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However, all I'm really trying to do is understand, and based on what I'm seeing in searches on my keyword phrase, Google is going with the old adage "less is more."
On a search today for my main keyword phrase, there is a site listed twice in the first four pages of the serps. Following the links, there is exactly one mention of my keyword phrase on the page listed. It's in the form of a message posted on a board that reads "Hey, guys, look what I found today: big red widgets!" That one sentence has placed this site on pages one and three of the serps. (And no, the keyword phrase is not listed in their meta tags at all and the page is not about big red widgets.)
The other odd thing I noticed today is that one of my pages, an old one and one I just realized doesn't even have meta keywords OR a description listed (written when I was just starting out), is ranking on page six of the serps for my main keyword phrase. And my main keyword phrase doesn't even appear on this page, except in the <title> tag. And to my knowledge, there are no significant links to this page, other than internal ones.
Meanwhile, I have an index page that has proper meta tags, is optimized for my main keyword phrase, is listed in DMOZ, has a PR6, PR5, and a PR4 linked to it, and it is so far back in the serps I haven't found it yet.
Does this make sense to anyone out there? 'Cause it sure doesn't to me. Please, explain it to me!
But less is more, sometimes.
Do you have naughties? - Hidden text, keyword packing, duplicate pages .... etc.
Finally, do you have the basics? - ALT tags, good navigation, site map, reliable server 24/7?
Let's narrow down the possible problem areas.
So, Google combines PageRank with sophisticated text-matching techniques to find pages that are both important and relevant to your search.
The combination of on-page and off-page factors means that sometimes a listing is easier to explain due to the content on it, sometimes because of its links, and often a mixture of both.
You can't always see the links. They take a while to show in a link search, and sub-PR4 (ish) links do count but don't show.
It's not clear from what you say how much text is on your page. However, if you have a fair amount of text, written in natural language, this could be the problem. I think Google likes very minimum types of pages, where the keywords are not diluted.
Here is an example from my personal experience. The front page of my site (mysite.com/index.html) originally had two paragraphs of highly relevant text, in addition to well optimized titles, alt tags, inbound links with good anchor text, etc. This index page ranked well, but not great (position 8 to 10) for my targeted keywords, and usually showed up together with one of my inner pages (mysite.com/page1.htm). Page1.htm had nearly no text on it, just a title and some links. When I redesigned the site, I moved these two paragraphs of information from the index page to page1. Now, my index page ranks at position 2-4, and page1 is nowhere to be found. Instead, mysite.com/page2.htm is now showing up, despite the fact that page2 has lower PR and far fewer inbound links than page1. But page2 has almost no text, just a big title with the keywords and a couple of images. It's also noteworthy that the site that always ranks at position #1 in the same SERPs has no text at all, just a title and a bunch of links, each one with the keywords in the anchor text (note: most of these links are hidden...but that's another story...).
Anyway, take home lesson: I agree with you. As far as Google's rankings are concerned, less is more. It's too bad, because users would probably prefer to find pages that have content, not just the keywords in a title. However, until Google's algos get fancier, my advice is to optimize your index page with very little text, and move the real information for your users somewhere else on the site.
In the rolling algo update, the number 3 listing under an ultra-competitive kw phrase is simply a page, with the particular keyword typed once. (site #1)
Site #1 : 17 links all from blogs (no content)
Site #2 : 36 links 80% from blogs (keyword stuffed/cloaked page)
Site #3 : 0 links. (Off topic, not pertaining to original site #1 topic)
How's that for providing relevent search results?
I've noticed Goggle guy's absence since this new roll has started.
In my opinion ... he's probably hiding under his desk for fear of getting hit in the head with the stapler.
Perhaps he could pop his head up and explain the "crap" Google is spewing out?
Yes, I have the basics. (I've been attending WebmasterWorld "classes" daily for the last six months. You guys are good teachers. *grin*)
Not too much text; this is a commercial site basically. The index page is a mix of links to our departments and content.
I'd be glad to send anyone the URL if you want to look. Believe me, this is just your basic standard site. No reason to be treated badly or differently than others in the same niche.
Sure, this would make sense.
Yes, the page in question does reside on a site that is in the right *very broad* subject matter category.
But no, there is nothing on this site about selling widgets within this broad area (which is what I do)--other than that comment by a message board poster about discovering a new kind of widget.
From what i can see, google is using link popularity more so than ever - any one else agree?
That would certainly account for the strange things I'm seeing in the serps. Well-linked sites are ranking high in the serps for my keyword phrase even though they have very little relevance to the phrase! (The "Look what I found" story noted above in my previous post.)
I am having the same problem.
My client's site is indexed in Google but none of the 1,200 links are counted as backlinks, thus PR is 0, and the site is not in SERPs. I also have lots of keyword phrases, relevant content, but Google doesn't seem to care.
Any suggestions or information would be appreciated. Thank you in advance.
Site title = "*Company* *Product*"
The entire text on the site states,"*Company Name* *Product* has been sold (*premises* & *product*) and no longer exists.
*Web Designer* © 1997-2002 All Rights Reserved.
3 listed backlinks.
#6 out of 149,000
A bit above it is a site with the keyword in question showing exactly once in very small font ("size=-2"), 31 listed backlinks, PR5.
#4 out of 149,000