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New Algorithm Measures Require New Means For Optimization

Posted on May 25, 2006

By Stoney deGeyter

With every new algorithm change we find that search engine technology is getting smarter and wiser about how they analyze pages for the search results. In the past, much time and effort has been spent trying to deconstruct search engine algorithms while neglecting the user. Today's SEO is vastly different than that of yesterday.




Search algorithms are looking more closely at natural language text and usage of additional related words that should accompany the targeted keywords. Optimization is no longer about keyword density or the number of times your keyword falls on the page, it's about building and organizing page content to be utilized in proper context with the targeted keyword phrases. That's important so I'll repeat it: Optimization is about building and organizing page content to be utilized in proper context with the targeted keyword phrases.

Got that? Good.

Does this mean that you just need to hire a good writer--no more need to hire someone to perform SEO on your site? Absolutely not! In fact, the content is so important that you need both a writer and an SEO working together to ensure both search engines and visitors get what they need.

The best SEOs will have a professional writer on the payroll, and I certainly would not consider hiring an SEO that doesn't. But the actual writing is only half the battle. SEOs should have intimate knowledge of the search engines and how the algorithms function. Writers generally have to be guided by the SEO to ensure the page is properly optimized for top rankings for the targeted phrases.

Notice here I say writers should be 'guided', not 'directed' by the SEO. When in conflict on word usage, natural language trumps. But the SEO should know that already.

Website links, the primary off-the-page factor in optimization, has been subject to a considerable amount of spam. Before Google, spam consisted mostly of keyword stuffing and doorway pages. One of the most common forms of spam today is link spam. Recently Google seems to have tightened the reins on what they consider a true and valid link.

Deciphering this can be quite difficult. What is a good link? What is a bad link? As link spamming became more and more common, Google and other engines looked for better ways to value a link. It used to be that any link was a good link, didn't matter the source. Then it evolved into seeking out high PR links (links from high PageRank sites and pages). A good link today is a link from a site that is considered relevant to you.


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Linking sites that are not related by industry or common value to the user may still work, but the time on that is running short.

Link aging is also now a major factor in the Google algorithm. By looking at how long a link has been in place a search engine can assign weight and relevance based on time. A new link has little or no value while a link that has been in place for several months has some value, and a link that has been in place for a year may have the most significant value.

What does link aging accomplish? It fights link spam. Many link spammers try to achieve top rankings for their sites by getting hundreds, if not thousands, of links for a site virtually overnight, or by purchasing "ads" on high PR sites for the purpose of getting the link value, where the ad itself is of little or no consideration.

These are methods used simply to make a site be considered "important" in the eyes of the search engine. Link aging essentially makes these linking methods less valuable and less cost effective. Mass link purchasing is less attractive if the link must stay in place for months before any value can be attributed, which can often cost a significant lump of change, especially considering that the moment you stop paying for the ad you lose all the value in that link. Search engines are also getting better at detecting links from paid ads as well.

Experienced SEOs are finding that many sites can take six months or more just to see any kind of ranking improvement. This makes it increasingly difficult to differentiate from those who can improve your rankings and those only say they can. My recommendation: get a list of references from the SEO and check their results. If they can't demonstrate enough current top rankings for fairly competitive keywords, you might want to keep looking.


About the Author

Stoney deGeyter is president of Pole Position Marketing, a search optimization marketing firm providing SEO and website marketing services since 1998. He contributes daily to the E-Marketing Performance marketing blog. (ga)


 

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