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Wanna Get a Top Ranking? Get Sued.

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Old 12-19-2009, 05:52 AM
bholus10 bholus10 is offline
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Default Wanna Get a Top Ranking? Get Sued.

Wanna Get a #1 Ranking? Get Sued.

So you've spent the entire week reading up on SEO and how to get your site ranked towards the top of the search engines. You know all about how much search engines pay attention to H1 tags, title tags, meta tags, keyword density, and inbound links. You even have spent the time to optimize your website according to these SEO standards and are now waiting for that crucial update to see how much of an improvement your SEO work has made.

You might be waiting for a long time.

The truth is, classical SEO is not what it used to be. Unfortunately, we, the Internet community at large, got too savvy. Or, maybe the search engines just found a better way to determine which websites are really important. But one thing is true – spending time on traditional on-page optimization and link building strategies will not get you that top ranking in Google.

If you really want to get a top ranking in Google, get sued. I'll get into that, but first we must go over a few other points.

Let's Backup – Classic SEO is Still Good (and maybe necessary)

I am not trying to say that classic SEO is completely dead. It is not. I truly and entirely believe that the search engines continue to pay attention to on page optimization, but on-page optimization will not garner a top ranking in the search engines for any significant search term. Rather, on-page optimization will just be one of many, many aspects which contribute to how a search engine ranks your website.

Working at your on-page optimization should still be the first aspect of building your website. You should always make sure that your page is laid out in an orderly fashion, with descriptive title tags and a proper use of the H1, H2, H3 tags. Paying attention to your keyword density is also still important, although you should do so more for the fact that you want to be clear to your readers on what your site is about.

All the work you put into on-page optimization, however, should be done with a spirit divided in two. First, you should always build your site and optimize it for your users. A clear, easy to use layout that degrades well for those who do not have the latest browser versions is good for your users. Secondly, you want to make your

site easy to understand by the search engine spiders. The spiders have a lot of work to do, especially now that it seems every engine is obsessed with having the largest index. Clean code and a clear purpose will help both your users and the search engines.

The fact is, however, that on-page optimization has lost a great deal of importance in the world of search engine rankings. Search engine ranking algorithms are made up of several factors, all with different weights of importance. When Google initially launched, on-page optimization was a fairly significant part of the ranking algorithm, and other search engines nearly exclusively looked at on-page optimization to determine the top websites. But in today's world of SEO, on-page optimization does not hold nearly the same importance.

Link Exchanges Are Nearly Dead

The second part of classic SEO is link building. Google turned the search engine world upside down when they introduced the concept of pagerank. Pagerank (for anyone who is not yet familiar with the term) is simply a score given to each web page, and is determined by the number of inbound links that this page has. As a part of classical SEO, website owners traditionally have engaged in link trading to increase the number of links pointing to their website.

Link trading, in Google's eyes, is the Internet's version of dead people casting ballots in a Chicago political election. Google, at least, does not see the link as a true vote. Rather, the vote came in exchange for a favor – namely the return of a link. Website owners who link to another website in exchange for an inbound link are seeing as trying to stuff the linking ballots, and thus tip the scales of search engine rankings in their favor.

Pagerank, a concept originally developed to determine a fair method of ranking websites, had suddenly turned into a bad analogy of political election fraud. Obviously, the model needed to be changed. Pagerank, as it was established, was being eliminated by website owners, and it appears as if the Jagger update finally made a solid attempt to discount link exchange programs.

So What About Pagerank?

Website owners and SEO experts are currently discussing what role pagerank currently plays in search engine rankings. We have had this discussion several times over at the Site Reference Forums. Although there does not seem to be any agreed upon answer to the question of what role pagerank plays in a site's ranking, most SEO experts agree that pagerank plays a sgnificantly smaller role in rankings now than it did just one year ago.

Although I do not have hard evidence to support this theory, I strongly suspect that pagerank is still factored into Google's search algorithm. Like most SEO experts, I too agree that pagerank does not carry the weight that it once did, but I find it hard to believe that pagerank is now completely useless. If pagerank were completely useless, why would Google bother to update the pagerank of billions of web pages?

I believe pagerank now plays a role similar to that of on-page optimization. It is a nice element to score well on in the search engine readiness of your website, but pagerank alone will not get you a top ranking in Google. Although pagerank is not dead, like on-page optimization pagerank is now a relatively insignificant portion of Google's ranking algorithm.

The Need for Authority Inbound Links

Authority websites have been the talk of SEO experts for a little over 1 year. The notion of an authority website comes from Krishna Bharat's paper on a subject called “Hilltop: A Search Engine Based on Expert Documents. The idea is basically simple. Hilltop asserts that there are is a relatively small set of websites that can be trusted

as authority, or expert websites. Government sites, university websites, well-recognized news sources, and recognized industry news sources are all examples of sites that can be considered as “expert” websites. These sites, unlike the average website on the Internet, can be trusted to “link honestly”.

It is widely accepted that Google now places a very high importance on inbound links from authority websites. Websites that get links from educational institutions, government

websites, and news sources tend to do very well in Google. Websites that are continuing to engage in link exchanges are not doing as well as they once were, and have largely dropped in Google's rankings for competitive keywords.

How Can You Get a High Ranking?

Simple. Get sued. That is what Aaron Wall of SEO Book did. I met up with Aaron a few weeks ago at a search engine conference. When asking a few other people where he was, I was told to look for the person wearing the T-Shirt that said “My Blog Got Me Sued”. Its definitely to the point, but it works in starting a conversation.

The fact is, getting sued was one of the best things to happen to Aaron from an SEO standpoint. I am not saying that getting sued is really a good thing, but from an SEO standpoint it gives you plenty of opportunities to get inbound links from a wide variety of authority

websites. Aaron's blog got attention from several major news sources which provided active links over to his website. Within the time it took for him to get in a legal battle, Aaron had quickly developed a whole network of inbound links from authority websites.

Aaron now has a very good ranking in Google for his targeted search terms. Getting sued is not the only reason he is doing so well. Aaron is a well-respected member of the SEO community, recognized by professors at universities and some of the best SEO minds

as a man who knows SEO. Getting sued aside, Aaron would probably still be enjoying a top ranking in Google, but I think even he would admit that getting sued provided a great opportunity to get authority inbound links.

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Old 12-19-2009, 05:53 AM
bholus10 bholus10 is offline
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Getting A Good Ranking is Just Good Marketing

The best method to rank well in the search engines is suddenly appearing very similar to traditional marketing techniques. If you want to rank well in the search engines for a competitive search term, you need to engage in traditional marketing.

I am not referring to just buying advertisements (although this can help as well), I am referring to engaging in public relations, networking, attending trade shows, and talking to news sources both within your industry and outside of your industry.

Traditional marketing and public relations requires you to make your company known as an authority within your industry. You should want your clients to know that you are the best source for whatever it is you sell, and that they should trust you. You gain this trust by being visible, not just through your website, but through the websites of other trusted sources such as news outlets.

Getting noticed by authority websites can be difficult, but with some creativity it can be done. If you make your business newsworthy, news outlets within your industry and without will pickup your news story and hopefully link over to your website.

Some Things Simply Will Not Change

It is important to keep in mind that some things will never change. The Internet is a business, and those who are trying to run successful websites are all engaged in a type of business. As such, it is your responsibility to run your website like a business. Provide a quality product, engage in activities that make your product known, and make yourself the absolute best in your industry.

Google and the other search engines only want the best. If they see that trusted websites have grown to trust you, they will give you the benefit of the doubt, even if they decide to once again change their algorithm.
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