Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Google vs yahoo - on homeschool curriculum

I had alot of fun looking at this tool. This week, Time4Learning is 12th for "homeschool curriculum" on google, 2nd on yahoo. Ahead of us on both engines are some of the "marketing machine sites" (for want of a better term):
- suite101 -
- about -
- pearson education megasite - curriculum-planning/38847.html.

This table is taken from: wonder if it'll work here....Its not working in preview mode

Google vs Yahoo Search Results Tool © SEO Chat™

Enter keyword/phrase

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Technical SEO issues on my mind

1. Do html code errors materially affect site from an SEO point of view?
Only so far as it impedes rapid spidering and link following....
Discussion: .

2. Impact of caps and comments in seo page names. Whats up with this?
this page - - shows a 5 google page rank. This is the exact url of the page.
but this url (same page) - shows a zero page rank.
I have a link that has a comment: This url takes the user to the right page but the page rank indicator says zero.
I'm assuming that the instant google toolbar page rank indicator is not indicative in this case of the underlying reality in google. Anybody know different?

3. Transmission of page rank. I'm trying to quantify the value of links. Assume the purpose of the link is google seo. Is a page with rank 6 and 1 link twice as valuable as a link from that same page with two outgoing links? Has anyone ever seen a discussion of this point? I think the answer to this is a basic understanding of the google principle which is that a page's power to transmit its page rank is a function of some damper effect with the remainder divided among the number of outgoing links from that page. But, the related and interesting questions are:
- value of a link as a function of number of outgoing links from that page
- value of page rank: 7 vs 6 vs 5 vs 4 vs 3 etc

4. Best use of blog links & social networking - I suspect that I'm doing this the hard way.

Great list of directories -

Friday, June 23, 2006 - Homeschool News Blog - Homeschool News Blog

There is some great technology and ability to network around blogs here. It's time for me to learn about:
- pings
- trackbacks
- rss
- group blogs
- "blog this"
and all the other nifty tools that seem to be widely in use.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

google help - validated but no site map

I registered in some new way with google going down the path towards a site map but only getting so far as to validate my site.

They have two very interesting tables under statistics, query stats. Can anyone explain their explanation? Google says:

Top search queries are the queries that most often returned pages from your site and top search query clicks are the top queries that directed traffic to your site (based on the number of clicks to your pages).

1. "Top search queries are the queries that most often returned pages from your site ". Does this mean that:
a. of all the searches, these are the ones that my site ranks highest on? - I don't think so.
b. of all of the searches, these are the ones that produced the absolute highest number of returns of my site. (so number of searches times my ranking on the search)?
I think its the latter but its unclear to me whether ranking means that I'm in the top 3, top 1o, or anywhere in the list. From studying the table, I see that the lowest average position listed is 14. Does this mean that they are using the top 15 as the universe of searches and are listing those searches which have the highest volume in which I showed up in the top 15?

2. top search query clicks are the top queries that directed traffic to your site (based on the number of clicks to your pages). This seems clear.

HTML code errors & SEO

HTML Code Errors & SEO - Does Spelling Count?

I have received this advice:

To improve your search engine ranking, I would start by cleaning up your code. Your HTML is a mess. Take a look:
It's important to have code that validates!

I've checked my site (using DreamWeaver's tool and a few free website checks including the one above) and most pages have dozens and dozens of errors. I know that google says that they care about errors, what do you think. Does it make a tangible difference?

And if so, does the Dreamweaver function for automatically fixing errors work or do I need to do it by hand, page-by-page. Does anybody know someone who specializes in doing this?
More data:

I have started with google to register for a site map but only got as far as validating my site which has earned me access to some new data.

They have some info on site errors including HTTP errors. The indicator shows only a tiny shading and the only listed error is a 404 with the URL (which doesn't exist: .

Oddly enough, I am not doing well on the terms that I most care about such as homeschool curriculum . Stay tuned.....

I've put this out for discussion at the Dev Shack.

Well, nobody at DevShack seems to have responded but a newsletter from EntireWeb written by the very organized Adam McFarland arrived on 7/4 answering my exact question.

ps - i updated my thoughts on html correctness on feb 07.

Home User problems: "Can't see site"

While not exactly a marketing issue, this technology gotcha has my focus this week (well, one of them along with some personnel and office issues) and its possible that it might have prevented some percentage of people from ever seeing our site over the last two years that we've been marketing:

"Page not found" - Is a DNS with "***.255" the problem?

I have an online home education website, PreK-8th grade, which has a number of users who report that they cannot get to our site. This problem has been around for years but due to a recent rash of problems, I'm focusing on it.

I've found that there are some cases where users can browse the web fine but every effort to see our site is stymied. Typing in our url, our dns, pinging us , and tracert efforts all produce "not found" or "timed out" messages. Our users are all home users mostly non-technical. I've found two cases where once they remove the router, the problem goes away. In one case its netgear, in another its TP-Link.

The site is . My DNS is . I've been told that the problem could be the address and the .255 ending that this is often blocked by routers.
- Why is it blocked?
- What should I do about it?
- If I ask my hoster (webstream) to change my dns, will this be disruptive in any way to my users?
- I also got a cryptic email from the support line at one of the router companies suggesting that I "have your hoster point to the RFC that says that a .255 is now valid"
- what does that mean?

As a side note, we are not a technical company and are currently between programmers.
homeschool curriculum

netgear support - emiails back & forth
tp-link support - emails back & forth (they do not yet seem to have understood the problem)
webstream support - they have not yet answered...

netgear -
dnsstuff -
netshed - dns forum -

Postscript - I got this response from my hosting company:

Ah yes, the 'ole don't assign .0 and .255 addresses. While most people, who don't have much experience with IP's and subnetting, think these are invalid addresses, they actually are valid in classes other than /24's. Unfortunately some, usually small home routers, assume traffic coming from a .255 address is a smurf attack and block it.

