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How to get from #3 to the #1 spot.
Finally made it to #3 ... just two spots to go.

 12:14 pm on Oct 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

My site is one year old tomorrow and this week I've made it to #3 for my primary keyword. This is showing across all DCs and is already bringing traffic from around the world.

The folks who have the #1 spot have been there for years and have a huge amount of organic search traffic. I know this because they do not advertise anywhere but are extremely successful.

Can anyone who has been in this position advise me what factors influence the top three placements? The reason I ask is that:

I know that Age of domain is relevant, but ...

#1 site: Online Since: 01-May-2003
#2 site: Online Since: 20-Aug-2001
My site: Online Since: 13-Oct-2005
#4 site: Online Since: 01-May-2000

... Judging from the above, age of domain is clearly not the most important factor.


#1 site: 699
#2 site: 158
My site: 1760
#4 site: 710

Page Rank:

#1 site: PR5
#2 site: PR5
My site: PR6
#4 site: PR5

Site: Pages

#1 site: 575
#2 site: 2,060
My site: 230
#4 site: 705

Given the above, I can no specific indication of what the Big G is looking for.

Your thoughts would be most welcome.

[edited by: JackR at 12:49 pm (utc) on Oct. 12, 2006]



 10:57 am on Oct 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

What counts is the anchor text for that keyword. Please do a seach allinanchor:keyword and you will know why :)

This could be. but we are with in top 3 for very competitive keyword since last 3 yrs and if we search with allinanchor:keyword we are no where in first 10 pages i checked.

Content is king.

[edited by: kartiksh at 11:02 am (utc) on Oct. 13, 2006]


 11:01 am on Oct 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

There is a difference, you're just missing it.

Yes, of course there is a difference. BUT, there are no major differences - nothing particularly original or unorthodox. That said, how about this for a difference (#1 site):

<td height="15" background="*<SNIP>*.gif"><h1><span title="*<SNIP>*</span></h1></td>

Assuming that your site is optimized in terms of accessibility and the ABC of SEO, it think it will probably come down to the two classics: content and links.

I couldn't agree more.

1. Can you elaborate on 'deeplink ratio'?
2. Simple text or banner links - nothing out of the ordinary;
3. The short tail - 1 keyword - counts for some 60% of ALL search traffic - both from Google and Yahoo!

It's the equivalent of Amazon holding #1 for 'Books'...


 11:13 am on Oct 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

While the number of results for a keyword does provide some indication of the competitiveness of a keyword, it is far too simplistic. Among other things, this number ignores how many other sites are actually targeting the keyword, as opposed to merely mentioning it in passing.

If you want a quick sense of competitiveness, I'd suggest looking at the AllinURL and AllinAnchor data, instead.


 11:15 am on Oct 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

That said, how about this for a difference (#1 site):

Forget it - that's insignificant. You're still stuck on the SEO thought train, that's why you're missing it.



 11:20 am on Oct 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

"While the number of results for a keyword does provide some indication of the competitiveness of a keyword, it is far too simplistic."

I agree. thanks for the clarification. :-)


 12:13 pm on Oct 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

1. What is your deeplink ratio? So far you've only talked about 1 page and 1 kw phrase.
JackR: Can you elaborate on 'deeplink ratio'?

Deeplinks is the ratio of backlinks to pages on your site OTHER than your canonical page, (usually your home page - I'm guessing you've got all guns blazing on your home page) expressed as a ratio of overall links.
So: if you have 1000 links, and 600 go to your home page, your deeplinks ratio is 40%. G can spot this sort of amateur SEO activity a mile off, and so they should.

2. What is the context of your competitors bl's versus yours? e.g. Do they have lots of text surrounding their link in a themed page without many more outbound links from related sites? Give me 1 of these over tens of anything else any day.
JackR: Simple text or banner links - nothing out of the ordinary

Enough said. SE's see that you've not gotten quality links from themed sites in relevant text on relevant pages in quality articles/text. Blam! You're making it easy for your competition to stay in number 1 position.

[edited by: tedster at 5:52 pm (utc) on Oct. 13, 2006]


 12:43 pm on Oct 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think we're probably there, but I want to clarify a couple of points.

Moreover, four years ago I barely knew how to use a computer, let alone anything about websites and/or SEO.

What you've achieved, in that space, is fantastic - so don't underestimate what you've already achieved. Even if it was through brute force and hard cash - sometimes that's the best way ;)

As TJ will confirm, I now know exactly what the problem is. Fixing it in the right fashion is the issue at hand.

And coburn is actually absolutely correct in his analysis.

This is the most important point that I think anyone reading this thread could perhaps take from it:-

Content for the visitor does not consist of the written word in any form.

That is absolutely wrong, and the #1 site on the term you're going for is stuffed full of written word content.

Like I say, you've done really well to get to #3, so enjoy that - it will bring you money. You've done that with a brute force linking strategy. What you now need to do, to both hold that position and improve it, is back that linking strategy up with some solid authoritative content.

We used to say "think pages with Google, think pages". This is becoming less and less the case if you want to enter competitive money-word spaces. It often takes an entire site to build authority for a single key-phrase.



 1:13 pm on Oct 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Good on you for doing it in 4 years, that's a good speed, and more importantly well done for making good money on it. A profitable business model is harder to achieve than SEO.
Time to stop asking about SEO and start asking about Internet Marketing. Search for: Chris Anderson long tail. Wikipedia has a good write up on him. Economist released a downloadable mp3 with Chris talking about long tail.

Alternatively if you have the money, then hire a good internet marketer. Think about clever marketing campaigns, Press Releases, games, free value add offers etc Dixon's post [webmasterworld.com] [in the paid Supporter's Forum] is a good start.

