Some time ago Rand Fishkin wrote a post on the Google SEO questions he had no definite answers to (strong hunches perhaps, but not answers). At the time I blew past them – I had no answers and more to the point I had no real idea of how to TEST for valid answers.
His questions included stuff like:
If a page is linked to multiple times from a single page do all the links hold the same weight?
How far does synonymy go?
What role does text placement play in weighting?
About two weeks ago Russ Jones of Virante posted some answers. In today’s post I’m going to paraphrase some of the tidbits you might find useful in your daily SEO work (so long as someone doesn’t powerfully refute the testing and results from Russ), and close with a few links to optimization tips I found today.
These tips may sound like common sense, but if read Jones’ post you’ll understand some of the testing effort that went into answering with some authority.
1) Anchor text DOES lose weight if there are multiple links on a page, and interestingly in their tests they found that “orginally, the search engine ignored the subsequent two links. Eventually, all were listed, but they maintained perfect order respective of the order of anchor text on inbound-linking pages.”
2) Removing links hurts ranks – ie, short term bring short term ranking value. I’m going to quote the whole paragraph on how Russ tested this because it’s a dramatic indicator of the power of links: “Take a page, build about 50 links to it, and see what happens as we “pulse” a front-page link from one of our more popular, powerful properties. Like clockwork, Google ranked and unranked the pages. It was quite dramatic. Of course, the interval was slow (we did a 2 week pulse over an 12 week period).”
(note – Russ didn’t answer the question as it was asked and proposed a follow up test)
3) Content at the top of your html matters more: “on one of our major properties we moved the “tags” for the article to the top of the content of the page, rather than the bottom. Rankings skyrocketed.”
4) The higher the link on the page the more value you get from it.
More SEO Tips:
Only one SE looks at ‘Meta Description’ for indexing/ranking
Moving to or Launching a New Domain
dealing with duplicate content
25 Tips To Optimize Your Blog For Readers & Search Engines
Supplemental Listings – How To Avoid Them