This Week In SEO 22
Punishing Mobile Sites, Reverse Panda, Topical Trustflow, and More  

This week features a new move by Google to punish mobile sites that hide content, a discussion on whether or not the Panda roll-out is being reversed, a study on the most popular title tags in the highest ranking sites, how to take advantage of Majestic’s Topical Trustflow, and a very critical article on Google search’s disappearing real estate.

But first, this week’s Quick SEO Tip.  Here’s a review of a new tool called Rival Seek, which claims to be a search engine for competitors.

Rival Seek

Google to Punish Mobile Sites that Push for App Installs


This is an interesting move on Google’s part, and really gives some weight to the idea that they are really trying to improve the user experience.

According to an update to webmasters the company posted today, Google’s mobile-friendly test will now indicate when a site should avoid these kinds of app install interstitials. Starting November 1, sites that show app install ads that hide “a significant amount of content on the transition from the search result page” will be penalized by losing their “mobile-friendly” status. This means they will likely rank lower on Google’s mobile search results pages.

The article also brings up this interesting point:

You could argue that Google is obviously better at monetizing on the web than in mobile apps, so it wants people to stay in the browser, but these interstitials are simply an annoyance and I for one appreciate that Google is trying to do something about this.


Did Google Reverse the Panda 4.2 Update?


Here’s your weekly dose of SEO speculation.

Several SEOs are reporting that the traffic gains they saw from the recent (slow) rollout of the Panda update are going back to their pre-Panda levels.  Here’s an interesting graph that illustrates this:


Check out the post for the full speculation, and dig through the comments as well. Nothing official from Google yet, but interesting to see how the data is trending.

Have you seen this with your site(s) at all?  Let me know in the comments.

The Most Commonly Used Words in High-Ranking Title-tags

I’m a sucker for data you can actually use.

Siege Media did some number crunching and got a list of the most-used keywords in high-ranking pages (pulled from the title tags).  One thing that’s interesting is the split between “buying intent” keywords and “informational.”
meta title graph

In the end, we were left with a list of seven keywords that occurred enough in the pages’ title tags to glean insights from. For the purposes of giving you the full picture/allowing you to make your own conclusions, we’ve also included the number of times the word occurred on the original keyword list. The higher the number, the more likely that number influenced the total number of occurrences in the titles of our dataset.

Read the whole article, they really break down each keyword and how the information can be used.  A solid post; a must read!

Topical Trustflow: Five Use Cases


Majestic makes the case for replacing the dead (publicly) dead Pagerank metric with topical trust flow.

Topical Trust Flow (not tropical) is how authoritative and trustworthy a domain or URL is within its niche and what the topic of the content is about. The content that links to a page helps determine its Topical Trust Flow, so the more referring domains the more accurate Topical Trust Flow is. It also isn’t easily faked out like me and 16,996 other LinkedIn users, which you’ll learn about next. This is just one reason why other digital marketers had this to say when Topical Trust Flow was first launched. Yes, I even picked users with good Topical Trust Flow for our niche.

The post outlines five ways that SEOs are using topical trust flow to do better in the SERPs. If you’re a Majestic user, this is a solid post on how to get more from the tool.

Virtual Real Estate Virtually Disappears

google stare

Aaron Wall, of SEO Book is very critical of Google, and not afraid to blog about his grievances. I’m a fan.

In this article, he talks about how Google has been acting not in the best interest of the user, or sites that aren’t mega brands. (I realize this is a different message than the first article in this week’s TWS post, but SEO in Google’s House is not particularly straight forward and clear cut).

Go read this post. There’re some great thoughts, some interesting observations, and lots of good links. Settle in and enjoy.

But Google has been increasing the cost of owning a brand. They are testing other ad formats to drive branded search clicks through more expensive ad formats like PLAs & they have been drastically increasing brand CPCs on text ads. And while that second topic has recently gained broader awareness, it has been a trend for years now: “Over the last 12 months, Brand CPCs on Google have increased 80%” – George Michie, July 30, 2013.
There are other subtle ways Google has attacked brand, including:
penalties on many of the affiliates of those brands
launching their own vertical search ad offerings in key big-money verticals
investing billions in “disruptive” start ups which are exempt from the algorithmic risks other players must deal with
allowing competitors to target competing brands not only within the search results, but also as custom affinity audiences
linking to competing businesses in the knowledge graph
Google has recently dialed up monetization of local search quite aggressively as well. I’ve long highlighted how mobile search results are ad heavy & have grown increasingly so over time. Google has recently announced call only ad formats, a buy button for mobile ads, local service provider ads, appointment scheduling in the SERPs, direct hotel booking, etc.

TWS 23: 200+ Ranking Signals, Writing Noteworthy Content, and More
TWS21: Googlebot, Social Media, SEO Mistakes, and 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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