How in the Hell is this site ranking for this KW?

by Christian Fox 16 replies
hxxp://federalfirearmslicense.com/

Ranked #3 for "ffl"

  1. Federal Firearms License

    Offers a detailed, step-by-step kit to get you your Federal Firearms License (FFL).
    federalfirearmslicense.com/ - Cached - Similar
    #3 | PR: 3 | Y! Links: 510 | Y! .edu Links: 0 | Y! .gov Links: 0 | Y! Page Links: 380 | Y! .edu Page Links: 0 | Cached: - | Yahoo position: 8

Keyword not even in title or URL, less than 10% of anchor text contain FFL my IBP says site is optimized at 13% for a top 10 listing for this KW.

What am I missing because this should not be remotely possible. I's there something bla ck hat going on here that I am missing? WTF?

Google says About 26,500,000 results (0.08 seconds) For "FFL"
#search engine optimization #hell #ranking #site
  • Profile picture of the author VegasGreg
    Well,FFL is in the description and it is in the site's content and it has a lot of backlinks.

    The site IS about FFL and Google knows that based on the content.
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  • Profile picture of the author Colin Theriot
    Yeah, SEO is not the only indicator of whether a site will rank well. It's a good guess, and SEO factors are how Google's algo guesses, too. But also, is the site good? If it is, Google will tend to reward it if they can tell just by crawling it, whether or not they are good at technical SEO or backlinking.

    Google strives to make it so SEO doesn't need to exist at all, and good websites with no SEO will rank better than terrible websites with perfect SEO.
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  • Profile picture of the author Crew Chief
    Originally Posted by Christian Fox View Post

    hxxp://federalfirearmslicense.com/

    Ranked #3 for "ffl"

    1. Federal Firearms License

      Offers a detailed, step-by-step kit to get you your Federal Firearms License (FFL).
      federalfirearmslicense.com/ - Cached - Similar
      #3 | PR: 3 | Y! Links: 510 | Y! .edu Links: 0 | Y! .gov Links: 0 | Y! Page Links: 380 | Y! .edu Page Links: 0 | Cached: - | Yahoo position: 8

    Keyword not even in title or URL, less than 10% of anchor text contain FFL my IBP says site is optimized at 13% for a top 10 listing for this KW.

    What am I missing because this should not be remotely possible. I's there something bla ck hat going on here that I am missing? WTF?

    Google says About 26,500,000 results (0.08 seconds) For "FFL"
    The domain name for FFL is dead on; couple that with the few BLs and you've got the answer to your question.

    The Google BOTs have factored in that FFL and FFLs are in all likelihood first and foremost referring to Federal Firearms License and then possibly Fantasy Football League, etc., etc.

    It's sort of like when a person Google's "REO"

    Are they referring to:

    (a). REO Speedwagon
    (b). Real Estate Owned
    (c). Regional Ecosystem Office

    The BOTS have decided that first and foremost, people typing in "REO" are searching for Real estate owned and secondly REO Speedwagon.

    So the answer to your question is "No!" There's nothing flaking going on; they just snagged a great domain name!

    Giles, the Crew Chief
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    • Profile picture of the author Christian Fox
      Wow... I am not so sure there is virtually no content on the site and it has nowhere near the backlinks of any other top ranked listing.

      Are you sure Google sees Federal Firearms License as FFL also I would argue FFL as in fantasy football league would definitely win the toss on the assumption based on the terms popularity.

      Check the site, there is nothing to crawl it's half a page and almost zerop content... I am still perplexed.

      I have the same domain however with hyphens and .net ext Time to do a little experiment...

      But also, is the site good?
      No, it sucks....badly

      Well,FFL is in the description and it is in the site's content and it has a lot of backlinks.
      Yes but I would argue title and url would both weigh more heavily...Agree? Also that is not a lot of backlinks per the competition and less that 10% use the term in the anchor. That is bad in itself.
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      • Profile picture of the author Crew Chief
        Originally Posted by Christian Fox View Post

        Wow... I am not so sure there is virtually no content on the site and it has nowhere near the backlinks of any other top ranked listing.

        Are you sure Google sees Federal Firearms License as FFL also I would argue FFL as in fantasy football league would definitely win the toss on the assumption based on the terms popularity.

        Check the site, there is nothing to crawl it's half a page and almost zerop content... I am still perplexed.

        I have the same domain however with hyphens and .net ext Time to do a little experiment...


        No, it sucks....badly

        I checked the site and you are right, IT SUCKS royally!

