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Running a public web site is an interesting experience, even a small site such as mine. You learn a lot about how the Internet works (and doesn't work). One of the big things you learn, if you are smart, is how to do search engine optimization. Search engine optimization is the process of arranging your site so that it shows up properly in search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, and MSN Search.
My blogging software is a package called b2evolution. It is an open source blogging package that I installed on my web site myself. (You gotta love open source!) One of the things it provides is a quite nice administration site. This site allows you to do such things as enter new blog articles, remove spam on the site and view logs of all the hits on your site. It also shows you statistics on what search queries are directing people to your site.
These search query statistics are an education in itself. It's fascinating to see what search queries people are looking for and how often they end up at my site. I've noticed that a couple of my most popular articles were my review of the Spiderman 3 trailer and my review of Arch Linux. Both of those get hit a lot. I can see why.
My review of the Spiderman 3 trailer contains a lot of information and photos about the movie. I describe in great detail what the preview shows in only brief fraction of a second scenes. It lists my complete guess as to the plot of the movie, nearly a year before the movie is released. It's quite a spoiler for those people out there who are not familiar with the comic books and the backstory hinted at strongly in the movie. That was probably the longest and most involved article I've ever written. Between extracting photos from the trailer and writing up the blog, I spent several hours on it. I feel it was worth it though if someone gained some useful knowledge from it.
As for the Arch Linux review, I'm a bit surprised at the popularity of it. I'd always considered Arch Linux to be a relatively little kown version of Linux, compared to the major versions - Red Hat and Suse. I'm pleased to see that my little review is useful to people.
Another interesting thing I've noticed is that search engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN Search etc.) are indexing pages on my site that I don't think are very important. These pages that they index artificially high, in my opinion are the monthly blog views. These monthly views only show the last 5 blogs I wrote that month. That list can change on a daily basis. That means that it's very likely someone will end up at my site looking for an article that's not even listed on that monthly view anymore! That makes that monthly view link pretty useless in my opinion. The useful stuff on my site is the blog articles I write. Those should be indexed higher than the monthly list. In fact I would even say the blog articles should be the only thing indexed on the site. The rest is not important. There are techniques for doing this, but I have not done much work on it yet. Luckily b2evolution is open source so I can easily go in and modify the site to meet my needs with regards to this search engine optimization. I need to do this sometime soon. For a website to succeed, it is critical that it be properly optimized for search engines to find you.