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Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker. Search Engine Optimization Questions...

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posted on Jan, 24 2006 @ 11:44 PM
This topic was pulled out of the 9/11: A Boeing 757 Struck the Pentagon thread, as it didn't seem fair to muck up that discussion with this topic.

Originally posted by bsbray11
An idea that I've seen gaining some popularity regarding ATS is that you guys (At least you and Simon, anyway) are mainly focusing around search engine returns with issues like these. By your own admission, you've taken steps to give ATS advantages in this regard.

As is the job of any good "webmaster". Being found online is an exceptionally important thing. What good does it do to have this wealth of "alternative" content on ATS if no one is able to find it when they use a search engine?

Tagging threads has also greatly increased Google returns,

Actually, no. Tagging is an effort to help our members find material within ATS through a system they help build themselves.

as would the recommendations for citing ATS posts on other websites (which, of course, include not only thread names, but the URLs, usernames, "Above Top Secret," etc.). Bringing posters here, to bring major discussions here, would also put ATS that much higher on search engine returns.

Uh... that's not the motive. And in some regards, depending on the site linking, it may actually harm our "page rank".

Quickie explanation of Page Rank. In Google, every subdirectory of every website has a "page rank" score from 0, to the actual number of sites/directories (Google averages the score from 0 to 10). The most important factor in determining a page rank is the number of websites linking to that page, and the average rank of those linking pages. So if a site with a rank of 5 links to us, that helps our overall rank, while a site with a rank of 1 will harm our overall rank.

Search engine optimization is part voodoo, part science.

But the Creative Commons Deed extends well beyond online use, and establishes a collaborative environment where we freely share our material (within easy to follow guidelines that honorable people would follow anyway).

One could point out that an obvious benefit of this would be more site hits, and thereby more revenue from advertisements,

Yes. However, if we were looking to "get rich", this is not the way.
This is hard work. Our 4 enterprise-class dedicated clustered-servers require a lot of attention (and expense), the broad list of services need constant tweaking, and we're not yet out of the "bargain basement" of ad networks... they don't pay much. Our revenue is slightly more than hosting expenses, and the extra bit is being reserved for a much needed systems upgrade in the very near future.

Also, Simon has slaved for a long time with no hope of compensation, I floated the expense of the dedicated servers for more than a year, and Springer is on the phone daily with business issues. Certainly you'd like to see some level of compensation for our hard work?

or direct influence over much of this sort of information that is available online.

The influence is yours. We provide a free and open environment that is highly search engine optimized where anyone can join and within simple rules of decorum and manners, discuss anything within our broad rang of topics (other than illegal topics such as drugs or hacking).

Because of this, our FEMA Detainment Camp thread hit the Internet like wildfire, and the camp was closed down soon after. There are thousands of threads other than the Pentagon 757 thread that have gained significant traffic because of our optimization techniques. One look at our Top 100 Most Viewed Threads and you'll get a fair picture of what is getting noticed.

And for reference, so far this month, 13,736 different websites have linked to us, and 168,909 different search terms brought users from search engines. Here are the top search terms:

1......5457.....1.30%......area 51
2......5189.....1.23%......above top secret
4......3266.....0.78%......aishwarya rai
8......1452.....0.34%......real alien
9......1402.....0.33%......alien sightings
11.....1297.....0.31%......john titor
12.....1240.....0.29%......jersey devil
14.....1131.....0.27%......ak 47
16.....1037.....0.25%......government conspiracies secret
18.....1016.....0.24%......real aliens
19.....977......0.23%......amanda tapping
20.....922......0.22%......philadelphia project
21.....916......0.22%......disney subliminal messages map
26.....708......0.17%......kristin kreuk
27.....704......0.17%......hayden panettiere
28.....667......0.16%......iraq war footage
29.....634......0.15%......comanche helicopter
30.....608......0.14%......aurora plane

What might you say to reassure someone suspecting motivations as described above?

I'm not sure what you're implying by "motives"? I think I explained our motives above.

posted on Jan, 25 2006 @ 06:38 AM
Personally, I believe the "recommendations" for citing ATS posts abroad (i.e. thread names, usernames, and Above Top Secret) focused more on the recent inclusion of the Creative Commons approach to "giving credit where credit is due", as opposed to drawing more traffic to the community. In my opinion, where this part of the non-issue became an issue was in the direct violation of the three core components of the Creative Commons deed. Attribution, Noncommercial Use, and No derivative works, all of which were initially dismissed and ignored.

As for increasing revenues from advertising and other such sources of income, would you agree that, if this were the desired intention, there are much more lucrative, less time consuming, means by which to increase said revenues (i.e. subscriptions, donations, member dues, etc.). All of these have been proposed numerous times over the years, BY THE MEMBER BASE, yet have never been implemented nor even considered.

Just my $.02

edit to clarify: in response to bsbray11's questions

[edit on 1/25/2006 by 12m8keall2c]

posted on Jan, 25 2006 @ 08:12 AM
From everything I've seen on the back end of a website, you'll never get rich doing ads--that's "supplemental" income, something you use to offset server costs and even then only if you're lucky enough to get a few people to click. Definitely not a gaurantee, and it's trickier now with more and more people getting ad blockers. I'll admit that I've been known to use an ad blocker myself, but mainly because the Flash ads are annoying and often the other ads slow the site down when it's loading.

Hopefully someone with more experience in these matters than I have will correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the dynamic nature of this site make it difficult to really optimize it for search engines period? I mean, most of them only crawl through the web every few weeks or months; there really isn't much I would imagine you could do to keep up with it a whole lot, since the content of the site is constantly changing.

I really think that if the 3 amigos were trying to get-rich-quick, a site subscription would tear the banks up. I avoid paying for stuff online like it's the plague--I'll go out of my way to find free software that does half of what I need rather than pay $5 for something that does twice what I'm looking for--but I'd gladly pay a nominal fee to be part of this community. I'm sure a lot of people here feel the same. The only place they sell anything is a store that isn't even directly part of the site, and that fact more than anything else shows they aren't out to make a buck.

Any additional publicity--as in pushing search engines as best as possible--is probably going to cost more in bandwidth than it'll make in ad revenue. It's just an attempt to extend the community as much as possible, in my humble opinion at least.

posted on Jan, 25 2006 @ 09:09 AM
Normally, heavily dynamic sites are very difficult to optimize for search engines. However, we've solved that with two tactics:
1- Our URL's don't appear dynamic and show a directory structure rather than GET variables.
2- We've developed dynamic XML features such as RSS feeds and site maps for Goggle.
Those two items are our primary reasons for search engine success.

And.yes, we will never charge any membership fees. The "business model" is simple; encourage quality content so that we attract decent traffic that provides enough ad income to cover costs and maybe a little more.


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posted on Jan, 25 2006 @ 03:53 PM
Thanks for your responses.

Oh, by the way, this isn't a one-liner.

[edit on 25-1-2006 by bsbray11]

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