Google search engine optimisation and their eighty / twenty rule by SEO London
Search engine optimisation or optimization (with a ‘z’ or is that ‘zee’ if you are from across ‘the pond’) or SEO as it is often abbreviated, techniques are constantly evolving. This evolution is in response to the evolution of search engines such as Google, Yahoo and MSN. Google in particular has come to be seen as the most sophisticated and advanced search engine as it is armed with an array of anti-spam technology. Google has over 85% of all internet searches through its website, as is the one search engine your website must rank well in.
Google’s increasing use of anti-spam features has meant that optimising websites for Google has become much harder and it’s now not just a case of opening your websites source files in notepad, adding some keywords into your various HTML tags, uploading your files and waiting for the results. In fact in our opinion and I’m sure others will agree with us, this type of optimisation commonly referred to as on-page optimisation will only ever be twenty percent effective at achieving rankings for any keywords which are even mildly competitive. Those of us who aced maths in school will know this leaves us with eighty percent unaccounted for.
This eight percent corresponds to off-page optimisation. Off-page optimisation is all to do with the number of links pointing to your site and its pages, the actual linking text (anchor text) of these links and the quality of the pages which the links are on. Off-page optimisation is now for sure the overwhelmingly dominating factor which decides where a site will rank in Google. That then is what we mean by the eighty / twenty rule, I’m not talking about the “pareto rule” which means that in anything a few percentage points are vital and many are trivial, that does not apply to SEO, as all elements are vital.
What is the logic behind this then, why does Google give so much ‘weight’ to off-page optimisation efforts and so little to on-page optimisation. Well simply put it is all about the quality of their results. Whereas on-page optimisation is completely controlled by the webmaster and can thus be abused by an unscrupulous one, off-page optimisation is something that is not controlled by anyone as such by rather by other webmasters, websites and indeed the Internet in general. This means that it is much harder to conduct any underhanded or spammy off-page optimisation methods in the hope of gaining an unfair advantage for a website in the Google SERPS (Search Engine Result Pages), this does not mean it is impossible though.
Let’s elaborate for a paragraph or two just why off-page elements such as incoming links are deemed by Google to be such a good measure of relevancy, thus making off-page optimisation the most effective method of optimisation by far. Take the anchor text of incoming links, for instance, if Google sees a link from WEBSITE A to WEBSITE B with the actual linking text being the words ‘SEO London’, then WEBSITE B has just become more relevant and thus more likely to appear higher in the rankings when someone searches for ‘SEO London’. WEBSITE B has no control over WEBSITE A (in most cases) and Google knows this. Google can then look at the link text and say to itself, why would WEBSITE A link to WEBSITE B with the specific words ‘SEO London’ if WEBSITE B wasn’t ‘about’ ‘London SEO’, there is no answer so Google must deem WEBSITE B to be ‘about’ ‘SEO London‘.
We state ‘in most cases’ above because often webmasters have multiple sites and would crosslink them with keyword-rich anchor text, but there is only so many sites and crosslinks any webmaster can manage, again Google knows this and so as the number of backlinks and occurrences of keyword-rich anchor text grows (and with that grows the unlikelihood of anything unnatural like cross-linking going on) so too does the relevancy of the site which all the backlinks point to. Imagine hundreds or thousands of sites all linking to a site X with variations of ‘SEO London’ type phrases as the linking text, well then Google can be pretty damn sure that site X is ‘about’ ‘London SEO’ and feel confident about returning it in the top 10 results, which are the 1st-page results and where you want your website to be shown. This is why they place so much importance on off-page ranking factors such as links; they are simply the most reliable way of checking what a site is about and indeed how well it covers what it is about. This reliance on hard to cheat off-page factors is what produces the quality search results we all know, love and use every day.
The moral of the story from an SEO point of view then is to spend less time on those little website tweaks which you think might make a big difference (but won’t) and work hard on what really counts, what really counts is how the web ‘sees’ your website, the more quality (keyword rich) incoming links your website has the better the webs ‘view’ will be and therefore the better Google’s view of your website will be. What Google thinks of your website is very important, as they ‘look after’ and rank higher websites that add value to the internet user.