Not Your Usual SEO Secrets
Recently I read an article: The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine written by two Google founders Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page seven years ago. I would like to share a few things I have learned from this article which I am not sure are the usual SEO secrets that you have been after if there is any.
Be rest assured that you are not going to be asked to buy anything, or to register to download case studies, all is here.
Sorry to use the word ‘secret’ to attract you to here, of course every search engine is being run as a business, they all have their own secrets, those rules that they use to decide page rankings are changing. But honestly I do not think that there are any MYTHS or SECRETS that are only known to a few experts and you need to pay a fortune to get them.
Having said that does not mean that there is nothing we can do to achieve good SEO results, nobody can afford to lose SEO war. My approach to this anxiety is to get to the bottom of it, and see what I can do. You might say that the article mentioned above was written 7 years ago, how relevant it is to today’s situation, it is very relevant, it is the theory in this article that has made Google so successful today, the understanding of what SEO is about is very important for us to see the common sense side of this madness.
Here are my version of SEO secrets:
Secret 1. The goal of search engine is to provide most precise search result that are most relevant
Based on this fact, I am sure that there is no secret that can magically helicopter your website to the top in 24 hours. on the other hand knowing what search engine really does can help us understand that there are things we can do to make search engine’s life easier, and these things I call them your unusual SEO secrets
Secret 2. To get your site into their database
This is the first thing you need to do, instead of waiting for search engine to come across you by accident, you should invite their crawler to come to your side, now this job has been made very easy, most of search engines have webmaster tool, it normally involves getting an account of their webmaster tool, and to embed that account in your web page, the details are beyond purpose of this article. Some crawlers can visit your site minutes after you have registered.
Secret 3. To get all your pages into their database
You have invited crawler or a robot to your site, you might also want to introduce all the published pages to the crawler, so a sitemap is very important, a sitemap will tell the crawler to scan all the pages you want it to, also some pages might have been updated from the last robot visit, the sitemap can also take care of that.
Secret 4. To get your pages into right barrels
Search engine will index your pages against a few words or word phrases, these are called keywords, there are ‘barrels’ of these keywords that store related site urls, the task here is to get your site url into the right barrels, because search results are drawn out from the barrels that match search phrases.
Here is the first challenge for us as web site writers or developers. Which barrels are we going to put our pages into? as search engine is trying its best to figure out what your page is about, then according to its understanding a few keywords are assigned to your site, those keywords are not necessarily the keywords you used in meta data of your site, but search engine’s view of your site, then your site is dropped into barrels of those keywords. The last thing you want search engine to do is to misunderstand your page unless you try to cheat it deliberately which I seriously doubt you are going to succeed or it is worth trying.
This is the hype of keywords, as it is made clear by Google there are two types of keywords: fancy and plain keywords. and final result is a combination of two.
Fancy keywords include words in URL, page title,meta tag, and anchor text, the interesting thing is anchor text, the text over the link to your page, it makes perfect sense that Google treat this information as important, as this is basically what your friend thinks your page is, and is more credible than what the page says about itself. So not to lose from the fancy keywords front, you have to be careful about words in these places, especially if you pay somebody else to back link to your site, make sure the right keywords are used in the anchor text.
Another type keyword Google is looking is called plain keywords, words that are drawn from the content of your page, capitalization, position, font are also considered, but do not get too carried away by the fonts etc, using bigger fonts all over the places are not going to improve your page importance against others, this kind of weighting are only calculated relative to your own site.
How these two kind of keywords weigh against each other, nobody knows, but as Google become smarter, the keywords from your content are going to be more and more decisive, as Google always emphasizes that content is king. That is also my point, a popular page must have substance, so to develop page contents is always the no.1 priority.
You might think that some keywords are more popular than others, using them in your contents might have a better chance of search traffic, there are even tools to tell you the popularity of a word, but I am totally lost here as more popular the keyword is, the bigger the barrel is, how can you be sure that you have a batter chance? this leads to my next point.
Secret 5. How to improve page rank
After search engines believed what you say your page is, then you are sure in the draw, the other thing is how to be at the top of list or have a bigger chance to win the draw, this is to do your page ranking.
Here is the page rank calculation from their original paper:
We assume page A has pages T1…Tn which point to it (i.e., are citations). The parameter d is a damping factor which can be set between 0 and 1. We usually set d to 0.85. There are more details about d in the next section. Also C(A) is defined as the number of links going out of page A. The PageRank of a page A is given as follows:
PR(A) = (1-d) + d (PR(T1)/C(T1) + … + PR(Tn)/C(Tn))
Note that the PageRanks form a probability distribution over web pages, so the sum of all web pages’ PageRanks will be one.
I am not sure this is still the case, but it explained what contributes to your page rank. A page with higher page rank pointing to your page is definitely a good thing, we all know sometime it could be quite expensive, and how much you can gain by paying for others to point to you is a question, on the other hand, not all citations are good I imagine, for example I do not think a link from a spam page will do anything good to your site.
Another interesting thing from this formula is the more links you made to others, the worse your page rank is to be. is this the case? I do not know, but to me I give credits to those that have helped me on my content.
The other important fact of page ranking is the traffic of your site which is not reflected in this formula, I am pretty sure that this is the key factor, as all page ranking is about is the importance of your site. From Google Analytics (another free but necessary tool I would recommend you to have to monitor your site traffic ) the traffic is definitely the driving force of your page rank.
As you may or may not know, you can check page rank of any site through Google toolbar pagerank function, hover over the page rank menu item, it will tell you page rank of that site.
This site was launched in July, now its page rank is 1/10.
So to conclude: Content is most important for your site, meta keywords will help to reassure search engine that this page is what it says it is, good content will ensure good traffic, page rank will increase as a result. This is the organic way to grow your site and I believe is the right one.