This is a theory that I keep coming back to time and time again – it looks to me as though having an outbound link on your page that contains the desired keyword has a positive impact.

Now, I can not know if this applies to only when the link points to pages on your own web site or any outbound links, but time and time again I see before me the evidence that this might just be the case.

Last night I was comparing 2 of my own web-sites. The first, with Page Rank 3 and heaps of SEO work against the second, Page Rank 0 and ignored. They are both sites, feeding from the same cottages database, listing the same cottages in the same towns etc. The differences to the title and description tags are tiny, and anyway, I doubt these elements hold much weight. Not enough that rent [town name] against [town name] rent is going to explain the differences I am seeing.

But the fact of the matter is that the lower page rank web site gets 4 times the visitors of the other web site. When we are submitting articles for the higher ranking web site, its visitors increases. But, as soon as we stop, it drops back to the 25% mark.

Each page is ever so slightly different with a small thesaurus applied to the text, but not that much different. In essence, the web sites are the same.

So why does the newer, lower Page Rank, totally ignored site get 4 times the visitors of the website that I have lavished a lot of hours on trying to increase its visitors.

At this point I looked at the visitors stats merely to see where traffic were finding the sites. The lower visitors site had a few searches for odd terms. The search engines obviously picking up cottage names and descriptions from deep within the website. So they are trawling the site well (some inner pages have Page Ranks of 2).

For the poorer cousin with plenty of traffic, the main search results were [town name] rent and so on. The sort of searches that are more abundant, produce more visitors and are more competitive.

So, even if there is a lack of search engine optimisation and Page Ranking, it is doing better in the search results. For this reason I started to look at the town pages of both website to see where and how often the word rent was mentioned and also the same for the particular town.

Basically, looking at the town name, the sites were near enough the same. OK, one site has “rent” before the town name and the other after it, but the search engine results showed both versions anyway – if anything, more favoured the way they were shown in the lower ranking site.

There was just one instance of the words rent and the town name on the higher visitors website that the lower traffic site did not use. And that was in the breadcrumbs!

The higher visitors website offers links to the higher level pages and the present page through the breadcrumbs, the lower visitors web site just relied on the main navigation to cover it.

So, there is an obvious change and an equally obvious conclusion. The difference in traffic is because one site has an outbound link containing the search terms. Why would this be? That is for another time?

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