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What's next after page rank?
google ranks and lists a site due to a lot of factors which seem vague

 11:53 am on Apr 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

i belong to a company that is the top company in its category. we have good content and are most relevant to our theme. however when a viewer searches for our category word we list on the 9th page. just last week we were on the 6th page. in fact there is no reason why we see this should happen. our business is also suffering.

i wonder what factors are actually considered except page rank since we have the highest page rank in our category.

i am trying to get myself listed much above for a better chance of being chosen by the customer.

how do i do this. does google have a system which is vague and does not differentiate the content of the sites.

the sites that have been listed above me are of all kinds and categories and are very vague.

can anyone guide?



 12:31 pm on Apr 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

Just a thought, is the category word you are using specific enough?

With Google, the various factors all come down to this golden rule:

- Is your site very informative, and easily browser accessible, on the subject you wish to be listed on?

You can be the biggest company in a field, but if your site just says "Welcome to Widget Finder Website" and has your postal address and email address, you're going to be beaten by joe blogs and his geocities site on the "History of Widgets"


 6:35 am on Apr 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

thanks for the response. how specific can a category be? for example if i sell something like say: flowers online and the keyword my user types is flower or flowers. suppose here i am the best company. still when it comes to search results for this keyword which is my business category and is very specific (flowers) i rank way below all others.

as i said before it is a similar case in my own business, instead of actually featuring in the first 5 or 6 i feature on the 9th or 10th page. answers anyone? kindly help me out as to what could be the reason.

i came upon various factors that could be considered by google and one of them seems to be the number of external links, how many sites are linking to you. the other factor is keyword density. the other factor is the words in those links that link to me. but is this all or is there some other real factor.

as said above with the example of flowers, is it that a site which has lesser external links than me, but the word flowers is present in his external links, is this considered better?

what are the criteria on which a site is ranked and specially listed? the funny part is that google itself ranks my site to be nnumber 1 in its category, then why should i not be listed amongst the top few at least.. if not the first one.

any answers anyone?


 6:45 am on Apr 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

Do you use a brandname (http://www.brandname.com) as your domain name while your competitors' websites that rank better use keywords in their domain: www.cheap-keywords.com, www.keyword-verb.com, www.joes-keywords.com etc?

[edited by: BGumble at 6:47 am (utc) on April 15, 2003]


 6:46 am on Apr 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

factors google takes into consideration (not exactly in any special order):

1) content
2) page rank
3) page rank of backlinks
4) anchor tags in links/backlinks
5) title tag
6) dmoz title
7) dmoz description
8) keyword density
8) meta description tag
9) meta keywords tag
10) spam technique red flags

Anyhow that is what I have observed.

Did I miss anything?


 6:46 am on Apr 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think you've given yourself the answers:

- keyword in incoming links
- on page keyword density (keywords in <title> etc.)


 7:32 am on Apr 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

Using your example, check the results of an allinanchor:flowers search.
Lack of "flowers" in the link text of your incoming links may be the reason for the low rankings.


 11:29 am on Apr 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

thank you all for the great posts. they are really matching to the theory that i have researched.

hi BGumble:
to answer your question: yes some of my competitors actually have the keyword in their url.

i dont

does that really go to make a difference?

to all the others for the great tips: thanks and fill me in for more information.

also, if the content of the links is important, is the number of links important too?


 11:35 am on Apr 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

In my experience the single most important factor besides pagerank is having the key word or phrase in your title. I've seen many sites move from between the third and tenth pages to the #1 or #2 position just by changing the title.

If you already have this covered, then consider other factors that have been suggested, but check your title tags first.


 1:35 pm on Apr 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

thanks meditationman

yes i do have the keyword in my title. i still am listed way below in certain searches whereas i top the search results in some cases.

answers anyone for all the questions?


 1:39 pm on Apr 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

hi PatrickDeese

you have answered my question very well. just one request: can anyone actually point the order of importance of those points.

can you do it PatrickDeese?

it would be very great. thanks for the responses everyone


 2:22 pm on Apr 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

All other things being the same between a main competitor and I, he is currently beating me out with closer proximity keywords in his dmoz description. This is an important off site thing to optimize...

Ooh, didn't see that that had been mentioned already...


 2:32 pm on Apr 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>yes some of my competitors actually have the keyword in their url. i dont. does that really go to make a difference?

