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California Scientific
4011 Seaport Blvd
West Sacramento, CA 95691

Web Pages and Search Engines, HTML and Me

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Web Pages and Search Engines

I've been working on this site for about 2 years now. In this two years the site has grown somewhat popular, as evidenced by my statistics and by my placement in search engines. I'm frequently asked by others how to make their sites more popular. There are several ways to make a popular site. I'm not an expert in this field. I can only tell you how I did it.

First, I'm very comfortable telling you that there are no "secrets" or "tricks" that will get you great placements with Google. These Google guys are really quite good, and know far more about these tricks than I do. I've heard from a few people that you can do some tricky things, like buy a lot of web pages and have them all point at each other, and for just a little while this will dramatically improve your Google placement. However, within a couple of months the Google spiders figure out that you're doing this and you get blacklisted. Anyway, I'm not into tricks. I don't have any. Sorry.

There are two keys to attracting new readers to your web site. 1) When people type something into a search engine, your site comes up in the first 10 sites or so. 2) People post a lot of links to your site on forums, on their own web pages, and in emails to friends. Notice that you can't directly control either of these. The most popular search engines according to my statistics on my web page as of 3/05 are in order are Google (76%), Yahoo (13%), MSN (5%), AOL (2%), Netscape (1%), and 16 other engines that total 4% of my search engine visitors a month. So, your job, as I see it, is get the attention of Google, Yahoo and MSN, and the rest will take care of themselves.

There's a vicious / virtuous cycle about web pages. If a lot of people come to your site, then you get a high ranking with Google, Yahoo, and MSN. If almost nobody comes to your site, then you almost can't get a decent ranking no matter what you do. However, without a decent search engine ranking, it's difficult for people to find your site. It's up to you to "prime the pump."

I believe that in order to get a lot of traffic, you have to have valuable information on your site that people want to know about. Valuable information means valuable to them, not to you. If your information is that you're a great guy, your business is the best in the county, and your products are the best in the country, well, good luck. The information on my web page that's more popular is my articles on oil, my oil filter cross reference, and the lists of accessories for various motorcycles. Notice that essentially none of this information is about my products directly.

Once you have interesting information on your web page, it's up to you to attract your first 10,000 visitors or so. When you get up to about 10,000 visitors, then Google will start to notice you and you're in business. To attract people to my web pages, I spent about a year posting at various motorcycle rider's forums, answering people's technical questions, and offering a link to my web page. After several months of this, I developed a personal reputation for giving out solid technical information, and my web page developed a reputation for giving unbiased information about various interesting products.

Google has automated programs that wander around the Internet (the web) looking at what's out there. These programs are called "spiders." The spiders report back to Google about what they found. The Google computers then decide which of these pages are actually interesting. You can help the spiders classify your pages. You do this with a few techniques. Each of your HTML pages has a portion called the "head." In your <head> section, you should have the following four HTML statements: (copied from one of my pages)

  1. <meta name="Keywords" CONTENT="Recipe Carnitas - Mexican Style Pork">
  2. <meta name="Description" CONTENT="Recipes: Carnitas - Mexican Style Pork">
  3. <meta name="robots" CONTENT="index,follow">
  4. <title>Quantum Relativity Recipes: Carnitas - Mexican Style Pork</title>

The "keywords" statement tells the spider what search terms you think are most important for this page.

The "description" statement tells the spider what you think your page is about.

The "robots" statement encourages the spider to report your page back to its master, and to follow the links on your page to find your other pages. Most spiders ignore this, but we do what we can.

The "title" statement tells your visitor's browsers what to display about your page on the title bar, and what to use to describe your page if the visitor saves a bookmark to your page. Google pays very close attention to page titles, so you should too. Make them very short and very descriptive.

When you've got your web site in decent shape - there's information on the web site that you think is interesting to visitors, and you have at least a couple hundred visitors a day coming to your page, then you should specifically request that the search engines send their spiders to look over your pages. You do this by going to the search pages and submitting a request. Here's the most important places to make your request:

You'll get a lot of emails from people promising you better search engine placement. Interestingly, every time I look at one of these, my site has better placement than their site. So, I'm not impressed. There are also companies that will "submit" your site to "hundreds" of search engines. I find that Google, Yahoo, and MSN are 94% of everything. Many other sites, including AOL and Netscape, use the Google engine to do their searching. So, submitting to Google actually gets you a lot more than just Google.

