Before we get into today’s SEO discussion:
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OK, for SEO right now, let’s recap on some important points about Google’s current ‘M.O.’ (that’s 70′s TV cop show talk for ‘how they do stuff’) in 2014:
1. Google hates you
Google, the biggest Blackhat SEO company in the world by $ value, hates hates hates people like you and me doing SEO, artificially pushing sites to the top of Google for traffic and $. But as for Google’s own affiliate marketing?
And, they’re fine with manipulating their own search results to put their properties at the top of the SERPs e.g. the Google-owned retailmenot.com ranks first for hundreds/thousands of search terms in its niche – coincidence?
and they keep getting into trouble for bumping up their own Web properties over their SERP competitors – apparently that’s not a type of Blackhat SEO and enhances the ‘user experience’?
And, according to Google, duplicate content is worthless garbage UNLESS it takes the form of embedded YouTube videos featuring Google’s ads all over the Web. In that case, duplicate content is wonderful:
I don’t say the above with any anger – they’re squeezing as much income as they can out of their ‘time in the sun’ just as any other company probably would. But it’s good to keep Google’s anti-SEO hysteria and ‘quality content is king’ nonsense in perspective. Look at what they do rather than what they say.
I can’t remember where I read this but it’s succinct:
Google wants to organically rank popular sites rather than making sites popular by ranking them.
but it should read:
Google wants to organically rank popular sites rather than making sites popular by ranking them (unless Google owns them).
For us, SEO is (still) a cost-effective way of creating the illusion of some viral popularity to give websites a kick-start in terms of traffic and possible popularity.
But there’s a paradox here: to rank for any worthwhile search terms, artificial linkbuilding is pretty much essential – especially in certain niches where community building via forums or social platforms isn’t an option e.g. SEO for funeral homes, pool cleaners, loft conversion companies, dentists, lawyers, accountants etc.
Artificial linkbuilding carries risks though.
Plus, among other things, Google doesn’t care if Negative SEO destroys whitehat sites or any other innocent collateral damage and Manual Penalties have been thrown around in record numbers recently.
No Linkbuilding = No Google Organic Traffic
Linkbuilding = Organic Traffic + Risk Of Penalty/Slap
2. Penguin only works part-time
Penguin is only run occasionally – not continuously. Maybe it puts too much strain on the system at Google or maybe it’s part of the psychological war against SEOs.
Either way, during the non-Penguin Google times, you should do what you can to minimize the likelihood of a Penguin slap when they do run it next. You can check the historical timeline of Penguin runs here
So when Penguin hasn’t been run for a while, don’t get complacent or lazy with your linkbuilding.
And, (if we believe him) according to John Mueller from Google, backlinks with search terms as your Anchors are potentially a massive red flag for a future site slap – that’s a seismic shift in SEO best practice (and fixing current link profiles!).
That’s potentially HUGE change and suggests a few things:
1. Google has an ongoing action of classifying actual search terms and non-search terms and sites that don’t have search terms as Anchors in their backlink profile have a future advantage. Remember Google has previously stated that something like 15-20% of all search terms used on Google each month have never been entered before.
15% of 100 billion searches a month are lot of terms to get classified for anti-SEO algorithm changes!
2. Future SEO probably should AVOID all search terms as Anchors. Instead, your Anchors – if this proves to be true – should only be:
a. raw URLs
c. generic terms like: read more, here, website, info, this site etc
d. longtail, badly expressed, occasionally misspelt phrases e.g. where get discount grey carpet, see magicsubmiter disscount februry 2014
e. image links
Let your on-page SEO (don’t overdo that either!) signal topic relevance as we may be entering the age where Anchor text stops being used completely by Google to decide what a webpage should be ranked for.
It does make sense as keyword-rich Anchor Text has been manipulated since… forever.
Also John Mueller suggests that there is a Penguin ‘Lite’ (slowly decays your rankings across your whole site) and a Penguin ‘Max’ that sends your rankings off a cliff fast.
3. Longtail traffic
Also, as we saw with the Buzzfeed page that ranked on Page 1 for over 30 terms, your page/s can probably rank for a lot more terms than you previously thought.
Especially with Hummingbird where topics are classified more than individual keywords.
We’re also looking into the issue of external links on Buzzfeed pages and will report back here.
More coming soon – especially on Silo SEO 2019 style and I am getting to the backlog of comments and emails, thanks for your patience.
Have a great day.