Monday, May 7, 2007/
After I realised that ‘content’ was all search engines were interested in, the next step seemed a lot easier.
How to win the search engine lottery
Last post, I spoke about how to think about a search engine and what it’s looking for. “Content” and code is all it can see. Google and the other engines have a pretty fandangle way of reconstructing your website to know exactly what the content is about.
Let me share with you what I learnt about how to make the search engine find your site more often.
Once I realised this whole engine was looking for content, I decided to test what content it saw and what it thought was important. I will use an example here to make it easier to follow.
Let’s say you were in the finance business and you were optimising for the words “credit card”. It’s a really competitive market because there is a lot of money in it for the credit card providers. So what kind of content are the engines looking for when they look for a website about credit cards?
How to figure out what Google is looking for in your topic area
To rank highly for the keywords “credit card” it’s important to broaden your content to include words in semantically related fields. What are these? Well, if you put a tilde (~) in front of your keyword in Google it will show you websites that are related to the word you searched for.
You can see from these results that keywords that are related to the word credit card are bolded.
Bank, American Express, Visa, Payment and Mastercard are all words related to the keyword credit card.
If you wanted to get technical – why the semantically related fields are important is because Google bought a company with a LSI algorithm and integrated it into its spider to make results more relevant. Basically an LSI algorithm finds words that are related to each other and tells you what words should be around what.
What about the search engine lottery?
I call the search engine marketing game a lottery, because one day one of your pages ranks number one, but the next day a different one does. You never know which one is going to be the winner.
In order to win this whole search engine lottery you need to create a lot of content. Write content for what the engines expect to see in your topic. Figure out the related areas and pump out those pages. The easiest way to do that is to make a blog about your topics area and cover all the parts about it or build a resources / articles section on your website.
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Sharyn Hall from dog-e-treats.com writes: I still don’t get it! Our ‘builder’ did the meta tag thing and I paid good dollars for ‘Google Ad Words’ (had maybe one conversion in two years!) then another website business said that because we use ‘flash’ on the home page we were not going to get ‘read’ by the spider!!
We like our site the way it is, so didn’t change it and now don’t pay Google relying on word of mouth and repeat business… the figures are only marginally better but not worse.
Question 1… is there a magic wand?
Question 2…how come all those SPAMmers out there manage to get their spiders to read so well?
Fred replies: First, I love the idea of your website. It’s a great niche. Thank you for the questions, here are some initial answers.
Answer 1. There is no magic wand although there are steps you can take to immediately fix this issue. Answer 2 will solve this.
Answer 2. This is currently what Google can see of your website.
As you can see, there isn’t any text to read. I would strongly advise you add some text below your flash image of your website to draw in the search engines so that they can index you. Perhaps two or three paragraphs with keywords that are related to your market.
Do you have a list of the keywords for your market from your builder?
The second thing is you have a page rank for your homepage but no page rank for your internal pages. I love this product by the way.
So what I recommend is you create a sitemap and just link to it at the bottom of your homepage, and then just link to all your subpages in your sitemap. This will be your magic wand. It will take around two to three weeks to sort through Google.