A few months ago, I migrated my site from a subdomain (under my provider’s domain) to my own domain (www.nicolasleroy.fr). I tried to do a smooth transition – using 302 redirections – in order to keep my PageRank in Google. All I can say a few months later is that it didn’t work very well :) I now receive very few traffic on my photos (it used to be the main interest of my site). By analyzing the pages that are indexed in Google, I found all the pages that list thumbnails are indexed (like this one), but most of the pages that contain the real photos (and descriptions) (i.e. this one) are not!! And I don’t know the reason why, yet.
First, organic optimization is much more work. You not only need to get your content, title, headings, meta tags, site structure, and page cross-linking done correctly, but you’ve also got to worry about getting IBL’s with the proper anchor text pointed to the right page.
By comparison, optimizing to get into the OneBox is pretty simple. You’re just doing things, as it was described by NeO a while back, as if it’s the SEO of 1997. Use your keywords everywhere that makes sense a few times, then add those words to some places that don’t really make sense and add them a few more times. No linkbuilding, no big barrier to entry, just a little time spent filling out a form or doing some work in Excel.
So did I today: uploading all my photos to Google Base. I created a custom “item type” to define and upload my photos. I first experimented by defining my custom “Photography” type and creating a few photos through the UI. In a few minutes, my first photos were published and indexed on Google Base.
Then, I wrote a small PHP script to export my complete photo database into a TXT format readable by Base. Two hours later, my content was published on Base; I just need to wait a few hours to get my content indexed and searchable. How simple!
I will wait a few weeks to see if this will have any impact on the traffic on my site. But I believe providing Google with structured data through Base could become a real alternative to classic SEO in the next months.