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Rank Higher On Google

The process of trying to get your web site to rank highly on Google is not a complicated matter. It boils down to these three things: Page Titles, PageRank and Page Reputation.

Sure, there may be over one hundred factors in Google's algorithm. But you don't need to worry about that - just focus on these three things. It's these basics that will win the game every time.


Page Titles:

Pay a lot of attention to the titles of the pages you are trying to get ranked. don't target more than two or three keyword phrases. Worry about the proximity and prominence of the main keywords. By that, I mean put your more important words closer to the beginning of the title, in the right order, next to each other and make sure the target keywords are a high percentage (but not 100%) of all the words in the title.

As an example, I recently moved from #2 to #1 on Google for "wedding favors" for one of my web sites, and the only change I made was to my title tag. I was sitting there one day staring at all the titles of the Top 10 sites on Google. (I do this a lot. Some guys like to watch football - I like to watch Google. :-)

Anyway, I was thinking about the proximity of the major keywords, and I decided to make a move. The change I made was to swap the second and third phrase in the title so more of the words "wedding favors" were closer to the start of the title. Sure enough, about 48 hours later, I was #1. The next day, it was back to #2, but then a few days later it settled into #1 and has been there ever since.


PageRank:

PageRank has always been a core part of the Google algorithm. And despite the rumors that you often hear to the contrary, it still is. Indeed, it's one of their real differentiators - it's patented and no one else can use it. On other search engines, pure link popularity can carry the day. But on Google, to rank for competitive search terms, you need higher PageRank.

PageRank, as we discussed in Stomping the Search Engines, is calculated and stored offline and applied as part of the algorithm when searches are run. It used to be that the PageRank of each page was updated about monthly, but now I believe Google is moving towards more constant, less global updates.

Of course, the Google Toolbar can drive you nuts, particularly when it's not updated in a long time. But before the forum theorists can convince me that it's wrong or even deliberately misleading, someone would have to convince me why Google would want to store an additional 8 billion pieces of information just to confuse us.

I think not. But regardless, it doesn't matter. The fact is, you need higher PageRank, and the more the better. So don't sweat the details as you work to develop quality links from high PR sites.


Page Reputation:

As all Stompers know, Page Reputation refers to the keywords contained in the incoming anchor text of the text links pointing at your page. That is, Page Reputation is what the other web pages say your web page is about. If you want your site to rank for certain keywords, those words need to be in the blue underlined part (the anchor text) of your incoming text links.

That's all well and good, and fairly well known by now. But here's something else you should know. In analyzing the reputation of a page, Google considers what percentage of all incoming text links contain those keywords. And the key is how many of the links contain those keywords, not the density of those keywords compared to all the other words that are also in the links.

In other words, if a high percentage of all the incoming links contain those keywords, that is good. And if there are many other words contained in the links besides just those keywords, that is not bad. You see, to Google, the percentage of keywords in the backlinks is a ratio. The numerator is the number of times the keywords appear, and the denominator is not all the keywords that appear in backlinks. The denominator is the number of backlinks.

That said, you want as many of your backlinks as possible to contain your main targeted keywords. But itís ok to go after your other keywords at the same time.

In other words, you wonít "dilute" your Page Reputation if you include other words besides your keywords in the anchor text.


Important Final Thoughts:

One of the commonly misunderstood concepts in the relationship between PageRank and Page Reputation, is that there is none. By that, I mean two things. First, the links that provide PageRank and the backlinks that provide Page Repuation do not have to be the same links. And second, to rank highly for competitive search terms, you do not have to have a lot of links. You merely have to have PageRank and Page Reputation (and of course, the third factor - good page titles).

But you donít have to have a lot of links to have either a high PR or a good Page Reputation. For example, to get high PR, you could have a link from a high PR page. Or in a more common example, it could be a page on a high PR site.

Here is an example of this. On Google, search (without quotes) "florida dui lawyer". Notice that the #1 listing is badjocks.com.

There are many other lawyer sites (and legal directories) that have more links to their home pages. But the DUI lawyer section of badjocks.com is a relatively high PR site (PR 7), so that site section, linked off the home page is going to be high PR as well.

If you look up the backlinks on Yahoo (Google does not display backlinks very accurately anymore), you see that the #2 site, richardessen.com, has 623 backlinks, but that the #1 site, badjocks, has only 7 incoming links, and they are all from the same site. But the #2 site is a PR 5 to the badjock page with an expected PageRank of at least 6, given that it is linked off the home page of a PR 7 site.

So there you have it. Of course, to finish the analysis, itís worth noting that the other two main factors (title and reputation) both support this result as well. The title of the relevant badjocks page begins with Florida DUI Lawyers, and according to an Optilink analysis, the Page Reputation of that badjocks page is 100% "florida dui lawyers" Again, that means that 100% of the incoming links contain the words "florida dui lawyers".

As a result, badjocks is probably raking in AdSense revenue for a competitive search phrase, with few other incoming links, and beats out an actual Florida DUI lawyer with over 600 backlinks.

By the way, you may have noticed that there are three other high PR sites that merely have a DUI lawyer section in the Google Top 10: phpnuke.org, realstupidnews.com and caldiatech.com. Of course, none of these sites are "relevant" for DUI lawyers, but these sections on otherwise high PR sites are dominating.

Notice also that on Yahoo, richardessen.com, with its much higher link popularity, ranks higher than all four of these other non-lawyer sites. No surprise there.


Conclusion:

When you hear all the advice to not get hung up on PageRank, I agree. Don't get hung up on anything. But if you want to rank higher on Google, forget the fine points and go back to the fundamentals. As they say, keep it simple.

Until next time,

Keep on Stompin'

. . .

© 2004 Brad Fallon
Chief Stomper
www.instantseoexpert.com




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