Is the importance of backlinks highly overrated?

50 replies
  • SEO
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I have been wondering about this some in view of some sites that I have seen lately (including one of my own site pages) where site pages with very limited incoming links if any at all outrank sites with many more incoming links.

Is it possible for me to post my site page and another page that mine outranked for further analysis?

I mean my site is in my signature so posting within the post is not meant to get more traffic to my site. I really just want to analyze why my page, which I did no SEO stuff on at all and which has absolutely no incoming links to, outranked a Sitepoint web site page which on the surface should have ranked much higher.

Carlos
#backlinks #highly #importance #overrated
  • Profile picture of the author rbecgolf
    Could be one has great keyword saturation and the other has none.
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    • Profile picture of the author carlos123
      Rather than discussing things in the dark which I am really not enthused about doing can I post links to the two respective pages?

      Trust me when I say that my web site page, while well written, is nothing to speak of SEO.

      But it's pretty useless to discuss this further without pointing to the actual pages.

      Carlos
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  • Profile picture of the author carlos123
    Just a tid bit more.

    Both pages are on the same subject area. Both pages are about as long as the other (mine is a bit longer I think). My page credibility is next to zero when compared to Sitepoint.

    The Sitepoint page has 28 inbound links (26 are internal from their own domain). Mine has two inbound links both of which are from my domain.

    In theory I should not be able to beat the Sitepoint page but I am and I am trying to wrap my head around why. I mean if inbound links are so incredibly important my page rank should not rank higher.

    Could the relative importance of inbound links be one of those sacred SEO cows that might not be all that it is cut out to be?

    Carlos
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    • Profile picture of the author Kurt
      Originally Posted by carlos123 View Post

      Just a tid bit more.

      Both pages are on the same subject area. Both pages are about as long as the other (mine is a bit longer I think). My page credibility is next to zero when compared to Sitepoint.

      The Sitepoint page has 28 inbound links (26 are internal from their own domain). Mine has two inbound links both of which are from my domain.

      In theory I should not be able to beat the Sitepoint page but I am and I am trying to wrap my head around why. I mean if inbound links are so incredibly important my page rank should not rank higher.

      Could the relative importance of inbound links be one of those sacred SEO cows that might not be all that it is cut out to be?

      Carlos
      Two points:

      1) The links you describe are "internal links", not "inbound links".

      2) No one ever says this (but me), but the greatest SEO lesson you'll ever learn is it's all about numbers. By this, I mean build a bunch of sites, blogs pages, etc about related keywords. If Google says it has 1,000,000 pages with "keywords", how many of those are your's?

      Algo's change all the time and IMO, Google uses more than one algo. Use common-sense SEO and get "numbers".
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  • Profile picture of the author utproducts
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    • Profile picture of the author Stella_Roberts
      Originally Posted by qkz283 View Post

      • The quality of the links is more important than the quantity.
      • New sites may rank high at the beginning, then adjust.
      • Your page may have better on page optimization.
      • Domains only carry so much power. For example, it is moderately easy to outrank Wikipedia or EzineArticles.
      • Your pages PR has nothing to do with how well it will rank.
      • It depends on the keywords - and other factors; just go ahead and post the pages.
      Totally agree with him here. Nothing more could i say. Very practical and honest reasons mentioned above.
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  • Profile picture of the author Vincent Cheng
    Originally Posted by carlos123 View Post

    I have been wondering about this some in view of some sites that I have seen lately (including one of my own site pages) where site pages with very limited incoming links if any at all outrank sites with many more incoming links.

    Is it possible for me to post my site page and another page that mine outranked for further analysis?

    I mean my site is in my signature so posting within the post is not meant to get more traffic to my site. I really just want to analyze why my page, which I did no SEO stuff on at all and which has absolutely no incoming links to, outranked a Sitepoint web site page which on the surface should have ranked much higher.

    Carlos
    Hi Carlos,

    I would personally suggest you to work on the Social Media traffic (like Facebook and Twitter) versus SEO traffic, as SMO traffic and incoming links will also give you a viral word of mouth and thus getting more incoming links without you having to post the links yourself. Its a great leverage tool.
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    • Profile picture of the author carlos123
      Thanks for the additional input you all.

      I guess I won't be able to discuss the actual pages then (not sure why no one has commented on my that part of my question as to whether I can actually post links for more careful analysis and discussion...to the benefit of all).

      I mispoke what I said by the way. The Sitepoint page has 28 inbound links of which only 22 are internal. The other 6 are from external sources.

      So their 6 external, inbound links to my zero .

      Still doesn't make sense to me.

      I've been kinda wondering lately if anyone actually does any reverse engineering (emphasis on engineering) of SEO principles to see if they hold any water. I mean there are so many opinions around about SEO. One person says this...another says that and people like me end up wondering who is telling the truth or best reflecting what Google actually does.

      One thing seems certain.

      If inbound, external links do not explain why one page ranks higher than another page of more or less equal value otherwise then there must be something else at play in why Google ranks one above another.

      Maybe just good ol' content? Where one page is better written than another. Kinda throws a lot of SEO stuff out the window I think. I mean to contemplate the possibility that good SEO is just...well...mainly writing good content.

      You know someone on this forum said to me a few days ago that inbound, external links are 80% while content is 20% SEO. When they said that I thought to myself...who says? No disrespect intended toward the person who said that but where did the 80/20 percentile come from?

      Could it not be 60/40 or even 20/80 the other way? Does anyone even know or are we all just guessing?

      Carlos
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      • Profile picture of the author Kurt
        Originally Posted by carlos123 View Post


        Could it not be 60/40 or even 20/80 the other way? Does anyone even know or are we all just guessing?

        Carlos
        Hi Carlos,

        We are all guessing, which is my point in my first post.

        Again, everyone just passes over what I said, including you. I've posted the same concept many times, and it isn't just you.

        We do have educated guesses, but that's it.

        Now the question is, if no one really knows, what is the best course of action? IMO, it's to create as many sites and pages as possible, covering as many aspects of reasonable SEO as possible.

        Unlike other SEOers, I've never been one to focus on one element of SEO. Instead, I try to make some pages/sites that mix up on-page SEO concepts, others that focus on linking, and others that are a combo of both.

        I don't care want the exact algo is, the goal is to have as many flavors as possible.

        What you are doing here is the classic "why ask why"...Which everyone does. But in reality, in this time it takes to make this post, you could have created a Squidoo lens with a slightly different SEO "formula".

        Don't worry yourself about the minor details with SEO, you'll drive yourself crazy. Instead, be productive and use SEO basics in a wide variety of combinations.
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        • Profile picture of the author Joe118
          Originally Posted by Kurt View Post

          Hi Carlos,

          ...

          Now the question is, if no one really knows, what is the best course of action? IMO, it's to create as many sites and pages as possible, covering as many aspects of reasonable SEO as possible.
          Guys Kurt just gave you the keys to the kingdom. Do not make just one site and try to optimize it, make many and do a little (or a lot) for each site. Some will be winners and some will be stinkers.

          Additional advantage to having many sites: you can build your own link empire. You gain more control over your numbers...
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  • Profile picture of the author TrafficGuy Claude
    Backlinks are NOT overrated and they are really the main focus of any SEO campaign. However, there are other things that come into play when we look at how we "think" Google ranks. If a website with fewer backlinks than you is outranking you it could be because of any of the following:

    • Better OnPage Optimization - If their website has better onpage SEO than they'll almost always outrank you if you both have a similar off page optimization and domain name keywords and age.
    • Domain Name Age - An older domain will oftentimes rank really well. If your main money site is a new site only registered for a year only, time will age it but, when it comes time to renew secure a 10 year registration block. This shows Google that you plan to keep this site for a long time, and Google is well aware of the investment that registration block takes. It will be money well spent, trust me.
    • Domain Name Has Target Keyword In It - Internetmarketing.com will most often always out rank mymoneyblog.com for the term "internet marketing" if both websites have similar On and Off Page SEO.
    • Higher # Of High Page Rank InLinks - A website with more high value "votes" coming in will oftentimes out rank a website with more backlinks coming from lower PR sites
    • Higher # Of .Gov or .Edu InLinks - Google assigns greater weight to EDU and GOV sites and your competitor may have some of these links
    • Quality Of Backlinks Better Targeted Anchor Text Wise - A site with good anchor text linking will almost always outshine a site with poor anchor text linking strategies even if the later has more inlinks. If you're trying to rank for "cooking" then most of your links should look like this: Cooking and not Click Here or http://www.yoursite.com
    • Website May Be DMOZ Listed - If you can get in the Open Directory Project your rankings will increase overnight, I've seen it happen before. It takes a long time to get in there though, the best way is to pay $299 and get listed in the Yahoo Directory first, then apply to DMOZ. Make sure your website is 100% complete and working properly with valid HTML before submitting to DMOZ.
    • More InLinks From Related Sites Or Better Link Neighborhoods - If your competitor has most of their links coming from other niche related websites and most of yours are coming from Web 2.0 websites or Article Directories your site will be outranked. Google knows how hard it is to get other webmasters to give you a one-way backlink, instead of a reciprocal link, from their site and they value these links more than other sites where its possible for you to add your own backlinks to it, ex. Hubpages, Squidoo, EzineArticles, etc..
    • More Varied And Natural Backlink profile: If your competitor has varied anchor text and inlinks of various PR strength and not of all their links are 100% targeted from only high PR domains, they will look more natural and outrank you if all of your links are coming in only from social media sites, or directories, or article sites, or social bookmarking sites.
    I'd suggest you use Mozilla Firefox and use the SEO Plugin called SEOQuake to get a look at all of this data at a glance:

