One of the constant topics that many webmasters and webloggers are concerned with these days is [Google][1], how to increase your site’s standing in Google’s eyes, and therefore drive more traffic to your site. I use a number of techniques on my weblog, both in the code and how I create entries, that help Google get the most useful information out of my pages.

[1]: http://www.google.com/ “Google”

While I’ve [mentioned some in the past][2], the subject recently came up in [a thread on the TypePad User Group][3], and I shared some of my methods [in that thread][4]. At the request of both [Liza][5] and [Richard][6], who have also been posting about this topic, I’m re-posting my post (post-haste, though not post-mortem, and definitely not postpartum) here…

[2]: http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2003/07/help_search_eng.html “Help search engines index your site”

[3]: http://blog.liquidvolt.com/typepad/viewtopic.php?t=411&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0 “Increasing Blog/Site Traffic”

[4]: http://blog.liquidvolt.com/typepad/viewtopic.php?p=2506#2506 “A little bit of both, probably.”

[5]: http://www.typepadistas.com/typepadistas/2003/12/reach_out_and_p.html “Getting Traffic to your site”

[6]: http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/2003/11/improve_your_bl.html “Improve Your Blog’s Visibility on the Web”

> Still, I’m amazed to read that you had 1,000 per day BEFORE MS made you a web celeb (boo! to them). Do you think those hits came from your blogging subject or from special tactics you engaged in to increase your site traffic.

A little bit of both, probably.

First off, it’s not so much my subject, as my _lack_ of subject. ;) Because I’ve never really focused on any specific topic for my blog, and just randomly babble about whatever crosses my mind, that gives Google a _lot_ of potential keywords to pick up on.

Also, I’ve been at this for about three years now, so I’ve got a fairly large archive section, which also increases the probability of any given keyword turning up in a search.

As far as special tactics, there’s a few techniques I’ve picked up on over the years that seem to help (some of which you covered in your post).

1. **Descriptive headlines as a page title.** The title of a webpage scores very highly in Google’s ranking scheme, so I generally try to make sure that my post titles are descriptive of what I’m posting about (“Lord of the Rings Trailer” rather than “This is cool!”), and I make sure that the post title is included in the page title.

I believe that TypePad is set to include post titles in page titles for individual archives by default, but some weblog tools (including MovableType in its early stages, I believe, though I could be wrong) only include the site name for every page title, so instead of a site containing 1000+ differently named pages, you’d end up with a site containing 1000+ pages all named “My Weblog”, which doesn’t give Google nearly as much to work with.

2. **Setting a consistent structure for the code on each page.** As HTML was designed to emulate (though not visually replicate) the structure of a printed document, it includes various structural elements such as various levels of heading. As Google pays attention to these when it scans a document, it often helps to use them correctly.

In the past, rather than using the `

`, `

`, etc. elements for headlines, division markers, and so on, many sites would use `` tags to give their subdivision headings the look they wanted. Now that the `` tag has been deprecated and we can use CSS to style every element on a page the way we want, it’s good to return to using structurally correct markup. In addition to making a site much easier to code, it also assists Google in determining the structure, topic, and relevance of any given page.

For each individual archive page on my site, I’ve structured it as follows:

