This Week In SEO
Mobile Sites, Doorways, Parasites & More
We have another round of SEO news and updates for you here.
Below are some great posts from the industry. Including everything from upcoming updates, to some nice parasite info for you grey-hatters.
How Google Skewed Search Results
Here’s one for all the haters, the cynics, and the conspiracy theorists. Apparently a report by some anonymous folks at the Federal Trade Commission show that Google shaped the search results to raise their own service and bury competitors. It does not look good…
FTC staff noted that Google presented results from its flight-search tool ahead of other travel sites, even though Google offered fewer flight options. Google’s shopping results were ranked above rival comparison-shopping engines, even though users didn’t click on them at the same rate, the staff found. Many of the ways Google boosted its own results have not been previously disclosed.
Experiment Results: Can Hidden Content Rank Well?
An interesting little experiment that focuses on hidden content. Though Google says that best practice is to always show important content (which is obvious), the pages in the study with the hidden content still showed up in the search results.
“I discussed my results with John Mueller yesterday at SMX in Munich and was advised that despite my results it’s still the best and safest practice to show any important content and keywords in the visible part of the page. John wasn’t ambiguous at all when he said that Google prefers visible over hidden content. There is a chance that the search engine treats my little test pages (fresh URL, outside of website template and patterns, unusual content amount…etc) differently then they would regular or more established pages.”
After posting this I remembered that I actually made a WordPress plugin just for this a year or so ago. I don’t really recommend using any hidden content now, but if you want it here is a free plugin for it. Here is a Demo (click on “thanks”)
5 Domains to 1: An SEO Case Study
An interesting case study by Dr. Pete of Moz.com on moving several different domain names (and the associated content) to a new, single domain–a.k.a. consolidation. This a meaty post that really digs into the technical challenges of such a migration, and gives a good road-map for if you ever need to do it for yourself.
“There’s no room for shortcuts when you’re moving to a new domain.”
That said, a domain change isn’t a death sentence, either. Done right, and with sensible goals in mind – balancing not just SEO but broader marketing and business objectives – a domain migration can be successful, even across multiple sites.
To sum up: Plan, plan, plan, monitor, monitor, monitor, and try not to panic.
Google Clarifies the Mobile Friendly Algorithm Will Roll Out Over A Week, Be a Yes/No Response, and More
Some more details are emerging about the upcoming algorithm update for sites that don’t place nice with mobile. In this article, Google clarifies that the update will roll out over several days to a week, and like your favorite class in college, will be pass/fail. So get your stuff in order.
“As we mentioned in this particular change, you either have a mobile friendly page or not. It is based on the criteria we mentioned earlier, which are small font sizes, your tap targets/links to your buttons are too close together, readable content and your viewpoint. So if you have all of those and your site is mobile friendly then you benefit from the ranking change.”
The Truth Behind “Doorway Pages” and Why They Matter for SEO (with Duane Forrester of Bing.com)
A great podcast all about Doorway Pages, why they matter, and the recent Google redefinition of doorway pages. This one is for the real SEO nerds.
Google does loosely define what a Doorway Page may be based on a particular set of questions:
- Is the purpose to optimize for search engines and funnel visitors into the actual usable or relevant portion of your site, or are they an integral part of your site’s user experience?
- Are the pages intended to rank on generic terms yet the content presented on the page is very specific?
- Do the pages duplicate useful aggregations of items (locations, products, etc.) that already exist on the site for the purpose of capturing more search traffic?
- Are these pages made solely for drawing affiliate traffic and sending users along without creating unique value in content or functionality?
- Do these pages exist as an “island?” Are they difficult or impossible to navigate to from other parts of your site?
- Are links to such pages from other pages within the site or network of sites created just for search engines?
Live Test: What Parasite Pages Are Doing Well In Google In 2015?
Shout out to all you grey/black hatters. Parasite pages are still a thing, and this post does the research to let you know which sites still matter TO GOOGLE.
No quote for this one–the real content of worth is in an image. Fair warning before you check this link out, the content you want is behind a social sharing locker. As much as I hate those, if you’re interested in this area of SEO, it’s worth it.