Climate Progress is #1, but why?

[Someone noticed the factoid below and e-mailed it to me — and it is too rich not to comment on and try to learn from.]

I recently wrote a post “Note to media: Pork queen Palin is an earmark expert, NOT energy expert.” It began:

If you Google Palin energy expert, you’ll find more than 10,000 hits. It’s no surprise that conservative shills like George Pataki and Haley Barbour use that label — heck, a major conservative talking point is that she’s a foreign-policy expert because “Alaska is the closest part of our continent to Russia,” as Cindy McCain put it. Conservatives are desperate to inflate the resume of this partially vetted semi-qualified VP choice….

Now here’s the great thing. If you Google Palin “energy expert” now, my post is the first entry:




clipped from

Search Results

  1. Climate Progress » Blog Archive » Note to media: Pork queen Palin

    Sep 3, 2008 palin.jpg If you Google Palinenergy expert,” you’ll find more than 10000 hits. It’s no surprise that conservative shills like George – 24k – CachedSimilar pagesNote this

blog it


Now that is change I can believe in.

So I have a Query to all those who understand search engines:

Why am I now first up?

Someone emailed me that is

1) # of people linking to you

2) clarity of relevancy in the post.

3) number of searchers with the term who then click on the result. (E.g., searchers find you relevant.)

But in fact according to technorati, only two websites link to that post.

Someone else emailed me

1. Climate Progress has a PageRank of 7, likely higher than the competitors.
2. You included the keywords in the URL.
3. People linked with the appropriate keywords.
4. Good keyword density.

I’d love to know the answer — ’cause I like being first!

12 Responses to Climate Progress is #1, but why?

  1. Daniel Haran says:

    Yikes – speaking of search engine optimization: that link to the original article is broken :)

    # of people linking to you will increase pagerank. having the keywords in the URL is probably useful because more people click on the search result.

    I’ll add that linking to other articles helps ‘situate’ your article in the broader conversation and marks you as more authoritative. Rather than a dead end, it makes your page more useful as a starting point for someone researching the topic.

    This is all mostly voodoo though: only the google engineers know what the algos really do. The best strategy is just to keep writing great focused content that people will want to link to and read.

    Congratulations on being #1. Is there heavy search traffic on that term?

  2. Jill B says:

    Well, the blog is #12 now on Google. The list you were given (#1-4) is pretty accurate for Google, in my experience. But each search engine is different.

    In the end, the content, the URL and the readers matter – both for usefulness and ranking, so keep up the good posts.

  3. paulm says:

    In fact if you goggle :

    You are still king.

    The term expert associated with Palin does not seem to be common on the internet (…mmm ), therefore you float to the top when one does a search with these terms.

    Of course it could just be the guys at Google giving it a boost because you are associating Palin and Pork.

  4. Bunty says:

    It could just be a bit of a natural Google Bomb effect.

    Caused by people linking to your article, using the text: Palin && ‘energy expert’.

  5. David B. Benson says:

    By now I expec6t the algorithm is so complex that not even the Google engineeers understand what it does.

    Peter Norvig has a new motto: “Don’t do original work, search!”

  6. Good job! I had read it here first, but in honor of the #1 spot and because I like “Truth Be Told” I read it again on google

  7. Earl Killian says:

    When the Climate Progress Plug-in hybrid FAQ went live, it quickly became #1 if you searched for it. Now it is only #3. Perhaps timeliness is a factor?

  8. Ronald says:

    When you plug in ‘Palin earmark expert’, Climate Progress comes first and most.

  9. Ed Bachta says:

    Even SEO experts admit to not knowing exactly how Google indexing works. From what I’ve learned I would say that the major factors would be having the keywords in the page title and URL, and perhaps the frequency with which they appear in the article. The number of links in helps as well, as does having relevant links out.

  10. Ronald says:

    The ‘Palin energy expert’ and ‘Palin eramark expert’ aren’t that hard. It’s when you can get somebodies name next to a word that takes some work. I remember some groups trying to get ‘G. Bush’ to come up when someone typed in ‘failure’ or ‘absolute failure.’ Some groups have tried to get Hillary Clinton to come up with other words (you can imagine.)

    The search engines are written to try to avoid getting gamed by people with other motives, but it can make a real difference to a business or other program to get their website bumped up from 100 to top 10.

  11. Shannon says:

    The thing that makes my posts pop up on google the most is keywords in the title that match the search term. I can’t tell what the second thing is exactly but the keywords in the post seem to mean less than the text in the post. I try to duplicate my title string in the post as well and this seems to help.

  12. David B. Benson says:

    Ed Bachta — SEO?