Hello Adrian ~
When it comes to Google, there are as many questions about search
engine results placement (SERPs) as there are theories about how to
get high placement in the desired search terms.
Let me remind you that Google Answers Researchers are independent
contractors. We are not privy to any insider information about
Google's closely-guarded algorithm. No one knows, besides Google, and
they're not going to tell.
"1. The basics
"Google's order of results is automatically determined by more
than 100 factors, including our PageRank algorithm. Please
check out our "Why Use Google" page for more details. Due to
the nature of our business and our interest in protecting the
integrity of our search results, this is the only information
we make available to the public about our ranking system."
(From "How Does Google Rank Pages")
The answer to your previous question contains sound advice - and lest
you think links are NOT important or "as important" as they once were,
the best place to look is to the source - at least so far as Google is
Google's Webmaster information:
"The best way to ensure Google finds your site is for your
page to be linked from lots of pages on other sites.
Google's robots jump from page to page on the Web via
hyperlinks, so the more sites that link to you, the more
likely it is that we'll find you quickly."
"if many sites link to your page, there is a good chance we
will find you without your submitting your URL."
The context of those links TO your site are important. Until such time
as Google changes its recommendations and suggestions to Webmasters,
it can only be considered foolish to disregard the linking structure
as no longer relevant.
There is much speculation among reliable sources about what's
happening right now (or with the latest Google crawl, etc.), but don't
lose sight of the fact that it is exactly that - speculation!
What 'seems' to be the case today may not have been the case yesterday
and may not be the case tomorrow, because the search engines - ALL OF
THEM - have one goal: to present the most relevant results to the
searcher. If the webmaster or website owner wants his site included
for certain search terms, then it is his responsibility to ensure that
his content is relevant to that term.
It is basically that simple.
About that URL
I can't disagree with your observation that perhaps the URL (or domain
name) is given a bit more weight when searching for certain terms.
Indeed, I commented as much on a question, because at that time I
honestly could find only one thing that seemed to give some sites
rather lacking in relevant information a better SERPs. You can read
the comment here:
I noticed it when researching ** that ** question. You've apparently
noticed it, too, and it stands to reason we aren't the only two in the
universe who may have noticed this phenomenon, but before everyone
runs out looking for a way to add key words to their URLs, it might
help to remember the purpose of search engines - to deliver results
that are RELEVANT to the search terms.
If it becomes a race to gobble up URLs with the keywords, how long
before that weight is reduced or disappears completely from search
engine results? It will no doubt go the way of the old keyword and
description metatags - that is, basically ignored.
That may work for the algorithm du jour, but what happens when they
The ONE thing you can count on is that they will change, because
webmasters and website owners would rather play with beating the
algorithms than with the one simple thing they can do to be listed and
move on up.
Jill Whalen of HighRankings.com has written a good article on how to
write a title tag which is RELEVANT (there's that word again) without
spamming the title tag with worthless keywords in the hopes of getting
a better SERP.
"All search engines use title tags to gather information
about your Web site. The word(s) in the title tag will
appear in the hyperlink listings on the search engine
results page; people click the hyperlink to go to your
site. Arguably, your title tag is second in importance
only to the actual text on the page in determining your
site's ranking with the search engines." (Article: "All
About Title Tags" by Jill Whalen)
and in an article for "In Vancouver", Ten Tips to the Top of Google,
May 2, 2003:
"Create a killer Title tag. HTML title tags are critical
because they're given a lot of weight with all of the
search engines. You must put your keywords into this tag
and not waste space with extra words. Do not use the Title
tag to display your company name or to say "Home Page."
Think of it more as a "Title Keyword Tag" and create it
accordingly. Add your company name to the end of this tag,
if you must use it"
and in an interview with Shari Thurow, considered one of the foremost
search engine optimization specialists, published in 2001 and still
"The title tag is more important than meta tags. The title
tag has always been more important than meta tags."
and by Andy Beal in his article, "Search Engine Basics Part 2: Title
"The Title tag is pretty much the most effective Meta Tag
and is used for conveying the theme of your Webpage to
the search engines."
You called that one right ... the title tag is important, but it needs
to make sense, too. You can't stack your title tag with a bunch of key
words and hope that will help with a listing. It will almost always
guarantee to get you penalized for "spamming".
Here's what Google says about the tags in its Guidelines:
"Make sure that your TITLE and ALT tags are descriptive
and accurate." (From Google's Design and Content Guide-
Think closely what terms you want to be found under. Do your research
on those words that your particular market is using to find your
service, and include them in your title tag, and it most definitely
will help with your SERPs.
Content ... content ... content!
If you don't have it, the search engines, any of them, don't want to
serve up your website in search results, no matter how much you try to
'fool' them into thinking your site is relevant.
Here's what Jill Whalen says about the usage of keywords in your
content in an article run in "In Vancouver", May 2, 2003, entitled
"Ten Tips to the Top of Google":
"Write at least 200 - 250 words of visible text copy based
on your chosen keywords. This is a crucial component to
high rankings and a successful Web site. The search engines
need to "read" keyword rich copy on your pages so they can
successfully classify your site. Use each keyword phrase
numerous times within your copy for best results."
And an article on the use of keywords within your content using those
keywords by Herman Drost, "Improve Search Engine Ranking with Correct
Keyword Density", February 23, 2003:
"Write your web copy so that it not only satisfies the
search engines but also is compelling enough for your
web site visitors to read (don't make it sound weird to
read or obvious you are just writing for the search
engines). Repeat your keyword phrase or combinations of
them every few sentences."
And Google's Design and Content Guidelines:
"* 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."
