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Is Google still ALL about links?
CaptainSalad2




msg:4608073
 1:00 pm on Sep 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

at least from my recent experiment.... .

I built 2 websites to test a theory 4-5 months back now

Site A and B target “widget services in KEYOWORD TOWN”

Both sites are in the same service industry and target a particular service in a town, both towns are of the same size/population.

Site A & B both have the following in common:

1) Mobile responsive (recently)
2) W3C compliance
3) Original hand written content, (both sites different text/photos)
4) 10 pages of content, none less than 300 words per page (much more than any competitor)
5) Both score 90% (desktop) and 99% (mobile) on Googles page speed test
6) Both sites use the same design layout/design that are hand coded custom designed by me to for a unique look associated with the service, not word press templates.
7) Both sites score 100% relevance for page title to page content
8) Both sites have around a keyword density of 3% when tested.
9) Both sites canonical URL
10) Both sites EMD
11) Both site domain age the same
12) Both domain names registered for 10 yrs, no hidden whois info
13) Both linked to facebook/twitter/pintrest accounts that are updated

Now the one difference, on site A I have built backlinks, on site B I have not.

Result 4 months in:

Site A (with backlinks) is #1 Page one

Site B is #7 Page 3

I don't want to build any links, but with services like these no one would "link naturally" to such a site even before everyone was scared to link to anything, so people in these areas are left with 2 choices, remain on page 3 with no business or take a risk and build links. Not much of a choice!

 

CaptainSalad2




msg:4608107
 5:02 pm on Sep 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

I should add to this both sites, with and without links rank #1 on yahoo/bing and duck duck go, just the one without on google doesn't!

JD_Toims




msg:4608108
 5:06 pm on Sep 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

Interesting test and results -- Thanks for sharing!

jimbeetle




msg:4608162
 10:18 pm on Sep 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

Result 4 months in:

Site A (with backlinks) is #1 Page one

Site B is #7 Page 3

Not surprising. Not sure what different result might be expected.

JD_Toims




msg:4608176
 10:59 pm on Sep 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

Not sure what different result might be expected.

I have an EMD with 0 dofollow non-spam [scraper] links I can find [nope, I never requested a single link to it -- the only one I know of that was "built" is from a Twitter account that doesn't tweet].

It ranks number 1 for multiple queries and has for years, so I expected the EMD itself would have more of an impact, but the testing and results from CaptainSalad2 compared to where the site I'm referring to ranks seems to indicate there's a bit more to the algo than either EMDs or links.

I do prefer to not speculate at what the difference is right now, because there are a number of things I think it could be, but I'll definitely give it some thought and I've recently launched other EMDs and PMDs I'll be watching carefully since I don't intend to build links to any of them unless I have to for some reason.

mcskoufis




msg:4608177
 11:09 pm on Sep 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

Links are the essence of the World Wide Web. It would be completely immature for Google to stop using links as its most significant signal for ranking.

There are many others who will say that link building is dead etc. and I completely disagree. IMHO that is :)

The results seem logical to me. The domain with links gains authority and ranks high. Exactly what I would expect...

JD_Toims




msg:4608178
 11:26 pm on Sep 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

The results seem logical to me. The domain with links gains authority and ranks high. Exactly what I would expect...

So why does mine rank over all the major brands in the niche with the same products available?

One of the brands is a name many people would recognize if they heard it, not a household name or one people even talk about too often, but it's a *big* name many people would have heard of before and recognize as soon as they heard what it is.

The EMD I'm referring to ranks over their site and the other big players in the specific niche for multiple queries. It does not outrank any of them based on links or PageRank, there's no way.

mcskoufis




msg:4608181
 12:30 am on Sep 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

So why does mine rank over all the major brands in the niche with the same products available?


JD_Toims I was referring to the OP's post and not your situation. There is definitely more to the algo than links or EMD (which stopped being a signal a few months ago).

One of my shared servers has over 100 domains in a single IP address. Each time I add a new site to this server it gets indexed and ranked within days with no links at all.

So my guess is that it has to do with the IP and the rest of the domains. Some very high authority domains there as well which makes me think it is beneficial to others in the same IP. But can't be 100% sure about this.

Don't take me wrong, I don't mean that this applies to your case... The algo has over 200 factors (many many more IMHO).

JD_Toims




msg:4608182
 12:36 am on Sep 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

JD_Toims I was referring to the OP's post and not your situation. There is definitely more to the algo than links or EMD (which stopped being a signal a few months ago).

Gotcha, I misunderstood.

...which stopped being a signal a few months ago...

Not sure it stopped like many people seem to think, but got "the dial turned down a bit" is something I'd definitely agree with.

The algo has over 200 factors (many many more IMHO).

Totally agree -- Been around the 'net a bit longer than my join date suggests ;)

So my guess is that it has to do with the IP and the rest of the domains. Some very high authority domains there as well which makes me think it is beneficial to others in the same IP. But can't be 100% sure about this.

That's an interesting line of thought / reasoning.

[If I was going to speculate the about factors making the EMD I've been referring to rank above the sites it does, I'd go with on-page / on-site factors and search visitor behavior signals -- But that's just a guess at the moment.]

lucy24




msg:4608190
 1:19 am on Sep 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

Links are the essence of the World Wide Web. It would be completely immature for Google to stop using links as its most significant signal for ranking.

