An opportunity to dominate your niche

Google implemented changes to its ranking algorithm that, in a lot of cases, resulted in over 50% of the top 100 listings under a search term disappearing.

The overall effect of the change is to give far greater prominence to ‘Authority’ sites like .org, .gov and major shopping portals, under a far wider spread of search terms.

What will make a difference to you is for Google to deem your site as an authority site. For niche business to business sites (our speciality) this would not be costly to achieve because you are only targeting prospective customers in your niche not the whole internet user population.

If your site is already optimized, re-optimization will have no effect, because it is mainly off-page criteria that are making the difference.

If your site has not been optimized, the following points give more detail about the Google changes and indicate what should be incorporated into your site in the future to achieve high rankings.

Word Stemming

What it is

Word stemming means taking the stem of a word and generating common variants of the word.

Example

The word Australia, when used in a search query, normally returns only pages that contain the actual word. Google also returns pages that contain the word within an incoming text-link. However, with stemming turned on, Google also includes the word stem australian as a match.

Effects of stemming

This change greatly increases the number of competing documents for a search and exponentially increases the number of incoming links related to the search phrase.

Secondly, stemming tends to make search results less precise – i.e., more of a broad match.

It is likely that this type of matching will increase.

Word Forms

Singular and plural word forms

You may get very different results depending on whether you use a singular or plural form of a word in a search. The search results may also appear more imprecise to the searcher.

Google appears to be trying to derive the sense of a web page as it would appear to a reader of the page, rather than just trying to identify words on their own, regardless of context.

Word Proximity

What is word proximity?

It is a variable that uses the distance between search terms and the specified order of the terms to decide how relevant a search results page will be.

When we search from a huge amount of documents, we often specify several keywords and use conjunctive queries to narrow the result of the search. Though the searched documents contain all keywords, positions of the keywords are usually not considered. As the result, the search result contains some meaningless documents. It is therefore effective to rank documents according to proximity of keywords in the documents. This ranking can be regarded as a kind of text data mining.

What does word proximity means for searches?

Google now puts less emphasis on the general proximity of words to each other. The result is your site pages may be competing with documents that were not considered before as relevant to your particular search term.

It is also evident that Google may not even require the exact keyword to be present on the page to rank a site. For example, using ‘donate’ as a keyword may lead to ‘charity’ sites coming high in the rankings because Google has related donations to charities.

Semantics

What is semantics?

The branch of linguistics which studies meaning in language. Lexical semantics is the study of the meanings of words and structural semantics is the study of how the meanings of larger constituents come about.

It is also the second word in the name of a company that Google bought in April 2003.

The Google website says: “Applied Semantics’ products are based on its patented CIRCA technology, which understands, organizes, and extracts knowledge from websites and information repositories in a way that mimics human thought and enables more effective information retrieval. A key application of the CIRCA technology is Applied Semantics’ AdSense product that enables web publishers to understand the key themes on web pages to deliver highly relevant and targeted advertisements.”

Search results

Google is trying to use the meaning of websites to relate to themes rather than just word combinations. It is attempting to remove some assumptions about the way people search to give the best ‘fit’. It is the beginning of a worldwide neural net where what matters is the relationships between information types rather than any one information source.

For example, if you searched for PC’s in the past, you would get mainly commercial sites. Now you would get information related, educational or patent sites as well as those trying to sell PC’s.

So what do we do?

We need to ensure that your site fits within an entire topic, not just the ‘selling’ dimension where efforts have probably been focussed.

Conclusion

Google is still the top search engine

It continues to take 37% of all daily internet searches.

There are really only three things to do well to achieve high rankings:

  • Have good titles
  • Have good content
  • Have good links
  • If you would like some help achieving these why not give me a call on 01488 674203.

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