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New Commercial Sites Quickly Rising in SERPs

     

DXL

2:46 am on Aug 15, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Over the last year and a half, I've watched business directories and informational blog posts ("The 10 Best Looking Widget Websites") edge their way to the top of the SERPs for searches that service-based businesses would typically rank for. But I've also noticed that relatively new business websites would also quickly jump to the top of the SERPs.

Example:

Site A is a 10 year old business website that for years was #1 on Google for a search related to a service catering to a particular industry. Plenty of backlinks, target keywords used as anchor text for many inbound links.

Site B uses a domain name that hadn't been used before 2013, the site is barely more than a year old. Plenty of inbound links using target keywords as anchor text, but from fewer domains.

For a particular search that yields over 180 million results, Site A dropped from the #1 spot to page two within the last year. Site B is now the #1 result. Both sites have similar on-site SEO, both sites are noticeably commercial in nature (pitching a business service).

Question: How is such a "new" commercial website the #1 organic result in the SERPs for a competitive keyword search despite being online for just over a year? Especially when a number of business sites had also been optimized for the same search terms for 5-10 years?
9:08 am on Aug 15, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Just to look at the inbound links... my initial thought about this was that site B, being newer, perhaps had heeded recent Google warnings about things like low quality guest blogging, and perhaps has fewer marks against it than site A does.

But as I read your description of the linking, you may be saying just the opposite...

My emphasis added...
Site B uses a domain name that hadn't been used before 2013, the site is barely more than a year old. Plenty of inbound links using target keywords as anchor text, but from fewer domains.

"From fewer domains" not completely clear, and could perhaps mean simply that...
a) it had fewer inbounds, or...
b) that it had more, not less, repetition of anchor text per linking domain. As a spam signal, this should work against these links.

(b) would argue against my theory of more prudent linking to site B, but I may not be understanding what you're intending to communicate here.

Re age of the sites, there are many variables and ways of interpreting your observations...

- including type, quality, and relevance of the inbound links...
- any qdf factors, which might favor newer links...
- if you have more blog links, eg, to A, those will fade more quickly over time than links from fixed pages would.

PS: I should add that I'm not a fan of simply counting links. That's not a very precise or granular way of looking at how backlink profiles differ.

Similarly, there may well be a difference in the engagement factors of the sites. Site B might be structured in a way that keeps the visitor engrossed in the content. Hard to say what the differences might be. Google might also be testing site B in the top position, to see if it belongs there. There are a great many possibilities.

DXL

11:36 pm on Aug 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

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"From fewer domains" not completely clear, and could perhaps mean simply that...
a) it had fewer inbounds, or...
b) that it had more, not less, repetition of anchor text per linking domain. As a spam signal, this should work against these links.


Depending on the backlink checker used, Site B (new one) had anywhere from half as many to twice as many inbound links total as Site A.

The difference is that Site A (older site) has thousands of backlinks from hundreds of different websites, whereas Site B has thousands of backlinks from only 5-10 different websites. Those 5-10 websites are informational blogs and directories with anywhere from several hundred - to tens of thousands - pages indexed by Google. And on every single one of those tens of thousands of pages, is a link to Site B (new site) using the target keywords as anchor text.

So even though the new site's domain was only registered last year, it's at the top of the SERPs for a key phrase used consistently as anchor text on thousands of pages of a handful of websites that the owner of Site B seems to manage. And those websites plus their content are COMPLETELY unrelated to the anchor text keywords, and aren't remotely related/relevant to Site B's products/services.
12:29 am on Aug 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

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So even though the new site's domain was only registered last year, it's at the top of the SERPs for a key phrase used consistently as anchor text on thousands of pages of a handful of websites that the owner of Site B seems to manage. And those websites plus their content are COMPLETELY unrelated to the anchor text keywords, and aren't remotely related/relevant to Site B's products/services.

That's the type of backlink profile which is generally thought to trigger a Penguin demotion. But the site might have been too young at the last Penguin rollout (Oct. 4, 2013) to get penalized then. But it could be headed for a Penguin demotion at the next roll-out, whenever that might occur. In other words, the timing might have given it a window of opportunity to prosper between Penguin roll-outs, an especially long window due to the next Penguin roll-out being long overdue.
10:05 am on Aug 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

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aristotle is indeed correct. Most established small business websites are under penalty because of penguin and have been demoted for who knows how long (possibly forever?). Back in the day Google told people to list their businesses in directories, use important keywords as their link titles to help Google understand what the destination page was about, etc. Those that took Google's advice, and followed their guidelines, have been slapped with a penguin penalty. Therefore new sites are free to rise above those small businesses that have been serving members of their communities and customers across the globe for years. That's why your site B has a free pass, which to me sounds more like a churn and burn type of site.

DXL

6:12 pm on Aug 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

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That's the type of backlink profile which is generally thought to trigger a Penguin demotion. But the site might have been too young at the last Penguin rollout (Oct. 4, 2013) to get penalized then.


Very insightful.

But it could be headed for a Penguin demotion at the next roll-out


Why would an algorithm change or update be necessary for the site to be demoted, though? If the algorithm is set up to penalize certain sites, I was always under the impression that they were penalized once Google's bots come back home with details on spammy activity for a particular site.

I didn't think G penalized sites for keyword stuffing, three-way-linking, cloaking, hidden text, etc on rollout dates, but rather whenever the bot noticed it. So do we know for a fact that demotions related to the type of inbound links or use of anchor text only occur when Google does a major update?
6:41 pm on Aug 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Most established small business websites are under penalty because of penguin and have been demoted for who knows how long (possibly forever?)


I'm sorry, but no way do I believe that *most* established small business websites are under penalty.
2:53 pm on Aug 26, 2014 (gmt 0)

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hose that took Google's advice, and followed their guidelines, have been slapped with a penguin penalty. Therefore new sites are free to rise above those small businesses that have been serving members of their communities and customers across the globe for years.

- turbocharged

So what you're saying is that JUST small businesses that have followed Google's advice have been penalised? That's not true.
 

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