I think this [webmasterworld.com] from earlier in the summer is the relevant discussion. (Odd choice of words, though. Don't think I'd ever have thought of applying the concept of maturity to a search engine.)

Also this longer thread [webmasterworld.com] from a few weeks later.

Been around the 'net a bit longer than my join date suggests

Some of us still haven't figured out your previous name :(

mcskoufis




msg:4608192
 1:22 am on Sep 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

JD_Toims if you check back the EMD threads, I had a new domain which I was trying to rank (have had many EMDs over the years).

My newest EMD did not rank until I built some solid links to it... But we are now getting heavily off topic here...

Been around the 'net a bit longer than my join date suggests ;)

You have made more contributions to this forum than I have since 2004 it seems... ;)

BOTTOM LINE: Links do still play a massive role. More than AuthorRank or any other Google hype which IMHO is there to draw attention from the important stuff which is high quality links (Google's and Matt Cutts' long-time policy).

[edited by: mcskoufis at 1:35 am (utc) on Sep 8, 2013]

mcskoufis




msg:4608194
 1:34 am on Sep 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

lucy24 been active in the second thread but missed the first one... Thanks for pointing that out, a lot of catching up to do here :)

Still think it is in Google's best interest not to draw attention to the crucial parts of their algorithm. IMHO that is, of course! They talk about snippets, authorship, great content etc. Links is an area they traditionally don't provide crucial info on.

Would love to hear Tedster's take on this... Such a big loss :(

JD_Toims




msg:4608196
 1:46 am on Sep 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

<OffTopic>

You have made more contributions to this forum than I have since 2004 it seems... ;)

I've just got a big mouth LOL.

Would love to hear Tedster's take on this... Such a big loss :(

He was by far the best of the best as far as I'm concerned -- I wish I knew half as much as he probably forgot in his time online. His knowledge and the information he contributed to the community was second to none.

</OffTopic>

ZydoSEO




msg:4608198
 1:59 am on Sep 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

EMDs still get a big boost. You just can't make them rank with 10 directory links anymore. It require a couple dozen or more quality links. But still much easier than a non-EMD domain trying to rank for that same keyword phrase.

mcskoufis




msg:4608199
 2:06 am on Sep 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

But still much easier than a non-EMD domain trying to rank for that same keyword phrase.


Haven't tested that scenario so can't say... Had some real hard time trying to rank that thing and the niche was not so competitive (google.gr)

JD_Toims




msg:4608204
 3:33 am on Sep 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

Haven't tested that scenario so can't say...

The EMD I've been referring to is actually a near duplicate of a page from a site that was paying for clicks to generate traffic to it prior to me taking over.

I created the EMD with the basic info and products provided on the corresponding page of the main domain. I adjusted things a bit [text, headings, load order, etc.], noindexed the corresponding page on the main domain and then sat back and watched the EMD go to #1 for multiple exact and partial match queries within 2 weeks -- In over 5 years I haven't changed a thing, but it continues to rank #1 for multiple queries.

Bottom Line: In my experience EMDs / PMDs are much easier to rank.

CaptainSalad2




msg:4608264
 8:38 am on Sep 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

EMD, from this test show are easy to rank on bing/yahoo/DDG but without links on google page 3 in this case. Maybe older EMD's still work but not in this case (unless its still in the sandbox?)

Thanks for the comments, for me its disappointing as I wanted the sites to rank on their own merits and quality, not efforts I went to off site, at least higher than the site stands now based on the poor quality of the sites and directories above!

Im going to leave the site without any links, that way if google ever becomes smart enough to judge a site on its own onsite merits ill know!

londrum




msg:4608270
 9:10 am on Sep 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

maybe its not the links themselves, but what they lead to.
if you've got a load of links then google finds it quicker, so you get more traffic (from both google and the links)... and its the traffic and user stats that google can get that helps it rank.

jrs79




msg:4608611
 3:07 am on Sep 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

I would have to guess anchor text. I would also like to know if any of the links get clicked? A link that generates quality visits seems to be more valuable. It may that the clicks are not what makes the link valuable, but re indicative that link is on a relevant site.

dethfire




msg:4608614
 4:26 am on Sep 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

yes, i've seen some crap sites that have countless on page problems, but they have big link profiles and thus rank very well. still to this day, it's all about the links

diberry




msg:4608615
 5:09 am on Sep 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

This is really valuable testing, CaptainSalad2. And also JD_Toims and others contributing related attempts and what came of them.

CaptainSalad2, I recently had a couple of organic inbound scenarios that I feel point up the importance of anchor text in links:

--A page about "home grown widgets" got lots of Pinterest links which automatically used "home grown widgets" as the anchor text. The page's ranking got significantly better for "home grown widgets."

--Another page (about "green widget fans") got an extremely powerful link from an extremely important website, and it used the anchor text "here". As in "read more here." (Gee, thanks.) It sent me thousands of visitors over just the first day... and yet Google's only reaction was to tweak my page from #3 to #2-3 for "green widget fans."

IMO, the second scenario shows far more user satisfaction with my page than the flood of repins, which are so effortless. Ideally, then, Google would have responded better to the big link from the big website than to the flood of repins. But they didn't, and that may be because they NEED anchor text as a clue. Pinterest provided it, the other website didn't.

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