December 20, 2007, 12:00 AM

Weaning products site shows how to milk Google for a high search page rank, a UK-based web site retailer of weaning products for babies, rose to the number five position in Google search results for “weaning products” within two weeks of launch. There are lessons for other merchants in the tactics employed.

A United Kingdom-based web site focused on weaning products for babies rose to the number five position in natural search results on Google for the term “weaning products” within two weeks of launch. While the term is not overly competitive, the site used some tactics that can help other merchants raise their rankings on search results pages.

Emma Hine, founder of, attributes the site’s high position in Google search in the U.K. to the site’s focus on a niche market and the fact that the term “weaning products” is featured prominently on its home page. It also appears on every page on the site and in the site’s subtitle.

Other sites may offer weaning products, but they typically are part of a larger inventory of products for children, she says. “Because ( is weaning products solely, obviously the relevance is quite high,” she says. site devotes a section to recipes, food suggestions, and helpful tips for weaning babies. Hine says she republishes the site at least once a week, a practice that can help in search engine rankings as engines like Google give more credit for fresh content.

Hine says she also requested reciprocal links with U.K. web sites and online forums for parents and children. That is also a tactic that can raise a site’s search engine rankings, says Bill Leake, CEO of search marketing firm Apogee Search.

Achieving a high rank on a search term like “weaning products” is not as impressive as it would be on a more competitive term like “baby products,” Leake says. He notes only 148 of the 2.9 million U.S. web pages in the Google index have the term “weaning products” in the title tag that describes the site, and presumably fewer in the smaller UK market. Nonetheless, he says, KeentoWean is doing many of the things that help bring a site up in search engine rankings.

While there are a lot of variables in how Google ranks each web site, and Google keeps its algorithms secret, Leake says roughly 20% of the ranking on a competitive phrase is based on the content on the site’s pages and 80% on other factors, including the age of the domain, links to the site and other factors.

He says search engines value highly new content and links from well-established sites, or as he puts it, “Google likes a web site with new content and old links.” Retailers can raise their rankings by asking others to link to them, such as the manufacturers of the goods they sell, Leake says.

KeentoWean did just that, Hine says. She also reached out to parenting forums and other baby and parenting sites requesting reciprocal links, and joined a number of those forums, posting a short description of her site where allowed. “I only targeted sites that were relevant to my products, that is, only baby/parenting-specific, and I always asked permission,” she says.

Leake has one other tip for improving search engine ranking: Let others know how you want them to link to your site, for instance, making sure the most important term, such as “weaning products,” is the phrase that is attached to the link. “Then the web site linking to you is not only voting for you being generally important, it’s voting for you being specifically important for that keyword,” he says.

A retailer can also ask customers to mention the site in blogs, with a link featuring the primary keyword. That works especially well when the product is something with an emotional appeal. “If these folks are selling products people are passionate about,” Leake says, “they can probably get a lot of link love back from those customers.”

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