This Week In SEO 39
Panda Facts, Google Kills Travel SERPs, Horror Stories, & More


The Most Important Things We Learned About the Panda Algorithm

pandas falling

A good, really clear breakdown of the Panda Algorithm and how to avoid being caught up in it. Even if you’re a pro SEO, this is a good refresher from the mouths of the search team (which, it can be pointed out, are sometimes prone to misinformation–or at the very least, not saying the whole story). Still, the info here is straightforward, and checks out with a lot of SEOs experiences.

Bottom line: Duplicate content can certainly affect your SEO. But from a Panda perspective, if your main focus is on getting your site ranking well again in Google after a Panda hit, leave it until the end. Google is usually pretty good about sorting it out, and if not, it’s fixable with either some redirects or canonicals.

The article covers duplicate content, word count, affiliate links, and removing content, among other things.


SEO Horror Stories

SEO Horror Story

Take a break from building links and marvel at these SEO horror stories. In addition to providing a few good lessons of what not to do, some of these are just entertaining (because, let’s face it: we’ve all made dumb mistakes).

horror story

To tackle this, you can schedule frequent crawls – a function offered by most SEO crawlers such as OnPage Zoom – so that once the SEO process has begun it continuously checks for internal duplicate content that could be generated along the way.

The real value in this article is the step-by-step way to fix most of these mistakes (though they are a bit biased with a lot of their advice, pushing features their SEO tool offers). A fun, informative read. Check it out.


Google Revamps Travel Search Query Results

Speaking of horror stories…

Google recently updated the travel SERPs on mobile to feature Google Flights, Google Hotels, and Google Local (restaurants). It takes a lot of effort to reach the organic results on mobile, but as a user, why would you want to? Google just hooked you up with all the information you need.

google travel results

Google then shows you a couple of destinations with a big blue arrow to show more. So you click that, and it expands into many more locations. Once you are there, there is no way to get back to the web search results without clicking back or redoing your search. You can also see the prices for flights and hotels in the area.


Do 404 Errors Hurt SEO?

link not found screaming frog

A thoughtful piece on the impact of internal 404 pages, along with a step by step process to identify and fix up the errors. Worth a read and a quick site audit to clean up this potential loose end.

404 errors themselves may not directly hurt SEO, but they can indirectly. In particular, internal 404s can quietly tank your efforts, creating a poor user experience that leads to a low-quality perception and pogosticking behavior.


How To Find Website Optimization Opportunities


One of the first things I do is use Ahref’s Position Explorer tool to show me any keywords that a URL is currently ranking for – I tend to look for keywords on page 2 or 3 that could be bumped up to page one with some on-page tweaks. You can also use SEMrush and Search Console data for this.

Matthew Barby brings a solid process for going through a website and taking care of some opportunities to optimize. So much emphasis in SEO is placed on link building and penalties, sometimes the health of the website gets lost in the hype. Take a stroll through the steps in the post to make sure your site is working for you, not against you.

HTTP/2 and SEO, Deceptive Download Buttons, and More!
Unencrypted Sites, Google Pays Apple for Search, Search APIs shutting down, and More

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