Google and the mystery of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
January 23, 2007
Google is weird and funny at the same time.
For a long time now, webmasters have accepted the fact that Google's search engine logarithms are so well-guarded no one can exactly figure out how or where a site can land in Google's SERP (search engine results page). There are explanations and hunches everywhere, but no one is sure if it's really about PageRank, site traffic, inbound links, or something else.
For one, it is weird that PinoyMoneyTalk.com (PMT) ranks 9th in the Google.com SERP for the keyword sex pinoys (results differ depending on the Google server you are using; in Google.com.ph, the site ranks 14th).
PMT is definitely not an authority in the subject, although an article was previously published about more Pinoys looking for sex than money — in Google search. Still, that's just one article among several hundred investing- and money-related articles in the site, and it wasn't even as explicit as the title suggests.
Pugad.com, search result #15, deserves to be in that position more especially since they stuffed their pages with keywords such as "sex, filipina nude, filipina sex, pinoy joke, nude filipina, philippine girl, philippine sex, philippine chat" — which, by the way, is a direct violation of Google's Webmaster Guidelines, so expect this site to be banned in Google anytime soon.
I am also ready to yield the slot to search result #16, Tigasin.com. Judging by its domain name, there is no doubt the site is more relevant to the "sex pinoys" keyword than PMT.
One funny thing about this Google brouhaha is that PMT sometimes ranks higher in the SERP ranking than the actual source of the articles. Case in point, the article SEC's list of mutual funds in the Philippines was originally culled from a pdf file in the Sec.gov.ph site.
Surprisingly, Googling the keywords mutual funds philippines list or list of mutual funds in the philippines would show a #1-2 ranking for the PMT article while the original SEC link does not appear in the next 100 search results or so. Why is that? I'm not sure, but I think it's got to do with the fact that the word "list" is nowhere to be found in the SEC pdf file. So even if it's the most reliable list for mutual funds in the Philippines, Google skipped it.
And we thought Google's algorithms are all for search relevancy and authority. Hmm…
Now, the funnier part. This — "building wealth should not just mean building up cash reserves in the bank" — is a line from the article Don't just save money, save it wisely! published in PMT on October 26 last year. This was a reprint of the original Philippine Daily Inquirer article published on the same date.
But if you search for that phrase in Google (try it here), copycat PMT article is ranked 1st while the original article is 2nd.
Ahh, that is the mystery of Google and search engine optimization. I'm no master at SEO, so I'll leave that for the Ituloy AngSulong guys to solve.