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I'm Number One!


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#1 fisicx

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 08:00 AM

All too often we read about and discuss SEO and and hoping for a result on page 1 of the index. We talk about niche markets and non-competitive keywords and try to come up with new ways to rank well.

Without really trying I've ended up at #1 for a search term that returns over 70 million results. I was quite pleased with myself until I analysed my search logs. Nobody has ever visited the page as the result of a search. A quick wordtracker check and I discover that nobody seems to use these search terms.

Intrigued I investigate further and discover that many of the competing sites are pretty heavy players: microsoft, government sites, universities and so on.

I'm now beginning to realise the importance of good keyword research, it's not the competitiveness of the term, the number of links or how good the content - it's finding out if the search term is actually used.

My eyes are opened (again).

#2 Guest_Autocrat_*

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 08:15 AM

I really do feel for you... :sympathy:...
but I'm trully sorry... that made me cry with laughter!


Of all people, I would have thought someone as logical and thorough as yourself would have checked for usage of terms before optimising, or at least hazarded a guess as to the likely hood of it being a search term.


So... a SEO/M thread with proof that it's not just;
techy code stuff,
good content,
well placed marketing material
or adverts in targeted sectors...
...no, you need to do research and target correctly, otherwise it could all be little more than an excercise.

Still, a damn fine and important lesson.

So, are you gonna tell us what the term was... we could make you feel better and go search for it. :)

[Again, my sympathies]

#3 fisicx

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 09:20 AM

The thing is, I hadn't even thought about optimising this page, it's there as an article just the way I wrote it - I'm not particularly interested in being number 1 for this page.

The keywords are 'Navigation Guidelines'. It's in the page title and H1 only and there are no external links of any great value. When you look at the competition

It's still the second most popular page with a 0 bounce rate so I must be doing something right.

#1 in google.co.uk - 70million results.
#3 in google.com - 8million results.

Most strange. Especially when there is a Microsoft page with these keywords in the title and H1 but is ranks lower down the page.

I think it's all a bit mystical - there are strange forces at work in the Internet universe.

#4 Guest_Autocrat_*

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 10:00 AM

Well, as of this moment, I cannot even get to your site :)

But yes, it appears that you are at the top for those two words.
Looking through G Cache though.... I can see a fair number of usages for Navigation... Guidelines is hardly used.
Additionally, I wouldn't say that it is overly optimised... seems quite natural.

So maybe you hit the correct ratio's bang on... maybe there has been a shift in the algorythms of late, or maybe ther is something I'm missing.


[on a side note... why does everyone seem set against dropdowns... I've never met anyone who disliked them, if they are done properly, and even the accessiblity/usability issues can be overcome, so why do people hate them ???)

#5 bwelford

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 10:41 AM

Re dropdowns, Autocrat. Don't make me think or force me to move my mouse around to find whether there is more 'under' that tag. Then when the dropdown occurs, where exactly do I click. Sometimes it's counter-intuitive.

#6 Ruud

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 11:08 AM

Nobody has ever visited the page as the result of a search


No search at all -- or just not that particular search?

Instead of shifting the keyword focus away from that page I think you might have a wonderful test project on your hands, don't you?

Given one already has a #1 ranking but no or low interest, can interest be generated/raised?

#7 fisicx

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 11:38 AM

Sorry my mistoke (sic). The page has been visited via a number of searches but not for these particular keywords.

Indeed, it is an excellent opportunity to do something, just not quite sure what. Certainly looking at other keyword combinations has kept me amused. 'effective navigation' only returns 10million results as opposed to 70million for 'navigation guidelines' and 5million for 'website navigation guidelines'.

I'm on page 5 for 'effective navigation' but actually get hits from the search engines and zero from the other 2 combinations despite being on page 1.

What's more interesting is some of the other searches:

'most effective position for a navigation bar'

'building a website too many links navigation'

'breadcrumb site navigation bottom'

But back to the project. Need to think a little about how best to generate interest in the page without compromising the #1 slot. Or maybe not worry about being number 1, since nobody enters from that search then do I really care. On the other hand, somebody may write a blog post about 'navigation guidelines' which results in a flurry of searches.

I'm rambling now. Sorry.

#8 yannis

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 11:49 AM

Very well done. Your approach to try and experiment is good and please let us know of the results.

Last month I also had some strange results and queries. I received quite a few visitors from the search term 'webmaster forums' and I definitely do not have a webmaster forum on the website! I had though quite a few pages linking out to posts in webmaster forums.


