This is the last issue of 2005. Next year will be the year of our 10th anniversary, already. Can you believe it? We can't.
Again we would like to thank you for your loyalty and whish you happy holidays and a very successful year 2006! Lots of
cool stuff is comming up soon, including a powerful ROR file Builder tool. Stay tuned!
As a little gift, we have just enhanced the ROR Sitemap Generator; it can now also
generate ROR Sitemaps compatible with the RSS format. Unlike Google Sitemaps, this will now make ROR Sitemaps readable by
all search engines, not just Google.
By the way, the ROR Sitemap Generator can be added to your site in seconds. A co-branded copy of
the tool is also available if you want to offer it as a gift to your clients (hint, hint). If you offer it to at least 100 people,
we'll create one for you today, and we'll most likely add your site on the ROR Providers page.
- the Add Me team
SEO For The Big Three
Posted on December 21, 2005
By Dave Davies
Ranking your website highly on one of the "big three" search engines (Google,
Yahoo or MSN) is a daunting task let alone ranking your website highly on all
three. Three engines, three algorithms, three different sets of rules - and yet
there are websites out there that have first page rankings across them all - how
do they do it?
While all of the major search engines use different algorithms the end goal of
all three is the same: to provide the searcher with the most relevant results
available. It is this one common thread that makes it possible for an SEO to
rank a website highly across all the major engines. While there are a variety of
factors at play and an even wider variation in the weight each of these factors
are given - the possible variations that can produce relevant results are
For example, if inbound links are given 0% weight then insignificant sites will
ranki highly for high-competition phrases. Many reputable companies such as
Microsoft could lose rankings for their own names so links must and will always
hold value. On the other hand, if links were to hold 100% weight then sp@mming
the search engines would be a simple matter and so there are a limited number of
possible variables in between these extremes that this factor can have, no
matter which engine we are optimizing for.
That said, there are still three main engines with three distinct algorithms
despite common requirements. To clarify how to optimize for all of them it's
easiest to discuss them individually first. Due to the way their algorithms work
one is best to expect rankings on MSN first, followed by Yahoo! and finally
Google (I am assuming that the phrase is of at least moderate competition). For
this reason we will discuss them individually in that order.
SEO For MSN
Proper SEO for MSN requires that a site be structured well with a distinct theme
throughout and many inbound links. The advantage an SEO has while optimizing a
site for MSN is that MSN tends to pick up and credit new content and inbound
links very quickly. That means that with the right tactics in place one can rank
a website relatively quickly on this important engine.
While MSN has the lowest number of searches performed on it, ComScore's report
back in July revealed that MSN searchers were also 48% more likely to purchase a
product or service online than the average Internet user. A very important
statistic for website owners that sell online.
To rank highly on MSN one needs to build a solid sized site (exactly how large
will depend on your industry - look at the size of your competitor's sites for
an idea), a relevant theme throughout the site that focuses on your primary
keywords and a good number of links. MSN doesn't (at this time) employ an aging
delay on links such as the one employed by both Google and Yahoo! so the effects
of the site and inbound links can be picked up very quickly and with good SEO
efforts one can rank well within a few months on MSN for competitive phrases.
SEO For Yahoo!
Until recently Yahoo! acted very much like MSN, now it's leaning a bit more
towards Google. Ranking a website well on Yahoo! requires a solid-sized site
with unique content and a very good number of links.
While PageRank is a Google factor, Yahoo! does have some type of page value
factor at play. Many moons ago Yahoo! was playing with a PageRank-like
calculation called WebRank. They even went so far as to put out a beta toolbar
testing it. This indicates that there is a factor at play in the Yahoo!
algorithm similar to Google's PageRank - they just don't advertise what a
specific page's value is.
Yahoo! is placing a large amount of emphasis on the age of links though not in
the same way that Google is. We will get to Google shortly however to understand
what to expect from Yahoo! one must understand that when you get a link to your
website it won't hold it's full value for a number of months. While the exact
number of months in unknown it appears to be around 8 before it hold it's full
weight though it will hold some from day one and this weight will increase as
To rank well on Yahoo! you must optimize your site similar to what you would do
for MSN and you must build a large number of inbound links and have patience as
these links age. You will not see a sudden spike 2 weeks after a large
link-building campaign, you will likely have to wait 3-4 months to notice any
SEO For Google
Virtually every webmaster and website owner is primarily concerned about
attaining Google rankings due to the significantly higher number of searchers
using it. Provided that you are building your website following the best
practices of SEO (i.e. unique content, a sizable amount of content, and a good
number of incoming links) then your rankings are sure to follow, however due to
their aging delay it will likely take longer than on MSN or Yahoo! Google
considers the age of your links, your domain and even the individual page to be
a factor and the longer your page has been online the better.
Essentially, ranking a site on Google requires that you take the same actions as
for the other two, continue your link building efforts on an ongoing basis to
insure that you end up with more-and-more links, and that you update your
content and add content on a fairly regular basis (through the addition of a blog
Tying It Together
The logical process for a new website or one at the first stages of SEO is to
first target MSN. At this point you can focus your attention on continuing to
build high-quality, relevant links to and content on your site which will
continue to increase your value on Yahoo! and Google.
Analysis will be required to determine exactly what weight you will be giving to
different areas. For example, if your onsite factors are optimized for MSN then
you know that you will need to make up for this in the offsite factors for
Yahoo! and Google. If you figured you would need 100 links to rank on Google
then you will now need to up that number to account for the fact that you have
optimized your site itself for a different engine.
During the analysis process you will likely want to use a tool to speed up the
process of keyword density analysis and competitor link analysis. At Beanstalk
we use a tool called Total Optimizer Pro though there are others out there
(note: I have yet to find one that does what this one does as quickly and
I am hoping that none of you read the title and were expecting to rank on the
first page of all three major engines next week. Ranking highly on all three
major engines takes time, patience and a good few rounds of tweaking to get the
perfect balance of onsite and offsite optimization. Of course, as you can
gather, done properly it's well worth the effort.
About the Author
Dave Davies is the CEO of Beanstalk Search Engine Positioning, Inc. Dave writes
with years of expreience in SEO and optimization
tactics. Watch Beanstalk's SEO news blog for details on the publication of a
4-part series on ranking your website highly accross the "big three engines" in