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Want to slowly kill your content on Google? Simply use a directory structure with dates

15. September 2016, 15:05

Visibility Index for Techcrunch.com on Google.com

The main reason to avoid dates within your directory structure is explained on page number 8 of the Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide:

Simple-to-understand URLs will convey content information easily

Creating descriptive categories and filenames for the documents on your website can not only help you keep your site better organized, but it could also lead to better crawling of your documents by search engines. Also, it can create easier, “friendlier” URLs for those that want to link to your content. Visitors may be intimidated by extremely long and cryptic URLs that contain few recognizable words.

If the dates constitute a really relevant piece of information for the user, I would keep them. For all other cases I would advice against them, as in doing so, you are likely going to kill your content on Google. Read Full Article

Buying links that others earned… Why not?

7. September 2016, 10:23

If you have the budget for it, then the easiest way to push your domain on Google is by buying an entire domain full of links, that others had to earn through long years of hard work, and then redirecting all content to your domain. If the domain grew organically over the years then many of the links may have been set by users who actually found the content useful which makes them good links.

If you indeed go this route, then please remember that the most important thing is that you offer the same – or at least similar but better – content on your own site, as was available on the old one. Always think of the users who will click on the old links and then get redirected to your new content. If you always optimize for Google’s users and not just for Google alone, then you will likely be on the safe side.

Please also consider that, while Google’s Gary Illyes has confirmed that “30x redirects don’t lose PageRank anymore“, I think that 301 redirects are still the best answer from a technical perspective. First, because the redirects are indeed “permanent” and second, because they have proven to work well (never change a wining team!).

In order for you to make an informed decision for a purchase, you should run a detailed evaluation of the link profile for the domain you want to buy beforehand:

1 – Does the link profile meet your own expectations and quality standards?
2 – Is the domain and its content relevant to the topic of your website?
3 – Are the domain’s backlinks also relevant for the topic or your website and are they “valuable” links for the target site (your website)?
4 – Is the domain popularity at an acceptable (high) level?
5 – What about the nofollow-ratio?

Let’s look at some examples! Read Full Article

Case Study: Has Cnet.com been hit by one of Google’s manual actions?

29. August 2016, 17:18
Visibility Index of Cnet.com on Google US

Visibility Index of Cnet.com on Google US

This week, the domain Cnet.com shows a 22% loss in their Visibility Index for Google US, this means that Cnet.com went from a Visibility index score of 266.07 last week, down to 208.8, right now. This may not sound like much, at first, but 22% for a such huge domain actually comes down to a Visibility loss of 57.27 points. Just to get an idea of the scope, we can look at the entire Ikea.com domain, which has a Visibility Index score of 58.36 points for Google US. It is very likely that Cnet.com was hit by a “thin content” manual action against their search pages.

Let’s take a look at what happened. Read Full Article

SEOs should care more about using redirects correctly than how much PageRank gets passed

23. August 2016, 11:56

For a long time, many SEOs have been talking about whether 301/302/307 Redirects pass on PageRank. Now, Google has confirmed that “30x redirects don’t lose PageRank anymore“, which is a very important information. This issue actually becomes irrelevant when you know that in general redirects are not used correctly and this is the main reason why domains may lose their rankings.

You can see this on a large scale within the weekly list of Movers & Shakers. There you will find a lot of domains losing rankings on Google, either because of a bad website migration or because of a new website design. Even popular brands do not escape this.

It seems that some SEOs may not want to believe that individual URLs are responsible for the most important quality signals of a domain – such as authority, reputation, trust, user signals, and many more – and that these URLs usually provide the majority of all incoming links.

By eliminating, ignoring or redirecting your old URLs incorrectly, your domain is suddenly worth much less – sometimes even zero – to Google. As I said before, size, power, brand and funding will not save you here. Even if you are the Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand or The Mayor of London or Tesla or H&M or Theguardian.com or Manchester City F.C.

Let’s take a look! Read Full Article

The BBC’s Marketshare on Google

29. July 2016, 14:25

In May of this year, the BBC announced far-reaching cuts to their web presence. “Soft news“ content such as magazine articles, recipes and travel advice would be reduced. The BBC’s director-general, Lord Hall of Birkenhead, said that the broadcasters’ websites “cannot be all things to all people“. All this is nothing new. On the chart bellow, we can see that the Visibility for BBC.co.uk on Google has been decreasing for years. Mainly due to two reasons:

Visibility Index value for BBC.co.uk on Google.co.uk

(1) On 26 February 2010 the BBC’s web output was cut by 50%, with online staff numbers and budgets reduced by 25% in a bid to scale back BBC operations and allow commercial rivals more room. On 24 January 2011, the confirmed cuts of 25% were announced, leaving a £34 million shortfall.

