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Search friendly mind maps – Getting your maps in front of non-mind mappers

On Thursday I have a short presentation slot at Biggerplate Unplugged London  on “Search Friendly Mind Maps”. By which I mean maps that can be found by the internet search engines and be used to promote your business, organisation or passion. This blog is to prompt discussion prior to the event and an opportunity for you to improve my presentation by criticism and correction.  As my research focusses on the Mindjet world, I would also be interested to hear how valid my conclusions are for other mind mapping software vendors.

Search engines are looking for indexable text, so how can they see your map?

An image or Flash file on the web is indexed by its file name and the text in the meta tag “alt”. Some Flash files do present more meta text to the search engines but I have no evidence the map exports from e.g. Mindjet make use of this feature. Adding these images and Flash to a PDF file will not help.

Briefly Mindjet’s web exports convert a map into:

  • Outlines
  • Clickable Image Maps
  • Mini web sites where notes become web pages and the map is the navigation

The first and third produce text, and the second can have alt text on every link. These “maps” are visible to the search engines. However the HTML is archaic (developed 10+ years ago), the ability to add social tools e.g. Tweet this map, requires too much work compared to modern web publishing tools and coordinating more than one map into a multi-map web site is a pain.

There two significant map hosting sites for Mindjet maps Biggerplate and Maps for That. When a map is uploaded to Biggerplate, the main topics are extracted as keywords. You can add and subtract from this list. You can write a description but I doubt whether are many uploaders to Biggerplate that describe the full content of their map. Mindjet’s “Maps for That” does not have the keyword extraction.

For a couple of years I have been recording and publishing maps about presentations and speeches which are followed by the full text outline of the map. This has two benefits:

  • Visually impaired people or their text readers came read the map
  • and so can the search engines

And more recently I have published the maps within a WordPress website.

Last Wednesday I attended a presentation about “Mobile Apps” given by a software house in my home town. I mapped it and published it in ConferenceREACTION, Biggerplate and Maps for That. Yesterday I asked some friends in the UK, Canada and The Netherlands to search for the event using a generic search and a very specific search term. Here are the results:

Where do the linked pages appear in Google's Top 100 for a generic and a specific search term?
https://www.mapsforthat.com/map.php?m=3131 https://www.mapsforthat.com/map.php?m=3131 http://www.biggerplate.com/mindmaps/zdgvywFB/apps-matt-clarke-firstthing-at-firstoption-23-jan-2013 http://www.biggerplate.com/mindmaps/zdgvywFB/apps-matt-clarke-firstthing-at-firstoption-23-jan-2013 http://www.conferencereaction.co.uk/client-events/first-option/firstthing-apps-an-overview-by-matt-clarke/ http://www.conferencereaction.co.uk/client-events/first-option/firstthing-apps-an-overview-by-matt-clarke/ Cabre - MindManager Training and Consultancy Cabre - MindManager Training and Consultancy

It’s surprising that ConferenceREACTION is in the top ten for the generic terms! If you want your maps to be seen by people who don’t use the catalogues i.e. the non-software mind mappers, then perhaps you need to post them on other sites. Obviously and unfortunately text is important. If you want your maps to be found (and maybe understood) I believe they need to be fully described.

What is your experience and your suggestions for making maps appear more frequently in search results for the non-mind mappers you want to see them?

Okay map pickers, an update on the Top 100 for “matt clarke firstthing apps” 4 Feb 2013

The UK chart: Google.co.uk

  • ConferenceREACTION remains at No. 1
  • Biggerplate are creeping up at No. 25
  • BUT the new entry at No. 2 is MindMeister (the map was only posted on 30 Jan)
  • Maps for That are not in the top 100

The US chart: Google.com

  • ConferenceREACTION remains at No. 1
  • A repeat new entry at No. 2 is MindMeister (the map was only posted on 30 Jan)
  • Biggerplate are hanging back at No. 44
  • Maps for That are not in the top 100

The Mindjet Map part for Google searches chart: which I presume is via Google.com

  • ConferenceREACTION is at No. 1 and 2
  • Biggerplate are straight in at No. 3
  • MindMeister and Maps for That are not in the top 65 (the maximum Mindjet Google map part will report on)

About Andrew Wilcox

Andrew is an experienced user of MindManager who shares his knowledge and advice for free here. And provides commercial training and consulting on how to exploit MindManager and other mind mapping software applications in business, organisations and for individuals at Cabre For more information about Andrew please visit his Google + profile.

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2 Responses to “Search friendly mind maps – Getting your maps in front of non-mind mappers”

  1. Andrew Wilcox says:

    Just updated the post to include this morning’s search results.

    ConferenceREACTION is still Top of the Maps, Biggerplate are creeping up and MindMeister have come in from nowhere!

  2. [...] Search friendly mind maps [...]

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