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Effect of Google Updates and SERP Changes on Your Business

     
11:19 am on Apr 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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System: The following 17 messages were cut out of thread at: https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4842918.htm [webmasterworld.com] by goodroi - 4:48 pm on Apr 24, 2017 (utc -5)


My article, is still ranking at no. 10. Sometimes I wonder if I go into too much detail. The people visiting my site are the average Joe wanting help.

The Nestle owned site which is suddenly all over Google has cookie cutter type articles which are short and really don't cover the topics in any detail. But they're now ranking one.


A couple of years ago G shifted its reliance on links. Somehow, some way they now have different mechanisms for judging the value of a website / webpage. Links are not excluded but degraded in importance.

Whatever mechanism they are using, it seems to be better able to judge what content a viewer wants to see. Unfortunately, many, many viewers want to see these short articles. That leads to the problem of better constructed and more detailed content ranking lower sometimes compared to short, sharp and often inaccurate content ranking higher - even though the more detailed articles have more quality links.
2:20 pm on Apr 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Solution : split your long articles.
Each new short articles, responding to a general common theme, can be occupying #1,#2 and #3 places on the serps.

It's what I'm seeing from my competitors. Using my example of building a plane : do a category "building a plane", with subpages : building an airbus, building a boeing, buiding the wings, buildings the engines...

I haven't tested yet, I'm to scared of doing such a huge modification. If someone have some feedback about it...
3:01 pm on Apr 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Unfortunately, many, many viewers want to see these short articles. That leads to the problem of better constructed and more detailed content ranking lower sometimes compared to short, sharp and often inaccurate content ranking higher

That doesn't seem to be the case for my articles. My longer articles (1200 -2500 words) generally rank higher and get more google traffic than my shorter articles (800 -1200 words. This is true for all of my sites.

It may help that I break most of my longer articles into sections and also include at least one image.

i do agree that google's algorithm gives less weight to backlinks now. I think it may use other signals too, such as:

-- the visitor scrolls slowly down the article at typical reading speeds

-- the visitor bookmarks the article

-- the visitor prints out a copy of the article

-- the visitor reads other articles on the same site

-- the visitor makes repeat visits to the site

Google's Chrome browser can collect all of these signals and the algorithm can statistically combine them to determine the overall behavior of thousands of different visitors.
3:08 pm on Apr 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I haven't tested yet, I'm to scared of doing such a huge modification. If someone have some feedback about it...

Our longer articles do extremely well in Google, and we'd be crazy if we even considered chopping them into little pieces. (In our niche, at least, Google seems to value substance over fluff, and content farms made up of bite-size tidbits aren't doing very well these days.)

Links are not excluded but degraded in importance.

Also, PageRank is only one of the factors that determine the value of a given link these days. We aren't living in 1998 anymore.
4:02 pm on Apr 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Something else to think about before going the "bite-size article" route:

You'll probably be hurting your ability to get organic inbound links. Why? Because true citations (links) point to original or additional resources, which means the linked page should have more content on the topic than the linking page does.

Let's say I'm writing an article about Photo Safaris in Widgetonia, and I have a couple of paragraphs about the unicorns that tourists are likely to see in the Widgetonian Veldt. I'm not going to link to a 200-word blog post that has no more information than my article does, but I might link to an in-depth article about Widgetonian unicorns.
6:15 pm on Apr 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@only 1% of webmasters link if not paid, natural links are utopia
6:38 pm on Apr 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@only 1% of webmasters link if not paid, natural links are utopia

I think it's probably hard for e-commerce sites to get natural links, although there are exceptions, especially within niches. (If you've got a reputatable business that sells supplies, clothing, and tchotchkes for Transylvanian terriers and their owners, you'll probably attract plenty of links from Transylvanian-terrier blogs, forums, etc.)

In my experience, a useful information site can attract plenty of unsolicited natural links. (We got one just the other day from a major Web and print publisher.) YMMV.
7:37 pm on Apr 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@EditorialGuy, in my experience i never but never in 7 years get a natural link from somebody and i was and i am in different niches with more than 500 unique visitors/day. Nobody links to you if you do not pay for that link. As example i have one website where i sell a product and people are satisfied with it, they send me questions all day on my blog, i interact with them, but nobody in 1 year or so left a link to me. Can you explain that?
7:38 pm on Apr 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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In my experience, a useful information site can attract plenty of unsolicited natural links.
---EditorialGuy

Agreed.
My sites are all evergreen informational. Articles run 600-12000 words, most are 1000-1500. Traffic referring backlinks have never been a problem, other than that they came slower when the sites were newer and smaller. As I replaced stock images with custom, added in slideshows and video there were noticeable jumps as well.

I do link out rather extensively. Including to eCommerce sites. However, the sites must be the best in class and not simply a drop-ship. Never Amazon et al, only high value independents. With superb customer service and smart marketing practices.
Why?
Because
1. who I link to reflects on my sites.
My link is, in effect, a recommendation. And if the recipient is shoddy in some way I get tarnished as well. And deservedly so.

