I’ve been a bit busy the last few days and last night in particular. Equally today would also have been quite busy as I planned to install some double-glazing, but due to the lack of supply of suitable plugs in Willenhall and deliveries due on Tuesday that job will have to be postponed. The reason I was busy last night was that I installed the latest version of Ubuntu Linux (edgy eft) on my computer, not sure why as the next release (grumpy groundhog) who thinks of these names, is released in April. Suffice to say it’s not as simple as the long term supported release of dapper drake but I was impressed with the startup and shut down times. 1m10 and 21seconds respectively. That on an old Celeron 1Ghz with 512Mb of ram ain’t bad in anyone’s book. (startup also includes the time it took me to log on and type my password of course).
That’s left me with a little time to do a bit of blogging while some DNS settings propagate across the net on a new project. So the subject for today is Google rankings and keyword referrals. Don’t worry, it’s not too techie.
As designing websites is one of the myriad of things that I do, I like to think I’m not so bad at what’s called SEO (search engine optimisation). This is what some web designers consider to be one of the darker arts of the techie but to be honest I’ve never really approached it that way. Yes, I know how to fiddle the system to get a site to the top of Google but I don’t, primarily because it’s cheating and will screw you over in the long-run anyway. I stick by the good practice route of developing well structured websites and a few other nifty but principled ways.
Partly it’s a technical challenge which is always something I’m up for but also a curiosity at what is possible. Now just a note for the first techie to point out I’m not using SEF URL’s, yes I know, there’s a very good reason for it and I’m still not overly convinced they’re as valuable to SEO as some people make out.
As these things interest me, I do tend to keep a close eye on the statistics of my site. Not in the way that self-important little idiots like PratTory do to impress about the vast numbers of people that find their little bits of writing interesting but I’m more interested in keyword searches through (primarily Google) that lead people to this site. BTW, Google ‘prattory’ Google’s got it right on that one.
So for a bit of amusement, here’s a few results from Google (.co.uk version, can vary slightly on other national versions). Some I’ve done a little bit of deliberate targeting on, others are simply accidental or sheer coincidence. All terms are specific, are relevant and true as of today when I double-checked them and I’ve put a bit of commentary in on some of them. I also want to clarify a few things as the last week or so certain people have been arriving at my site through specific search terms and I want to put the record straight.
“political penguin” 1st – Hey it’s the name of the site, I of course deliberately targeted this one, I do after all want people to find my site. I was however quite impressed it hit the no.1 spot within 36 hours of the site going live and hasn’t budged since.
“buying knuckledusters” 2nd – I did one post when I mentioned this, why I’m no.2 I have no idea. There are still an alarming number of people ending up at my site with this search term.
“Walsall MBC” 3rd – Thought this was quite strange when it first cropped up on Google and I’ve been slowly rising ever since. Interesting to think that one of the first impressions people might get of Walsall Council could be through my website. I’m sure that isn’t what all those marketing and PR people up at the council might want.
“Walsall politics/Walsall political” 1st – Quite proud of this one. Not deliberate I promise.
“Willenhall politics/Willenhall political” 1st – Again, same as the last one.
“Wolverhampton politics” 3rd – Given I write hardly anything about Wolverhampton this one is a bit surprising, but there you go. Equally I stand no chance with the term “wolverhampton political” Wolverhampton Uni has a political studies department, they like totally rule.
“deputy leadership contest” 2nd. Another real surprise given how little I’ve written on it, but there you go, not deliberate of course.
“peter francis walsall” 3rd.
OK, that’s the fun over. Here’s why I decided to cover this subject. The last week or so some interesting search terms have been cropping up from some interesting sources. Here’s the rundown.
“Ian Shires” 5th
“Ian Shires libdem” 1st – also works for ‘lib dem’ with a space.
“colin ross libdem” 3rd – also works for ‘lib dem’ as well.
“walsall libdem” 4th
“walsall libdems” 5th
For those who don’t know, Ian Shires is the leader of the Liberal Democrats on Walsall Council and Colin Ross is his assistant who is employed by Walsall Council and whose salary is paid for by the Council Tax payers of Walsall. Now for some reason these search terms have been popping up rather regularly over the last couple of weeks and this made me think I should have a look into it.
After a little digging it appeared that the search term for ‘Ian Shires’ was penned by someone on a Telewest broadband (now Virgin media) connection somewhere in Willenhall. It didn’t show up as the usual server for this side of Willenhall so I’m assuming it came from somewhere in Short Heath or Willenhall North – interesting that. What’s also interesting that they seemed particularly keen to check out everything that I’d written in my LibDem bashing section.
Now to be fair I wouldn’t have mentioned all this were it not for the fact that I’ve been getting more hits the last few days which is highly unusual. Coupled with an anonymous tip off to something going on up at yon council which I’m looking into and the fact that yesterday two of these referrals came directly from Walsall Council’s own webserver.
I guess if I’ve got so many people wanting to know what I’m writing about LibDems in Walsall then I better dig out the archive to keep them happy. Suffice to say, yes, a few things to come when I can put them together and see, I’ve even put this article in the LibDem bashing category so they know where to find it, aren’t I nice?