What The Heck Happened To PotPieGirl?

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It’s new.. It’s improved.. AND it gives me less of a headache! That’s right folks, I’ve cleaned up my blog here at PotPieGirl.com. Slapped some new paint on the walls with a new WordPress theme and moved the furniture around. Don’t worry… It’s still PotPieGirl’s house, so come on in and stay awhile.

A Little History of PotPieGirl.com

Many may not realize, but my blog here is less than a year old. This blog started out as a free Blogspot blog. I then I purchased the PotPieGirl.com domain name in October 2007 – but still let Blogger host it for me. It wasn’t until January of this year that I took the giant leap and moved my blog over to WordPress on my own hosting account.

The improvement from moving from Blogger to WordPress was AMAZING! However, in my short 5-6 months with self-hosted WordPress, my theme and all got a bit cluttered.

It’s funny how things work. Jackie (over at Internet Marketing Strategy) and I were talking tonight about how focused and laser-targeted we are with our niche sites. BUT, when it comes to our blogs, we relax our SEO and just talk, and help, and have conversations. PotPieGirl.com was suffering from the after-effects of relaxed SEO and it was time for a clean up.

Chris Lang, from KeyWebData.com, has left some very insightful comments here on my blog (here and here – and yes Chris – your first comments were approved and posted as soon as I got to my email 🙂 ).

I like Chris. He has a GREAT Squidoo lens about Blog SEO that is very helpful for those that want insight on learning how to optimize their blog. Chris probably thinks I am upset at him for his post that tore my blog to shreds.

Hahahaha… Ok, I think ‘tore to shreds’ might be a bit harsh, but I can pick on Chris – he can take it 🙂

Chris, there are many things in your comments and blog post that I DO agree with.

Yes, I have a LOT of backlinks – and for such a young blog I would think I would get a gold star or something.

According to SEOmoz, when I moved this blog to my own hosting back in January of this year, I had 1336 links pointing to this blog. Now, I have over 8200. While this IS a lot of links, those in the SEO field know that the quantity of inbound links is not totally relevant to the Page Rank you will enjoy – it has more to do with link quality….and which links are passing any value. However, with that said, one would think that with that many links that I should have a Page Rank higher than 3.

So, yes, I got me some Page Rank leakage going on.

As I posted in my rant about use of the no follow attribute, I really didn’t care if I had leaks on this blog. PotPieGirl.com is my place to ramble. It is my place to help, and make friends, have conversations, and learn. I’m really not about making PotPieGirl.com a valuable piece of virtual real estate. This is my home…and I have no intention of moving.

One Mans Junk is Another Woman’s Treasure

One thing that I would like to touch on…

You referred to some things I linked to here on PotPieGirl.com as ‘junk’. You suggested using nofollow for things like the link to the golf simulator sports bar, MyBlogLog, and my advertising links.

Here’s the thing… not a single one of the links found on PotPieGirl.com are PAID links. That indoor golf sports bar is a place I really go to. I love Bottom of the Cup and I freely link to it, talk about it, make lenses about it, or whatever it takes to help others that live in the Atlanta/Athens GA area find out about this awesome establishment. That particular link is VERY relevant to ME. I am way more than someone who eats and breathes online marketing. I happen to also be a golfer and the hubby and I love to play on those golf simulators.

As for the MyBlogLog – well, actually is is BlogCatalog – but I LIKE that little widget. I really like seeing the faces of those I know, and those I NOW know, right here on my blog. I truly appreciate them stopping by and I try to get to their blogs when I can. That one little piece of script in my sidebar makes me happy.

Bottom line – I spend a great deal of time and effort making sure that I use the best SEO practices possible when working on my clients sites and on my niche sites – but when it comes to this blog, I am relaxed.

I also use this blog for my own needs. All the links in my blogroll (at this moment) are links to my own sites. When these niche sites are new, it really helps Google find them. And yes, the links to them also help the sites rank better. Are they ‘theme-related’? Uh, no… but they’re mine =)

So, All This Ranting and You Changed Your Blog Anyway?

