Why unoptimized sites sometimes outrank well optimized sites in Google

Why do Some Un-optimized Website Rank Very High on Google?

Seems a little unfair, doesn’t it?

Sometimes sites that are very poorly optimized outrank you on Google. Why is this?

It occurs for a variety of reasons, most of which are not technical and relate to the main four SEO success principals of:

  • Quantity
  • Quality
  • Consistency
  • Longevity

I call this the Wikipedia effect, which I explain further in a bit.

Sites with More Content Rank Higher

If you’re trying to outrank a well established competitor whose website has 2,000 pages because they’ve been publishing consistently for 3 years, it’s going to take you some time.

Sites That are Updated More Often Rank Higher

Does your competitor update their site daily whereas you update your site weekly? One of the key factors in ranking is to update your site consistently and frequently.

Sites That are Old Rank Higher

And there is nothing you can do about this except to keep on keeping on. In time your website will be older. Additionally as you publish more and more stuff your site will rank for a wider range of keyword phrases as it will contain content on a wider range of topics.

The Wikipedia Effect

No matter what you search for, a page on Wikipedia shows on the first page. Usually quite high on the first page.

This is because Wikipedia is a very large repository of very good content that is updated very often and has been around for 10 years.

The closer your website comes to that idea within your niche, the higher it will rank. This is also the reason news websites tend to consistently outrank business blogs.

There are Some Technical Reasons Too

Backlinks

A small website that is updated infrequently will rank high when it has high value backlinks. High value back links come from high value pages. If you’re lucky enough for your business to have been written up in the New York Times, or Fox News, or Huffington Post, etc and to have received a backlink or two as a result, your search ranking will be raised. Sometimes significantly.

Cross Linking

This is where your blog posts link to each other. When you do this well you increase the search ranking of specific pages on your site (the ones linked to the most).

Really Useful Content

Let’s say your site has the best most easily used mortgage calculator page on the Internet. Word will get out and people looking for mortgages will slow show up.

Note here the focus is not on quality per se, but on usefulness. Google in fact defines quality as usefulness.

The more useful a webpage is, the higher it’s quality, and the higher it’s ranking.

It also helps that very useful pages tend to attract quality back links.

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