When You Can't Rank for Your Own Name...

Feb 3rd

So I was looking for a site of a well known SEO in Google and he does not show up for his site name.

I remembered a few others that this happened to recently and spoke to a friend who has seen a bunch of this. It appears that this is a rather common occurance now, where sites that are aggressively improving their rankings stop showing up for their keyword and sometimes their site name.

I looked at some of the keywords for this site and some of the deep pages are ranking poorly for his primary terms in Google, but they are outranking the home page (which heavily targets those same terms and is absolutely burried). None of his pages rank for his site name.

I suppose this is a good way for Google to attack people selling competing advertising systems that manipulate their index. Rank them lowly for their keywords AND remove them from the index for their site name.

If people do not show up for their own name it hurts their brand. On the web AND off the web their entire brand is diminished by not showing up for their own name.

Then the only way these people can show up for their own name and brand is by buying in on AdWords, and if you have a strong brand that can become a competitive landscape and those costs can add up quick.

Pretty damn cool self regulating system if you are Google, but kinda sucky for joe average SEO company. :(

Published: February 3, 2005

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Comments

Bjoern
March 1, 2005 - 3:35pm

Hi,
we have mixed our inboud link texts since more than 2 years. We used around 8 different link texts. 1 and 2 word phrases and long 4-8 word phrases. I think we have around 9 variations for our inbound link texts.

Is this not enough for google? Because lots of our sites are not in the index anymore.

Thanks for your answer. Bjoern

February 10, 2005 - 6:30am

Did seobook.com get affected by this? This is the first time I have seen seobook.com NOT be #1 for the search term "seo book".

February 10, 2005 - 1:48pm

>Did seobook.com get affected by this?

A few days after I wrote this it looks like it did.

February 4, 2005 - 3:25pm

I wonder if that might be the reason I can't find my fansite listed on google.

I recently bought the domain name for an actor, and while my old url is still number one for the name on google, the new domain containing the name is not listed. It went online November 12th and has been visited by googlebots.

Meanwhile, the new site is #1 for the name on MSN search ...... Altavista listse 3 pages from the old site - none of them the index page, ask.com lists old site as #4 - new site nowhere and Yahoo lists one of my old site pages as #8.

Guess which search engine I prefer?

Pretty confusing.

Anne

Michael
February 4, 2005 - 6:25pm

Hi Aaron,

This has happened to me! I don't even rank for my company name, which is pretty unique. Many diretories listing my site rank higher than my actual site.

Of course, I'm not ranking well anymore for my key terms.

Any advice for salvaging my website?

February 4, 2005 - 6:29pm

Hi Michael

>Any advice for salvaging my website?

In due time your site may come back as they tweak their algorithms, but additionally you can make sure going forward that you mix your inbound anchor text.

Perhaps you can also change the internal links pointing at the home page to use different text as well.

As your site gets more authoritative and your anchor text is mixed you should be able to rank better.

Michael
February 4, 2005 - 8:33pm

Thanks Aaron for your prompt response (P.S. this is the first time I've ever posted in a blog. Just purchased your book last month. Thanks for making everyone so comfortable and welcome).

Can you vary your anchor text too much? Right now I've just used a few variations. My concern is that if I link with too many different variations, I might somehow confuse the search engines. I've saved other variations for internal pages that are optimized for these specific words.

I could swear you said something about this in your book, but for the life of me I can't seem to find it. But as an example, if in addition to getting anchor text that included the words "SEO" or "search engine optimization, " etc, to your website, you also got lots of other different keyword - say "marketing," "high rankings," etc, would you still rank as high for "SEO" or would all the links with anchor text of "high rankings" lower your rankings for SEO.

[What a run-on question!]

Thanks!

February 4, 2005 - 8:42pm

>Thanks Aaron for your prompt response (P.S. this is the first time I've ever posted in a blog. Just purchased your book last month. Thanks for making everyone so comfortable and welcome).

No problem...and thanks for buying my ebook :)

>Can you vary your anchor text too much? Right now I've just used a few variations. My concern is that if I link with too many different variations, I might somehow confuse the search engines. I've saved other variations for internal pages that are optimized for these specific words.

As you add more variations it thins it out a bit. For MSN and Yahoo! you can do well with few variations, but with Google it might be safe to ensure it is mixed up some.

>I could swear you said something about this in your book, but for the life of me I can't seem to find it.

Yup, I talk about mixing anchor text. Page #83 (which is also page 87 of 152 at the moment)

>But as an example, if in addition to getting anchor text that included the words "SEO" or "search engine optimization, " etc, to your website, you also got lots of other different keyword - say "marketing," "high rankings," etc, would you still rank as high for "SEO" or would all the links with anchor text of "high rankings" lower your rankings for SEO.

I probably would not use high rankings too much but some common anchor opportunities might be

search engine marketing book
search engine optimization ebook
seo guide
search engine book
search marketing report
search engine tips
seo news

or stuff like that that

Michael
February 4, 2005 - 9:43pm

Thanks Aaron!

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