        This one is close to home for me because I've got a number of sites just like that. I rank high on some three characters acronyms related to real estate. The thing is, I never set to rank on them!

        When I researched and starting tracking as to the reason(s) why, it came back to the domain name and the closely related content factor.

        In this case, when a person searches for FFL, the search is almost always related to: obtaining a firearms license. Check your GKT for confirmation.

        Giles, the Crew Chief
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      • Profile picture of the author VegasGreg
        Originally Posted by Christian Fox View Post

        Yes but I would argue title and url would both weigh more heavily...Agree? Also that is not a lot of backlinks per the competition and less that 10% use the term in the anchor. That is bad in itself.
        I would disagree. While those 2 items ARE factors in the equation (allegedly), they are only 2 factors of 200+ that Google claims to use.

        A 'Title' can be anything a webmaster wants it to be and may or may not be relevant to the site and Google would catch that, so I wouldn't say that Google woulf rate that part highly.

        The 'url' is also a very small factor in the 200+ variables used in the equation. Yes, a keyword rich domain can help, barring all other factors, but think of all the BIG sites that rank highly for keywords that have nothing to do with the url. (EX: search for any physical product keyword and you will usually get ebay.com and amazon.com)


        Just my thoughts, and yes, I agree the site looks "crappy", but it serves the purpose for anyone searching that term and sometimes that is all that matters.
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        • Profile picture of the author dburk
          Hi Christian,

          This is just one of millions of examples that demonstrate that Google does not rank pages based on the number of backlinks, PageRank, amount of content on the page or any kind of subjective judgement of the "quality" of the content.

          Google simply ranks pages based on a relevancy score.

          It seems that you assume that Google is not able to recognize that FFL is a commonly used abbreviation for the term: Federal Firearm License. Actually they do recognize this abbreviation and you can easily confirm this by observing the keyword terms that are automatically made bold on the SERP.

          Since Google recognizes this common abbreviation they clearly see this keyword included both in the title and the URL, so your assumptions regarding this aspect of SEO were wrong. Again, you can confirm this by observing which terms are made bold on the SERP.

          Additionally, you seem to be thinking of relevancy as an absolute and exclusive value. Google clearly treats relevancy as a relativistic value. Which means a single term may have a degree of ambiguity and be relevant towards multiple topics, i.e. "apple" is relevant for the fruit, the computer, the music company, pies, recipes, etc. and Google has no difficulty recognizing this as demonstrated by their SERP.

          This post from Google's Blog discusses these capabilities: Official Google Blog: Helping computers understand language
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          • Profile picture of the author Christian Fox
            Originally Posted by dburk View Post

            Hi Christian,

            This is just one of millions of examples that demonstrate that Google does not rank pages based on the number of backlinks, PageRank, amount of content on the page or any kind of subjective judgement of the "quality" of the content.

            Google simply ranks pages based on a relevancy score.

            It seems that you assume that Google is not able to recognize that FFL is a commonly used abbreviation for the term: Federal Firearm License. Actually they do recognize this abbreviation and you can easily confirm this by observing the keyword terms that are automatically made bold on the SERP.

            Since Google recognizes this common abbreviation they clearly see this keyword included both in the title and the URL, so your assumptions regarding this aspect of SEO were wrong. Again, you can confirm this by observing which terms are made bold on the SERP.

            Additionally, you seem to be thinking of relevancy as an absolute and exclusive value. Google clearly treats relevancy as a relativistic value. Which means a single term may have a degree of ambiguity and be relevant towards multiple topics, i.e. "apple" is relevant for the fruit, the computer, the music company, pies, recipes, etc. and Google has no difficulty recognizing this as demonstrated by their SERP.

            This post from Google's Blog discusses these capabilities: Official Google Blog: Helping computers understand language
            Thanks, yes I was wrong about G not seeing Federal Firearms License as FFL I confirmed this with the GKWT as well. Also the domain is aged as well so this is helping also I am sure.

            I'll check that link
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  • Profile picture of the author Christian Fox
    I'll do that thanks... Yeah bizarre I never even considered going after this due to the massive competition. I should be able to easily outrank that site...

    Wow just checked the GKWT spot on! Another lesson learned... never assume anything.
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  • Originally Posted by Christian Fox View Post

    hxxp://federalfirearmslicense.com/

    Ranked #3 for "ffl"

    1. Federal Firearms License

      Offers a detailed, step-by-step kit to get you your Federal Firearms License (FFL).
      federalfirearmslicense.com/ - Cached - Similar
      #3 | PR: 3 | Y! Links: 510 | Y! .edu Links: 0 | Y! .gov Links: 0 | Y! Page Links: 380 | Y! .edu Page Links: 0 | Cached: - | Yahoo position: 8
    Keyword not even in title or URL, less than 10% of anchor text contain FFL my IBP says site is optimized at 13% for a top 10 listing for this KW.

