This week, after receiving a Google API key from a kind mecenas (which probably violates the EULA and thus she shall go unnamed) I implemented another one of my wishlist features for moap: looking up your project’s home page using Google or Yahoo.
This is part of my preparation for my GUADEC talk on Practical Project Maintenance. Especially in the early days of a project, you need to make sure people can find your project easily, not only on the name of your project, but also on keywords related to what your project does. People are out there googling for keywords that should lead to your particular project if it’s any good.
Since Yahoo’s web API is completely open, I’m defaulting to yahoo’s search for now. I must say I was always down on Yahoo like everyone else. But Google has gone from a search engine to a an ad company and made their API less useful, while Yahoo – who made the transition of search -> ads a long time before – actually trumps Google on accessible API for the search part.
Anyways, a curious thing has happened. My project page used to be hit number 5 on Google for the keyword “moap”. After reading some page recently on Google optimization, telling me I should have as many key words as possible in the first paragraph and such, I expanded the text on the start page a little. I did not yet add keywords – as I need to figure out how to do that with Trac. I also added a logo and a favourite icon – which is unrelated to the optimization I want to do but I wanted to make it look a little nicer than the default page.
Now, today I run the search again, and I’m not even in the top 100 anymore. Did Google not like my logo ? Did Google know I was going to shuffle a complaint in this blog post before I even wrote it ? I don’t know ! I don’t understand this whole search engine thing.
Luckily, Yahoo has the project page at hit number 3. Another reason to like Yahoo…
I’m going to do another release of moap soon.
Feel free to leave tips on optimizing my entry page for search results !