Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Genealogy Blog Search Update

Well over 200 family history blogs are now included in my new Genealogy Blog Search. Thanks to all who've sent suggestions. I'd like to try answering a question that several bloggers have asked.

Why isn't my blog showing up?
Genealogy Blog Search takes its results from Google's main index. But there are some webpages in the main index that don't show up in Custom Search Engine results. These are the ones labeled "Supplemental Result."

What is a Supplemental Result? Here's Google's definition:

A supplemental result is just like a regular web result, except that it's pulled from our supplemental index. We're able to place fewer restraints on sites that we crawl for this supplemental index than we do on sites that are crawled for our main index.
In other words, these are results that don't quite measure up to Google's standards, but still might satisfy the needs of someone searching the web.

As an example, look at this perfectly fine blog about a Sherwood family in Kentucky. It's been up and running since August 2005—plenty of time to be indexed by Google. If we check to see how many pages from the site are found in Google's index, the answer is 19. All but two of these pages are labeled "Supplemental Result," which means that only two pages show up in Genealogy Blog Search results.

Until Google allows Custom Search Engines to search the Supplemental Results, many blog posts will be left out of Genealogy Blog Search.

How can I improve indexing of my blog?
(If you're an absolute newbie to the search engine optimization (SEO) game, read Lorelle VanFossen's How Search Engines See, Search, and Visit Your Website. Don't worry, she's one of us.)

Google won't like your blog if it's unpopular, disorganized, or repetitive. Here are three tips to earn Google's affection:
  • Get people to link to your blog and your posts. Google gives greater weight to pages with more inbound links. Links to the internal pages of your site encourage search engines to come looking for content buried deep. Write something worth linking to, and let people know about it. Dropping relevant comments on the blogs of others is a great way to invite new readers. Adding your blog's URL to Cyndi's List and the Encyclopedia of Genealogy, or submitting an especially good post to the Carnival of Genealogy might also earn you some link love.
  • Leave a path to your posts. From the front page of your blog, make sure you're able to reach any archived post in just two or (at most) three clicks. Also, consider submitting your RSS or Atom feed as a sitemap to Google's Webmaster Tools to ensure that new posts get crawled (you can also submit a second sitemap that includes your archived posts).
  • Make each page unique. Google hates duplicate content, so you might want to block the indexing of your archive or category pages with "noindex,follow" robots META tags. Each page on a site should also have a unique META description. If you use Blogger, you can accomplish this by doing some tinkering in your template. WordPress users might have to use a plugin.
In short, if your blog isn't showing up at Genealogy Blog Search, this doesn't mean that I haven't included it. Check how well your site is indexed by Google before assuming that I've left it out, and take steps if your blog is languishing in supplemental purgatory.


What a great search engine. I've already linked it to my blog.



Thanks, Janice. It began as an experiment and test of the technology, but I think it could be a useful tool for some.

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