    SeoQuake - seo toolbar, plugin, seo extension for Mozilla Firefox

    Also put your main competitors website in here: Yahoo Site Explorer

    That way you can see where they are getting all their links from and you can do likewise.
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  • Profile picture of the author carlos123
    Thanks for the input TrafficGuyClaude...but, in all honesty I think my page that is outranking Sitepoint's page flunks on most of what you said.

    One month old web site. No inbound external links of any kind to the page in question. No related keyword in domain name at all. No dmoz listing. You name it. My page flunks as far as I can tell. Other than perhaps in the quality of the content. That's all I can see as being better in my humble opinion.

    Kinda tough to discuss in the dark though. Can I post a link to my page or not?

    Should I change my signature to point to my page in question if I can't post it in the actual post body? I mean I don't care...I just want help analyzing the why is all.

    Carlos
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  • Profile picture of the author zuluranger
    Backlink is a major factor of ranking in SEs. Of course, there are other factors which are not revealed by SEs.

    Backlink is a number game. In theory, the more backlinks your page gets the higher ranking it enjoys. It is not accurate to judge based on number of links because even Yahoo don't show all the links. The number of links should be used as a guide only.

    Referring to your case carlos123, It is true that some pages with a few backlinks outrank those with many backlinks. But can the ranking last? If you are using competitive keywords, it is just a matter of time before someone take over your ranking.

    I used to rank a profitable keywords for almost a year but I stop building links. Today it drops to 60-70 in SERPs. Of course, the revenue drops significantly.

    As for me, I put my links almost every place - web 2.0, blogs, bookmarks, article directories. Then I check my ranking every week. If I can't get my page ranked after 4 to 6 weeks then I will look at my competitors' backlink strategies. There are several tools that you can use like Market Samurai, SEO Elite, Web Comp Analyst or Traffic Travis. Look for pattern like PR, anchor text, content of the page that contains backlinks etc.

    See what are the differences of the linking strategy between them and yours. This can help you in better formulating an effective link building strategy. As Howie said if you want to stop earning from that keyword, you stop promoting it.
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  • Profile picture of the author TrafficGuy Claude
    We'll be able to help you more if you post a link too.
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    • Profile picture of the author carlos123
      My apologies if I ignored what anyone said (it was not intentional) or didn't seem to pay attention. In many respects I am the new kid on the block and you all will just have to be patient with me.

      I will post the links....hopefully tonight. Sorry if I missed anyone saying if I could post the links or not. I've had a long day and I am kinda looking forward to watching an episode of Stargate Atlantis or other such show to wind down but I will see if I can find the energy to dig for those links.

      I very much appreciate the input. Truly. You all have been great.

      Carlos
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      • Profile picture of the author carlos123
        Okay here are the links...

        My page is at http://www.carlosgonzalezconsulting....pyright-issues
        Yahoo showed it as having two inbound, internal links earlier today. Internal to my domain. It now shows 5 inbound, internal links. I must be moving up in the world or something LOL.

        The anchor text for each of those links is "Copyright Issues". All 5 are links on my navigation menu to the page in question.

        As I said nothing special. A real joke when it comes to using any kind of fancy, schmansie, SEO linking strategy .

        Well written I think but then again I am biased LOL.

        My page shows up at 19 on the search at web development copyright issues - Google Search

        The keyword phrase is "web development copyright issues".

        Okay...now for the other page. The Sitepoint page disappeared from the ranking at least to the 180th page that shows up. But...I found an even better one to utterly perplex me LOL.

        See Web Design That Won't Get You into Trouble

        A much more authoritative site than mine. Lots more inbound links (40 of them to be precise...42 inbound links if you count the additional two internal links). Most of those inbound links are from external sites linking to the page above. Universities, a squidoo page, etc.. Authoritative links among them.

        My page has nothing in comparison link wise. My page is a joke when it comes to inbound links. 42 inbound, external links among which are quality, authoritative sites and mine has only 2 inbound, internal links!

        This page should outrank mine by a mile.

        But they are in position 173. About 6 pages or more into the search results (I have my browser set to show 30 results per page).

        Now how do you explain that???

        My page beats this one. Way better ranking. Why???

        Carlos

        PS. I have no META tags (as in what's that LOL), no HTML title, I didn't pay attention to trying to aim for any kind of keyword phrase at all, I didn't concern myself with anchor text appropriateness. I didn't pay attention to search engine anything at all on this page. I just focused on writing the best page I could on the issue. That was it. No SEO nothing.
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  • Profile picture of the author carlos123
    Which leads me to believe that the relative importance of inbound links as it is commonly understood in SEO circles might be a whee bit overrated. My page is not the first time I have encountered this. I encountered it earlier today when doing some SEO research for a client of mine. Where a page with only 3 inbound links (all internal) was higher in rank than one that had something like 163 inbound links.

    I for one am certainly not going to go off on a wild goose chase to get inbound links as though it is the end all and be all of SEO. I think I will just continue to build the best content I can and see what happens. Focusing not on getting high rankings but on what a site visitor might gain from reading my pages.

    Mind you it wouldn't hurt for me to do a little bit of SEO stuff. Like maybe putting a real html title into my pages LOL. Which I will do at some point.

    Carlos
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    • Profile picture of the author dburk
      Hi Carlos,

      I'm afraid that you have fallen victim to what some people call the "cargo cult" mentality that seems so pervasive in the SEO field.

      Google has never used PageRank or the quantity of backlinks as primary factors in ranking SERPs. Yes, I know this is a common misconception that seems to be repeated here on this forum incessantly. Sadly, so many people involved in SEO do not even understand the most fundamental concept of how SERPs are ranked.

      When Google was a tiny startup, the Search Engine market was already oversaturated and dominated by giants in the industry that seemed to have so many exciting features on their sophisticated "portals" compared to this sparsely featured plain old newcomer. Yet Google quickly gained acceptance and grew market share rapidly due to one important advantage.

      What was that advantage?

      It was extremely relevant listing results. Google had developed an algorithm that was able to score the relative relevancy a page had to a given keyword. Google has always used relevancy as the primary factor and all other factors are secondary.

      Relevancy is the central theme in virtually every feature of nearly every service they provide. It's also central to understanding exactly how backlinks influence SERP rankings. As you have astutely noticed, the quantity and PR value of your backlinks are not the deciding factors in your ranking.

      Don't get me wrong, backlinks do play an important role, but not in the way many people envision it. Since pages are clearly ranked by a relevancy score of sorts, you should focus on how backlinks, both internal as well as external influence the relevancy of your page.

      Once you adapt this new perspective into your observations, the ranking of SERPs will make complete sense to you. I realize it can be difficult to discard a long held belief, but once you do, you may have an experience that some like to call an epiphany.
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      • Profile picture of the author carlos123
        What you say makes sense Don.

        It's tough to let go of cherised beliefs that make us think that we can understand how Google does things. If we can maintain the facade of thinking we know how to rank well then we can also maintain some measure of comforting hope that we will indeed rank well.

        And if we don't rank well...it's comforting to believe that this is caused by not having applied some SEO technique rather than facing the possibility that our site content...may just be plain aweful or that perhaps we are never going to be the king of the hill on top of the pile of 20,000,000 other web masters trying to rank for a highly competitive keyword.

        We get so caught up in the latest theory of how to rank well that we end up forgetting the most fundamental tenant of good search engine ranking.

        Which seems to be...forget about ranking well and just focus on creating the best quality web site pages that you can.