1. ``: website name > post title</p> <p> 2. `<br /> <h1>`: website name</p> <p> 3. `<br /> <h2>`: website ‘tagline’</p> <p> 4. `<br /> <h3>`: post title</p> <p> 5. ` <p>`: post body</p> <p> 6. `<br /> <h3>`: trackback</p> <p> 7. `<br /> <h4>`: trackback source</p> <p> 8. ` <p>`: trackback body</p> <p> 9. `<br /> <h3>`: comments</p> <p> 10. `<br /> <h4>`: comment author</p> <p> 11. ` <p&>`: comment body</p> <p> 12. `<br /> <h3>`: comment posting form</p> <p> This gives each page a clearly delineated, easy to read structure that tells both the reader and Google which parts of the page are the most important and the most relevant to the topic of the page.</p> <p>3. **Link descriptively.** Simply, this involves using natural language for your links so that the link is descriptive to what it points to. For instance, saying “The new [Lord of the Rings trailer][7] is out!” instead of “You’ve gotta see [this][7]!” gives Google more information about what you’re linking to.</p> <p> This carries a double benefit, in that not only does it give Google better information about what you’re referencing, it also lets Google know more about what you’re linking to, which helps out whoever is on the target end of your link.</p> <p>4. **Alt text on all images.** This is important for a few reasons. First off, it lets Google know what each image is so that Google can include it more reliably in their image search feature. Secondly, though, and more importantly, it greatly improves the readability of your site for people with disabilities using specialized browsers to read the web.</p> <p> Blind users can use a “screen reader” to read websites — this is a specialized browser which translates the text to audio, and reads the page to them. Without alt text, all that screen reader can do is give them the name of the graphic, and might end up telling them something like “Image named funnypicture.jpg”. With alt text, they’ll instead hear something like “Image named Gimli falls off his horse”.</p> <p>5. **Use the excerpt field to create useable descriptions.** While keywords are no longer recognized by Google, another `<meta>` tag in the `<head>` section of your document still is (I think), which helps Google determine the topic of the page, and that’s the ‘description’ tag. What I’ve done is put this code into the `<head>` of each individual archive:</p> <p> `<meta title="description" content="<$MTEntryExcerpt>” />`</p> <p> I then make sure to take a moment to create an excerpt for each entry as I’m making it that relates to the topic of the post, rather than just relying on TypePad’s auto-generated excerpt (which generally just grabs the first _n_ words of each post).</p> <p>[7]: http://www.apple.com/trailers/newline/returnoftheking/ “The Return of the King trailer”</p> <p>Anyway, there’s a few of the things I do which seem to help my site visibility. Mostly, though, I think a lot of it just boils down to the fact that after three years of babbling, I give Google a lot to work with. ;)</p> <div id="themify_builder_content-1991" data-postid="1991" class="themify_builder_content themify_builder_content-1991 themify_builder themify_builder_front"> </div> <!-- /themify_builder_content --><div class="sharedaddy sd-sharing-enabled"><div class="robots-nocontent sd-block sd-social sd-social-icon sd-sharing"><h3 class="sd-title">Share this:</h3><div class="sd-content"><ul><li class="share-facebook"><a rel="nofollow" data-shared="sharing-facebook-1991" class="share-facebook sd-button share-icon no-text" href="http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2003/12/02/getting-in-googles-good-graces/?share=facebook" target="_blank" title="Share on Facebook"><span></span><span class="sharing-screen-reader-text">Share on Facebook (Opens in new window)</span></a></li><li class="share-twitter"><a rel="nofollow" data-shared="sharing-twitter-1991" class="share-twitter sd-button share-icon no-text" href="http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2003/12/02/getting-in-googles-good-graces/?share=twitter" target="_blank" title="Click to share on Twitter"><span></span><span class="sharing-screen-reader-text">Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)</span></a></li><li class="share-tumblr"><a rel="nofollow" data-shared="" class="share-tumblr sd-button share-icon