Serendipity Online Marketing

Fraggles – Fragments with Handles – Google’s New Way of Indexing the Web?

The Fraggle Is Coming

Or maybe it is already here….

But what is a Fraggle?

When I first heard it, I thought it was a character from Sesame Street, but it isn’t.

It is actually a term created by Cindy Krum, the word describing a ‘Fragment with a Handle’.

Fraggles - Fragments with Handles
Fraggles – Fragments with Handles

A Fragment’ in this case refers to a piece of information found on the Web, but not necessarily on a webpage. It doesn’t even have to have a URL of its own.

The question is “Why did Cindy think up this idea?” and importantly, what it means to web pages and how we build them.

Is Google changing the way it is indexing the web?

The ‘Why’ bit comes from a theory (Kim can’t prove it at the moment) about changes in how Google is crawling the web.

We all know that Google sends out its spiders to find ‘things’ on the web, taking back what they find to be processed and ‘made sense of’. This latter bit is important as Google is far more than a ‘keyword processing engine’ these days.

Today Google can actually determine what a page is about, and therefore better determine what it should be ranked for, matching (hopefully) ‘User Intent’ with the best available content.

But, to get back to the point, besides becoming increasingly clever at sorting through all the bits of information it has to digest, it is also ‘upping its game’ about how it classifies this data, or at least that is Cindy’s belief.

As any SEO professional will know, Google index pages as a whole, working out what the page is about, and ranking it according to how well it matches to any given search term.

As the entire page is ‘looked at as one’, the only way of not confusing Google has been to focus each page on a narrow range of topics. This has resulted in a huge number of pages, all on a single issue, these often being a bit thin, content wise.

Cindy’s view is that Google, whose ‘rules’ caused this course of action in the first place, are now having a rethink (without telling us of course), deciding instead to index not the whole page as one item, but instead each ‘fragment’ of information in that page.

As Cindy showed, this could be a page about how to grow vegetables, there being a section on growing beetroot, lettuce, onions etc etc. Whilst this page could well get good ranks for some over arching keyword phrase, it could well fail to get found for a phrase like ‘how to grow the perfect lettuce’ as Google would get ‘confused’, each section’s ‘demand’ to be noticed diluting the pages message.

But what if Google indexed each Fragment in its own right? If it is as clever as we think it is, Google’s AI would be able to deduce what the whole page was about, AS WELL AS what each section (Fraggle) was covering.

If true, this change will mean the end to having to create numerous pages to capture their own  given set of keyword searches, one big page being better as it would be contain ‘thicker’ content.

Something That You HAVE to Do

There is something that has to be done though, a requirement if you want Google to be able to list your Fraggles independently of the whole page, and that is the ‘Handle’ part.

This is not a new thing at all, it having been used for years as a way of allowing users to quickly go to the part of the page they are interested in, without having to painfully scroll down (or up) the page itself.

They are called ‘Anchors’ and they work like this.

Say for example you wanted to create an anchor called ‘lettuce’, you simply add this line where you want the user to go to:- <a name=”lettuce”></a>.

To make a Fraggle work, you won’t need anything else, but if you also want to make it easier for people on this fictitious ‘vegetable growing advice page’, you would also have some code on the page that looks like this:- Click <a href=”#lettuce”>here to read all about growing the best lettuce. </a>

Note the use of the # this being very important when linking to the same page.

Should I Try To Take Advantage of This Change?

The first thing to understand is that we are not 100% sure that Google are changing the way they collect and segregate the data they collect. Nor are we sure that they are concentrating more on ‘entities’.

More on Entities

In the example page Cindy used, each vegetable type is an entity, and is strongly related to the other vegetables on the page and to the overall concept of growing them. They would also be related to such themes as cooking and eating, specific entities in these groups being linked together, just as web pages are linked other related web pages on the Net.

Entities and Code Breaking

One reason for thinking Google may be taking this line is that it allows Google to understand languages it does not know that well, entities allowing it to link things together just as a code expert breaks a cypher when they just understand a part of the message.

What Can I Do To Take Advantage of Fraggles?

So, with the reasoning behind the issue explained, just how can you use the change to your advantage?

The answer is simpler enough. Instead of writing a page targeting just a few keywords, construct a page of related entities, with some copy explaining the overall message you want to portray to Google and your users at the top.

Each section (Fraggle) needs to have the anchor text as explained above.  You can always link to these using a mini menu at the top too, in fact that would be a good practice to follow.

It would also be a good idea to link out from some, if not all of the Fraggles to external sites and to related pages in your site as well. Google likes to see everything interconnected and it can really help your users get around your site as well.

So, now you know what a Fraggle is, or at least what it could be, and how you could make some changes to your site.

Perhaps its time to try it out, if it works you could well find yourself at the front of the Search Curve, always a good place to be.


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