Yes, I most certainly did. Wanna know why? Because Chris said something that made me really re-evaluate my thinking about my relaxed attitude on this blog.

…Let’s add in your blogroll, MyBlogLog, site admin links and so forth. I will round it off to 20 links that you don’t need top share with. They appear on every page of your blog. Let’s say you have 200 pages, so doing the math you have 4,000 outgoing links that mean NOTHING! 4,000!

You have now diminished your Google link juice 500%! Now that you use dofollow in your comments it has little meaning because you have diluted your link’s relvance with links to MyBlogLog profiles.

What is more important, your readers comments of random MyBlogLog profiles?…

Things That Make You Go Hmmmmmmmmm

Yes, that statement hit home for me, Chris. Being able to offer more ‘Google Juice’ to my readers, to those that comment, and to those I link to IS very important to me. I also would like more ‘umph’ in the links I select (such as the Golf Sports Bar and my own sites…. haha!).

So, yup… I changed. It’s taking me awhile to get settled in here with this new theme, but it is starting to grow on me. I like the expandable menu over there in the sidebar… it’s fun to play with…haha! You can also see some stats on my blog in the sidebar (including real time backlinks to PotPieGirl.com according to Yahoo).

I’ve been playing with the code for this new theme and quite frankly, I’m about tired of fooling with it, so things will stay as is for a few days. All in all, I think it is coming around (feedback is appreciated). Speaking of feedback – I also added a contact me page up top that has a nifty little contact form. (Thanks, Chris for pointing out the email/spam thing… I kept meaning to do that)

Links within the content of my posts and links within the comment area will remain no-nofollow…all there is to it. But maybe I can give a little more ooomph to those that I link to now that I have removed a good bit of clutter and done some other things to help with my leakage issues.

How Will I Know If Any Of This Makes a Difference?

Honestly, in true SEO testing, this is a tough situation to really track. The only way I could get dead-solid feedback and KNOW that changing my theme and the structure stuff made an impact by itself is if…

a) The Google Index doesn’t change

b) The market/search patterns don’t change

c) My ‘competitors’ don’t change anything to their sites

d) No one new comes into the market (my query space) or leaves the market

e) NOTHING else changes about my blog (ie, no new backlinks, no new posts…no nuttin new or altered)

But, because I am game for anything SEO-related, I took a snapshot of things here at PotPieGirl.com as is. I have my stats for the month (page views, uniques, etc). I also made a list of about 67 search terms that I know folks are finding me with and ran a ranking report to see where I rank for each term as of today.

Google last updated the tool bar Page Rank early this month, so in theory, I should have about 2 months with this new theme before another update (even tho THAT new Page Rank will be ‘stale’ so I will need at least two Page Rank updates before I can really tell anything).

My tool bar Page Rank for my home page is currently PR3. Page Rank has begun to spread within my site this last update and I have a post or two that are PR4. So, we’ll see if my PR improves.

For those that are interested, here is the ranking report I ran for my site today.

PotPieGirl.com – May 30th Ranking Report (this is a .pdf file that will open in a new window).

This ranking report only checked 3 pages deep (top 30 results). Also, there are some ‘fluctuations’ showing in rankings. These are based on an experiment I did a few months back when I was tracking a few words. Those fluctuations are not relevant to this testing.

Again, these are random terms that I know bring viewers to my site. No keyword tool was involved in this or anything fancy-dancy like that.

I will run a new ranking report on these same terms when Google updates tool bar Page Rank again… and then once more on the following TBPR update.

Thank You, Chris Lang

Chris, I appreciate you taking the time to really think about and analyze my site. Even tho I’ve gotten ‘uppity’ a few times in this post, your thoughts, suggestions, and insights here and on your blog are most appreciated. I got to looking at the stats for your site and I had no idea your domain was over 5 years old! My goodness – YOU should be the one with 8000 backlinks! However, as I said earlier, it is not the quantity of backlinks, is it? We are both a PR3.

Oh, and Chris? Just for the official record….

I didn’t ‘nofollow’ my links to your sites… LMAO!

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