A little flavour of what's in store...

Friday, June 13, 2008

Google's Biggest Secret? SEO article

As our regular readers will know, sometimes I get an idea of an SEO article and write about it here. My theme for today is Google's big secret?

Let me start by telling you a little tale (abreviated version) - man designs new website offering car turntable quotes - registers new domain for website - submits website url to Google by hand - writes two blog articles on established blog pointing to website - submits Google Site Map - One day later is surprised to see website at position 1 and 4 on Google when searching for Car Turntables.

What's wrong with this 'picture'? Well in theory, it shouldn't have come anywhere near the top of the Google listings. New site so no age, no text/copy on website - very much a visit and click affair, so why the high ranking?

Everything you read about SEO is based on theories and assumptions - of that I am now convinced. You'll read about good inbound links (nothing wrong with those but have you tried to get another site to link to you without a backwards link?) It isn't easy and consumes vast amounts of time for little reward.

Tried to get listed on DMOZ? I've had several goes and am now convinced that this dinosaur is past its sell by date. Great if you can get on it apparently but have you tried? I think the only way may be to sign up as a moderator of submissions!

Content is King and always will be? Well that theory went out the window with my car turntable site didn't it?

Complicated sums of 'x' amount of keywords to 'x' amount of text within a page or the first paragraph? Again my little Turntable site blows that out of the water.

Sure all the above will help (won't they?) but the truth is even more disturbing....

If you search for something (everythings popular these days) you'll get 1 result of 120,000,000 etc returned. That's an awful lot of matches. Put it another way - if we're all doing the right things (or not) and many of us are, then how can we all be on first page positions? Think of the top position as being shared with the first 200 results - literally.

Of course this gives Google a massive problem - who to put at the top. That's why they shake the listings up - just to serve 'fresh' page 1 content. You haven't done anything wrong if you suddenly fall of the first page - Google's simply moving things around for a bit - they'll move back eventually. Best not to change too much in case you really damage your 'ranking'.

Remember the story about the guy who thought his router settings had changed because he couldn't get an Internet connection? He spent days altering his settings etc before finally giving up and spending large amounts on a help line.

The problem had been a short time-out at the exchange - it had been working but his altering his settings had made him be off line for days! If only he'd left his settings well alone.

An example of this phasing in and out of the Google 'time continuem' is a friends hawk logging website - he gets months of activity and new members and then it goes quiet for a month or two. Seems he's not on first page during those quiet periods. He doesn't change anything but guess where he 're-appears' when he starts getting traffic again? Yep!

I have another little theory - want to hear it? Well I think that when you suddenly introduce a new inward link - perhaps a directory or social site (we'll talk more about that in a minute)it wakes Google up so to speak. Google spiders this new link that wasn't there before and thinks "hmmm - a new link to an established site - are they shifting focus of their content? I'll watch them for a bit but better take them down a few pages - I notice they've been there a few months now".

It's not really that far-fetched - of that I'm convinced or some such scenario plays out along those lines.

I promised a word on social bookmarking and social sites. These I think can affect your ranking - If your site gets a lot of traffic - regular (and from the same people, the better) then this does lend weight to your site being an authority.

Why else would all those people keep coming back to your site? leaving comments and spending time on your site? Must be an important site! We'd better put it higher up on any matching searches.

I'm a big fan of social networking - we're on several sites and a few more specialist ones - they all take time to nurture and expand - its not a quick fix - but I really believe this one factor will start to influence Google's rankings more and more. Why not? After all, we can't all be number one and even the SEO crowd acknowledge there's only so far you can take meta tags, content and inbound links.

I'm off to social bookmark some more - why not try it? If you have a website or a blog, whether you make your living online (where traffic is crucial to success) or you do it for fun/hobby, then you are already half way there.

Here at Fabulous Photo Gifts - we get lots of comments from people congratulating us on how often our blog or social bookmarking shows up on blog search and the regular searches. That's one more visitor than last time and all it's cost you is a little time on a regular basis.

Back to our original example of the car turntable quote website - remember that achieved position 1 and 4 on Google with just a few metatags, a google sitemap and a couple of blog articles.

Google's Big Secret? there isn't one really - just hype. By all means try the alternatives, get mixed results, find out what works best for your content. I'm not saying my realisations are correct or even close, but it's spooky how a site that flies in the face of ALL the thinking of the day, did so well.

I think people have talked up' the Google mysterious algorithms - a modern myth. As I said earlier, if we're all doing it so 'right', how can we all be failing so badly? We're not - it's just there isn't room on the winners podium for 200+ winners.

About the author:
Jonathan Crouch is Technical Partner at Fabulous Photo Gifts - personalised photo gifts company based in Derbyshire, UK. When he's not helping with the day to day aspects of the business or social bookmarking, he writes the odd SEO article. Feel free to agree / disagree / mention your own successes/findings contrary or otherwise.


Mike said...

Thank you for the tips. I never was able to get listed on DMZ and I have 17 blogs. Oh well.

Brate said...

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