The only way to fix this is to give you another address since we cannot correct the manufacture's router problems. I'll go ahead and assign another while also leaving your .255 bound. This will assure you no down time.

Your new IP is


Friday, June 16, 2006

SEO Article - Funny! - Relevancy vs Popularity

Link Popularity vs. Relevancy

I was contacted recently by an online directory. The woman who phoned me began by telling me that they didn't have a web designer listed in my area and they had 20-30 people every week who were looking for a web designer and were unable to find one. As I listened to this sad story tears started to form in my eyes as I began to realise that in the 21st century there are still people in the world who are having to go without a web designer.

Of course I quickly realised that this sob story was intended to soften me up in an attempt to sell me something, so I interjected by saying: "So you're looking for someone to advertise on your website?"

"Oh no it's not advertising," she said, "We're looking for one exclusive web designer in your area to handle all the enquiries we are getting..."

She went on to tell me that this fantastic opportunity would only cost me £1 per day and that they would be able to get me listed on the first page of search results in all the major search engines.

Now there's one thing I don't like and that is when people use a promise to try and sell you something knowing full well they cannot deliver on that promise.

"So if I go to Google and type in web design wiltshire, will I find your company?" I asked.

To my amusement she replied with one of the funniest lines I have ever heard in telephone marketing: "Oh no," she said, "we don't use Google anymore - we use Yahoo instead."
(this is the second best SEO joke that I know - for the best seo joke...)

Once I had stopped laughing I pointed out to her that nearly 60% of all Internet searches were made through Google and if you were in business online you would not deliberately 'stop using Google'. What she was saying of course was that it was harder to get a top ten listing in Google than it was with Yahoo.

Now the point of all this is that when she was busy making excuses for not being listed in Google she did say something rather interesting and that was that 'Google does not always show you the websites that are the most relevant to your search phrase'.

Now this is quite interesting. Because Google uses a different formula from Yahoo and MSN when calculating search results, you get a different set of results from each search engine for the same search query.

MSN appears to give more weight to keywords than they do to link popularity, whereas Google places a high importance on the quality and quantity of incoming links but also takes into account a whole host of other factors.

The more success I had with getting top ten search engine results the more I advertised those successes on the SEO page of my website. Every so often I would check the results to see if I was still on the first page. What I began to notice was that on MSN the SEO page of my website was getting to number one for a phrase that I had listed on that page.

For example, I built a website for an acupuncturist in Swindon, Wiltshire and wanted to advertise the fact that I had secured a number one slot in Google for the search phrase 'acupuncture treatment wiltshire', so I listed it on the SEO page of my website. A week or so later when I went to check the MSN rankings for the acupuncture site I noticed that the SEO page of my site was at number one for the search phrase 'acupuncture treatment wiltshire'.

Now the problem with this of course is that the search phrase is not relevant to that website. So in terms of relevancy MSN has failed: it has not delivered the most relevant websites for that search phrase because it has put a web design company at the top instead of an acupuncture website. This is one of the pitfalls of placing too much emphasis on keywords.

But why was my site at the top instead of the acupuncture site (which was coming in at number 2 or 3)? Presumably because my site is more established, has more incoming links and a higher Page Rank. Presumably, although not definitely.

So do these problems occur with Google? The answer to that is yes and no.

Google does get irrelevant sites mixed up in it's top ten from time to time but they are more likely to be there because of Page Rank than because of keywords. An article about SEO and linking strategies that I published on a high ranking website turned up in the top ten for a completely unrelated search phrase because I had mentioned that phrase once in the article. The reason was that Google placed more importance on the PR of the site the article was on than the keyword density of that particular phrase.

As Page Rank is based largely on link popularity the end result in this case was that link popularity beat relevancy hands-down. This is the main bone of contention that many webmasters have about Google: link popularity does not necessarily equate to relevancy and ultimately it is relevancy that is most important to the user.

Some may argue that a more popular site is more relevant. But if you were looking for a web designer in Marlborough you wouldn't want to find a listing for a hotel in the top ten just because it had more incoming links and a higher page rank than the site of a local web designer and happened to have a link to another web designer at the bottom of the page.

Part of the problem of course is that whatever system is in place some people will try to cheat the system. That leads to companies like Google having to change the way they evaluate the web pages that their robots crawl. This inadvertently leads to some website owners finding that their sites have been devalued because they have accidentally done something with their site that is frowned upon by Google because it was once used by the cheats to artificially boost their search engine rankings.

Until such time as a telepathic search engine is invented it seems unlikely that such problems will be eliminated. Perhaps in the coming years some kind of global directory will be used in conjunction with domain name registration, whereby each website could be registered in a maximum of two categories (web design and SEO for example) and some kind of system could be used to make sure that websites could only show up in search results for search phrases related to those categories. It would probably be too expensive and labour intensive to implement but I'm sure if someone could find a way of making money from it we might well see it happen!


Quoted greatfully from the EntireWeb newsletter. Those people publish the absolute best SEO newsletter for beginner intermediate SEO people.

About the Author: Rob Butler is a web designer in Marlborough Wiltshire and specialises in securing top ten search engine rankings for small to medium sized companies.

Of course, my interest is in seo for my own site where you can Learn Reading Math Online
through Educational Teaching Games providing both Special Needs Learning and Gifted Education.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Home Education for this dummy

Todays Learners..305329.
Learning & Fun..55276282.
Reading S.

The solution to my problem of avoiding excess space was suggested by the brilliant and helpful mr. peter of: . Please accept these links and kudos as a sign of my gratitude.