Thursday, July 26, 2007

A perception of improvement

Well, I think that my work to consolidate some of my URLs has been at least somewhat effective in improving my Google page rankings. A search for free crossword puts me at #10, and free crossword maker puts me at #6. I can live with that for now. I was #11 for free crossword just a month ago, so now I've climbed back to the far superior first page from the depressing page 2.

Of course, since I don't have an actual known baseline to compare against, I don't know if I've actually improved since before all of my changes, and I don't think I care enough to keep track of it all right now, given the many phrases people use to find my software, but it seems to have maybe helped, and at least not hurt.

Through my server logs I can see that a huge portion of my visitors are finding out about EclipseCrossword through word of mouth. In 2005, I remarked that more people were finding out about my site through TheKnot, a wedding site, than Google. Now in 2007, this seems to be more true than ever. TheKnot brings 3.5% of my traffic (they're easily my #1 referrer now), and Google only brings .5%. Those numbers are very different from 2005's, as there is now a much wider variety of sites that link to me.

I'm also getting lots of non-English visitors now too. Italy, Brazil, and Korea are some of the top non-English-speaking countries that send traffic to my site. Korea is particularly depressing because my software is pretty terrible with Asian text in general. In high school and college I never anticipated a wide international audience, so it was all designed for English only.


D Wheezy said...

Do you actively advertise eclipsecrossword? I'm painfully ignorant to the workings of Google's page ranking system.

Travis said...

No, I rely solely on word-of-mouth. A lot of it is "forced" word-of-mouth—crosswords you create with the software, whether online or in print, always include "" somewhere in small print.

Someday I'd like to advertise, but ads are expensive, and it doesn't really make much sense to do so until I have a money-making scheme in place.

I don't know a lot about their page ranking. What I did know is that by having a dozen different URLs that went to copies of the same page, I was splitting the "goodwill" I'd earned by having people link to me. By merging all of those URLs into one per page through HTTP redirects, Google can now consider all of those links equivalent, thereby giving me more links to each of my pages than before, increasing my rank. That's the theory, at least.