Posted on September 4, 2008
Getting your site listed on the first page of Google's search results is a bit like getting a loan from a bank.
You aren't likely to be approved for a loan if you have no income and no credit history. It's too risky for the bank to extend credit to those who aren't worthy of it.
Google trades in a different currency... traffic, and just like the banks assess risk before lending money, Google will assess risk before "lending" traffic.
Google may not care if you've ever paid a bill late, but make no mistake about it... they have their own version of a credit check and you need to pass it in order to be found in their search results.
The Google credit check is of course the process of determining "Page Rank".
Nobody outside of Google, and probably very few people on the inside actually know how page rank is calculated. There are a number of factors, but exactly what they are and how they're weighted is about as closely guarded as the recipe for coca-cola.
We may not ever know the formula in its entirety, but we don't need to. The most important ingredients are always obvious. Sugar and water for coca-cola... Relevance and Link Popularity for Google Page Rank.
Relevance is something Google is very good at figuring out. If you sell widgets on your site, as long as Google has crawled it... they know your site is about widgets and you're already in the result set for the search term "widgets".
The problem is that no matter what you do in terms of optimizing the content and structure of your website, it is going to start out on the last page of the result set instead of page 1, and that's where it will stay until you establish your credit history (link popularity).
Google's own assessment of relevance isn't sufficient for anything other than inclusion in a result set. To move you up in the result set, Google has to be sure your site will actually be perceived as relevant and important by human beings.
That's where the link popularity comes in. If webmasters of other sites that Google thinks are in some way relevant to widgets see fit to send traffic to your widget site, then that confirms to Google that human beings will perceive relevance.
Inbound links form your credit report, which is an indication of human perception of relevance. That's what makes Google comfortable with sending their traffic to you.
If you want traffic, and the top spot on Google, then you need to get other webmasters to link to you from relevant sites... period.
Fortunately, that is a very easy thing to accomplish. It simply involves offering something of value in exchange for each link you receive. There are literally dozens of ways to do this for free... and on a massive scale.
To learn these techniques, refer to the other articles in this series, which are available by free subscription to the author's newsletter.
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