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Hide and Seek: Improve page ranking for web art (con't)

by Britt Griswold

Factor 3: Content

If the ideal title for a page is only 3-8 words long, how can you capture more eyeballs if you can't get the elements of interest in that title? The good news is that the content of your page is also searched and indexed by spiders from Google and others. The amount indexed will vary from engine to engine, but the first 100-200 words is a safe bet for getting into a database. Science-Art.com makes this easy to do.

With a good description you can increase the likelihood that searches with other phrases will catch your page as well.

Here is an example*:
Jellyfish Life Cycle image by Marjorie LeggittA searching for "rooster" in Google returns 2.3 million records. Science-Art.com has two images with this title, but they are buried under a pile of other Rooster related links, never to be found. What are the odds that someone searching on the term "rooster" is looking for a rooster illustration anyway? LOW. You are better off playing the odds of some intelligent individual narrowing the search by adding more terms.

  • rooster illustration
  • rooster scratchboard
  • rooster farm art
  • farm animal scratchboard

This is where the description and keyword fields on Science-Art.com entries come into play. Accurate and complete descriptions and keywords allow other searches to succeed. "rooster scratchboard" hits the number one position in the returns for Erica Beade's delightful scratchboard illustration of a rooster. She includes the words "scratchboard" and "farm animals" on her page. And indeed, a search of Google for "farm animal scratchboard" is unique enough to get her on the second page of results; not as high as the "rooster scratchboard" search because the "rooster" term was in the title.

Erica might be able to move her image to the top page of returns for "farm animal scratchboard" by including any one of those terms in the title of a second copy of her rooster image dedicated to showing a close up of her scratchboard technique.

*Search results change over time, all results are current as of 10/16/05.

One additional content factor to help your chances: the ALT tag. The ALT (alternate) tag is used to describe an image on the web page. Search engines like Google will use this information when deciding how important the page is, and it may be especially important when using an image searching routine like Google Images that spiders for pictures on the web. Science-Art.com uses the title of your image as the ALT tag; all the more reason to make those title words relevant to your image content.

Factor 4: Connections

While technically not a "word trick", the other main factor that drives listings to the top is the number of links to a web site or web page from outside sites on other servers. And links from other sites that are popular (measured by the number of links pointing to their website) are worth more than links from sites that no one points to. So if you are a Science-Art.com member, or like the convenient image searching we provide, link to this site! If you work for institutions or businesses that reference the commercial illustration market, add Science-Art.com to that list! If you are being interviewed about the subject of science illustration, slip in a reference to the site along with www.gnsi.org. While I am serious about this, I also do it as an illustration of a tactic you can apply to your own web linking efforts. Each link is a vote for the worth of Science-Art.com and web search engines will take notice.

Permanence on the web: HA!

The web is very changable, that is both a good thing and a bad thing. Search engines can change the way they calculate page ranking at any time. So nothing is forever. However the factors discussed in this article are all solid indicators of content relevance, so it is unlikely that if you use them as a guide in designing your pages or taging your images that your effort will be wasted.

To sum it all up, getting to the top of the search charts takes more than just posting your images and hoping for the best. Science-Art.com is designed to make it easier to get there, but you have to supply the words to make it happen. If you are drawing a blank, ask a friend of colleague to review your image and tell you what pops into their mind for titles, descriptions, and keywords.

Keywording Resources

How can you make better keywords and track your results?

Keyword Tracker - an online tool that examines rank positions in search results. It has a free mode that searches Google, but you need to register with Google to get a free user number (API number), and you are limited to 1000 page queries a day.

Wordtracker - An online tool that examines the frequency of keywords used across a broad cross-section of the web every day. It is a pay service that you can experiment with for free. It compares the popularity of the keywords you choose to the number of pages linked to those keywords in the search engines. This is a very interesting method for evaluating keywords. The fewer pages linked to those keywords as a ratio of the number of times per day those keywords are used gives you a value factor to judge the worth of those words. It also offers synonym and thesaurus options when you are choosing keywords.

An example of keyword mining on Wordtracker:
In a test with the free online trial, the term "jellyfish" receives 2000 queries, but there are 207,000 possible results (MSN search engine only), the odds are low for your page being at the top (KEI of 18.9 in Wordtracker parlance). However, the phrase "facts about jellyfish" gets only 130 queries, BUT there are only 9 competing entries. The odds are very HIGH that your page will be viewed buy the people who do search this term (KEI of 1878.0 in Wordtracker parlance!) Now if your page does indeed have something useful to say about jellyfish facts, then you have made a match, and possible contacts will find you.

Overture is a pay per click service that partners with search engines and shares the revenue. Part of their service is a keyword seach engine to help their clients choose popular keywords, but you can try it for free!

Keyword Suggestion Tool - is a free tool that looks at both Wordtracker and Overture and pulls the raw query counts/day from both. These results are not as useful as the information you can get from the Wordtracker Keyword service, but it is free and helpful to see what words related to your keyword are being searched.

Keywords leading to Science-art.com - for your amusment and edification, here are the top 100 search phrases used to get to science-art.com over the past two months.

Want to know more about search engines, and Google in particular?