2. in time traffic I refer can be seen as valuable enough for a direct affiliate relationship.

3. such sites are more likely to remain in business. Link rot is a pita.
7:44 pm on Apr 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@andynick89, as I said, your mileage may vary. But, as both I and iamlost have attested, some of us do get unsolicited links. And in my experience, unsolicited links are relevant, meaningful links (the kind of links that deliver traffic, not just search rankings).
8:33 pm on Apr 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@EditorialGuy, indeed, thos unsolicited links are one of the most powerful links but we can't wait entire life for 1 website to rank. In my opinion Internet is a place to profit from. So things must be a little accelerated and without stupid algorithms that rotate websites in the SERP very few months/years. Google itself has nothing to win if they kill our websites like that. The are also niches that can't be promoted with Adsense, so, how we can arrive to the right audience if they try to kill SEO at any level?
8:50 pm on Apr 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Coming down back to earth,

Most of sites including ecommerce write a lot of stuff on their blog that is not even related to their product and do get(buy) lots of links and shares and google still rewards them with rankings for their products but one can call this as spam from a mile.

One ecommerce product needs a well writen product description, genuine reviews and proper call to action and definitely not a blog writing about the Queen of England meeting Dracula from Transylvania.
9:09 pm on Apr 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I love it when people link to my site (obviously), I never ask, but sometimes my competitors quote some of my work and give me credit, or links to articles are posted on a forum. I still wish Google would discount links. Yes they're good for bringing in traffic, but I also think they can be manipulated. What if I decide to start doing some black hat link building for my competitor? I think if they ignored links then that kind of thing would stop. And link building would be natural. I have always disliked the assumption that you're guilty if you have some iffy backlinks. Not true and certainly not deserving of a penalty.

Going back to long articles, I don't know if really digging deep into the hows and whys is what my readers want. I am a geek, so I like to know these things. Everybody knows that X is dangerous to widgets, but I like to know how and why? What exactly happens. But my readers may just want to know how to fix a widget broken by X and now the mechanism of action.
9:25 pm on Apr 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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there is a case of marketing gurus linking to each other articles out of respect for their work but I do not remember any guru linking to Dracula related articles
11:04 pm on Apr 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@moxsu the point you are making is the key. Martinibuster has written about this in the past too and he is probably better suited to describe it then I. The basic idea is that a "reputable" site will not link to a spammy site, but spammy sites will link to other spammy sites as well as to "reputable" sites. So Google is able to judge the quality of the link based on the quality of the aggregation of all the links from the linking website. So on this basis Google can easily discount spammy links, making negative SEO impossible. But, if you decide that in order to gain links in volumes you start to reciprocate links with some less than reputable sites, then you may run yourself into serious trouble.
11:07 pm on Apr 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Most of sites including ecommerce write a lot of stuff on their blog that is not even related to their product and do get(buy) lots of links and shares and google still rewards them with rankings for their products but one can call this as spam from a mile.

We aren't allowed to name names here, but I can think of some well-establilshed niche e-commerce sites that have done well in Google (and have earned the confidence of prospective customers) by having lots of useful information about their topics.

It isn't spamming if your site caters to aardvark owners and is a compendium of helpful, interesting, professionally-written information about how to raise, care for, equip, and treat aardvarks. If your site is the "go to" resource for aardvark owners, people are going to trust you to sell them the products their pet aardvarks need. But to become that "go to" resource, you need to invest in great content--and that's more easily said than done, especially if your background is in business or SEO and you can't afford to hire topnotch writers and editors.
5:06 am on Apr 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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We aren't allowed to name names here, but I can think of some well-establilshed niche e-commerce sites that have done well in Google (and have earned the confidence of prospective customers) by having lots of useful information about their topics.


That gives me confidence in them as a business if I see good quality content relating to their product. To me, I see a business who knows what they are talking about and cares about helping the customer.

As an aside, I've also noticed the About.com spinoff in the rankings, it's been years since I saw them.
11:45 am on Apr 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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What if apart from product descriptions writing content for an ecommerce site is bringing the informational status and not the transactional one? And the site gets less buyers?

[edited by: goodroi at 9:56 pm (utc) on Apr 24, 2017]
[edit reason] formatting [/edit]

2:15 pm on Apr 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@mosxu
We are a successful ecom. We work hard on site architecture such that our unique content is not embedded on product pages. Content links to products, products link to content.

The product pages are all written in house, so as to be unique. But also, so as to incorporate intra-links in a natural way.

Thus, anyone exploring a product has plenty of extra information available to them, while information traffic can be funnelled to products as we move them from tyre-kickers to cash-parkers.
2:42 pm on Apr 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@shaddaows

You are doing the right thing, would you say that a percentage of your converters bought right way and the other percentage came via informational pages with no intention of buying ? What is the ratio here?
3:54 pm on Apr 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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People landing on info pages tend to buy on a later visit, if at all.

But as mentioned by others, it is about raising your profile and being known as a go-to resource. It helps attract unsolicited, industry-specific links.