        The ranking will follow.

        Maybe some tweaking will bring us higher ranking still but the essential ranking that we end up with seems to be more a factor of the relevancy of our site content to the phrase being searched for than to backlinks and other so-called SEO stuff.

        Which makes total sense to me. I mean that is what the search engines aim to do with their algorithms. Present the best relevancy to those who use their search engine. Which involves quality content first and foremost. It always has and it always will.

        Backlinks can be manipulated. So can various other SEO techniques. But how do you manipulate bad content into good content? I don't think you can.

        The search engines know that.

        You either have good content or you don't. If you do...you'll eventually get good ranking. If you don't...you won't. It's that simple.

        I think there was a day when building quality content was of utmost importance in the minds of webmasters. When SEO techniques weren't even hardly considered. At least I vaguely remember such a time (then again maybe I am imagining things LOL).

        Today webmasters seem pre-occupied in running around trying to find the latest technique or key that will give them success in search engine ranking...listening to whatever guru promises them the best ranking without the need to work at developing a great web site and great content. I've fallen into that trap myself even with respect to trying to analyze why my page on this thread ranked better. It's easy to do. We all want the easy or easier way out of having to buckle down and just develop great content.

        We all want quick ranking. Why not? I mean there's money in that there ranking. Who wouldn't want great ranking!

        But...it is an elusive thing. The more we focus on ranking techniques the more a great ranking seems to slip through our fingers. The less we focus on ranking techniques and the more we work on making our content great and the most useful that it can be to site visitors...the better ranking we get.

        I like that. Rather than getting all sidetracked on figuring out the latest SEO techniques I think I will follow my own opinion above and that of my favorite guru on SEO and...well...not focus on SEO so much LOL.

        Maybe the best advice I can give my clients respecting search engine ranking is to tell them to focus on how they can improve their content rather than on how they can improve their ranking.

        Carlos
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        • Profile picture of the author carlos123
          Originally Posted by Franco Mocke View Post

          Google cannot differentiate good content from bad content, it is impossible.
          Hmm...if it is impossible for Google to differentiate good content from bad what in the world makes us think that we can tell why Google ranks one page above another?

          I mean if Google's best brains and their best algorithm cannot arrive at some measure of useful relevancy based on good content what makes us think that with our brains and the logic or our reasoning that we in turn can reverse engineer and pull a Google on Google and properly analyze how they do things?

          Carlos
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      • Profile picture of the author Smokey_Joe
        Originally Posted by dburk View Post


        ...Google has never used PageRank or the quantity of backlinks as primary factors in ranking SERPs...

        ...Relevancy is the central theme in virtually every feature of nearly every service they provide. It's also central to understanding exactly how backlinks influence SERP rankings. As you have astutely noticed, the quantity and PR value of your backlinks are not the deciding factors in your ranking...

        ...Since pages are clearly ranked by a relevancy score of sorts, you should focus on how backlinks, both internal as well as external influence the relevancy of your page...
        Hear, hear!

        Having 30 links or 2 million links does not mean anything. Yet. The devil's in what kind of links these are.
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  • Profile picture of the author carlos123
    Originally Posted by Dirky47 View Post

    I guess this article will help you guys on analyzing Backlinks Importance. : The Importance of Backlinks

    Always remember, QUALITY is always the KING in all your works.
    Hmm...nice sounding theoritical analysis of the importance of backlinks. Quality backlinks that is.

    I especially like this quote from the article...

    Building quality backlinks is extremely important to Search Engine Optimization, and because of their importance, it should be very high on your priority list in your SEO efforts.
    I guess I should have focused more on building quality backlinks for the page in question that we are discussing at my site. I mean I did not pay any attention to backlinks at all. Not one bit. No attention to them whatsoever.

    Oh...come to think of it I have no quality backlinks LOL. Zero. Nada. None whatsoever.

    Now how my page with no quality backlinks (other than my own internal links) could have possibly risen to position 19 while the page I also indicated above, a page attested to as a quality page by no less than 40 inbound, external links of which a fair portion are from quality sites, ended up in position 173...well...let's just say that the theory expoused in that article doesn't quite explain this descripency. A descripency I have seen not only in this case but in others.

    Could it be...just possibly...that the theory of backlinking and it's importance is not quite what SEO experts say it is??

    I mean the theory sounds logical and makes sense...sort of. But the reality seems to indicate that the theory is not quite there yet with respect to how Google actually does things.

    This theory does not explain at all why my page ended up so much higher than the other.

    A theory, and that is all it is since Google does not let out it's search algorithms, is only as good as it is able to explain the real world. In this case the real world of search results. In my case the theory of backlinks being ultra important for good ranking...falls flat on it's face it seems to me.

    I grant you that Google may have eaten a bad algorithm sandwich or perhaps the Google bot had a burp while indexing my site pages...you know one of those fluke things but, if my site continues to outrank the other site in question for another month or two....maybe we need to consider the possibility that we need a different theory to explain the real world of search engine ranking.

    Carlos
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    • Profile picture of the author carlos123
      I really like what one of my favorite SEO gurus says...

      People seek out my advice about search rankings because they know my sites rank well for a whole host of search phrases. And I promise you I didn't do anything special beyond what's listed above. I certainly didn't worry about keyword density, META tags, submitting my site to the engines, reciprocal link requests, or any other nonsense. I simply tried to build quality sites. In fact, early on I didn't even consider my search rankings. I just built good sites and then noticed that they ranked well. Really well.
      I am re-reading what he says all over again. It is breath of fresh air compared to all the usual SEO theories that get bantied about.

      Here's a link to his site if anyone is interested.

      SEO 101: How to Get Listed and Ranked Well in Google

      Carlos
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    • Profile picture of the author A Bary
      You're making a big deal of a minor issue..

      Backlinks are the most important factor in SE ranking, no doubt..

      Being on the 19 the spot versus the other page in the 170 th position has nothing to prove...

      Any new site with no backlinks may rank for some long tail keywords in its very first weeks, it well rank on page 2,3 or 10 BUT HARDLY ON page one, and nearly impossible for a real valuable search term..

      That's the real deal, being on page one, or in the first 3 spots for a decently searched keyword is what you shall consider as good ranking, any other ranking is nothing to think much about, being 19 is the same as being 1,000,000, equals no traffic..

      And being on page one for real terms cannot achieved without getting alot of backlinks
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      • Profile picture of the author carlos123
        Originally Posted by goldmind123 View Post

        Backlinks are the most important factor in SE ranking, no doubt..
        I completely disagree. Backlinks are not...the most important factor. Relevant content is!

        Backlinks without high quality, relevant content means next to nothing.

        That's the real deal, being on page one, or in the first 3 spots for a decently searched keyword is what you shall consider as good ranking, any other ranking is nothing to think much about, being 19 is the same as being 1,000,000, equals no traffic..
        Google doesn't care about giving us traffic. They care about giving their site visitors relevant, high quality content.

        And their algorithm doesn't change with respect to being applied to the top 3 sites differently than how it is applied to the last 3 sites ranked on their search results. The same algorithm is used to rank both sets of sites. At least that is my theory LOL.

        If I am correct in this theory...it means that we can learn as much about what Google really thinks is important from evaluating the top 3 sites as we can by analysing the difference in the rankings of the last 3 sites.

        In fact I would go so far as to say we can learn far more from analysing the relative ranking of the last sites in a search results listing than the first! Why?

        Because the first sites are all full of SEO techniques that may cloud or otherwise obscure what Google is really doing. Whereas the last three site owners may not care about ranking and may inadvertently reveal by their stark lack of SEO techniques what Google is really doing in sharper contrast.

        I would rather study the last sites ranked than the first on the assumption that the algorithm used is the same and that I will understand what Google is doing easier in looking at the last than at the first since there will be less SEO fluff to wade through at the bottom of the pile.

        And being on page one for real terms cannot achieved without getting alot of backlinks
        Not sure I agree with that either. While I have found no page one rankings without some backlinks I have found other instances where a page one ranking was achieved by a site that had far less backlinks than sites on pages much farther down in the search results.

        Like I said previously in this thread...the theory of the importance of backlinks sounds nice until you find that it can't be applied to understand why a page with no backlinks or no quality one's to speak of outranks another one that has wonderful backlinks (assuming all else is about equal).

        Carlos
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        • Profile picture of the author A Bary
          Originally Posted by carlos123 View Post

          I completely disagree. Backlinks are not...the most important factor. Relevant content is!

          Backlinks without high quality, relevant content means next to nothing.


