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Our site is in a very competative market - for example - one of our top (2 word) key phrase comes back with 5,870,000 results on Google. Anyway, I have tried for over 2 years to get listed in the top 10 results with no luck. I have optimized our site till my fingers were bleeding (well..not really) - but our pages are nicely optimized - and when it comes to products, we usually are #1 in Google for any of the 1,000+ products we carry... but most people don't know the exact name of the products so they use a generic keyword phrase for our industry....this is where our site fails!
For the most important (generic) keywords in our industry we don't even show up on the first 10 pages of results on Google.
I have been doing manual link requests constantly - every day, but it seems like it is not enough - I can't catch up to the competition. The thing is, I've been doing my best to do what the majority of people on this board say to do - but I've seen many companies jump to the first page of search results as soon as they started their businesses online - and they are basically doing everything they "should not" be doing...But it works:
- getting reciprocal links from non-related sites
- getting links from any PR site 0+
- creating complete garbage sites with unique URLs [same IP address] to point to their main site.
At first I thought it was just a fluke and Google and other search engines would eventually weed them out... but its now been over 8 months and they are still in the #1 position. I've estimated that with the money they've made in 6months doing everything against the books - it would take me 3 years to generate that kind of revenue.
I'm sure I'm not the first person to notice something like this - but it just seems like with the industry I'm in - competition is cut-throat and some webmasters are doing all the things we've heard/read we're not supposed to do - but by seeing their results... I'm wondering how much truth there is in what I've read @ webmasterworld. [just food for thought I guess]
I aplogize for a long post - It has just been so frustrating trying to get to the first page of search results and basically not moving at all (we've even used a few different SEO companies)
Has anyone else experienced something like this? If so...what did you do? I need more sites linking to us and I'm at a point where I will almost do anything to get those links! I'm looking for a LOT of links - cause at the rate I'm getting links - I will never catch up to our competition - they will always be quite a few steps ahead when it comes to reciprocal/back links.
just an FYI - I've used Arelis - but the majority of its results are our competitors. So at this point I use Arelis to just spit out some URLs and I weed through them and visit each site before emailing - tedious and very slow.
Thank you in advance for any help you can provide!
There are sites out there outranking others with less Page Rank and 1/10th the number of links. There's a lot more involved, and regardless of why it *appears* competitors are ranking, that doesn't necessarily tell what it would take to overcome and out-rank them.
Hence you're coming up on less-competitive product name key words but not on your more-competitive generic keyword (florida style filter?)
Just a thought.
PS - For those reading lets not get in to the whole definition of "optimisation" debate again - you know what i mean ;)
Have you tried targeting other keywords which your competition is missing? They may not have the traffic of your high profile phrases but if you can target enough of them it doesn't matter - in fact it puts you in a better position as far as updates go. You can afford to lose a few and your traffic will still come.
That said, some things to think about:
• How can you work faster?
• What are you willing to do now, that you have not done to date?
• How can you diversify?
Also, as Brett and others have posted numerous times, sometimes it makes sense in the beginning to go after a larger number of secondary phrases and gain momentum. Those pages, as they begin to perform better, can also add force to your efforts regarding the bigger $$ pages/kw's. FWIW.
cabbie - I know it may seem nice to be #1 for our product names... but they are rarely searched for... like 20 times a month - compared to the more popular generic keywords that are searched for ~500,000+ times per month!
dirty_marra - The thing is, I never did a single thing intentionally to get our product names #1 - the search engines must have just liked the page layout. I've never spent any time with them...but I've spent the past 2.5 years trying to rank better with the more searched by generic keywords.
In response to "ppg's" comment - we have tried targeting less popular generic terms - this is when an SEO company suckered me into a deal - they went after words that were RARELY ever searched for...sure... we were on page 1 - but those less popular keywords brought in 1 visitor per month (if we were lucky).
Content, content, content. In my experience, those sites that do more than just sell their product get the links, and more importantly, get the niche key phrases that others in the market segment are missing out on. Don't just sell, be a technical leader. SEO is not just about trying to figure out what Google wants.
Trying to figure out what content to create to add to your site? Go to your logs and see what keyword phrases are driving users from search to your site. Does the page they landed on make sense for that keyword phrase? No? There is a vote for content that you should create.
When you start developing these niche content pages, people will notice that you are not just providing products but a service (information) to them as well and other things will start to happen.
SEO is not just about trying to figure out what Google wants.
Some of the cleverest and most forward thinking SEO is building a site which forces Google to try and figure out how it can get your site to the top of the results without messing up the rest of its results too much.
It's up to search engines to find and report the best sites - a certain amount of optimisation is obligatory, but ultimately Google should be chasing you, not the other way around.
Good luck, and keep trying.
Currently we have approximately 185 sites linking to us.... where as our competitors in the top 10 have 3,000 - 6,000 sites linking to them. What is sort of shocking is one of our competitors who is definately #1 has only been in business 5 months - and has 3,000+ sites linking to their site.
This is why in my original post I was asking if anyone knew of a way to get a lot of links in a relatively quick manner. I do have Arelis but it seems to come back with a huge list of competitors, so I manually weed through Arelis's results - it is very time consuming and at this rate it will take a long time to get that many people to link to us. Does anyone have suggestions on how to get links quickly (w/out FFA link farms...etc)?
And that is, for competitive keywords, you need to black hat optimize.
Yes, Google *will* ban the black hats, but for every black hat that gets chomped there is always another waiting in the wings.