    What am I missing because this should not be remotely possible. I's there something bla ck hat going on here that I am missing? WTF?

    Google says About 26,500,000 results (0.08 seconds) For "FFL"
    26MM results is really no indication of competition. You'd need to look at the # of results w/ FFL in the title, in the URL, in both title and URL, in anchor to really get a good picture.

    That being said... The site has some decent backlinks...

    In particular they have a DMOZ entry w/ FFL in the link text AND the description. They even have directory links from several "fake DMOZ" sites with FFL in the link text. LOL As you can see, many sites scrape DMOZ and re-publish the DMOZ content on other sites. This is one reason getting into DMOZ can be such a great thing. It's almost like article submission where other blogs will republish your ezinearticles.com article.

    They also have links from very relevant pages on other sites like FFL Top 10 Questions which have FFL in the page name, page title, content, etc.

    How does Google determine if your URL is relevant to a search query? They look to title, h1, h2s, content, link text of inbound links to that URL, etc. to see if those elements contain the search phrase, variations of the search phrase, or close synonyms of the search phrase.

    So how do you think Google determines if a page that links to yours is relevant to a search query (therefore, making your page more relevant)? They look at title, h1, h2s, content, link text of inbound links of the page that links to your page to see if they contain the search phrase, variations of the page, or close synonyms of the search phrase.


    But if I had to guess... the DMOZ entry and all of the copies of that directory on the web are likely the primary reason.
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    • Profile picture of the author paulgl
      Is ffl a real word keyword by a real world searcher?
      If it isn't, and I can't imagine why anyone would search for
      ffl, then google has got to decide on the fly what you are
      searching for. It's a crazy search, so expect crazy results.

      Now if you do a search for:
      how to get a Federal Firearms License
      The site shows up because it is spot on. They claim they will
      indeed show you "how to get a Federal Firearms License."

      It's not a bad example.

      Looks like a low comp niche to be sure.
      It appears that as stated, google expects most people who search for
      ffl to mean Federal Firearms License. But again, I can't fathom anyone
      doing a search for ffl by itself.

      Google prides itself on giving the searcher as close to what they
      want at any given time. But sometimes they have to guess. And
      sometimes they get it wrong. Taking a weird search and getting
      weird results is proof of nothing. I have always asked where people
      get the time to do this stuff, and why they even do it.

      paul
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      • Profile picture of the author Christian Fox
        I looked at their links with SEO Spyglass and you are right the DMOZ is probably helping...

        Still it is an odd position for this weak site me thinks...


        26MM results is really no indication of competition. You'd need to look at the # of results w/ FFL in the title, in the URL, in both title and URL, in anchor to really get a good picture.
        Agreed,
        HIGH...
        intitle:ffl inurl:ffl inanchor:ffl
        About 176,000 results (0.31 seconds)
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      • Profile picture of the author Mike Grant
        Originally Posted by paulgl View Post

        Is ffl a real word keyword by a real world searcher?
        If it isn't, and I can't imagine why anyone would search for
        ffl, then google has got to decide on the fly what you are
        searching for. It's a crazy search, so expect crazy results.

        Now if you do a search for:
        how to get a Federal Firearms License
        The site shows up because it is spot on. They claim they will
        indeed show you "how to get a Federal Firearms License."

        It's not a bad example.

        Looks like a low comp niche to be sure.
        It appears that as stated, google expects most people who search for
        ffl to mean Federal Firearms License. But again, I can't fathom anyone
        doing a search for ffl by itself.

        Google prides itself on giving the searcher as close to what they
        want at any given time. But sometimes they have to guess. And
        sometimes they get it wrong. Taking a weird search and getting
        weird results is proof of nothing. I have always asked where people
        get the time to do this stuff, and why they even do it.

        paul
        "ffl" receives 10k exact per month.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Grant
    I never understood why people use the number of "competing" pages as a sign of how difficult it is to rank.

    Use the first 20 results on G to determine how difficult the niche is.

    "ffl" is not a difficult keyword to rank for, at all. If you know what you're doing, youll be on page one in less than a month.
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  • Profile picture of the author sabun
    Another thing to remember is that Google rankings are not necessarily spot on all the time ... i have seen many other examples where some rubbish website is sitting comfortably on first page for years ... besides, there can be some redirecting stuff going on.
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