My Search Engine SERP Tests
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jan 8, 2009
On my post about my page rank/SEO project, the comments started trending towards this topic of SERPS, or “search engine results page”. For the uninitiated, this is the page that shows all the links that come up when a search term is put into a search engine, such as Google and Yahoo.
Anyway, all of us determined, sort of, that it was very important to be found on the search engines based on certain keywords. I agreed, but also said that I felt it was fairly hard for most blogs to find a way to cut through that morass, at least for the main page, because content is ever changing and the topics, even when related to some degree, do have differences that will skew the findings.
So, I figured it was time for another little project. This time, I decided to look for search terms I felt I should come up for if someone went searching, some I hoped they might come up for, and just some other general stuff. I started out using Google Rankings, but right in the middle of it all the API service went down, so I had to then result to the regular way of doing it. Just so you know, Google Rankings allows you to look at not only where Google places you, but also Yahoo, MSN, and Ask, although most of the time the last two don’t work all that well, so I rarely use them.
On with the report. I put in about 20 different phrases, using what we all know as “targeted search” (that’s where you put your key phrases within quotation marks because that’s how you find specifically what you’re looking for), and it was interesting what I came up with. I’m not going to list what I wasn’t found for, only what I was found for; that is, unless it was found on one search engine and not the other. And, for my last few, I’m only listing Google, since I didn’t want to have to go back and forth between search engines. I know, a little bit lazy, but hey, you get what you get.
Overall, this site was only found for one 1-word search term, which was surprising. That was for Odiogo, of all things, the podcast – blog reading plugin that’s now prominently on this site. It didn’t come up on Google, but it came in at #30 on Yahoo.
For 2-word search terms, “blogging step” came up at #32 on Google, #46 on Yahoo; “blogging tips” didn’t show on Google, but came up at #301 on Yahoo; “book writing” didn’t come up on Google, but was #229 on Yahoo. And the surprise, to me, was that the name Gabi Wilson, the young musical prodigy I wrote about, came up at #105 on Google, and #156 on Yahoo. One would have thought that, as much as she’s been talked about in America, I would be nowhere to be found; interesting.
The final terms to share are multiple word terms. For “book writing series” this site comes in at #1 on Google, and not at all on Yahoo; see how goofy these things are? For “blogging what to write about” it comes up at #61 on Google; for “blogging how often to post” it comes up at #16; and for, well, something really dubious, but it is what it is, the term “Ultra Diamond complaints”, comes up at #3, although my post was supposed to be more positive than that; oh well,…
What have we learned? First, there is no direct correlation between how Google and Yahoo work; you can try to use SEO tactics for one, or not, and you may or may not show up. Second, in a crowded market, don’t hold your breath hoping to be found for 1-word searches. Third, you never know how you’ll be found, so treat every post as if it’s the most important thing you’ll ever do in your life. And finally fourth, I’m #1 for “book writing series”! 😀
So go ahead, do your own test to see where you lie; that is, if you can think of your best search terms. By the way, Google Analytics will help to give you some idea of search terms that people may have found you by, but if your theme was created by someone who has embedded search terms and phrases in your footer, those phrases will be hard to overcome.