It doesn't make much difference if you only consider the advantage they gain from having a little keyword density in the domain name. Where it *does* make a lot of difference is in the incoming link text. Google considers a site to be (rightly) quite relevant to "penguin widgets" if other sites link to it with:

<a href="http://www.shiny-penguin-widgets.com">Shiny-Penguin-Widgets.com</a>

while sites link to you with:

<a href="http://www.coolbrandname.com">Coolbrandname.com</a>

Even though your site is entirely about penguin widgets, the first site will get far more relevance ranking with Google because of the incoming link text. All other sites link to them with the keywords in the link-- it makes sense right? Except that keyworded domains are awful for branding... Great for SERPs, not good for incoming links.

Solution? See if you can get your incoming links changed to <a href="http://www.coolbrandname.com">Coolbrandname Penguin Widgets</a>

[edited by: BGumble at 2:36 pm (utc) on April 15, 2003]


 2:36 pm on Apr 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

I've always suspected that the dmoz descriotion carries a lot of weight too.

But does anyone know how i would go about changing one for a client (currently not very descriptive)? I thought they didn't like you changing the description for marketing reasons?


 4:05 pm on Apr 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

currently beating me out with closer proximity keywords in his dmoz description

I tried several times to get the title and description changed on a small site I run. The change has nothing to do with SEO. The update just never happens. Since the site is not of great importance I finally gave up.

I wish Google would either stop being so dependent on DMOZ or somehow DMOZ could be more responsive. Being volunteer based I suppose they are short of help.


 4:27 pm on Apr 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

> can anyone actually point the order of importance of those points.
I'm afraid nobody can. But meta keywords tag (point 9) doesn't seem to help for Google. Maybe you better replace that one with "Theme on page with backward links".


 7:26 pm on Apr 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

>> I'm afraid nobody can. But meta keywords tag (point 9) doesn't seem to help for Google. Maybe you better replace that one with "Theme on page with backward links". <<

Actually I might disagree a bit on that. I think that if your meta keywords correspond with your body content, it will help your rankings. It certainly doesn't matter as much as the title tag does.

Here are my "best guesses" of an order. Some of them seem to be about the same weight to me.

1) title tag
2) page rank of backlinks
3) anchor tags in links/backlinks
4) content
5) dmoz description
6) dmoz title (arguably depending on the page rank of dmoz listing)
7) page rank (your site)
8) meta description tag
9) keyword density
10) spam technique red flags
11) meta keywords tag


 6:25 am on Apr 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thanks everyone for the great posts. i guess the discussion here is very focused and is being taken well by all the members.

I would like to share my experience: for one of the main keywords which i had researched on, i tried to compare the results of my competitorís keyword density, his Page Rank, the number of sites linking to him, the url of these sites, and other such factors.

i found that the number of links had the highest weightage. The next factor was that u need to have the keyword present in those links, if this is the case u r better off than a site which has more number of links than you.

Also I came across two sites of which the higher listed had much less number of sites linking to it and the keyword appeared thrice in those links. The next one had a much higher number of links and even he had the keyword in the links appearing thrice.

The only factor that was different was that the keyword density was higher in the site that ranked higher. So it does make sense that keyword density matters.

What I donít understand out of all the research is the correct order and importance of all these factors.

Patrickdeese has very kindly listed the order of importance. But as to what I have found I would list the importance of keyword density much higher?

Any opinions anyone?


 6:44 am on Apr 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

PatrickDeese has provided a very good comprehensive list. I disagree with some but in general those should be enough for you sweta.


 7:00 am on Apr 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi mil2k

You said you disagree with some of the points: can you point these points out.. why would you disagree with them?

Should be of great discussion material.



 7:13 am on Apr 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Well, Google's algo is meant to be vague. Otherwise you will create a whole industry of people reverse engineering it and getting people to pay them to get their sites higher by redesigning their sites and getting links for them etc! (oops.. its started already!)

That situation is not what Google wants, so apart from giving vague advice which 90% is true of any document, book, or article, they only provide vague advice when it helps build their brand that they have a very intelligent relevance based algo out there!

With over 100 factors, some out of the full control of the coder/designer and continually changing weights and so, google has managed to reduce the opportunities for people getting their sites higher in the SERPS than their actual intrinsic value deserves. Its not prefect, but its closer certainly that what google and all other search engines could get 2 years ago, or even a year ago.

Trying to get more specifics is a useless exercise. And thats for the good of all im sure.

[edited by: chiyo at 7:17 am (utc) on April 16, 2003]


 7:15 am on Apr 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Perhaps we're all blind to some evil trick like different weighting procedures depending on how many results in the set.


 7:24 am on Apr 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi sweta , i disagree with "Meta Keywords being imp factor". Also to make things clear the list is very comprehensive when you consider that all factors are equal. That doesn't happen. So you can hence concentrate on PR and come in top 10 or you can concentrate on link text and come in top 10. There are many ways to ROME. Just choose which one is more suitable to you.

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