no-text" href="http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2003/12/02/getting-in-googles-good-graces/?share=tumblr" target="_blank" title="Click to share on Tumblr"><span></span><span class="sharing-screen-reader-text">Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)</span></a></li><li class="share-google-plus-1"><a rel="nofollow" data-shared="sharing-google-1991" class="share-google-plus-1 sd-button share-icon no-text" href="http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2003/12/02/getting-in-googles-good-graces/?share=google-plus-1" target="_blank" title="Click to share on Google+"><span></span><span class="sharing-screen-reader-text">Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)</span></a></li><li class="share-pinterest"><a rel="nofollow" data-shared="sharing-pinterest-1991" class="share-pinterest sd-button share-icon no-text" href="http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2003/12/02/getting-in-googles-good-graces/?share=pinterest" target="_blank" title="Click to share on Pinterest"><span></span><span class="sharing-screen-reader-text">Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)</span></a></li><li class="share-email"><a rel="nofollow" data-shared="" class="share-email sd-button share-icon no-text" href="http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2003/12/02/getting-in-googles-good-graces/?share=email" target="_blank" title="Click to email this to a friend"><span></span><span class="sharing-screen-reader-text">Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)</span></a></li><li class="share-print"><a rel="nofollow" data-shared="" class="share-print sd-button share-icon no-text" href="http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2003/12/02/getting-in-googles-good-graces/#print" target="_blank" title="Click to print"><span></span><span class="sharing-screen-reader-text">Click to print (Opens in new window)</span></a></li><li class="share-end"></li></ul></div></div></div> </div><!-- /.entry-content --> </div> <!-- /post-content --> </article> <!-- /post --> <!-- post-nav --> <div class="post-nav clearfix"> <span class="prev"><a href="http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2003/12/01/youre-an-ex-dj/" rel="prev"><span class="arrow">«</span> You're an ex-DJ?</a></span> <span class="next"><a href="http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2003/12/02/roy-disney-resigns-from-disney/" rel="next"><span class="arrow">»</span> Roy Disney resigns from Disney</a></span> </div> <!-- /post-nav --> <div id="comments" class="commentwrap"> <h4 class="comment-title">2 Comments</h4> <ol class="commentlist"> <li class="trackback even thread-even depth-1" id="comment-12427"> <p class="comment-author"> <cite><a href='http://www.typepadistas.com/typepadistas/2003/12/reach_out_and_p.html' rel='external nofollow' class='url'>the typepadistas directory</a></cite><br /> <time datetime="2003-12-02T07:49" class="comment-time">December 2, 2003 @ 7:49 am</time> </p> <div class="commententry"> <p><strong>Reach out and ping someone : Getting Traffic to your site</strong></p> <p>About a month ago Prem, from americanswami.com asked the eternal question: Does anyone have any tips or tricks on how to increase traffic to your weblog? Has anyone mastered this most valuable aspect of running a weblog or website? A</p> </div> <p class="reply"><a class='comment-reply-link' href='/eclecticism/2003/12/02/getting-in-googles-good-graces/?replytocom=12427#respond' onclick='return addComment.moveForm( "comment-12427", "12427", "respond", "1991" )' aria-label='Reply to the typepadistas directory'>Reply</a></p> </li><!-- #comment-## --> <li class="trackback odd alt thread-odd thread-alt depth-1" id="comment-12428"> <p class="comment-author"> <cite><a href='http://xo.typepad.com/blog/2003/12/how_to_increase.html' rel='external nofollow' class='url'>A Welsh View</a></cite><br /> <time datetime="2003-12-02T13:26" class="comment-time">December 2, 2003 @ 1:26 pm</time> </p> <div class="commententry"> <p><strong>How To Increase Search Engine Traffic</strong></p> <p>eclecticism: Getting in Google’s good graces Michael Hanscom has some tips on how to increase your chances of getting listed in Google. I’m not sure of the exact figure but I probably get around 700 hits a day from Google</p> </div> <p class="reply"><a class='comment-reply-link' href='/eclecticism/2003/12/02/getting-in-googles-good-graces/?replytocom=12428#respond' onclick='return addComment.moveForm( "comment-12428", "12428", "respond", "1991" )' aria-label='Reply to A Welsh View'>Reply</a></p> </li><!