search engine optimisation

This is not quite on-topic, but related in that it informs me on what people are interested in, helping me tune the book/website to their needs, and in turn improving the readership.

A lot of the information on this site is based on masses of statistics carefully analysed to figure out causes and effects, and especially what causes to work on if you have specific effects in mind. What food to eat if you want to live longer, how long to exercise to avoid heart disease, what drugs to use to improve your cell functions.

SEO is basically the same. There’s a lot of mumbo-jumbo around it, but if you’re methodical and persistent, and you pay attention to what the numbers are telling you, it can pay off.

This website is a little over three weeks old. Not long enough to make a splash anywhere online, but long enough that a few statistics have started coming through that I can work on.

I want to talk about my process for improving web presence (which in turn, improves the website content itself). There’s a lot to it, so I won’t even try to cover it all in one post. Today, I’ll talk about using Google’s Search Analytics tool. Not the Google Analytics tool – the search analytics tool in Google Webmasters. Google Analytics is only useful once people have gotten onto your website, but to tune how people get to the website in the first place, you need to use the Google Webmaster tools.

The default view in Search Analytics is to show the clicks per link for the last 28 days. I don’t really find that very useful at first while tuning a website’s visibility. Before someone clicks on a link, the link has to show up in the search results in the first place, so I ignore the clicks statistics and focus on two things: Impressions and Position.

The Impressions is how many times your website has appeared as a result in the last n days (default is 28), and the Position is the average position that the result was seen at. Higher impressions are better. Lower position is better.

For the first few days, you won’t have any data to look at. Make sure to publicise the site in some way (like submitting a sitemap) so that Google knows that it exists.

Once the data starts trickling in, you can start working on it.

For example, yesterday, I had the following numbers:

The next thing to do is to analyse those numbers to rank each search keyword by “importance”. I do this by making a spreadsheet which I add to each day, adding a third figure which is the Impressions divided by the Position.

Example from yesterday’s figures:

nad+ aging 1 4.0 0.25
foxo4 peptide 8 34.9 0.23
ardouin antonio 5 29.2 0.17
quantum multiverse 1 7.0 0.14
lower respiratory infection 1 8.0 0.13
ken horne aids 5 45.6 0.11
peptide senescent cells 2 27.0 0.07
nad+ 1 17.0 0.06
sinclair nad+ 1 20.0 0.05
quantum immortality 1 26.0 0.04
killing senescent cells 1 24.0 0.04
universe is infinite 2 53.5 0.04
black holes and baby universes 1 39.0 0.03
hippocampal prosthesis 1 40.0 0.03
selma dritz 1 79.0 0.01

You can see that I’ve ordered the entire table by the right-most column. The number there is the “importance” of each keyword to the website at that moment in time (impressions/position).

A search for “nad+ aging” appears in position 4 on the front page of Google, giving it an “importance” of 0.25. A search for “selma dritz” appears right down the bottom of page 8 on Google, giving it an importance of 0.01.

I look through the keywords for those that I think relate to the website in general, and try to figure ways to improve their importance value.

One way to work on this, for example, is to look at the third last column (impressions) and look for “spikes” where the number of impressions leaped up relative to the previous figure. I have an ideal in my mind that the numbers should be large at the top and descend toward the bottom as the importance reduces.

For example, “foxo4 peptide” (the second row) appeared in 8 searches, so you would expect that it should be more important to the site than the search for “nad+ aging”, but because foxo4 peptide appeared on average in position 34.9 (vs 4 for “nad+ aging”), it is relatively less important to the site at the moment.

It is obvious that if we could improve the average position of that keyword in the results, then the importance value would increase, making the statistics more aesthetically pleasing to me, and making the keywords more successful in their intended purpose.

To do that, I choose those keywords that I think need work, then I write a blog post about them, making sure to find out something new about the keyword subject that I haven’t written about before. You can get cheap copy writers to write absolute trash articles based on your keywords, but I think those are ultimately detrimental to the credibility of your website. I always put some real effort into finding something interesting to say.

I use that as a way to improve the book as well, because anything new that I find filters down from the blog into the book.

So yesterday, for example, I found out that there is one person experimenting on himself already with FOXO4-DRI. That in itself is not enough to put in the book, but was interesting enough to write about in a post. After reading more, though, I found that a visitor to his website has figured out that the peptide costs about $3000 per day at present, which is something I can put in.

So, the effort of improving the SEO statistics in turn improves the book.

It’s important not to allow yourself to work on keywords that are ultimately tangential to the core subject. The keyword “ken horne aids“, for example, is another one that stands out to me because of the leap in the impressions, but I think that people searching for that are more interested in learning specifically about Ken Horne, than in learning about, say, the history of HIV/AIDS. I could be wrong, though – the statistics are just starting to grow so I don’t have a full idea yet of what people are looking for and whether it aligns with what the book is about. For all I know, they may be interested to learn about how to cure AIDS, so I’ll work on that as well.

I’m not going to write often about this stuff, as it’s a little off-topic. I just find it interesting, and you might too!