February 07, 2007

RSS Advisory Board Needs Links

Like this: RSS

Rogers Cadenhead:

Searching for Ways to Move Up in Google

A year ago the RSS Advisory Board moved to its own domain, losing all Google juice associated with its old site. Because the search term RSS is enormously popular, we've found it difficult to attract search traffic and build a decent Google pagerank. It took nearly a year to crack the top 100 for that term on Google; we're currently up to the 80s.

I'm actually dubious they can get to the top ten in Google. Especially given that the old site has the Harvard name behind it (which works for search engines too, via "trust" algorithms ...). Just one interesting little example about how social power gets replicated in search power.

Interestingly, Yahoo gets this "right" in terms of a search on [RSS] giving rssboard.org's specification page the #3 spot. I suspect that's due to their similarity algorithm picking rssboard.org as the site to display rather than Harvard (which has the #3 spot on Google).

Note the implications here: It's a lot harder to establish an a newer project if Google keeps sending people to the old one.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in google | on February 07, 2007 10:40 PM (Infothought permalink)
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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Thanks. My goal's the more modest accomplishment of cracking the top 30. By other metrics the board's finding an audience and serving a purpose -- 1,200 messages were posted to our main mailing list in the last year.

Posted by: Rogers Cadenhead at February 8, 2007 08:49 AM

As a practical matter, wouldn't just one link suffice, from the old page to the new one? Something like "this page is outdated, please go there for current information". I'm curious why you'd expect users (and search engines) infer this information without help from the original editors.

Posted by: Florian Weimer at February 10, 2007 03:09 AM

Rogers: Glad to help

Florian: Unfortunately, the people who maintain the old page are very hostile to the new advisory board, including a retaliatory lawsuit.

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein at February 10, 2007 11:15 AM