-- #comment-## --> </ol> <div id="respond" class="comment-respond"> <h3 id="reply-title" class="comment-reply-title">Leave a Reply <small><a rel="nofollow" id="cancel-comment-reply-link" href="/eclecticism/2003/12/02/getting-in-googles-good-graces/#respond" style="display:none;">Cancel reply</a></small></h3> <div id="commentform" class="comment-form"> <iframe 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value='http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/1990/01/'> January 1990 </option> </select> </section><section id="twitter_timeline-2" class="widget widget_twitter_timeline"><a class="twitter-timeline" data-widget-id="543170653440843776" data-theme="light" data-link-color="#f96e5b" data-border-color="#e8e8e8" data-chrome="noborders transparent" data-tweet-limit="10" width="300" height="400" lang="EN">My Tweets</a></section> <section class="clearfix"> <div class="secondary"> </div> <div class="secondary last"> </div> </section> </aside> <!-- /sidebar --> </div> <!-- /layout-container --> <div id="footer-slider" class="pagewidth slider"> <ul class="slides clearfix"> <li class="format-quote"> <div class='slide-feature-image'> <a href="http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2015/07/20/black-lives-matter-vs-all-lives-matter/" title="‘Black Lives Matter’ vs. ‘All Lives Matter’"> </a> </div> <!-- /.slide-feature-image --> <div class="slide-content-wrap"> <h3 class="slide-post-title"><a href="http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2015/07/20/black-lives-matter-vs-all-lives-matter/" title="‘Black Lives Matter’ vs. ‘All Lives Matter’">‘Black Lives Matter’ vs. ‘All Lives Matter’</a></h3> <div class="slide-excerpt quote-content"> <p>TL;DR: The phrase ‘Black lives matter’ carries an implicit ‘too’ at the end; it’s saying that black lives should also matter. Saying ‘all lives matter’ is dismissing the very problems that the phrase is trying to draw attention to.</p> </div> </div> <!-- /.slide-content-wrap --> <!-- quote-author --><p class="quote-author">— <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/explainlikeimfive/comments/3du1qm/eli5_why_is_it_so_controversial_when_someone_says/">GeekAesthete</a></p><!-- /quote-author --> </li> <li class="format-default"> <div class='slide-feature-image'> <a href="http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2015/06/27/support-matters/" title="Support Matters"> </a> </div> <!-- /.slide-feature-image --> <div class="slide-content-wrap"> <h3 class="slide-post-title"><a href="http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2015/06/27/support-matters/" title="Support Matters">Support Matters</a></h3> <div class="slide-excerpt default-content"> <p>137 of 509, or 27% of my Facebook friends, are publicly displaying their support for full equality, regardless of sexual orientation. That’s a huge percentage, even for an admittedly self-selected group of contacts, most of whom are highly likely to share my general beliefs.</p> </div> </div> <!-- /.slide-content-wrap --> </li> <li class="format-quote"> <div class='slide-feature-image'> <a href="http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2015/04/28/violence-never-solves-anything/" title="Violence Never Solves Anything?"> </a> </div> <!-- /.slide-feature-image --> <div class="slide-content-wrap"> <h3 class="slide-post-title"><a href="http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2015/04/28/violence-never-solves-anything/" title="Violence Never Solves Anything?">Violence Never Solves Anything?</a></h3> <div class="slide-excerpt quote-content"> <p>Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and their freedoms.</p> </div> </div> <!-- /.slide-content-wrap --> <!-- quote-author --><p class="quote-author">— <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17214.Starship_Troopers">Robert Heinlein</a></p><!-- /quote-author --> </li> <li class="format-quote"> <div class='slide-feature-image'> <a href="http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2015/04/08/on-being-a-good-person/" title="On Being a Good Person"> </a> </div> <!