This morning I was asked (slightly modified):
I noticed our blogs show up easily and on first pages on Google searches, however our new web site pages hardly show up (except for a few) on first pages. Is that because it’s new and hasn’t been indexed by google yet? I have noticed if I modify a blog, Google searches find the new information within a few days or even overnight.
The Yoast SEO WordPress plugin shows many web site pages are now SEO [search engine optimized] friendly (green light status) yet they don’t show up. I’m just curious if there’s a logical reason my Word Press blogs get quicker Google attention than my SEO web site pages.
Google is very good at picking off certain kinds of search engine “optimizations” and will reduce rankings when it finds them.
When people do searches, Google attempts to differentiate when they are looking for information as opposed to looking for places to buy things. In searches perceived to be for information, pages with the clear purpose of making sales are ranked negatively in order to drastically cut down the number of such pages returned in favor of pages with useful information.
They try to help people find what they are looking for, not help other people sell stuff. When it comes to serving interests, they are steadfastly on the side of the searcher. They want people to like and use their service. As a generality, the more closely you and Google share the same intent, the better your rankings will be.
Blogs which are written as information sources without “salesy” language do well in page listings because they parse as information. Lexicology, which studies word and phrase patterns, is an important part of how they do their rankings. Using lexicology, it’s not hard to differentiate language meant to sell things, language trying to rank well or language meant to convey useful information.
As part of a course I took in artificial intelligence, I did a project to classify textual information into subject, relative content usefulness and reveal biases. It used a lexical database to analyze the documents. I fed it thousands of news and information articles. About 50 people read as many randomly chosen articles as they they were willing to and then answered questions derived from the analysis. That information was fed into a neural network to teach it how to classify articles using the lexical analysis. Later, when I asked the same people to rate results returned, I was able to show statistically that the vast majority of people would agree with the choices returned on searches which included not only subject but also the information value and biases contained in the results. I found it fascinating and a bit startling that it was so easy to do this.
When you type in search terms, then click on results, then click on different results, Google records and uses the information to refine what it returns in subsequent searches. If you ignore the first three pages and click on the fourth page, that page may rank higher when other people do similar searches. But if you come back and click on something else without much time elapsed (meaning you didn’t like what you looked at) then the page is likely to rank lower next time. This information is collected and used in real time and changes constantly. Given the massive volume of pages analyzed and searches done, they are always going to be miles ahead of attempts to manipulate results.
That is just one aspect of how they rank results, but it’s an important one. And it is essentially impervious to manipulation.
There is an entire industry devoted to search engine optimization, almost all of which is naive and worthless. Naive attempts to improve rankings are much more likely to do the exact opposite. The best way to get good rankings is to provide good content, to provide information people look for. At this point common sense should tell you to be very careful how you link into sales pages from information pages. If you are selling products, good product descriptions without overt sales language is probably the best way to do this. For example, in an informational article you might say “for more information ……”.
Other aspects of how they rank pages include how recently added the information is and how active website changes are. The presumption is that an actively changing site is responding to its visitors and that in turn implies attempts to provide useful or interesting information.
I’m not an expert on this subject, but then neither are the vast majority of those who think they are or claim to be. What I do know from watching websites come and go for the last 10 years is that sites which are actively maintained and updated and have high quality content succeed far more often than others. Blog software such as Word Press is a great way to do this because it allows you to concentrate on content rather than getting bogged down in the more technical aspects of web page design.
Most web site designers concentrate on the look and feel. Certainly that’s important to create good first impressions, but its the words that attract visitors and sell things.