Are Strange Search Results Worth Analysis?

Google’s Webmaster Tools

I regularly do analysis on this blog’s top search phrases as reported on the Google Webmaster Tools “Top Search Queries” report for I look for patterns such as how much, if any, impact does the post title, post word count, frequency of search terms, outbound links, inbound links, and other items have on the search result ranking. I’ll share this week’s analysis later on.

Strange Phrases

For now, I wanted to share a strange phrase that popped up on this week’s report and ask for input on why. I get first or second page results for phrases that do matter to this blog (e.g. “manage leads”, “small busines sales and marketing”, etc) but our results in #1 slots are always strange phrases. Now, some of this has to do with lower result volume for strange phrases, but we are still talking millions of results returned.

For example, result #6, with an average top position of 5 is “mild discomfort times now”. Today this blog is returned as the #1 result out of 2.2 million for that strange and rather useless search phrase.

This search phrase really does me, and probably the searcher, little good.
Maybe this phrase is not even significant because it is so irrelevant to the searches I am really going after. But hoping to learn more about optimizing for Google search, here is the thought process I went through for this result.

  1. The phrase “mild discomfort times now” is not found in the posts that come up as the Google search result. So it is not a case of an exact phrase match pushing up to top results. Check that off the list.
  2. The one blog entry where I talked about mild discomfort is in a review of the Microsoft Ergonomic keyboard that I have and love. The phrase “mild discomfort” appears one time in the post. Here is the sentence: “Repetitive stress injuries caused from long and continuous rounds or working at the computer can result in damage ranging from mild discomfort to extreme damage requiring surgery.”
  3. That blog entry is 371 words long. The search phrase appears no times, the word “mild” appears once, and “discomfort” appears twice. The #1 search result ranking of this strange search phrase is not a result of a strong semantical match. Check that off the list.
  4. Here’s the kicker. That blog entry is not even the result returned by Google. Instead it is the “category/productivity” page of the blog.

Each Blog Post Does Not Stand Alone – The Importance of Categories

Here’s my main question then. It’s a simple question with maybe not a simple answer – there’s a whole industry around Gooogle SEO after all!

Q: Why does the only posting that contains each of the target words not rank at all in search results while the broader view of all the posts in that category does?

A: There are other articles in the same category that have a few mentions of “time” and “now”. They are in completely different context and I would not have thought that 2 more mentions of a word would make such a difference. Still, my guess is that these 2 extra mentions of “time” and “now” helped put the larger scope fo “category/productivity” on the map while the post standing alone is nowhere to be found. Do you think that’s it?

But Then Ratio of Search Words Occurance To Word Count Had No Effect

The single blog post has a higher ratio of search words to content than the broader cagegories page does. So, in this case that measure was not a predictor of search results. If this is so, then for this blog proper categorization of like posts is more important than any particular post.

Do you find categories important in your blog’s SEO efforts?

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