Tag Archives: search engine optimization

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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How Content Mills Beat Google

There has been a lot of news lately about how spam-filled Google’s search results pages have become over the last few years.  One of the oft blamed culprits are the so-called content mills.  A content mill is essentially a website that cranks out high volumes of webpages in order to always have something ranking highly for any search a user might perform.  They are also masters at search engine optimization, or SEO.

If you believe in the Google myth that content is king and that high-quality content will eventually become highly ranked, this should be confusing.

  • How can it be that a website cranking out thousands of webpages a day gets high-quality backlinks from authoritative website linked to all of that new content?
  • How can anyone generate that much quality content so quickly?

content mills vs googleThe answers to both questions are, they don’t.

How To Really Rank High In Google Search Results

Most of the content published by content mills has no links pointing to it whatsoever from external websites. However, every page links to multiple other pages within the same website.  Based on size alone that ensures that a website like eHow has a 1,000 incoming links to each of its articles.  These links are produced automatically by the system regardless of quality, but each one counts as a link to the Google spiders who gobble them up like ravenous rats.

Part of Google’s mythology is that it distinguishes incoming links and that good links are more valuable than bad links.  However, live search results prove that whatever downgrading or upgrading Google hands out based upon the quality of any webpage’s incoming links is easily overwhelmed by sheer volume.

Imagine that Google makes an incoming link from the same domain count for only 1/10th of what an external link would count for.  That means it only takes ten same-site incoming links to score the same as one incoming link from off-site.  Each content mill webpage has hundreds or thousands of same-site income links thanks to its volume of published pages.  Couple these low-value links with the content mills’ other trick and you have a recipe to rank high in Google search results for anything.

Of course, the content mills don’t put all their eggs in one basket.  Most of them run several websites all with thousands of webpages to use to boost linking whatever content they want.

Google’s Algorithm Overvalues Title Tags

Google claims that there are hundreds of factors that go into each ranking.  In practice, there are two or three factors that make up the vast majority of a webpage’s search ranking position and the rest are small factors that rarely influence anything but the thinnest of searches.

Next Page:  Google search results filling up with spam

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