          Carlos
          Sorry carlos, but you're totally wrong..

          Search goolge for "click here", can you guess what is the first site shows in the search results?

          It's adobe reader download page...

          Can you guess why?

          Because millions of pages are linked to this page using the anchor text "click here"

          do you think this page has any top notch relevant content related to this term?

          Never...
          That's a classical example of how google's robot works, alot of links with anchor text means high ranking?
          Did you hear about "Google Bombing"?

          How do you think G.W. Bush pages shown up very high for the search term "miserable failure" ?
          Do you think they were so dumb to put content about miserable failure?

          Nope, it's all about linking...
          Content is about conversions and visitors experience, about turning traffic into money, and ofcourse relative fresh content will help a bit in ranking well, but IT'S NOT THE MAIN FACTOR..

          Big myths are circulating online, but when you go deep with google, you can figure how things are working..

          I ve pages with very little content ranking well for competitive search terms...
          Why? because of links,,

          You're free to believe what you want, but the truth is in what you find by experience...
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          • Profile picture of the author JMartin
            Originally Posted by goldmind123 View Post

            I ve pages with very little content ranking well for competitive search terms...
            Why? because of links,,
            I've had pages with squat for content ranking well.

            I'm always perplexed when I read posts from people saying that a page with 500, 750 or whatever words is best or will be better for ranking than a page with 200 words. Nothing I've experienced or seen supports that.

            Figured I was just doing something wrong.

            And of course I just clicked on some top 10 listings for a couple KWPs today where the pages had 2-8 sentences in the main content area. Some pages under them were "books" in comparison.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steven Heron
    Carlos,

    You've given the example of a keyword phrase that has no competition whatsoever, and then go on to say that backlinks in themselves may be overrated. I can understand where you're coming from, as it's a common misunderstanding that people new to SEO will often have - they will rank #1 under a term that is not competitive, that receive no searches, but nevertheless think that this same ranking strategy can be applied to ranking under competitive terms. This ofcourse is not the case.

    I can promise you that inbound links are absolutely the most important thing for ranking under competitive keyword terms. Not good quality content, not nice site structure, but links. You're welcome to look at any term that has 1,000,000+ searches a month and do your own analysis. The terms you gave seem to receive from 0 - 500 searches a month.

    Check the mini review adsense pages that rank on the first page of Google under the term "credit card" - a term that has over 16 million searches a month and is incredibly lucrative. It's not content that ranks crap like that, it's links.
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    • Profile picture of the author dburk
      Originally Posted by Steven Heron View Post

      Check the mini review adsense pages that rank on the first page of Google under the term "credit card" - a term that has over 16 million searches a month and is incredibly lucrative. It's not content that ranks crap like that, it's links.
      Hi Steven,

      While I agree this is basically true, Carlos has observed that it's not as simple as he with most links and the highest PR that ranks first. Clearly this is not true and one may simply study the SERP to verify. So there must be something that has a more powerful influence.

      We can deduce certain criteria by studying a statistically valid number of SERP pages. In doing so we can safely eliminate some of the widespread notions and make some conclusions.

      The extremely high volume of dynamic queries Google performs dictates that a very small number of SORT BY fields are required to reduce server transaction costs. That means one or two precalculated values (like a relevancy score) to sort the listings in the SERP. The exact formula of course is a closely guarded secret, but logic dictates certain constraints are necessary for the scale of their application.

      As you have pointed out, Carlos is not quite correct in the over-simplified explanation that quality is all that counts. The simply truth is that relative relevance, as calculated by Google's algorithm, is all that counts.

      As I mentioned previously, backlinks can have a major impact on relevancy scores and that is why backlinks are essential to ranking well for a highly competitve keyword. The cumulative value of RELEVANT anchor text, weighted by PageRank, increases the total relevancy score of a page. Then a simply SORT BY [relevancy score] SELECT query determines the ranking order of listings. It must be something as simple as this to scale to the volume of Google's server transactions.
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      • Profile picture of the author Steven Heron
        Originally Posted by dburk View Post

        Hi Steven,

        While I agree this is basically true, Carlos has observed that it's not as simple as he with most links and the highest PR that ranks first. Clearly this is not true and one may simply study the SERP to verify. So there must be something that has a more powerful influence.

        We can deduce certain criteria by studying a statistically valid number of SERP pages. In doing so we can safely eliminate some of the widespread notions and make some conclusions.

        The extremely high volume of dynamic queries Google performs dictates that a very small number of SORT BY fields are required to reduce server transaction costs. That means one or two precalculated values (like a relevancy score) to sort the listings in the SERP. The exact formula of course is a closely guarded secret, but logic dictates certain constraints are necessary for the scale of their application.

        As you have pointed out, Carlos is not quite correct in the over-simplified explanation that quality is all that counts. The simply truth is that relative relevance, as calculated by Google's algorithm, is all that counts.

        As I mentioned previously, backlinks can have a major impact on relevancy scores and that is why backlinks are essential to ranking well for a highly competitve keyword. The cumulative value of RELEVANT anchor text, weighted by PageRank, increases the total relevancy score of a page. Then a simply SORT BY [relevancy score] SELECT query determines the ranking order of listings. It must be something as simple as this to scale to the volume of Google's server transactions.
        You're quite right in saying that the relevancy of incoming links along with their authority and PR is a major part of the relevancy score, and nowhere did I suggest that PR alone determined relevancy or rankings.

        All other things being equal, a site that has more inlinks from relevant authority sites, with relevant anchor text, will typically outrank another site under related keyword terms that does not inherit the same authority from its inlinks, regardless of its content or on-site optimization.

        I believe Carlos is simply confusing the difference between a site having authority for one type of keyword, but little or no authority for another. Since he's outranking a higher authority site for terms it doesn't have any authority for, he's misconstruing what authority is, and hence undervaluing backlinks.
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        • Profile picture of the author dburk
          Originally Posted by Steven Heron View Post

          You're quite right in saying that the relevancy of incoming links along with their authority and PR is a major part of the relevancy score, and nowhere did I suggest that PR alone determined relevancy or rankings.
          I 'm sorry, I didn't mean imply that you suggested it, I tried to assert that Carlos was the one suggesting it while simultaneously questioning the veracity of it.

          Also I didn't say that "the relevancy of incoming links along with their authority and PR is a major part of the relevancy score". What I meant to say is that the relevancy is weighted by the PR and the PR by itself has no direct value.

          If relevancy is not present in the anchor text then PR has no influence on the relevancy score. PR seems to me to be simply a weighting factor on the anchor text and carries no direct influence on a pages relevancy score.

          In other words:

          If anchor text relevancy = 0 then (PageRank of 8) X (AnchorText relevancy of 0) = 0 (no ranking value)

          So it's not "anchor text along with authority and PR", it is anchor text weighted by PR. This seems absolutely essential to prevent low relevance, high authority pages from ranking above more relevant pages. PR must not be used as a direct factor in determining relevance lest you get poor relevance ranking high in the SERP.
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          • Profile picture of the author Steven Heron
            Originally Posted by dburk View Post

            I 'm sorry, I didn't mean imply that you suggested it, I tried to assert that Carlos was the one suggesting it while simultaneously questioning the veracity of it.

            Also I didn't say that "the relevancy of incoming links along with their authority and PR is a major part of the relevancy score". What I meant to say is that the relevancy is weighted by the PR and the PR by itself has no direct value.

            If relevancy is not present in the anchor text then PR has no influence on the relevancy score. PR seems to me to be simply a weighting factor on the anchor text and carries no direct influence on a pages relevancy score.

            In other words:

            If anchor text relevancy = 0 then (PageRank of 8) X (AnchorText relevancy of 0) = 0 (no ranking value)

            So it's not "anchor text along with authority and PR", it is anchor text weighted by PR. This seems absolutely essential to prevent low relevance, high authority pages from ranking above more relevant pages. PR must not be used as a direct factor in determining relevance lest you get poor relevance ranking high in the SERP.
            My apologies Don, it seems we agree with each other entirely then, and it was just an issue of semantics. By "along with" I meant the combination of anchor text, relevancy, and PR all being calculated together in the one equation, as opposed to separately.
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            • Profile picture of the author Black Hat Cat
              Banned
              I guess I won't be able to discuss the actual pages then (not sure why no one has commented on my that part of my question as to whether I can actually post links for more careful analysis and discussion...to the benefit of all).
              Why wouldn't you be able to? Just post the pages already, or, at the very least, tell us the keyword so we can find them ourselves. It shouldn't be too difficult to find. Without seeing the pages in question, everyone here is just guessing what the issue may be, which, frankly, is pointless.
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              • Profile picture of the author carlos123
                Originally Posted by Black Hat Cat View Post

                Why wouldn't you be able to? Just post the pages already, or, at the very least, tell us the keyword so we can find them ourselves. It shouldn't be too difficult to find. Without seeing the pages in question, everyone here is just guessing what the issue may be, which, frankly, is pointless.
                I did post links to the pages under discussion Black Hat Cat. Earlier in the thread. Sorry you missed them.

