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Poor page outranks me

     
3:31 pm on Jul 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I've completely lost it. For one of my main keywords, I am being outranked by several sites that have:

- Unoptimized content
- Few or no inbound links
- Uncompliant, table-based HTML (even found some font tags)

My site has fresh, original content of good quality, is well-optimized and has some solid (PR4) inbound links. Yet I rank %8 and 'they' rank #1 and #2.

What to do?

8:41 pm on July 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

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You mention table-based HTML and font tags. There's no reason to assume that those factors would hurt ranking - and in fact, they don't. There's a lot of SEO myth floating around the webmastering community, and you now have clear evidence that these paarticular items are not true.

What other factors are you looking at when you say "unoptimized content"?

9:02 pm on July 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

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500kb of pictures without anchor text, a 600+ character meta keywords tag, no meta desription, keyword density = 0.23%, no header elements...

That kinda stuff. Seems to be a wysiwyg-page.

[edited by: johnnie at 9:08 pm (utc) on July 15, 2008]

9:07 pm on July 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Johnnie,

How long has your site been up and running compared to theirs?

Did your site at one point rank better and has now slipped?

9:10 pm on July 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Ahh... Their domain is 4 years old, mine is 3 months. Is that really that decisive to google? My site has been yo-yo-ing up and down the serps for a while now, at some points ranking higher than theirs. It now sees to have consolidated near the bottom of the first-page pile, which I don't understand.
9:12 pm on July 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

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The page that is ranking #3 for my main key word is a page from a small private college. The word is the name of a course at the college. The word appears on the page five times, and the whole site only has 28 urls pointing at it according to Google. I've never seen this page before until 6/4. The page is PR5, but it has very little content on it.
9:13 pm on July 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Just as I was typing this, I see my page is ranking high (#3) again (lower than theirs, but high nevertheless). I don't know what is going on here, seems to be algo-testing... I'm glad I'm raking high again, but I still don't understand the relative side of the story.
9:21 pm on July 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

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going by experience your page will probably drop a lot soon. nothing much you can do about it because they seem to weight the age of the site into it. mine didn't start rising up again until it was at least a year old.
how did you get a page rank of 4 in three months? if you're chasing links that quick they might start discounting them.
10:00 pm on July 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

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A lot of people seemed to get unusually high PR rankings last update from what I noticed. I got a PR4 on a site that barely had any inbound links to it and was three months old.
10:56 pm on July 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Yes - although the specifics have not been published, Google did reinvent the formula for PageRank calculation in January 2008. The April/May PR update also showed a lot of effects from that. "We're not in Kansas anymore."
11:07 pm on July 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Sorry if my post was inaccurate. What I meant to say was that I have some PR4 links *inbound*. My site is still a solid PR0 ;)
1:16 am on July 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

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The kicker with domain age is that i have a domain that is 8 years old, but only within the past year was content added and the past month the SEO and link- building campaign started. It had some real basic Visual Page html documents (back when i was just learning) and some of todays content is an extension of those early day pages... But alas, my kid was born and so pictures of him went up for about 2 years, thus replacing my original site content, and unfortunately i have nothing befor 2006 in the internet archive...not to mentioned that its a highly competitive niche.
I sure do wish the domain age would catch up with me because like the original poster, i have pages that are 5 times more informative across the board, with a whole bunch of content per page, then my competitors; and it is frustrating to see it get passed over...