All websites strive to be Ms. Top of Page at Google and all the other search engines. For those that do not know Ms. Top of Page, it is the highly coveted first listing on Google that everyone talks about. The source of this listing is your website, which is where all her dates go to.
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We cannot tell you how many phone calls we get when the relationship goes sideways. They all start the same way “We used to be first on Google” followed by some sobbing and a desire to get back with her.
Ms. Top of Page (MTP) is a beautiful yet dangerous mistress. She’s wonderful, she’s marvelous, she’s fabulous, she’s beautiful, and any one can see why, it’s her endless high quality traffic and high volume. Bachelors consider a date with her an absolutely enchanting experience.
But your Ms. Top of Page status can change in an instant. Just when you thought you were building a trust-based relationship with the judges Goog, Algo, Le, and Rithm, also known as the Google Algorithm. They go completely crazy, like bad movie psycho girlfriend crazy. If you fail to pay attention to their needs they’ll cast your website to the dreaded second page where websites go to die. Get caught flirting with a Link Farm or creating duplicate content and the judges will delist your site. This is the search engine equivalent of throwing your clothes out the window, soaking them with gasoline, and setting them on fire.
Sure there’s other fish in the sea, but that Bing chick has a lazy eye and a mustache…and who knows where those skanky banner ads have been. So earning Ms Top of Page is, and should be, your life’s mission.
This talk today is an exploration of how to nurture your Google Algorithm relationship so you remain in the Ms. Top of Page slot. Developing loving and devoted life partners also known as customers. To earn the Ms. Top of Page slot from the judges you have to outperform your competitors in three simple items. Are your ready…no really are you READY…Here they are, the three secrets to a lasting relationship with the Google Algorithm, so you stay Ms. Top of Page..
What you say about yourself also known as your website content
What others say about you also known as backlinks, reviews, and mentions.
The Dating Experience as measured by Ms. Top of page and her date also known as the website experience.
So that’s it. Follow these three simple items and continually refine these three items and you will find great success.
What You Say About Yourself
We have all been on the first date that goes horribly bad in a flash. Regardless of your gender the core of this dating meltdown is always what you say about yourself. Some drone on and on about something that is of no interest to the other. This is the kiss of death for your first date and the end of your relationship’s hopes and dreams. This is when time slows down and you cannot wait for the escape call that you brilliantly scheduled for 15 minutes in.
The sad thing about this is that you have complete control over what you say about yourself. You can be the charming and delightful Ms. Top of Page or the troll that lives on the second page – it’s all up to you. To be the charming Ms. Top of Page, what you say has to be authentic, warm, and charming. Fail to meet that standard and the Bachelor will return to the judge’s recommendations and date one of the other contestants, also known as your competitor. Follow these golden rules and you will earn the highly coveted second date with the Bachelor.
1. It’s all about Him!
If you want the attention and admiration of the Bachelor, also known as the Prospective Customer, you have to make your content about him, not you! Answer his questions. Don’t talk about your last boyfriend. Talk about his beloved Green Bay Packers, hell, wear a cheesehead and watch the big game, if you have to. He gave you clues to his interests so use that to spark the conversation. Shifting topics is risky so tread lightly, float a test balloon, and have a path back to the prior conversation. Listen carefully and respond authentically with respect and remember that Ms. Top of Page is the search engine listing that is a product of the website and the concern is the quality of the date.
2. Placement Matters
Where you put words matters, a lot. The higher word position within the page hierarchy the higher its value will be in the judge’s scoring. Nobody outside of Google knows the exact weights but all experts agree that word position matters. From highest value position down here are my guesses of the approximate weight of each position.
Meta Description (10)
Anchor text (4)
Enhanced Text (2)
Body Text (1)
If my guesses are close to right then a word in the Page Title is worth 20 times the same word in body text.
