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The Current World of Search Engine Ranking

The search engine positioning paradigm has changed. Switch to the new methods to get top positioning.

In a previous article, I used the example of a link campaign against President George Bush that has resulted in his White House biography being ranked number one in Google for the keyword failure. Note that the word doesn't even occur on the page or in the meta tags, yet that page gets the number one position for that keyword!

I have a client who changed domain names, so effectively, after years of operation and promotion of the earlier Web site, they now have a new site. They've been very slow to get Google page rank, and they are getting very little search engine traffic, after more than ten months. I've done everything to optimize their pages for their important key words--text has been carefully written with keyword frequency and keyword prominence. The title, description and keyword meta tags have been tweaked to perfection. Alt tags have the key phrase. The site should be drawing traffic, but it's not.

On this particular site, I ran an expert system that I use to assess page position. This system looks at the top five pages for a keyword, and uses what it finds to compare to the page you're interested in. In this case, the expert system told me that there was nothing on the page that could be done; the top five pages had their position because of factors that were "off page"; that is, links.

It used to be the case that I did "off page" work as a supplement to the on-page tuning. The off-page work got the site page rank and status overall; but the real work was on the page. Things today appear to have more or less reversed. The links to your page are now so important that a relatively small number of them can outweigh the effect of everything you do on the page. And there's another important feature, too--the link text of the links that point to your site are important, as illustrated by the failure example.

Since making this discovery for one client, I've evaluated the situation for several other clients, too, and I've found that although they had a reasonable number of links, and they had good page rank, they need to have more links with important keywords in the link text. So my focus with several of my clients now will be on "off-page" activities, to get them more incoming links with important keywords in the link text.

Don't get me wrong, it's still important to do the on-page work; but now, in addition, it's very important to have incoming links with important keywords in the link text.

Because of the well-known "Google sandbox", that delays the recognition of new features, the campaign to get incoming links should be the first thing undertaken to improve your search engine ranking. Find a couple of hundred link candidates, put them on your site and send them emails asking for a link back. In a few weeks, remove the ones that haven't linked back and add a few hundred more. Be sure to ask you linking partners to put an important keyword into the link text associated with each link.

The Bottom Line: Start your search engine optimization with linking, and be sure to get important keywords into the link text.

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Dave Roberts provides expert Web marketing services to help you meet your business goals. Subscribe to his newsletter at: WebMarketingAdvantage


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