Those of you with a keen eye for SEO would have noticed that querying the keyword “search engine” in Google provides some surprising results.
(Click to Enlarge)
Dogpile, Bing and Wikipedia all outrank Google for “search engine”, on the basis of Google’s own algorithm! The question is why?
One popular theory is that Google does not want to appear biased towards itself, and has thus given itself a lowly ranking of 4th (out of 418,000,000 results).
In this post, I will be performing a CLAP (Content, Links, Age and Pages) Analysis on both 1st place ranking Dogpile and 4th place ranking Google websites, to see if there are any SEO lessons to be learned:
Looking at the Dogpile site first, the term “search engine” appears once in the meta description and twice in the meta keywords. The term “search” appears in the title tag once, in the meta description and keywords, and also twice in the content on the homepage.
Looking at the Google homepage provides the following results. The term “search engine” appears 0 times anywhere on the Google homepage. The individual term “search” fares a little better, appearing in the body of the homepage 7 times. The following graph shows the actual number of occurrences of the term “search” on both the Dogpile and Google homepages.
|Heading (H1 etc)||0||0|
This shows that Dogpile uses the term “search” more often than Google does. Looking at the CLAP principle, Dogpile is ahead so far.
We now have a look at the links for both sites. Links are an important part of the algorithm and so by closely examining the links to both Dogpile and Google, maybe we can come up with answers.
(The numbers are from OpenSiteExplorer, with Yahoo Site Explorer results in brackets)
|Linking Root Domains||20,567(N/A)||8,058(N/A)|
What do these numbers mean? According to Yahoo Site Explorer, Google has 3 times as many links as Dogpile (which comes as no real surprise), but despite this overwhelming superiority in links, Google still ranks behind Dogpile.
So far Dogpile has won content and Google has won on links. Let’s move to the third element of CLAP.
We do know that young/brand new sites are not as trusted by Google and other search engines as older sites, and are placed in a sandbox until they are trusted enough to enter the main index. On the flip side of the coin, the longer a site has been on the internet the greater its authority.
|Age||13 years 11 months||11 years|
Here we see Dogpile come out as comfortable winners, being online nearly 3 years longer than Google.
To recap before moving into the final round: Dogpile is leading 2-1 having won in Content and Age, and Google taking the honours in a link comparison.
The theory behind Pages being a factor is rather simple. Site A has 10,000,000 pages about a particular subject. Site B has 15. Surely Site A must be a greater authority on the subject given the volume of information it has available.
The number of pages a site has is fairly simple to measure using the site: advanced operator on Google.com.au.
Dogpile comes out on top again. These numbers cannot be taken as gospel but they are a fairly good indicator. And what can we draw from these numbers?
Dogpile comes out on top in Content, Age and Pages but loses out on links to Google. We can assume that Links will definitely help you to reach your ranking targets but without having the content and the pages to back it up you’ll end up getting outranked by someone who has 3 times less links than you do!
Disagree? Have a different idea? Or just want to discuss CLAP? Then leave a comment!