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Search Engine Reality

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For almost 15 years the 2Cooleys sites have shown up number 1 under our chosen keywords. In searches for our "less than primary" keywords, we show up in the top three. Additionally we normally have at least 2 more positions in the first page, with more in page 2 and page 3 of the returns. We have positioned this well with not one domain, but with six different domains for 15 years.

When we started in 1995 only Web Crawler, Yahoo!, and Lycos search engines existed. There was no Google. Over the years we fought the search battle in Alta Vista, InfoSeek, GO!, Hotbot, Northern Light, and a long list of others which have come and gone. Most were knocked out by Google.

Everybody and his brother has tried to knock us out of those top spots. What few times we have lost the number 1 spot and become number 2 is when someone was willing to pay a lot of money. We never have had to pay a cent for our top positions. Even then, because of our multiple positions in the ranks, it did not cause any loss of traffic from search.

It would be very difficult for anyone to do better in the search engines than we do. That is why I am qualified to share with you what works and what does not for search positioning. I know how badly all of you want to show up well in the search engines.

Here is a list of what it takes to show up Number One, or close to it, in the Search Engines:

1. Site Popularity
2. Site Popularity
3. Site Popularity

Bottom line here is that if your site is not popular in terms of people visiting, and using your site, nothing else you do is going to matter much at all. I don't care what all of these so-called "experts" have to say. Like Mark Twain said an expert is just somebody from out of town. None of them have positioned themselves in the Twin Lakes search market, using the keywords all of you want to use. Most of what they say is out-dated and all they do is give false hope.

What many "experts" do is go to SEO seminars put on by others, read magazine articles about SEO, visit the real expert's SEO Web sites, and otherwise learn all they can. This is a good start for sure. But until they have actually applied that knowledge in at least 100 different web sites - and succeeded - they are still wanna-bees in my book. And once they have a proven track record they don't work for free.

Here is a list of things that make very little difference in getting to Number One:

1. Domain Name
2. Title
3. Keywords
4. Meta Tagging
5. "Smart" Keywords
6. Special "Positioning" Software
7. Submitting or Registering

Yes, these are helpful, but only if you have a popular site to begin with. If your site is not popular, none of the above will matter. The only time these things matter at all is for the lessor known search engines, and if you are running nose-to-nose with your competition in a battle for the top spot. I explain why below.

Here is a list of things that could very well send you lower in the ranks, all of which I refuse to use:

1. Flash Files
2. Framed Sites
3. Link Farms
4. Web Rings
5. Using The Wrong Reciprocal Links
6. Sending the Spyders Too Deep ( I spell it that way on purpose)
7. Using Too Many Redirects

There are many more "tricks" that just make a mess of your rankings. Many people, in their use of "powerful secrets" just end up getting their ranks lowered because they piss off the search engine operators.

What It Really Takes To Position Well
You do not need to "submit" or "register" your site in the search engines. That is way out of date! These days spiders, or "bots", scan your site and gather data about what is in your site. They do not "look" for any particular keywords. They are passive. They simply "report" on what content is in your site.

They "carry" all of this data back to the main search computer system. They do not rank your site at that point. They do not "score" your keywords. Instead the information they gather is simply added to the main search data base. (In reality the spiders do not actually "come out" and crawl around the Web.)

When someone uses your chosen keywords in the search engine, as soon as they press the enter button, a data retrieval process begins at the search data center. Sites matching the keywords are ordered, and a list is made. This is the stage where all of the titles, keywords, meta tags, and so forth help in the order. But this is only one part of a two part process.

The second part is the retrieved list is then arranged in order of site popularity, NOT by who has been the most clever with their H1 tags and all the other over-rated whooy promoted by the wanna-bees. In this stage keywords, title, etc. have zero value. To determine which of the sites in the list are the most popular a whole new data set is used.

For example, the powerful data base at Google contains far more information about your site than just what keyword matches were found. A great deal of "use data" is used to order popularity.

Popularity data is how many people visited your site in the last 30 days, how long did they stay in your site, did they just click in and then click back out, or did they stay in site for a few minutes. How many other popular sites are linked to your site, and how many people visited those sites that also visited your site. The list goes on from there, and it is much more extensive than keywords, meta tags, titles, and all that other stuff that is supposed to be search engine magic.

The bottom line is for your site to show up in the top 5 positions, or the top 3 positions, or even on the first page, it must be one of the top 10 most popular sites. Nothing is going to change that! Anyone who tells you otherwise is definitely not an "expert".

TO REVIEW: Meta tags, titles, keywords, and all this other simple stuff only allows you to enter the race. As with the Indy 500, all racers must first prove they can run the track at top speeds. If they can't they can't race. But just because they qualify does NOT mean they will win the race. In fact, many cars that win the pole position (first place) do NOT win the race.

To win the race after you qualify means you have to be the best driver, have the best pit crew, have the best car, and have good old luck on your side. Indy usually runs about 30 cars - just like you need to be in the top 30 returns. To get into the top 10 car positions, you have to be damn good. It costs a lot of money. It takes a lot of time. The competition is so fierce that this level that the top drivers frequently lap the guys in last place.

In the end the race is won by only a few one-hundredths of a second. Few ever win by a car length or more. So if you want to be Number One, you'd better be damn serious. It is not a battle for the weak, and you are NOT going to be a top driver by attending beginner seminars and letting the wanna-bees teach you to drive.

How To Become Popular
The average small Mom & Pop operation is not going to have a popular Web site. That is the truth you must face. When it comes to site popularity you will not compete with 2Cooleys, OMR, Arkansas. com, and a long list of other sites having more traffic than what any Mom & Pop site will ever have. And it is not necessary for you to do so.

However, you can show up in the second or third page. Even there you will have a great deal of competition from your local competition. When two sites are running neck-and-neck in the keyword game, the more popular of the two sites will win out. If your site is a popular site, you won't need all the other stuff.

What the experts don't tell you is that if you want to win the popularity contest, and if you are a Mom & Pop operation, you will have to do things you don't want to do. Your site will need to be designed more for the spiders than for real people. This is why our sites look the way they do. We design for search, not for people. Funny thing is most people using our sites don't care.

If you really really want to pursue the search game, give me a call. I'll get you ahead of your competition. You will not show up number 1, or number 2, or number 3, but you will show up ahead of your competition - without paid search. My minimum fee is $1,000, and is just the starting point. See! I told you it would not be worth your while!

Written August 2008 by Gary Cooley