Saturday, September 27, 2008

Google quality rating and what it means

Google's philosophy was oriented to obtaining high quality search engine results from the beginning. This is evident from the original papers published by Page and Brin,  The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine and The PageRank Citation Ranking: Bringing Order to the Web,  High quality is defined by them, basically, as the results that the user would want to get. The various algorithms and tweaks, beginning with with  Google PageRank are all intended to provide the highest quality results.
Not surprisingly, Google maintains an army of quality human checkers who evaluate the results of searches. Enterprising bloggers found a confidential document that describes the rating criteria for Google quality raters and put it on the Web for a while. This provoked a lot of comment that was based on the mistaken notion that the criteria reflect what the Google algorithm actually does. That is not the case. At best, they reflect what Google wants its algorithm to do. In brief, Google wants the algorithm to carry out the intention of the surfer. Pages that are retrieved are rated for relevancy to the search query. No attempt is made to determine if the information in those pages is correct or reliable, other than the criterion of "authoritative" citations. If other people think it is right, or if the page cites "authorities" then it must be right, according to Google. But the important point is that the algorithm doesn't necessarily carry out the desires of the management. If you design a page according to the quality handbook, it will not necessarily get a high ranking in Google.
In fact, we do not know that the ratings are related in any way to position of the pages retrieved by Google. The raters don't either evidently. They are presented with a lot of information about a page retrieved for a qury, but that information doesn't include the position of the query in the result returned by Google or the pagerank of the page retrieved (though raters they can usually find both). There is no attempt, at least not by the raters, to determine if the page returned as #10 in the search is better or worse than the page returned as number 1, or if the first 10 pages are better or worse than the next 10 pages. 
For a detailed discussion of what the raters and Google are looking for, see:  Google Quality Rater Secrets.
Ami Isseroff

Friday, September 26, 2008

Visitor statistics - What do the numbers mean?

How many actual people come to your Web site and how can you know?
How many people actually visit that Web site where you want to advertise? Is it better or worse than the competition?
See Web Site Statistics Versus Truth and  Web site statistics and don't believe every number someone tells you until you have checked!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Care and feeding of Web sites

Web sites have to keep running in order to stay in the same place - because the web is growing, and because information, like Paris Hilton, is aging.
Once you get to the top, you need to keep tending your Web site if you do not want to lose visitors and Web site visibility.
Read all about Web site Maintenance
Ami Isseroff  

Don't let disaster strike your Web site

If you have an online business Web site, don't bother reading this. But if you have spent a lot of time building a news Web site, an online dictionary, a site with a lot of historical material or other informational Web site, please read on.
Not long ago a friend died at a relaively young age. He had spent 12 years pioneering use of the Internet, and built a Web site of about 20,000 pages. His widow had no way to maintain the site, and didn't even know how to renew the domain name. When the domain name expired, the man's work was simply vanished off the Internet. 
As a last resort for such Web sites, the Web site maintains a digital archive of Web sites. It is slow and awkward, but at least it saves the information in the sites. For some reason, a directive in the robots.txt file of this particular Web site intentionally or unintentionally excluded the spider, so even that is lost.
Even if one day the site and domain are restored, all the search engine visibility that was built up over 12 years by all the backlinks to this Web site will probably have vanished - it will be "Gone with the Wind." 
If you work and your Web site are precious to you, and you want others to see them even if you lose interest in the Web, go out of business or become unable to take care of the site for any reason, read about lapsed domains and vanishing Web sites - and how to protect your site :