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The Reason We Rank for Related Terms

9:02 am on Jun 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Had these two posts on another thread and I thought, to avoid confusion, that this would be a great discussion on it's own:

I've had some small success gaining Google traffic by creating pages which are almost, but not quite, related to the search term I am targeting.

If your optimizing for blue widgets you might as well call them blue gadgets, blue tinkers and maybe you'll show up for blue widgets.

Just out of interest, people who are quoting this, do you have Adsense on your pages per chance? My theory being that if Google sends a users to your page about blue widgets when the user is looking for blue gadgets then the user will click on your Adsense ads because they will most likely be showing blue gadget ads on your blue widgets page.

That way, if the user doesn't click on Ads on Google, they'll get them when they leave too. It means that Google's results still LOOK like they're trying but it results in an Ad getting clicked which is Google's main aim now they're public.

1:42 pm on June 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I have another way of doing stuff.

I start with one keyword blue widgets and write someting about it, and post.

as soon as the first of the big three includes that page in the index, I write about a similar related keyword ,blue widgets with holes in it.

I might then start writing about widgets with holes in it, and at the same time about blueish widgets, I then expand on both of these again until I get to red widgets.

Once I get there I will start the whole process again but with red widgets. or I'll continue on blue and red widgets and tie them together using some kind of comparison page.

I hope that all makes sense :S I havent typed widgets that much in my entire life :¦

7:38 pm on June 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Yes, the sites I publish that have displayed this effect now have Adsense. However, I usually wait until a page gets spidered by various engines and gets some traffic flow on my desired terms before I add the Adsense code.

I was not joking about a 'too relevant' filter. In my experience, if you are targeting a phrase such as "tasty dog treats," using that term more than once on the page, or using it (word for word) even once in a link is the kiss of death. To target this phrase, use it just once on the page, use elements of the phrase once or twice (treats so tasty your dog will love them), but mostly talk about "delicious canine snacks" or "lip-smacking puppy chews," and so on.

This seems to work for me. The old fashioned way of writing a page on a specific subject, and linking to and titling the page with an accurate description just gets me booted from the index. I do see some other site continue to do well simply by making a page about what the page is about. Not sure why I have to use double-speak while others don't, but hey, that's the way it is.

8:09 pm on June 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Ahhh. the evolution of the mighty Google Search Engine.

Now we are to the point where a search for "tasty dog treats" is sent to a page of "delicious canine snacks" so the user can adsense click to the page he/she really wanted in the first place.

I see this constantly on G. Sad.
Their investment in semantic technology is paying off.

Do you Yahoo?

8:43 pm on June 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

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We all spend a great deal of effort trying to broaden the scope of terms people can find our sites searching with. Generally speaking, we look at any traffic as good traffic (relevant of course). This can be particularly effective when there is an event, or something that has become newsworthy that injects new terms surrounding the core product we are promoting. It is effective, and makes sense in that it is relative, there is a connection. With an established site we are all probably in agreement regarding the benefits of “long tail” search terms. It all makes sense, once your site is getting traffic on the core terms; you begin to broaden that traffic by injecting optimization relative to terms searched less frequently. You built your traffic from the common to the obscure. This makes sense from a user perspective as well, if your site is of such quality it can rank for the common term, most likely it is worthy of a visit from the searcher using the obscure term. When creating and optimizing a site, most times we all start tight, and then after the site is established go wide.

However, if you build and launch a new site today you will rank for the obscure, but not the common. Lots of pundits say new sites just lack signals of quality, that their not being held back, their just not being allowed forward due to insufficient points of merit. Well, that could make sense but it doesn’t answer the question of why the site ranks for the more obscure, and does not rank at all (not within the first 1,000 which is all we see) for the common. Sure the term is less competitive but wouldn’t the site have even less signals of quality for “yellow triangular widgets” than it does for “widgets”? The site is about widgets so why does Google choose to allow the site to be returned for the obscure term? If the site is relevant enough to show on the first page for “yellow triangular widgets” would it not be worthy of say position 950 for “widgets”?

Your question is a good one; why do we rank for the related, but not the most relevant. It would appear there is some sort of filtering at work here, no?


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