Yes, I think it's significant, but no more thinking about how to say what I mean in plain English until later for me (lol) -- Been a long day today -- I'll try to put things into words people will understand later if I remember this thread. [That's a big IF for me].
[edited by: JD_Toims at 7:53 am (utc) on Sep 20, 2013]
I think this may be the way to go. The new process is SED (Search Engine Deoptimisation). :)
It may be BeeDeeDubbleU. I am seeing a pattern. Besides a big domain authority bias, this de-optimized pattern is totally consistent in the top 5 spots. One page went so far as to not have the actual keywords "kw kw about kw" on the entire page but had it in the title and LSI keywords in bold headings without heading tags. The rest had 1 h2 with LSI keywords and the section titles in bold without h tags.
I see this a lot, no SEO, titles in many cases without any keywords (I don't believe Google applies any weight to title or H1 anymore, based on my experiments).
Some of the sites ranking at the top right now in local SERPS fall under the category of sites you view and say to yourself "DAMN"....and not in a good way either!
Google is loving the 90's built, DIY .. built while stoned websites in the local SERPS. Good job team! :)
This kind of fits with the thread about whether proper H1 tags constitute gaming. [webmasterworld.com...]
This is the sort of action on Google's part that, if it is what it appears to be, really bugs me. A lot of people learn how to "format" an article from English class and don't even realize the web headers have more significance than how they look, or they learn it by looking at their competitors. It's a pretty unreliable indicator of gaming, IMHO. Or at least it's one Google should simply devalue rather than penalize.
|This is the sort of action on Google's part that, if it is what it appears to be, really bugs me. |
It's also likely to be short-lived, assuming that it isn't just something that's being tested on a limited basis. I wouldn't rush off and change a zillion H4 subhead tags or whatever on the assumption that Google hates (and will hate) legitimate H tags forevermore.
All my sites have H1 H2 H3 H4... used properly and don't suffer at all in SERP.
And like you said -- don't be rushing off to trash structure, for many reasons, not the least of which there are many search engines that use them.
If google doesn't that's their choice, they can just ignore them if they are on the page.
I think the low density of word repetition is more likely to be the deciding factor rather than the absence of H1 tags.
Oh, definitely, EditorialGuy. Whatever this is, I doubt it's as simple as "replace H2-4 with bold, and rank better." As SevenCubed said, it might be the keyword density.
It might also be that these sites took other steps off-page that we can't know about.
I am not saying that de-optimization is a cure all but when you see it for a large number of searches in your niche and they all have little to no classic on page optimization then you have to wonder if a ranking factor has changed.