Chasing the Search Engines’
. . . Should you or shouldn’t you?
By Robin Nobles
It’s a common occurrence. SEOs often spend countless hours trying to
“break” a search engine’s algorithm.
“If I could just crack Google’s algo, my pages would soar to the top
of the rankings!”
Let’s look at some flaws in this way of thinking.
the Google engineers and tech folks turning the algo dial as soon as you
“think” you have “cracked” the algo. Your rankings may fall, and
you would have to figure out what’s working with the engine right now.
In other words, your rankings may never be long
of spending all of this time trying to impress a search engine with a
perfect page, why not impress your true target audience . . . your
customers. Has Google, MSN, or Yahoo Search ever bought anything from you?
They’re not your target audience. Your customers
are your target audience. Write your pages and content for them.
you expend so much of your energy chasing algorithms, you often focus on
only a few elements that influence ranking – those elements that are
working right now and that you hope will give your pages the best chance
for success. It is said that Google has over 100 ranking elements that
influence ranking and relevancy. Some are more important than others. But
focusing on just one or two “main” elements and discounting the rest
can prove disastrous to a Web site.
A different approach . . .
Wouldn’t you rather achieve top rankings and keep them
there, and have those rankings equate to sales and money in your back pocket?
After all, isn’t it ultimately the sales you’re
after, as opposed to just the rankings? If those rankings don’t equate to
traffic that equates to sales, you lose, any way you look at it.
Five Basic Steps for Achieving Top Rankings without
about the search engines. Yes, you heard me correctly. The search engines
aren’t and never will be your “ideal target audience.” They don’t
buy your goods and services. They’re not who you should be trying to
please with your Web pages and site. Instead, write your Web page content
for your target audience.
ever forget the basics. No matter what’s happening in the algorithms,
continue using your main keyword phrase prominently in your title tag,
META description and keyword tags, link text, heading tags, and so forth.
That way, when the algo dial is turned, you won’t have to make changes
to all of your pages. You’ll always be ready.
your keyword-containing tags and body text on one keyword phrase only.
Each page should be focused on one keyword phrase, and each page should
have its own unique tags.
well-crafted content for your Web pages, and add new content on a regular
basis. If content is king, context is queen. Focus on your keyword phrase,
synonyms and related words, and surrounding text. Use a program like ThemeMaster
if you need help determining those supporting words.
that both on-page and off-page factors are important. Don’t sacrifice
one for the other. On-page factors are your tags, body text, prominence,
relevance, etc. Off-page factors are link popularity (quality and number
of your inbound links) and link reputation (what those inbound links
“say” about your Web page when they link to you).
What about search engine research? Isn’t it important?
Let me give you an example. At the beginning of this
year, pages began falling out of Google’s index. The forums were alive with
speculation and what to do about it.
Through research, we determined this was a compliancy
The solution? Make sure you use a DOCTYPE tag and an ISO
statement at the top of every Web page.
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0
<META HTTP-EQUIV=content-type CONTENT="text/html;
If you didn’t know about the compliancy issues, you
could have made changes to your Web pages that didn’t need to be made,
wasted countless hours trying this or that, all to come up dry.
Research helps to make sure you remain on top of what’s
happening in the search engine industry. It’s what sets you apart from other
SEOs. You make your decisions based on research and facts, versus speculation
In Conclusion . . .
it from someone who has been in this business for nine years
studies the algorithms closely - don't chase the algorithms. You say that you
have a #2 ranking for a certain keyword phrase that alone is bringing your
site 550 visitors per day? Great. In the time that you have spent gaining that
ranking, I have written 285 pages of unique content, obtained 821 links, etc.,
and collectively I am getting over 1,300 visitors per day,” says Jerry West
certainly couldn’t have said it any better myself!
Robin Nobles teaches 2-, 3-, and 5-day hands-on search engine marketing workshops in locations across the globe as well as online courses
in SEO. They have opened the first networking community for SEOs called The Workshop Resource Center for Search Engine Marketers, and they have expanded their workshops to Europe with Search Engine Workshops UK.
Copyright 2004-2005 Robin Nobles. All rights reserved.
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