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Francesco 10th October 2005 23:12

Play the Google Game!
 
INTRODUCTION
I had the distinct pleasure of meeting our reputable ranking member Vamsi in person this weekend. Inevatably we talked a little about Baanboard, and one of the things we both noted was how poorly our home away from home ranks in the search engines.

A current google search on the term 'baan' lists respectively:

1. SSA
2. IT Toolbox
3. BaanFans
4. BWU

BaanFans!!!!!!??????

BaanBoard does not occur in the first 200 references.

Here are some other terms and rankings:

Term: 'Baan help' rank: >200
Term: 'Baan community' rank: 5
Term: 'Baan ERP' rank: >200

THE GAME
So here is the game. As a team of 7.5k worldwide users who use baan and believe Baanboard is the only toolbox we need, we are going to hijack that number 2 position.

SSA can have their no. 1 throne, but we will be next in line.

THE RULES
The rules are simple for there is only one: Don't get Baanboard or Patrick in trouble.
The effect of link farms and other Google-steroids is questionable. Google is certainly aware of these methods and may actually penalize our score. More on Google's methodology later.

TIPS
1. Link, link, link. If there is no baanboard link on your homepage yet, put one there now. Make sure the word 'baan' is in the link. for instance, don't say BaanBoard but say Best BaaN Community .

2. Start a blog now. For the time being blog-o-spheres are great linking machines.

3. Use baanboard in your sig. On other forums that you might visit, but also here.

4. Talk about Baan on other places and as always, link back to baanboard.com

5. Suggest changes to BaanBoard.com that will have a positive impact on our ranking. To help you in determining what will work best, here is the official Google ranking algorithm, not to be confused with the various urban legends about google scoring that you will find on the net.


So have at it! Go have some fun and lets see how soon we can drive IT Toolbox out of its seat. I will post frequent updates on our google score in this thread.

günther 11th October 2005 08:30

I think this is a great idea! Some hints on "how to achivie good google scores" can be found at eg. http://www.nigritudeultramarines.com/ and (german) http://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/58647.

patvdv 11th October 2005 09:48

Francesco,

Sounds like you had a great time discussing Baanboard :) I think it is a great idea so I am all for it. By all means try to improve our ranking in a positive and constructive manner. Google ranking has always been a mysterious phenomenon to me to say the least. Since we upgraded to vbulletin 3 the low-text version of Baanboard (called Archive) is available to anyone for reading including search engines. Even the old problem of search-engine-unfriendly-URLs is lifted by this feature. Futhermore, we are not blocking Googlebots in any other way, either through standard robots.txt file or bot traps. So there is no reason really why Google should and cannot index the entire contents of the forum.

The reason why Baanfans has such a high score by the way I think is a historical one. Given the fact that once upon a time Baanfans was indeed very popular and heavily used and the fact that Google indexing/ranking schemes have considerably changed since then, make me believe that it was much easier in the old days to get a good spot on the Google list.

Francesco 11th October 2005 18:54

Great article on the nigritude ultramarine challenge
 
Notice how the author uses both words as often as possible, with links, boldened and captioned versions (emphasized), but always in a textual setting that is either relevant, or so irrelevant that its unnoticed.

I love the ending "chapter titles": Isn't ultramarine a bird? lol

Also noticeable is the use of correct css and xhtml. This scores some brownie points with the googlebots.

Now lets take a look at our opening page.

Code:



<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN">
<html>
<head>
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1">
<meta name="Description" content="Baan Professional Forum - Baan Online Reference - Introduction">
<meta name="Keyword" content="Baan, baan, BaanIV, BaanERP, iBaan, forum, jobs, support, reference">
<meta http-equiv="refresh" CONTENT="7;URL=baanboard/index.php">
<link href="master.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css">
<title>Baanboard: Start Page</title>
</head>
<body>

