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Not too many years ago, entering the search term "potter" into Google's search engine would deliver all sorts of images, web sites, and resources about clay subjects near and dear to many of us.  When JK Rowling's books and the Harry Potter movies exploded onto the scene, the popularity algorithm at Google search pushed those clay-related search results somewhere past the bowels of Middle Earth.

 

Here is my question: When you are looking for information about people who prefer to call themselves potters (lowercase 'P'), what search terms give you the most reliable results?

potter.jpg

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You can't use the term "potter". I was just looking up Linda Christianson, and this very thing happened to me.

Tom Roberts, potter.

 

Tom... Yep.  I get that.  We're needing some newer/better search terms to recommend so that people like you and Linda Christianson can be found.

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Thusfar, here are the suggestions for search terms.  Using an individual's name with some combination of the following seems to achieve great results:

  • pottery
  • ceramics
  • potter
  • crafters
  • hand made

OK. Now try this experiment.  Pretend that you are a visitor in the town where you live and you don't know the name of any potters, crafters, etc. Google 'your city/town'  + 'state' + each of the words in the list above, separately.

 

I'll report first: Using Nashville Tennessee plus 'pottery'= 2 people (the rest businesses); Nashville Tennessee plus 'ceramics' = all businesses/suppliers; Nashville Tennesse plus 'potter' = 2  people; Nashville Tennessee plus 'crafter' = all business/associations; Nashville Tennessee plus 'hand made' = 1 leather, 1 jewelry maker, the rest organizations,fleamarkets, etc.  All in all, I would call that a bust...Tom Turnbull, perhaps the Nashville potter/glaze-developer with best name recognition fared best.

 

Here is where I am going.  I want people using Google (or any search site) to find you (ok..me, too).  My premise is that most people are not sophisticated search engine users and it is up to each of us to include the best title tags, meta data, and text on web sites so that we CAN be found.  Our fans/clients know us by name (and that is a good thing)...but most all of us want exposure to a wider net of potential fans/customers who may NOT know our work by name.  If we (all) know what terms/word people are using for their search queries, we have a better shot of search engine optimization without having to hire some company to tell us what we already know.

 

If the 5 words in the bulleted list above are the most likely terms, then I am going to make changes in my own web site... and am willing to report back next month to see if the 'city plus search term' experiment results turn out any better.  Anyone interested? More search term suggestions anyone? Bueller?? :rolleyes:

Chilly likes this

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Thanks Paul, you've made me think about this, now I have to fix it. 

 

I have a similar problem - my main website is for (pedal) cycle training.  Using "cycle training" and my town finds me almost at the top and then lots of motorcycle training, but if I put "bike" insteady of cycle, all it finds is motorbike.  Similar but better with "lesson" than "training".

 

That's it, I know what I'm going to be doing this evening.

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This is an issue, and as Chilly points out, it's not just pottery/ceramics/whatever-you-want-to-call-it that is affected.

Google has discontinued use of the plus sign as a search operator to force results to include a word (like +ceramics, as was suggested above). Here's a blog post that talks about this:

Google Drops Plus Sign from Search Operators
 
If you don't want to deal with using search operators, try Google's advanced search - it will let you customize your search.

Google Advanced Search
 
Also - if you haven't cleared your search history, or if you're signed into your Google account, Google will provide results based on your search history. Your results may be different from my results for the same search. You can get around this by using a search engine like DuckDuckGo.com.
 
One thing you can do to get Google (and Google users) to find your pottery business is to register for a Google Places listing. There are some issues with this - for example, Google now requires you to use their pre-approved categories to describe your business and these categories are not very artist or pottery/ceramics friendly. But it will make it easier for people to find your business locally.
 
Norm Stuart and ChenowethArts like this

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I suppose we can search for ceramicist until that new film "Johnny Ceramicist, Boy Detective"  comes out.

 

Bwahaha! I'm a little worried about future sequels to Iron Man: Stoneware Boy and His Cone 10 Hands  ...and Disney's Anegama Princess and Her Porcelain Cups

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That actually still works http://www.google.com/search?q=potter+-harry

 

OK. I have accepted my own challenge...hopefully, I can share good news next month about Finding Potter - Not You, Harry

 

 

Norm, Thanks. That definitely works,  but I wonder how many people ever go beyond simply entering text into a search box?  I would like to think search has to have better balance of search sophistication and rich content-meta data.  On our sites, we can definitely control/improve the content and perhaps improve that balance for those who might otherwise lose us on page 3+ in the search results with less sophisticated search techniques.  And I realize it is odd to consider the simple adding of a "-" to a query string to be sophisticated :)

 

Always good to have your input, Norm!,

Paul

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accepting the challenge

ceramics~ gets a good number of greenware painters

potter~ get harry related

pottery~ gets a good number of stores  mixed in with "real potters"

hand crafted~ too much variety

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accepting the challenge

ceramics~ gets a good number of greenware painters

potter~ get harry related

pottery~ gets a good number of stores  mixed in with "real potters"

hand crafted~ too much variety

 

I'm still thinking that 'pottery' and 'ceramics' in web site meta data and title tags is the best shot...'still working on that.

'Welcome to the CAC forums,

Paul

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If I Google "Wilton NH pottery"........... my website pops up at #1.  If I reverse the postion on pottery... still #1.  If I shift "pottery" to "ceramics"....... still #1.  If I switch "ceramics" to "clay".... I disappear. So I have some fixing to do ;) .

 

Metatags.

 

best,

 

...............john

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If I Google "Wilton NH pottery"........... my website pops up at #1.  If I reverse the postion on pottery... still #1.  If I shift "pottery" to "ceramics"....... still #1.  If I switch "ceramics" to "clay".... I disappear. So I have some fixing to do ;) .

 

Metatags.

 

best,

 

...............john

 

John, that isn't bad at all!  I did take a look at your site and checked the source code on your Home, About, and Woodfire pages.  The word clay does not appear in the text of those pages.  That isn't a deal killer unless people looking for you think clay before ceramics or pottery...but Google won't assume clay if teh word isn't there :) .

 

I would recommend that you look at options to enrich the title tag in the source code for each page.  Google weighs this heavily in search results.  Your current title tags are pretty nondescript in terms of page content: Home, About, Woodfire, Gallery , etc.  Those work well for the navigation within the page, but you're missing an opportunity to solidify your search engine page rank by improving the html title tags (definitely get you name in the title tags).  There is some discussion on how to edit title tags in WebPlus X4 software here.  You might also look at what an upgrade in your software has to offer, there a couple of newer versions of WebPlus.

 

BTW, you have knocked it out of the park on your meta data.  Your description, keyword, copyright meta data that includes Japanese text (kanji?) is very well done, in my opinion.

 

My best to you,

Paul

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