I have recently changed the canonical URL of this website from the root, or otherwise commonly referred to as, naked domain name to www.pwn3d.com after reading about it while exploring Heroku. It may not happen in 6 months, or a year, or even years from now but one day this website will require mirrors to sustain server load thus I didn’t want to be trapped by A Record limitations today.
Tumblr has been supporting custom domains using CNAME Record for a while now, but it wasn’t always the case. When I first experimented with Tumblr, transferring my content from a self-hosted WordPress blog, I found the DNS options for custom domain names very limiting. It was free, yes, but it wasn’t the best solution on the web, even at that time. I am certainly glad Tumblr is now supporting CNAME, and has probably for some time, indicating they will probably continue to do so for free. WordPress.com, as well as many other popular blogging platforms typically relies on name servers or A Records to redirect custom domain names onto their services. There are several disadvantages of transferring name server responsibilities to yet another service. That would be topic for another time.
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a popular keyword on Google; it returns over 58 million results. Google uses a technology called PageRank developed chiefly by Larry Page, thus the name “Page”Rank. Now you know why he is the current CEO of the company. The man is no doubt a genius and the algorithm behind it is published in simplified forms on the web, but unless you’re a mathematical genius like Larry Page, it’s pretty difficult to understand. Google also consistently revise this algorithm and have done so numerous times, most recently on April 24, 2012. If there is someone on the web telling you they know the trick to beating PageRank, they’re lying.
So what are the tricks to make your website show up consistently near the top of the search results? There are no tricks. Submit your website to Webmaster Tools for Google and Bing, with sitemaps, and hopefully your content is superior to others. That is really it, a high quality website will attract more viewers and in time you will beat your competitors.
One consistently asked question by me and my peers is the location of sitemaps. Tumblr doesn’t have a support article in their database regarding this topic, but like any decent Web 2.0 service, it is located at a generic location. You will see many blog posts about submitting /sitemap1.xml and /sitemap-pages.xml, but the only one you need to submit is /sitemap.xml. Once you have added your site to Webmaster Tools of your favourite search engine, find the section about Sitemaps. Both Google and Bing make this very easy, simply add /sitemap.xml and you’re done. In the case of this website, it is www.pwn3d.com/sitemap.xml. This URL will automatically submit /sitemap1.xml and /sitemap-pages.xml for you, simplifying the process and futureproofing yourself should Tumblr decide to add additional XML mark-ups.
Once you have submitted your website to Google and Bing (don’t worry about Yahoo, their search engine is dead), sit back and relax. It will take some time for the search engines to crawl through your website using your sitemap and create the index based on keywords and tags. You can monitor the status in Webmaster Tools.