Search Engine Rankings

It is getting harder and harder to rank on Google. Competition is fierce, especially on very common keywords. The trick is to find key phrases that people search for, but with little competition. If you are an Adwords customer, use the keyword tool there. It is, however easier to get ranked on Bing.

There are two key components to get a site ranked well on search engines:

1 – Quality, often updated content

2- Links from other related sites

That’s about it.

Title Keywords v.s. URL Keywords

The title is what search engines usually see and consider first. So it is important to have a descriptive, keyword focused title. Say your site is about landscaping in Grimsby, Ontario. Your title could be something like this:

Landscape Contractor in Grimsby, Ontario | Back Yards in Grimsby, ON

Now, here’s a great SEO tip especially using WordPress:

Google considers the title and keywords in the URL separately. Usually, WordPress creates the filename using the article title you selected. But you can change it. So if your article is

How To Plant Trees in your Back Yard

The file name would be:

yourdomain/how-to-plant-trees-in-your-back-yard

Change the filename to be:

planting-your-trees-in-grimsby-ontario.

Added keywords!

I.

 

Exact Match Keyword Domains

Exact Match Keyword Domains

There is much debate on this topic. Lately “experts” have stated that Google penalize sites with exact matching domains. For example, OHIOMEDICAIDAPPLICATION.COM is such a domain. This is one of my sites and is targeted to exactly the domain keywords. And it works. For a couple of reasons – it is a “readable” domain. I find that people will click on search engine listings with a readable, matching domain to their search. And in spite of what “they” say – Google indexes these domains and sites well. Even better, Bing likes matching domains – probably more so than Google.

However, if you are simply creating a domain for this purpose and the domain is not readable like get-payday-loans-now.com will probably be penalized and also not clicked on even if it does show up.

Bottom line – spammy domains and sites won’t do you any good. Clean, credible and keyword matching domains will do you a LOT of good. Of course, the site’s content also needs to be top notch and unique.

I.

 

Ranking in Bing/Yahoo and NOT Google?

Would you like to be on the first page of 30% of the searches
v.s nowhere on 70% of the searches?

We all try to rank in Google. The big G is king of the search engines. They now dictate how websites should look, behave, linked to – what type of content, what NOT to do, how fast it should load, size of images and so forth. In fact, they are using hard-core scare tactics to force people to make their sites the Google way – through their Webmaster tools (WMT) amongst other Google services. This is, on the surface a great tool to have Google monitor your site for deficiencies. But the cost is that they track every aspect of your site. And if they find anything that is not up to G’s standards, they let you know and you “must” fix it or else lose your rankings.

I respect and understand their goals. They want the Internet to be perfect. All sites should be just perfect. Then they will index them. If a site is not up to G’s standards, they will penalize. I also understand this is the way it is. And although reluctantly – I go along with most of it. We have to, as long as Google gets the majority of searches.

I have been in this business pretty well since the first web site came on line in 1991 and in my opinion, G is becoming a totalitarian force – and it is getting out of hand. They want to have total control all web sites. So much for the “open and free” internet.

It’s G’s way or the highway.  It has also created a slew of scammy services out there that pray on these scare tactics and offer to “fix” the problem. Search engine optimizers will “analyze” your sites (for free) and find all sorts of things wrong with it. I can play that game too, it’s easy. Based on some loose standard.

For example, if WMT flags a inbound link as “bad” there are a slew of companies out there who will, for hefty fees attempt to have other webmasters remove these links or change the code to disavow links. Or they could run speed checks and if the speed score from some random speed check site shows below a certain range they will offer to optimize sites to increase speed.

Google’s Page Speed Test

iWebtools

BTW – microsoft.com shows a 1.03 second load time and a PS of 69. Some of the top sites in the world (as per Alexa.com) have a PS anywhere from 60-95 and load times from 0.1 up to 1.5 seconds. The top listing for NY lawyers (jaroslawiczandjaros.com) has a PS of 66 and a load speed of 0.32. It’s all over the place, and yet they are indexed on Google.  All our sites have a load time of less than 0.4 seconds.

Google has created a whole industry. Based on scare tactics. It’s really great! And I am tempted to start analyzing sites and promote fixes.

FYI – to speed up sites – the number 1 culprit for slow sites are images. You need to have images on the site that is less than say 5KB. In addition, pages with a lot of little images like bullets, link-images and so forth – they all add up.

Anyway, I am ranting.

What about Bing/Yahoo? Google is slowly losing overall search volume. There are signs out there that I am not the only one that sees this trend and are acting on it. For example, Apple Makes Bing The “Default Search Engine” For Siri.

And Google’s search volume “flat”, Bing continues gains. This has been the trend for a while.

So with Bing/Yahoo having 30% of the search market and growing, why not optimize sites for Bing? I can tell you it’s a LOT easier to get rankings on Bing than Google. The methods are somewhat different, Bing puts weight on different things than Google. For example, Bing relies heavily on anchor texts to validate a link to a site. In addition, Bing seems to like links from forums and directories, which Google these days seems to hate. And finally, Bing likes domain names matching the keywords of the site. Google used to, not so much any more.

Let’s look at a real life example:

I have a site www.headlinenewsonline.com I use as a test bed and link source for various projects. The search term headline news is searched for 301,000 times a month according to Google. Searching in Google, it shows 547,000,000 results, and my site is in the middle of page 2.

Bing shows 63,100,000 results and my site is #2 right below CNN and getting clicks.

Looking through the stats for the hundreds of sites I manage I see Bing growing as the search engine providing visitors to the sites. And that’s what we want, no?

I say we SEO as best we can in general, have fresh content, good keywords and leaning towards Bing’s standards and let Google do whatever they want. I’ll take what I can get from  the 30% of the searches I have a little more control over.

But that’s just my opinion.

Ingvar.