The "I've Found It" Post

Some things are still pretty hard to find online, no matter what Google, Yahoo, and Live say about perfecting their search engines. Or maybe it's because everyone searches with long tail keywords and people are still optimizing for the short tail type. Or maybe its because link juice is not really a good indicator of quality content. I have always seen the Pagerank algorithm and other algorithms based on it as a little bit biased.

Who is the internet for? The people that build websites. Nope. They wouldn't have a job if their weren't others out there trying to find the sites that they are building. Basing the rank of a web page on the links to it is sort of like finding the best lawyer by asking other lawyers who work in his office. Wouldn't it be better to ask actual people who have needed lawyers before? Aren't companies rated by their customers and not the other companies in their industry?

Now, I am pretty new to blogging in the version these days. Before the last month or so I thought of a blog as easy way to put articles online. So there's the disclaimer on me actually knowing anything about this crazy world of blogging. But I know blogs have done one thing. They have let more people move into the real estate ownership side of the internet. Before they were second class citizens who had no say in what the search engines served to them. Google may claim that they are making their search engines more personalized to the user, but I have yet to see it really do much when I am on the fifth page of results.

Google can't read minds and there is at least a search or two a day that I have to go three or four pages deep into the search engines results to find exactly what I am looking for. And when only a year ago, the top results for searches like "install php on vista" were forums, now more blogs come up. This, I believe, is a direct result of of fresh blood in the blogosphere. More voices and less formal ways of writing about a subject.

Forums used to catch these hits, because people write the way they speak in forums. There is no formality. There is no hiring a copy editor to go in a check if your post is correct grammatically and that all the terms you used fit the subject before you hit post. People ask "How do I get stock quotes from Yahoo finance on my blog?" rather than "How can I use curl to access data from Yahoo finance?" Forums still catch these hits, but blogs are catching up. Why?

I think its from what I call the "I found it" post. I have heard them called the research post. You could also call it the "I'm tired of looking for this every time I need to, so I am making a post here so I know where it is" post. And while a lot of new bloggers are focusing on the killer headline type of post to get people to come to their site that the linkbaiting big guys use, I suggest new bloggers mix it up with an "I found it" post every now and then. You need to do just as much thinking about what to call your post, but in a different way.

 Bloggers that already have an audience can depend on their readers and other bloggers in their circle to bring them traffic to their posts. If you are just starting, you don't have this option. You could try to create some buzz, but it comes off more like a squeak. Instead take advantage of being new. When you have an issue with your blog, hosting provider, or a subject that fits in the theme of your blog, write about it. If you had a hard time finding the answer, even better. Keep track of what you searched for and the terms you used and use those to help determine how you will title your post, what tags you will use, and the actual post you write.

While writing a post about the next new web 2.0 company to come out may get you some visitors over the next week, the drawing power of that post will gradually decrease. But a post that fills a need and stops a search at Google's first page will continue to bring visitors and subscribers.

Stephan Miller

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Kansas City Software Engineer and Author

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