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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Disguising Load Times w Information

So I'm writing a script that essentially allows people to enter a url of their writing profile on a particular site. The script will then give them a list of articles that don't meet their own quality specifications and also provides the writer with fun facts about their writing. Users can customize some pre-set specifications. For example, the word count specification, which defaults at 1000 words, can be set to equal 700 words. Then, the user can see a list of articles they've written that are under 700 words. In addition, the script will show users their average word count across their entire account.

I have a few problems with the script. One of the larger problems is that for users with large account (500+ articles), the load times are ridiculous. I would like to kind of disguise the load time by offering information about articles as the script is running. As is, nothing is able to show up until the script has completely run.

I would like the script to show on-page, the current average(changing with each article), the number of articles the script needs to comb (or at least a % complete), and a list of the article that don't meet a particular qualification as it fails.

Currently, my script takes ALL urls and opens them, puts the words into a hash of arrays and does word count calculations from there. Since much of the load time is in opening urls, pulling and cleaning text, my current design does not really allow for giving information during load time.

Here is the current script.

Another problem is the way in which I count words. It's way off. I've got to work on that, but I've already got a solution in mind. I just need to implement it.

Edit: Unfortunately, at this time, HubPages is testing several different layout changes. Because of the way in which I wrote the code (picking out bits of CSS), I've decided to hold off on this project. When HubPages calms down with the design changes, I will continue with the project. See you then! (June 2010)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Why Search Engine Submission Can Be Harmful

The first thing many so-called SEO "pros" do when they create a new niche site is submit it to all the search engines. This act seems to make sense, because how else is the search engine going to know the site exists? There actually is a way for search engines to find out about sites other than search engine submission, which is covered in this article.

In actuality, the practice of search engine submission, however common, may be harmful to a site. Many SEO firms even offer search engine submission services for a fee. This is a good sign of an SEO firm who either doesn't know that search engine submission can be harmful (which shows they know enough about SEO to be harmful) or they don't care about the needs of their customers.

#1 It's a Waste of Your Time/Money

It can take hours to submit a site to all the popular search engines. We're talking Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask, etc. Don't forget foreign search engines, either, as they can account for a large chunk of traffic! Those who like filling out forms, solving CAPTCHAs, and clicking verification links in email would LOVE search engine submission. There are also many sites that allow, in one web form, for users to fill out some basic information and submit their sites instantly to several different search engines. Don't forget, you're still going to get to click on verification links in emails.

Some SEO firms offer this as a service. They may do this manually or use a form that does the submission. Either way, it's still pointless. Some offer this for prices as low as $10 on up to $150. The average price for this, however, is $50. To me, $50 is a lot of money for something you don't really need. $10, at that, is a lot of money for something you don't need.

#2 Being Indexed Doesn't = Traffic

Just because a site is in a search engine, doesn't mean that it will get traffic. When was the last time you've searched for something and looked further than the first two pages of search results? Usually, when I make a search and don't see what I'm looking for on the first page, I edit my search terms and search again! This is what SEO is for. A site that has been properly optimized for SEO will place on the first page of the search results for a particular term.

There are literally thousands of sites that are in the search engine that seldom get traffic. This shows that it's not just about being in the search engine, it's about being at the top! The best way to get in the search engine is to get back links. When a website is linked to, even on your MySpace profile, or in a public Live Journal post, a search engine is going to see it and say to itself, "Ooh, this is new, I'm adding this." When the search engine finds a link to your website somewhere else, it begins to think, "Wow, this must be important," and it starts to rank the site higher in the search engine.

Anyone who knows what they are doing when it comes to SEO will not waste their time submitting their site to a search engine. Search engines WANT to index as many sites as they can! By spending time doing SEO and making a site the best it can be, your efforts in these areas will pay off many, many times more than spending the time telling search engines that your site exists.

#3 It Can Harm Your Marketing Efforts

Search engine submission either costs time (which could be used to get back links) or money. Remember that time is also money. Also, rumor has it, that some search engines (such as Google) see a search engine submission as a sign of desperation by the webmaster and thus docks the website for this. While this is just a rumor, it is a real clincher when it comes to whether or not it's a good idea to submit a site to search engines.
Because it is a waste of time, a waste of money, and has possible negative effects to SEO work, there really is no point in investing anything into search engine submission. If it's a decent site and has back links, it'll be indexed in the search engine in no time!