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SEO, the Algorithm, and the Wine Industry

Wine businesses need to be aware of how Google ranks web pages. Google uses an algorithm that has hundreds of factors, however it is ‘external links’ that businesses need to most aware of (the next video will be on Facebook).

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SEO, the algorithm, and wine businesses

Transcript

Hi WineMarketingPros, I’m Bruce McGechan and this is Whiteboard Winesday. Today we’re going to talk about Search Engine Optimization, a little bit like we talked about it in the overview section, but this time we going to talk about the algorithm. In particular, how it affects the rankings of the search engine results listing page.

The objective here is to get more traffic, though remember from the last video, the higher you are in the rankings in that search engine results listing page, the more traffic you’ll get, because you’ll be clicked on more often. Number one got, gosh, was it 18% of the clicks on that page versus, I think it was less than 1% if you were position 10.

This algorithm has been researched to death by someone called MOZ. They used to be called SEOmoz, moz.com. By the way, they do something similar, I got this idea from their Whiteboard Friday, very good idea. Check out Rand Fishkin on Whiteboard Friday.

All of their research has shown that the algorithm kind of looks like this pie chart. In that, the bigger the component in the pie chart, the more important that component is. On this pie chart over here we’ve got ‘Trust’… we’ve got ‘Page Links’… ‘Anchor Text’… ‘On Page’… a whole bunch of other things including, ‘Social’. Let’s go through each of those components, one by one.

In the case of Trust, what we are referring to there is Google’s trusted seed set of websites. In particular, what I mean by that is that Google starts searching the web, they kind of plant their robot right in the middle of a trusted set of websites which are to do with university websites, governmental websites, there are some corporations that go in there as well.

What they’ve seen through their own research, Google’s research, is that the further a website is away from those trusted set of websites, trusted seed set of websites, the less trusted it can be, because there is likely to be more spam.

What I mean by that is best described by this diagram here. So here’s your trusted set of websites. One hyperlink away from those is another set of websites, and they’ve got virtually no spam, that’s good. One more link away from those trusted set of websites, so we’re now two links away, two hops away, is a set of websites that are still pretty good, but they’ve seen that about 4% of those webpages are spam. A third hop, so we are now into our fourth set of websites here, have about 14% of those webpages are spam, that’s no good. So what Google’s found is that the closer you are to that trusted set of websites, the more likely they are going to trust your website itself. So that’s the first component of that algorithm; Trust.

The second component is Page Links. This is all about specific webpages. The previous one was about webpages and the whole of the website, it’s called domains. What we’re talking about here is that for your particular webpage, how many other external webpages point to it, link to it. Now, if those webpages are all highly ranked, with high domain authority webpages, that’s fantastic, that’s really good. Google will be going “Fantastic, we’ve got some great websites there that trust this webpage well enough to link to it.” What’s almost as good is having a relatively large number of moderately high authority, moderately well ranked webpages that link to your webpage. Google goes “Yeah, that’s good too.”

What’s not so good, frankly is not very good at all, is to have a large number of webpages that aren’t very highly ranked at all (linking to your webpage), and you see a lot of this. You see some dubious SEO agencies saying “We’ll get you 1000 links.” But if the thousand links are with webpages that are no good, that’s no good to you either. So, you want a few of the highly ranked ones, quite a few of the moderately ranked ones, and who cares about the rest of them, they don’t matter so much. So that’s Page Links.

Next, let’s talk about Anchor Text. Anchor text as you probably know, if you see a sentence in a webpage with blue and underlined text, the hyperlink, or the anchor text, is that blue and underlined text. What I’ve written here is, “Napa Valley Merlot from XYZ vineyard.” So that’s your Anchor Text.

In the next video we’ll probably talk about Keyword Phrases. And what Google is looking for is a keyword phrase that the user is searching for that has something that’s similar to those keywords here. In other words, an external webpage has got this anchor text on it that’s linking to your webpage, which has a really good keyword rich Anchor Text, that makes sense for you. In this case a Napa Valley vineyard that made Merlot, would love that. So that’s Anchor Text.

The next component in this algorithm… Oh, and it’s not just Anchor Text by the way, nowadays it’s Anchor Text and surrounding text, so ‘vineyard’ is not a bad word for a wine industry website to have surrounding that Anchor Text.

The fourth thing that we want to look at is On Page stuff. Now you get a lot of web designers, web developers, saying “Hey, our webpages are SEO optimized” and what they mean by that is that there are components on that webpage that, if done correctly, will help you out with your Search Engine Optimization. However, as you can see it’s only one component of a much larger algorithm. And what drives is SEO, nowadays at least, is mainly external links. So, just a word of warning there.

In particular, the On Page stuff that really matters is a Title Tag, the URL (that website address) and something called a Meta-Description. All these things you’ll set in the back-end of your website. You won’t really see them in the front-end, especially not on the webpage itself.

The Title Tag, you’ll see if you go to the Firefox, if you use Firefox browser, and you look up at the top bar you’ll see your Title Tag there. You’ll also see it in the top of the tab of Firefox as well. Chrome is not so good, and I can’t remember what Safari is like, I think it’s okay. So that’s the keyword that Google will be looking for.

The next thing that Google will be looking for is the website address, and they’ll be looking for keywords, important keywords, in your website address as well. You can probably fix that in the back-end, I imagine. Talk to your web developer.

The third thing is the Meta-Description. The Meta-Description is really quite important because if you look on a search engine results page, which is what this is, (excuse my poor writing and my poor art) in the webpage, in each listing, you’ll see a top blue part which is actually the Title Tag, a green website address which is the URL, and the third part is two black lines which is probably your Meta-Description. That’s why that Meta-Description is really quite important. Because if you write that well enough, then that’s also going to drive people to click on your listing, versus the other ones. So that’s Meta-Description. There are other things you can talk about with On Page, but those are the most important parts.

Now, over here I’ve eluded to other things being important. I talked about webpage speed, the amount of traffic that goes into your website, and a whole bunch of other things. But something that we’re seeing more and more, and I expect MOZ to come out with their latest research report, which will show that social signals are even more important than they were a year or two back when they last did the research.

‘Social Signals’ means the number of Facebook shares, Facebook comments perhaps, the number of Twitter shares (re-tweets) and especially the number of Google+ shares or +1s that your webpage has, or your website has. This is becoming really important. We’re seeing here an intersection between SEO and Social Media that is making SEO important in so many ways, and Social Media important for SEO in so many ways. So that’s the algorithm, remember the better you do, especially links, the better you’re going to do in rankings which means you’re going to get more traffic.
If you’ve got any questions please go to the WineMarketingPros forum.

And that’s us for today. Sayonara.

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