Google Optimization - The Magic Bullet

by Mike Levin SEO & Datamaster, 10/24/2005

Recently, a long-time friend asked me how to get into Google, and I emailed him my reply. Everyone in SEO gives out their particular advice in order to bolster their reputation and generate leads. If you like the advice I give here, link to me. I mention factors that other SEO pro’s use, but would never mention for fear of giving away too much. It’s things that blogging software does automatically, but which is much too labor-intensive and outside the normal Web design, but those who wish to be hyper-competitive in SEO would be well advised to not dismiss.

The common wisdom is that Google looks at about 100 factors, and the art is in knowing which of these factors is most important. Well, there are only a few, and 50% of what you need to accomplish in the case of Google is the part that’s easier said than done. And that’s garnering links from others “in your space” who already have a high PageRank. Securing a listing in the Yahoo directory is always the first step in this regard. The other 50% is on-site optimization factors, and more directly under your control. Doing all the recommendations is nearly impossible for all but the cleverest Webmasters and IT people. Blogging software does a lot of it automatically, and is part of what gives it almost an unfair advantage in site optimization. Anyway, here is the question and response on what’s most important in optimizing for Google…

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Mike,

Long time no see (or hear!) I hope you’re doing well.

I have been hard at work on a web site that I would love to have your advice and input on. Check out http://www.techs-end.com/.

My question is–how do I get my site and in particular my articles to appear on google? I have registered the site weeks ago and have even made the change so I have search friendly URLs yet I get nothing on google.

Thoughts on the site?

Love to hear from you. Send an email or give me a call. We can catch up.

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Hi Mark,

Great hearing from you. Sorry for the delay in responding. There has been a big update in Google. Search on techs end. You will see that you are in the index. But being in the index is, of course, not enough. That’s just the starting point in competing over the search hit traffic. Yes, there is a magic bullet, but it’s usually difficult to implement for IT-reasons. Here it is…

#1. Get rid of the redirect on the main homepage. You have 3 homepage URLs: http://www.techs-end.com/worx/ http://www.techs-end.com/Worx/ http://www.techs-end.com/Worx/component/option,com_frontpage/Itemid,1/

This is the kiss of death, because people don’t know how to link to you, and the long hard climb to accumulating PageRank is undermined. Homepage URLs should be http://www.techs-end.com/ and nothing else. That way, people who like your site are totally clear on how to link to you. Content has the best chance of grabbing that first page search hit if it’s on a high PR site.

#2. Implement a really good tracking system that will let you examine every search hit. That’s where most of the competitive intelligence for SEO comes from. Look at my blog homepage to see how closely I follow my search hit data. If someone is finding you on page 10 of Google on a happenstance term, write specifically about it to bolster that under performing term, and hopefully bring you onto page 1. RegEx’ing your log files provides the most power. Knowing what to write about in order to assure success beforehand is half the battle.

#3. Make sure every page has a main topic. Make that main topic into the URL, headline, title tag, and the “permalink” tag (in your case, the “read more” link). This is the weakest link in the chain principle. Each page takes a sniper-like shot at getting the traffic on one particular arrangement of words. If all elements line up just so, you can grab a portion of that traffic. If you diminish even some of the factors, competition can shut you out.

#4. Ensure you have a mechanism that gets off-page links back to this page on that same topic. TypePad uses prev/next arrows. Blogger uses “last 10 posts”. You need something like that. Internal link structure is the unsung hero of SEO and can compensate even for a low PR if the search is in the “long tail”. (Google the term “long tail” to get the reference).

#5. Make sure that the most important pages you’re trying to build traffic for remain only 1-click off the main homepage. Every page in your site should technically be no more than 3 clicks off the main homepage. Sitemaps are a good way of accomplishing this. Google sitemaps also help.

#6. Keep the content flowing, and the new in-bound links flowing. The recent Google patents revealed (as I always suspected), they pay particular attention to the rate at which things happens. This is both on-site factors (releasing new content) and off-site factors (new inbound links).

Yes, it’s a magic bullet, but it’s one complex gun. All these are equally important, and doing one without the others can keep the traffic ROI from ever occurring. You have to put a pretty concerted effort into SEO for it to pay off.

Of course, there’s always AdWords.

Hope all is well. Feel free to send follow-up questions.

Regards,

Mike Levin Connors Communications Vice President, Interactive 30W 21st St, New York, NY http://www.connors.com/