Eric Wolfram's Writing, How To Score Higher in Google Search Engine (and why Google is saving the web.)

Score Higher in Google Search Engine (and why Google is saving the web.)

Click to see excellent results in google

Almost everyone searches Google to find information, and Google quickly rewards them by displaying the information they are seeking. Thereby, Google rewards useful sites with the eyes of people who are looking for useful information. This is helping the web recover from being the wasteland of marketing hype, which the dot-come-and-gone explosion forced it to become. Google is saving the web by ultimately forcing site designers to make their sites useful again.

The State of Google Search as of
Plenty has changed with Google since I wrote this page in 2002. However, to cut the Gordian Knot of Google -- the main point of this article -- is still as true today as the day I wrote it four years ago. After all those years, the best way to rise to the top of Google search results is still contained on this page. In all honesty, the methods described below are neither quick nor easy. I often tell people who are interested in the quickest and easiest way to get instant traffic from Google today is to set up an Adwords account and pay per click. So consider doing that right now. On the other hand, if you want to invest in a long term strategy to developeing free traffic from the Google search engine result pages, read on.

Retrospective -- background of the web
During the late 90's, those who built web sites, and the marketing people and the MBA's who ordered them to, all came to the wrong conclusion that their web sites should be isolated little islands of information. They foolishly and hopelessly attempted make the people who surfed their sites become stranded on their island. All the links on their sites pointed to other pages of their site. This false impression still prevails today almost everywhere. Literally thousands of corporate policies forbid corporate sites from linking to other sites and thousands of web designers are under the misconception that you should not link to other sites.

When a web site is an island, it goes against the very nature of the web. Think about it. It's called "the web," What image does that conjure? And it's called the web for a good reason. Linking one piece of information to another is fundamental to the value of the web. The tremendous value of the interconnection of all computers is that they intelligently link together, in one beginningless and endless chain of consciousness. Google recognizes and rewards this truism: The value of a network is that information is connected. If you operate under the prevailing paradigm in web site design, however, which is that your web site is an island -- you loose out on the fundamental value of our network. When you create sites that are part of the problem, not part of the solution. Google knows it.

Why Listen to Me
Who am I? What do I know? I am only a fledgling web architect. is my simple experiment in information design. Part of my project, which is this web site, is to see if I could score higher on Google. I have learned much about web design and I want to share what I've learned. By way of proof of my ability to score high in Google, please search the following common word pairs on Google by clicking on the words below or by searching these words directly on Google. In either case, notice my name, Eric Wolfram, or this domain name,, extremely high in the top ten listing (probably #1). Click on the links below for an instant demonstration of high some high results for competitive phrases:

That's NOT a trick! Why does film gear, for instance, return my site as the #1 page (as it has been the case starting way back in March 8th, 2002) over and above all the other 577,000 pages (now over a million) which Google has indexed matching that word pair? How does Google know which sites are useful?

Many people ask me to help them find a good strategy for better google ranking -- and I can't really promise instant results. One easy way to get started is ask me to look at the site and make a report with list of suggestions, a basic analysis and a first round of strategy suggestions. The report costs $950 which is a fee that is based on about 10 hours. The strategy might include an option where I offer to continue helping to implement the strategy. Getting started is easy, just send an email to with the URL of your site, some target keywords and a note saying that you agree to pay the $950 upon receipt of the report -- I'll have the report back within ten days. Does that sound like a good way to start or do you have other ideas about how we could work together?

Yes, I am still happy to look at your site specifically and speak with you frankly about the best and fastest ways to increase web traffic with my SEO and Google Adword Service. | tel. (646) 519-2451

Otherwise, please read on to find hints on how to improve your ranking, although, this advice presupposes that you are not ruining your google ranking by making some of the many common and critical errors in web site strategy and design.

Before learning how to score higher in Google, it's useful to understand why Google exists...