Yannis

#9 Guest_Autocrat_*

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 11:52 AM

LMAO @

Indeed, it is an excellent opportunity to do something, just not quite sure what.


Well, I enjoyed it, and I'm sure a few link drops would get more than a little interest.
Would also be interesting to see whether it gets searches... do you know how far back your results for the term not being used extend?
It could be one of those phrases that gets used in a quick burst... then naff all for months on end.

#10 Ruud

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 09:30 AM

Well, I enjoyed it, and I'm sure a few link drops would get more than a little interest.


Happy to see you good humored but as advice it sucks :)

#1 for a search term that returns over 70 million results.


OK, that many results indicates a common phrase or a non-specific search. I suspect "navigation guidelines" needs more precision. Are you a sailor? Looking to learn how GPS can help you navigate? Or are you a student doing work on a paper on navigating by the stars?

"website navigation guidelines" is already a lot better.

You say it is one of 2 searches which gives you no hits. But no hits doesn't indicate disinterest. Maybe you're not pitching it effectively enough?

Compare from that SERP:

A List Apart: Articles: Where Am I?
Three simple guidelines for better website navigation. ... Any good global navigation scheme should, at a glance, answer the top three questions every user ...


Guidelines for Effective Website Navigation
How to build an effective navigation system, make sure your links work the way they should, what to avoid and how to keep your visitors happy.


Maybe not only is the the 1st brand more attractive -- maybe the fulfillment promise is more effective too.

So in my mind you have a beautiful spot on a good search. The page doesn't make or break your income. It's *the* time and place to learn, to experiment, to see what words can do.

#11 Guest_Autocrat_*

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 09:45 AM

Happy to see you good humored but as advice it sucks

???

Okay.. so either he can run in and compete with every other Joe Blow by using common attachement terms such as 'Web'... or he can start off by building a few in-links to a pretty nice article.

Now I'm no SE genius, but considering it seems that the priorities lay with strong content and good links... I would have thought going for the links and and buildign a bit of a rep for hte article would have been good?
It's not like SE's are the only way to get interest... it seems more and more people are using recommendatiosn from others... or is that an incorrect assessment?

#12 AbleReach

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 10:02 AM

Well, I enjoyed it, and I'm sure a few link drops would get more than a little interest.

Link drops don't work because people don't like feeling used. People are smart. They recognize manipulation.

A lot of places, this forum included, will delete or moderate out link drops for that reason.

Same thing for spammy comments on blogs.

If you take a look at Ruud's advice above for pitching the search more effectively by writing with an eye to making the fulfillment promise more obvious, the reason something like that works is that it is a good service to the searcher. That kind of marketing that builds trust. Completely different.


So in my mind you have a beautiful spot on a good search. The page doesn't make or break your income. It's *the* time and place to learn, to experiment, to see what words can do.

I *like* your spirit, Ruud. :)

Edited by AbleReach, 11 January 2008 - 10:03 AM.


#13 Ruud

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 10:47 AM

??? Okay.. so either he can run in and compete with every other Joe Blow by using common attachement terms such as 'Web'... or he can start off by building a few in-links to a pretty nice article.


You don't get it. He IS #1 for "navigation guidelines", #5 for "website navigation guidelines", #21 for "effective website navigation", #3 for "guidelines to easy website navigation" (something like 20 referrals in two months).

So, yes, he can run in and "compete" with every other Joe Blow (A List Apart, Oracle, Usability.gov, Microsoft, Wikipedia -- to name a few unknowns). He can because he already does.

And sure, he can build more links to that article to rank even higher -- but obviously ranking isn't the problem.

So it's not that in between laughing (with sympathy, of course) at the issue your advice sucks; it's simply irrelevant :)

The problem is that even though present in the search results, hardly anyone seems to click to it.

At that point you have to step back and wonder "why isn't this snippet of title & description tempting to people?"

I *like* your spirit, Ruud. :infinite-banana:


You make me feel good :infinite-banana:

#14 Guest_Autocrat_*

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 11:23 AM

Okay... I may have used the wrong phrase...

Would...
"supply the article/excrpts of it, or point to it on certain related bloggs/social bookmarking sites"
... have made more sense?
(I forgot link-dropping is the phrase alot of folks use for moronic attempts at placing links on sites.)


And yes, I do get it.

It is simply the point that if he is already doing well, why invest additional time in competing, when he has got that far completely naturally, and without any links?

