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Zero backlinks, Zero content, just Google+ page showing in top 10
hitchhiker




msg:4582383
 9:18 pm on Jun 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

My parents have a business, been online since 1994. They've been ripped to shreds lately, they just have a website that simply shows the necessary content - nothing special, not really any SEO for a long time. Just a vanilla site, doing its job.

Here's the problem:

I just did a search for 'learn widgets in country' (5 euros per click adwords - They were number one from 2001-2007)

I found a website, at #7 that has: No content on the homepage, is not in the country in question, is not in the business in question, has NO backlinks at all (from what I can see) - and only a single EMPTY google+ page.

It's in that block of 'google places' results that takes up the top 80% of the serp (after the 3 large adword blocks) My parent's business is #12 on the first page.

What do I tell them to do?

 

Planet13




msg:4582843
 4:50 pm on Jun 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Tell them that google is all jenked up right now and that if they want to be found in google, they are going to have to do more for their website.

But the good news is if they have a real business, this should be a lot easier. Assuming they have a physical location, I would imagine a google places page should be easy to set up. Of they sell stuff, probably they should be able to create content relating to how to use it, or some social media, or something like that. A blog with maybe past customers telling their success stories?

I guess the thing to do is to look at what they DO have as a REAL business and what the other guys DON'T have, and leverage those assets.

hitchhiker




msg:4582914
 8:02 pm on Jun 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hey Planet13, thanks for your reply.

It's a school. They've had google places since it opened. They've got 1000s of likes on Facebook. The website was set up in 1993. It has hundreds of organic links. It now runs a nice and fast custom CMS. It adheres to basic SEO, nothing fancy. It is packed full of completely relevant business info. No keyword stuffing, natural well written content.

The competition in this result has done nothing:

* They don't have content on their homepage.
* They're not located in the target country.
* They're not a school.
* I don't know what they are, they don't have info.
* They have a Google Places empty page with a single keyphrase.

I repeat: Their homepage is empty :)

Nevermind, I'm aware there's not going to be an immediate answer to this kind of thing. You're right, G might be a little 'jenked' indeed.

rajib_dn




msg:4582928
 9:06 pm on Jun 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

When google do rank on a site he follow first unique content, domain age, seo, sem, keyword, index page, and their unique rules and true.
I mind that you site have on their unique method.

ZydoSEO




msg:4582930
 9:22 pm on Jun 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

1000s of likes is not going to help your organic rankings or your Google Places/+ rankings in the 7 pack. I would definitely take 2 prong approach. Work on getting the G+ page to show up in the 7 packs for targeted local search phrases and then getting their site to rank organically for the rest.

Unless you're using Majestic, Open Site Explorer, or some other decent backlink analysis tool (preferably several of them together), you can't really tell whether your parents competitors have backlinks or not. If you're using the LINK operator for this then you should know it is VERY unreliable. It often shows no backlinks when a site might have hundreds.

hitchhiker




msg:4583042
 9:08 am on Jun 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hey @ZydoSEO, thanks for replying, however re-read my post. Disclaimer: I've been in SEO since 1995

Their homepage is 'empty' bro. EMPTY :D

With 'ahrefs' it shows 3 backlinks, from their registrar :D -I'm starting to feel like 'Alice'

There's no need to reply, nothing can be done about this.

chrisv1963




msg:4583043
 9:20 am on Jun 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

The competition in this result has done nothing:
* They don't have content on their homepage.
* They're not located in the target country.
* They're not a school.
* I don't know what they are, they don't have info.
* They have a Google Places empty page with a single keyphrase.

I repeat: Their homepage is empty :)


This is Google "quality" after Panda and Penguin. If there is nothing, then Google doesn't get negative signals => good rankings.
The last couple of years Google did nothing but penalizing websites for numerous things. In the mean time they forgot to reward sites with good content.

hitchhiker




msg:4583044
 9:31 am on Jun 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

Can there really be any other conclusion now?

At least for certain contexts, this is the new reality.

hitchhiker




msg:4583045
 9:37 am on Jun 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

If I write a blog post about this, or do a video - can somebody tell me where would be the most effective place to disseminate that info. Something has to be done.

jinxed




msg:4583047
 10:16 am on Jun 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

Please, just trust their algorithm. A blank page clearly provides an incredible user experience. For starters, it gives visitors a good laugh.

hitchhiker




msg:4583103
 1:50 pm on Jun 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

Webmasterworld in the year 2014:

How can I optimise my blank site correctly?

