Minneapolis Tomato T-Shirt

“How can I get my site to show up higher in the results on Google?” We hear this question about once a week. It's known in the biz as Search Engine Optimization, SEO, or alternately, “Can you fix Google for me?”

Sadly, we can’t fix Google for you.

But! I will provide you with the magic words: Minneapolis, tomato, and t-shirt. Say these words three times forwards and backwards while shaking a rubber chicken over your home page. Please note this only works in Firefox.

Just Kidding. Let me explain.

A web developer friend of mine, some time ago, decided to put what he knew about SEO to the test. He wrote an article about SEO, and since he's taken his article off line, I've picked the top four. Here's a good one to start with:

Pick your keywords and use them

  1. Read your website text.
    I assume the text is web-friendly, well-written, relevant, helpful, and well-organized. If is not, please rewrite your content and then read the rest of this article.
  2. Determine specific words.
    I have determined I would like to be known for that obscure novelty, the “Minneapolis Tomato T-shirt.” You might choose “sleep breathing problems” or “esophageal atresia.” The more specific, the better.
  3. If your keywords aren’t written into your text, rewrite your text.
    Include the specific words you have chosen in helpful, relevant places. Give them top billing in the content, like placement in page titles, image captions, and navigational terms.
  4. Be realistic.
    Pick your top five words and don’t expect to be known for “Minnesota Red Fruit Tank Top” if the words you use are “Minneapolis Tomato T-shirt.”

The best part of the article is that he weaves the words “t-shirt,” “Minneapolis,” and “tomato,” in and out of the content of the article, and then gambles: “If I’m right,” he says, “in a few weeks a Google search for 'Minneapolis tomato t-shirt' should bring you right back here.”

After One Day:

The article was in the second page of Google search results for “Minneapolis Tomato T-shirt.”

After Two Days:

"On a September day in the great city of Minneapolis, there is no greater joy than a slice of crisp, fresh, local tomato while wearing that greatest invention of attire second only to the sneaker--the T-shirt. Unless it's a white t-shirt, and you spill tomato on it, and can't get the stain out, and have to go to an important meeting. Then it's sort of a bummer."

Lena V Smith Parker

It was the NUMBER ONE search result.

More Gambling:

If I’m right, this article should start moving up in results right along with his. I’ve even added an image of a t-shirt with “Minneapolis Tomato” on it to see if we get a spot in the image results. It might take a while. We should check back in a month or so.

A little note: This article refers to results on google.com. Yale also has a Google Search Appliance that is called the GSA and searches only Yale websites. We’ll talk about that in some other news article.

Update after TWO DAYS:

This article was posted on 8/13/2012. On 8/15/2012, the article came up third in search results on google.com for "Minneapolis Tomato T-shirt" and FIRST in image search results. IT CAN BE DONE. YOU CAN DO THIS TOO.

Update after four years:

My friend has since taken the original article down, so now my article at the top of the text search results, and the image of the Minneapolis Tomato t-shirt is somewhere around fifth or sixth in image results.

Google's algorithm is ever-changing, but the truth detailed here continues to be the same. Pick the five terms you want to be known for, and write to those. Because we publish from a Yale url, we are already a trusted content source, giving us a competitive edge over consumer sites. Write well, and with a focused purpose, and your content will rise to the top.


Minneapolis Tomato T-shirt Table of Clarity

Keyword Item Keyword Type
Minneapolis City
Tomato Fruit
T-shirt Article of clothing

This article was submitted by Lena V Smith Parker on August 13, 2012.

Related People

Justin Fansler

Technology Director, YSM Communications

Lena V Smith Parker

Production Director, YSM Communications