I was merely suggesting that if he draws/points a little attention to the article/page (through Acceptable means), then it may be a better/more efficient means of increasing SE visiblity/desireability.


I sincerely hope that made sense and didn't use incorrect terms (again :)).

#15 Guest_joedolson_*

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 12:02 PM

And yes, I do get it.

It is simply the point that if he is already doing well, why invest additional time in competing, when he has got that far completely naturally, and without any links?

I was merely suggesting that if he draws/points a little attention to the article/page (through Acceptable means), then it may be a better/more efficient means of increasing SE visiblity/desireability.


I'm not sure you do get it, Autocrat. The point is that he already competes very effectively --- for a search term which isn't used. There's plenty of reason to build attention to the article: but it would have nothing to do with increasing the search engine visibility via that particular search phrase, it would be in order to increase search engine visibility for other search phrases --- perhaps, search phrases which are actually used by people.

The reason I'm saying that I'm not sure you get it, Autocrat, is that I honestly can't always tell exactly what you mean from what you've written. Perhaps this is what you meant --- if so, that's fine! ;)

#16 Guest_Autocrat_*

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 01:24 PM

Ah... that makes a little more sense.

Okay... so I have a question.

How do you decide whzt you are to type in when you do a search?
I ask, as I often find I have to alter the odd word or two to get results that either make sense, that contain less bumph, or that end up being a little mroe refined.
I'm of hte view that without alot of thought, we often end up using words that we see associated with things we have read... would that be a fair statement?

But yes, I apologise for my obvious poor vision and short memory (as I completely ignored the main issue of the topic ;)).

#17 yannis

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 01:29 PM

perhaps, search phrases which are actually used by people


Joe hit the nail on the head. No interest in the phrase no traffic!

It is interesting to view results with strange queries.

Do a search for '0000' 111,000,000 results. I would guess traffic from a query like this +-10 per month. Two conclusions here. Being on No.1 in the SERPS does not mean traffic. No.2 it is impossible to find NO results from google for any query less or equal 4 letters! ;)

As far as link dropping is concerned perhaps if it was phrased '... marketing the content on other websites' would have been taken better.

Yannis

#18 fisicx

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 01:54 PM

Evening all.

Some interesting thoughts and suggestions so here's the summary:

The page seems to meets the visitors needs - average time on the page is over 2 minutes.
The page is the third most popular after the homepage.
Visitors land on this page through a variety of keyphrases and internal navigation.
The keyphrases 'navigation guidelines' and 'effective navigation guidelines' do not appear to generate any traffic.

Since the page description is not part of the indexing algo (according to Matt Cutts), I'm going to make some changes ala Ruud's suggestion and see what happens. 30 days should be sufficient. I shall report back.

Signing off now as we are off to see a Who tribute band and I shall no doubt drink beer and sing along - Talking 'bout my generation!

Edited by fisicx, 11 January 2008 - 01:54 PM.


#19 fisicx

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Posted 25 March 2008 - 03:59 AM

It's been a while since I changed the page description so here are the results.

My #1 position for 'navigation guidelines' hasn't changed and 9% of all the landing page hits end up in the page itself. Here are a selection of some of the search terms used to land on the navigation page:

different website navigations
navigation for complex websites
website navigation bar positions
website menu guidelines
website hover over drop down navigation
site navigation systems
build site navigation guidelines
different website navigation systems
website navigation history code
advantages of text only navigation bar
how to make navigation bar move with page down
different website navigations

As you can see, only one of these actually includes the search term 'navigation guidelines'. So what to make of all this. I have been promoting for years the benefits of effective content, worry less about SEO and more about providing something worthwhile for the visitor.

So while it is nice to be number 1 for a particular set of keywords, the actual stats show that these don't necessarily bring in the visitors. My conclusion therefore is that much of SEO should be about building a site that provides value to your visitors, this in turn gives the search engines better material with which to index and rank a specific page. Of course one needs to put all the fundamentals in place but concentrating too much on a narrow set of keywords can actually adversely affect the range of visitors if those keywords are not what people are searching for.

My conclusion: worry less about specific keywords, instead write informative and interesting pages and let the search engines do their job.

#20 Guest_Autocrat_*

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Posted 25 March 2008 - 04:54 AM

It's "theme" isn't it?

It seems SE's like Google don't juts rate a page anymore... apparently they rate an entire site as well, and specific pages may appear in the SERPs based on the relevance of the specific page and the site attached to it.

I wonder if they have multiple "scores" listed... a whole bunch of numbers for "related" stuff????



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