SEO whitepaper offers rank surprises

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As with royalty, rank is an essential measure of success when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO). A new whitepaper released today by marketing analytics firm Convario used statistical analysis to help marketers figure out what they need to do to make sure their SEO ranking is high and show how search engine crawlers vary in their emphasis on different factors.

As search engines are always tinkering with their algorithms, marketers need to keep up with changes and continually invest in their Web site, said Craig McDonald, SVP and CMO of Convario.

“We wanted to establish how much emphasis is put by search engines on your link strategy versus your use of content, where you place content, and your technical structure,” he said, explaining that the whitepaper is an update of an analysis done last year to figure out whether SEO audits that Convario does for clients were addressing the right issues.

One of the big surprises, he said, is that page size is no longer the issue it was a couple of years ago. “It used to be that the bigger the page, the worse it was for ranking,” he explained. “There was a sweet spot that you had to find. Now, engines must have significantly increased the bandwidth of their crawlers because we saw the bigger the page the better it is.”

The length of a URL no longer requires a “magic number” of characters when it comes to Google, he added. “We're finding that Yahoo is still sensitive to long URL's, but Google is completely insensitive.”

The number one page feature that determines rank continues to be the number of external inbound links, according to the whitepaper. “It's about how many links does this page have and are they also authoritative?” McDonald asked. “If you're trying to get a good ranking, the goal is to build out links.”

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