Google has a secret proprietary algorithm that produces what is called a "page rank." Your page rank is determined by what other pages link to yours, and the page rank of those pages. Lots of links are good. Links from very highly ranked pages are very good. A page rank of 10 is superb and unreachable by mere mortals. A page rank of 0 means you are blacklisted. A page rank of 1 or 2 is pretty poor. A page rank of 5 or 6 is pretty good. You can find out your page rank with this code: <img src="">

When talking about page statistics, one often hears about "hits." Hits is the number of times there was a request to your page to transmit a file. If a visitor goes to a page that has 23 pictures on it, you get 24 hits - one for the page, and 23 for the pictures. If he asked to download a large file, you can get many dozens of hits just downloading one file from your server. Anyway, real people never talk about hits. Hits are not at all relevant. What's interesting is "visitors," the number of unique people who visited your site that day, "Bytes," the number of bytes that went from your server to the visitor's computers, and "pages," the number of pages on your site that were viewed. If a particular person returns to your site several times in a given day, that only counts as one "visitor" for the day, although it may count as several pages and a lot of kbytes.

Monthly statistics for

Dec 2012

Nov 2012

Oct 2012

Sep 2012

Aug 2012

Jul 2012

Jun 20123,751112,58144,041,477199,608
May 20124,049125,54850,624,012238,862
Apr 20123,838115,16348,791,254215,138
Mar 20123,906121,11352,361,522216,628
Feb 20123,096 89,80635,189,838161,432
Jan 20122,842 88,11741,065,157160,612
Dec 20112,601 80,67033,252,101148,529
Nov 20112,935 88,07236,753,210159,728
Oct 20113,480107,89934,722,346194,644
Sep 20114,149124,49941,715,450224,678
Aug 20114,288132,95042,960,033235,313
Jul 20114,224130,96138,742,318230,306
Jun 20113,699110,98436,678,952201,318
May 20114,614143,05146,730,781257,737
Apr 20114,309129,29541,972,990236,712
Mar 20114,350134,88444,114,888236,274
Feb 20113,499 98,00331,204,338175,752
Jan 20113,172 98,34330,441,499178,439
Dec 20102,758 85,53125,888,641158,307
Nov 20103,334100,05430,567,130183,808
Oct 20103,619112,20435,447,138198,241
Sep 20104,074122,27439,939,027216,838
Aug 20104,112127,49039,243,865221,522
Jul 20104,173129,39638,478,096222,029
Jun 20104,299128,99738,339,804216,188
May 20104,446137,84642,232,884238,396
Apr 20104,792143,79244,558,636249,291
Mar 20104,604142,78341,954,614243,249
Feb 20103,617101,30430,147,081170,973
Jan 20103,119 96,69430,986,857168,049
Dec 20092,853 88,45826,180,134149,715
Nov 20093,138 94,17528,761,113165,900
Oct 20093,264101,22130,919,165182,144
Sep 20093,743112,32135,897,726201,616
Aug 20093,823118,54237,915,837212,018
Jul 20094,044125,39340,769,154226,691
Jun 20094,366131,00844,228,841270,396
May 20094,597142,54147,212,905298,882
Apr 20094,625138,78645,080,498249,339
Mar 20094,330134,26640,233,395251,500
Feb 20093,675102,93426,352,555195,328
Jan 20093,321102,97426,361,290198,577
Dec 20082,843 88,16621,844,318173,788
Nov 20083,450103,52225,517,008202,437
Oct 20083,973123,19130,986,618236,549
Sep 20084,453133,63533,038,547253,534
Aug 20084,848150,31638,586,690286,901
Jul 20085,560172,39341,718,818324,352
Jun 20086,292188,77743,412,436352,587
May 20085,667175,69243,852,920328,541
Apr 20085,330159,93840,079,605297,487
Mar 20084,570141,70236,737,709266,080
Feb 20083,786109,82128,162,095213,338
Jan 20083,311102,67426,075,283203,512
Dec 20072,910 90,25422,377,849185,968
Nov 20073,532105,98926,153,856208,659
Oct 20073,751116,31328,918,713223,675
Sep 20074,310129,33233,062,717255,095
Aug 20074,412136,81632,896,683260,552
Jul 20074,856150,57935,540,906283,270
Jun 20075,082152,47635,008,903278,175
May 20075,333165,34338,856,083274,355
Apr 20073,899114,00829,844,178210,578
Mar 20073,761116,53332,659,096215,463
Feb 20073,689107,05828,822,186219,802
Jan 20073,731113,89728,950,412212,945
Dec 20064,097126,94933,180,618248,326
Nov 20063,823114,33830,696,349228,504
Oct 20064,239131,35636,560,099260,082
Sep 20064,931151,33438,453,671295,024
Aug 20063,490108,20231,368,532221,415
Jul 20063,781117,23330,907,698235,696
Jun 20064,083122,51032,373,660240,303
May 20064,362135,23634,888,539273,539
Apr 20064,338130,15333,562,875265,401
Mar 20063,828118,67731,898,896250,725
Feb 20063,378 94,60726,198,699207,158
Jan 20063,197 99,13326,240,017216,495
Dec 20052,655 82,31421,964,131178,280
Nov 20053,022 90,66723,444,596192,758
Oct 20053,123 96,83125,292,705194,009
Sep 20053,252 97,57725,739,445197,184
Aug 20053,142 97,42326,333,667204,637
Jul 20052,895 89,75925,912,770182,461
Jun 20053,123 93,70531,971,478186,452
May 20053,119 96,68933,499,706190,808
Apr 20053,274 98,22434,139,578198,738
Mar 20052,973 92,16838,142,973186,240
Feb 20052,474 69,29034,851,102141,321
Jan 20052,220 68,82934,610,544139,252
Dec 20041,831 56,77137,353,053118,670
Nov 20041,471 44,15615,801,591 90,135
Oct 20041,396 43,30414,879,941 91,098
Sep 20041,498 44,94115,426,466 96,366
Aug 20041,514 46,94516,560,681107,344
Jul 20041,275 39,53314,140,136 82,770
Jun 20041,100 33,02410,235,191 71,571
May 20041,106 34,30410,829,219 73,045
Apr 20041,114 33,42110,544,999 69,417

