I was recently asked to look at a site which was having problems with getting translated content to rank. The symptoms were odd - pages appeared in site searches, but could not be found when querying the words on pages directly, even for very specific searches. Searching the same words in a site: search returned the content. This is most commonly a penalty symptom, but I had no reason to suspect a penalty. Despite some technical fixes, the symptoms did not go away.
Keyword density is a phrase that (rightly) sends shudders down the spines of SEOs everywhere - even those who used to use keyword density as a basic way to assess their on-page targeting. So what's wrong with keyword density, and what should you be using instead?
Knowing the number of results returned for a given search query has a number of uses - from keyword analysis to market research and, perhaps most importantly, when looking in depth at how a site is indexed in Google. But unless you have the right tools in your armoury, you may be relying on manual checks. Here's a way to instantly check the result count for up to 50 keywords using only Google Docs.
For the curious, here's what the spreadsheet will output:
Fed up with adding "&pws=0" to your address bar to bypass Google's search personalisations? Sick of your friend's mugshots showing up in Google search results? Then be fed up no more with this handy bookmarklet!
What Google Personal Search does
Based on your search history, Google Plus connections, activity and more, Google re-orders your search results, to place sites you have an association with higher in the rankings. Here's a quick example:
At Thing Towers, we’re all in favour of ranking analysis, particularly when it comes to Google updates and understanding how sites are affected. But Penguin seems to have triggered a lot of speculation about changes that are not based on data at all. Understandably, a lot of people have started analysing rankings, but without using any historical data. Make sure you don’t jump to the wrong conclusions, and if you've cited one of the examples below in connection with Google’s recent updates, it’s time to re-evaluate your data sources.
These days there are a number of providers of search analytics data - that is, historic and ongoing data about keyword rankings and site performance across both paid and organic search. The data is extremely useful when evaluating both your own sites, and looking at competitors.Most of these tools provide an amount of free data, with a subscription plan to "unlock" more complete data.
The SEO world is currently all abuzz with the idea that Google is going to implement "Semantic Search", which will kill/change/revolutionise search optimisation. But is this really going to change what optimisers do?
Google has an advanced search option called "verbatim" that allows you to bypass many of its prediction/expansion features. So, if you want Google to search exactly for the words you enter (i.e. you're a pro searcher!) you can enable the option and get, frankly, better results.
Particularly for lengthier searches, Google's default results can be some distance from what you actually wanted to find. And the verbatim button is about as buried as a Google option could ever be! Here's a quick example:
Best-practice technical SEO is a surprisingly broad discipline, encompassing aspects of web development, server administration and programming and much more. But, done right, it can be one of the most rewarding aspects of search engine optimisation - and is often one of the most overlooked.