Our Accidental Top Page Rank in Google And How Little Difference It Makes (So Far)
by: Angelique van Engelen
Case study into keywords reveals how a firm of Amsterdam-based copywriters achieved PR-3 listing in Google
This a shameless marketing article but we’re hard faced enough to take on the odds you’re going to read it A-Z. It is the story of how we ended up in the top echelons of major search engines, a goal everybody wishes to achieve, so we’re surely forgiven for sharing it with you AND in whatever selfobsessed promotional style we choose.
And as we’ll reveal later, it’s likely the most sturdy promotion we’ll ever make on the basis of the baffling page rank in the foreseeable future.
The website in question is www.contentClix.com. Ours. We -the five of us- live together in a big, crooked house overlooking the lovely canals in Amsterdam and when we don´t play table tennis, we write long, short, medium and stupendously superfluous copy for a variety of international websites who generally are on the lookout for content that´s crisp and freshly European.
Short sentences for instructional copy. Long ones that everyone can still get their head around by the time the last i has been dotted for sales.
We ourselves did not set out to reach top rankings in any overly organised way. That’s why we had so much fun doing the research into the issue. And we’ve become totally addicted to finding out what are the best tools out there to really go about achieving effectiveness.
To be entirely clear, the contentclix web presence is nothing more than ten pages, with a total of 19 incoming links as of today. We have not purchased expensive keywords nor did we advertise ourselves anywhere or use any seo gimmickry.
So here we go, this is our report of our post-search engine listing internal inquiry into our mysterious jackpot hit. ContentClix has a list of 22 keywords. (ContentClix, content clix, clix, content clicks, clicks, writing, website content, copywriting, ghostwriting, copywriter, ghostwriter, advertising copywriter, creative labs, creative writing, story writing, editorial, editing services, journalism, reporting, freelance writer, freelance writing, writing resources).
We chose these keywords initially because we feel they describe our business accurately and we think that these are the words that spring to mind first when you are looking to find a bunch of copywriters like us. We included our name because somebody said we had to.
ContentClix is a bland name. On purpose, because we believe that having a posh name is stupid, an overly arty one pretentious. After weeks of not being able to decide, one early Monday morning following a frantic work weekend because we´d missed deadline after deadline for a big account, all five of us agreed that having a practical, functional name would remind us to put in some work hours while we are here.
(We were going to be named 038 at first but it appears to be a number quite well known in chemistry, referring to a mineral known as ´strontium´ which in this country´s language is like ´shittium´ in English so that was a no no, mostly regretted by our office molecule clixy who is responsible for our blog, the url we´ll advertise soon enough.)
How did we find out where we actually ranked in the search engines? We ran a search on a tool that’s most widely used by professional seo’s to check backlinks to websites. It’s called www.marketleap.com. A very appropriate name for the venture, because it made us literally leap.
Another site offers free google page rank checks and probability checks of your site. This is what it said about us: “Results: Your current Google PageRank is 3. Based on our calculations, we predict your future PageRank after the next Google update will be 3, an increase of 2.63%”. That was enough for us to be totally intrigues as to how things actually work in reality with the search engines. Call us dopey, but our expertise lies in writing sales texts, not search engines.
Using a trial version of the keyword specialist boyz at www.wordtracker.com, we set out on our quest to see what’s so special about them. Wordtracker uses the parallel browsers dogpile and metacrawler to simulate queries that people run on the largest search engines.
Each time a user types in any of the keywords, a spider of the real life engines will be actively looking for the terms and somehow this signal is picked up by the metacrawlers too and counted by wordtracker software. It has a database with around 368 million searches from the last 60 days. These are some of the combinations of the keywords and the rankings they yield.
In quick succession, we ran these 10 arbitrary tests:
1) Entering the first half of the string of words into the search box:
ContentClix, content clix, content clicks, clicks, writing, website content, copywriting, ghostwriting, copywriter, ghostwriter, advertising copy
Yieldedthisresult:->Page 1 in Lycos, Hotbot and Alta Vista!
2) Since not many people will have heard of us it’s not likely they will be typing in our name in the search engines, so we took out our name from the list: content clix, content clicks, clicks, writing, website content, copywriting, ghostwriting, copywriter, ghostwriter, advertising copy
Result:->Page 1 listings on All the web and Yahoo.
3) We get the hang of it and reduce the words one by one from then onwards yields this, even more surprising
content clicks, clicks, writing, website content, copywriting, ghostwriting, copywriter, ghostwriter, advertising copy
Result:-> All the web, Alta vista, Hotbot, Lycos
4) We are starting not to believe our eyes here. Cutting out my what we thought to be the most vital words (content and clicks within comma’s) keywords:
clicks, writing, website content, copywriting, ghostwriting, copywriter, ghostwriter, advertising copy,
delivers these astounding results: -> Page one rankings on: All the Web, AltaVista, HotBot, Lycos Pro
5) The bonanza goes on:
writing, website content, copywriting, ghostwriting, copywriter, ghostwriter, advertising copy
Results -> Page 2 Altavista, Hotbot and Lycos.