                As to why I hesitated to do so...I am new here but some forums, indeed the majority of forums I belong to, are extremely paranoid about anything that might be remotely considered as possibly promoting one's own web site. So I hesitated to post links and asked if I could post such links first. Glad to know this place seems more reasonable about such things than most.

                Carlos
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            • Profile picture of the author carlos123
              Good morning everyone!

              Another fine day in the San Diego area! I feel blessed every day to have been able to come here from freezing to death in Canada!

              Back to this thread....

              Yes...I believe I am oversimplifying things. I can see that.

              I have to be careful that I don't swing wildly the other way and say that backlinks are completely irrelevant. Certainly they have some measure of influence on relevance (good content that will meet the average searchers desire for good information about a topic they are searching for).

              I guess what I have been saying is that they are not nearly as important as many seem to say they are with one person telling me here that they are 80% of SEO vs 20% for content....almost as if I can create a page that is 80% rotten cottent but still rank highly based on nothing more than the number and quality of links I get.

              That just doesn't sit right with me since it goes against the very grain of what the search engines themselves are trying to achieve (i.e. a high degree or relevancy based on the best content).

              Even backlinks as seen by the search engines are aimed at finding good content.

              I acknowledge too that the keyword phrase that I ranked at 19 for vs the other page I gave an example of is a mickey mouse phrase that hardly anyone searches for.

              But...I believe that Google does not change it's algorithm depending on how competitive a keyword phrase is (just my opinion mind you but a reasonable one I think) just as they don't change their algorithm when determining the rank of high rank pages vs the lowest ranked pages. The algorithm is what it is.

              I can learn things about how Google does things from looking at the very low competitive keyword phrases and how it ranks lowly ranked pages just as well if not better than I can learn about Google from how it ranks the highly competitive keyword focused web sites.

              I mean, unless I am very mistaken, Google uses the same algorithm for both doesn't it?

              And what my real world search result observations tell me is that there is more to how Google does things than the so-called importance of backlinks.

              In other words if I were to spend all day and all night trying to get quality backlinks (assuming the exaggerated importance given to such by SEO folks really reflects the importance Google gives them) while letting go of my focus on great content I am not certain at all that any of my pages would even appear in the top 100.

              This is all based on observation and using the powers of reason that lie somewhere between my ears. Of course I have been known to be wrong in the past and may well be in the present discussion too in some aspects.

              I appreciate your all's patience in trying to pass along what for some of you have undoubtedly been costly lessons about the nature of how Google does things.

              Carlos
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  • Profile picture of the author oleic23
    Banned
    [DELETED]
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    • Profile picture of the author carlos123
      Well...if pages with little content are ranking highly in certain cases where it seems that the only factor helping them achieve that is incoming links then...well...I guess my theory, like so many SEO theories, leaves a wee bit to be desired .

      Back to the drawing board of theorizing as to how Google does things.

      I think I am going to go and watch another episode of Stargate Atlantis LOL.

      Carlos
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      • Profile picture of the author Kurt
        Originally Posted by carlos123 View Post

        Well...if pages with little content are ranking highly in certain cases where it seems that the only factor helping them achieve that is incoming links then...well...I guess my theory, like so many SEO theories, leaves a wee bit to be desired .

        Back to the drawing board of theorizing as to how Google does things.

        I think I am going to go and watch another episode of Stargate Atlantis LOL.

        Carlos
        As I tried to explain to you above, don't assume Google only uses one algo.

        Not to mention, Bing and Yahoo use different algos, so you know there's at least 3 algos, assuming each only uses one.

        Pagerank has merit.

        Relevancy has merit.

        On page SEO has merit.

        Hilltop has merit.

        Trustrank has merit.

        People Rank has merit.

        There is no logical reason for Google to use a single algo, as there's many factors that are worth considering.

        Try reading this article I wrote a few years ago:
        SEO and SEM Kurt Melvin's Big Page of Search Engine Optimization Strategies.
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        • Profile picture of the author dburk
          Hi Kurt,

          First let me say I think you are grossly over-simplifying the use of those factors and the context in which they "have merit". You say "Pagerank has merit", yet there is a dramatic difference in the "merit" of PageRank for completely irrelevant anchor text vs. relevant anchor text. Logic dictates 10 X 0 = 0.

          PageRank without relevance is useless, there is no escaping this fact. I bring this up because at the heart of this discussion is the worthiness of certain actvities in our daily SEO work routines. "Is the value of this activity worth the time it requires"?

          And another thing, what is it with you and this "more than one algo" thing? I have seen you inject it into numerous threads, but have yet to see you use it in context.

          If you understand the logic of Set Theory as it applies to algorithms, saying "there is one algorithm" and "there are many algorithms" are both accurate statements.

          When applying the most common context to the term "algorithm" as it relates to SEO, folks are generally referring to the the entire collection of rules that make up THE algorithm that produces the SERP. While it is true that there are subsets of rules within this single collection of rules, and you could refer to each of these subsets as an algorithm, it seems to serve no useful purpose to point that out.

          Making the assertion that there is "more than one algorithm", without providing any sort of context, appears to me as pure gobbledygook. Yet I sense that you have some potentially valuable insight that you are trying share. I don't mean to offend you, I am simply curious and hope that you will respond with some gem of wisdom that can be comprehended by myself and other members of this forum.
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          • Profile picture of the author carlos123
            Sometimes...trying to make heads and tails (I wonder where that phrase came from?) of all this makes me want to go back to flipping burgers for a living LOL.

            Carlos
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          • Profile picture of the author Kurt
            Originally Posted by dburk View Post

            Hi Kurt,

            First let me say I think you are grossly over-simplifying the use of those factors and the context in which they "have merit". You say "Pagerank has merit", yet there is a dramatic difference in the "merit" of PageRank for completely irrelevant anchor text vs. relevant anchor text. Logic dictates 10 X 0 = 0.

            PageRank without relevance is useless, there is no escaping this fact. I bring this up because at the heart of this discussion is the worthiness of certain actvities in our daily SEO work routines. "Is the value of this activity worth the time it requires"?

            And another thing, what is it with you and this "more than one algo" thing? I have seen you inject it into numerous threads, but have yet to see you use it in context.

            If you understand the logic of Set Theory as it applies to algorithms, saying "there is one algorithm" and "there are many algorithms" are both accurate statements.

            When applying the most common context to the term "algorithm" as it relates to SEO, folks are generally referring to the the entire collection of rules that make up THE algorithm that produces the SERP. While it is true that there are subsets of rules within this single collection of rules, and you could refer to each of these subsets as an algorithm, it seems to serve no useful purpose to point that out.

            Making the assertion that there is "more than one algorithm", without providing any sort of context, appears to me as pure gobbledygook. Yet I sense that you have some potentially valuable insight that you are trying share. I don't mean to offend you, I am simply curious and hope that you will respond with some gem of wisdom that can be comprehended by myself and other members of this forum.

            Hi dburk,

            First, my use of "multiple algos" is simply a way to say that Google doesn't treat all pages or queries the same.

            If Google did only use one algo, it would be way too easy to reverse engineer?

            Now we can use your definition that it is one algo, with many variables applied in different ways. But the end result is the same.

            The way you put it, is that a single algo has multiple varibles...But is applied to each and every query/page the same way. My choice of words should imply that not all pages and queries are treated the sane and the concept easier to visualize.

            The point is, IMO it's very unlikely that Google treats each search or each page in its index the same.

            And if I over-simplify, it's because my method of SEO, which I've used for 13 years, means I don't concentrate on one SEO method or belief. Instead, I try to cover every reasonable variation.

            Plus, if you consider that Bing and Yahoo can also give traffic, we can assume there's at least three algos. I have just proven we have to deal with more than one algo. So it seems obvious to me that we should perform SEO with the thought that even if there's just one algo/one variation, then we should be prepared for it to change.

            As far as page rank, we don't know the true PR, only the little green bar Google tells us is the PR. What about Google's internal PR?

            Actually, many advanced SEOers believe, myself included, that the more popular the search query, the more likely google uses more off-page elements. However, the more obscure the query, the more likely Google uses more "on the page".