The Google Story
In case you don't know, Google is the premier search engine today. 95% of the people who find my site, find it by using Google or by using search tools that use the Google "engine." Google was started by two graduate students at Stanford University who wanted to build a search engine that really helped the people who were searching for useful information (as opposed to helping the people who were marketing web sites). By the time the Stanford students perfected the algorithms, which provided the excellent Google search results; other highly known methods of searching for information on the Internet, like Yahoo and AltaVista, had "sold out" their top search results to the highest bidder. The stage was set for a Google world. One of Google's first web locations was

Google entered the business world and put the site at Unlike super funded top heavy dot com giants with vaporware, which were prevalent in 1998; Google didn't have a grand campus with 500 Wharton Business School Graduates who were working on strategic partnerships worth nothing. On the contrary, Google's free helpful beneficial tool existed long before Google had any offices at all -- the first Google data center was in the founders' dorm room. A sleek new company, the people at Google simply dedicated themselves to helping people search for information based on analyzing the "back links" pointing to the given web site.

Google analyzes which sites point to which sites and outputs a ranking of each site's "usefulness" based on the sites that point to the site that is being ranked. Huh? Please read on to learn more...

The Gordian Knot of Google
The most important rule for scoring higher on Google, however, is to make your site useful. Simply put, the best way to get your site to score higher on Google is to put something useful there -- have your site bring some benefit to someone. It is difficult to stress this enough. Make your site helpful.

Remember that the value of the web is the interconnection of it all (that beginningless and endless chain of consciousness.) Each connection has a pointer and a page that is being pointed to. A link that points to another site is only half the equation. If you point to other sites, it doesn't really help you score higher. However, if your site has other sites pointing to you, this is called a "back link." Back links will help your site score higher.

Therefore, seek to bring true benefit; not the propaganda, which your marketing people have told you that consumers should believe are the benefits of your product; and not some slick looking design that your CEO will benefit from when he shows the site to his golfing buddies and brags, "Hoity-Toity Agency did our web designs." When your site brings true benefit to the people who are surfing the web, people will link to your site. In a phrase: Be helpful to someone. It is that simple. It is the single most important thing you can do to improve your score on Google.

Google determines the benefit of a site based on the number of "back links." Google ranks the benefit of your site by the pages that are pointing to your site. If you put something useful on your site, people will definitely link to your site (especially if you ask them). And if you find this article useful, please link to it.

Furthermore, Google ranks your web pages, not just by the number of links pointing to your web pages, but Google takes into consideration the scores of the sites which are linking to your web pages. So your goal, as a site designer who wants to increase your Google score, is to persuade other high ranking (i.e. helpful) web sites to link to your pages. And what's the best way to do that? Put something helpful or beneficial there.

Scamming Googlebots with simple link exchange tricks doesn't always work. Googlebots have methods of detecting links that are intended to trick Google. Remember, Google was designed by Stanford Graduate students. So your energies are better spent simply publishing useful information than attempting to fake out their band of super Googlebots.

Beyond all that, many of the techniques for good HTML accessibility practices are essential to scoring high on Google. Use the HTML title tags, meta tags, title attributes on the Href tags, and avoid putting important information in images (use Alt attributes on the image tags when you do). Most importantly: Avoid Shockwave, Real, MP3 or Flash (unless these formats are "in addition" to the HTML version of the information.) Don't use frames or pop-up new browser windows, or if you do, read the Google FAQ about how that effects your scores.

Other Things That Go Against the Conventional (Lack of) Wisdom of Web Design
Navigation on a web site should be made in text -- not gif images. This is why they call it "hypertext". It's not called hyper-gif, hyper-image or hyper-Flash. It's hyper-text. The information in the hypertext links is important. Google ranks a page based on the words and information in the back links. An image which links to a page -- like banner advertisements and image navigation -- score lower in Google. Why? Because information within an image is unavailable to the Googlebots.

For instance, it's far better to have a link pointing to my site that says something like "Sales Techniques - Free Sales Tips and Tutorials" then it is to have a link that says "For sales Techniques - Free Sales Tips and Tutorials, click here." And both of those are far better than having a .gif image which points to that page. So when you make links, make them in text and make them describe what is on the page you are pointing to. This will help you score higher in Google.

