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Climbing the Beanstalk
October 3, 2004

Welcome to the October 3, 2004 edition of "Climbing The Beanstalk", the bi-weekly newsletter on search engines and search engine positioning from Beanstalk. In this edition we will explore the changes in the Google algorithm over the past week, some basic tips on reciprocal link building, as well as a special feature on search engine friendly design and the importance that it can play in your rankings.

If you have any questions regarding any of the areas covered in this newsletter please don't hesitate to contact us.

The Google Shakedown

It happens as regularly as you change your calendar and yet, changes to the Google rankings never cease to cause panic among many, and confusion from others. While it's simple enough to understand why people panic (watching your site drop in the rankings is never fun) it's rarely the enormous cause for alarm that some make it out to be.

For the past few months Google has been tweaking their algorithm at around this time each month, about two weeks later they do their backlink update in which new links to your website will be factored in, and a few days after that the ranking fluctuate based on these new links. And then after a week or two we watch it all happen again. It seems to be about a 4 to 6 week cycle.

The key, it seems, from this update is links and more to the point, anchor text. Anchor text is the actual verbiage used to link to your website. For example, a link which reads:

Visit us online at www.beanstalk-inc.com.

Will be far less effective than a link which reads:

Visit Beanstalk Search Engine Positioning.

The use of the phrase "search engine positioning" in the actual link text adds weight and relevancy between those keywords and the page they are linking to.

This factor has become more important in last week's shuffle. An example of this can can be viewed with a search for "whitehat tactics". The results show that the #1 ranking page is one from the beanstalk-inc.com domain. If we then click on the cached version of the page the point is clearly illustrated. You can see that the word "tactics" appears periodically throughout the page however the word "whitehat" does not even appear once. The word "whitehat" appears only in text linking to that page.

Prowling for Links

So links and link text have increased in importance after the last shuffle but what does that mean to you and your site? The best course of action is to work first on your sites internal linking structure and then to move on to building additional links using the keywords you are trying to target. The value of these links is also important. A link from a site with PageRank 3 if FAR less valuable than a link from a page with PageRank 5. Find high PageRank site related to yours and work to attain links from them.

It can be difficult to find high PageRank sites that exchange links. The best of the tools I've found to accomplish this is PRProwler. You can view details on this in our tools section at http://www.beanstalk-inc.com/resources/recommended/pr-prowler.htm It's in our "tools we use" section right at the top.

Feeding The Spider

While links and text links are definitely important it's always important to have good site optimization and that begins with a solid design. If one understands that a search engine spider reads your website very much like you would read a book it becomes much clearer. A spider starts at the top left, reads across, and moves down a row and begins at the left again.

The key then, is to structure your site in such a way that the spider reads the important content as quickly and easily as possible.

An article was recently written on this topic by Mary Davies, the authority on search engine friendly design at Beanstalk Search Engine Positioning.

The article can be read in its entirety here.

Thank You

Thank you very much for subscribing to "Climbing The Beanstalk", the bi-weekly search engine positioning newsletter. If you have any questions about the areas covered or if there are any areas of search engine positioning that you would like to see covered in future articles/newsletter please don't hesitate to contact us. We want to write what you want to know.

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