post about the SEO experiment, you know that I have been thinking about search engine optimization, traffic and backlinks a lot recently and have come up with a few theories regarding these topics. I am not sure if they are correct, but my thoughts make sense to me and seek to logically explain some of my own experiences and observations.
First of all, if I am running a search engine, my goal is to deliver relevant pages so that people will find what they are looking for and click away from my page. At the same time, I want them to find my search results valuable so they continue to use my search engine when they next need to find something. Having repeat users allows me to create a business model based upon advertising.
So, how do I decide what pages are relevant to an individual search? I can use computers to look at the content of each page and try to evaluate the context of that page based upon the words and composition of language. I can also use the results of past users' searches to determine if they found a particular page helpful based upon their actions when they initiated that search.
Essentially, what I am saying is that Google will place some recently indexed material fairly high in the search results and see what sticks. If the site is enticing to users, then the site will see a reasonable amount of traffic. The site will continue to appear high in the SERPs and as long as users keep responding positively, then a positive feedback loop is established until something more enticing or relevant comes along.
This traffic theory helps explain why I will see PR0 sites along with PR5 on the first page search results. It helps me understand why, despite my ineptitude at backlinking, some of my articles will still rank fairly high and others will be nowhere to be found. This also explains the development of authority sites that consistently rank high based upon readership and traffic levels giving them an inherent advantage in the SERPs.
By thinking of it in this way, I need to determine what will drive a self-sustaining level of traffic to each individual article. Maybe the article needs a better title that will capture attention or a better summary that will encourage readers to click on the result. Maybe I do need to create more backlinks in order to advertise the article to more potential readers so as to obtain the traffic that will start a virtuous circle. For those articles on page 1 already, maybe very little will help enhance traffic, and I should focus my efforts on some of my other sites.
Unfortunately, this means that I might have to put a little bit of thought into what each article needs in order to maximize its potential. Blindly posting backlinks may not be all it takes or it may be exactly what is required. But it at least gives me an idea about the effectiveness of what I am doing if I can compare the traffic results of certain changes or efforts. I know that I had one Hub that was getting no traffic at all. I made a simple change to the title and now that same article has seen 10 times the level of traffic as before.
I know that many SEO experts will castigate this post but I think that my theories allow me to understand that which is mysterious to many people. You can't tell me that Google result #2 is any more relevant to a search than result #32. But the decision regarding the order has to be made somehow, and I suspect that traffic and the silent votes of actual users plays a big role.
What are your thoughts on this topic? Am I way off base? I appreciate any and all comments especially since I am willing to learn.
Photo credit: LosHawlos
2 weeks ago