Google Hocus Pocus
I can’t count how many times I get this email or message at Wealthy Affiliate… “My new lens was indexed and was doing great in Google and now it’s GONE!” This is usually follower by “What did I do wrong?” or “Why does Google hate me?” or “HELP!!!!!!!!!!” So, ok, let’s talk about this. Why does you lens show up one day in Google and then disappear?
Now You See It, Now You Don’t
It is VERY VERY common for web pages – ALL web pages – to come and go in the Google search index. This is not just happening to Squidoo lenses or Ezine Articles… it happens to all web pages.
I am going to try and give a very basic and quick explanation of what is happening. Yes, I said “quick”. I know brevity is NOT my specialty, but the SEC College Football Championship is on soon and I gotta go! (Roll Tide, baby!)
Let’s start at the beginning.
Google indexes web PAGES. Every entry you see within a Google search return is a web PAGE. Even if the listing takes you to the main/home page of a site, that is still a web PAGE.
Each web page has to be deemed relevant to a search and has to stand on it’s own for that search.
On the other hand, Google gives web SITES authority. Many sites (usually those with a high Page Rank) are considered a ‘trusted’ site by Google. In turn, Google is in those sites crawling and looking for new content all the time.
So, you make a new lens. Google indexes it and puts in in the index. It very well might rank well for your targeted keywords. Your new lens is given this special treatment so-to-speak because Google found it on a trusted, high-authority site.
This is why sites like Google and EzineArticles are used a lot by marketers – the content gets found quickly (usually) and tends to rank well right out of the gate.
Your lens is doing well because of the site it is on.
Now, a little time goes by and things change.
Your lens NOW has to stand on it’s own and prove it’s own worth as a web PAGE. What site your page is found on matters less and less – the worth of your PAGE matters more and more.
How do you prove the ‘worth’ of your lens for a certain keyword? By building links TO your lens using the words you want to rank for as the anchor text of those links.
To Google, these links TO your lens with those words as anchor text (or variations of those words) count as a ‘vote’ for the worth of your web page.
But I Built Links To My Lens!
I imagine many are thinking, “But I built links to my lens!”. Yes, you did, but this does not mean that Google found them yet. It does not mean that Google “counts” them (another topic for another day)….and it does not mean that it is ENOUGH links to get a top ranking (ie, the top ranked web pages have MORE links).
Ok – here is another question/frustrated comment I get…
“I checked my lens with the health check tool and and it says I don’t have ANY back links… but I do!”
Yes, you probably do.
Here’s the thing about that (and something I wish these Health Check tools would point out). These backlinks are being reported from a search on Yahoo – NOT Google.
Why? Well first off, Google doesn’t like automated queries of their search engine. Secondly, Google relies heavily on links for their ranking algorithm and they simply don’t SHOW all the links they find. If they did, they would open up a big can of worms and make it very easy for webmasters to game the system.
So, back link tools tend to search Yahoo. But, Yahoo is slow as Christmas. Hmmm, bad analogy seeing that Christmas is sneaking up quickly! Ok, Yahoo is slow as….. as…. Well, they’re slow.
In order to be able to see the backlinks you have on these health check tools or back links tools, Yahoo has to find them first. And that can take a while.
When Google first finds your lens, your lens is safe in the “nest” of a trusted site. After that, you are pretty much kicked from the nest and must be able to fly on your own.
You need back links TO your lens in order to build authority for your web page/lens. It takes time for all these things to “take” and be found and be counted. If you stare at it everyday, you will go nuts. (Been there, done that! haha!)
Wanna stare at something that will help you MORE than scrolling thru looking for YOUR web page? Watch the top 10 Google listings for the keyword phrase YOU want to rank for! How often do those first 10 results change? WHY are those page in the top 10? How many links TO their web pages do they have? What anchor text do they use?
WHAT WILL IT TAKE FOR YOU TO BEAT THEM?
Determine that, and then work on DOING that.
Do *I* do that? Hell yes! In my opinion, where my page IS does not matter as much at first as doing what I need to do to get it to where I want it to be.
I look at the Top 10…. do back link checks on them. See what anchor text their links are using. See where their links are coming from. Take a look at the SITE that web page is sitting on. I do all that good stuff.
Also, by watching the top 10 for my targeted keyword phrase, I also get a good idea of how dynamic that market/query space is.
However, this takes a good bit of time if you let yourself get carried away with it (as I usually do because Google search returns fascinate me…lol).
Now, I have a tool that does it for me. I enter my keyword phrase, the tool checks the links TO the current Top 10 (or however many sites I am taking into consideration). It checks back links to that web PAGE and also lets me see back links to that SITE. I also get to see in one glance what the Page Rank of those web pages it, too.
Better yet, I can click a result and it will show me the anchor text those web pages have as back links, too (very valuable).
Example Back Link Check
So, lets use an example. Say I want to make a lens that ranks highly for the phrase ` Fat Loss 4 Idiots. I would plug that phrase into my tool and I would see this:
There are the current Top 10 listings when you Google search Fat Loss 4 Idiots. The #1 result is the vendors site. And look at that, the #2 and the #3 are Squidoo lenses.
Right away you might notice that the #2 (a Squidoo lens) has more back links than the vendors page at #1 – why is that? Well, most likely it is because the vendors page has the phrase Fat Loss 4 Idiots in the achor text of their back links more often than the #2 (Squidoo lens) does. Also, Yahoo counts ALL links it finds… this does not mean that Google will count them, too.
For this example, I can tell it will take a good bit of effort to get a lens of my own into one of those two spots from Squidoo. It would also takes some time so my lens would also get some Page Rank seeing that #2 and #3 from Squidoo have a Page Rank of 3 and 1 respectively.
Obviously, that would be a tough one and I’d probably pass on trying to get a lens to rank for that keyword phrase.
How about an easy example?
This what it would look like if you were trying to rank for a simple term…. ie, one with little competition. I tend to use `purple banana hats as my silly example, so let’s use that one:
Easy! And a big LOL at me sitting at #2 there! hahaha! I am a SEO- GENIUS! hahahahaha!
So, that’s what I taught myself to do. I stopped obsessing over where MY page is (or isn’t) and instead, worked on doing what it will take to get my page where I want it to be. I accepted that it takes time and it will not happen over-night.
I have web pages falling out of Google all the time. I also have web pages that are being picked up by Google all the time. Best part is when I get a sale or see a traffic spike from a site or a lens that I have barely even thought about lately.
You can’t control Google, but you sure can waste a lot of time trying!
Ok… time for football!!!!!! Got to get the Alabama flags on the car and get to our friends house to watch the game. (yes, we are THOSE kinds of fans that put those flags on their car….lol!)
Have a great day and an even better weekend!
::edit to add:::
Ooops! Forgot to tell you what back link tool I use to get those pretty reports! Sorry!