<a href="/bot-trap/"><img src="baanboard/clear.gif" border="0" alt=" " width="1" height="1"></a>
<table border="0" cellspacing="100" cellpadding="0" align="center">
  <tr>
        <td align="center">
        <table class="tborder" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0" border="0">
          <tr>
                <td class="tcat">
                        Vote against software patents!
                </td>
          </tr>
          <tr>
                  <td class="page" align="center">
                                <a href="http://demo.ffii.org/"><img border="0" src="images/nopatents.gif" alt="No Patents!" width="468px" height="60px" /></a>
                    </td>
            </tr>
        </table>
        </td>
  </tr>
  <tr>
        <td align="center">
        <table class="tborder" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0" border="0">
          <tr>
                <td class="tcat" colspan="2">
                        Baanboard.com Start Page
                        <span class="smallfont">The most professional online Baan community</span>
                </td>
          </tr>
          <tr>
                  <td class="page" align="center">
                                <img border="0" src="images/signon.gif" alt="Baanboard Logo" width="177px" height="100px" />
                    </td>
                    <td class="alt2" align="center">
                          Wait for your browser to redirect you to the start page of the site
                                or
                                Click to redirect yourself to the <a href="baanboard/index.php">Forums</a> or the <a href="/twiki/bin/view/Main/WebHome">Wiki</a>.
                </td>
            </tr>
        </table>
        </td>
  </tr>
</table>
</body>
</html>


Other than in the metatags (mostly overlooked by search engines these days thanks to overabuse), there is no mention of the word 'baan'.
I think some copy on the opening page, with frequent mention of the word baan (both in links, text and emphasis) would really boost our score at this time.

There are also some non-conformances with W3's standard. Typical stupid stuff like not having alternatives for the graphics.

I will make some space available for anybody who wants to try his or her hand at a re-design of the front page. Just mail me your (x)html and I'll put them in a little gallery or something.

Remember, eternal fame and prestige can be won here ;)

PS
Pat, thanks for your blessing! I was thinking that maybe I should have conulted with you before posting this. lol

vahdani 11th October 2005 22:14

Recursion?
 
Hi,

can it be that Google an co can be trapped by recursion? I noticed that in the following site http://www.dashes.com/anil/2004/06/04/nigritude_ultra ,which tops (my) google list, there are at least two links to the same page!!! I have a gut feeling that this could be the equivalent to a slippery slope trap for the search engine robots! :rolleyes:

Francesco 11th October 2005 23:11

absolutely. That why it is important to link back in your sig line
 
And having said that, I need to go practice what I preach ;)

vahdani 12th October 2005 13:06

My First Trap!
 
Calling all robots! Baan

Francesco 13th October 2005 20:10

PageRank
 
One of google's little mystery is their pagerank. This number is supposed to 'grade' a page based on importance and is used as a factor in the overal google score.

So for today let's take a look at pageranks.

This page, the one where I am currently entering my ramblings, has a PR of 0 out of 10. That goes to show that Google agrees that my postings are rarely important.
But how about the competition?

www.ssaglobal.com: 7
baan.ittoolbox.com: 7
www.baanfans.com: 5
www.bwu.org: 4
www.support.baan.com: 5

www.baanboard.com: 3

It is clear that in order to become a player it would be nice to have a PR of at least 6 but preferably 7.

So how is PR determined?
Quote:

PageRank Explained

PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page's value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves "important" weigh more heavily and help to make other pages "important."

Important, high-quality sites receive a higher PageRank, which Google remembers each time it conducts a search. Of course, important pages mean nothing to you if they don't match your query. So, Google combines PageRank with sophisticated text-matching techniques to find pages that are both important and relevant to your search. Google goes far beyond the number of times a term appears on a page and examines all aspects of the page's content (and the content of the pages linking to it) to determine if it's a good match for your query.
To see what 'important' sites link to ittoolbox, type in 'links: baan.ittoolbox.com' in Google.

