Chris Hooley isn’t exactly a common name.  I think there are maybe three or four of us on this planet.  Narrow that set of results down to all the Chris Hooley’s who are SEOs and you have an even smaller set (consisting of one).  I figured owning this term was a slam dunk.

Wrong.

Believe it nor not, I actually had to build a few links.  I actually had to write some content… I actually had to work a little for it!  Finally that little bit of work I put in has paid off.  I have the trifecta: #1 on Google, Yahoo!, and MSN.  (Ask is taking a bit longer, though I have that #1 for a different one of my pages)

What’s more interesting is how long each engine took recognize and award the top spot, and what factors weighed into the results.  Check out this neat little timeline.

  • February 2006: spent much of the month trying to convince this guy to sell me his domain
  • February 18, 2006: bought chris-hooley.com instead, launched blog, and wrote my first post
  • May 2, 2006: still no rankings.  Self linked from a very relevant page (which ranked in the 1-3 zone on all engines).  Wrote a page obviously designed to get some hub love.  Interconnected most of my social networking sites, and even threw up a few gross cheapo blog posts (#note: MSN loved this)
  • May 12, 2006: All engines now recognize the site.  #1 on Yahoo! and MSN, #3 or 4 on G
  • May 12 – August 2006: Did a tiny bit of link whoring, submitted site to a few major blog directories, posted a few tidbits (no spamming mind you) on forums I frequent, etc.  Saw ranks stabilize on G at #2 during this period
  • August 2006 to Present: Stopped working on SEO for this site and figured Google loves colllege, just blogged here and there for as I felt the urge.
  • October 27, 2006: Finally got that #1 spot on G.

So your asking yourself, what did I get from this timeline?  Here’s another neat list.

  • Google loves .edu type sites
  • There IS a Google sandbox on domains AND links
  • Yahoo! likes big links (“big” in this case meant “very relevant”)
  • MSN loves virtually any crappy link you can throw at it

Nothing new there.

I guess the moral of the story is, a website, no matter how relevant, will rarely automatically rank itself.  You still gotta put a little effort into every site, even if it seems like the easiest phrase or vertical.