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Newsletter Archives : : issue 7 • table of contents : : In search of the Holy Google

This issue is sponsored
by bubble gum.
In search of the Holy Google

When Google emerged as the search engine powerhouse a few years ago, a high results ranking for web site owners became the holy grail of internet marketing. For most, it’s a wistful notion though totally perplexing. You understand the value of a high ranking but don’t know how to achieve it.

Let’s back up a minute; before you can understand Google, you have to understand how to use this wonderful tool called a web site.

Most businesses rushed out, hired a web designer, and were very pleased with themselves just to post a brochure on line. What then? It was helpful to customers and prospects who already knew the business. They could search on the company name and usually find the brochure. And what about people who didn’t already know the business but wanted the products or services it provided? A Google search on “widgets” returns literally hundreds of thousands or even millions of results. If your widget isn’t in the top 20, the first two pages of search results, what then? Back to wishful thinking.

Google first rose to prominence when it set out to produce the most appropriate, quality search results in the shortest amount of time. As its database grew, Google developed free and paid tools, which continually raised its position as a valuable place to advertise. Based upon Google’s ranking method of evaluating META tags, a cottage industry sprang up promising high rankings by manipulating them. Returned results didn’t always bring up quality sites. A loud outcry greeted Google's new method when complicated math removed the subjectivity, thus the META tag manipulations and the manipulators. But the pursuit goes on because cracking the code mean dollars.

Google’s new method still uses the keywords that made META tags famous, but in a different way, plus site traffic and links to rank sites. Its keyword search has spawn another cottage industry, the gold rush in generic domain names. For instance, the Acme Widget Co., whose site is, sells blue and red widgets. If Acme also buys the domain names and, visitor who don’t know Acme will still find them high in Google’s ranking by searching for blue widgets or red widgets. A tantalizing bonus for buying appropriate generic names is it prevents your competitors from owning them.

Another key factor in achieving a high ranking are links to your site. In the early days, webmasters promoted complementing products and services by posting a link to them. Google sees the value of these reciprocal exchanges as an enormously beneficial filter, since sites control their own links and aren’t likely to recommend poor products or services to visitors.

The value of building your own link relationships becomes clear when you ask Google how to improve your site ranking. It will tell you to increase the number of high-quality sites that link to you.