[edited by: tedster at 5:57 pm (utc) on Oct. 13, 2006]


 1:31 pm on Oct 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

JackR, about long tail/short tail keywords/phrases. Basically, long tail converts into a sale much better than short tail. The longer the search terms that get typed into the little box, the more likely the searcher will make a purchase. As it gets shorter, conversion rates go down. I'd also recommend carefully reading over the Google patent which explains how Google ranks sites. They pay attention to how many backlinks you get over a period of time and determine if it's "natural". If it's not, and yours doesn't look "normal" compared to the others you mentioned, this could hurt you more than help you.


 3:06 pm on Oct 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Trying to move up?

Despite the industry youíre in, and we all get the visual nature of it, put up some content. If itís good, your visitors just might enjoy it, and the SEís will even more. Some way, some how there is a written way of expounding on what youíre offering. Images come and go, and for your site that sounds like standard procedure, however good content hangs around for ever. (and people link to it)

Link out to sites that would compliment yours and benefit your users. In fact, I would try linking to the guy who is number 1, he ainít there by accident. (thatís right, just put a link on your site to his, without demanding reciprocation) You need to get the hub going, sounds like your to focused on people linking to you with the correct anchor text, and that has served you well. However, youíre in the difficult zone now, start thinking about what constitutes a site that is radiating signals of quality.

Good luck and keep us posted, your making rapid progress and if you can plant your flag on that number one spot, sure would be interesting to hear what you think did the trick.


 3:35 pm on Oct 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

coburn: Thanks for the encouragement - it's much appreciated.

I have to tell you, for me this project is not about money. Money is fortunately the only thing in life I don't have to worry about. For me, this is about changing the face of an industry for good. I think you're right: it's probably time to hand over the reins to someone who can co-ordinate a 'global' strategy: content, linking, content, marketing, content, SEO and ... um .. more Content!

spaceylacie: Thank you for explaining long tail/short tail keywords with such clarity and brevity. I understand exactly now.

randle: You folks (in particular TJ) have convinced me of the errors in the strategy that I had been pursuing hitherto. This will now be modified accordingly.

I do hope to be able to report back in the not too distant future.

Thank you all.


 8:15 pm on Oct 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

1 keyword - counts for some 60% of ALL search traffic

Ouch, this is crazy! If I were you, instead of concentrating on getting from #3 to #1 - I would create another website which would cover "long tail" searches... this way on the next "bad data-push" when you'r kicked back to #27, you wouldn't loose most of your traffic. Right your Internet presence has no "insurance"...

... added benifit, as spaceylacie mentioned, "long tail" will convert better...


 8:18 pm on Oct 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

my late two bits: add a ton of good text (with a few relevant links) to your home page. scrolling divs help for source ordering and keeps the layout under control.

If you have the discipline, build three or four hundred more pages of good content. That'll make you go up in the SERPS, guaranteed.

"long tail" will convert better

very true, we were #9 out of 250m for a big "one word phrase" for a few years and that traffic didn't convert as much as the longtail searches do now.

[edited by: Tourz at 8:27 pm (utc) on Oct. 13, 2006]


 8:54 pm on Oct 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

I really with this myth about allin searches would go away.

allinanchor: *does not* in any way reflect haw you rank in that particular anchor text, and it never has.

Every "allin" search does a search for those words, just as if there was no allin.

The normal SERP filters are not applied to these results.

Instead, they apply the allin filter that you have specified, and only that filter.

Do an allintext, allintitle, allinanchor, etc and compare your first 20 results. The results are in exactly the same order if they are included in the results at all.

All it does is tell you that a page happens to meet the requirements of that filter, it does no ranking at all based on the filter.


 7:43 am on Oct 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

Did anyone mentioned about outbound links to "related quality sites" from your own site/pages?

I think it is of high importance now... could it be one of the factor?


 12:27 pm on Oct 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

Good topic JackR,

>> stupid enough to award a PR6

I'm pretty sure you can buy it - but will it last? There are two ways to the top - the quick and most likely short-lived - path (buying links and dumping cheap content onto the site, etc...) and the longer term way (quality content relevant to your topic, obtaining qualified & relevant links from high value sites, etc... ).

When it comes to Google's algo, I think it's safe to say that it's becoming more complex and takes in more and more signals of quality into it's evaluations. Attempting to reverse engineer the algo for minute details like age of the domain - a single signal out of many - can be very misleading.

>> thinking too much about SEO and not enough about authority.



 7:31 pm on Oct 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

bd > allinanchor: *does not* in any way reflect haw you rank in that particular anchor text, and it never has.

AFAIKS it takes the Google general results and then takes the subset of those that have off-piste used in anchor text in backlinks without changing the ranking order. This effectively excludes certain results.

Is that what you were saying in your post?


 1:21 pm on Oct 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

Not sure if it's been mentioned but part of the link value is age.

Even if you have 200+ PR6 links and the other sites have 100 PR5, if they are old links and/or very well matched themed sites then it may take 10x more links to exceed the value of what they have.

Also, ignore any Google link stats.

I'm not sure I agree with all this "content, content, content" mantra - I believe content is queen, links are king.


 1:31 pm on Oct 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

"I'm not sure I agree with all this "content, content, content" mantra "


 1:32 pm on Oct 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

"links are king"


 7:01 pm on Oct 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

Content is still king because great content gets you the most valuable links. The links are only the currency.


 9:00 am on Oct 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

Big Dave said :
"Content is still king because great content gets you the most valuable links. The links are only the currency. "

"Only" the currency?! Money talks....

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