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Old 10-02-2007   #1
pcun
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How much more important is Popularity Score than Content Score

If we're all agreed that search engines ranks two factors - Popularity Score (PS) and Content Score (CS).
Content Score is on page factors, title tag, keywords, internal navigation..etc
Popularity Score is backlinks - the number, relevance, anchor text, rate of backlinks...etc.

My question is, what is the percentage breakdown in terms of what matters more, i.e. is it PS 65% CS 35%.

I want to ask this question to experienced SEO professionals.

Maybe the question is phrased wrongly? Can you look at it as simply as this?

An example may help, if I have a website with great content, but no backlinks and I'm up against a website with poor content, but with 100 backlinks, which gets the higher ranking?

I'm guessing the latter and there is always the exception to the rule, but generally, from your experience, what is the percentage breakdown between PS and CS?
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Old 10-08-2007   #2
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Re: How much more important is Popularity Score than Content Score

Let me re-phrase the question:

What are the most important content score elements that can negate the influence of popularity.

I only know of two - domain age and domain name.
I have seen websites rank well for keywords that they had absoluely no right to.

All things being equal though, does anyone have an opinion on the list of important SEO criteria that overlap content and popularity and break down the importance of PS nad CS?

Lets start with:

1. Title Tag - CS
2. Overall Backlinks - PS
3. Domain name - CS
4. Domain age - CS
5. Internal Navigation - CS
6. On topic backlinks PS
7. Link text PS
8. Rate of link development PS
9. Body Content CS
10. Outbound Links CS

So, if you get 100% for these top 10 criteria, what % does each get in terms of weighting?

Or are these criteria way off the mark?

Any ideas?
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Old 10-08-2007   #3
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Re: How much more important is Popularity Score than Content Score

That is the secret of the engines. There is no known here is the percentage of the mix... you have elements that impact... work on as many as you can.
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Old 10-09-2007   #4
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Re: How much more important is Popularity Score than Content Score

Correct as always. It works or it doesn't. We know what works from experience (at least that is how we should measure it) and what works better but IMO, for people who add percentages into the mix are just full of bull crap.
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Old 10-09-2007   #5
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Re: How much more important is Popularity Score than Content Score

But if you want to dig deeper into the algorithm do a search for orion and read his posts
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Old 10-09-2007   #6
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Re: How much more important is Popularity Score than Content Score

Hmmm, thanks for the considered responses, especially from BFM.

Am I full of bull crap wanting to know the science of search engines? Maybe. But it is a science (mostly - hand editing).

Based on empirical testing, most SEO's optimise based on percentages.

If I do this - (based on experience) I stand a better percentage of influencing the engines.

For people who have no time to test ad infinitum - see most people, percentages look good.
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Old 10-09-2007   #7
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Re: How much more important is Popularity Score than Content Score

Ya' know, BFM's answer isn't far off the mark from what many think. Anybody who throws out percentages or numbers when it comes to how the SEs weigh certain factors is full of crap.

And then each SE treats things differently. Let's take the example from your first post:

Quote:
An example may help, if I have a website with great content, but no backlinks and I'm up against a website with poor content, but with 100 backlinks, which gets the higher ranking?

I'm guessing the latter and there is always the exception to the rule, but generally, from your experience, what is the percentage breakdown between PS and CS?
The correct answer is, "It depends."

Google will not index the page without links to it.
Yahoo might index it and might return it for some very obscure searches.
MSN Live will probably index it and could return it as a result.
Ask might index it but would not return it as a result for any halfway competitive search because it is not linked into the relevant "community."

With all the advances the SEs have implemented in their algos over the past few years it's impossible for any lay person to unravel them enough to come up with numbers. Take AW's suggestion and search SEW for posts by Orion, they're quite informative and almost understandable. You might also want to take a walk over to Bill Slawski's seobythesea.com to read up on some recent search patents. I think you'll find some real eyeopeners
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Old 10-09-2007   #8
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Re: How much more important is Popularity Score than Content Score

The problem that I see is that that the equation/algo is a "live" one or moving target.

A change in each one of the above 10 items results in a completely different mathematical equation of the weight distribution.

If your a newer domain then more content is going to be utilized for ranking...until you reach a certain age, at which time popularity is phased (weighted more heavily) into the secret sauce. This is the reason you see so many "I was listed high but now I am not any more."

just my guess...

so if you want to try and reverse engineer the rankings your looking at like 10x9x8x7x6x5x4x3x2x1 or roughly 3 million variables.

ughh! thats why I focus on ROI
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Old 10-10-2007   #9
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Re: How much more important is Popularity Score than Content Score

Back to the original question,which is more important, popularity or content?

From experience I have found that even with a PageRank of 5 you can't rank well if you don't optimize your pages. The fact you have links pointing to your site does not relieve you of having to tell the SE what the page is about.

Google is known to place more emphasis on off-page than on-page. But you have got to keep optimizing your pages while diligently building links.

Many folks spend days trying to scientifically compose a page with just the right density, proximity etc. If you just focus on building a natural page, the content quality will already be built in.
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Old 10-10-2007   #10
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Re: How much more important is Popularity Score than Content Score

Thanks for the feedback - some good sources to re-discover.

I agree with most of what was said and I don't propose that you take a purely % approach to optimisation, as always its do a bit of everything on a consistent basis.

But I do think there are some factors that have a higher weighting within the Popularity Score and Content Score.

The nearest I've come to an list based on SEO experience is over at SEOMOZ

I've heard it said before that SEO is 90% opinion, 10% fact.
I guess somewhere like seobythesea.com takes some of the opinion out of it.
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Old 10-10-2007   #11
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Re: How much more important is Popularity Score than Content Score

Quote:
I guess somewhere like seobythesea.com takes some of the opinion out of it.
Yeah, but what really makes this business fun is that as, say, seobythesea is pulling apart a Google patent, in a recent interview G's Matt Cutts talks about the unlikelihood of Google using some of the same signals of authority mentioned in the patent.

You basically just have to read, read again, then read some more and make your own seat of the pants judgments.
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Old 10-10-2007   #12
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Re: How much more important is Popularity Score than Content Score

test test test - get out and do it yourself. You only get it right when you get it wrong
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Old 10-10-2007   #13
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Re: How much more important is Popularity Score than Content Score

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimbeetle View Post
Yeah, but what really makes this business fun is that as, say, seobythesea is pulling apart a Google patent, in a recent interview G's Matt Cutts talks about the unlikelihood of Google using some of the same signals of authority mentioned in the patent.

You basically just have to read, read again, then read some more and make your own seat of the pants judgments.

Never mind the fact that the real secret sauce is sitting on a shelf next to the coca-cola recipe and colonel sanders secret blend of spices in a sealed vault 40 feet under the ocean floor.

Ahh the "trade secret"... patents can be such a pest with all that disclosure.
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Old 10-16-2007   #14
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Re: How much more important is Popularity Score than Content Score

Well, this topic is the whole reason why I've joined this forum. There is one thread on this forum that was titled incorrectly. (http://forums.searchenginewatch.com/...ead.php?t=5595)

It was supposed to be "SES Toronto", not "SEO Toronto". But because of this error, it ranks higher in Google than my site for "SEO Toronto" which is far more optimized. It's killing me!
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