3. Prime Real Estate is for Statements not Sentences
The title, meta description, and Headings are prime real estate and it is a sin to waste these positions with non-targeted words. Wasting prime real estate is an epic scale optimization sin. We often consult on pages that have been optimized by self-described professionals, their claim not ours, and find “Home” is still in the title of the home page. The majority of searches at Google are keyword searches and keyword searches are subjects and qualifiers. For example “Plumber” is a subject, “Near Me” is a location qualifier and collectively they are a keyword – Plumber Near Me.If this is your target keyword then it should be in your Title, Meta Description, and Headers. This creates a chain of support for that keyword and the judges will love this. Please note that Near Me becomes a city name based on the searcher’s location.
4. More is Not Better…Better is Better
Some fools think that optimizing is about increasing occurrences of the keywords and their solution is to stuff more words. This is stupid and it will piss off the judges, also known as the Google Algorithm. Stuffing keywords degrades the web experience and there is a penalty for that. Keyword Density is a sweet-spot calculation that shifts from positive to negative as keyword density becomes keyword stuffing. Overdo your keyword density and the judges will send you to the second page and and that is not where you want to be.
5.The more things you are about; the less you are about any of those things
If you try to be everything to everyone, you will be nothing to anyone and you run the risk of upsetting the Bachelor and the judges. The search query is a clue to Bachelor’s interests so talk about that, optimize for that, be the answer for that. Answer the question and listen for the next clue.
6. Eligibility First
Remember What you say about yourself is the foundation of your optimization and you have to first reach eligibility on your targeted words. I cannot tell you how many times I have received an optimization wish list only to find that the landing page contained none of those words. Here is a simple rule:
You cannot optimize a page for a word that is not on the page.
After you reach eligibility then you can start to work on your page score for those words.
Think of your page as being worth a fixed value and keyword density as the way that you distribute that value. The game is to get the maximum value for the most important searches. Your content cannot increase the value Google has assigned to the page but it can include or exclude you from search eligibility.
What others say about you
Just like it the real world what others say about you is way more important than what you say about yourself. The Judges, also known as the Google Algorithm, value what others say about you much more than what you say about yourself and who’s talking matters. For example, if Oprah talks about you and puts a back link on her high authority site. This would create an Oprah Effect and that would be worth more than ten million back-links from mere mortals.
We had a client that got a mention from Oprah once and guess what we saw? It was like watching a rocket launch. The site nearly crashed under the pressure and the client did a ton of business and the effect continued for months. All because one person mentioned the product. Not every influencer is Oprah but all influencers matter.
What others say comes from three major sources:
Social Media Mentions
Back-Links get their value from their source. This is called page rank and you can find the formula details at the Stanford University in a paper titled “The anatomy of a Search Engine” written by, wait for it, Larry Page and Sergey Brin the founders of Google. The core Google formula is in section 2.1.1. And it has not changed much over the years.
For your convenience here it is:
PR(A) = (1-d) + d (PR(T1)/C(T1) + … + PR(Tn)/C(Tn))
PageRanks form a probability distribution over web pages, so the sum of all web pages’ PageRanks will be one.
In simple terms, page rank is the sum of the proportional page ranks of those that point to you.
Let me say this one more time because it’s really important for you to understand:
Page Rank is the sum of the proportional page rank of those that point to you.
An example of this is Bill Gates. He is a global influencer of epic proportion and his page rank is over the moon. Even a small backlink from him would be enough to move SEO mountains. If he pointed to my site and referenced me as a “Google Ads Expert” it would elevate my page to levels that would make me blush. Bill, if you are reading my blog I invite you to test this 😉 This one link would be worth more than a million backlinks from a no name link farm. This is because nobody points to the link farm so it has no authority.
Reviews are a special type of back-link and they carry weight based on the authority of the review site’s reputation. If you do not have a strategy for continually building your online reviews change that NOW. Every time you have a good interaction with a customer ask for a review. Only a small percentage will actually complete a review but I can assure you that if you do not ask then the percent will be zero. If you have a bad customer experience I can assure you that they will write a review. You only get good reviews if you ask or create a customer experience worth talking about.
Social Media Matters
Unless you have been living under a rock for the last 10 years it should be apparent that social media has changed the landscape of the internet. It has created a massive population of influencers of all sizes. They are not all Oprah or Bill Gates but they have their audiences and helping them serve their audience is a great strategy. Assuming there is a logical connection from their topic to your business. A back-link from a personal social media mention is probably not going to move the needle in your business. But small ones can accumulate to an important contribution. So, be there and engage with like-minded audiences and their influencers.
