January 21, 2004
Optimizing Movable Type - Keyword links

SEO - Search Engine Optimization - has become a bit of a swearword in the serious part of the internet industry, and many websites have been drowning in spam-comments, guestbook entries and linkbuilder emails from dubious websites trying to increase their positions in search engines.

Why do people bother?

They want to be seen, of course... they want to sell something, or to convince people of their beliefs, or whatever.

More soberly, many small and medium sized publishers want to be read, to get comments and have some buzz on their pages.

Co-incidentally, many small publishers, along with many webloggers, use a CMS system optimally tailored for the job, Movable Type.

In some previous articles, I've covered filing strategies ( /yyyy/mm/(dd/)title.{html/php/whatever} ) and other strategies Movable Type based publishers can use to help search engines understand and promote their sites. Today I thought I'd address the little used "keyword" field in MT.

Mark Pilgrim has used keywords to create "cruft free" URLs, a good idea. Adam Kalsey allows a site to publish "related entries" by keyword (as well as Category).

Personally, I've tried to start being good and apply a fair amount of keywords to the photos I publish in my photolog extrospection.com, with the aim of helping returning visitors find back an image they've seen in the past or just help new visitors with the discovery of images they'd otherwise not find (as a photo's caption sometime is sparse).

The core question is, of course, how can you make the keywords more accessible to the visitor and also make search engines pick them up, helping new visitors?

There are a few key bits to do: enable a search box for your visitors to search your site directly. MT searches the text of the entry as well as the keywords you've associated with the entry and presents the title and excerpt of the entries to the visitor.

Presumably, you also want people that don't know you to find your material, and there are ways to achieve this:

Publishing the META Keyword tag is largely ignored by the search engines after years of abuse by sites with malicious intentions.

Keywords used in links in to a page, however, seem to get caught and used in search results. An example I like to use is how googling for "call Anders" yields some contact information for me, despite this page not containing the word "call". It is, of course, because I've linked to it using the text "call Anders" from a couple of different locations.

Turning this knowledge into something positive:

I've published archive pages listing all my entries for a while. This sort of "Site Map" is not only helpful for visitors trying to navigate; it's also an easy way for search engines crawling your site to find all the pages you've published. MT by defauly publishes an "archive.html" file in your blog's root directory (the "Master Archive Index").

Making further use of this pre-existing template, I've started publishing my keywords and linking to the permanent link of each photo. My example is available here: http://www.extrospection.com/archives.html

To achieve this I made the following modification to the standard MT template:

<a href="<$MTArchiveLink$>"><$MTArchiveTitle$></a>,
<a href="<$MTArchiveLink$>"><MTEntries>
</MTEntries></a><br />

In theory, at least, this should enable searching for the keywords and still hitting the archived photo despite the word not necessarily being written at (or conjugated in the same way) at the page. Example: vortex, vortices, vortexes, vortice, ring, donut

[For reference, there are more "Optimizing Movable Type" articles here (some are ageing, though, but might still be worth a look for MT newcomers: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]

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Related Entries

That related entries plugin isn't really supported anymore. There's a much better way to do it at http://kalsey.com/2003/05/related_entries_revisited/

What you really need is a search engine with word stemming. That way you don't need to stuff a bunch of alternate-format keywords in there.

Posted by: Adam Kalsey on January 21, 2004 07:38 PM

Thanks for the heads up, Adam. And yes, the mention of word stemming was something I forgot to include in the post above. Indeed, this is "manual word stemming".

Google does do word stemming, for example, while the MT search engine doesn't (automatically) implement this.

Posted by: Anders on January 22, 2004 10:46 AM

So your site map links to your articles with their keywords?

How much work is this?

Posted by: Dirk on January 25, 2004 07:35 PM

Why does google take into account spamming websites in its ranking?

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Well...well...well...look at what we have here...

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..so be sure to join us today for the best shit on the internet!!

Posted by: peterblack on January 27, 2006 05:58 PM

Exclusive videos without censoring

Posted by: Targa on January 27, 2006 08:22 PM

The biggest collection of classified photography

Posted by: Quintin on January 27, 2006 09:45 PM
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jdb cyberspace: How to optimize your Movable Type blog for search engines (January 21, 2004 02:35 PM)
"Nice article with many good tips from fellow norwegian blogger Anders Jacobsen: Optimizing Movable Type - Keyword links While it will be interesting to see..."
blog.uttendorfer.net: New feeds (February 27, 2004 12:37 AM)
"I've added some new RSS feeds to the blog. On revjim.net I found a nice entry where I could grab the code for the comment RSS feed. On Anders Jacobsen's blog I found an entry about how to set up..."
Hasan's Blog: Cool Movable Type Feature (via Anders Jacobsen) (October 28, 2004 09:08 PM)
"I was just reading on Anders Jacobson's blog that the blogging software I use, Movable Type automatically builds a Sitemap with a list of all the entries in this blog on it and links to their individual pages. Pretty cool stuff...."
Jesus Tribe: Blog Explosion (December 17, 2004 01:15 AM)
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Something 'bout those little pills...: Why I Blog (February 23, 2005 03:43 PM)
"Reading Anders Jacobsens blog as I was searching for some tips and tricks to optimise MT. Mostly to get it..."
Something 'bout those little pills...: New archiving strategy, possible dead links (February 23, 2005 06:24 PM)
"Some of you may have noticed already that today, I changed the archiving for the entries on my weblog. All..."

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