Sep 19, 2008

More Custom Search Explanation

Searching I recently had an email exchange with one of our HighCallingBlogs.com network members, Tina Howard who blogs at Spaghettipie . Tina asked some good questions about the new custom search that we recently added to the site.

After our conversation, Marcus suggested that the info might be useful to other folks in the network and Tina was gracious enough to give us permission to publish our conversation here.

Tina

If I search "spaghettipie" some of my blog posts come up (although not necessarily the most recent ones). If I search for the specific titles or topics of recent posts, I don't find myself. Not sure what that means.

Tina Howard

Chris

It all comes down to search engine optimization (SEO) of the individual blogs. Blogs with better SEO will rank higher in the search. It's a Google thing.

Since you are on WordPress.com you will have better than average SEO, which is a good thing. The challenge is that blogs in general perform very well in the search engines so your blog has some steep competition in that respect. I've noticed that the blogs that tend to rank highest in our custom search are often self hosted blogs where the site owner has taken some extra steps to optimize them even more. Those options are not available on a free WordPress.com blog.

One thing I did change in your behalf. Spaghettipie was listed only in the Writing category and should be in Parenting as well. I fixed that. You're now in both categories.

It makes sense, based on how the search engines work, that your older posts would rank higher in the search engine than your newer posts and show up better. To give you a quick overview on how search engines work, here is a presentation I gave a while back. Slides 17-24 talk about some SEO factors.

You are doing some good things to help you out. Tagging your posts well is especially important. You are doing that. :)

You can also start using some headers within your posts. Here's what I wrote about the WP advanced toolbar (where you can format headers in your posts) when it came out.

If you want to learn more, this book is a great resource.

Hope that helps you out some. If there is anything I can do for you, give me a shout.

Enjoy!

--Chris

Tina

Oh, that makes more sense. I didn't really understand how the Google Advanced Search worked. I thought you were able to use the Google search technology (if you will) to search the limited subset of just the blogs on High Calling.

But I also really look forward to reading all the information you share. Especially since I'm doing a lot of this blog tour coordinating stuff, and I'm always looking for more info on SEO (it's such a wild, unwieldy thing to me).

Thanks a ton,
Tina

PS - I absolutely don't mind if you post your response. I'm always happy to offer up my stupid questions for the benefit of others :)

Chris

We are using Google just to search across the sites in our network. The thing is some of the blogs in our network are optimized better than others and will rank higher in the search as a result.

Even though the pool of web sites has been narrowed down to the couple hundred that are in our blog network, the same rules of SEO apply when comparing those sites to one another.

Enjoy!

--Chris

P.S. and your questions are FAR from stupid!

If y'all have any questions on the search, or can't find your blog via the search in the header at the top of the page please give me a shout and I'll get it sorted out.

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