How Does Google See Your Website?

by Paul Wilson

 

Recently, a friend shared their hypothesis on how Google Sets can be used to see what keywords Google thinks a site should rank on. Basically, he advised building a short list showing the keywords with the most density on your site and throw them into Sets. The final outcome would show the keywords Google feels you would best rank on.

I tried this out on MyMarketer, and a list of very broad keywords came about. Obviously, since I pulled the density from MyMarketer’s home page, which dynamically changes with the publishing of a new post, the accuracy of this method seems questionable.

Furthermore, there is a warning label on Google Sets stating that the service will expire September 5th of this year. So, even if my friend is correct about his assumption (which I am doubting) it wouldn’t matter much in exactly one week.

Yet, I did find another way to get a glimpse of how Google may look at your website. Last week I stumbled across the Chrome Extension “Google Similar Pages.” The title of the extension is self explanatory, but more importantly it is produced by Google, not a third party.

If you use this extension on MyMarketer you will see that for whatever reason only two similar websites are shown instead of the maximum four. Unfortunately, neither page highlighted is close to what I would like for this blog.

I tried the extension out on other websites to see if maybe it was flawed. My limited test results show that the extension is fine, with the exception that it doesn’t work well on relatively new websites.

Looking at what Google thinks MyMarkter is congruent with shows the following: affiliate marketing (clickbank.com) and home equity loans (mortgageloan.com). These results are actually quite telling on how the Google extension works.

I found that 15 out of my 200+ posts on MyMarketer are about affiliate marketing. That is an almost 8% content ratio, and the highest on the site. Understanding this, leads me to believe that keyword density plays as a factor in deciding what is similar.

This would explain why clickbank appears as a similar site, but it wouldn’t explain how a mortgage loan site is considered similar when I have zero content for home equity loans (with the exception of this post). Yet, when you learn the history of MyMarketer it becomes evident another factor plays into this extension’s algorithm.

Back in 2008 I sold MyMarketer, and the buyer turned the site into a home insurance website. Long story short they burned MyMarketer by building thousands of spammy insurance backlinks to it. I took the site back over in 2009 and worked with Google to get MyMarketer re-included back into their index.

So, even though the site doesn’t have content (or even rank) for mortgage loans it has tens of thousands of backlinks which say otherwise. An interesting point is that there are few—if any—anchored text backlinks on affiliate marketing.

We can assume that the Google extension is pulling both the site’s backlinks and keyword density, which are both rudimentary algorithms when it comes to search. Therefore, I wouldn’t use this extension as a resource on planning your next SEO or PPC campaigns, but it does help you see if your site is playing ball in the right ball park.

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