This Week In SEO 41
Analyzing SSL, No More Sidebar Ads, Pinterest Algorithm, & More!


An Analysis of 10,000 HTTPS Domains

ssl rank signal

The concept of an SSL certificate isn’t complicated in itself. But the SEO implications can pile up and really impact your site’s performance in the SERPs.

AHREFS does some solid data crunching here, and extrapolating not just what the most prevalent problems with sites going SSL is, but what they mean for search engine performance.

Only 1 in 10 websites has what we consider a flawless HTTPS setup (More on that later).
A whooping 60% of the websites tested have no HTTPS whatsoever (increasing to over 65% when taking into account websites with errors in SSL setup).
Almost 1 in 4 domains were missing a canonical HTTPS version.
Almost 1 in 4 domains were using 302 (temporary) redirects instead of 301 (permanent) redirects.
Even Google can’t be bothered to use permanent redirects and uses temporary redirects (HTTP status code 302) instead. Then again, they won’t ever find it difficult to rank…

If your site currently uses SSL, or you’re planning to upgrade in the future, give this article your attention. It’s got all the common reasons your site may have a messed up implementation, how to find out, and in some cases, how to fix that.

Highly recommended read!


Google Adwords To Stop Showing Sidebar Ads In Search Results!!

This is actually hella big news. Looks like Google has been testing this for many years now, and they have come to the conclusion that sidebar ads are just not where it’s at. So… going forward there will only be top/bottom ad placements. The article goes on to say that for “highly commercial queries” there will sometimes be a 4th at above the organic results. Also PLA ads will remain all over the page as far as the eye can see.

I’m quite interested to see what this does to Adwords budgets over the next couple months, as I would expect the CPC to get inflated as competition fiercens.


Pinterest Algorithm Changes

pinterest boards

To some marketers, Pinterest is more valuable than Google. Like any platform that has the power to make serious money from an audience of tens and hundreds of millions, Pinterest updates the way its user-generated content is distributed. Now that Pinterest ads is an option (in the U.S.), the organic reach of a pin has gotten lower and lower.

Just as Facebook limited the reach of unpaid-for posts, so Pinterest is limited a certain kind of pin:

If you are a seasoned pinner, you may have noticed a significant drop in traffic originating from Pinterest since the beginning of February. It’s not you. You are not imaging it or doing something wrong. Bloggers in Facebook groups everywhere are voicing their frustrations.

Pinterest has changed its algorithm and the best we can surmise is that it has to do with group boards.

The dreaded algorithm change…

Connection Speed’s Impact on Mobile Search
Basic search and standard search

Reminder about a big change in the mobile space:

This February, Google will begin ranking AMP pages in mobile search results. These will provide mobile users access to news articles that universally render in about one second.

Neat. This article jams on the symbiotic relationship Google has with speed in all facets of its relationship with search, from the speed of displaying results to how fast a page loads on mobile platforms.

You know that Google wants you to have a good experience searching, but don’t forget how your good experience equals money for them:

Google’s interest in varying search results by connection speed is critical to their larger goals. A large portion of mobile searches are for entertainment, and the need for entertainment is unending and easy to monetize. Subscription models provide long-term stable revenue with minimal upkeep or effort from Google.

Additionally, the more time searchers spend consuming media, either by surfacing it in Google or the ChromeCast app, or through Now on Tap, the more Google can tailor its marketing messages to them.


An Introduction to Local Search: 2016

local search 2016

Local search is a monster of a subsection within SEO, and is every bit as complicated and involved as non-local search. This article is a great beginners guide if you’re thinking about branching out into the local SEO.

In addition to all the usual beginner advice you’d expect to find in an article like this, its got some interesting points you may not have thought about at first:

Voice search continues to grow in popularity and usage. This means longer, natural language search queries.

How do you optimize for voice search? Create content that answers those natural language queries, and use those queries as the keywords. Voice search will usually be mobile, so make sure your site is mobile-friendly and that the content for these searches is clear and to the point.


Identifying Duplicate and Cannibalized Pages
blog results in the SERPs

A bit of an advanced technique here, identifying these duplicate and cannibalized pages can really improve your search presence, making sure the pages that matter get ranked, and not the less valuable pages.

The process all stems from a database export of all categories & sub categories on the domain. I could have gone through the route of getting a download from the XML sitemaps, running a crawl etc, but what we’re interested in here is the actual logging system used behind the scenes to describe each of the URLs and its relationship to other categories in its simplest form (something that cannot be achieved via a crawl for a site that features all URLs in root directories & no breadcrumb trails to scrape).

If you’re up for it, run through the steps here and tie up this loose end in your site’s SEO.

AMP, Local Link Building, Silos, & More
HTTP/2 and SEO, Deceptive Download Buttons, and More!

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Sean Markey

Sean Markey

Obsessive consumer of SEO news and strategies, writes the This Week in SEO column. Loves playing drums and writing fiction. Bets you he can throw a football over them mountains.
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