How Does the Google Toolbar Affect My Rankings?

By Scott

Earlier today I received an email from a client who asked me to comment
on the following:

I read an article last year that Google spys on your travels if you use their
Toolbar. The author speculated that this gives Google incite into where users
surf and may result in Google placing these web pages on their search results.

Background

The site the client is inquiring about is a new website,
that was launched only several weeks ago
– The goal is to simply get listed in Google and Yahoo for
the first time

My response (edited for this blog post)

I’ve often speculated that Google used their toolbar to influence the way
they rank sites in their engine. While we don’t know for sure what role the
Google toolbar has to play, I assume the following are among the many things it measures:

1) The length of time someone spends at a website found in the Google search
results

(as a way of measuring how useful the content on the
website actually is)

2) What pages the user browses to within the website
(as a way
of measuring whether Google is linking to the most relevant page)

3) Which sites get bookmarked at the highest rates
(to
determine how to rank a particular site)

The Question: Can one person manipulate the toolbar in order to enhance
their Google results?

Absolutely not. Assuming Google does use the
Google Toolbar to
influence rankings in its engines, they still would not allow a single user to
influence results. If they did, everyone would use the Google toolbar in order
to do so. My belief is that Google requires data from a number of different
users (hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands) in order to achieve some
kind of statistical significance in the way it perceives user behavior. One or
two users (i.e. myself and my client) would not be able to manipulate what
happens in Google by the way we use our toolbar.

The Underlying Question: Why does it take so long for Google, Yahoo, et al
to pick up a new website?

Remember, Google indexes over 8 billion listings. They have more than 50
data
centers
that control all of the content you see when you run searches on
Google.com. When you launch
a new website and
submit
it to Google
, it takes a long time for all of the major Google data centers
to index your website, and assign “PageRank
in order to know how to rank you.

You can speed up this indexing by getting quality, relevant links to your
website. This will help the Google spiders that retrieve data for the various
datacenters find you faster.

Where should I submit my site?

DMOZ.com (free)

Yahoo
Directory Submit
(costs $299)

Business.com


Zeal

– Among many other directory sites

Bottom line: You’ll have to be patient. The search engines are on no one’s
timeline but their own.

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