6) We keep taking out the keywords:
website content, copywriting, ghostwriting, copywriter, ghostwriter, advertising copy
Result -> Page 3 all the web Alta Vista, Hotbot, Lycos and Yahoo
7) Omitting ‘ghostwriter’ is the death blow, in the end. This string of words delivers a no ranking in any of the search engines’ top three pages:
website content, copywriting, ghostwriting, copywriter
Result -> no pr.
8) Adding the ghostwriter again:
website content, copywriting, ghostwriting, ghostwriter
Result -> a page three listing on AltaVista.
9) But when we take out the ghostwriter and ghostwriting and leave in most of our keywords, we are still very much loved by hotbot and Lycos Pro,
clicks, writing, website content, copywriting, copywriter, advertising copy
Result -> Page 3 ranking Hotbot and Lycos.
10) Let’s put them on a weightloss diet. Not a good idea:
website content, copywriting, copywriter, advertising copy
Result -> no pr
11) So what happens if we enter the two hottest keywords just by themselves? Ghostwriter and ghostwriting
We can’t expect people looking for us to be typing in more than two, at the most three keywords. Adding one simple word to the combination does not alter anything. Website, ghostwriting, ghostwriter yields zero results.
But exchanging website for website content lands us pages 3 again in HotBot and Lycos.
Content copywriter, ghostwriter, also zero returns. And Content writing, copywriting, ghost writing is also not giving us a PR.
So here we go, we now have some idea of where future web traffic and web clients are going to come from. Or at least so we think. Now what can we realistically expect from our wonderful page ranks? We are a copywriting business and ideally want to be seen by the advertising agencies that outsource writing to small freelance guys like us. So let´s hunt those down.
They are the competition. Let’s analyse them some more. It turns out soon that we need to do better to maintain the levels of euphoria that are filling the office to the brim. Marketleap shows us people in advertising with as many links as we have and that are also grouped in the category advertising and marketing. Too bad, our nearest competitor is a site named www.trendcreators.com, which does marketing research surveys and its link number is twice as high as ours. It’s time to talk some more sense.
So we go back to the keyword analysis tool at keywordtracker and this is where reality hits home and we begin to understand the bigger picture some more. Running each word through the analyser (and actually completing a preliminary competitive analysis in stage 4 of the tool, which is easily missed out on) we begin to be even more bepuzzled.
A total of 18 of our keywords are words that are slightly in demand, one is wrong and three were never requested during the last 60 days (among which our name). Of the keywords that were in demand, the number of competing sites offering services on the basis of the same words in MSN was so high that deviding demand by offer -an equasion that’s widely used to determine how valuable a particular keyword actually is- yields very low numbers.
The Keyword Effectiveness Index can be calculated this way for every word that’s tracked and here’s a quick overview of our keywords’ effectiveness in the MSN search engine. A keyword term like ´editing services´, attracted queries from 35 people over the last 60 days. That in itself is quite low, we think, but aside from this fact, companies that are listed under these keywords, our competition, amount to 35,124. The two numbers yield a KEI ratio of 0.206% for ‘editing services, which indicates it is a search term not highly rated.
KEI ratios of below 10% are deemed not interesting competitionwise and are certainly not advisable to purchase, say the advertising gurus. Anything over 10% is beginning to be interesting and when you are beginning to near the top percentile, 400, you´re likely generating massive traffic numbers.
Not any of the KEI ratios were above 3.5%. Lucky for us that we are in the top rankings even though the above gobbledegook is not really shedding any light on the matter so far. What’s more worrying, is that we still have got to see the traffic coming. Seven guests yesterday, and that´s pretty standard since the site´s inception (….why lie?)
And not being able to incorporate the effect the high rankings are likely to have on the KEI in any measure accurately, we somewhat remain in the dark about just exactly how popular we will be, DESPITE OUR HIGH RANKING. With the demand for the individual keywords on the low side and competition overly present, our traffic numbers are most likely not going to be blowing the pan out any time soon.
Quick daily scans of the number of visitors with devices like www.hit-o-meter.com have confirmed this assumption so far. Even if of all the 5,000 or so queries people type in using our combined keywords over two month periods, contentclix managed to attract double the KEI ratio, this would still only mean traffic streams to our site of at the most 30 visitors at the most in a time span of 2 months.
Perhaps we´re bad losers, but we are starting to hate the boyz at wordtracker!
Most search engines that offer keyword buying run similar services although it’s not really 100% clear if the keywords included concern queries for find free services or paid for listings.
We have yet to see what difference it makes for us to have a PR and we’d be more than happy to update you on our progress!
For the time being, all we can attribute the rankings to is our outstanding work. There is no other explanation, folks. Line up the work!
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About The Author
Angelique van Engelen, the author of this article, runs contentClix.com, a web writing venture combining the skills of freelance copywriting professionals. She has lived as a foreign correspondent in Cairo, the Middle East, for three years and also spent 4 years in London, the UK before returning to the Netherlands, her home country. She’s always on the lookout for assignments, so feel free to send her an email email@example.com. The company also runs a blog, called http://clixyplays.blogspot.com, which is as close as you can get to a reality life written experience in a more than anything mad copywriting agency. The writers of this blog test the limits continuously and are getting read intensively worldwide, which puts the pressure on even more. Somehow they fear they are totally forgetting to do their work in order to maintain the blog and recently, it’s become quite a tedious read. So if you want to spice things up, REACT before it is killed off!!!
This article was posted on January 28, 2005