That brings us to another practice that goes against the prevailing (lack of) wisdom in web design. Most companies would never put up links to their competitors on their web site. It is rarely done. Well, get over it. Every site should have a page which links to all of their competitors, and furthermore, the page should offer some benefit to the end user. (Read more about this strategy for scoring higher on Google here.) Every corporate site should seek to be the leader of relevant information in their field. Why? Because people will link to that page and your site will score higher in Google. Ultimately, people searching for your competitors will find your page. For proof, read more about this strategy for scoring higher on Google here.

(BTW, as of March 8th, 2002, this is also what is known as a Googlewhack because it is a word pair that returns exactly one page. But it's better then a GoogleWhack because it returns MY page, and it returns it based on a search for someone elses product. Furthermore, this search result was discovered in my log, so it was a real search done by a real person searching for someone else.)

Imagine if you showed your boss that you could search one of your products on the web, and your competitor's site returned as the only result in the search! It would freak him or her right out.

I am doing more research on this. On my company's site,, I have put up a page that has links and helpful information about all of our competitors. Please look at (and link to) these software solutions for property managers. Ultimately, I hope to demonstrate searches for some of those competing products will return my page at the top. So make sure you look back at this article later. I will update the results of this test. That is, Google hasn't indexed that page yet, but when they do...I'll report the results here.

Buying Results On Google
Google has made space available for clearly marked advertisements that appear when people search certain words. If you have money, you might want to purchase sponsor links for certain search words. And you only pay when someone actually clicks to your site. Best of all, this usually only costs pennies a link.

How Google Works
The Google data center is not filled with super expensive high tech brand name gear such as Sun, Dell, or Microsoft Exchange. Instead, Google has a large farm of sleek and stripped PCs with the motherboards circuit screwed onto a plain metal slab, with each hard drive attached to the contraptions by a plain old Velcro strap. There are 15000 Google computers, as described above, in the Google farm. The Google farm of computers is growing at the rate of 1500 new machines a month. These super fast machines have RAM in the gigabytes, spanking fast hard drives, and they are running Linux -- one of the best and fastest free operating systems.

Some of the computers in the farm run programs, called Googlebots, which crawl the web constantly and harvest web pages for the eventual input into the main Google database. Googlebots visited my site ( about every three to six months during 2001/2002. They arrive slowly, one or two at first. Then they return the next day, eight or nine of them, and each Googlebot visits four to eight pages each. They keep returning for a week or so, and then they vanish.

After the Googlebots come and go, I search for my new pages on Google, but the new pages don't appear in the search results. This is because the Googlebots do not index my pages into the main database right away. My new pages are finally indexed into the Google database every two months or so.

In any case, after Google starts indexing new information from your site into the main database, it takes about a week for Google to copy this information across all their thousands of machines. That's how many machines they have -- that's how much data they work with.

For instance, when I start seeing search results landing on my new pages, I go to Google to search those same word phrases. At first, I may or may not see my page in the results (depending on whether the machine that my browser gets connected to has been updated with the new data yet.) That is, there are so many computers in the Google data center, that it takes a week for all of them to get into sync. After about a week, all (or most) of the Google machines tend to show the new search results.That said, Google is working on a solution to decreasing the time it takes to index the database and to keep it fresh. So this lag time (the time between when the Googlebots visit and when you see your new pages in Google search results) will diminish in the future.

The overall process varies from site to site. Some sites get indexed faster than that, some sites get indexed slower than that. I believe it depends on how often the site is updated or changed, and it depends on the overall ranking of the site. Google is much more complicated than that. The Googlebots only sometimes index pages that change frequently faster. This has been demonstrated to me, so I'm not sure how it works. However, evidently, sites with pages that change frequently -- like news sites or a forums -- tend to get indexed into the main Google database faster.

Furthermore, the Googlebots make differentiation between different types of sites. I am unsure what type of site the Googlebots think I am. If you know more about this, please contact me and I'll put it in this article.

Continue the article -- more tips on scoring higher in Google

About This Page
I keep this page to help people understand how to design their sites for maximum effectivness. Please let me know if anything on this page is misleading, needs updating or additions.

Please feel free to link to this page so that others can find it. It's easy to link to this page, just copy the text below onto your web page:

<a href="">Why Google is Saving the Web</a>

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