The frustration of the original poster is that Google does not sufficiently punish black hat optimization and that because of this, they are being encouraged to black hat optimize themselves.
There is a feedback loop re-asserting itself that people are not bothering to recognize.
Unfortunately, Google is more interested in optimizing based on Algo changes and probably does not give enough attention to Spam Reports.
I often do backlink checks of my competitors and it amazes me the amount of backlinks they have that Google recognizes.
While I don't feel that my competitors should be punished because of those backlinks (maybe they didn't sign up for them), I wonder continously why these websites that are linking to a site which is completely unnatural have PR > 0.
I myself finally just gave up and spent $200 and purchased a bunch of links from a pr7+ site. Practically over the period of a couple of weeks my PR jumped to PR6 and I rocketted up to the top of the rankings.
The company I had left a few months ago also has PR6, but content wise they are probably one of the most important content companies in their particular area. But we simply had a policy of no black hat optimization.
This frustration is very understandable. I think this thread would be more interesting, at least to me, if we could discuss ways in which we or Google could deal with this appropiately.
One way I think would be affective is if Google publicized website banning. Perhaps a web page where you can go and get a list of all the websites that they have been permanently banned from their search engines.
It doesn't even have to be the small guys, maybe just websites that have been around for awhile. This would give people like this poster in this thread more confidence that the approach he is taking is the right one.
Seems to me that Google is giving you the answer loud and clear: if your site is "#1 for our product names" then that's what Google thinks your site is about i.e. the individual product names. Which means that the site is optimized for the wrong terms if individual product names are not what you want to rank under.
You could buy a second domain and fight fire with fire and go the same route as your competition by getting links from every source you can. Google's algo has made link monkeys out of alot of people that want to compete in tough areas. Point the traffic from the new domain to the old if you need the branding.
Bottom line is that from a pure ranking point of view, volume of anchor pretty much trumps everything right now.
jk3210 - I understand what you are saying regarding our products and Google thinking that is what our site is about. However, our competitors have the same list of products. Our genre of business is so overloaded with companies selling the same products - at this point it seems like the only thing left to do is try to beat our competition at who has more links... except most of them have 3,000+ more links than we currently do.
I think creating a second site and optimizing it for one of our tough key phrases may be one of our last options.
Let me reiterate on of my main points from the beginning. I've noticed some of our competitors in the top 5 positions - when I check who is linking to them - they are sites that have NOOO relevancy whatsoever! just as an example, if they were selling pine trees they would have sites talking about toddler development linking to them...now - that isn't a real example...just making a point. They also have a lot of web log entries all over the place...again in areas not relevant. Also, our competitors obviously don't care about PR because I've noticed a lot of sites linking to them may be PR0, PR1... All of the things they are doing work...and work great for them. Has anyone ever dealt with an issue similar to this and prevailed?
Do I think what our top competitors are doing is right...well, I don't know at this point. Everything I've seen so far from their sites is that they have defied what all the $99.95 seo programs, e-books and webmaster message boards have been saying all this time, and basically saying "you're wrong...look - see - I did it". If they haven't done anything technically wrong according to search engines like Google, then they are definitely at a hairs width of crossing the line.
So... with that being said - I guess I'm curious if anyone else has noticed something similar. Have you noticed that Google will praise quantity of links more than quality?....cause it seems like most of the people posting at webmasterworld keep saying to find relevant links with a good PR. But, what I'm noticing (at least in our niche) that is not true - the sites at the top of the results have gobs of crappy sites with low PRs linking to them...and google says they win.
2)Also i dont' think you'd need to buy a new domain and optimize it for your keywords using so called unethical techniques.
3) You're right in saying that people on the top are masters in manupulating google. Google always needs to catch up with them as they find some or other way to manupulate its results.
4)Finally mind it that the SEO tips, ethics and so called spammy things discussed here is not the all about SEO.The people out there on the top knows more than that. You're missing out few things. Forget about what you know about SEO , study your competitiors and other site on other competitive keywords, you'll find the clue to be at the top from them only.
Thousands of links sure will get you #1 but you don't need to have them in order to be in the top 10. Good site optimization will do.
Links reported by who? Google? Google displays just a tiny fraction of backlinks, in fact it is pretty much useless in terms of reporting the true backlink picture.
>Good site optimization will do. <
Sorry, but this just isn't factual. It may be the case for terms that are not competitive where internal links will suffice, but for the most part inbound link text rules the day. Tweaking the meta tags and playing with KWD probably isn't going to help the original poster.
A week and a half ago (that is well after the last link count update) a website emerged from nowhere and took #2 on a keyword with 38,500,000 returned results, and the link count is only 19 links on google, 293 links on altavista and 0 links on hotbot.
Now, pay attention, I will say it again - this website showed in second position a week and a half AFTER the last link count update. And it moved a website which has over 5,000 back links.
If you are open-minded, this fact should be enough to show you that links dont matter that much. Sure it's good to have them - I am trying to get as much as I possibly can, but you cannot overlook the fact that there are other ways to do this.
Oh, and another thing I forgot to mention - the website I was talking about is not even a home page - it's an internal page of a subdomain! Something like : widget.gadget.com/widget1.html
Now beat that!
I also think further PR (public relations) efforts could certainly help. Are there other offline marketing efforts that you use to drive buyers online?
If you haven't already I would just recommend taking a different approach to it all - and I agree with pps - the linking thing isn't the complete answer and it never will be...