            This is because there are many searches, estimated between 40-60% of all searches that are so obscure/one of a kind, the engines struggle to return any relevant results.

            Compare the SERPS for "computers" and "cheap computer boxes for sale in jackson hole wyoming". Google's going to struggle to find anything close to being relevant to the later. And if it does, I'll bet it uses more "on the page" than off.

            Back to reverse engineering...Let's be honest, this is a great security risk for Google. Not only from SEOers, but internally. Their entire fortune rests on protecting their algo.

            How would you protect your SERPs from both of the above? I'd do it using multiple algos, because there are many that will return good results, and none are perfect.

            I doubt Google does this just like my following example, but the theory is important...

            Instead of a single algo, let's say Google has come up with a few, or to please you, different variations of the same algo.

            There's no doubt they have tested numerous algo, or multiple variations. Some that rely on On Page. Others on PageRank. Others on Trust Factors. Others on human bahavior.

            All these listed can achieve good results, in most cases. So why not use them to protect reverse engineering and from anyone internally from stealing the "secret sauce"?

            Let's say you have these basics (plus others):
            1. On page
            2. PR
            3. Human behavior
            4. Linking relevance/anchor text

            And, all the possible combos.

            These aren't random algos/variations. They are the ones that have withstood Google's testing. And they could be variations of the same algo, each giveing more "weight" (priority) to different elements in the algo.

            Let's say that Google now has 10 algos, just for conversation. Each is lettered A B C D E F G H I J

            Again, each algo A - J has been tested. And while none is perfect, each is good and will bring up a different "flavor" of site.

            Now, Google RANDOMLY assigns letters for different queries. For example:

            Computers - Uses algos A G D F F E A H C B

            Dogs - Uses algos J I D A C H D J B G

            With each letter representing a different algo, with different priorities. And each algo would apply to a different results in the SERPs.

            For "dogs", the #1 result would use "J", #2 "I", etc.

            Assuming each algo was legit in the first place, each would return viable results for "dogs" and "computers", yet use totally different ranking "variations" in different orders. This would make it just about impossible to reverse engineer.

            We know my example isn't accurate, as the same page will drop/raise a few positions. However, my point isn't to explain the exact process. It is to show that there are many ways of incorporating different algos, with the end result being to protect their money-maker, their "algo". They may even apply some random elements to their algo, simply to protect it.

            Has it ever occured to anyone that if there were truly one method of ranking pages, that the logical outcome would be that the pages would be more similiar? Similar in size, similar in links, similar in content, etc. But they are not? Why?

            Now back to why I simplified this...All this SEO doesn't matter. We know there are at least 3 major algos, one for Google, Yahoo and Bing. We know each has changed. We can assume each will change again in the future.

            Instead of worrying about all this mess is to concentrate on what the engines must do: Return relvant results. And this will be based on:

            Words on a page
            Words on pages that link to the page (inlcuding anchor text)
            Human actions

            This is really it. It's just how they tweak the "knobs".

            So instead of worrying about tweaking, knowing every Google update, etc, I find it far better to create as many pages, sites and links, using as many variables as possible.

            Instead of using 2% keyword density and early prominence in the page title, I say make a bunch of content that uses 0-10% keyword density. I say use keywords early, late, repeated and not at all in page titles.

            Of course, "weigh" your efforts using the most excepted principles of SEO more often, but the end goal is pure numbers:

            How many pages use your keywords? How many of those are your's?
            How many links to those pages are there? How many are your's?

            In other words, set up a site, and try some of the spammy linking methods. Create another and aquire only "quality" links. Create another and use a little of both.

            Create pages on sites with authority. Create low-medium quality pages that are high risk to test, (keeping them away from sites that have produced money). Create high content sites for linking and affiliate programs.

            I've done SEO for 13 years and virtually every method I've heard about has had people saying it worked for them (at least for a while) and others at the same time saying "That doesn't work".

            We can either study and plot according to the lastest SEO discovery, or we can simply make sites and pages that use different blends of what is considered "reasonable" SEO.

            PS..Concerning this:
            Logic dictates 10 X 0 = 0.
            Sorry, but logic doesn't dictate that we use a multiplier, nor does it assume anything is a "zero".

            Actually, if you read the forumula for PR, relevance isn't a factor at all. The questions really are, how much is PR a part of the total outcome, and is real PR anything close to what the little green bar says it is?

            PR was never meant to be a way to determine relevance. Instead, it was meant to judge a "popularity contest".

            And while we're knit-picking about stuff:

            When Google was a tiny startup, the Search Engine market was already oversaturated and dominated by giants in the industry that seemed to have so many exciting features on their sophisticated "portals" compared to this sparsely featured plain old newcomer. Yet Google quickly gained acceptance and grew market share rapidly due to one important advantage.

            What was that advantage?

            It was extremely relevant listing results. Google had developed an algorithm that was able to score the relative relevancy a page had to a given keyword. Google has always used relevancy as the primary factor and all other factors are secondary.
            Actually, this is a little mis-leading...If you remember in the early days, Hotbot/Inktomi either beat or was tied with Google in every major independant SERP study for relevance. Google's rise had more to do with other marketing factors, as Hotbot was every bit as relevant, and a case could be made, it was more relevant.

            And a trip to "back in the day", Google was the easiest SE ever to spam. All you had to do was create a page using the keyword in the anchor text in tons of links....As a matter of fact, I had sites that literally held 18 out of the top 20 spots in Google for some competitive, money making keywords.

            But their algo has changed a lot since then.
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            • Profile picture of the author dburk
              Originally Posted by Kurt View Post

              Hi dburk,

              First, my use of "multiple algos" is simply a way to say that Google doesn't treat all pages or queries the same.

              If Google did only use one algo, it would be way too easy to reverse engineer?

              Now we can use your definition that it is one algo, with many variables applied in different ways. But the end result is the same.

              The way you put it, is that a single algo has multiple varibles...But is applied to each and every query/page the same way. My choice of words should imply that not all pages and queries are treated the sane and the concept easier to visualize.

              The point is, IMO it's very unlikely that Google treats each search or each page in its index the same.

              And if I over-simplify, it's because my method of SEO, which I've used for 13 years, means I don't concentrate on one SEO method or belief. Instead, I try to cover every reasonable variation.

              Plus, if you consider that Bing and Yahoo can also give traffic, we can assume there's at least three algos. I have just proven we have to deal with more than one algo. So it seems obvious to me that we should perform SEO with the thought that even if there's just one algo/one variation, then we should be prepared for it to change.

              As far as page rank, we don't know the true PR, only the little green bar Google tells us is the PR. What about Google's internal PR?

              Actually, many advanced SEOers believe, myself included, that the more popular the search query, the more likely google uses more off-page elements. However, the more obscure the query, the more likely Google uses more "on the page".

              This is because there are many searches, estimated between 40-60% of all searches that are so obscure/one of a kind, the engines struggle to return any relevant results.

              Compare the SERPS for "computers" and "cheap computer boxes for sale in jackson hole wyoming". Google's going to struggle to find anything close to being relevant to the later. And if it does, I'll bet it uses more "on the page" than off.

              Back to reverse engineering...Let's be honest, this is a great security risk for Google. Not only from SEOers, but internally. Their entire fortune rests on protecting their algo.

              How would you protect your SERPs from both of the above? I'd do it using multiple algos, because there are many that will return good results, and none are perfect.

              I doubt Google does this just like my following example, but the theory is important...

              Instead of a single algo, let's say Google has come up with a few, or to please you, different variations of the same algo.

              There's no doubt they have tested numerous algo, or multiple variations. Some that rely on On Page. Others on PageRank. Others on Trust Factors. Others on human bahavior.

              All these listed can achieve good results, in most cases. So why not use them to protect reverse engineering and from anyone internally from stealing the "secret sauce"?

              Let's say you have these basics (plus others):
              1. On page
              2. PR
              3. Human behavior
              4. Linking relevance/anchor text

              And, all the possible combos.

              These aren't random algos/variations. They are the ones that have withstood Google's testing. And they could be variations of the same algo, each giveing more "weight" (priority) to different elements in the algo.

              Let's say that Google now has 10 algos, just for conversation. Each is lettered A B C D E F G H I J

              Again, each algo A - J has been tested. And while none is perfect, each is good and will bring up a different "flavor" of site.

              Now, Google RANDOMLY assigns letters for different queries. For example:

              Computers - Uses algos A G D F F E A H C B

              Dogs - Uses algos J I D A C H D J B G

              With each letter representing a different algo, with different priorities. And each algo would apply to a different results in the SERPs.