About This Site

I maintain four web sites:

  1. I own California Scientific, the world leader in Neural Network based artificial intelligence and in aerodynamically designed motorcycle windshields.
  2. I maintain a site with information on how to make riding motorcycles safer and funner (it is too a word, ask any 6 year old!).
  3. I am building a new site on investing. This web site is very much a work in progress.
  4. I am currently doing post-graduate work in theoretical physics. This web site is very much a work in progress.
  5. I'm a moderator at the best Packers web site in the world, PackerChatters.

I started out making this site for myself - I wanted to get back in touch with Japanese motorcycles after 8 years on Harleys, and I wanted a place to keep track of things I wanted to buy or make. When I decided it was time to really understand this oil / oil filter issue, things sort of got out of hand.

I hand-coded most of this site. I tried using wysiwyg tools on HTML, but I've never been satisfied with what they do. I do occasionally use Seamonkey Composer to lay out a particularly complicated table, but then I edit the HTML in TextPad and put it into what I consider decent shape. If I'm just typing paragraphs of text, I also like to do that in Seamonkey Composer.

A big problem is making your pages look consistent without a ton of useless HTML to slow it up, and without buying into someone else's idea of the ideal page. There's no easy solution. If you have a large site, your real work will go into navigation. This is not so easy. I now use a barrage of tools - Textpad, PhotoScape, Filezilla, and Seamonkey Composer.

Recommended tools:

I recommend FireFox or Chrome for browsing the Internet. It's free, much faster and more powerful than Internet Explorer, and immune to most of the tricks used by web pages to attack your computer.
"Beware of spyware. If you can, use the Firefox browser." - USA Today
"Better than Internet Explorer by leaps and bounds." - FORBES

Filezilla - Free FTP file transfer utility. You'll need this to download / upload your web pages and images.

Seamonkey Composer - Free, passable wysiwyg web page editor. Comes with Seamonkey browser / email. In my opinion, you'll also need at least Textpad or Arachnophilia to edit your HTML directly. Composer doesn't quite do enough stuff.

TextPad - just a text editor. You know, as in "just a turbo carrera." Costs $27. I use it all day every day. The block select mode and regular expression search and replace are invaluable.

PhotoScape - Free image editing and management.

colorblender - Free color blender.

sitepro - Free color palettes.

colormatch - Free color schemes.

