This Week In SEO 77
Local Organic Results, Canonical Errors, Facebook Algorithm, & More


Analyzing Google Organic Results

local business

Interesting breakdown of what types of results dominate the front page of local organic results.

  • Business Homepages – 37.2%
  • Directories: Category Search – 36.62%
  • Business Sub-pages – 12.68%
  • Directories: Business Pages – 7.58%
  • Other – 4.86%
  • News – 0.64%

Click through to the article for an explanation of what each entails (and the way this data was compiled).

So now that you have this data, what can you do with it?

Consider what type of page you’re trying to rank (for instance: homepage vs. sub page). You’ve got a better chance of ranking your homepage vs. a sub page, according to this data.

Would it be worth trying to rank your homepage AND getting listed in the top directories to try and capture more overall real estate?

Yes, probably.

The best thing you can do for the local business page you’re trying to rank and Google the keyword(s) you’re trying to rank for and see what the results look like. If every site is ranking for a business sub-page and you’re trying to rank your homepage, it probably makes sense to evaluate WHY sub-pages are ranking, and then take action on your own site.


Googlebot Ignoring Canonical Tag?

canonical vs cannonical

John Mueller discusses the rel=canonical link in a recent webmaster hangout, and said something interesting relating to the canonical tag.

Basically, if you used a rel=canonical tag to tie two pages together that are NOT equivalent (aka, using the tag incorrectly), Googlebot can ignore the directive if it thinks you made a mistake.

The consequence of this? It could lead to your pages being indexed incorrectly–with either having more pages indexed than should be, or leading to pages not being indexed that should.

From a case study tackling this issue:

Don’t simply canonicalize mass amounts of urls to other urls with greatly different content. That’s not really the intent of rel canonical anyway. It was introduced to help cut down on duplicate content and help webmasters point Google in the right direction about which urls to index and surface in the search results. As demonstrated above, Google’s algorithms can think the canonical setup is a mistake and simply ignore the canonical url tag.


Google’s Bottom Ads


Google’s quest to make more money from ads is never ending (understandably). The newest iteration of this has appeared in the form of testing ads at the bottom of the SERPs. Like this:

bottom ads

This is significant to SEOs, obviously, because while it may not be taking real-estate away from organic results (yet), it is further decreasing the percentage of the page dedicated to organic results. Google is not trying to make things easier for increasing your organic traffic–if that wasn’t already obvious…


How Anchor Text Changed in Response to Penguin 4.0

Quality case study from Ahrefs on the impact Penguin 4.0 had on top-ranking-sites anchor text.

Since one of the thing Penguin targets is over-optimized anchor text, the author compared the anchor text of top-ranking sites in a Home Improvement niche before the rollout of the algorithm, and after.

The results are interesting:

anchor text comparison

In this study, “target” refers to anchor text that is the same as the keyword a site is trying to rank for.

Interesting to see that the target % decreased in favor of increased brand, URL, and LSI keywords.

Click through to read the whole case study, but the takeaway is this:

In this post-Penguin 4.0 era, anchor text matters more than ever. Don’t overdo it!


Facebook Video Algorithm Update

facebook video seo

Yes, sometimes we talk about not-Google!

Here’s a summary of how the new Facebook video update works:

Simply put, your Facebook videos will be ranked according to how long people watch your video. If they watch it into completion, then your page will be rewarded accordingly. Of course, if a majority of the people who watch your video leave it halfway through then your content will be given the appropriate demerits.

Another case of user-egagement/experience being used as a ranking signal, but this time in Facebook.

Expect to see (and probably do this yourself in your videos) Facebook videos starting like this:

Hey, be sure to stick around to the end of this video for

As we’ve seen, when a search engine gives value to a metric, that metric is exploited mercilessly. 🙂


Rapid-Fire SEO Insights
Gary Illyes confirms in a tweet that Google tries to release every algorithm update globally (instead of rolling it out country-by-country like that previously did).

An update on the interstitial “penalty:”

This is a great tutorial on how to add SSL and HTTP/2 to your site, if you’re so inclined.

TWS78: Long Tail, Dmoz, Proximity, and More!
TWS 76: Pop-up Penalty, Crawl Budgets, Silos, & More

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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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