Also in Google's Guidelines - Basic Principles:
"Make pages for users, not for search engines. Don't
deceive your users, or present different content to
search engines than you display to users."
The importance of relevant content cannot be over emphasized, Every
search engine expert, from Danny Sullivan, Detlev Johnson, Jill
Whalen, Shari Thurow, etc., to those who merely speculate on what
seems to be working, agree that if you create pages with rich text
content, valuable to your visitors, you can obtain good SERPs and stay
in good position.
Without good content, you may temporarily show up in a good ranking,
but you won't stay there, because the search engines change their
algorithms almost daily, and trying to reverse engineer or
second-guess what works WITHOUT relevant content is like shooting at a
To discard the importance of relevant links TO your site is foolish
For logical reasons, it lends credence and adds importance to what you
are trying to convey to your visitors. There is a reason that Google
included PageRank as an integral part of its algorithms, and even now
uses it - if you're not 'authority' enough to have links from other
sites, your content probably shouldn't be included in search engine
From the Google perspective, you cannot dismiss it because nothing
seems to be happening with the PageRank on the Google Toolbar. So long
as Google explains its importance and stresses it, can anyone afford
to ignore the recommendation? From a purely personal standpoint, I
have yet to see that relevant links have failed to help with my own
While it appears now that URLs are helping with SERPs, there is no
reason to believe that any weight to URLs that don't include relevant
content will remain in top results positioning.
Who can remember the names of search engines we felt were good and no
longer exist because some other search engines offered better results?
The search engines will work constantly to change their algorithms to
seek, find, and deliver RELEVANT results, and if you're missing that,
while you may be highly placed now, it won't last. The same will
happen to URLs that do not deliver content. Count on it.
There's no mistaking that the Title Tags are important and are
weighted heavily. The good news is that search engines are starting to
recognize Title Tag spamming and are refusing to deliver pages that
use this practice.
A simple search on Webmaster World for Title Tag Spam shows several
discussions with anecdotal information about spamming a title tag. By
all means, put it to work for you, but don't be so foolish to feel
that abusing it will improve a site's SERPs.
Most search engines, or at least the important ones, ignore the
keyword metatags, which should not be confused with "keyword density".
Using those keywords ... that is, the terms under which you want to be
found ... within a site's text content will count toward the site's
SERPs when someone searches for those terms.
Content is still king:
There is no one who can honestly tell you that your site will be
listed or delivered anywhere close to where a searcher is looking
without relevant content. Any search engine optimization MUST start
with consideration given to rich content on each and every page.
Without it, you may be able to manipulate results to your advantage,
but you won't stay there. If you manipulate the SERPs too much, you
may be banned, then no one can find you.
Legion Security site
I am including this section in the answer because it is natural to
examine a site's source code when attempting to answer these types of
The site is attractive to look at, and has relevant content. However,
it also contains some practices which may be perceived as "spamming"
and get you banned from some search engines.
It is never good to include invisible text - that is, text which your
visitors cannot see. If you don't want your visitors to "see" it, why
bother to include it on the page at all?
In your case, immediately following the <html> tag, you have the
following added, which serves no purpose other than to be 'seen' by
search engine spiders:
"<!-- manned guarding, mobile patrols, cctv monitoring, security
personnel, special event security, integrated security solution,
contract security officers, parking management, parking enforcement,
1991 road traffic act -->
<!-- Optimised 17 Feb 2003 -->"
In addition, there's another set of tags with content and search terms
which do not appear on your page, which can only be perceived as being
there to increase search engine optimization - until an algorithm
discovers it's not visible on the page - or until someone reports you
Google clearly states:
"Avoid hidden text or hidden links."
"It's not safe to assume that just because a specific
deceptive technique isn't included on this page, Google
approves of it. Webmasters who spend their energies
upholding the spirit of the basic principles listed above
will provide a much better user experience and subsequently
enjoy better ranking than those who spend their time looking
for loopholes they can exploit." (From Quality Guidelines -
"Your page was manually removed from our index, because it
did not conform with the quality standards necessary to
assign accurate PageRank ... certain actions such as
cloaking, writing text that can be seen by search engines
but not by users, or setting up pages/links with the sole
purpose of fooling search engines may result in permanent
removal from our index."
Whether the practice is worth the risk of getting banned is your
decision; however, my recommendation is to get rid of all the text
which isn't visible to your website visitors and refrain from using
such tactics in the future. Why take the risk?
What's Important -
Start with being familiar with Google's suggestions and
recommendations. If they weren't important, they'd not be there.
- Getting Listed
- Why you may not be listed
- Page Rank Information (SERPs)
- Google's PageRank & Technology
- Why Google is so good (Google's responsibility to searchers)
- Webmaster Guidelines
- Facts & Fiction (what's rumor, what's not)
- SEOs - who's good, who should be ignored at all costs
- Frequently Asked Questions
In addition to the above by Google, there are several good resources
to help you stay on top of the best practices:
* Danny Sullivan's Search Engine Watch
* Webmaster World (pay attention to any posting by GoogleGuy,
it's the closest to any "official" notifications and explanations
you may get)
* Jill Whalen's High Rankings Advisor
And there are others with good information, but these are considered
among the best.
Search terms used -
* search engines: importance of content
* search engines: title tags
* search engines: links
* search engines: title tags
* high search engine ranking
* search engines + domain name importance
* URL importance in search engines
* search engine experts
We'd all like to be on that first of results, but obviously we can't;
however, by utilizing good sense in content and working to return
relevant content, you can increase your chances of good SERPs.
Google Answers Researcher