Tag Archives: Rankings

Google Update and Writing Online for Money

One of the keys to making money by writing online is to get enough traffic to your money making websites. Ranking highly in search engines for frequently searched terms is one way to accomplish this. While Google updates the algorithm that chooses how to rank websites on their search engine results pages (SERPs) on a frequent basis, most of those tweaks can be ignored by writers looking to profit by writing online. However, when the big updates come out, it is important to at least check and see how you are being affected.

Google Counting Links

There are really only two main parts to Google’s search ranking algorithm. The first part is how closely a particular webpage fits the phrase searched. In this case, the best thing is an exact match to the title tag of the webpage. Or, if there isn’t one of those, then an exact match to a header tag, and so on. Of course, a close match comes next, and so on.

search engine updates

In a place as big as the internet, there is a pretty good chance that for any given search term, there is more than one page that matches. When this happens, Google essentially counts how many links point to each page that matches and then ranks the one with the highest number of incoming links at the top.

Everything else Google does is basically a tweak to the above formula in order to keep people from cheating. Many of the supposed 200+ ranking factors at Google are nothing more than the increasing or decreasing the value of incoming links. Links that are nofollowed count a little less than those that are do follow. Links from comments are less valuable than those in the middle of content. Links from higher ranking sites count more than those from tiny abandoned sites, and so on.

As a writer building online websites to earn money, you probably check to see what you rank highly for, and how much traffic that drives to your website. For the most part, changes in these rankings come slowly and infrequently. That’s because, your site and the other sites that rank don’t necessarily gain a bunch of incoming links, without you (or them) doing something to manually boost them. When, that happens, it generally only happens to one page, so you’ll see your webpage go from ranking 4th to ranking 5th. That’s just normal.

Big Google Updates

But, sometimes, Google makes a big update and that can dramatically shake up the rankings. Not only can you go from 4th to 12th, or from 8th to 1st, on one page, that same thing can happen to multiple pages across several different websites.

It’s best to keep at least one ear open for these kinds of changes. A quick check of the headlines at seroundtable.com (it stands for Search Engine Roundtable) can let you know if a big algorithm update is underway, or if it’s just strange things afoot at the Circle K.

The important thing is not to panic. These changes often lead to big movements, but wait for them to settle down and see what is, and is not, permanent. Then, maybe go through, and update and tweak the pages that you lost some ranking on. Most importantly, keep adding fresh, useful content.

If there is one static thing in Google rankings it’s that the search engine values sites that are current over those that have gone stale, and that more content means more pages to attract links and gain authority.

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AdSense Experiments Microposts

Earning money with AdSense relies primarily on getting enough traffic to make it work. If you get enough traffic, most of the rest works out on its own. Of course, that isn’t necessarily true for a large, multi-writer, website, but for us writers looking to make money writing online on our own, that’s how it works.

Check out my article about whether Credit Karma is legit or not.

Getting traffic is an ongoing effort. There are many ways to get traffic, but one of the most self-sustaining is to rank highly enough in search engine rankings to get traffic from people looking for your information. There are a lot of factors that go into search rankings, or SERPs. The most important is the number of links pointing at your individual pages. These are called backlinks, and Google and Bing count them to rank your page.

micropostTo keep people from making junk backlinks, the search engines have a lot of different filters, and value different links from different sources. They also tend to not rank certain types of webpages, including those that are very short. Some say that nothing under 300 words will generally show up. Others say 500 words is the minimum.

Either way, if you aren’t looking to rank that particular page, then does a smaller post still have value?

Certainly, a small post can have value for your readers, and it may be that search engines do count them for other factors, such as the “freshness” of your site, or even the backlinks that come off of those posts.

I wrote about microposts over on my freelance writing blog, but since they have the potential to increase earnings, I thought I’d put some thoughts down here as well.

I’ll keep you posted.

 

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PotPieGirl Exposes Google

Interesting post over at the PotPieGirl today. In watching several keywords, she noticed that one of the highly ranked webpages for the very competitive term “make money online” is an EMPTY WEBPAGE! This has apparently been going on for some time, now as well.

