Friday, April 6, 2007

How is your Google IQ? If You Don't Pass, Your Income Suffers...


Google-Opoly

Sure there is Yahoo! and MSN and some other upstarts on the net, but Google is really the place to be found. It may not always be so, but for now, you need to have your site not only indexed by Google, but ranked high by Google. Let's test your Google IQ and see how you do.

Got PageRank?

PageRank is Google's formula that determines what other sites think of your site. PageRank tabulates the number of links coming to that site and the importance of those pages linking to it. Next PageRank assigns a one to ten ranking, to determine the site's position in specific results.

A site with a PageRank of ten is favored in results over a site with PageRank of seven. Most web pages are lucky to have a PageRank of even two or three. You can even have a negative PageRank which means Google knows who you are and they don't like you.

It Is Great to be Trusted

It used to be that Google looked for "great sites" to help anchor the PageRank index. Google now seems to have added the term "trusted sites" to the "great sites" factor. Here is why - "great sites" were abusing their privilege by selling links on their main page for $1,000 - 5,000 per month regardless of relevance.

You would find very busy and well-known software sites with links to mortgage companies and credit card offers at the bottom of their page. Thus, Google now not only looks for a "great site," but a "trusted site" in which the site provides only the "highest and best use" for their visitors.

You can download Google's tool bar so you can see your PageRank at http://www.google.com/downloads/ .


How Do The Terms Jagger, Florida and Big Daddy Affect Your Rankings?

Jagger, Florida and Big Daddy are the names given to the major Google index updates over the last two years. These updates can cause massive swings whereby smaller, less known sites show up, or drop, in the results. Each major index is an attempt by Google to create more accurate search results.

The latest update, Big Daddy, seems to be an entire rebuild of all results; as many companies have lost previously held top rankings.


Have You Been Googlized?

These periodic updates have caused multiple lawsuits against Google by companies that previously held high rankings, and subsequently lost them.

Google keeps its search ranking algorithms secret so that they can not be manipulated. Each update refines their proprietary algorithm. A drop from the top search result can mean the loss of thousands and thousands of dollars. Earlier this year, KinderStart.com sued Google because it lost it top ranking "without warning."

KinderStart said its traffic plunged; and Google accounted for up to 70 percent of its visitors. After Google dropped KinderStart, the number of visitors from Google was at 0.01%. At its peak, KinderStart's visitors viewed more than 10 million Web pages per month, according to the suit.

Of course, for every company like KinderStart that loses a substantial amount of business, there is a new top-ranked company that takes its places and receives that traffic, and revenue.

So How Do You Get A Top Ranked Site?

Google isn't divulging anything, but top search engine marketing companies theorize that Google is now assigning different weights for selected factors, including high quality links, the age of your domain (i.e,. when it was registered), the keywords embedded in your domain name, the quality of your content and the size of your site.

Also you need to avoid keyword stuffing on your site. A phrase like, "Our New York mortgage loan finance company has the lowest New York home loan interest rates for residents of New York and the New York area," would constitute keyword stuffing.

Garbage In, Garbage Out

Google appears to selecting "trusted sites" and rewarding outbound links from those sites with an increased value. In example, a link from Stanford.edu is worth more than a link from StanfordsFamilyRestaurant.com

Your site can increase its ranking by having "trusted sites" link to your pages. Conversely if you have submitted your site to "link farms" (domains established solely to provide links), your site can be penalized for participating in that endeavor.

Once Blogged, now Bogged?

Also, some mortgage companies used special software to post to blog sites. The method was simple: Your software would locate a blog site and say something like, "Nice site. Thanks for having it," and then your signature (HeyThisIsMyMortgageCompany.com) would be added in the hopes that a blog would become a valuable site and a link from that blog to you would improve your Page Rank.

Google wised up, and now are penalizing these type of links. Links from high quality blogs or blogs that exhibit editorial control are still of value if they can demonstrate they police their postings for relevance.

Do You Provide Links To "Great and Trusted Sites?" Or Are You Reciprocating Links To Link Farms?

Google appears to review the quality of your outbound links.

There does appear to some additional value by having good (not trusted) sites link to you as well. In example, local banks, the chamber of commerce, escrow companies and other related, but neutral sites.

Are You In The Google "Sand Box"? Does It Even Exist?

Some search engine specialists theorize that any new site is placed in a "sand box" to sit (and play) while Google decides whether or not to include them in their index. This gives Google a chance to determine whether it is a valuable site or a "Spam" site that goes straight to purgatory. Other people suggest that the sand box doesn't exist, there just is a period of time between when a site is reviewed and added to the Google index.

Trust Me

Regardless, this much appears to be true: if you have a high value, good content site that contributes to the well-being of the Internet... (a site that your visitors can trust), you will get into the Google index. If not, you will never receive a single visitor from Google.



(Rod Aries and Robert Farris are co-founders of MortgagePromote.com, a leading Internet marketing provider to corporate mortgage clients.)

For online mortgage leads please visit our mortgage leads page.

Originally published August 2006.

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