This Week In SEO 60
Brands, Domains, and Youtube
The Death of Generics and the Dominance of Brands
Aaron Wall, the Cormac McCarthy of SEO (google it), published a great post looking at how generic domains like cooking.com and drugstore.com have failed to thrive, but the big brands behind them (Target and Walgreens, respectively) are doing just fine.
If you invest in zero-sum markets there needs to be some point of differentiation to drive switching. There might be opportunity for a cooking.com or a drugstore.com targeting emerging and frontier markets where brands are under-represented online (much like launching Drugstore.com in the US back in 1999), but it is unlikely pure-play ecommerce sites will be able to win in established markets if they use generically descriptive domains which make building brand awareness and perceived differentiation next to impossible.
Digging in to how brands succeed/fail in SEO (and business in general) is one of the topics that hasn’t yet been beaten to death by the SEO conference-circuit (R.I.P., my interest in reading about content marketing).
I enjoyed this article, definitely give it a read.
The Next Big Domain Extension
Speaking of domain names…
Verisign, the juggernaut of a company behind .com/.net (a.k.a.the big 3) just paid $135,000,000 to acquire the .web extension.
You’ve seen these new extensions over the last few years–.ninja, .rent, .guru (side note: still waiting for http://seo.guru to be developed…).
Some of these new extensions are kind of garbage, like .FYI, but .web makes sense to a lot of people, and is poised to be one of the most popular new extensions.
Here’s why Verisign paid 3x as much as any other new gTLD for .web:
It views it as competitive to .com – a handful of industry watchers and top level domain name companies have said that .web is the one domain that could unseat .com. While that’s open to debate, Verisign might have viewed this as an opportunity to take the greatest threat from the new TLD program off the table.
It views it as competitive of .net – this might sound odd, but keep in mind .net is a 9-figure-a-year business for Verisign. You can argue that .web has a similar connotation to .net. It could be a viable alternative for people who traditionally buy a .net when the .com is taken.
So start coming up with those domain names now, so hit the ground running when this domain hits the registrars (no date on that yet).
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Anchor Text
There are a lot of guides out there on anchor text… and this is another one.
J/K — shout out to David McSweeney at Ahrefs, this is a solid guide on the subject. Five day old post, already ranking fifth for “anchor text.”
That’s the power of authority, baby.
The more sites that link with the anchor containing the phrase “dog biscuits” (exact or partial), the more certain Google will be that the linked page should rank for that query.
But of course, nothing in SEO is ever simple. At least not any more.
A really good post that covers all the basics and gets into the real meat. A must-read for an SEO rookie, and a recommended “refresher” for the experienced SEO.
301 Redirect to Less Relevant Pages Seen as Soft 404s
And with Google treating those pages as 404s, rankings and traffic began to drop quickly for the older pages that were now being redirected to less relevant pages. So the morale of the story is that you won’t be tricking Google anytime soon with 301 redirects to less-relevant pages. This is important to know for any website that will be changing urls, going through a redesign, or CMS migration.
Basically, if you 301 redirect a page to a not-very-relevant page, instead of passing along that sweet, sweet link juice, Google will treat it as a “soft 404.”
Youtube Marketing and SEO
We’re not super big into Youtube, as we are pretty focused on link building.
But it’s not a bad idea to focus down on Youtube if you’re in the kind of niche where videos would work well.
As everyone always says “it’s the number 2 search engine, might as well rank well on it…”
Ryan Stewart has been impressing me this year by consistently producing good content.
Here’s the slide deck where you can learn about getting your Youtube game leveled up.
*Note: In regards to YouTube, we are big fans of both ranking YouTube videos IN Google, and embedding relevant YouTube videos on your website for the pages you want to rank. A video in your pages is one of the best ranking hacks around for onpage seo.