Never, Ever, Never, Try to Trick Google
Unless your programming staff is smarter than theirs. There are very few programming groups that can go one on one with Google’s programming staff. But you would be amazed how many SEO’s think they can. This always ends the same way. Google figures out the trick, programs protection for their sacred algorithm, and then squashes the cockroaches that dared to upset the Google Gods. If you were just an irritant they might just send you to the second page, where websites go to die. If you were especially tricky, they will unceremonious tear you from the index until you beg on bended knee for forgiveness – and yes there is a form for that. Don’t believe these boys and girls are serious? Just ask BMW about cloaking or JC Penney about paid backlinks.
The Google Search Engine Spam Team is the 800 pound gorilla and you better be respectful and careful or it can really get ugly. They are so serious about this that they even gave a penalty to the Google Chrome Team for accidently buying backlinks. All these businesses recovered but it was not pretty. So be respectful and remember that What others say about you is critically important.
The Dating Experience
Ms. Top of Page takes the Bachelor, also known as the Prospective Customer, to the website and the experience delivered influences future dates. I have been married almost 40 years and I can tell you with some authority that lasting relationships take time and treasure to maintain, but they are worth it. If you want to maintain your relationship with the Judges, also known as the Google Algorithm, you have to be keyword optimized while remaining warm, charming, and authentic. The optimization is what earned the Ms. Top of Page listing but its the Bachelor’s experience that keeps it there and creates value for your business. You need to spice it up once in a while and this means refreshing your content, staying current, and relevant to the questions the Bachelor, also known as the Prospective Customer. His interests change over time and you must evolve the relationship or it will decay.
Continue the Conversation
The Bachelor started the process by asking the judges for a Ms. Top of Page and the runner up list. His qualifications, expressed as a keyword search query, is how the Ms. Top of Page contest was scored by the judges. This gives you the foundation of the conversation you need to craft with the Bachelor. This is one of many reasons that you can only optimize a page for a single topic. Without knowing the start its very difficult to properly continue. So listen, think, and care before you respond. Remember topic shifting can upset the conversation and send the Bachelor on a runner up date with your competitor.
Keep it Fresh
The judges, also known as the Google Algorithm, love new, original, well-written, editorial content that satisfies the informational quest of the Bachelor also known as the prospective customer. You have to keep it fresh at a pace that exceeds the runner ups also known as your competitors. Different types of content age differently and this has to be part of your strategy. For example news ages very poorly but historical content just gets better with age. In general fresh content wins, but not always, so be careful out there. Especially, if your page has already earned the coveted Ms. Top of Page slot. Generally speaking it is a bad idea to update a page that has already earned the Ms. Top of Page slot, because all you can do is make things worse.
If you bait – you must not switch
If in the early part of your conversation you make a promise. Make sure that you follow through and deliver the value. If you offer something for free but the page does not have that free item that will create a situation that will not end well for you. If you do this in advertising, Google will disable the ad and support will help you fix the problem. If you do this in organic, they will just throw you out of the results.
Do NOT Pop up
Pop ups and its cousin Pop Unders are rude and it’s the type of rude that the judges can see. Simple rule here is don’t be rude to someone who is 100 times more powerful than you. It’s just a bad plan. Be respectful, be authentic, be interesting and your search engine social life will get better.
Let’s Wrap this Up and put a bow on it
We hope you have enjoyed this story and learned things that will make your web experiences better. In summary you have three simple things to get better at and they are:
What you say about yourself also known as your website content
What others say about you also known as backlinks, reviews, and mentions.
The Dating Experience also known as the website experience.
So that’s it three simple things – enjoy the journey.
Author: Bob Dumouchel
Content Scientist at Systems & Marketing Solutions Inc. Bob has worked with internet data and content since 1994 and as a programmer specializing in sales and marketing systems since 1978. Learn more and connect with Bob at his LinkedIn Profile. or continue your journey with Google Search