Google Hacks - gets very good reviews an how to make Google work for you, whether you are searching or want to be search!

Google Pocket Guide - if you just want to search the net more efficently.

Great Site Ranking in Google: The Secret's Out - an overview of the many factors not covered in this article that Google might be using to rank pages.

Return to Hide and Seek Factors - page 1

Gail Guth

Sockeye Salmon, scratchboard and watercolor illustrationMake a Splash in your Pond

Trying to grow your business in a small market? Free media never hurts! Member Gail Guth recently came under the spotlight of her local newspaper.

"Jumping into the world of journalism is always done with some trepidation," Gail says. "You never know what they will write and you really don't have a lot of control over it, short of putting out press releases (not even then, really). I felt pretty comfortable with this lady. She's done many 'local color' stories, and her writing always seemed to be pretty kind and gracious. I could have done with a bit less on the dryer thing, which was just a brief, tossed-out remark that she clamped on to and thought was funny. Me too. I did assure a few clients that I do NOT store their important files in the dryer; those always go in the washer ;-)."
(If the above link gives you any problems, go to www.battlecreekenquirer.com and follow the link to the "Neighbors" section.)

Gail also has had some success with her Science-Art.com portfolio, This past spring a freelance book designer in New York state, who found her work on the Science-Art website, called to see if Gail was interested in working on a project for Guideposts Books. Guideposts has developed a series of novels, the "Mysteries of Sparrow Island", whose principal character is an ornithologist, and were looking for an artist who could accurately depict the animals featured in the stories (which is why they chose the Science-art website), and also create scenes that represent the story line. She completed six covers, and has an order for an additional four covers. There is a possibility of more volumes to come in the series. "This art is being done primarily in watercolor and colored pencil, with digital final editing," Gail says. "I completed book five just after returning from the GNSI conference in Bar Harbor, and used a medium (colored inks) I first learned about at the conference."

View images from this series as well as other jobs done this year by Gail Guth on Science-Art.com.

Anthony Galvan III

Great Horned OwlWinging it

Member Anthony Galvan of Goleta, California loves to illustrate birds, animals, and plants. His images are now being used for docent training by the Big Basin Redwoods State Park (California). The Missouri Bird Conservation Initiative used his images in a recent quarterly newsletter. He also is working on a promotional series of mammal portraits for the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network (California). A series of his owl portraits have been purchased for use in the UK and EU.

View more of Tony's popular work here on Science-Art.com.

Mieke Roth

Homo floresiensis econstructionDon't make it a Hobbit

Member Mieke Roth caused a bit of a stir in the anthropology world when she agreed to collaborate with Dutch paleontologist Gert van den Bergh. Their assignment was to re-analyize and reconstruct the partial skeleton of the now famous hominid Homo floresiensis (nicknamed the Hobbit) for the Dutch popular science magazine Natuurwetenschap & Techniek. The new hominid, which was recently published in the British scientific journal Nature, has been widely in the news this past year. Gert van den Bergh was a member of the discovery team. Van den Bergh and Roth's review makes speculative conclusions based on the physical evidence that would not nomally be contemplated in a science journal.

Their conclusion?
Natuurwetenschap & Techniek writes:
Homo floresiensis (nicknamed the Hobbit) might very well have walked on all fours. “The remains of the Hobbit that we found on Flores last year suggest that evolutionary regression can take place in humans as well”, says palaeontologist Dr. Gert van den Bergh. An expert on insular fauna, he recently returned to the Netherlands after taking part in the excavations on Flores. “We knew already that elephants and hippo’s can show dwarfism on islands, but until now the assumption was that this scenario did not apply to humans.”

Van den Bergh explains: “The humerus of Homo sapiens (modern man) and Homo erectus (our ancestor) has a significant twist in the connection to the shoulder. In the Hobbit, however, the humerus is connected to the shoulder without twist. You don’t see this in the even more ancient Australopithecus, nor in erectus or sapiens, nor in apes, but you do see it in gibbons and macaques! As a consequence, the Hobbit’s shoulder is less mobile. Probably she could freely move her arms forward and backward, but had difficulty moving them sideways, like we can.”

The same conclusion is drawn in the Nature-article, without stating unequivocally that Homo floresiensis walked on hands and feet. According to Van den Bergh, this research does imply a quadrupedal Hobbit, to enable climbing steep mountain slopes as well as trees, like macaques do. “This could be an adaptation to the inhospitable and rugged island of Flores, where the largest coastal plain is just fifteen kilometers wide. The larger part of the island consists of very steep mountain sides.”

Mieke says, "Doing the research for the biggest reconstruction, that of Homo floresiensis itself, I noticed that I was more and more drawn to compare the complete skull to that of monkeys instead of hominids and great apes. In the skulls of monkeys I found a lot more simularities than I could imagine reconstructing a hominid. I loved working with palaeontologist Van den Bergh and although I was a sceptic beforehand, the evidence spoke for itself and I am convinced that this might be a good explanation on how Homo floresiensis moved about."

Mieke's recreation appears on the magazine's cover as well.

View more of Mieke Roth's wide range of subjects here on Science-Art.com.

Return to Science-Art news - page 1
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