If you’re the type who’d do anything for a first page Google rank, then here’s a nice story I’d like to share.
Before even starting off, let me warn that this story may not give us any clues or solid proofs, nor does it come off as a theory. Its only an observation and I strongly recommend that you not jump into conclusions, rather please get in to “a first time Google user” mode. So let’s get started. Remember…you’re a “first time google user.” !
I searched Google for “water skiing equipment” and this is the search results page we get. (This is a first time search so I don’t think there’s any SearchWiki influence or personalization.)
If you look at the top results, there are some interesting observations that will challenge some of the widely believed, Google advocated SEO best practices. Let’s try and crack some of them.
1. Title / Description spam
The first result is not very authentic looking for me. Its repeating the keywords and doesn’t make any sensible statement. The snippet is equally spammy. Still the site has sitelinks and a number one position.
2. The page title keyword match
The first result does not have a perfect keyword match. Its a content keyword match, while many other results below the first one had perfect keyword match. Interesting.
3. The number of incoming links
If you take a look at the number of incoming links, the first result does not have the maximum number, as you might expect it to. Nor does it have anchor text ratio that’s better than others.
4. The domain age
Domain age is not a significant factor in this SERPs as most of the domains are pretty old and are pretty much equal.
What do they tell ?
If you check any of the SEO factors & analyse the SERPs, you’ll find that although many of them fall into place, some of them just seem plain absurd. Well, just one example isn’t good enough to make a conclusion, heck..I’d rather not make any conclusion but even with other search results (mobile games, designer cloths etc ) there are some evident patterns that come up. And sadly, they aren’t in context with the much recommended Google best practices. Some of them –
1. Page Title spamming works (or are discounted for) if you have an old site.
2. Incoming links do help, but if you are a new site, then it won’t help much.
3. Sites with great content is cool, but even a site with less than 50 pages can beat you.
And I can go on with them…Not trying to disapprove or question Google here. This probably is not a best example either, but considering I’m on a “first time google user” mode, I think this is really interesting. Google has a very complex algorithm and things might not just work “as expected” and sometimes even things can get out of hand as seen above. Google sometimes have been seen “discounting” common metrics to older sites, to which I believe there is a/several reasons. But where does that leave us ?
Not all the time does “formulas” work, and it’s all based on judgement as to what is good and what is not and what is preferred and what’s not. I hope this article will generate some valuable discussion.
( P.S – Please don’t go by the face value of the title, if you have read the post completely, you would’ve already understood what I meant. )