The top ten results are ALL people using a combination of TABS and regular spacing :(

It sucks trying to get the right balance of &nbsp vs traditional spacing, and Matt Cutts told me that I can even use lower ASCII characters legally.

Also - Does a TAB count as a space - I heard that if you put 2 TABs and an   together in your META KEYWORDS, then Google will ignore the TABS? Is that true?

chrisv1963




msg:4583107
 1:59 pm on Jun 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

I have a domain name that I no longer use: you could call it widgetvideos.tld

I made a white page with only a title "Widget Videos", used "widget videos" as title tag, added a short phrase to tell people that this site is no longer online, and pasted 4 links to pages on another website I own underneath.

I am ranking on the 8th position for a 31,100,000 results search query. I have been keeping this position on the first page of the serps for several months now.

The ranking of this page is better now than when there was a real website with content.

This page doesn't rank at all on Bing by the way.

jinxed




msg:4583118
 2:14 pm on Jun 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

Who says SEO is dead! brilliant.

hitchhiker




msg:4583128
 2:34 pm on Jun 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

Challenge accepted:

I have a domain name that I've never owned: you could call it socialwidgets.tld

I included an html AND body tag with html5 meta attributes describing who people think I should be, and how many people circled me on google plus.

I then added 159 characters of blank space between the attributes of those tags on my other domain widgetvideos.tld. as advised.

I used the 'disavow' tool to report some competition who were using words and phrases inside the body tag of their html.

Now i'm in 7th position for the term 'thorium-fueled molten salt reactor' but I can't seem to get any higher.

The sites above don't seem to be using any HTML now (I can't really check). They just seem to have randomly made up names that don't exist in the DNS system.

Is using a valid IP address eventually going to get me penalised?

diberry




msg:4583198
 5:22 pm on Jun 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

LOL@hitchhiker's 2014 prediction.

Maybe this is a new algo update called Zen, because it appreciates the value of nothingness. Your parents' competitor site is the sound of one-hand clapping. Meditate on it, and you will achieve enlightenment.

rish3




msg:4583208
 5:44 pm on Jun 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

Big G is a mess.

1) for one of the most competitive terms that exists, in short-term lending, (rhymes with "heyday scones") the #3 site in the U.S. serps is a domain registered less than a month ago. It, of course, has lots of spammy backlinks.

2) A search for "search engine" gives dogpile.com the top spot for any actual search engine. Google doesn't rate itself on the first page.

3) Similar to your experience...search for "programming", and check out the EMD match at around #6. Three indexed pages, none of them with any content of consequence.

hitchhiker




msg:4583222
 6:20 pm on Jun 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

@diberry - you win, rofl.

@rish3 - i checked the 1st one, I got a weird site #3 that had broken content (actually a bad conversion to utf-8 where the symbols appear instead of ' etc.) - and a double h1 with the phrase repeated 2x at the bottom of the page.

It's insane how tricks from 2005 still work for these black hat guys.

However: I refreshed the SERP, it was gone. Do updates still roll out like this? - gradually? Or is this a bounce back redaction (do those exist)

Strange.

Lapizuli




msg:4583226
 6:40 pm on Jun 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

This thread is rollicking fun. Funny because it's true, and, though a sad commentary on the state of life, not as sad as current events. So thanks - I really needed the laughs.

diberry




msg:4583247
 8:14 pm on Jun 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

2) A search for "search engine" gives dogpile.com the top spot for any actual search engine. Google doesn't rate itself on the first page.


LOL, so glad I hadn't just drunk coffee when I read this! I actually had to see this for myself.

Wow, on a serious note, though: what in the algo is making that happen? Do Dogpile and Ixquick have a lot of inbounds for "search engine?" Or is it that Google assumes you already know you're on Google and must mean something else by typing "search engine" into the search box?

hitchhiker




msg:4583249
 8:23 pm on Jun 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

@Lapizuli - a lot of us may have given up :D

In all fairness, anyone searching for a 'search engine' in a search engine probably has bigger problems than dodgy search engines.

TIL: This post will probably rank (globally) for the term 'used laptops' or 'student loans' - depends on what is posted next.

netmeg




msg:4583259
 8:51 pm on Jun 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

Google has NEVER listed itself first for "search engine"

I'm sure that's on purpose.

