This Week In SEO 79
Fred, Link Building in 2017, Local Search, & More


Drop Dead Fred: A Google Algorithm Update Analysis

Fred Google update
only 90s kids will get this

Recently, there was a Google algorithm update that clever hilarious SEOs named “Fred” after Gary Illyes said all future updates should be named “Fred.”

As usual, there has been a lot of speculation as to what this update entailed, but nothing super solid.

Recently, though, an SEO tool company called Sistrix has published some interesting findings after studying 300 sites:

Nearly all losers were very advertisement heavy, especially banner ads, many of which were AdSense campaigns. Another thing that we often noticed was that those sites offered little or poor quality content, which had no value for the reader. It seem that many, but not all, websites are affected who tried to grab a large number of visitors from Google with low quality content, which they then tried to quickly and easily monetize through affiliate programs.

According to this post, sites that look like this got hammered:


a.k.a. a page created to grab search traffic, with a low amount/terrible quality content and lots of ads.

Hopefully you’ve been taking our advice and creating solid content on the pages you’re trying to rank. ?


Thoughts on Link Building — 2017

I’m a fan of Glen Allsopp. I think he writes, at the very least, very interesting content. Usually, the content goes beyond interesting and is insightful.

In this guest post on SPI, Glen discusses the state of link building in 2017 with some pretty interesting (but, in the manner of SEO at large, speculative) conclusions.

– in studying some popular blogs, it is mostly clear that the number of referring links they earn over time is, fairly consistently, trending downward.

godin links

– the context of why a website would (naturally) link to a site matters:

What should be interesting is not where they’re receiving links, but the context of those links. Let’s look at the actual sentences with the underlined text being where the link would be.

  • The biggest sources of debt? Housing education
  • According to NerdWallet’s 2015 American Household Credit Card Debt Study
  • Roughly 40 million Americans owe more than $1.2 trillion in combined student debt

The links don’t stand out. They’re more of an afterthought to a point that the author is trying to make.

There are a lot of other interesting insights in this post–definitely click through and give it a read.



JK. Any time any little thing happens/goes wrong in this industry, it’s all doom all the time.

But seriously, this probably is a pretty big deal, when combined with the mobile-first index and rise of mobile search:

Tappable shortcuts eliminating the need to search (for certain things)…

The shortcuts eliminate the need to search, providing quick answers around sports scores, nearby restaurants, up-to-the minute weather updates and entertainment information, like TV schedules or who won the Oscar for best supporting actress.

I mean, if you’re in any of those industries (sports scores, weather, etc), Google already ate your lunch and made you buy dessert.

Here’s a video on the new feature:


Google’s Biggest Competition

Three years ago, if I were to put money on which multi-gajillion-dollar tech company would pose the biggest threat Google’s search dominant, smart money would be on Apple.

But since all Apple has done in the past three years is NOT innovate Siri and make laptops with features no one asked for (I’m not bitter, YOU’RE bitter), it’s Facebook that’s stepping up it’s game.

Yesterday TechCrunch wrote about the test of an “enhanced local search feature” on Facebook. It’s an expanded version of Nearby Places: e.g., “coffee nearby.” It’s difficult to tell precisely what’s new here. However TechCrunch says the following: it’s “a list of relevant businesses, along with their ratings on Facebook, a map, as well as which friends of yours have visited or like the places in question.”

Here’s what it looks like:

facebook seo

As the article says, it’s been (and continues to be) a slow, steady ramp up for Facebook, but they’ve got the presence and the data to present a big threat to Google in the near future.


When (online) Webmaster Guidelines Shape Offline Businesses

Q: How do you end up with a business named “Custom Signs Near Me Denver?”

A: Google Local guidelines state:

“Your name should reflect your business’ real-world name, as used consistently on your storefront, website, stationery, and as known to customers. Accurately representing your business name helps customers find your business online.”

And we know that exact match still carries value as a ranking factor…

So when you want to stay above-board but also get those sweet sweet organic clicks, you end up with this:

exact match business names


Good post. Many more examples of businesses doing things to rank well in the local results.



Rapid-Fire SEO Insights
Google is changing its definition of “exact match” keywords in Keyword Planner.

The search query “hotels in new york” will be able to trigger an ad impression for the exact match keyword [new york hotels] because the word order and the term “in” can be ignored and not change the intent of the query.

RankBrain, Trust, and Three Case Studies
TWS78: Long Tail, Dmoz, Proximity, 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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