Useful information on how Google indexes dating sites
Continuing on my previous article on how to find the best free date sites, I offer some insights on how the big brother Google actually goes about indexing dating websites. If you ever witnessed the dawn of the internet boom when Yahoo was King, you will see that the number of sites were far and few and lacked any useful data. At that time, it was just a way to get a presence online, let alone offer any quality content that users could make use of. Also the search engines were not that picky or sophisticated enough to really analyze a website and to provide relevant data to the search user. One could get to the top of the search engine for certain keywords by simply providing the keywords in the title and meta-tags!
Today, the standards of search engines and search results have changed tremendously and Matt Cutts of Google does an excellent job of presenting these evolutionary changes here in the following youtube video…
So, how does Google go about indexing dating sites?
Firstly, you have to remember that Google doesn’t define categories as we see it, this was done a long time back with Yahoo and AltaVista where websites were categorized according to specific primary categories such as Technology, Food, Economics etc. You don’t have to tell Google how to index your site in those categories, Google goes about indexing, categorizing by analyzing the website through inbound links, outgoing links, recurrence of keywords on the site and many other factors. Due to it’s heavy investment in building the algorithms that define it’s indexes, Google almost always invariably gets it right, hence occupies 85% of the world searches. At the end of the day, Google wants to provide the best service for the end user who are looking for relevant information to the searches they conduct.
When it comes to indexing dating sites, Google takes into many factors into account and only a handful of the important ones will be discussed here. Apart from the website which can provide pertinent information about it’s purpose, Google relies on ‘external’ factors that give more meaning and sense to the websites under consideration. After all, if it relied on just purely indexing the website, we would have a plethora of spammy websites in existence today who would all be vying for the top search positions to maximize traffic. These external factors I talked about earlier, include ‘referral’ websites that have some authority. For example, Google would give more weight to a CNN article reporting a ‘dating site’ in one of it’s post. However, it doesn’t quite end there, because CNN maybe reporting on scam dating websites and if Google simply went ahead and gave value to these sites it would be doing a gross injustice. These is where Googles’s algorithms (which are many) can get complex and evolves with time and have upset many webmasters and kept them on their toes.
The important thing to remember is that the days of simply tweaking and technically optimizing the site are not sufficient to get you to rank higher although it does help by being more clear to search engine robots. What matters are quality content, authority in the domain space, quality referral sites linking back and the analysis of user activity on the site.
The other factors that one can intuitively guess are social factors. For example, if facebook users are talking about this free dating site and getting a lot of referrals then, naturally Google would want to put more weight to this. Google has been smart about the future of search by providing many tools to the webmaster such as Analytics, Webmasters, Trends and more. Not only has this benefited webmasters in optimizing their site for the search engine, it has allowed Google to monitor the performance of each of these websites which no doubt they can take into consideration in their indexing. For example, in Analytics, there is a figure for Bounce Rate and Session Time and these tell how a user interacts with the site once they have landed on them. If the bounce rate is high ie. they go through a single page and away from the site, then it could be considered low quality depending on what keywords they typed to get to it. If they remain on the site and visit several pages over a few minutes period, it maybe considered to be of value to the end user and as such Google will give this some weighting. One needs to understand that Google will only take aggregated values of user searches and not on single users alone because mass interest will be a better reflection of the overall relevancy and importance of the site.
Dating sites of today are very structured in it’s layout and functionality, it will usually have a sign-up page where users can register, conduct searches of other members on the site, read interesting articles or blogs about dating and relationships. No doubt, Google has already determined this as a criteria which it can use to determine relevant searches to send in it’s direction. Unfortunately, the competition for the keywords are very high as many dating sites vie for the top positions and only a few succeed. However, if sites cannot compete in the organic searches of Google, they have the option to ‘bid’ for those keywords and be placed at the top fold of the search or the column to the right. Hopefully, next time you go hunting for dating sites, you will be armed with a little bit more information as to what is happening behind the scenes.