Lapizuli




msg:4583273
 9:16 pm on Jun 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

I dunno, I used my laptop (on loan from a student) and could have sworn I saw Goggle (thus misspelled) on page 94...

Back from the land of irreverence...Nothing's made sense to me in the SERPs for a few years. I still think they might be onto something, targeting user engagement and so on, but it's a work in progress, and unfortunately the progress is the work. At a certain point, the second law of thermodynamics has its say, chaos reigns, and you just can't recapture the system's peak of beauty. (Once upon a time, the Web was an exciting, if not awfully comfy, stagecoach ride into nifty new territory.)

Which is why I'd say to your parents - optimize as if Google didn't exist. That's what Google says they want (focus on the user, the user), but it really does seem as if it might turn out to be true...

jimbeetle




msg:4583275
 9:20 pm on Jun 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

So the basic problem is the the Site Positioned Above Mine is listed in the 7 pack -- above the regular SERPs -- and your folks site isn't.

So the question is: Why isn't your folks site in the 7 pack? I think that would be the first thing to figure out.

hitchhiker




msg:4583279
 9:46 pm on Jun 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

@Lapizuli - hahaha :) And yes, they inherited a very different web from the one they're delivering (not their fault, a job not many could tackle)

@jimbeetle - I repeat 'BLANK PAGES MAN :)' That's not an environment to work in.

We are fully capable of getting it back there, but it's how we have to do it now that concerns me.

This was just a discovery thread, things are broken (in my understanding) - I'm sure many will disagree. Best to fix what they can and wait it out, and hope things change 'down-the-line'.

rish3




msg:4583281
 10:02 pm on Jun 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

@rish3 - i checked the 1st one, I got a weird site #3 that had broken content (actually a bad conversion to utf-8 where the symbols appear instead of ' etc.) - and a double h1 with the phrase repeated 2x at the bottom of the page.


The term is highly localized. Change your location to "United States" before you search. Though your find is typical...lots of garbage.

hitchhiker




msg:4583288
 10:29 pm on Jun 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

Localisation: Serps were almost the same (I vpn'd incognito)

They are the one using that annoying rating thing right? Where you place some arbitrary HTML meta data in your code and you magically get a bunch of stars, and review metrics?

How could they not think that would be gamed. Disclaimer: I love meta-data, LOVE IT! (don't have any use for it in a forum though)

Reminds me of the time we learnt you could use the extended '★' html code to put an star in-front of your result.

Also: If that is it, I think they're all reading from the same hand-book. One of our 'competition' is using almost precisely (attributes included) the same code.

diberry




msg:4583312
 12:56 am on Jun 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

Google has NEVER listed itself first for "search engine"

I'm sure that's on purpose.


Yeah, but they're not even on the first page, and I'm just curious about how that plays out algorithmically. I'm thinking it would make tons of sense if they are indeed using user metrics as much as some have speculated, because anyone who's ON Google and searching for a search engine is almost assuredly not looking for "Google.com" in the results. Whereas if it was based mainly on inbound links and traditional SEO stuff, I'd be surprised to learn Dogpile and Ixquick had cornered the backlinks with "search engine" market.

Just looking for clues about how the algo works!

hitchhiker




msg:4583383
 9:07 am on Jun 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

[searchengineland.com...]

The change we launched earlier today was targeting things like payday loans on google.co.uk, and we have more stuff launching in a couple weeks.


Yeah, I think that would explain why the results changed between two searches yesterday. Hell of a coincidence.

Manual targeting - That's terrifying, this isn't the way it should work :( *sigh*

pippo




msg:4583488
 3:02 pm on Jun 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

The American Bonsai Society was showing P5 for that 'heyday scones' search earlier. Incognito search. And I don't particularly like tiny trees in any event.

I get why [ieaghg.org...] is in P11 (view source...) but the Bonsai society site was clean.

jimbeetle




msg:4583502
 3:34 pm on Jun 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

@jimbeetle - I repeat 'BLANK PAGES MAN :)' That's not an environment to work in.

We are fully capable of getting it back there, but it's how we have to do it now that concerns me.

Sure it's an environment to work in, that's the fun part of this job, answering questions like "Why the heck is he there?" and "What do we do to get there?"

Added: I have a blank page (has title element + empty body) that has ranked for its primary terms for 10+ years. The fun is knowing *why* it ranks.

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