HTML Primer

HTML 4 Newbies

I keep a copy of HTML 4 for Dummies next to my keyboard. Available used at

Mark's Clip Art    Mark's Backgrounds

About Me

Mark Lawrence
Me, on my '99 FLHRCI. If you can identify the location of
the above photo, you get a prize (It's not much of a prize. . .)

I was born in Green Bay, which makes picking a football team really easy for me: root for the Packers, or face my Mama. My sons are 4th generation Packer shareholders. On Sunday, we're rooting for our team. I also lived for a time in South Bend (Notre Dame) and Memphis, where I learned "Yes Sir" and "Yes Ma'am" will get you out of a lot of trouble. I live in California now, a beautiful but politically corrupt state.

I started riding motorcycles at age 13. I got the first of my many traffic tickets that year - for driving without a drivers license (You need a license?! Who knew???) I bought my first car at age 31 - cages really don't hold a lot of interest for me.

I've owned 28 motorcycles to date - 12 Suzukis, 8 Hondas, 3 Yamahas, and 4 Harleys. I've been about 545,000 miles on motorcycles. I've been in every one of the 48 lower states, on a motorcycle, wearing shorts, t-shirt and sandals. For some strange reason, a lot of people seem to like to tell me I'm stupid for riding in shorts, t-shirt and sandals. I find this very confusing: this is not at all how I'm stupid. If you want to know in detail how I'm stupid, my ex will be happy to fill you in. I used to race dirt bikes in the Mojave desert, but under those conditions I wore somewhat more clothing.

My favorite rides: Highways 49 - 4 - 108 - 120 in California. Henness Pass Road. Hwy 12 in Idaho (God made Idaho just so we could drive Harleys through it.) Hwy 20 in Washington. Sea-to-sky highway in B.C. Hwy 12 in Utah. Hwys 17 & 11 in Ontario. Anywhere in Vermont or New Hampshire. Hwys 7 & 3 in Nova Scotia. St. Lawrence Seaway. Blue Ridge Parkway (why do we drive on parkways and park on driveways? East coast people are strange. . .) Mississippi / Alabama / Florida Panhandle coast. And the place of my birth, Green Bay.

I currently ride a Harley FLHRC Road King Classic and a Suzuki DL650 V-Strom.

I own California Scientific, the world leader in Neural Network based artificial intelligence. I also make and sell aerodynamic accessories for motorcycles. I have a degree in engineering, and am currently doing post-graduate work in theoretical physics. dτ = √( Uμ gμνUν ) dt. You heard it here first.

I publish these pages as a public service. I have no association with any of the other manufacturers or retailers listed. I don't make any money when you buy something from someone else. I don't get paid for listings, nor for referring customers. I have abused about 300 copyrights. If anyone wants to complain about getting some free advertising, just let me know and I'll be happy to remove your products and/or services from this list. I do get a few pennies every time you click on one of the google ads on my pages, so do feel free to click away.

The opinions on these pages are mine. Any mistakes on these pages are mine, too. If you happen to agree with me, by all means let me know: I just love people like you. If you have a bad experience with a vendor listed on my site, let me know: I remove listings for egregious bad business practices. If I list the company, I'm willing to do business with them.

Favorite quote: The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man. - G.B.Shaw. I'd like my tombstone to say "Here lies an unreasonable man."

My Motorcycles To Date (4/15/2011)
#YrMotorcycle Miles   #YrMotorcycle Miles
169minibike 5,000  1686Suzuki GSXR1100 20,000
271Honda 90 10,000  1790Suzuki GSXR1100 12,000
372Honda XL250 15,000  1890Suzuki DR350 5,000
473Honda CB350 15,000  1991Suzuki Katana 1100 22,000
574Honda CL450 12,000  2094Harley XL 880 15,000
674Honda CB750 5,000  2195Harley FLHR 80 44,000
774Honda CB750 65,000  2297Suzuki Bandit 1200 11,000
875Yamaha 90 1,000  2398Honda VTR 1000 22,000
978Suzuki GS1000 22,000  2499Harley FLHRC 88 57,000
1080Suzuki GS1100 20,000  2580Yamaha XS1100 1,000
1181Suzuki GS1100 22,000  2603Honda ST1300 59,000
1282Suzuki Katana 1100 12,000  2704Suzuki DL650 39,000
1382Suzuki GS1100 25,000  2808Harley FLHRC 96 26,000
1483Yamaha YZ465 1,000  2911Kawasaki Ninja 1000 2,000
1584Suzuki GS1000 16,000  

Total 581,000