Wednesday, October 9, 2013

FamilySearch Photos SEO

One of the holy grails of corporate websites is SEO: search engine optimization. Corporations like to have their website show up at the top of search results. When you have something to sell, you want people to hear about it. I recently searched Google for an ancestor’s name, "Henson Cole Whitlock" and was amazed to see how many hits were returned. Don’t count on being so lucky with your ancestors’ names. Searching for most names returns nothing about them.

I was surprised to see what websites garnered the top spots. (These are the rankings as of 14 September 2013. You should log out of your Google account prior to doing the search.)

1. A photograph on To be truthful, I knew the photograph existed. I just wanted to test FamilySearch’s SEO prowess. They garnered the top spot, outdoing other family history websites! The information under the link was a little generic, but number 1 is number 1.

Henson Cole Whitlock - Photos and Stories —‎
Publish and preserve your family history photos forever, free on FamilySearch.

2. An album containing the photograph on

Whitlock - Photos and Stories —
1938 Whitlock reunion Christmas in Arizona. Bonnie left and Bonnie right. Henson Cole Whitlock 1899 Dallas, Texas. Henson Cole Whitlock 1898 Dallas, Texas.

image3. A person page on! Wow. That’s impressive. It’s a bit of a chore for a subscription website to expose their protected content for Google to see. Somehow, has put together a set of—how many pages?—of the people in their trees. The page contains lots of enticing information, just enough to whet your appetite for a subscription, but not entirely filling.

Henson Cole Whitlock - Records -‎
10 Records - Born in Dallas, Texas, USA on 26 Jan 1875 to Samuel Whitlock and Mary M Davis. Henson Cole married Martha Baker and had 14 children.

4 through 8. Find a Grave photos, flowers, and memorials. ! They do so many things right. It’s not surprising they rank so high.

Henson Cole Whitlock (1875 - 1952) - Find A Grave Photos‎
May 15, 2012 - Henson Cole Whitlock. Memorial · Photos · Flowers · Edit · Share · Learn about upgrading this memorial... [Add A Photo] ...

9. Billion Graves. It is interesting to watch this Find-a-grave wanna-be grow. The information under the URL is better than Find-a-Grave.

Henson Cole Whitlock | Billion Graves Record‎
Headstone Record for Henson Cole Whitlock. Burial Place: Mesa, Arizona, United States. Birth: 1875. Death: 1952.

10. Someone’s family tree uploaded to rounds out the top ten. (Does still support uploading new trees?)

Baker Bible:Information about Henson Cole Whitlock -‎
Nov 26, 1975 - Home Page |Surname List |Index of Individuals |InterneTree |Sources. View Tree for Henson Cole Whitlock Henson Cole Whitlock (b.

There you have it. All genealogy websites!

Sorry about the search for your ancestors. Who knew there were 1,470 people on Facebook, 382 people on LinkedIn, and 14 people on Google+ with their name.

1 comment:

  1. From that whomped-up page one can click back a few generations to unproven assertions plus total nuttiness where one of Hence's actual ancestors is purported to have married a person of age to be his grandmother. Perhaps it is based on OneWorldTree (which should have been terminated years ago).

    Anyway we are cousins, sharing ancestry from one set of Hence's great-great-grandparents. Perhaps you will hear from more of the many living descendants of that couple. Hence was named for his maternal grandfather, and was great-grand-nephew of the one who originally bore the name, Hynson Cole (as he signed his original will). In Texas and a few other places "Hynson" was morphed to "Henson" or even "Hanson" by relatives who were unaware of the name's history.


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