Category Archives: Web development

SEO and Page Titles

One of the things I’ve learned in my SEO travels, is that search engine rules evolve over time, and are becoming closer and closer to what a user wants, as contrasted with what the search engine finds pragmatic.

As such, a meaningful page title makes a lot of sense. For example, in this case, the title is SEO and Title Pages[Ron Amundson] While its not super friendly, it does serve to identify what this page is truley about. In the ideal case, my blog software would allow me to set the title page in a more readable fashion. However, be that as it may, at least, if a user looks at the title, they have something readable that makes sense.

Often times, page title names are either computer generated, and thus not terribly intelligible, or in other cases, they are a default setting spread across a whole web page. Both of these scenarios are not the greatest for users, nor are they conducive to a search engine.

The other thing to keep in mind, is that the title of a page, should indicate what is on that page. I know it seems obvious, but it seems that many in the web community seem to miss the fact that web pages are read by humans, and no matter how much you choose to game the search engines to visit your page. If a user shows up, and then immediately hits the back button, you never had a chance to tell them about your content anyhow.

There are cool tools available to verify keyword density, such that you can verify your title indeed reflects the content of your page. Here is one super cool such analyzer http://www.ranks.nl/tools/spider.html.

Webpages with Zero Meaningful Content

Webpages with zero meaningful content

This is a beef of mine. In the early days, one would often come across these “under construction” graphics, or links to pages with zero meaningful content. Now, it seems they have been replaced with zero meaningful content, but with advertising, or pages, primarily used to game the search engines.

I have always tried to stay away from such pages. Yet, when doing a top down design, it is often difficult, not to just put in header pages with zero content, for organizational purposes. This is one of the key reasons I chose a wiki format for this webpage. The architecture is dynamic, and thus there really is no need for zero meaningful content.

However, I am going to break my rule of thumb, and thus create one. The intent is not to lead people astray, nor game the search engines, but rather, serve as my scratch pad and web page todo list. I’m finding I need a wiki webspace, to keep track of ideas and concepts, rather than keeping it on the desktop, or in google docs. Ie, the intent being, that as an idea is developed, the subpage goes live, with the addition of wiki tags, rather than a cut and paste.

I think there is a way to set up my robots.txt page to disallow access, as I do not want robots indexing it, should some webizen happen to be searching for a term, and then be aggravated when they come up with a page with zero meaningful content. Until I figure this out, my apologies for anyone that comes across it.

The Perils of Open Source

So PH went and built himself a CMS/blog. He wrote it from scratch, and I asked him about it, and what he had to say makes a lot of sence. Its the same issue I’ve had with open source, and it parallels a lot of issues in the embedded world as well.

Its not so much that the open source software lacks in quality, but more so, the issues with maintenance. Its a rare webmaster indeed who uses things without modification. Now, as long as the main code is stable, and the hooks and such are stable it tends to work pretty well. The problem is that when you end up making a lot of hacks to the core program, you run into update headaches later on. We ran into this with Mambo, where in everytime they did an update, it took 2-3 days to rewrite our custom hacks to comply with the changes.

Granted, as a product matures, the chances of major rewrites every few months diminishes. Certainly, in the case of Joomla, they are no longer fiddling with the SQL database, so at least thats rock solid. This was not the case years back with Mambo.

The other thing I’ve noticed, is vast differences in the styles of different groups. It seems within php, the tendency is to make everything global, and forget about declarations are variable passing. While I know there are provisions to do so, it seems it is a might bit of a rarity. Certainly, structure and the discpline it requires can be a headache, yet, when everything is out, and ready to be stepped on, it can be a real bugger to find what actually is going on. At least, in the embedded world, we can hook up an emulator, or at a minimum a logic analyzer to actually see what the code is doing. It is interesting for sure.

Yet, open source does give a wealth of ideas. There are new things brought to the table daily, and thus, it presents incredibly value. As it evolves, perhaps the maintenance tasks and hooks will be less and less of a hassle. I sure hope so, there are some cool open source programs out there.