I just returned from a three day conference on our favorite web programming framework, Ruby on Rails. It’s nice to take some time to do a little learning – I felt like I was in a semester-long class, crammed into three days! But I have come back full of ideas and inspiration, and hope to share a bit with you, fair reader.
One of the phrases I kept hearing over the last three days was Google Juice. Wikipedia defines this as “the ability or power of a website to turn up in Google searches. A website that commonly turns up as the first or second entry in a variety of searches — especially for keywords that are not part of the site’s name — can be said to have a lot of Google juice.” This is something every site wants, so how do we get more of it?
One of the talks I particularly enjoyed was by Dan Benjamin, author of Cork’d, among other things. This was a talk on “Building Community-Focused Apps,” and was largely an account of what he learned from his experiences with Cork’d. And a big part of building a site like that is getting users, because without users, a community website is pretty worthless. Having build Gone Raw ourselves, we’re very interested in these kinds of websites.
One of his tips was that you need to care a lot about your Google ranking for every page of your site. It’s very common for someone to build a site and worry about how it shows up in Google when you search for the “gist” of the site. For example, if you search for “raw food recipes,” Gone Raw does come up on the first page, and that’s great. But not if you search for raw foods. Is this important? Yes, but not as important as you might think.
What’s more important, for sites like this, is how the many individual pages come up in searches. If you search for “raw bread,” we also come up on the first page. Search for “raw onion bread,” and we’re first on the list. This is critical, because more and more frequently, we get new users on the site because they were searching for a particular phrase or set of words that appears in our many recipes or forum topics. And this, more than any other factor, drives new traffic to Gone Raw these days.
So remember, every word of every page is valuable on your site. Not just the home page, or the name of your site, or a few keywords. The text of every single page has the potential to bring you new visitors.