              For "dogs", the #1 result would use "J", #2 "I", etc.

              Assuming each algo was legit in the first place, each would return viable results for "dogs" and "computers", yet use totally different ranking "variations" in different orders. This would make it just about impossible to reverse engineer.

              We know my example isn't accurate, as the same page will drop/raise a few positions. However, my point isn't to explain the exact process. It is to show that there are many ways of incorporating different algos, with the end result being to protect their money-maker, their "algo". They may even apply some random elements to their algo, simply to protect it.

              Has it ever occured to anyone that if there were truly one method of ranking pages, that the logical outcome would be that the pages would be more similiar? Similar in size, similar in links, similar in content, etc. But they are not? Why?

              Now back to why I simplified this...All this SEO doesn't matter. We know there are at least 3 major algos, one for Google, Yahoo and Bing. We know each has changed. We can assume each will change again in the future.

              Instead of worrying about all this mess is to concentrate on what the engines must do: Return relvant results. And this will be based on:

              Words on a page
              Words on pages that link to the page (inlcuding anchor text)
              Human actions

              This is really it. It's just how they tweak the "knobs".

              So instead of worrying about tweaking, knowing every Google update, etc, I find it far better to create as many pages, sites and links, using as many variables as possible.

              Instead of using 2% keyword density and early prominence in the page title, I say make a bunch of content that uses 0-10% keyword density. I say use keywords early, late, repeated and not at all in page titles.

              Of course, "weigh" your efforts using the most excepted principles of SEO more often, but the end goal is pure numbers:

              How many pages use your keywords? How many of those are your's?
              How many links to those pages are there? How many are your's?

              In other words, set up a site, and try some of the spammy linking methods. Create another and aquire only "quality" links. Create another and use a little of both.

              Create pages on sites with authority. Create low-medium quality pages that are high risk to test, (keeping them away from sites that have produced money). Create high content sites for linking and affiliate programs.

              I've done SEO for 13 years and virtually every method I've heard about has had people saying it worked for them (at least for a while) and others at the same time saying "That doesn't work".

              We can either study and plot according to the lastest SEO discovery, or we can simply make sites and pages that use different blends of what is considered "reasonable" SEO.

              PS..Concerning this:


              Sorry, but logic doesn't dictate that we use a multiplier, nor does it assume anything is a "zero".

              Actually, if you read the forumula for PR, relevance isn't a factor at all. The questions really are, how much is PR a part of the total outcome, and is real PR anything close to what the little green bar says it is?

              PR was never meant to be a way to determine relevance. Instead, it was meant to judge a "popularity contest".

              And while we're knit-picking about stuff:



              Actually, this is a little mis-leading...If you remember in the early days, Hotbot/Inktomi either beat or was tied with Google in every major independant SERP study for relevance. Google's rise had more to do with other marketing factors, as Hotbot was every bit as relevant, and a case could be made, it was more relevant.

              And a trip to "back in the day", Google was the easiest SE ever to spam. All you had to do was create a page using the keyword in the anchor text in tons of links....As a matter of fact, I had sites that literally held 18 out of the top 20 spots in Google for some competitive, money making keywords.

              But their algo has changed a lot since then.
              Hi Kurt,

              Thanks for replying.

              Now to summarize what I think you said:
              • There is more than one search engine each with a unique algorithm
              • The definition of an algorithm as a set of rules is false
              • SERP listings are based on randomized variables (in other words: pot luck)
              • Live data is dynamic
              • algorithms are continuously updated
              • I don't understand what PR is and it isn't used to weight other factors
              • I don't know how to do math or follow logic
              • Spread my efforts across many different techniques just in case it works
              • You liked Hotbot more than Google and Google's lack of marketing in the early days was a superior strategy to HotBots very aggressive marketing

              All this time I thought I was learning, turns out I just got lucky on a consistent basis. Thanks for schooling me. I guess I should not change routines so I don't jinx my luck against those randomized SERPs. Does that make me a supersticious person? :confused:
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              • Profile picture of the author Kurt
                Originally Posted by dburk View Post

                Hi Kurt,

                Thanks for replying.

                Now to summarize what I think you said:
                • There is more than one search engine each with a unique algorithm
                • The definition of an algorithm as a set of rules is false
                • SERP listings are based on randomized variables (in other words: pot luck)
                • Live data is dynamic
                • algorithms are continuously updated
                • I don't understand what PR is and it isn't used to weight other factors
                • I don't know how to do math or follow logic
                • Spread my efforts across many different techniques just in case it works
                • You liked Hotbot more than Google and Google's lack of marketing in the early days was a superior strategy to HotBots very aggressive marketing
                All this time I thought I was learning, turns out I just got lucky on a consistent basis. Thanks for schooling me. I guess I should not change routines so I don't jinx my luck against those randomized SERPs. Does that make me a supersticious person? :confused:
                You demand a complicated answer, saying I over-simplified things, then get sarcastic when you get it. I tried to keep things simple.

                Yet which part of my post do you actually disagree with? You didn't even get your juvenile "summary" correct.

                I didn't say I liked Hotbot more than Google. If you actually read where I dominated Google in the early days, your "logic" should tell you I liked Google more than Hotbot. I cited independent studies which contradict your statement, not myown opinion. You stated a fact, I stated a contradictory fact.

                How do you come up with I said Google "Google's lack of marketing"? My point was just the opposite.

                Another point you missed was that I gave a general strategy for changing algos, but you ignored this. What's your strategy? Other than merely criticizing others?

                And what did I learn about SEO from your latest post? Or don't you have anything to offer except "relevance! relevance!"? Care to explain how Google determines relevance? Of course Google wants relevance, thanks for stating the obvious.

                Another point you twisted, which you seem to have a habit of doing, is that I use different techniques that I "hope" will work. I said use every "reasonable" technique, mixing up things, weighing those that work more heavily. This gives one staying power. It also gives one traffic and multiple rankings.

                And if you do everything the same, how do you know if a new linking strategy works or doesn't work? If you use social sites to build link wheels today, what will you do if Google decides it doesn't like link wheels any more?

                What do you do if you're into article marketing and one day Google gets tired of all the spun content and downgrades the authority of article sites?

                And if one builds an entire "empire" based on one strategy that works now, what happens if Google changes this in the future? Are you saying you are against contigency plans when doing SEO? Sure, if something is working well now, pound away at it until the well runs dry.

                But that doesn't mean one can't create tons of other resources that aren't dependant on that strategy and not have sucess with them, either now or in the future. At the very least, these "other" sites are linking assets.

                PS. You should have also learned from my post that some advanced SEOers theorize Google doesn't treat popular and unpopular queries the same. This alone will explain a lot of discrepancies in the SERPs. And if it is true, then multiple SEO strategies should be used, if one wants to be most effective.

                And if you don't agree, the intelligent thing to do would be to consider it and not discount it simply because you haven't heard of the theory before.

                Care to debate this in an adult fashion, assuming you have something of substance to add? Preferably something original, as I've read tons of EO stuff and get bored reading the same things over and over.
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                • Profile picture of the author dburk
                  Originally Posted by Kurt View Post

                  You demand a complicated answer, saying I over-simplified things, then get sarcastic when you get it. I tried to keep things simple.

                  Yet which part of my post do you actually disagree with? You didn't even get your juvenile "summary" correct.

                  I didn't say I liked Hotbot more than Google. If you actually read where I dominated Google in the early days, your "logic" should tell you I liked Google more than Hotbot. I cited independent studies which contradict your statement, not myown opinion. You stated a fact, I stated a contradictory fact.

                  How do you come up with I said Google "Google's lack of marketing"? My point was just the opposite.

                  Another point you missed was that I gave a general strategy for changing algos, but you ignored this. What's your strategy? Other than merely criticizing others?

                  And what did I learn about SEO from your latest post? Or don't you have anything to offer except "relevance! relevance!"? Care to explain how Google determines relevance? Of course Google wants relevance, thanks for stating the obvious.

                  Another point you twisted, which you seem to have a habit of doing, is that I use different techniques that I "hope" will work. I said use every "reasonable" technique, mixing up things, weighing those that work more heavily. This gives one staying power. It also gives one traffic and multiple rankings.

                  And if you do everything the same, how do you know if a new linking strategy works or doesn't work? If you use social sites to build link wheels today, what will you do if Google decides it doesn't like link wheels any more?

                  What do you do if you're into article marketing and one day Google gets tired of all the spun content and downgrades the authority of article sites?

