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Plug-Ins or Add-Ins

Discussion in 'Search Engine Optimization' started by Harold, Jul 7, 2004.

  1. #1
    Hello,

    Yesterday I read an interesting thread concerning add-ins or plug-ins that provide up-to-date feedback on the weather. Last night I experimented with the HTML code and this morning decided to use it. When I went back to retrieve the code, the site was gone. Does anyone know what happened?

    It was stated in the thread that these type of plug-ins have an additional benefit of providing fresh content that Google values and should reward. Is this really the case? I would have thought that while true, Google would have discounted this technique. I’m a little skeptical because if it really worked. (Meaning an increase in Page Rank that one would not achieve without the add-in), wouldn’t everyone be adding these plug-ins? I’m relatively new to website optimization but the one this I have learned is that we’re all copycats! I don’t see plug-ins on a lot of websites. Maybe I’m just not looking hard enough.

    Does anyone know if there is a sports related news add-in, specifically the NFL, that provides up-to-the minute news?

    Thanks,

    Harry
     
    Harold, Jul 7, 2004 IP
  2. l0cke

    l0cke Active Member

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    #2
    I believe you are referring to RSS feeds. A google search for RSS feeds will give you plenty of info on how to use these. There are tones of RSS feeds available, here's a sample from ESPN: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/rss/news
     
    l0cke, Jul 7, 2004 IP
  3. Owlcroft

    Owlcroft Peon

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    #3
    It is not necessarily any increase in the forever-overvalued Page Rank that is at issue, but rather placement in SERPs. It is widely believed that the major search engines, notably Google, "like" changing page content--presumably they take it as signalling a page that is being updated with new information on a frequent basis, and they seem to tend to give such pages higher placement in SERPs.

    Some have reported increased placement from so simple a maneuver as putting in a slightly changing number of blank padding spaces, with the number being changed daily or so. Even if that does work now, it is probably a most unwise long-term policy: one has to believe that eventually the bots will get smart enough to compare "changed" pages to see what the scope and nature of the change is.

    But it is perfectly respectable and fair to provide legitimate content that, by its nature, changes at least daily. It helps--or someday will help--if the content is at least plausibly related to one's site. Thus, a site about chess might, for now, get some benefit from a drop-in about the weather in Mexico City, but one must assume that over time, as the bots get more sophisticated, that benefit would fade (or even become a negative). Besides which, we must remember to not let the tail wag the dog: SEO is nice, but what do our visitors make of such irrelevant information on our sites?

    Thus, it behooves us all--unless we have pages that by their own nature change daily anyway--to provide our pages with modest drop-ins of daily-changing information that is at least colorably relevant to our theme. As to "wouldn't everyone do it?", well, the same question applies to an awful lot of basic SEO; look at how many people don't even do 301 Redirects from without- to with-www URL forms.

    On the SEO Tools, Toys, and Packages Site, I have, so far, two drop-in modules available: one (available in four sizes, with ever more data presented) gives weather conditions settable for pretty much any city of consequence in the world; another gives the daily international currency exchange rates to and from any one of four dozen currencies from any number of others in that lot (the IMF currencies). It is my intention to add other analogous drop-ins over time (suggestions are welcomed).

    And, of course, as has been noted, there are also RSS News Feeds of various flavors. It's a matter of what best suits the look-and-feel and theme of your site.
     
    Owlcroft, Jul 7, 2004 IP
  4. compar

    compar Peon

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    #4
    I have seen you make this claim and I know that you have bulit a number of tools to try and provide constantly changing content, but I have to tell you I'm skeptical about the efficacy of this.

    First of all, even if Google does crawl and reindex your site daily, doesn't it need some time to digests what it finds? How can they offer up a page as relevant if it changes daily? What if it has changed since the last time they crawled, how can they know it will still be relevant?

    It would strike me that while they may value modifications and update that indicate a page has not been abandoned, I can't see how, or why, they would value a page that is different every time you look at it.

    If you are looking for a site about the war in Iraq you probably want a site that is at least augemented with the latest news on a daily basis. But if you are looking for information about Shakespeare you don't want one that rewrites Hamlet every 24 hours.

    So I'm not at all sure that change for change sake is a viable SEO technique.
     
    compar, Jul 7, 2004 IP
    Cricket likes this.
  5. Cricket

    Cricket Well-Known Member

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    #5
    I have had this same thought myself Bob. Although Google certainly seems to crawl more and change a cache often with content changes, I have not seen actual evidence of this technique resulting in higher placement in the serps.

    Has anyone done any testing concerning this issue? I would be interested in seeing the results.
     
    Cricket, Jul 7, 2004 IP
  6. Owlcroft

    Owlcroft Peon

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    #6
    As Will Rogers often and famously said, "I only know what I read in the papers." The belief that often-changed page content leads to better SERPs is no creation of my befogged mind.

    It is, of course, perfectly possible that this is simply another SEO superstition. But my view is this: providing for it is easy, and one of the Top Ten Basic Rules Of Life has to be "Why take needless risks?" If it's easy to do, and cannot possibly cause harm but might do good, is that not what they put in dictionaries as an illustration next to the phrase "no-brainer"?

