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Long Tail Ranking - shows up, then vanishes from SERP

 7:34 pm on Sep 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

Does anyone experience for long-tail keyword searches that you see your site in the SERP and then later on it is not there?



 2:13 pm on Sep 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

Sure, all the time. It happens especially on a relatively new site, but it can happen any time.


 3:59 pm on Sep 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

When you say relatively new, does that mean less than a year?

I am not sure what is considered a relatively new site, but that is good information.


 4:50 pm on Sep 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

Yes, less than a year - and more commonly in the first 4-5 months. But Google is also continually jimmying the algorithm, so the results of that can be seen, and sometimes more obviously, on long-tail queries.


 5:14 pm on Sep 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

That is what I thought would be the case but I am seeing that for the long-term queries it is not appearing in the SERP after it was.

It is hard to think of why it may be that way?


 5:44 pm on Sep 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

It depends, if you have 20k+ of dynamic generated thin URLs this approach will fail.


 5:53 pm on Sep 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

Are you saying if the site has many pages it is harder to come up in a long-term keyword search?


 6:42 pm on Sep 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

It is necessary to have many URLs to come up in a long term search because each URL needs to have the product (yellow pages -> business name) in the title. The key is to avoid thin URLs/duplicate content/repetitions ...


 8:07 pm on Sep 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

I think I understand what you are saying. The long-tail phrase has to be a part of the url and the site has to be many pages. That way the long-tail phrase is mentioned many times.

If the the long-tail phrase is not a part of the url would having backlinks from other sites using the long-tail phrase as anchor text help?


 1:30 am on Sep 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

It is not necessary for the long tail to be part of the URL.

Some info about long-tail:


[edited by: SEOPTI at 1:43 am (utc) on Sep. 18, 2008]


 8:29 pm on Sep 18, 2008 (gmt 0)


I was looking at this link and I am not sure that there is information about long-tail keywords here?


 5:14 am on Sep 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

If the the long-tail phrase is not a part of the url would having backlinks from other sites using the long-tail phrase as anchor text help?

usually, it is enough that these pages get some links from other pages on your sites.


 12:13 pm on Sep 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

I haven't looked closely enough at Google's patents but I suspect the volatility of the SERP performance of an "immature" web site is due to the immaturity of it's relationships to other sites on the Web. In the beginning, there are no such relationships. Therefore, the influence of emerging relationships - in a sphere where few relationships are identified - has an exaggerated effect on your SERP performance. I guess I would compare it to simple mathematical averaging. If you have a 1, a 3, and a 7 the average is 3.66. Add a 9 to create a new series of 4 numbers, and your average jumps to 5. Replace the 9 with a 1, and the average drops to 3. That's a big swing. To continue the example, let's say some time passes. Now you have thirty 1's, thirty 3's and thirty 7's. The average is still 3.66. But now, when a 9 is added, the average shifts only slightly, to 3.83. It's a smaller swing. Therefore, it is reasonable to expect smaller swings with an established site, unless substantive changes are made to its number and quality of inbound/outbound links.

That's a little like how I conceptualize the difference between fledgling and venerable sites. But that's not to say that big swings aren't possible for established sites. A simple change in an search algo could have a dramatic impact on an established site, particularly if the change has a sweeping effect on the weighting of many sites with which your own site has a relationship with. But those sorts of changes can easily be differentiated, in large part because you'll see all sorts of frenetic discussion on the WebmasterWorld forums for a spell :)



 2:47 pm on Sep 19, 2008 (gmt 0)


Thank you for providing me with a great explanation. It really helps. The examples you gave are great. I understand what you are saying.



 3:53 pm on Sep 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

Maybe you can help me with this situation.

Let's say you have 20 backlinks to your site and the average PR comes out to 5. If you add 10 more let's say the average PR of the backlinks is now 4. Would that help me in the SERP because I added more backlinks or would it not help? Also, let's say some of these backlinks came from websites related to my subject. Would that help in the SERP?


 4:02 pm on Sep 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

sean is right on.

One thing that's in the patent - and that has been evident for some time - is the fact that they also look at link age, new link acquisitions, and decay rate of links over time. It's a little easier for "newish" websites because they don't have an established history. The longer the site has been up, the better the data Google has to determine your site's normal pattern for link building / link decay rate. That's good if you harness it from the beginning and establish a good trend of growth. However, it's bad because it makes it easy for Google to see big spikes in growth that are out of the ordinary. (they will determine if the spike is due to a flash-in-the-pan news story or trend, or SPAM) Also, they compare your trend with "related" sites to determine if you are out-pacing your site peers which could trigger a review too. Link building is a very delicate thing and you have to have a very strategic approach.


 4:15 pm on Sep 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

Does link age mean how long the link from the other site is linked to your site or how old the other site is that the link to your site is from?

Also, can you please explain what decay rate of links means?


 4:26 pm on Sep 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

Link age means how long the link has been live since Google first found it. Also, they look at anchor text to see how that changes over time.

Google does take domain related information (age) into account in their algo to help rank how important a site is.

Link decay is the rate that links to your site drop off. You don't want to have a high decay rate.

Read though their most recently released patent app. It's great reading and it's nice to see a lot of research confirmed. It's got a whole bunch of information about what they look at in regards to links.

[edited by: SEOMike at 4:31 pm (utc) on Sep. 19, 2008]


 4:30 pm on Sep 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

Is adding backlinks with the anchor text that you want by writing articles for web article directories ok?

Also, can you please send me a link to the patent app?


 4:34 pm on Sep 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

SEOPTI - I was doing some research today and I found that comparison sites all of them have duplicate content ranks very well.

This goes against your theory.

Any clues why they rank well?

[edited by: Mbwto at 4:34 pm (utc) on Sep. 19, 2008]


 4:34 pm on Sep 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

You can find the patent app here: here [webmasterworld.com]

Link building is such a science / art. I can't tell you right off if a link partner "type" is a good fit or not. I've personally developed a 28 point check that each potential link partner has to pass before I'll try to get a link from them. It takes a long time to get good at link building.


 4:53 pm on Sep 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

Thank you for sending me the link.

You know a lot about SEO.

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