More than a week ago (3 weeks now by the time I decided to publish this) I changed my template theme back to the default. I felt that the original twenty-fifteen template had gotten more search engine hits from Bing and Yahoo. As it turns out I was correct. Having the old theme back increased not only my traffic from those two search engines, but more importantly Google’s search results. Sure I can’t see any of the results, but what matters is they’re here.
The problem is with the default template having full articles is that people have to scroll far down to find something that interests them. One scroll down is fine, but too many scrolls and people get bored and well just give up. This has decimated my hits. Oh I still get more visitors than ever, just not as many hits. Let’s say one person would visit the home page 10 times reading through 5 blogs. That one person was worth 15 hits really raising my stats. Now take out the fact that no human can easily find anything and the average visit is worth one or two hits.
All of this leads to an interesting choice. Searches vs Hits.
The way I’ve always known Google and other search engines to work is the less clicks that it takes to get to something, the less relevant its indexed. So the twenty-fifteen theme has everything article on the home page. So it becomes the first priority for my site when Google and other search engines take a look.
I’m not exactly sure how all of that works when even if the information is on the home page, the search engine would still need to scroll all the way down on the home page to find everything and I’m not sure a search engine can activate things by scrolling down.
A few of my reviews that had been the number one find on Bing and Yahoo disappeared from both when I changed the template. Now that I’ve reverted the template back, the reviews are back.
I’ve also taken time to look at the descriptions listed in Yahoo and Bing to see what “competitors” are doing. Some have vague descriptions like “Magic Barrage Review. We Review Magic Barrage.” Things like that on and on in one single description. I assume that’s to bait people into clicking on the link while the default WordPress description seems to be the first two sentences from your blog. You can always change the description with the “excerpt,” but that’s a double edged sword. The excerpt appears in the reader and on your site for the public to see. Not just the description.
What really gets in the was is false advertising from sites like GameSpot. They claim to have cheats, walk throughs and reviews of even obscure games like Owari. Their description says “Read reviews and ratings of Owari from our experts, and see what our community says, too!” Clicking the link reveals no they do not. Its just a blank page. Thanks GameSpot for throwing off the search rankings. Know what they do have on those blank pages? Advertisements. Its the same for Metacritic and Supercheats. A wide net catches all the fish.
So maybe that’s what I should be doing and what we all should be doing. Generating blank pages with broad descriptions like “We’ve got reviews, cheats, faqs and a big community of Owari fans! Click here to get let down.” The results at the top of search engines have the broadest descriptions.
I also now understand why some people here on WordPress have names like “Retro, Modern, Game Reviews, Cheats and Community.” Its an interesting level of shit that you have to go through to play the SEO search engine game. Hopefully my study and research will help someone that cares.
As for my choice, its an interesting one. I think the real deciding factor is that I like the default “recommendeds” at the bottom. The other template’s recommendeds seem one dimensional like they’re the most recent blogs in that category.