How would a non-optimized site outrank a site which has done SEO?

“When analyzing rankings for highly competitive keywords in our industry, we have found sites not as optimized as ours is (on-page), that have few links & little content are still ahead of us. What gives?

Why are ‘unoptimized’ sites ranking so well?

Matt answered as follows:-

Fundamentally we look at on-page content as well as off-domain links.

We typically do not show all the backlinks.

Originally, we did not have the storage to return all the information and over time it became a tradition not to return all the results in the index.

So there could be high quality links that are not being shown. Bear in mind that there might be links to your competitors that you do not know about.

Matt Cutts GoogleWebmasterHelp video April 2011

Editor (David Viniker) comments.

  • The best indicator we have on the total value of the incoming links to a webpage, as indexed by Google, is PageRank.
  • Other metrics that make assumptions about indexed links are a relatively poor reflection of the way that Google sees it.