This Week In SEO 104
Best Content, Internal Linking, A Horrifying Google SERP, & More!
What Content Performs Best for Getting Links: A Study
This is an interesting, but far from scientifically rigorous study on what kind of content gets links. Perhaps the most interesting thing about this is how it could be replicated within the niches that matter most to you, since it is more art than science (but, I would argue, still gives you a solid 80/20 of what content does well in your niche and why).
I manually analysed with my eyes the “top” (as defined by Trust Flow and Citation Flow) 100ish links for 2 random well ranking sites in Insurance, Ecom in an interesting niche, Ecom in a dry niche, Travel and Finance. I only really cared about links that looked, to me, to have been strategically built through the active creation and distribution of a thing. That thing can be as involved as huge scale video production, right to a simple Tweet sharing a quote with a journalist. I ignored links that looked, to me, to have occurred entirely naturally such as genuine forum discussions, certain reviews and so on. I did this because I am interested primarily in understanding what strategies are most effective in order to ensure I am doing the best shit now, and for the future.
This is a long, thoughtful piece that I’d highly recommend reading through. The author goes through what kinds of content were most “paid for,” what kind of content got the best (most authoritative) links, and what content got the flat-out most links:
A Brief Content Study of Things You Probably Already Knew
This classic Backlinko style post ticks all the boxes:
✅analyzes an absurd amount of data
✅partners with a best-in-class big business
✅lots of numbers and statistics
✅more than 50% of the content on the page is comments
The post itself is quality, but mainly serves to back up common SEOisms with data generated from articles in Buzzsumo’s database, such as:
- Most articles generate zero backlinks
- Long content generates more backlinks than shorter content
This post is probably of most interest if your site relies on social media more so than backlinks, but if that’s the case, you probably knew most of this anyway…
Why Google Doesn’t Use CTR and E-A-T Like You Think
An SEO think-piece (rant) on how many SEOs are full of shit and correlation does not imply causation, and how, with cherry-picked data, some SEOs spread misinformation that refuses to die because it gets caught in viral feedback loop.
Google does NOT use E-A-T as a ranking signal.
It doesn’t matter how often Googlers reject that belief. It doesn’t matter how much they debunk it. The same people come back time and again and proclaim their correctness, asserting they finally have proof that the E-A-T- Fairy is real and bestowing blessings upon everyone.
Wikipedia alone proves there is no E-A-T ranking signal. Wikipedia is not only NOT an expert Website, the news media has published many stories about subject-matter experts being driven away from Wikipedia. Although Wikipedia’s community has responded to these criticisms and attempted to adjust their policies through the years to promote better editing, their fundamental principle of allowing consensus from the unwashed masses to make decisions has led to many potentially good articles being edited into mediocrity. In some cases outright false information persists in Wikipedia articles because their rules against “edit wars” favor the people who are clever enough to revert accurate corrections.
You’ll most likely have a strong reaction to this post–whether for or against, but that’s a good thing. On the one hand, it’s important to try and validate on your own the kinds of things some very visible SEOs claim. On the other, Google has zero interest in having any of us really understand their algorithms work (outside of making sure they can be easily crawled for maximum indexing and scraping, but that’s a story of another day).
So, I mean, you’ve got to accept SOME advice eventually. Probably helpful to read something from both sides of the SEO aisle as much as possible. For every Marie Haynes theory read something from Michael Martinez.
Then start drinking…
Decentralized vs Centralized Internal Linking
Interesting post from a really smart SEO about the two main ways you can approach internal linking. A bit of an advanced post, but one you shouldn’t miss.
Websites vary by the point of conversion, depending on what business model they follow. One type of site leads all users to one or a few landing pages, the other has users sign up on almost every page. Should the approach to internal link optimization be the same for both? Of course, not!
Sites that have a few points of conversion are what I call “centralized”. They don’t have scalable page templates, in most cases. Instead, they consist of landing pages, a blog, and some other pages. Centralized sites are often used by SaaS, app, and enterprise companies like Atlassian, UBER, or Salesforce.
The opposite is sites with many points of conversion, used by Ecommerce businesses, social networks, and marketplaces. They are “decentralized” sites with page templates they can scale, such as public instances, user profiles, apartment listings, products, or categories. Examples are Pinterest, Airbnb, and Amazon.
A Glimpse At The Bleak, Post-Apocalyptic Future of SEO
This is an incredible search result from Google:
• Answers a fairly complex question
• Takes the copy of many 3rd party publisher to create its own independent web page
• Zero visible on-page links to the publishers who provided the data
This is the future of Google Search pic.twitter.com/txNU2Z7HB5
— Cyrus (@CyrusShepard) February 23, 2019
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