Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sail Donnybrook! and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

I write this blog to share my experience.  Family and friends know about it.  Who else is finding it?

I've been curious about how Sail Donnybrook! ranks in Google rankings so I did some Google searches to find out.  Sail Donnybrook! is first when I search for "Sail Donnybrook."  Good!  Sail Donnybrook! is around 101 when I search for "Donnybrook."  Not so good.

I looked at some of the analytic tools available and found the top keywords for my site were "sail", "Donnybrook", "race", "Mac", and "Kyle".  Sail Donnybrook! is 86 when you search for "sail mac race".

Racing is a small part of what I write about.  True, the Mac Race is the focal point of Donnybrook's sailing season, but Sail Donnybrook! is more about sailing and cruising and less about racing.  The Mac race is just a quick way to get to the best cruising on Lake Michigan.  Sailing and cruising didn't even show up in the top 20 keywords that Google found.

I read several articles on SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and learned this:

  • The web page title is critical in search engine rankings.  I changed the blog title to Sail Donnybrook!  Sailing and Cruising Lake Michigan and Chicago because of this.
  • The title of each blog entry should display in the browser title bar.  I changed the Blogger template to do this.
  • Page links help your ranking.  The more sites that link to Sail Donnybrook!, the better.  To help this, I'll reference www.saildonnybrook.com when I post to other forums and make sure it's prominent in Facebook postings.
  • The more a word or phrase is used, the more importance it has.  Because of that, I'll make a conscious effort to use keywords more often.
  • Changing content helps.  Static pages lose their ranking.
  • The more page hits your site has, the higher it'll be ranked.  Drawing people to your site will improve rankings.
There are many techniques to use but the above are the most obvious after some quick research.  There are even SEO Consultants who are paid big bucks to make sure a site is highly ranked.  In fact, Overstock.com recently got into some trouble because they violated Google's usage guidelines (see Google Penalizes Overstock for Search Tactics, WSJ Online Feb. 24, 2011.)

We'll see over time how readership increases!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

New Blog Look and Facebook Changes

Today was a lazy day so I spent some time playing with Facebook. I like Blogger's more formal look and feel to that of Facebook's, but I also recognize Facebook is more readily accessed by a lot of people. I want to make updates via the Sail Donnybrook! site then have them sync to the Facebook via RSS.

In the process I realized the original Sail Donnybrook! site was boring, so I changed it.

We'll see if this syncs to Facebook or if more work is needed.

Capt. Kyle

Sunday, February 13, 2011

2011 Sailing Season Prep

The car thermometer read 54 degrees on the drive to Crowley's today. Even though it's still the middle of February the days are getting longer and the sun feels a little warmer. Proper sailor's thoughts (at least mine) are turning toward 9:00 pm sunsets and swimming in 75 degree Lake Michigan waters.
I'm sitting on Donnybrook listening to Kenny Chesney thinking about spring projects while the charger tops off batteries.
The only thing that doesn't work on the boat is the aft water tank, so I decided to fix it. It has a split from before I purchased Donnybrook in 2002. I spent an hour trying to get it out with no luck. I'll be asking my friends on the C34 International Association for advice how how to remove it. If I don't fix it (haven't really missed it in 8 seasons) the space would make a nice locker.
It's 33 degrees in the icebox with the lid open. I learned that beer and water bottles don't burst in the cold (Mike, your High Life will be nicely aged by spring!) but Diet Coke does. Several can tops have shot off, one off the boat onto the shed floor. The drinks were in a cooler in the cockpit so there isn't much of a mess.
I've got my Mac crew lined up. Mike, Roxray, Megan, and Jake will be back. Kevin is rejoining after a year off. Dan's feeling too old for the race (I called BS, but that's Dan) but he'll be meeting us in Michigan and sailing back. Bob enjoys the cruise back as much as the race so as of today he'll be cruising back. Brian can't commit due to work. We'll decide later if we want to keep 6 or find a 7th.
I'll be racing in the Verve Cup distance race over airshow weekend. I'm working with the Verve Committee to grow the distance race to include more cruisers and others who buoy racing doesn't appeal to. I'll write more about it later.
Thankfully I don't have many must do projects other than maintenance. That includes a serious cleaning and de-cluttering, rebedding some deck hardware, bottom paint, etc. It's time to upgrade the head so an electric flush is in Donnybrook's future. That'll make Karen and the boys happy. I'd like a second VHF in the cockpit. New sails and electronics are a few years off.
It's been a nice afternoon on the boat. I can't wait for the next day here!