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This Week In SEO 91
Mobile Movement, NoFollow Links, Quality Updates, & More!

Quick note to start. This weekend Smash Digital is sponsoring the DCBKK event in Bangkok. If you’re one of the many readers who are attending please stop by at our table during breaks. Travis, Nick and Sean will all be there. Travis will be speaking as well if you want to join in his session (but about investing, not SEO)

Mobile Movement?

It’s been a long time coming!

We’ve been hearing rumblings for many many months now that a mobile first index is coming. Oh, man, you better have polished code and made it friendly to every single person who has ever wandered out into traffic or missed their bus stop or avoids talking to their loved one because they can’t peel themselves away from your buzzfeedesque list.

This volatility index from SERPwoo paints a pretty… uh… interesting picture.

Google, of course, downplays it a bit:

John Mueller from Google, after a bit of arm twisting, somewhat confirmed it yesterday in a webmaster hangout. “It’s possible that for individual sites we were kind of already indexing the mobile version but it’s probably like a really small number,” John said. John Mueller added ” I wouldn’t see that as saying like we’ve started with this but it’s more kind of still in the experimental stage,” which is his way of saying – no, we didn’t not officially officially start the mobile first indexing.


Either way, if you haven’t heeded any warning before today, time to make sure your site is mobile friendly, for real this time.


What the F Has Been Going on the SERPs Lately?


Since August, we’ve seen a number of updates I would call significant. I actually can’t remember seeing that many substantial updates in such a short period of time.

This has been clear from the thousands of keywords we track here at Supremacy. While we’re used to seeing the occasional turbulence in the SERPs, rankings across the last couple of months have been more like paint on a speaker in slow motion:

So why the recent volatility (not even accounting for the recent mobile stuff)? Glenn Gabe takes a very smart—and well informed—stab at it in this post. There’s a number of points he makes, and I highly recommend you go through and read them all, but here’s the most likely terrifying explanation:

Google may be increasing the frequency of refreshing its quality algorithms. And the end goal could be to have that running in near real-time (or actually in real-time). If that happens, then site owners will truly be in a situation where they have no idea what hit them, or why.

Or, you could do something about it:

Based on the volatility this fall, and what I’ve explained above, I’m sure you are wondering what you can do. I’ve said this for a while now, but we are pretty much at the point where sites need to fix everything quality-wise. I hate saying that, but it’s true.


SEO is Not Magic

But like fixing a broken engine or planting a vinyard, there’s a very big difference between being able to do it well, and just bullshitting everyone (and yourself) about how easy it is/how good you are.

We’ve always been pretty clear that SEO can be distilled down to a few things, and this post does a good job of summarizing that:

On Site / Technical SEO boils down to making your website easy for Google to crawl, and understand.

Content that appears on your website must be worthwhile, relevant, interesting and adds value to Google’s index.

Authority, which you can call PageRank, backlinks, link equity or any number of other terms, is the primary way Google sorts their results.

While each of those three things may have hundreds of factors to consider, that’s it:
There is no fourth category only revealed to the illuminati.
There is no secret handshake with Google engineers.
There is no “Secret Sauce.

Of course, there’s a lot unmentioned under the heading, of, say, “authority,” that isn’t covered.

Are you still building links in forum posts? Or do you have a sophisticated set-up of sites to test SEO theories, or a network of editors and sites where you can publish good content and get good links?

Not to push the hard sell… let’s call it the medium sell? We’re good at what we do here, and while SEO is not magic, neither is a tonsillectomy, but that doesn’t mean you should do it yourself!

Click here to read about how we can help.


NoFollow Links: Part of a Balanced SEO Profile

I often talk to people who are pretty down on NoFollow links.

I understand not wanting to work your ass off, produce 3,000 words of Moz-approved copy, only to get a NoFollow link.

But if your backlink profile is ONLY made up of… non-nofollow-links, well, that starts to look a bit unnatural doesn’t it?

This article does a good job of going through and explaining the value of NoFollow links, and you should read and internalize this, if you’re inclined to argue with me (spoiler alert: I’m right).

A no-follow link on Inc. might drive 1,000 visitors to your site and several conversions. Is that worth something? Of course it is! A forum link might be no-follow but it can introduce your business to a whole new audience, and also attract traffic and sales. The same can be said for blog comment links. Look, if you are buying links to game the system (everyone does) then you also need to add in no-follow links to your profile, so build ones that are going to give you all the added value.

(^ photo credit:

Last but certainly not least…


a tribute to Eric Ward

The Late Eric Ward

We wanted to give a take off our {white|black|grey} hat to give credit to the late Eric Ward, lovingly known in the SEO community as Link Moses. He was one of the grandfathers of the SEO industry who passed away this week. His guidance helped develop the industry as a whole, and he will be missed.

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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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