This Week In SEO 20
Faking Freshness, HTTP vs HTTPS, and More

Each week we bring you the best tips and the most relevant news in SEO.  This post contains case studies on post freshness, a comparison of HTTP and HTTPS, Wikipedia losing 250 million organic visitors, optimizing tweets for the SERPs, and a look at a new gTLD that Google helped blow up.

But first, this week’s Quick SEO Tip–How to Find Valuable Keywords to Target Using SEMRush


[Case Study] Can You Fake Blog Post Freshness?

so fresh and so clean

It’s been shown, in the past, that Google values freshness in the SERPs (sometimes to a fault).  This Moz post digs in to the idea with some hard numbers on whether or not you can fake freshness (and whether or not it helps).


Yes you can fake freshness, maybe it will help.

Go ahead and check out the full post if you’re into research and results.

Did these posts all receive a major traffic boost just from faking the publishing date alone?

Better internal linking? Updating a post date brings a post from deep in the archive closer to your blog’s home page. Link equity should flow through to it more easily. While that is certainly true, six of the 16 posts above were linked sitewide from the blog sidebar or top navigation. I wouldn’t expect those posts to see a dramatic lift from moving up in the feed because they were already well linked from the blog’s navigation.




It’s looking more and more like Google is using HTTPS as a ranking signal.  Before you hit me with “no duh,” it was incredibly slow to take effect and the benefits were not clear for a long time.  But now it appears they are.

With the announcement I addressed in the beginning, Google is now using HTTPS as a ranking signal. It is pretty clear from data analysis that HTTPS sites have a ranking advantage over http-URLs so this switch will now benefit all companies, confidential information or not.

Keep in mind, this is not an easy transition (especially if you don’t know what you’re doing).  There are a bunch of “recommended practices” to make sure your transition is solid and error free (including a set of steps to let Google know you’ve switched).

Check out the full post for the list of recommendations, and to see if it makes sense to switch your site over to HTTPS (esp. if you’re not doing transactions on your site, in which case you should absolutely be using HTTPS).

**Update — @SEO tweeted this just now, and I think it’s an interesting counter point:

How to Optimize Your Tweets for Search

optimize all the things

Google’s deal with Twitter</a to index and display tweets presents some interesting ranking opportunities.  Other than writing relevant tweets, it turns out there are some things you can do to optimize your tweets/twitter account

Google lets you embed code in your website to specify your preferred social accounts, like Twitter, to include in search results. For example, Microsoft’s social profiles are displayed in the Google knowledge panel on the right in these search results.

gm-social-profiles-search-resultsIn addition to your Twitter profile, you can specify your profiles for Facebook, Google+, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Myspace, Pinterest, SoundCloud and Tumblr. All you have to do is grab some code from the Google Developers site and drop it onto your website.


.XYZ See Nearly 20,000 Domain Registration After Google Announces ABC.XYZ


Since Google Inc. announced Alphabet Inc. on August 10, 2015 around 3 PM ET and stated they will be using the domain name ABC.XYZ, the new gTLD .xyz has had nearly 20,000 new domain names registered!

It started with over 6,000 .xyz domains being registered after Google’s announcement.

New registrations for .xyz cranked that rising total up over double in one day with 13,000+ more domain name registrations! (13,206 to be exact) with a two day total of about 20,000 newly registered .xyz domain names.

It’s amazing the kind of waves Google can make with a simple movement.  Though this isn’t directly related to SEO, it indirectly is (a big endorsement of .xyz/new gTLDs), it’s interesting how thoroughly an action from Google can change the landscape.  The real winner here, obviously, is the company that owns .XYZ.

(It’s depressing, but inevitable that a big chunk of the names registered were relating to the trademarked terms and misspellings relating to Google/Alphabet and .xyz).

None of these were registered by Google:

copyrighted registrations

Wikipedia Lost a Massive Amount of Traffic From Google

sad jimmy

Speculation takes the lead on why this is happening, but SimilarWeb is reporting that Wikipedia is down about 250 million visits per month. Ouch.

Could be that Google is starting to (even more) favor strong brands for certain keywords, instead of a generic Wikipedia page. Or–put on your tinfoil hat–could be this:

One of the major trends happening at Google is the company’s preference for inserting its own content above the content of other non-Google web sites, even when those sites may be better resources than Google itself. Google’s goal here is to give people the best answer as quickly as possible.

What do you think is happening here, Google favoring brands, or favoring their own content above all the other results?

TWS21: Googlebot, Social Media, SEO Mistakes, and More
TWS19: Google is Alphabet, Losing 4 Local Placements & More

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Sean Markey

Sean Markey

Obsessive consumer of SEO news and strategies, writes the This Week in SEO column. Loves playing drums and writing fiction. Bets you he can throw a football over them mountains.
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