As it turns out, it used to be the website of someone called Griz who was/is fairly well known in the make money online circles. At one time, the site got tons of links, and lots of traffic. However, the website was taken down for TOS violations in 2010. That means a webpage that is part of a domain that does not have any content whatsoever, let alone quality content, ranks at #9 in Google’s search results based solely on the incoming links that are still out there on the web.

Here is a screenshot of my search results for the same term (no quotes) on 4/19/2012 at approximately 2:33 PM MDT.

Google Just Counts Links

Google goes out of its way to say that the only thing needed to rank highly in its search results is to produce quality content. Then, of course, people will link that high quality content and you’ll rank highly. Everyone whose been interested in writing online and ranking well for their content for more than 10 minutes knows that’s a fantasy.

Still, Google, and by extension those who believe what Google tells them, continue to parrot the line that content is king. This is proof that is simply not the case.

There is no high-quality content here. There is no content AT ALL.

Still it ranks in Top 10.

Not only that, but since this particular website has been down for going on two years now, it also has virtually no new links, at least not legitimate ones.

So, what does this all mean for someone who wants to make money writing online?

It means that you can generate quality content, but if you want people to find it in on Google, you’re going to have to link it. The sooner you get used to the fact that the number of incoming links you have outweighs the quality of your content, the better.

I’m not saying to write garbage. After all, I started this website for people who can, and do, write well. I’m just saying don’t be naive. You’ll have to do more than just write good stuff to rank highly and make money from your organic traffic.

Grab the MMWO RSS feed to keep up with all the tips, tricks and pointers that will help you take your quality writing to the top of the search results.

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Bing Faster Than Google?

I’ve put some additional effort into tracking some of the various keywords that I write about for some of my clients. One of the new tools I’m using shows Bing rankings in addition to the more traditional Google rankings. What I’ve noticed can only be considered anecdotal at this point, and has only been observed on a handful of keywords over 45 to 60 days. However, it seems that when it comes to rankings, Bing is faster than Google.

Bing Search Rankings Accurate Sooner?

Faster Search Rankings graphic

Here is what I mean.

Imagine a website that is a well respected authority site for something like dog clothing. (I have no idea how this does or does not end up working out for thin, affiliate, type websites where the goal is to rank for a single keyword. I don’t have any of those sites to try it out on.)

Now, imagine that the website publishes a new article about ascots for dogs. Let’s assume that the goal was to rank well for the term plaid dog ascots. Furthermore, let’s assume that the page is reasonably well optimized for search and that a regular, non-automated, amount of links has been built to the content in question. Finally, assume that while this may be a competitive keyword, it is not highly competitive and that the top ranking results are not giant, authoritative, well linked pages of PageRank 7 websites, but rather regular, middle of the road, webpages for longer-tail keywords.

Continuing our example based on this scenario, after five to 10 days, Bing starts ranking this webpage for the keyword plaid dog ascots at #5. Google starts the ranking for the same page for the same key phrase at 28. Most website owners fixate on the Google ranking and consider their efforts to be a success or failure based upon that number.

However, what I have noticed a few times now is that without doing anything more than maintaining the existing site that over a matter of two to three weeks, the webpage in question will slowly, but surely (though not linearly) make its way up Google’s SERPs until it comes to rest within one or two rankings of the original Bing ranking.

This suggests a few things. One, that Bing, unlike widely reported on Google, may not limit or “sandbox” new content, allowing it to rank naturally almost immediately. Google, on the other hand, seems to almost require that an article be at least two or three weeks old before it can rank in the top 10, assuming that it is not given “hot news” treatment. Two, it seems that Bing might be a good predictor of the final ranking position for long-tail keyword webpages that are not hyper-competitive. Three, if that is all true, then observing one’s Bing ranking for a given keyword offers some insight into how effective the webpage was constructed and linked.

I’ll keep you posted as I work. Maybe this is a fluke that only happened a couple of times. Maybe, this is a very useful insight into SEO for writers.

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