(In the off chance that you came across this page while searching for Houston technical writers, go to my resume page here).
Lately, I’ve been flummoxed by trying to get my technical writer resume portfolio into search results. It’s still a work-in-progress, and actually it’s a challenge. I want to adapt a wordpress theme and use tags and categories as indices for the content. The final results should be spectacular, but what does it matter if Google can’t find it?
I would love to get good search results for “Houston Technical Writer,” but google is making it very hard. Admittedly, I made a few novice SEO mistakes, but I’ve come to see how hard SEO can be when you’re genuinely trying to market something.
First, google likes anything with RSS feeds and content which is being constantly updated. Something as static as a resume just doesn’t seem “notable” to google. This has also been a problem with 100 static pages of my pseudonymous fiction. Three months ago, google delisted my entire site from search results, a real source of irritation for me. My fiction site still receives 110,000 unique visitors per year despite this blacklisting, but I’m at a loss to explain what is going on. I’ve created sitemaps, streamlined navigation, optimized links and good metadata, and still nothing. I’ve reached the conclusion that google’s problem is not with my content but the host I’m using.
Second, longevity seems to matter a lot to google. This idiotprogrammer weblog is only tangentially about technical writing, but it shows up pretty well for search terms like Houston Technical Writer. I had originally wanted to separate my professional/portfolio site from my blogging (mainly for editorial reasons), but now it’s beginning to seem like the idiotprogrammer weblog will be the first place potential recruiters will be looking to find out about me. Also, I have a 5 year old html resume which consistently receives better search results than my current resume (even though the 5 year old resume specifically redirects people to my more recent resume!)
Third, google’s rule about discounting backlinks from common IP address classes makes it impossible for me to promote my site in a normal way. Although I didn’t go overboard, I put links to my Houston Technical Writer site on various blogs I contribute to (all of which are served from the same webhost). I even put a link on the home page of www. Teleread.org (which has high visibility) without even causing a blip in search results. Google automatically discounts inbound links from the same IP address class but different domain name. I understand their reasons, but that makes it practically impossible to promote your content except through advertising. The only way that my robertnagle.info URL can count to google is if someone adds my writing portolio URL to their blogroll or blogs about it (unlikely). The solution I guess is to add more content to robertnagle.info, but hey, the content on my resume site shouldn’t have to be of general usefulness. It merely needs to be informative for those looking or wanting to hire me.
Over time, I’ve grown cynical about the nofollow class google and blog software implemented to reduce spam. I’m sure it has reduced the spam problem, but it has also made it difficult for individuals to promote personal sites and to raise their visibility in a community. The main way I market myself is to write comments on other people’s blogs, but basically this won’t improve my search position unless the blogger includes a link in the main post itself. Bloggers have concluded that hyperlinks with nofollow tags still help the blogger by creating alternate ways for humans to find your content. But ultimately, do you find most of your information by bookmarking things or by googling it?
In an attempt to raise the visibility of my resume portfolio site and my pseudonymous fiction site, I have added a URL to my profiles on many forums and discussion boards. I wouldn’t expect this to have a huge impact on search results, but google’s nofollow has permanently disqualified these things from having any effect whatsoever. Is this good? It’s now come to the point where if I make a comment on another person’s blog and use the URL of my fiction site, that stranger’s blog will become the number one search result for people looking for my site. That’s better than nothing, but still it’s frustrating.
Update: Wow. Just for yucks, I tried using other search engines. My portfolio site appears number 1 on MSN Search and does moderately well on yahoo and ask.com. I’ve been particularly impressed by ask.com