The Truth About Google Rankings

upward graphHave you seen websites or blogs with seemingly random words in bold type, such as, “Do you love polar bear keychains? I do.  Here’s where you can buy polar bear keychains.” The words in bold seem to have no particular purpose.  There’s no reason to emphasize them. Is there? Well, there is a purpose, and that’s to try to rank higher in Google.

Rank higher in Google

What they’re doing is trying to catch Google’s attention.  Google’s algorithm “likes” text in larger sizes (such as headlines and subheadings), text in italics, and text in bold.  It uses those signals to tell what’s important about the page and to get a better idea of the subject matter.  People who randomly bold or italicize text are trying to appeal to Google and other search engines so that their pages will rank higher. The repetitive keywords are added in the hope that the post will get a small boost in Google rankings.

Get more attention

Sure, use bold when it makes sense, such as, “There were 500 candidates for the job, and I made the top 5 finalists!”  When  you look at sites with random bolded words, it’s distracting and looks odd. It slows you down (at least it slows me down).  You want them to read, not wonder whether you went nuts with your bold tags.

Robots don’t buy anything

As Sonia Simone put it, “SEO is people.”  I’m all in favor of ranking higher on Google, but not at the expense of human beings. Humans are the ones who will actually read your site (and make a decision about whether to hire you or buy something).  Jonathan Fields ran a test with an article marketing whiz.  She got him on the front page of Google for the keywords she was using.  Great stuff! Except his clicks didn’t change.

What do you think?

Is the bolding OK?  Will we all get used to it? Or is it annoying?  Share your thoughts.

Image by Christian Ferrari

Is SEO the Answer to All Business Marketing?

David Meerman Scott’s post yesterday about SEO and your crap filled site reminded me of a recent conversation I had. A client had just hired a new CEO, who was gung ho about SEO. He’d gotten good results at his previous job and was all excited about applying the same principles at his new company.

Sounds good? Well, it wasn’t. The trouble wasn’t lack of traffic. They had a well-known brand, and lots of visitors to the site. The problem was that the site was huge – hundreds and hundreds of pages. The content was hard to find. It took 8-10 pages to register for an event. You couldn’t use credit cards directly, you had to go through paypal (and leave the company’s site). It was confusing and took too much time.

The problem wasn’t an SEO issue, it was a usability issue. The site needed to be streamlined, updated, and re-tuned for the customer (not the company).

Face toward your customers, not toward yourself.

Danard Vincente