Hi Terry ~
If you try to design pages of your website like that - with a
carefully thought out set of phrases used 'x' amount of times, the
only thing you will really accomplish is driving yourself crazy.
First of all, it is important to remember that only Google knows its
algorithm, and they're NOT going to share it with others. That doesn't
stop others, though, from authoritatively handing out bad advice, and
acting like theirs is the be-all and end-all of how to place well in
Google's search engine results pages (SERPs).
One SEO "expert" says "three times" is reasonable. Another will tell
you that "five times" is the precise number of times to insert a
phrase to achieve a high ranking.
That is purely speculation! No one but Google really knows. That
speculation may be based on observations they have made, although in
reality it is not even based in what really may have moved a
particular page up in rankings is entirely different.
Let's back off a bit and consider what you're suggesting here.
Say, for the sake of argument, your idea of using those phrases three
times is just about perfect for today. What are you going to do if
that algorithm changes tomorrow? Google constantly tweaks its
algorithm to deliver *relevant* results to a search query. Some tweaks
are gentle and hardly noticed, others are major overhauls which are
noted and commented on by large numbers. If some other SEO guru says
four times is optimal, are you going to have to change yours now to
meet their new observation?
Here are the results for the search terms you mention:
- New York lottery - about 1,170,000 results
- NY lottery - about 500,000 results
- NYS lottery - about 26,000 results
- New York State lottery - about 1,140,000 results
- New York lottery results - about 748,000 results
- New York lottery numbers - about 522,000 results
I have given you MY results pages, but I also noticed that those
results weren't always the same, meaning that not all Google's data
centers are serving the same results, a phenomenon Google explains in
its "Multiple indices",
"If you happen to enter the same query repeatedly while
we are in the process of posting the index at our
various data centers around the country, it might seem
like you are seeing inconsistent results from Google.
What is actually happening is that you are seeing a
result from an 'old' version of our index one time and
a result from a 'new' version the next. Due to the size
of our index, we can not simultaneously post a new index
at all of our data centers, which may result in this
behavior for a short period of time."
Logically, you're trying for a ranking with at least several thousand
other pages for the more obscure search terms, and millions for the
more common search terms. Your chances are probably a bit better for
winning that lottery than it is for a good ranking in SERPs if you try
to follow that kind of advice.
So what and how do you get included and start to rank well in Google's
SERPs for the search terms you want?
Google tells you - and while some results may look skewed at times, it
is still the best information, and still works for those pages that
consistantly rank well, regardless of Google's algorithm changes:
1. Content, content, content.
2. Good HTML - good design.
3. Links TO your site (and not linking schemes).
You can read it in Google's Design and Content Guidelines,
"* Make a site with a clear hierarchy and text links.
Every page should be reachable from at least one
static text link.
* Offer a site map to your users with links that point
to the important parts of your site. If the site map
is larger than 100 or so links, you may want to break
the site map into separate pages.
* Create a useful, information-rich site and write
pages that clearly and accurately describe your content.
* Think about the words users would type to find your
pages, and make sure that your site actually includes
those words within it.
* Try to use text instead of images to display important
names, content, or links. The Google crawler doesn't
recognize text contained in images.
* Make sure that your TITLE and ALT tags are descriptive
* Check for broken links and correct HTML.
* If you decide to use dynamic pages (i.e., the URL
contains a '?' character), be aware that not every
search engine spider crawls dynamic pages as well as
static pages. It helps to keep the parameters short
and the number of them small.
* Keep the links on a given page to a reasonable number
(fewer than 100)."
Design your page for your visitors, not for search engines. If it
makes sense to and for your visitors, it will work for Google and
every other search engine out there.
That bit of information has been repeated in every Search Engine
Sessions seminar you can attend.
Don't worry about the number of times you use a phrase or search term.
If it makes sense to use it ten times, use it ten times. If it makes
sense to only use it once, then only use it once, and don't worry
about the number of times and whether or not it is spammy.
Today's "not spammy" might be tomorrow's "spammy", or vice versa, but
those sites that follow the guidelines, and maintain a good balance of
content, good html design and links to their sites don't move much.
Without reading your content, it's hard to say if using those terms
three times is spammy or not. Write it for your visitors, if they
don't stick around long enough to even read your page, the chances are
it's poorly written, no matter how many times you do - or don't - use
a particular term.
Important Google Links For Your Reference
I have taken the liberty of including important links from Google's
site. This information will help you understand Google's goals and
responsibility to the web searcher (and not the webmaster or site
Webmasters who follow the guidelines and avoid Google's "Thou shalt
nots" usually have no problem getting listed and showing up under the
search terms they desire.
* Google Today (absolutely the best information you
can read about the "how and why" of Google's results
* How Do I Get My Site Listed on Google?
* My Web Pages Are Not Currently Listed (a good 'primer'
on how and why Google works so well)
* PageRank Information (covers both Google's PageRank and
* Webmaster Guidelines (contains both the dos and don'ts)
* Google Facts & Fiction (can you buy your way to a
high ranking in Google?)
* Search Engine Optimizers (some good advice on what to look
for if you're going to hire a Search Engine Optimizer)
* Frequently Asked Questions (pretty much what it says, but
definitely worth wading through)
* Remove Content from Google's Index (just in case you feel
a burning need to start all over again)
Other Sources of Information
There is also good information from many of the top search engine
optimization experts, such as
* Andrew Goodman's I-Search on Marketing Vox
* Detlev Johnson, Search Engine Guide
* Danny Sullivan, Search Engine Watch
* Jill Whalen, High Rankings
* Shari Thurow, Web Pro News (and quoted all over the Internet)
who all have columns or newsletters to which you can subscribe and
keep abreast of the best way to use good content for better
positioning in search engine results.
In addition, Webmaster World - http://www.webmasterworld.com/ - has
discussion boards on most of the search engines. While some of the
discussions are anecdotal and/or questions for information, there is
usually enough discussion to keep abreast of what seems to be
There is an entire section devoted to Google at:
It never hurts to keep track of the discussions; but remember, trying
to optimize for search engines only is like trying to hit a moving
target. You'll notice among the more experienced contributors to the
discussions - plus the SEO experts listed above - that there really is
no substitute for content, relevant links and good HTML.
Just a note about the above experts - they are all acknowledged by the
industry in general as being experts in search engine optimization.
But they, like all of us, are not privy to the algorithms and what
"really" counts today. Read them as a general guideline, not the
absolute word on how to do it.
And remember, they all espouse the three principles of content, design
and links to the site.
Search terms ~
Besides those searches specifically mentioned above, the answer was
derived form bookmarks and resources I use daily in my "real life" job
of web design, marketing and SEO consulting.
Best of luck to you,
Google Answers Researcher