Concentrated power has always been the enemy of liberty – Ronald Reagan
It never ceases to amaze me how Google has become such an integral part of our lives. Search has evolved in such colossal proportions and especially with the advent of Google instant my belief that Google can actually read my mind has only been fortified. Search Marketers around the world are always on their Toes and as Google states “Don’t try to follow our algorithm but try to think about the direction in which we are heading, build content for the users and not the search engines”. I sometimes wonder if Google was actually a person he would be an amazing election candidate.
But then again the high and mighty also have their share of secrets, secrets that should never come up, what I am about to reveal can be touted as one of the many chapters of the Da Vinci of Google.
Disclaimer – I am NOT one of those ANTI Google Freaks. As part of my research I came across this unique search result which I thought should be shared with the entire SEO community. I am also not claiming that the website is involved in any black hat SEO techniques. Over the years the link profile of this website has evolved in such a way that the website has been ranking despite going against some of the most conventional SEO rules.
Having made my point very clear let’s get started. Make a search for “something” and check the result that is ranking at #1.
It looks like a normal search result and at first glance everything seems just fine, but this search result is going to break (or possibly make) some of the biggest SEO myths.
Before we dig into this website, let’s have a look at the statistics of the search term “something” –
One would wonder, why the hell would someone search for something like well… “something”. The answer is simple, English is a funny language and there are millions of people who are trying to learn this language and would probably want to know the meaning of the word “something”. There might also be a case where people are searching for Beatles song “something”, in simple words there can be “n” number of reasons why people search for such a term. Also it’s needless to say that “something” happens to be a very competitive keyword with very high search volume even in exact match.
As soon as I saw this website ranking, I decided to do an analysis of this website and identify what is really working for this website, also the fact that it is ranking above the almighty WIKIPEDIA all the more increased my anxiety. As I dug more and more into the data I realized that this website was somehow able to defy all SEO laws and believe it or not FOOL Google. Yup you heard me right fool Google. One by one I will be enlisting those laws and then highlight how the website was doing the exact opposite of what ideally should be done.
Law 1 – (Relevant) Content Is King
If content is “King” then the kingdom which this content is ruling will definitely die in poverty. It is a well-known fact that relevant content plays a very important role as far as rankings are concerned. The website under consideration has exactly one instance of “something” and nothing else. Surely this does not qualify as good content.
Forget good content, I am pretty sure that this content cannot be classified as relevant content as well.
On a lighter note I believe spammers will love this version of Google’s relevant content
Law 2 – The URL Should Be Optimized
There has been a lot of debate on this topic where clearly there are two stands. Some experts believe that including keywords in the URL does help whereas others believe that relevant content and a good back link profile should outdo the advantage that websites with exact match domain have.
Nevertheless in our case, apparently the exact match domain is helping the website.
Hmmm “something” to think about.
Law 3 – The Website Should Be Spider Friendly
I will definitely not argue with the fact that this website is spider friendly, perhaps too friendly?
I had my initial doubts whether the website was into cloaking where content was written only for the search engine spiders. Alas I was so disappointed. Not only are they not doing cloaking but they actually have nothing in the source code.
Except the search engine spiders everyone is disappointed.
Law 4 – The SEO Elements Like Titles, Metas Etc Should Be Well Optimized
This is probably the first chapter in every SEO book out there. The role of on page SEO elements like Page Title, Header tags, Alt tags etc cannot be stressed enough.
However, except the Page Title the website does not have any of the above mentioned elements.
Again “something” to think about.
Law 5 – The Website Should Have A Good Back Link Profile
Analyzing the backlinks data for this website was like opening a Pandora’s Box. It was like being amidst corrupt officials of a Government who took pride in the fact that they were the ruling party despite their horrible background and one could do nothing about it. Sad but true story.
For the sake of simplicity and to have a broader perspective I classified the backlinks into various categories and then segmented them further so that one can view the bigger picture. I classified them on the basis of Page Rank (Google Tool Bar), Type of links, Website Category and Linking URL Status
External Link Analysis