This Week In SEO 56
Brands Dominating Google, Bing News, Apple Ads, & More


How 16 Brands are Dominating the SERPs

Glen from ViperChill killed it this week with a post looking at how mega brands and their subsidiaries have taken over the SERPs for ultra-high value keywords (beauty, gaming, software, food, and more).

To say it’s a bit of a depressing view of SEO today is a bit of an understatement.

From an objective standpoint, the Google results are good, if not great. They provide what the searcher, and I, are looking for.

But I’m a marketer. If you’re still reading this article, I can assume with 99% certainty that you’re one too.

As a marketer I learned how little Google care if a new site gets hundreds of thousands of links very quickly.

I came away with even more belief in the importance of having a strong domain (read: a domain that has a lot of backlinks) if you want internal pages to rank.

To me, the issue of quality results from the searcher’s standpoint compared against having diverse results where smaller sites producing equally awesome content have a chance to be visible is very interesting.  After reading this article and looking at the research, two things become very clear:

  1. Building a brand is more important than ever (for long term SEO), and
  2. Even if you do build an awesome brand, you probably won’t come close to having the budget and ability to generate free links/PR that these mega brands do.

Sorry, that’s pretty depressing.  Here is a cute .gif to distract you…


But really, though it seems fairly discouraging, I don’t think ranking a site against these brands is impossible. As always, building authority and getting strong links can push your site onto their turf.


The Rise of Bing

bing pubhub

Bing is stepping up their game in terms of trying to grab more of the search market share.

One big thing that’s helping drive growth is the Apple-Spotlight-like integration of Cortana in new Windows operating system (which has millions of users).

Another new feature that will generate some significant traffic for relevant sites is the introduction of the Bing News PubHub.

It’s basically Bing’s version of Google News. The guidelines are pretty reasonable. They will consider sites that have:

  • Newsworthiness: Content that reports on timely events and topics that are interesting to users.
  • Originality: Content that provides unique facts or points of view.
  • Authority: Identify sources, authors, and attribution of all content.
  • Readability: This includes creating content with correct grammar and spelling, as well as a site design that’s easy for users to navigate.

Definitely something to consider if your site meets the above requirements. Click on through to the SEJ article for info on how to submit your site.


Jewelry SERPs Missing Out on Snippet Traffic

This post started as a tweet from Glenn Gabe pointing out that the featured snippet for how to determine ring size was won by an independent Avon rep in Trinidad and Tobago:

Facebook Note Wins Snippet

In this post, Phil digs into what each (giant) brand has to offer for this keyword (i.e. what the content is on the page they are trying to rank for this term), and why they are getting crushed by a Facebook note (of all things)…

Basically, the Facebook note is straight forward + relevant, while all the results from Zales, Kays, etc. are complicated and the information is contained within a .pdf.

As he sums it up on the site:

The PDF that Zales offered is very well done, and should be kept as a marketing piece. With that said, they could also use simple markup like the Facebook user did to rise up in the search results (although their page ranks pretty well), but more importantly win the snippet!


Quora and the Line Between Smart and Spammy SEO

Quora is a massive site the leverages user-generated-content to make itself relevant to hundreds of thousands of keywords, creating a tidal wave of authority it can use in various ways to rank for some really big keywords. Especially in this post-hummingbird SERP landscape, where conversational search increases in importance every year, applying smart SEO to the site can give it a huge advantage and help it rank for timely keywords, quickly (such as prioritizing content related to the Olympics when the Olympics come around, showing up in the SERPs for lots of different related queries).

So it makes sense for SEOs to study what Quora is doing: they have the budget to hire some smart optimizers, and the authority and bandwidth to test and execute many different strategies.

This post covers several things they are doing right, and many things they are not (but, not surprisingly, are not being slapped by Google for).

Quora implements 307 redirects for content indexed under the HyperText Transfer Protocol to the secured version (from HTTP to HTTPs). Since a 307 status code means “moved temporarily,” what Google does is to let the old version remain indexed. However, the new page is also slowly working its way up the rankings. It’s a neat (if shady) exploit of Google’s treatment of 307 redirects. The screenshot below shows exactly what happens. A newer HTTPS page has caught up to the original in terms of rankings.

Quora using 307 redirects

It’s an interesting look at a massive site, and I highly recommend you check out the full article to soak up its lessons. Also, learn to do this kind of research yourself, it’ll keep you ahead of your SEO competitors and/or your SERP competitors.


Ads Coming to a(n Unexpected) Apple Search Engine

In an interview about some changes coming to the Apple App Store (TL;DR apps that use a subscription model, after the first year, will split revenue with Apple at 85/15, instead of the current 70/30), Phil Schiller dropped an interesting tidbit about the App Store getting some paid app placements:

Basically, Apple figured search ads are something that consumers are already used to from internet searches and social media, and the company wants in on the marketing dollars from mobile app developers. According to IAB, paid search on both desktop and mobile for the US market totaled more than $29 billion last year, with mobile alone comprising about $9 billion.

I’m always interested in what Apple is doing related to search. Currently, Google pays a billion+ to make even MORE billions off being the default search engine on Apple operating systems.

It makes sense that Apple wants their own piece of these billions and, someday, will launch their own search engine and shake things up in a big way.

Until that happens, keep an eye out on the things they do relating to search. Putting ads in the app store is a big step. They’ll probably make a ridiculous amount of money from it and look to keep that cash train rolling.

App Store Ads

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