-- /.slide-feature-image --> <div class="slide-content-wrap"> <h3 class="slide-post-title"><a href="http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2015/04/08/on-being-a-good-person/" title="On Being a Good Person">On Being a Good Person</a></h3> <div class="slide-excerpt quote-content"> <p>In general, I think we need to move away from the premise that being a good person is a fixed immutable characteristic and shift towards seeing being good as a practice. And it is a practice that we carry out by engaging with our imperfections. We need to shift towards thinking that being a good person is like being a clean person. Being a clean person is something you maintain and work on every day.</p> </div> </div> <!-- /.slide-content-wrap --> <!-- quote-author --><p class="quote-author">— <a href="https://youtu.be/MbdxeFcQtaU">Jay Smooth</a></p><!-- /quote-author --> </li> <li class="format-quote"> <div class='slide-feature-image'> <a href="http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2015/03/25/geekdom/" title="Geekdom"> </a> </div> <!-- /.slide-feature-image --> <div class="slide-content-wrap"> <h3 class="slide-post-title"><a href="http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2015/03/25/geekdom/" title="Geekdom">Geekdom</a></h3> <div class="slide-excerpt quote-content"> <p>ZOMG YOU LOVE WHAT I LOVE COME WITH ME AND LET US LOVE IT TOGETHER.</p> </div> </div> <!-- /.slide-content-wrap --> <!-- quote-author --><p class="quote-author">— <a href="http://quoththeculture.tumblr.com/post/113449869345/many-people-believe-geekdom-is-defined-by-a-love">John Scalzi (via Quoth the Culture on Tumblr)</a></p><!-- /quote-author --> </li> <li class="format-quote"> <div class='slide-feature-image'> <a href="http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2015/02/24/without-women-the-story-doesnt-even-begin/" title="Without women, the story doesn’t even begin"> </a> </div> <!-- /.slide-feature-image --> <div class="slide-content-wrap"> <h3 class="slide-post-title"><a href="http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2015/02/24/without-women-the-story-doesnt-even-begin/" title="Without women, the story doesn’t even begin">Without women, the story doesn’t even begin</a></h3> <div class="slide-excerpt quote-content"> <p>But what the story really says, this story men made up to hold women down, is that women have the power to change the world. Women have the power to throw the world into chaos and they do it because the world as it is isn’t good enough.</p> </div> </div> <!-- /.slide-content-wrap --> <!-- quote-author --><p class="quote-author">— <a href="http://apriki.tumblr.com/post/111444093503/i-read-your-women-of-the-bible-ask-and-your-stuff">miccaeli miccaevelli</a></p><!-- /quote-author --> </li> <li class="format-default"> <div class='slide-feature-image'> <a href="http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2015/01/30/dvdblu-ray-conversion-with-text-soft-subs-on-mac-os-x/" title="DVD/Blu-Ray conversion with text soft subs on Mac OS X"> <img src='http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Movie-Rip-Workflow-220x160.png' alt='DVD/Blu-Ray conversion with text soft subs on Mac OS X' class='feature-img' width='220' height='160' /> </a> </div> <!-- /.slide-feature-image --> <div class="slide-content-wrap"> <h3 class="slide-post-title"><a href="http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2015/01/30/dvdblu-ray-conversion-with-text-soft-subs-on-mac-os-x/" title="DVD/Blu-Ray conversion with text soft subs on Mac OS X">DVD/Blu-Ray conversion with text soft subs on Mac OS X</a></h3> <div class="slide-excerpt default-content"> <p>Saved here for my own reference, and possibly others’ if they should stumble across it: the easiest workflow I’ve found yet for converting DVDs or Blu-Rays for personal use on OS X, including OCR conversion of subtitles in either VOBSUB (DVD) or PGS (Blu-Ray) format to text-based .srt files suitable for use as soft subs.</p> </div> </div> <!-- /.slide-content-wrap --> </li> <li class="format-default"> <div class='slide-feature-image'> <a href="http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2015/01/21/republicans-anachronistic-cartoon-monsters/" title="Republicans: Anachronistic Cartoon Monsters"> </a> </div> <!