And as we focus on B2B, being well-known is a major asset. Becoming well known is a matter of having non-transactional content (or being super-cheap).
3:59 pm on Apr 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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What if apart from product descriptions writing content for an ecommerce site is bringing the informational status and not the transactional one? And the site gets less buyers?

Why would the site get fewer buyers if you provided the kind of informational content that Google and its searchers like? Do you cap the number of people who can visit your site?

And do you really want to limit your pool of prospects to people who are in the final stage of the buying cycle?
4:07 pm on Apr 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@andynicky89: pinions about SEO is like asking 10 guys which car is better, a BMW or a Ferrari. Opinions are divided, and SEO is a very very complex thing to ask or to bend the ear to any idiot that write a blog post and captured the audience because many of us have problems with SEO.

It's even worse than this. Had these people had a clue in SEO , they'd be running their own very profitable online ventures. But their business if taking money off the online merchants who for one reason or the other can't keep up with all the Google changes (which is the majority, 95%). So they will "guru post" obvious.People who know what they are doing don't "guru post".
4:10 pm on Apr 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@EditorialGuy
@glakes: Different research studies show different things, but in any case, the implicit message in your post seems to be that owners of e-commerce sites should be hitching their wagons to Amazon instead of fighting for scraps of organic traffic from Google.


Yes, this has been going on since 2013. Lots of small ecommerce sites either died or switched to getting majority of their sales on Amazon because of Panda/Penguin destroying their websites.

Amazon is stealing your bestselling products (fact that happened to me and to 4-5 ecommerce guys around me), so you'll be shortly out of business. Then Amazon also switched from allowing paid traffic to go external to internal only, making it worthless. And then Amazon shook out a lot of small merchants who get kicked out for 1 single violation such as not answered email within 24 hours (even on weekends), not providing free return to Amazon's whining audience, not kissing Amazon's whining audience's behind, not kissing Amazon's category manager's behind, etc.etc. Some people I know have been kicked out of Amazon 3-5 times. Some people had their business copied and stolen by chinese or their Amazon competitors copying and selling directly on Amazon. Some Amazon competitors will buy from you and claim it's poor quality or broken and as a low volume merchant you have no way to handle these as your rating will be hit , etc. etc. It's not pretty.

Today is 2017 and small merchants that survived are usually two types - either Amazon or Amazon competitors can't directly undercut them. Or you build your website up knowing that Amazon sales are temporary and might be shut down tomorrow.
4:45 pm on Apr 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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>> @NickMNS: .Google is able to judge the quality of the link based on the quality of the aggregation of all the links from the linking website. So on this basis Google can easily discount spammy links, making negative SEO impossible.


Not possible.

You want a bet? Let me go spend $20 and point some dirtiest possible links with KW at a page on your website that's in top 10. Let's see how fast it disappears.

The problem is Google is NOT discounting spammy links, they attach negative weight to it. So if it is even -0.001 per link, all I need is to buy 1000 of them for it to be at -1. Relatively speaking. To knock your page off serps.

It is too cheap to buy crappy links. There's lots and lots of collateral damage from this. I've seen spammers point 100,000 links at one of our domains in a month, sank like a rock. The only way out was to 301 to a different domain , there's no 2nd chance or recourse with Google right now.

Look at this , several posts above:
>> @Mentat: After working on the links to my site I feel dirty. The number of spammy links are ~ 90%.

[edited by: goodroi at 9:56 pm (utc) on Apr 24, 2017]
[edit reason] Formatting thread [/edit]

5:17 pm on Apr 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@smilie that hasn't been my experience. I have had thousands of spammy links (egregiously offensive adult content) pointed at my site, it even showed in GSC, with no negative effect, if anything my ranking went up. I obviously disavowed the domains, but again no change of any significance up or down.
6:39 pm on Apr 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@NickMNS: Same here, and I've never disavowed a single link. (I haven't the patience for Whack-a-Mole, and I'd rather not fall victim to the Law of Unintended Consequences in any case.)

As for April search news, things have been pretty quiet for us during the past 10 days or so. We had nice upward bumps in February, March, early April, and mid-April, but our Google organic traffic graph has shown only low single-digit changes since then.
7:22 pm on Apr 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@editorialguy

If your ecommerce site is given an informational status then you may get zombies instead of buyers.

It is not about how great the content is but I would not mix my brand with how vampires need to drink blood to survive, make the content viral to get lots of links and shares

And if I need an education I'd go to school not to read your articles on Google
7:58 pm on Apr 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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It is not about how great the content is but I would not mix my brand with how vampires need to drink blood to survive, make the content viral to get lots of links and shares

Oh, please. Nobody's suggesting publishing irrelevant content. That's what amateurs do.
8:12 pm on Apr 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Unfortunately it is the case look at the blogs of some high ranking ecommerce sites

Because ecommerce content cannot get viral, big SEO companies choose unrelated content for the blog to still be able make it viral, get lots of links and shares

If spam or not we'll see
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