but to stay ahead of the curve. Information Technology is the ultimate rat-race, far exceeding older (1980's) simpler age. We're all in this big Skinner box together, each of us pressing the bar countless times for more food. We never seem to get enough data to satiate our information appetite, nor have the ability to slow things down enough to actually analyze and apply new found knowledge. There is a lot of blind faith in technology these days, because it whizzes past so fast, you can't truly grab hold of it. Do you ever get the feeling that by the time you fully grasp a concept, it's already changed. You are not alone. This is life in Hyperspace. Life in the -very- fast lane.

Sometimes however, to get a clearer perspective, you have no choice than to slam on the brakes. "Whoa Mule! I says Whoa!"

Let's get really low tech to review your past year. I think you'll enjoy the change. Take a deep breath. Find yourself a quiet place. Follow these instructions:

Make two columns on a piece of paper with an interactive writing device.(Pen) In the left column list all the good things (accomplishments) to happen to you this past year. These can be personal or business/job oriented. On the right side list all the difficult things (obstacles) you had to face or overcome, even if you are still working on them. How does it stack up? I sincerely hope the good side is longer, but chances are it's not. Welcome to life in the information age, more complex than ever before.

So what's to be done about this Hyperspace pace of life? Shall we all run screaming into the streets? Check ourselves into the flip-city Motel? Heaven forbid. The solution my friends can be summed up in one word. Prioritization.

Remember that word and remember your list. Next issue I'll show you how to get a great head start on the new year, reduce your stress level and start moving in a positive direction. Now go enjoy yourself this holiday season and for goodness sake, Slow Down! Captain's orders.
Support Services - Back To The Basics
by Tim Taylor

A common issue with some web sites is traffic begins to plateau, leaving you to wonder: "What else can I do to improve the traffic to my site?" The first thing to do is to look under your hood by checking your site's traffic stats. If you are getting lots of requests from search agents, but not a lot of referrals from them, there could be a problem with the site's overall design.

One point to keep in mind is some web sites are harder to make visible than others within the search engines. Here are a few examples of common basic design issues which hinder visibility. These bear repeating from time to time because we constantly observe web site owners and designers repeating the same basic mistakes.

Flash content:
Information contained within a Flash presentation is invisible to most search engines because the technology to extract information from Flash is not mature enough yet. Therefore, think of Flash as a empty hole on your page and you get the idea. It may look pretty but rarely does your site any good whatsoever - Visibility-wise.

Frames:
If you see a search result for your site with the following description; "Your browser does not support frames get a new browser", your site needs help! Frames are hard to index because framed pages combine several pages into one and thus breaks a golden rule for URLs: one document per URL. Search Engine Spiders will usually turn and run, when a framed site is encountered.

Splash Pages:
Even if the site itself has lots of content, a splash page will be a major barrier to most search engines. They sure look great, but most splash pages also do nothing for the site's visibility because search engine spiders cannot extract the necessary information contained within an image.

If your site falls into one of the above categories or if you are planning a site redesign or building a new site, you want to do all you can to have your site indexed properly. Metamend's consulting services will provide you with honest feedback and a professional analysis before any changes takes place. Think of it as preventative medicine. Call us before you start. It could save you a lot of time and a ton of frustration.



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Happy Holidays!
...from the Management and Staff at Metamend...



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