The result:
top 7 out of 1,530 links
baan.ittoolbox.com/news/dispnews.asp?i=109
http://www.itworld.com/nl/it_career_.../pf_index.html
www.anywho.com/cgi-bin/webdrill?catkey=gwd/ Top/Computers/Software/ERP/Baan
websearch.cs.com/cs/browse?id=95357&source=CSBrowse
www.alexa.com/browse?&CategoryID=95357
www.experts-exchange.com/ Applications/ERP/Q_20911557.html
http://www.feingoldfanclub.com/resul...Keywords=baan& host=www.feingoldfanclub.com&cat=1

interesting to see ittoolbox itself show up as the #1 source for links. As we already discussed above, loopbacks appear to work.

So what links to us?
Top 6 of about 3,150 links:
www.joeant.com/DIR/info/get/409/66372
http://www.baanboard.com/twiki/bin/v...i/TWikiHistory
www.experts-exchange.com/ Applications/ERP/Q_20911557.html
www.andilinks.com/pgf.htm
www.alexa.com/browse?&CategoryID=95357
http://www.baanusers.de/weitere_info...ndex_links.htm

Not only do we have twice as many links as ittoolbox, it appears to me at least that they are equally 'important'.

So frankly I am a little stunned here. If anybody has any theories I would love to hear them.
In the mean time I will go see if I can add a reference to us on wikipedia. I think that is a very important site. ;)

günther 14th October 2005 07:57

On my desk, I have a german magazine that discusses search engine optimizations (6 pages) ...

An interesting link is Robots Validator (and Tutorial). I tried to check baanboard.com but I got lots of errors. Maybe that's one of the reasons?

I had a look at the html code of baan.ittoolbox.com and I found plenty of things they make better than baanboard:
* Count how often 'baan' (as a single word!) can be found here -- and where.
* And now do the same on then baanboard start page -- and think of the redirect here.

One of the mystics of PR is called `keyword density'.

Also: Be carefult with duplicate wikipedia entries. I hear roumors about that google seems to punish on that.

j_hass 14th October 2005 11:33

Quote:

Originally Posted by günther
An interesting link is Robots Validator (and Tutorial). I tried to check baanboard.com but I got lots of errors. Maybe that's one of the reasons?

The above link doesn't scan homepages, but only robots.txt files.
Scan of www.baanboard.com/robots.txt shows no errors (but a lot of disallowances)

Ehabos 14th October 2005 11:57

Poodle Predictor
 
Hi All,

Check this link to check what a search-engine spider sees as it crawles the BaanBoard site.

Vote against software patents!

I think that the Start page is causing the bad ranking in Google.

-Ehab

Francesco 14th October 2005 16:50

We definitely need a new start page
 
As I mentioned in post #4.

Again, I ask everybody to try your hand at this and mail me your work. I will then put them up for display and we can put them to the vote or something like that.

Of course the final say in this matter is with Pat.

What else?

Oh yes, I am still looking for a good scoring meter to measure the results of our efforts. I found a tool called 'good keywords' (or something like that) the other day but it doesn't work for me.
any suggestions?

Francesco 14th October 2005 17:23

PR and KD
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by günther
One of the mystics of PR is called `keyword density'.

From what I understand, PR and KD are different metrics.

I am puzzled by the low PR of baanboard though. Even my own site (www.admiralsolutions.biz) gets a PR of 4 and there is hardly anything linking to that.

My best guess is that we are being penalized by Google because our keywords in the meta tags don't match the content of the page.

So in that sense, you might be right about the KD affecting the PR, which proofs that sometimes the methodology is simply BS.

~Vamsi 15th October 2005 22:02

Quote:

Originally Posted by patvdv
Since we upgraded to vbulletin 3 the low-text version of Baanboard (called Archive) is available to anyone for reading including search engines. Even the old problem of search-engine-unfriendly-URLs is lifted by this feature.

If we are depending on the archives to help us get a higher ranking - the problem could be this ... the siglines do not appear there. And hence no link backs to baanboard. Does it make sense to put the siglines in the archives as well?

patvdv 18th October 2005 11:06

Hi Vamsi,

The software automatically strips siglines from the original post and there is no toggle or switch to prevent this.

Regards,

Pat.


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