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This Week In SEO 49
Featured Snippets, Purposeful Content, Redirecting Old Pages, & More


The Most Valuable Featured Snippets

Search Analytics gives us a very interesting look at featured snippets in the latest post from a series about featured snippets.

In case you’re wondering, this is a featured snippet, and it is displayed ABOVE the first organic result, below the last ad.

what is a featured snippet

So what’s the big deal?

Featured snippets usually get pulled from a search position outside the top spot, effectively giving sites an opportunity to outrank the first spot and pick up some extra traffic.

This post looks at the value of traffic obtained from featured snippets:

In our study, out of one million high-CPC keywords, 92,832 returned a featured snippet. Within that smaller data set, we found that 1,570 of those had annual traffic with an estimated value of over one million dollars.

We used some pretty simple math to calculate this estimated annual traffic value for featured snippet queries (CPC x annual US search volume).

This is just one topic from their comprehensive white paper. I definitely suggest going and taking a look at the whole thing!


Digital Content Journey

BuiltVisible has been killing it with their posts recently–this one is no exception.

Content for the sake of having words on your site, while part of a healthy, balanced SEO approach, is not inherently valuable.

For what purpose are people reading your content? What do you hope to gain from having their eyes on your words?

That’s the core off what BuiltVisible discusses in the post. Basically, along the “buyers journey,” that is: the path someone who has never heard of you before takes to become a customer, you can craft content that speaks to every step. This helps guide someone to know, like, and trust your brand.

Study this post–especially if you’ve got an ecommerce store–and start rethinking your content strategy.

Content aimed at potential customers in the awareness stage should make a loud and positive first impression. Often times, you’re crafting content for total strangers, which means that it has to grab their attention quickly, and then entice them to keep reading, watching, or listening.

This content should aim to entertain or inform your audience (or both, ideally). Highly visual, succinct, and interactive content tends to win the most awareness, which is why short form content like vines, memes, and quizzes work so well in this stage.


On Redirecting Old, Expired Pages

301 redirect
yes, there’s actually some stock photography for 301 redirects…

What should you do with old, expired, or no longer relevant pages? Let them 404? Redirect them to the home page?

It’s not as straightforward an answer as you might think.

This post digs into John Mueller’s responses to some questions concerning what to do with these old pages. Here are the most important takeaways:

  • 301 redirects to a category page would be treated as a soft 404.
  • If you have an old/expired/no-longer-relevant page that can be redirected to a similarly relevant page, that is OK.
  • Certain redirects to the home page will be treated as soft 404s as well.

What is a soft 404?  Good question:

Returning a code other than 404 or 410 for a non-existent page (or redirecting users to another page, such as the homepage, instead of returning a 404) can be problematic. Firstly, it tells search engines that there’s a real page at that URL. As a result, that URL may be crawled and its content indexed. Because of the time Googlebot spends on non-existent pages, your unique URLs may not be discovered as quickly or visited as frequently and your site’s crawl coverage may be impacted (also, you probably don’t want your site to rank well for the search query” – source: Google

Lots more interesting stuff in this post. Recommend you read through and decide what applies to your site.


Outbound Link Penalty: Don’t NoFollow All Links!

If you got penalized with the recent outbound-link manual action you might be thinking:

I’mma go and NoFollow every link on my site. Google loves NoFollowed links…

Hang on a sec.

According to SEM Post, John Mueller (J Mu?) wrote this:

There’s absolutely no need to nofollow every link on your site!

When/If you get penalized by Google, don’t react like you saw a spider on your pillow.


Instead, keep an eye on the chatter, make sure to understand the reason for the penalty as best you can, and THEN take action.

Don’t start editing your website hoping you do something that pleases Google.

Just a friendly PSA…


Increased Organic Traffic (Case Study)

organic traffic growth

^ Look at that sexy organic traffic growth.

This post looking at increasing organic traffic for an ecommerce site by doing some smart keyword research is one of the most important things I think SEOs need to understand.

To crudely sum it up:

  1. You’re probably not going to outrank a brand for their own brand or product
  2. Stop writing content based on what the monthly searches are for a particular keyword.
  3. Be the first to own relevant content: look at the conversations happening NOW to help you determine what to write about. The monthly searches will probably be 0, but that doesn’t really apply.

In the video walkthrough, Ryan shows you how he is using social media sites like Instagram and Snapchat to get a feel for what people are really searching for, without waiting six months for the Google keyword tool data to catch up.

Smart stuff, pay attention!

Google picks up on the back end of what’s happening on social media. So instead of looking at dated key words, we wanna look at the source and we wanna attack it and capture it, and be the first entrance into that piece of content before other SEOs and content marketers start creating content around it. The best place to do that honestly is Instagram, and Snapchat’s even better because Snapchat is right now in the moment. Instagram is still very hip, people are sharing but Snapchat is right in the moment. I can’t show you Snapchat, it’s just something you gotta pick up on your own. But Instagram’s a great place to start.

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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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