This Week In SEO 62
Penalties, Local SEO, Content Length, & More

Getting Your Penalties Straight

[insert penguin/panda animal joke that sort of relates to SEO here]

SEO penalties suck, but in 2016, they are fairly avoidable. Still, in your eagerness to rank a site, it’s easy to misstep and do something stupid that could bury your site.


I’m a fan of reviewing common knowledge to make sure all the important things stay top-of-mind, and this is a great post for it.

Technical SEO also does not play any role in Panda. Panda looks just at the content, not things like whether you are using H1 tags or how quickly your page loads for users.

If you’re an SEO beginner, or a business looking for more info on how to create a site that plays nicely with Google, this post is a nice, safe starting point.

Note* Although Matthew says that technical SEO does not matter, we like to recommend everyone keep user experience in mind first. If your user experience metrics suck, then penalties are more likely to occur. If your user experience is phenomenal, then sites tend to get more of a get out of jail free card.

THE Local Citation Stack

stacks on stacks

Our stack consists of 3 things:

– Yext
– Moz Local
– Manual citation audit/cleanup/building

The reason for this is pretty simple. Yext & Moz Local are both pretty affordable tools for making waves right away. We can use Yext and get listings corrected and duplicates suppressed within their publishing network in a matter of minutes.

The Local SEO Guide team are super knowledgeable when it comes to local SEO, so when they put up a post like this, it’s best to take notes…

Click through and read the rest if you’re at all involved in local SEO, you (probably) won’t regret it.


55% of People Can’t Tell the Difference Between Ads and Organic Results

According to a new survey, 55% of searchers don’t know which links in the SERPs are PPC ads,

I covered this topic a few months ago, using data from an Ofcom report which found that up to 50% of users shown a screenshot could not identify paid ads in the SERPs.

Don’t worry, everyone. Google is committed to a quality user experience, and is doing everything they can to make sure web users are not deceived.

Oh, wait…

ads over time


Long vs. Short: A Content SEO Case Study

This is a super long (get it?) look at content, and whether shorter or longer content ranks better in Google.

There’s a whole lot of words to get through to the conclusion:

The fact that the most widespread form in our analysis were actually long-form articles is no coincidence, since in-depth analysis seems to perform well consistently regardless of the source . Long-form allows you to run analyses (like the ones we’re usually posting), discuss case studies in detail and generally come up with original content.

This was a big task, trying to find a correlation between word count and rank. There’s just so much variation in the SERPs–when you find one thing that proves the point you’re trying to make, you can easily find another that’s an exception.

Here has been the (pretty oversimplified) case in my experience:

Sites with more authority need less high quality, well-written, content to rank. Sites with less authority need to kill it on content to compete.

For example, Ebay, Wal-mart, Amazon, and Costco rank for some pretty ridiculously lucrative keywords with like, 250 words of (really crappy, non-relevant) content.


Because they got authority for days, and that matters.

The less authoritative sites need more in-depth, longer content to rank with less authority/backlinks.

When a site has both in-depth content and a ton of authority, you get Wikipedia, which ranks for everything. 🙂


All of the Biggest Google Shopping Changes in 2016


If Google Shopping is important to your (ecommerce) business, make sure you don’t miss this post.

Google Shopping is super important to a lot of sites, but it’s not something we cover a lot (and not something most SEO-related sites cover a lot).

Of the announcements made this year, by far the most earth-shattering was made on February 2 when Google said they would begin requiring GTINs for all products that have one in the US. GTIN stands for Global Trade Item Number, and includes an item’s UPC, ISBN, EAN, or JAN.

Even if you’re not doing much with Google Shopping, it’s interesting to see how Google is ruining evolving their guidelines for another piece of the search engine landscape.

TWS63: Mobile and Local SEO
TWS61: AMP in the SERPs, CDNs, Penguin & Ahrefs

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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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