                  And if one builds an entire "empire" based on one strategy that works now, what happens if Google changes this in the future? Are you saying you are against contigency plans when doing SEO? Sure, if something is working well now, pound away at it until the well runs dry.

                  But that doesn't mean one can't create tons of other resources that aren't dependant on that strategy and not have sucess with them, either now or in the future. At the very least, these "other" sites are linking assets.

                  PS. You should have also learned from my post that some advanced SEOers theorize Google doesn't treat popular and unpopular queries the same. This alone will explain a lot of discrepancies in the SERPs. And if it is true, then multiple SEO strategies should be used, if one wants to be most effective.

                  And if you don't agree, the intelligent thing to do would be to consider it and not discount it simply because you haven't heard of the theory before.

                  Care to debate this in an adult fashion, assuming you have something of substance to add? Preferably something original, as I've read tons of EO stuff and get bored reading the same things over and over.
                  Hi Kurt,

                  Whoa now, I only meant to make fun of myself, no offense toward you was intended. I had hoped the smileys would have conveyed that, but apparently I failed to make that clear, sorry about that.

                  You bring up some interesting points. I do agree that Google's algorithm checks a list of pre-compiled data stores (popular searches) and if the keyword is not in this list then does a sub query against a larger data store, compiles this new dataset and stores for future queries.

                  It appears that each of these small pre-compiled data stores include a maximum of 1000 records and this is likely done this way to facilitate speed and scalability. Since the less popular queries are created on the fly, it's likely that relevancy scores use a less complex algorithm for the sake of speed.

                  Since the search volume for these unpopular searches would not be sufficient to focus our attention on, I generally don't. Have you had much luck targeting those unpopular queries?

                  As far as the early years of Google, all I can say is that my memory seems very different then yours, I must be losing it. I seem to recall that Google had virtually no consumer marketing in the first couple of years, relying instead on partnerships with AOL and Yahoo to provide the technology for their massive search volumes. Things really took off for them when they introduced the Google toolbar which went viral. Perhaps I am remembering this all wrong.

                  Regarding my linking strategies, I have somehow managed to outrank many competing pages with a relatively small number of backlinks even on highly competitve terms. I attribute this to something I learned a fews year ago while studying Jim Boykin's service.

                  I do test various linking strategies, but realizing that Google has imposed certain constraints on their ranking algorithm for the sake of scalability, it has allowed me to take advantage of this knowledge. I have noticed a few other folks that have come to the same realization, and I like them, have never discussed this in public.

                  Finally regarding relevance, I have noticed that relevance is a central theme in virtually every service Google provides. It has become apparent to me that they focus on relevance in nearly every facet of their services including their SERP algorithm. Due to massive campaigns designed to manipulate PageRank they have evolved their off-page ranking factors to partially compensate for these manipulation efforts. Not surprisingly, relevance attributes seem to have been incorporated into this evolution.

                  Most notably to me and few others in the industry has been the innovative way they seem to have adapted PR as a weighting factor rather than a direct ranking factor. PR seems to have an important influence on the relative weight of an IBL but only as it applies to relevance. This technique tends to mitigate much of the current PR manipulation efforts used by the SEO industry.

                  My own interests in these topics has been to streamline my efforts to what I know works. Nothing is more frustrating than toiling for hours and seeing scant benefit. I have learned the hard way that much of the free advice that circulates on forums is completely useless dogma that has no basis in reality, it just sounds good and keeps getting repeated.

                  When I can root out something that seems to have potential merit I like to setup a series of tests and add the results to my collection of data. I feel compelled to challenge folks when they are asserting a plausible argument to see if they possess a theory worth testing. My poking and prodding is meant to tease out these revelations. Apply stimulus -> collect data -> analyze results.

                  If I seem to be picking on you it's probably because I am interested in what you are saying. Please forgive my clumsy methods, no malice intended.
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        • Profile picture of the author carlos123
          Originally Posted by Kurt View Post

          I appreciate the article link Kurt. I read through a lot of it.

          However I still think the best approach is to simply cater to what the search engines want in their own words instead of focusing too much on SEO techniques (wether oriented around SEO for one page, one domain, or many pages on many domains).

          In other words search engines want to provide to their users the best, most relevant content when searching for things.

          If I focus on developing great content mixed in with perhaps a few articles written here and there and some limited attempt to get quality inbound links...I think my pages will eventually rank fairly well.

          Without having to spend time focusing on all this other SEO stuff.

          I appreciate your input however and want to thank you for taking part in this discussion.

          Carlos
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          • Profile picture of the author Steven Heron
            Originally Posted by carlos123 View Post

            I appreciate the article link Kurt. I read through a lot of it.

            However I still think the best approach is to simply cater to what the search engines want in their own words instead of focusing too much on SEO techniques (wether oriented around SEO for one page, one domain, or many pages on many domains).

            In other words search engines want to provide to their users the best, most relevant content when searching for things.

            If I focus on developing great content mixed in with perhaps a few articles written here and there and some limited attempt to get quality inbound links...I think my pages will eventually rank fairly well.

            Without having to spend time focusing on all this other SEO stuff.

            I appreciate your input however and want to thank you for taking part in this discussion.

            Carlos
            Carlos, everything you're saying is great in theory, however unless it brings in paychecks it's not much use, and backlinks will bring you in paychecks from rankings.

            Some very experienced SEOers have given you some great advice, but it's obviously up to you now how you want to do things.

            Good luck with your strategies.
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  • Profile picture of the author dandimit
    Here's a relevant blog post that my business partner, Daniel Pereira did:

    Good or Bad Idea? Link Exchanges For Free Website Traffic

    I know that by writing this post that a few people are going to disagree with me. There are some people (and companies that make a living from link exchanging) that will swear up and down that link exchanging will be one of the best things you can do for your online business to increase web traffic. Although I know that you can get a good amount of free traffic from link exchanging, my only question is if it is really worth it.
    Here is one reason why I don't believe link exchanging will do wonders for your business. First of all, I learn a lot of great marketing techniques from some of the biggest names on the web. I follow the techniques that they teach and I get some really great results. There is one thing that I have noticed on their websites, that is that they don't usually link exchange. Why don't they do it? My guess is that when you place a bunch of links to other people's websites on your own, that gives people a chance to navigate away from your own website. What the big guys do, and what I like to do, is to provide links to my colleagues websites in my email marketing. This also gives me a chance to include an affiliate link in these emails. When I send these emails to people on my lists, this gives me the opportunity to make extra income on the web without having people navigate away from my own website when I want them to make a purchasing decision. So, I guess you can say that the first reason why I don't think link exchanging is good for you business is because I am greedy and I don't want people to leave my website.
    This leads me to my next point about the type of people who usually participate in link exchange programs. Generally, it seems that people decide to join these programs because they aren't getting very much traffic. So, if you are exchanging links with a bunch of other people who aren't getting very much traffic, then there is little to no traffic being generated from these efforts!
    Now, also keep in mind that if you participate in a link exchanging program, then you usually need to pay in order to participate. As a result, you may be viewed as a buyer of these links since you are paying a service fee in order to exchange these links. This, as you should know, is something that the search engines will potentially frown upon. And nobody likes it when someone like Google frowns at you, especially when you can get the highest amount of your free traffic from these search engines if you follow a few simple steps. What are these steps? Well, if you haven't taken a moment to get our free mini course along with 2 free eBooks and free weekly conference calls, then you can sign up on the left. We reveal some of our best secrets with this free info!

    Daniel Pereira
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    Dan Dimit
    Premier Internet Marketing, LLC
    www.thefreetrafficformula.com/blog
    Google my name and see what happens

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  • Profile picture of the author daxcheng
    Check this out:
    I don't have enough post to put a link. Do a search for:
    The Good and The Bad of WordPress by Matt Cutts, Straight from Google

    You will get the first result from wordpress.tv - see that video.

    Straight from Matt Cutts - Google uses over 200 factors to rank a page (at about 19 minutes into the video)

    The high view of SEO in Googles eyes is: relevancy and reputation.

    relevancy - on site SEO including your internal links
    reputation - quality inbound links.

    I have used both to get from page 9 to page 1 for the phrase "sales letters".

    Just my 2 cents.

    Dax
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    Warmest Regards
    Dax Cheng
    writing-business-letters.com

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    • Profile picture of the author carlos123
      That was a good video you posted daxcheng. Thanks!

      Carlos
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  • Profile picture of the author jayguy
    Quality backlinks are key inyour quest for better ranking. Relevance is key here and whilst link juice is welcome, the right link in the right place develops quality traffic.
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