Why the poor ranking?

Something I have been wondering for a while now is why this website is unable to rank in a higher position for my name.  A Google.co.uk search for “Philip Gamble” returns this site in fifth place, behind an immigration lawyer and a designer who both have their homepage and a second page in the results.

Sure I’ll admit to googling myself – I like to see what is found there and how high this site ranks!

I’ve been attempting to find out what differences the sites ranking have above me have in order to work out what I need to concentrate on to boost my position and ideally achieve the number 1 ranking.

Freeg131.com ranking for Google.co.uk search of 'Philip Gamble'

Choice of domain

When it came to choosing a domain name philipgamble.co.uk and philipgamble.com were both taken as was philgamble.co.uk (and possibly the .com but that is now available) so I opted to use my alias/username freeg131.  Ranking top for that has been no problem.

I had assumed that the lack of the words ‘philip’ and ‘gamble’ in my domain name was the main reason for my bad ranking but then I discovered that I am above philgamble.co.uk on a search for “Phil Gamble” despite not having used this in anchor text for a long while (my article attributions at Game Maker Blog used to use this but I changed it to my full name).

There’s also www.philip-gamble.co.uk who is a gardener and PhilipGamble.com which is parked at Sedo.

Use of redirects

In an attempt to have a more professional looking domain I registered pgamble.co.uk about a year ago which I presumed was being 301 redirected it to freeg131.com.

However whilst writing this post I discovered that this was not actually a 301 redirect [see below]. When I took control of the CassioburyPark.com domain name I set up a cPanel account for this and did the 301 manually, but have gone through cPanel to set it up for pgamble.co.uk to freeg131.com now (and it is working).


The pgamble.co.uk domain was simply parked to my public_html directory so it displayed the freeg131.com site. pgamble.co.uk hasn’t been indexed by Google however so I don’t think duplicate content is an issue here and both domains also had PR3 and I presume this is because Google had realised they were essentially the same.

Backlinks

The vast majority of links are from GameMaker Blog as I have authored over 500 posts each of which include a link back in the author credit.  According to bad neighbourhood 85.41% of the links in are from a blog.

Perhaps there isn’t enough variation in my anchor text – the other Philip Gamble’s have their industry mentioned in some of their links where as most of mine are either me or friends referring to me or my site.  Maybe I should take the links off GameMakerBlog.com and start looking to get some links with anchor text such as “Philip Gamble’s blog”, “Philip Gamble from Watford”, “Phil Gamble is a really nice guy” etc.

Discovered there is a free version of SEO Spyglass which revealed these results (MajesticSEO tracks about 1,500 links in):

Selling links

You don’t have to be a genius to realise I am selling links from this site to a gambling website. Three links can be found at the top of the homepage. I think this must be the main reason for my poor rankings as it has associated my site with a bad neighbourhood.

An interesting point here though is that my Pagerank does not seem to have been effected. Using the SEOmoz Chrome toolbar to look at my mozRank (which is supposed to approximate page rank) pulls up 4.13 which is not much more than my page rank 3. On another of my sites, which previously sold links through text-link-ads.com, a page rank penalty is clearly in place – the site has PR 0 but a mozRank of 4.37 and many links from pages with pagerank. Thankfully, unlike for freeg131.com, this doesn’t seem to have affected the sites search rankings. Interesting that if this were the reason in would mean there are 2 different kind of penalties applied by Google here for doing the same thing – perhaps this site’s PR value will return to 0 after the next update.

I have been reading a bit about page links recently after having another approach from a casino company wanting to get links from what they see as a “Gamble” related domain name and might be taking the current ones off soon.

Recent changes

I recently made some changes to the site bringing “Philip Gamble” to the front of the title tag, updating the homepage meta description, removing sidebar links which duplicated those across the top of the page and adding nofollow to the WordPress and theme footer links. There are also now only 5 blog posts per page as opposed to 10 previously.

I also removed the twitter sidebar feed which was displaying 19 followed external links out of a total of 35 on the homepage.

Hope this works!

Using Guru.com to find a Freelance Article Writer

Some of the bids placed on freelance websites are crap.  The bidder posts something generic which takes less than 30 seconds to write before they are off to place their bid on the next available project.

A good example of this is comes in the form of a re-tweeted message (via Will Critchlow) where someone asks for a solution to the P versus NP problem (for which a $1,000,000 millennium prize is on offer). The project was given a $500-1000 budget. It received four bids.  “Hello, Easy job for me,please send me a PM.” and “i can do it. please, write in chat. thanks” are the complete copy of two of the bids, all of which came in under budget.

I’ve used ScriptLance in the past both as a buyer and provider of services but because of their policy of suspending an account if it is inactive for a certain amount of time – they then ask for a scan of your passsport and demand to know why you haven’t used the site for x months in order to reactive your account, even if it has funds in it – I decided to head elsewhere.

My project specification was for eight 300-500 word articles on the making of the Harry Potter film series. These would be part a section detailing films made at the Leavesden film studios. I had already written pages for two (not Harry Potter) films but opted to outsource this work as I have little interest in Harry Potter myself (and also as an experiment to see how it goes!).

I gave the project a target price of “Less than $250”, the lowest available option, and left a 7-day bid time. As you can see from the project specification I outlined what I was looking for, provided a sample article that I had written myself and asked bidders to include a sample of their work.

I received 11 bids. The highest was $225.00 and the lowest came in on the last day at $25. I discounted those that didn’t provide samples, gave a generic bid or had extreme prices and opted for a $50 bid which below the average bid value. It comes in at about £4 an article (plus whatever fees Guru charges for making payments, finding a freelancer etc). Put that way it seems quite expensive but since it isn’t purely writing (some research will have to be done) I am quite happy with the price.

Whether or not I will be when I see the work I don’t know! I’ll keep you updated.

Page to Site – One week on

It is now just over a week since I developed the single page GameMaker8.com into a multipage site in an attempt to provide better content and also enhance monetization opportunities.

A comparison of various statistics taken from the week before the changes and the week after are posted below. Revenue is not disclosed as this is against AdSense terms. The large percentage increase is partly due to the fact I was using a different network before where the site was performing very poorly.

Everything I wanted to increase did see a noticeable change – traffic levels, revenues and the amount of traffic passsed on to Game Maker Blog. Nothing sold via Amazon yet though.

Single Page to Mini Site

I decided to expand GameMaker8.com from a single page promoting Game Maker and my blog about it to a mini-site with several pages.

Traffic to GM8 has been very good considering the minimal amount of time I have spent on it since registering the domain.  The top Google ranking for “game maker 8” went pretty quickly to YoYo Games after the final public release of version 8 but traffic still averages about 9,000 page views a month.

Old website:

New homepage:

As well as providing more content, which should keep people on the site for longer, I also turned my attention to trying to monetize the website. The small homepage box ad from Project Wonderful has been replaced with a larger Google Adsense block and the page about Game Maker books gives me the opportunity to plug my Amazon Affiliate links.

I will watch traffic and revenue stats with interest over the next week or so.