(2) In 2004 the BBC used the Public Value Test as the cornerstone of its manifesto for the renewal of its charter. The BBC took on a pioneering role in this endeavour.

5 years ago, the BBC.co.uk had a Visibility Index of 1,000 points on Google. Today, they are left with 628 points. The BBC pretty much reduced its marketshare on Google by 37% over the past 5 years. So what does this Visibility Index value of 628 points actually mean today? Read Full Article

A Success Story For SEOs & Entrepreneurs

19. July 2016, 12:25

The SEO Congress “Congreso SEO Profesional” is held every July in Madrid and specialises on presentations where website operators put their cards on the table, for all to see. Last year, for example, we had the opportunity to check out the exact data for the costs, auctions and traffic for TV-adds for two Spanish online-shops. It is not hard to guess why it is usually forbidden to take pictures of the sessions and write about them.

This year, we got extremely lucky in that one of the attendees, the owner of Floter.com (an online-shop for hardwood floors and laminate) and his SEO-consultant, MJ Cachón, gave us permission to tell their tale. I am sure this article will be quite helpful for anyone interested, especially due to the fact that we are able to share real numbers with everyone.

Floter.es and the bane of the Panda- & Penguin-Updates

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How Google Evaluates Links Using The User Signals From Google Chrome Browser

30. June 2016, 18:34

There is growing evidence, that Google can identify and devalue unnatural links very well by using User Signals.

Already in 2014, we wrote about the fact that Google has the possibility to evaluate links by using data from the Chrome Browser. Using the User Signals on how often a link is actually clicked on by users, Google could asses the true value of a link. Unnatural links could be as easily exposed as links from websites, which have only been created in order to sell links, but which do not have any actual visitors due to missing added value.

Up until now, there concrete evidence has been missing to support the theory that Google Chrome Browser has been sending its user’s browsing habits to Google. Now, that evidence exists. Read Full Article

Examples of user behaviour influencing Google’s rankings

23. June 2016, 18:08

A few weeks ago, I saw a great “Whiteboard Friday” episode by Rand Fishkin, which we agree with 100%. I too think that Google is all about delivering the best answer for the user, and for this, Google needs user behaviour data in order to decide which search result deserves the top spot, the second position and so forth.

Even at times when Google does not have enough data from the SEPRs, for example because the URL is too new, it is quite possible that Google will use the data they have for the entire domain to estimate the trustworthiness of the new URL.

Let me give you 3 examples:
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Case Study: Softonic.com has been hit by a Google manual action

7. June 2016, 16:10

The Visibility history for Softonic.com shows a large loss on Google US (-40%), UK (-33%), Germany (-42%), Italy (-61%), France (-53%), the Netherlands (-31%), Brasil (-43%), their home-market Spain (-45%) and many more search markets. For our analysis, we will therefore simply stay on the US market, as the cause is always the same, for all countries.

Visibility history for Softonic.com on the US, UK and DE searchmarkets

Visibility history for Softonic.com on the US, UK and DE searchmarkets

When we take a look at the Visibility for Softonic’s most visible directory, /s/, on Google US, we can see a major loss in Visibility. Before, this one directory made up a whopping 40% of the entire domain’s Visibility (84 Visibiliy poinst from the total of 208 points for the entire Domain). Now, this directory makes up less than 0,5% of the domain’s Visibility.

Visibility history for the strongest directories on softonic.com

Visibility history for the strongest directories on softonic.com

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Case Study: Monster’s monster growth on Google

3. June 2016, 09:53
01 Visibility of Monster in Google USA and UK

Visibility trends for Monster.com on Google US (top) and Monster.co.uk on Google UK (bottom)

About two months ago, Monster changed quite a bit of their internal website structure for both their USA and UK sites. Although the website architecture for both domains is very similar – both before and after the change – the positive effect is much more visible in the UK.

Monster.co.uk increased its Visibility by 116%. In the chart above we can nicely see how they break their long-time sideways trend for Monster.co.uk at the end of April.

This is a great example which shows us how a domain can do much better on Google by adjusting a number of screws. If we wanted to figure out every exact change in detail, we would need to run a very deep evaluation, which would probably take a few weeks of time and we would likely need information that is only available to their SEO’s and webmasters. Nonetheless, I want to show you what we can already see.
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