-- /.slide-feature-image --> <div class="slide-content-wrap"> <h3 class="slide-post-title"><a href="http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2015/01/21/republicans-anachronistic-cartoon-monsters/" title="Republicans: Anachronistic Cartoon Monsters">Republicans: Anachronistic Cartoon Monsters</a></h3> <div class="slide-excerpt default-content"> <p>At last night’s State of the Union, Republicans ‘basically refused to cheer for anything but straight white Christian businessmen.’</p> </div> </div> <!-- /.slide-content-wrap --> </li> <li class="format-default"> <div class='slide-feature-image'> <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/12/5200-days-in-space/383510/" title="Anonymous Astronauts"> </a> </div> <!-- /.slide-feature-image --> <div class="slide-content-wrap"> <h3 class="slide-post-title"><a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/12/5200-days-in-space/383510/" title="Anonymous Astronauts">Anonymous Astronauts</a></h3> <div class="slide-excerpt default-content"> <p>It’s a stunning achievement, and it’s completely ignored.</p> </div> </div> <!-- /.slide-content-wrap --> </li> <li class="format-default"> <div class='slide-feature-image'> <a href="http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2015/01/09/somebody-has-to-pay-for-free/" title="Somebody has to pay for ‘free’"> </a> </div> <!-- /.slide-feature-image --> <div class="slide-content-wrap"> <h3 class="slide-post-title"><a href="http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2015/01/09/somebody-has-to-pay-for-free/" title="Somebody has to pay for ‘free’">Somebody has to pay for ‘free’</a></h3> <div class="slide-excerpt default-content"> <p>I think Obama’s general idea is a good one, and I support it and the thinking behind it. I just wish I could be more optimistic that students in Washington would actually have a chance to take advantage of it.</p> </div> </div> <!-- /.slide-content-wrap --> </li> <li class="format-default"> <div class='slide-feature-image'> <a href="http://www.aboveavalon.com/notes/2015/1/8/selling-apple-watch" title="Trust"> </a> </div> <!-- /.slide-feature-image --> <div class="slide-content-wrap"> <h3 class="slide-post-title"><a href="http://www.aboveavalon.com/notes/2015/1/8/selling-apple-watch" title="Trust">Trust</a></h3> <div class="slide-excerpt default-content"> <p>There is a better than 50% chance that I’ll be ordering an Apple Watch on the day they’re added to the Apple Store.</p> </div> </div> <!-- /.slide-content-wrap --> </li> <li class="format-default"> <div class='slide-feature-image'> <a href="http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2015/01/07/default-human-being/" title="Default Human Being"> </a> </div> <!-- /.slide-feature-image --> <div class="slide-content-wrap"> <h3 class="slide-post-title"><a href="http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2015/01/07/default-human-being/" title="Default Human Being">Default Human Being</a></h3> <div class="slide-excerpt default-content"> <p>We need to realize that our concept of the ‘default human being’ is highly dependent upon our own culture and ingrained biases.</p> </div> </div> <!-- /.slide-content-wrap --> </li> </ul> </div> <!-- /#slider --> </div> <!-- /body --> <div id="footerwrap"> <footer id="footer" class="clearfix"> <div class="footer-widgets clearfix"> <div class="col3-1 first"> </div> <div class="col3-1 "> </div> <div class="col3-1 "> </div> </div> <!-- /.footer-widgets --> <div id="footer-logo"><a href="http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism" title="Eclecticism"><span>Eclecticism</span></a></div> <!-- /footer-logo --> <div class="footer-text clearfix"> <div class="one">© <a href="http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism">Eclecticism</a> 2015</div> <div class="two">Powered by <a href="http://wordpress.org">WordPress</a> • <a href="http://themify.me">Themify WordPress Themes</a></div> </div> <!-- /footer-text --> <p class="back-top"><a href="#header">↑ <span>Back to top</span></a></p> </footer> <!-- /footer --> </div> <!--/footerwrap --> </div> <!-- /pagewrap --> <!-- wp_footer --> <div style="display:none"> </div> <script type='text/javascript'> ///////////////////////////////////////////// // Slider ///////////////////////////////////////////// jQuery(window).load(function(){ var $footerSlider = jQuery('#footer-slider'); 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