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SEO and permies. What can you do to help?

 
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The biggest help is to post stuff.  Ask questions, answer questions, share photos, jokes, projects.  The more content, the more opportunities we have for Google to love us.  

Why do we care about Google?  

Most of our traffic comes from Google.  In order to infect more brains with permaculture, we need to play the Google game.

That said, the metrics Google uses to see if a site is any good are the "real human" metrics.  Aka, little measurements to show if a real human likes the page.  Does the page have features that make it easier for a real human to enjoy the page?  Is the content something a real human finds useful?  That sort of thing.  So by playing the Google game to win Google love, we suffer the side effect of making a website that real humans find easy to enjoy.




There are a lot of other things we can do.  We're working on many of them behind the scenes.  There are also lots of other things you as a regular contributor can do to help.  There is a lot of advice on the internet about what these tasks are.  The problem is, most of that advice is out of date or just bad.  How do we sort through this?  What is the most efficient way?

If only there was someplace that Google would give us a simple plan for them to love us more.

Oh look, they did.

READ THIS FIRST

I love this because it's basically a step-by-step guide of everything we need to know about SEO and Google.  It also gives us a foundation of knowledge we can use to sort through advice from other people, like Gurus.  If we try to learn SEO without reading that first, then we falter because we can't tell which Gurus is giving good advice and which is talking out of their ass.  


If you want something more you can do to help permies build google SEO, please give this a read, and maybe share what you learned or questions it created or other things it grew in your head while reading, in this thread.  We can go from there.  
 
r ranson
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Indexing

This is jargon for "does the search engine know it exists and if so, does it know how to catalogue the page?"

I learned about this on etsy because it was a common bug for new listings (stuff for sale) to not index properly so it wouldn't show up on etsy search.  If someone searched for homegrown linen, I want them to find my book easily.  So paying attention to indexing is a big part of evaluating if google loves a page or if there's a bug (hint, bug doesn't always mean an error with the software, it can mean an error with the human using the software)

Here we learn about site: query.  This is a tool we can use to see what google sees - aka, if the page is indexed correctly.

When I query permies.com it returns "About 89,000 results (0.29 seconds)".  Not bad.  

I expected more.

I look at this thread and its number is 219844.  I created it today.  So that means that we have almost 222k threads on permies.  A chunk of those are removed from public view - mostly because of spam.  But I still feel like we would have more than 90k public threads.  

If I could look in the codebase, I could see how many and compare that number with what Google says.  If the numbers are close- like a couple of 10k off, then I know it's not a big place to put my energy.  But if they are 50k or more different... then it's something to learn more about.  

again, it's all about knowing where to put energy into learning about SEO and where putting the energy into will give the biggest results for the time spent.  


That said, google also says:

The list of URLs returned is not always exhaustive. Bigger sites shouldn't expect to see all their URLs in the results. A more specific prefix in the query may yield more results than broader prefixes.



So I think it would be worth testing some searches to see if google comes up with some of our better pages

If you want to have a go.  Search the phrase, see if permies shows up (it may be a few pages down) then click on the permies link, then post your results here.

Some words to search for
flax to linen
rocket mass heater
permaculture classes
eat your weeds
 
r ranson
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More on site: query

Limitations

The site: operator was designed primarily for search users and so it has some restrictions that site owners might find limiting. Specifically:

-The site: operator doesn't necessarily return all the URLs that are indexed under the prefix specified in the query. Keep this in mind if you want to use the site: operator for tasks like identifying how many URLs are indexed and serving under a prefix.
-A site: operator without a query (for example site:example.com) doesn't rank the results. It will generally show the shortest URL for the prefix at the top, but otherwise the results are relatively random.



bold mine.  this reminds us that the results aren't an indication of which pages rank highest
 
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I put in site: permies.com/flax to linen and got (you need a space between the : and permies.com):

flax to linen - About 17,500 results (0.35 seconds)
https://permies.com/t/156759/Flax-Linen-group-Victoria-movie  - came up first on page

If the procedure above is correct, I got these results for the other keywords:

rocket mass heater - About 72,300 results (0.34 seconds)
https://permies.com/f/260/rocket-mass-heaters  -  came up first on page


rocket mass heaters -  About 82,000 results (0.31 seconds)
https://permies.com/wood-burning-stoves.html -  came up first on page


permaculture class - About 19,700 results (0.32 seconds)
https://permies.com/wiki/permaculture-design-course-2022  - came up first on page


eat your weeds - About 369,000 results (0.34 seconds)
https://permies.com/t/52534/permaculture/Edible-Weed-Garden-Free-Food   - came up first on page


 
Monica Truong
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"A site: operator without a query (for example site:example.com) doesn't rank the results. It will generally show the shortest URL for the prefix at the top, but otherwise the results are relatively random."

Do you mean that if I were to search "site: permies.com", the resulting pages that come up are in random order, with the shortest URL likely ranked first.

Then if I queried, "site: permies.com linen to flax", would the resulting pages ALSO come up in random order? Or, since it is not an empty query, the results are ranked according to popularity?
 
r ranson
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Those are Googles words, but i interpret them to mean that all these site query results are not ranked
 
r ranson
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If you guys do help with this, don't forget to click on a permies link with each search to help Google feel the love.


I'm getting similar results,  so I think indexing isn't a big thing.   Although it would be good to run the test by doing a site: query for some threads that are a week old to make sure it's still indexing more recent stuff.
 
r ranson
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HIRING a SEO - finding someone who can help with White Hat search engine optimization

Google has this help page to suggest how to hire an SEO expert

So there is a lot of crappy SEO advice out there.  There is a fair bit of good advice.  So let's put it into context.  Let's pretend it's dandelions.  How do we know if we want to poison them or eat them?  Which is good advice?  We learn about dandelions so we have the tools to know which path we want to take.  

That's where the google help pages come in handy, they give us the basic tools we need to be able to judge the quality of the advice.  

This video said it really well



From the transcript

my
1:49
strongest advice when working with an
1:51
SEO is to request if they corroborate
1:54
their recommendation with a documented
1:56
statement from Google either in a Help
1:59
Center article video or Google a
2:01
response in a forum that supports both
2:04
one the SEO description of the issue
2:07
that needs to be improved to help with
2:09
ranking and to the approach they
2:12
prescribed to accomplishing this
2:13
tasks requesting these two bits of
2:16
information will help prevent hiring a
2:18
poor SEO who might otherwise convince
2:20
you to do useless things like add more
2:23
words to the keyword meta tag or by
2:26
links  



I understand this to mean that the SEO expert would have a solid understanding of the google help pages so they can point back to show why they suggest the changes they do.  

If they don't do that, there's a chance they are working from outdated advice (keyword stuffing the meta tags was awesome in 1998, but considered black hat today - aka, going to reduce googlelove).

Basically google gives us a clear sign of what to look for when assessing the validity of an "expert's" advice.  
 
                                          
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Absolutely, couldn't agree more with your insights on Google's love for active content and real human engagement! It reminds me of a time when I was diving into the world of SEO. I stumbled upon this article by an SEO expert on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/boost-your-local-rankings-seo-expert-shares-2024-strategies-smith-9plze/). It emphasized the importance of creating content that not only pleases the Google bots but also resonates with real people. It's like hitting two birds with one stone – by playing the Google game right, we end up creating a space that humans genuinely enjoy.
 
Time is mother nature's way of keeping everything from happening at once. And this is a tiny ad:
Green University by Thomas Elpel
https://permies.com/t/243115/Green-University-Thomas-Elpel
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