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Hardwired number one spot - in some niches?

4:11 pm on Feb 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Over the years I've been lucky enough to have at least one website in the number one spot, for my chosen terms, on Google - well, until a few months back that was...

For the past few months a rather poor (in my opinion) website has gained the top spot and will not budge.

I suspect that during updates, Google marks a website as the top slot in a hardwired type of way (could gain a heavy weighting). Perhaps it's a manual process in some niches, and automated in others.

Why do I suspect this?
1. My website appears as number one in all the other big engines - the one up top in Google is nowhere to be found in any other engine.

2. My website, and the other top 4 or 5 (not including number 1), all seem to fluctuate around the first two pages - the number one spot never ever changes.

3. I observed the same effect when I was on the other side of the fence (i.e. number one).

Clearly not a scientific study, just me suspicions on some basic observations.

Has anyone else noticed this?
9:00 pm on Feb 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member aristotle is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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Most people here have probably noticed that the number 1 spot usually doesn't change as often as the other positions.

Because it gets clicked on so much, the number 1 page has a big advantage, since it will usually acquire new backlinks at a faster rate than other pages simply because more people see it.

But any number 1 page can be displaced - There is no "hardwiring".
9:23 pm on Feb 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Administrator goodroi is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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Clearly not a scientific study

I agree.

Lets be careful not to jump to an assumption just because we haven't done enough research. Before accusing Google of "hardcoding" why not reverse engineer the rankings (especially if you want to have a good chance of taking back the number 1 spot).

Look at the
-backlink quantity
-backlink quality
-referring unique ips
-internal link structure
-anchor text
-title tag
-keyword & synonym usage
-mentions in twitter & other social sites
-and the hundred other factors that influence the rankings

good luck
12:09 am on Feb 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I would suspect that site is "link building". From my observations that has been the most effective and stalwart methods of grabbing and holding a #1 spot, particularly in weak niche sectors. In my own niche, I have three other competitors, all non professional webmasters / hobbyists. What I am noticing over the years is that SEO firms, in search of ripe new markets to exploit, will dive in with a back link loaded freebie site plastered full of Adsense Ads (the lazy webmaster's welfare program) and sit on position #1. It doesn't take much effort and Google, although they frown on the practice is useless in noticing or omitting these worthless sites.
7:54 am on Feb 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member

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Google employees have stood by their algorithmic approach to ranking sites and said for the most part no human intervention is used. The exception being copyright terms and company names etc. If the keyword you refer to isn't copyright or a product or company name I'd imagine it's ranking fairly.
1:23 pm on Feb 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for your input guys.

I have done some research on this website, but it really has very few backlinks of poor quality, and only about 3 poor pages. I really have no idea how it can gain a number one spot for this long without it somehow gaining an unnatural weighting (or doing something dodgy that google and myself cannot detect).

My site is made up of three keywords (lets say: "amazing blue widgets"), this website contains the term "stupid-meaningless-term widgets" (example: tigerwidgets (nothing to do with tigers!)) in it's URL, but runs top for "amazing blue widgets" and "blue widgets" (my main terms).

I'm begining to think the recent change google apparently applied to exact match domains, has forced a negative effect. almost like being penalised for having an exact match domain (not a trademark). I've read some people are still ranking for these, but I suspect this will stop as soon as the website has been topic-ized (sorry for the made-up term).

Am I clutching at straws? probably..

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