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Ping the World

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Restore Lost Google Ranking with Section Targeting

Have you noticed a change in your Google standing lately? WebLens was among many sites to suffer a nasty clobbering from the latest update of Google's ranking algorithm, code-named Jagger.

This important Google update coincided with a recent re-launch of WebLens, after much work on a new look and feel. I unknowingly published the revised site right around the time that Jagger made its debut. (It was also just before Christmas, which is never a good time to release anything important. What was I thinking!?!)

I watched with mounting bewilderment and dismay as my traffic plummeted and WebLens became virtually unfindable on any of its previously reliable keyword combinations. The site had never had top ranking, but WebLens had, for many years, consistently placed high on several important queries. Now, it was like I had slid right off the map — well, out of Google's universe anyway, despite good use of keywords and careful optimization.

After I calmed down and began to research the issue, I quickly learned about the Jagger update and its impact on the SEO world. A lot of well-established sites took a beating; many dropped steeply overnight. Some, like WebLens, slid into virtual oblivion, unfindable in screen after screen after screen of results.

I began to suspect that my problem was stemming from more than just Jagger. I knew Javascript was an SEO no-no; perhaps the Javascript-intensive nature of the new site was presenting bigger problems for Google than I had expected.

Around this time, I stumbled across an AdSense blog, which recommended Google section targeting as a way to improve ad relevance. This technique involves containing the parts of a page that you wish Google to crawl within a pair of special comment tags.

Would this help Google to bypass the problematic Javascript, I wondered. It took seconds to paste section targets into all my pages and re-submit the site. To my shock, I discovered that my lost ranking was not only restored, but improved, almost immediately. The relevance of the ads served by Google's AdSense program also improved.

Best of all, WebLens' rank in other search engines has also improved — most notably MSN — leaving me wondering whether Google's competitors may be taking these code snippets into account as well.

If you need to boost your Google ranking or Adsense ad relevance, give it a try. Here's how it works:

  • Open the page you wish to optimize and locate the text you wish to emphasize
  • Paste <!-- google_ad_section_start --> before the words or passage
  • Paste <!-- google_ad_section_end --> after the passage
  • Save the page and re-submit to Google

You can repeat these paired comments as many times as you need to within the document. Just make sure that every opening comment is closed. If you have a lot of pages to do, use your editor's Find and Replace command to speed things up. (Back up first, just in case. I have wept more than once after a careless F&R.)

One caution: Google does warn that you need to include a significant amount of content within the section targeting tags (insufficient content may result in less relevant ads), and that it is against Adsense program policies to use section targeting to emphasize words that are not relevant to the content of your pages.


Wally Banners said...

Pam love your blog and btw your HOT!!!!

Pam said...

Thanks Wally.