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You simply would not believe how many emails I've received over themes. A couple of days last month it was over a hundred. That page on themes was last months most hit page here (more than the index page itself).
I've refrained at getting specific on themes on purpose. Half of my public silence on what is a powerful and popular topic is out of self-preservation (it could open up a blizzard of email, rants, raves, and flames/attacks -- a potentially explosive issue). When you are outfront on an idea, you can be hailed as a hero (Einstein, Armstrong), or shackled in the public square (Galileo, Darwin).
The other half is because the only time that I have ever gotten 'in trouble' with users on such issues is when I tried to get specific on issues that *demand* a general nature. There was a long thread on 'helping, where to draw the line' over there in Search Engine Forums that was a good example of just such a case.
I also, didn't want to stir up the many people who are going to be extinct when the power of themes starts to take hold. From all the specific program authors, to promotion people, to forums, and monthly newsletters - themes could put alot of people out of business if they don't adapt.
In a themes world, cloaking programs are obsolete. What good does it due to cloak a themed site? Cloaking isn't of much value in a theme scheme of things. If you are running a theme'd site with a top ranking page (God help me for saying this), but, you might actually WANT your competition to steal your individual pages. It will be of no value to them and probably make their rankings fall. It isn't a page thing, it is a SITE thing.
Lastly, it is a difficult transition to make from a standard setup site to a themed site. I still can not get Altavista off of the stupid car kick it is on with search engine world. I've been trying since January to get a new theme to stick in alta about sew. Alta thinks the theme here is exotic cars and I get hits on lambos, jags, even a few porche phrases. I've went so far as to delete the pages it is keying on to get it off that theme - no luck. Other sites we've built since dec-feb with a theme'd intent are doing very good.
Q - What were your keywords and search engine when you came across this site?If you are even close w/ themes, you're going to get rank. Brett mentioned pyramid, that's exactly how this particular site is laid out. USA > 50 States > 3800+ town pages. Key words are repeated thousands of times.
A "City of _________ __" using Alta Vista. Picked up on hotels etc, yours was number 13 of 3,836,810. (you must have it hooked in about right.)
Brett, how did your "skins" come out after that last AV reindex of mp3?
re: Density, I try to keep my average under 10%. I do enough pages though, that I let some slip up to 15% and quite a few down to 4-5. That gives a good distribution no matter what the algo does.
The main thing is focus, focus, focus. If you are going for multi keywords/phrases on the same page, keep them very close together in density (identicle) around 6-8.
The page size in both stripped html and raw html is also very important. I don't have any data to suggest what is currently optimum, but diversity is key. I try to hit all the combinations of lots of html, little html, large pages, and small pages. Half the battle of getting the se's to fixate on your site is diversity. Sooner or later you will hit something that they like. In that sense, yes content is still the king (not for the sake of the content, but for the sake of having enough diverse food for the engines to eat).
Take a look at the last 20 referrers, I'd say looksmart, google and msn like the set-up, too. I've never paid for placement, these are the old free submits.
But, take a look at all the things "wrong" with this site that are supposed to be negative factors in AV placement... hallways, multiple domains, that's what's really important about this post.
Isn't Brett Winters the guy who does that Webpos!t!on software?