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MyST Essay - Ranking High

MyST Essay - Ranking High

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Published by Bill French
In the context of the findability in the blogosphere, what does it mean to rank high?
In this essay, we explore what it means to rank high in the blogosphere and how this idea relates to traditional search engine ranking.
In the context of the findability in the blogosphere, what does it mean to rank high?
In this essay, we explore what it means to rank high in the blogosphere and how this idea relates to traditional search engine ranking.

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Published by: Bill French on May 06, 2008
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06/16/2009

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Copyright © 2007 MyST Technology PartnersPage Page 1 of 8 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Given anyambiguous term,how is it that anyone believes they haveany more right to beranked above theother 100+ million pages about thatsubject?
Ranking High 
In the context of the findability in the blogosphere, what does itmean to rank high?
In this essay, we explore what it means to rank high in the blogosphere and how thisidea relates to traditional search engine ranking.
Prologue
 At the outset, it is important to realize that ranking high for any short tail term(commonly understood to be a terse keyword or short key-phrase about your business)is best achieved with aPPCcampaign. While it’s possible to rank well for short-tail termsin your blogsite, it requires diligence, time, and a significant volume of “good” contentdirectly related to that subject. It also requires some degree of participation in theread/write web(i.e., other sites referencing your “good” content). AsDustin Luther, chief blogging officer of Realtor.com notes inthis blog post “
There are very few sites that can build up credibility without linking to other sites…Links are the lifeblood of the web. The search engines rely heavily on links to determine how to rank your site.
” Dustin is referring to both inbound links (IBL’s) from credible sites and outbound links toother credible sites that are directly related to each post in your blogsite. Ambiguous (especially short tail) terms such as “marketing” are very difficult to rank highly forbecause they are ambiguous. Given a specific[ambiguous] term, how is it that anyone believes theyhave any more right to be ranked above the other100-plus million pages about that ambiguous subject?Feel free to attempt to answer this question aboutyour own website and the keywords that you believeyou should rank well for by providing a compelling justification that above all other content on the web,yours is more valuable for any given term. Of course,you cannot rationally justify your claim without firstmeeting the requirements put forth earlier concerning “good content”.
 
 
Copyright © 2007 MyST Technology PartnersPage Page 2 of 8 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Expectations
In traditional search engines, SEO tactics typically pay dividends for ambiguous (shorttail) terms, but in the blgosphere, where everything is disambiguated, blogsites tend tooutperform other blogging platforms and for many reasons. But it’s important to pointout that SEO tactics are not sustainable. If you let up for even a moment or yourcompetitor increases their SEO expenditures, you typically lose rank positioning; indeed,traditional SEO is a classic arms race. This race eventually results in attempts to gamethe search engines through nefarious tactics that are becoming increasingly risky. AsMatt Cutts, senior search strategist at Google relates –
“…he was worried he might be caught, so he was working on a spiffy new scheme which was really *really* undetectable. But only 99% bulletproof. :) As you might be able to guess, I was easily able to find all of the fellow’s “undetectable” doorway  pages and all of his clients with a single Google query — I didn’t even have to use any of my internal tools. I still chuckle when I hear the word “undetectable.” 
Undetectable Spam Unlike traditional SEO tactics, findability based on blogging and participation in theread/write web is sustainable. In fact, blogging provides an ever-rising scaffolding of content whose articles are always available and continually reinforcing each other tosustain and grow domain trust, credibility, and discoverability. But blogging createsvisibility in areas of the web where traditional web sites cannot. There are many reasonsfor this including the inherent ability to fabricate information for long tail discovery –youachieve this as a by-product of producing good content.
Why is the long tail important?
There are many reasons –
 
More pages in the search engines suggests it’s harder to find what you’re lookingfor;
 
Businesses continually try to differentiate to compete more effectively;
 
Consumer search behaviors are continually improving and being reshaped by themere existence of more content.However, this idea can be best understood by simply looking at search query logs. Theywill reveal that 93 to 97% of all queries used to find content are unpredictable long tailphrases – queries that you could never use in a PPC system.
 
 
Copyright © 2007 MyST Technology PartnersPage Page 3 of 8 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
"The most interesting statistic however, was that while the top 10 searches were thousands of times more popular than the average search, these top-10 searches represented only 3% of our total volume. 97% of our traffic came from the “long tail” – queries asked a little over once a day." 
-- Joe Krause (co-founder of Excite)
 
While you might find it gratifying to rank very high for a short tail term, you must bewary of the possibility that it may not help you optimize or achieve your businessobjectives. You must consider other factors including the definitive shift in consumersearch behavior – short queries are a thing of the past. They’ve been replaced bylonger, more complex queries.If you were to envision a graphical representation of the short tail of real estate, you’dfind terms such as “real estate Sherman Oaks” in the narrow green band in the diagramat right. However, long tail queries such as “3bedroom rental dog door Sherman Oaks” would be out on the tail of all queriesrequested. In fact, this query might berequest just a few times a month, whereas. “real estate Sherman Oaks” might berequested hundreds or thousands of times but the result pages are not likely to providespecific examples of anything the searcher is looking for.If your SEO strategy focuses on short tail terms and (asthis postpoint out) 90+% of allqueries are of the long tail type, your future customers are likely to skip over your welloptimized short tail terms only to discover someone that has written specifically abouttheir interest.Unfortunately, most search engine metrics and search engine marketing philosophiesare based on popularity – the highest numbers attributable to the most ambiguousphrases such as sex, poker, love, and travel. But these are not the terms that provide uswith clues concerning actionable consumer behavior. Instead, we need to know the lastthing people searched for when they stopped searching. This indicates that (a) theyfound what they were looking for, or (b) they gave up looking. Typically, people startwith short queries and continually refine their terms until they stop searching. How thisbehavior affects findability is startling – it suggests that you need to rank well for bothshort tail and long tail terms to create a well-rounded search engine marketing strategy.

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