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-- Google SEO News and Discussion
---- Google "Honorary Update" - Buffy
Front - 7:23 am on Jun 22, 2007 (gmt 0)
The changes/update started end May, we lost quite a lot of our traffic around that time, mainly our most competitive rankings were hit ( often positions in the first 5 spots of the serps, positions we hold quite steady for years )
After some extensive investigation of our own pages (and the competition in our niche) over the last month or two, I noticed a few remarkable things (some things are brought up before by others, other aspects maybe not) a summary:
Some site’s that were on top of the serps with us dropped their rankings as well, a few stayed on top ( mainly the old and hardly updated site’s, or even site’s that don’t have much content or many backlinks at all. )
The sites that did stay on top, or were new in the serps all had the targeted keywords in the URL, often in a rather spammy way, like widget-greenwidget.com. preferably the keywords are used in the domain, or one layer deep.
Nearly all site’s on top use the title, description and kw header to stuff the targeted keyword, literally or with some variations, creating a heavy cloud that includes the targeted keyword and related search terms. ( the good old Seo practice from lets say 3 years ago )
H1 tags, bold, etc.. doesn’t seem to matter, some use it, some don’t
The amount or quality of backlinks is less a factor, loads of the sites on top, only have links from their own site, or from some really low quality website’s, or link exchanges.
We ranked very well ( spot one ) for our site’s name for years, the name is not a fantasy name, but more a 3 word slogan, not a competitive term or sentence at all. Most people link to us ( around 10.000 natural links, build up in years, to our site ) using that name, rather logical. We are now not in the serps anymore for that 3 word term at all, I guess the name, word combo, used so often to refer to a site triggered a filter.
Some keywords only rank in local serps for certain countries, but not in the international serps on google.com. We use to rank good in both, we have a dutch domain.nl, but our site has English contend and our backlinks are mainly from international websites, using the English language.
We investigated the onpage factors from our own site ( comparing pages that rank good, versus bad ones ) and analyzed some of the competitive pages. We noticed some interesting things. When a page ranks well, the targeted KW combo is not used that often, usually between 0,70 % to 4% max, BUT related words can go up to 11 %, like the targeted keyword “green widget” ranks well with a KW density of 1% or less, but the phrases that are related like widgetonics, widget are stuffed to 11%. It’s like they support the main phrase, that ranks well. Keyword stuffing in header tags, or on page, is not penalized or filtered for related searches, only for that exact phrase.
Sorry for the “wall of text”, but I hope it makes some sense, a few conclusions, or thoughts: The age factor became more important, or it makes some shady SEO practices possible that would hurt newer site’s. ( like older means triggering less filters )
The keyword cloud is much more important then before.
Less weight on backlinks and their quality, and when a phrase is used to often ( don’t know the exact percentage ) the page wont rank on it anymore, maybe google assumes you bought links? But that would be a too easy conclusion IMO, but it’s definitely tighter then before.
URL and the usage of the keywords in the domain name, is one of the mayor ranking factors now. Can’t believe they really let this weight this much, some site’s just have the kw in the domain, and title and no related content at all, one is even “under construction” for more then two years, the page is just old, the only content is the “under construction” phrase, but the title and KW rich URL gave it spot 3 in the serps (oh, forgot to mention it has 5 backlinks from itself, and one related site that is just as abandoned and old)
Original content is less a factor, even if it’s supported by a decent amount of backlinks.
Google doesn’t seem to mind KW stuffing and other edgy practices that much anymore. In my niche the first page is full of them, redirects, KW stuffing etc.. is less a problem it seems the before.
I hope it makes sense. Please discuss, maybe we can find solutions and get some understanding what happened.
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