    The idea is sensible and widely held (as googling it--not a trademark violation--will demonstrate). Not only is there no possible harm, but--if the changes are site-relevant--there is actual site enhancement for visitors, so even if the SEO were zero, it's still A Good Thing.
     
    Owlcroft, Jul 7, 2004 IP
  7. compar

    compar Peon

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    #7
    I guess my problem is understanding how radically you are changing content. If you have a weather feed, or a sports or headline feed on an otherwise fairly static site then that obviously will change daily. But why would Google value that? A weather feed is only interesting to people who want to check on the weather. It has no relevance to the main content of any site, except an all weather site.

    So:
    1. I can't imagine Google offering your site for a search on "today's weather".
    2. These are not the kind of visitors you want anyway.
    3. How can a weather feed make you page more relevant for blue widgets, which is really what you site is about?

    You say it is a no-brainer because it can't do any harm. How do you know this? I'm not a big fan of the Google punishing everything in sight school. But if we are talking about themed sites isn't possible that extraneous, gratuitous content might just dilute or confuse the theme?

    I guess if I were going to consciously modify my content for SEO purposes I might do it once or twice a month. But in my mind -- again depending on how radical the content change is -- it might be counter productive to do it daily. How can Google understand what a site is relevant for if it changes every time they look at it?
     
    compar, Jul 8, 2004 IP
  8. Harold

    Harold Peon

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    #8
    Yesterday, I began investigating the use of using RSS targeted news feeds on my website. I’m considering implementing RSS feeds because I feel it will enhance my visitor’s experience while at the site. I’m also intrigued that having an RSS feed will also serve the SEO concept of having changing content.

    My problem is how to implement the RSS code. I used the code provided by the link referenced above in the previous post.

    What happened is that after I pasted the RSS code into the page, the HTML code displayed and not the news.

    My question is how do you implement RSS feeds on a website?

    Thanks in advance,

    Harry
     
    Harold, Jul 8, 2004 IP
  9. Owlcroft

    Owlcroft Peon

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    #9
    "I guess my problem is understanding how radically you are changing content. If you have a weather feed, or a sports or headline feed on an otherwise fairly static site then that obviously will change daily. But why would Google value that?"

    Right now, it is wildly unlikely that Google knows what it is that is changing on a page that is different every time they visit. As I said, some have reported that a few blank spaces more or less seemed to boost SERPs. My own opinion is that in the medium- to long-term run, Google will get good at detecting what has changed, which is why I think ploys like blanks or trivial words are unwise.

    "A weather feed is only interesting to people who want to check on the weather. It has no relevance to the main content of any site, except an all weather site."

    Definitely not so. I do a pro bono site for the history museums in our small town in rural Washington State. You'd best believe that people from the populated areas contemplating a weekend trip through the region would like to have some idea of the likely weather. Yet, superficially, one might say "What does weather have to do with history museums?" Or if I run a site that, as a sideline, sells Amazon books from more than one of their national divisions, an international currency converter is assuredly useful, even if my site is about Antarctica, or claw-hammer banjos.

    "So:
    1. I can't imagine Google offering your site for a search on "today's weather"."

    Just so; never suggested otherwise. But the site on The History Museums of Ritzville, Washington State will show fresh (changed) page content on every page when Google comes calling, and no one can call it anything but relevant.

    "2. These are not the kind of visitors you want anyway."

    But the visitors I do want are pleased to find this extra and useful information all in one place (just like a link to current traffic conditions in the region, which I provide). "Hey, Mabel, wanna take the kids around to some museums this weekend?" "I dunno, Clarence, what's the weather gonna be like?"


    "3. How can a weather feed make you page more relevant for blue widgets, which is really what you site is about?"

    Perhaps for blue widgets, it can't. On the other hand, a currency converter might be awfully useful to blue-widget buyers. And that is scarcely the end: there are--and I hope to discover and provide them--doubtless several other common bits of changing data that would be of general utility to the visitors of a reasonably substantial class of web sites.


    "You say it is a no-brainer because it can't do any harm. How do you know this? I'm not a big fan of the Google punishing everything in sight school. But if we are talking about themed sites isn't possible that extraneous, gratuitous content might just dilute or confuse the theme?"

    That is exactly why I recommend that people not either juggle bytes randomly or add irrelevant plugin content. But there are some data that are relevant for a fairly large number of sites. As I said, a site on chess isn't going to be enhanced by a report of the weather in Mexico City (unless there's a world chess championship scheduled for there soon), but, for most sites, there's something that changes daily that its visitors would find both useful and relevantly useful.

    "I guess if I were going to consciously modify my content for SEO purposes I might do it once or twice a month. But in my mind -- again depending on how radical the content change is -- it might be counter productive to do it daily. How can Google understand what a site is relevant for if it changes every time they look at it?"

    Because, if we give Google some credit, relatively small changes in content are not going to shake Google's ideas of what a page is about. If I have a page on the wonderful blue widgets my company makes, and I include a little dropin showing a half dozen major currencies relative to that of my sale prices, I really do not think Google will suddenly decide that my page is not about widgets but about international finance.

    But with that dropin, my transnational customers have handy information, and Google sees a somewhat changed page every time it drops by (which, I gather, can be daily for busy sites--and doesn't perceived freshness bring them even more often?).
     
    Owlcroft, Jul 10, 2004 IP