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Mentors, Smart Folk, and Site Redesign

For those of you who are bloggers and want to know about how to move your blog up the Google rankings, do it the way I do: watch people who know a lot more than me. (This is how to learn anything if you're not naturally inclined towards learning things. I often think that George Bush's talent of surrounding himself with very smart people is highly underrated by people who are smart themselves.) Google has a deceptively simple concept that they make into more or less an art form.

These quite smart people would be Tim Ireland, and two folks who used to be my boss--or at least higher up a nebulous chain of command than I was. Frequent visitor Martin Lloyd taught me the basics, and Steve Johnston, who has just started a blog as a google consultant, has the details of the swiftly moving subject. Watch these guys and you can't help but learn something.

Once exams are done, keep an eye on this space for some updates. The layout itself is bland and graceless, especially in comparison to some of my favorite blawgs, such as Ambivalent Imbroglio (with the cool color-switching function) or Not for Sheep (who has a knack for color schemes). Given the number of function I've added, the length of my blogroll, and other considerations, the sidebar needs revision to be close to useful.

For the moment, though, it's back to contracts. I'll update you on that before the weekend's over.


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But what's the purpose of moving up the Google ranks? I mean, why do you want to lure in people who aren't actually looking for you? I feel apologetic for my high rankings on Google in absurd categories. For every person who stumbles across my blog while looking for something else and is pleased to meet me, I bet there are 20 who leave annoyed and frustrated because they aren't any closer to what they're hunting for. Serendipity is nice, but so is effective searching.
Well, first of all, PageRank explains how much Google ranks the places you link to. So for instance, if I were to link to your name, with your site as a link, it would consider me fairly important in judging what value to give to your name, and would thus bump your site up in the rankings. That's useful. Especially if, like me, you link usefully, and don't play about with it. Secondly, I try to score well for things I am writing about. I'd like to score well for 'law school blog,' and I'm working on it. OK, so I score reasonably for various combinations of things that combine 'hell' and 'devil,' but I'm not going to get too worked up about that. I assume that anyone who clicked through on something obscure was actually interested in the summary, rather than thinking I was an authority on "Is Howard Dean the Devil?"
The big reason for moving up the Google ranks, of course, is getting a bigger readership for one's writing. We bloggers all think we have something to say, and there's no point then in blogging into a vacuum. That said, I'm annoyed that my blog, http://donnybrook.blogspot.com, is still stuck with the lowest possible Google ranking. So, Anthony, I'd be very curious to learn how you've managed to increase your site's pagerank. Looking forward to a more detailed post on the subject sometime soon...
Hey, Nick. My first suggestion would be to add some metatags to your site. (If you view the source of my main page, you can see some clumsy examples.) Then, it's just a matter of writing, slowly gaining an audience, and getting noticed. Ideally, you want a lot of sites linking to you. If you want one free link, ask the Yale News site, for whom you recently wrote an entertaining article, to link your name at the bottom to Donnybrook. Better yet, have them mention that you blog, and leave your site name.
Ah thanks for the props. Now if you're going to copy my work MBA Experience is the one to look at. Monograph is pretty light on SEO effort. Step one, get listed in the Open Directory if you aren't already.
People "who know more than -I-," Anthony.

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