The Value of Google Result Positioning
May 25th, 2010
How much is the top spot on Google actually worth? According to data from the Chitika network, it’s worth a ton – double the traffic of the #2 spot, to be precise.
In order to find out the value of SEO, we looked at a sample of traffic coming into our advertising network from Google and broke it down by Google results placement. The top spot drove 34.35% of all traffic in the sample, almost as much as the numbers 2 through 5 slots combined, and more than the numbers 5 through 20 (the end of page 2) put together.
via The Value of Google Result Positioning – Chitika Research.
The table below shows the various factors that we examined along with the 3 methods:
|Authority, Trust, Domain Strength
||No authority is inherited
||A part of authority is inherited
||The authority is inherited
||Increased number of results
||Increased number of results in some cases
||Limited number of results
|Design & Web Structure Freedom
|Link Building &
|New Link Building Campaigns
Cross linking domains
|New Link Building Campaigns
Cross linking Subdomains
|Single Link Building Campaign
Internal Link Structure
Framing the process
In my questions, I asked link builders to respond within this framework:
1. Linkable Asset. Definition: what’s “linkable” varies from vertical to vertical. Cash is almost always a linkable asset, as are available jobs, events, expertise for interviews and many other forms of great content.
2. Link Target. Definition: what types of sites, pages, and people seek this linkable asset?
3. Link Prospecting Query. Definition: what queries uncover great targets for your linkable assets?
via 21 Link Builders Share Advanced Link Building Queries.
A Few Basic Rules:
1. You should perform all of these searches at each of the major engines (Google, Yahoo!, MSN & Ask – yes, even Ask, as they often link to some very valuable and achievable link sources). I’m illustrating using Google for simplicity and brevity.
2. At Google and others, it often helps to show 100 results per page and have the maximum “grouping” of results from the same site. That way, you can find all of the most relevant pages on a particular domain with ease.
3. This process is only half the battle – the other half is identifying the sites inside the SERPs that would make good targets; I’ll try to cover that next week.
via SEOmoz | Long List of Link Searches.
SEO Excel Functions
Character Length in Excel
The LEN function returns the number of characters in a cell. It’s particularly handy in creating the right title and meta descriptions. Remember to keep your titles to ~60 characters and meta descriptions to ~150 characters.
Phantom spaces at the beginning or end of a cell can be maddening. So before you go Office Space on your keyboard use the TRIM function which gets rid of any spaces before or after text. It’ll also get rid of any extra spaces between words. Think of TRIM as a vacuum cleaner for spaces.
This is just what it sounds like. Using the SUBSTITUTE function you can find specific text and substitute it for different text. It doesn’t sound all that interesting but it turns out to be vital in creating useful formulas.
Word Count Formula
There’s no out of the box word count function. But with a little creativity you can create a useful word count formula using the three functions above.
via 18+ SEO Excel Functions | Blind Five Year Old.
#1 – Links Higher Up in HTML Code Cast More Powerful Votes
Whenever we (or many other SEOs we’ve talked to) conduct tests of page or link features in (hopefully) controlled environments on the web, we/they find that links higher up in the HTML code of a page seem to pass more ranking ability/value than those lower down. This certainly fits with the recently granted Google patent application – Ranking Documents Based on User Behavior and/or Feature Data, which suggested a number of items that may considered in the way that link metrics are passed.
Those who’ve leveraged testing environments also often struggle against the power of the “higher link wins” phenomenon, and it can take a surprising amount of on-page optimization to overcome the power the higher link carries.
Why Don’t We Always Obey These Rules?
That answer is relatively easy. The truth is that in the process of producing great web content, we sometimes forget, sometimes ignore and sometimes intentionally disobey the best practices laid out above. On-page optimization, while certainly important, is only one piece of a larger rankings puzzle:
(FYI – The new ranking factors survey data is set to release very, very soon)
It most certainly pays to get the on-page, keyword-targeting pieces right, but on-page SEO, in my opinion, follows the 80/20 rule very closely. If you get the top 20% of the most important pieces (titles, URLs, internal links) from the list above right, you’ll get 80% (maybe more) of the value possible in the on-page equation.
Best Practices for Ranking #1
Curiously, though perhaps not entirely surprisingly to experienced SEOs, the truth is that on-page optimization doesn’t necessarily rank first in the quest for top rankings. In fact, a list that walks through the process of actually getting that first position would look something more like:
- Accessibility – content engines can’t see or access cannot even be indexed; thus crawl-ability is foremost on this list.
- Content – you need to have compelling, high quality material that not only attracts interest, but compels visitors to share the information. Virality of content is possibly the most important/valuable factor in the ranking equation because it will produce the highest link conversion rate (the ratio of those who visit to those who link after viewing).
- Basic On-Page Elements – getting the keyword targeting right in the most important elements (titles, URLs, internal links) provides a big boost in the potential ability of a page to perform well.
- User Experience – the usability, user interface and overall experience provided by a website strongly influences the links and citations it earns as well as the conversion rate and browse rate of the traffic that visits.
- Marketing – I like to say that “great content is no substitute for great marketing.” A terrific marketing machine or powerful campaign has the power to attract far more links than content may “deserve,” and though this might seem unfair, it’s a principle on which all of capitalism has functioned for the last few hundred years. Spreading the word is often just as important (or more so) than being right, being honest or being valuable (just look at the political spectrum).
- Advanced/Thorough On-Page Optimization – applying all of the above with careful attention to detail certainly isn’t useless, but it is, for better or worse, at the bottom of this list for a reason; in our experience, it doesn’t add as much value as the other techniques described.
Let’s turn our attention to those pesky H(x) tags again, and see if the ranking model has more to say about their impact/value.
via SEOmoz | Explaining (Some of) Google’s Algorithm with Pretty Charts & Math Stuff.