If you are new to SEO you are most likely chasing your tail in circles, given
the huge amounts of good and (mostly) bad information on the subject.
For the most part, it is wise to ignore building links. Google has too many
traps in place to make it worthwhile.
Even if you circumvent the traps, most link building has been depreciated to the
point where results are immeasurable.
Instead of trying to figure out what Google wants, let's look at
what people are looking for when they go to a page, and how they
evaluate the content.
What Google wants will fall into line.
After a search, the first thing they see is the search results, Title, Description, and URL
all play a part.
Make sure your primary keyword phrase is in all three.
On page content now assumes a high proportion of importance.
In 2010 Google started to switch from assigning links a high value
in deciding SERPs and this is reflected in today's scoring.
If we go back to the the original Google thesis it was divided into
2 main categories, link recommendations and text evaluation.
The following is an excerpt from Google's design paper, "Backrub"
2.3 Other Features
Aside from PageRank and the use of anchor text, Google
has several other features.
has location information for all hits and so it makes
extensive use of proximity in search.
Second, Google keeps track of some visual presentation
details such as font size of words.
Words in a larger or bolder font are weighted higher
than other words.
Third, full raw HTML of pages is available in a
|So, now we know what Google wants in regards to a
general over all concept.
All we have to do is apply this using user generated metrics.
To do this we need to find out how users interact on websites.
A top source of information on (UX), or user interactions is
available from the Nielsen Norman Group, (formerly know as "UseIt.com).
An "Evidence-Based User Experience Research" company.
Since 1998 Nielsen Norman Group has been a leading voice
user experience field: conducting groundbreaking
research, evaluating interfaces of all shapes and sizes,
and guiding critical design decisions to improve the
clients rely on us to help their websites,
applications, intranets, and products realize their full
potential for both businesses and their users."
|One of the main things the NNGroup has shown us is how a
user reads a webpage.
This resulted in eye tracking studies showing us the "Golden
Triangle" as readers use an "F" pattern.
Obviously, users' scan patterns are not always comprised of
exactly three parts. Sometimes users will read across a
third part of the content, making the pattern look more like
an E than an F. Other times they'll only read across once,
making the pattern look like an inverted L (with the
crossbar at the top). Generally, however, reading patterns
roughly resemble an F, though the distance between the top
and lower bar varies, as the nngroup.com studies show..
(Click for fullsize)
Heatmaps from user eyetracking studies of three
websites. The areas where users looked the most are colored
red; the yellow areas indicate fewer views, followed by the
least-viewed blue areas. Gray areas didn't attract any
The above heatmaps show how users read three different types
of Web pages:
an article in the
"about us" section of a corporate website (far
product page on an e-commerce site (center), and
a search engine results page (SERP; far right).
|Now we need to turn to the page
elements that attract the attention of visitors.
"Most of our eyetracking findings on Web advertising present no
ethical dilemmas. For example, we know that there are 3 design
elements that are most effective at attracting eyeballs:"
- Plain text
- Cleavage and other "private" body parts
On the flip side is "Banner Blindness".
never look at anything that looks like an advertisement, whether
or not it's actually an ad.
|NNG's studies show that users don't fixate on ads.
The following heatmaps show three examples that cover a
user engagement with the content: quick scanning,
partial reading, and thorough
Scanning is more common than reading, but users will
sometimes dig into an article if they really care about it.
Heatmaps from eyetracking studies: The areas where users
looked the most are colored red; the
yellow areas indicate fewer views, followed
by the least-viewed blue areas.
Gray areas didn't attract any fixations.
Green boxes were drawn on top of the images
after the study to highlight the advertisements.
At all levels of user engagement, the finding is the same
regarding banners (outlined with green boxes in the above
illustration): almost no fixations within
advertisements. If users are looking for a quick
fact, they want to get done and aren't diverted by banners;
and if users are engrossed in a story, they're not going to
look away from the content.
The heatmaps also show how users don't fixate
within design elements that resemble ads, even if
they aren't ads (and thus aren't shown within green boxes
So we know where they look and what they look at.
Google's algos are a machine trying to "read" and "think" like a human.
If a human does it, the "AI" is going to try to emulate it.
A search engine cannot distinguish the visual positioning as would a human,
instead it uses page structure components.
The header is the first place people look, and the 3rd place to get your message
3rd place because before people even see your page they see the URL and
The first place they look is in the header and they ignore your logo, or images
and head straight for the text.
Because this "first seen text" has to satisfy the visitors search
relevance factor, it should be short, contain your primary keywords, and in the
largest text on the page, (h1).
"Short" because this is the main factor in a user determined relevance factor,
as postulated by Sperber and Wilson in their "Relevance
Sperber and Wilsonís theory posits the notion of manifestness,
which is when something is grasped either consciously or unconsciously
by a person.
They further note that it will be manifest to people who are engaged in
inferential communication that each other have the notion of
relevance in their minds. This will cause each person engaged in
the interaction to arrive at the presumption of relevance,
which is the notion that (a) implicit messages are relevant enough to
be worth bothering to process, and (b) the speaker will be as
economical as they possibly can be in communicating it. (ED:
Shorter is Better)