The Official Blog of Cogmap, the Org Chart Wiki



SEO and PageRank

I spent a little time on SEO on the site recently and saw a definite lift in traffic. Now, I am no SEO expert and at some level I would say that the site is more or less what it is. There are not a ton of things I can/should/want to do regarding changing H1’s, adding anchor text, blah blah blah. Cogmap is an application. It does what it does. I don’t want to add a bunch of unnecessary verbiage to improve search results, etc.

But, what I did has resulted in better traffic! 30%+ better with just a few changes. I was talking with a friend about some of the things we did and some of the things I learned as we went through the process and he was interested and surprised, so I said, “Man I should blog that!”

Here it is!

First, PageRank is huge, but checking PageRank is kind of bogus. See Matt Cutt’s commentary.

PageRank from the Google toolbar is some static number that gets dumped out quarterly, while your actual pagerank is constantly being computed. So all it provides is some raw quarterly directional indicator. That is kinda weak!

Second, I used SEOmoz’s Search Engine Ranking Guide, which seemed like a relatively complete and reliable resource, to rapidly generate the small list of high impact things I could do to rock my pagerank.

Frankly, the thing that caused me the most agitation is that I would love for the URLs to all be Wikipedia-esquely the company name of the org chart. Unfortunately, we continue to refuse to code all of the pain in the ass code to make it happen and make sure that we don’t get 404’s if someone links to a chart and then someone changes the name. There are a host of version control issues there that are Pandora’s box that we have shied away from. We have API’s that let people access pages that way, but we use UIDs to identify each chart in our internal linking scheme. That makes us kind of weak! I would pick up so much pagerank steam if I overcame this.

Moral of the story: SEOing applications is hard because you do not want to make significant functionality changes that hurt the user experience simply to improve rank. Most SEOing articles are assuming that you are simply improving content on the page for machine consumption.

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