Website Help? October 13, 2008

Website Help?

I know I’ve asked this before, but I could use some website help…

I’d like to figure out how to make this site more Google-able and that may involve setting up the proper link for a sitemap (I don’t think the current one works), making sure the titles for the pages look right, fixing up some source code, and seeing if there’s anything I can do to change the PageRank.

I have some free time in the morning (yay for Columbus Day!) and I would love to speak to someone who has some time to spare and the expertise to handle this sort of issue. Maybe someone who is near a phone and a computer…?

If you can help, please let me know (and send some contact info!)

Thanks 🙂

***Update***: Thanks to Adrian for all his help!

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Michael

    This may be a silly question, but have you used the Google webmaster tools?

    Works like a doozy for me.

  • charfles

    Second on the google webmaster tools. They should have a tutorial on getting a proper site map installed.

    One thing I noticed is your xhtml is not very well formed. For instance, for your top navigation it appears it’s supposed to be an unordered list (a very good thing for SEO) but the list is missing it’s enclosing “ul” tags. Minor xhtml gaffs like that can hurt your rank when search engines parse your page.

    Another thing is to put text where you have certain images. For example, the header logo of your site is a “span” with a background-image. One better way of going about it is to use an ‘h1’ tag with a background image and the text “Friendly Atheist” within the tag as well. The text can be hidden using a number of techniques (search for ‘css text replacement’, the text-indent method is my preferred but there are others). This is not only semantically more correct (an h1 tag is the most prominent header tag) but allows search engines to “read” your site as a normal person would, except with text instead of an image.

    A good rule of thumb is to design the site with a blind person using a screen reader in mind. That means using ‘alt’ properties for ‘img’ tags, and using text replacement techniques for structural images like the header of the site as well as ensuring proper document ‘flow’. A search engine crawler is essentially like a blind person with javascript turned off so the better you accommodate that, the easier it will crawl it. Not to mention the benefits to an actual disabled person visiting the site.

    You can use the w3c’s validator to check your code. Don’t be intimidated by all the errors and warning, most are probably caused by the improper doctag placement and other issues early in the page. The accessibility validator is also a good place to see potential problem areas.

  • I have used the Google webmaster tools, but my attempts at installing a sitemap have failed. I’m not sure how to submit the proper one…

    And the fixing the code stuff is all well and good, but even for something like altering the header image to include hidden text, I don’t have the knowledge right now to do that 🙁 Hence, the call for help.

  • C. Alan Zoppa

    Closer to valid code would help. While you’re at it, valid CSS doesn’t hurt.

    Also, I’ve noticed that a lot of your titles are editorials on the subjects. Concise descriptions of the subject of the post are more search-friendly and social news-friendly.

  • C. Alan Zoppa — Those links are helpful, but I don’t know the first thing to do with them 🙁

    I agree and will try to do better with the post titles

  • You are using WordPress, why not try the wordpress plugin that makes a sitemap for you? And the SEO plugin as well.

  • Adrian

    I’ve done as much html fixing as I could with the templates. The main html bugs are due to plugins putting <br> instead of <br />. These count for most of the errors in the html, and luckily Google doesn’t mind them.

  • Iztok

    It seems RSS feed is broken?

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