A quick guide to helping out your favorite site

Helping out your favorite site

or better yet

A guide to how you can help The I.T. Baby

If you want, no biggie if you don’t, this will help with pretty much any site you want to help, or hurt. Not so much baby related, but I figured I’d write this and people can understand why some sites do what they do and others fail like they fail, and maybe help out this site in the process.

I also write it here mostly as I can’t write it anywhere else I write, and there’re going to be some just off-topic posts occasionally because I’d like to do that and this is my site. So there… nyah!

A quick warning, this is a very long article and only aimed at the end users – if you want to know the down and dirty without overloading on the details, skip to the end and scroll up. If you’re looking for webmaster/content creation tips, you’ve got the wrong article.

While there are plenty of pieces written for webmasters and bloggers in an attempt to get their users to help them out on search engines by engaging them in social media campaigns, as an end user you may not know how to help out a site you want unless subtly directed to by contests, campaigns, etc.

A quick look inside how the internet basically works from a Google/SEO perspective.

Each site out there makes money in some way from advertising. Right now at The I.T. Baby I think we’ve raked in $4.60 in three months from our advertising and product links, we’ve also gotten some product, but that’s another story. To put a spin on it at this level of exponential growth by the time Maggie is 17 we’ll be slightly larger than Google.

Anyway, having taken far too many SEO (that’s search engine optimization in case you didn’t know,) seminars and having been a professional blogger for about three years now with well over 500 pieces published, I’ve had an interesting perspective on the things throughout the years. I also rode a massive website down and back up before we found out what was happening.

Most sites have traffic that is primarily from search engines. Someone asks a question on Google, Ask Jeeves, Bing, etc. and bam, their site is up there as an answer. Right now about half of our traffic is coming from people who’ve asked questions we answered such as can you reuse breast milk alcohol test strips, and various searches for reviews we’ve written.

The site operator has to know a bit about SEO to appear anywhere on the first few pages, but that’s pretty simple these days – content’s not.

You are used

As an end user, you’re pretty much constantly used by the sites you go to. Various data mining operations such as AdSense know who you are and watch you going to a place and see what other sorts of places you go to. Nothing against these, this is how the net works.

Knowing you’re a real person and what sorts of places you go ties in somehow with a site’s search ranking. I could attempt to explain, but I’ll narrow it down to a site makes it because of you in more ways than is easy to explain after a hard day of baby going psycho.

Participation

One of the ways sites and search engines use you is by seeing that you participate. A site with participation is a site that’s active. Active sites are more likely to contain information that someone’s looking for, etc etc etc.

This is why many sites have contests that involve commenting on an article publicly. Your comment means this post deserves attention. I’m told it doesn’t seem to matter what the comment is so long as it doesn’t look like spam or seem like spam – such as someone commenting on every piece, every other person’s comment, etc.

Your comment on Facebook encouraging your friends to go to a site, probably not so much useful. The same person commenting on everything out there on the site from day one is downright bad.

Authority

Authority means the site is trusted and respected. Other sites link to it. You gain authority in your vertical (area of expertise,) by other sites in the same area linking to you.

This is why when a large site rips off an author and doesn’t credit the original article, and I’m still looking at you random CNET blogger, to the Googs it looks like the smaller site ripped off the larger.

This is also why a lot of sites have all these weird other sites that link directly back to the original and contain a lot of junk content. Some people attempt to buy authority. Doesn’t work so well these days, but still can be done.

Link trading is another thing, sites link between each other, less authoritative sites linking up can help unless the other site is poison (been caught SEO cheating).

Oh yeah, let me get back on track

You give life to a site by your participation.

You give a site authority by going to it, linking to it where appropriate elsewhere, participating on it.

You give life to a site by mentioning it in correct context somewhere else.

You kill a site by spamming other sites with its link.

You kill a site by posting it to a poisoned site. Poisoned sites, hard to explain, but they’re pretty much in the business of attempting to defraud Google, end users, etc. You’re not going to run across them most likely.

You kill a site by bouncing off the page you went to or not looking at it (people bounce when the stuff is crap, not informative, etc) so clicking someone’s link doesn’t help if you’re leaving the page in two seconds (or putting it in the background,) it actually hurts.

You help kill a site off when you find someone who duplicated some of the content verbatim and don’t let the original author know.

Posting about it on your social media account is all fine and dandy as long as you’re not spamming. Having a timeline that’s visible to the public also helps as friends-only posts are not going to be caught by the search engines. Start spamming, you’ll end up bringing the wrath of MyFacePage+ down on the website you like.

You liked the last 15 articles, you shared the last 15 articles, looks fishy to me, looks fishy to Google too. Like what you like, share what you want, but attempting to help by sharing everything hurts, not helps. That is unless you really do like everything.

In the end

The object is be yourself. Love the site you’re on, participate on the site you love, let people know on the site, but don’t become an advertising donkey.

You help best when you’re on the site participating and not being directed.

You can also help the site if you know what they’re doing wrong or can point the owner/operator/content producer to the reasons their site is tanking in the great Search Engine Wars.

There’re plenty of variations for types of sites, but nah, not going into it tonight.

Paul King

Paul King lives in Nashville Tennessee with his wife, two daughters and cats. He writes for Pocketables, theITBaby, and is an IT consultant along with doing tech support for a film production company.