This Week In SEO 82
New Algorithm Update, Ranking in Google Images, New gTLDs, & More


Google’s New Algorithm Update Targets Fake News

This is a great update on Google’s relationship with, and response to, fake news.

From Bloomberg, on the update:

The Alphabet Inc. company is making a rare, sweeping change to the algorithm behind its powerful search engine to demote misleading, false and offensive articles online. Google is also setting new rules encouraging its “raters” — the 10,000-plus staff that assess search results — to flag web pages that host hoaxes, conspiracy theories and what the company calls “low-quality” content.

It’s always interesting to read about SEO-related issues from non-industry people. In this case, it’s Ben from the (amazing) tech blog Stratechery.

Framing the problem of fake news in relation to Google’s finances:

Google, on the other hand, is less in the business of driving engagement via articles you agree with, than it is in being a primary source of truth. The reason to do a Google search is that you want to know the answer to a question, and for that reason I have long been more concerned about fake news in search results, particularly “featured snippets.”

Google … is not only serving up these snippets as if they are the truth, but serving them up as a direct response to someone explicitly searching for answers. In other words, not only is Google effectively putting its reputation behind these snippets, it is serving said snippets to users in a state where they are primed to believe they are true.

The main criticism here is not in how Google handled the algorithm update, but in how they are changing the quality rater guidelines to now demote pages that it considers “not-authoritative:”

This simply isn’t good enough: Google is going to be making decisions about who is authoritative and who is not, which is another way of saying that Google is going to be making decisions about what is true and what is not, and that demands more transparency, not less.

Dear Google:


How to Win Google Images

Last week we brought you a post on how to rank your videos within Youtube.

This week, conveniently, we’re bringing you a post on how to rank well in Google images.

Ranking images in Google is very similar to ranking a Youtube video.

In fact ranking images is actually easier because the competition is lower (not many people are intentionally aiming to rank photos).

What follows is a series of steps–pretty straightforward.

There can be some nice branding benefits to ranking well in Google images, so worth looking into if all your other SEO is taken care of.

Completely unrelated: we can take care of all your other SEO.


Case Study: Ranking for a High Volume Keyword

This is a case study using the write good content > email outreach > guest post method.

It’s super effective!

But also, it takes a lot of work and time. If you’ve tried to do any SEO in the past few years, you know that a) this is the way SEO is trending, unless b) you are grey hat/black hat, understand the risk, and are on the aggressive side.

Lots of pieces to this post, but this one is probably the most interesting and valuable:

Hypothesis: We hypothesized that dropping the number of “sales management” occurrences from 48 to 20 and replacing it with terms that have high lexical relevance would improve rankings.

Were we right?


The improvement happened pretty quickly, as well:

  • July 18th – Over-optimized keyword recognized.
  • July 25th – Content team finished updating body copy, H2s with relevant topics/synonyms.
  • July 26th – Updated internal anchor text to include relevant terms.
  • July 27th – Flushed cache & re-submitted to Search Console.
  • August 4th – Improved from #4 to #2 for “Sales Management”
  • August 17 – Improved from #2 to #1 for “Sales Management”

Very interesting. I’m frequently a fan of de-optimizing over-optimized pages.

I have some tests planned on this myself. If we see any interesting results, I’ll report back, so stay tuned…


Infinite Review Spam

We’ve discussed before how reviews are a huge factor in determining local rankings.

You also probably know that ranking locally is worth $$$.

And where there’s $$$, there’s going to be people doing whatever they can to take their share of it.

In this case, it is hiring/running a giant network of local-review SPAM.

Mike Blumenthal discovered it and spent the maximum amount of time any reasonable person would in trying to uncover the true size of it.

As is hinted at in the article… it’s strange that Google has been eager to curtail link building spam in the past, but this local-review spam persists. Thrives, even!

Review spam at this scale, unencumbered by any Google enforcement, calls into question every review that Google has. Fake business listings are bad but businesses with 20 or 50 or 150 fake reviews are worse. They deceive the searcher and the buying public and they stain every real review, every honest business and Google.

Mike suggests that not just removing the users who create the fake reviews should be done, but actually punishing the businesses that use these services. In which case…

Hello Google Local SEO!


The Rankability of New gTLDs

Background: The Domain Name Association (DNA) commissioned a study to see if there was any advantage to using a new gTLD (.marketing, .xyz, .tech, etc.) over .com.

DNA’s incentive to show how great new gTLDs are for SEO is pretty clear: the association is made up of individuals who stand to gain, in one way or the other, from the increased acceptance of the new gTLDs.

So, what was their conclusion?

It’s gonna surprise you, watch out!

“SEO Expert Research Reveals Search Advantages of Relevant Domain Name Extension”

Wow! What a headline!

But here is some very fair criticism of this study from Domain Name Wire:

What the research did find was that the so-called “domain authority” of some of the ranked new top level domain names was much lower than .com domain names ranked for the same terms. This would suggest that it’s easier to rank a site on a new TLD than on .com.

What you won’t see in the material is that the sample size was quite small–about 300 “newer” domains (about 2,000 total).

So, a definitely biased study whose conclusion should not be taken to heart.

And here’s a little bonus: J MU weighing in on the study via Twitter:

@DInvesting That looks misleading. New TLDs can rank well, of course: all TLDs can! Also, Google doesn’t use DA for ranking.

— John ☆.o(≧▽≦)o.☆ (@JohnMu) April 25, 2017


Rapid-Fire SEO Insights

On HTTPS In the Search Results

New study shows that about half of all page one search results contain HTTPS (secure) sites.

Voice Search = the Next Big Thing

Here are some interesting statistics:

  • 55% of teens and 41% of adults use voice search on a daily basis.
  • Shifts in user behavior have taken strides to become increasingly hands-free.
  • Google says 20% of queries on its mobile app and on Android devices are voice searches.

Alexa, rank my site for voice search.

Facebook SEO, Content Strategy, WordPress Safety, and More!
SEO Strategy, AMP, Video SEO, & More

Learn How To Rank Your Site

Get our simple, straightforward guide on how to rank your site.

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.
dotted line pointing to the void

Smash your traffic records with quality SEO.

SEO emphasis line

If you’re tired of the empty promises… Tired of the mediocre results…
Tired of SEO companies taking you for a ride… Tired of reading the word tired…

Let Smash Digital help.

Scroll to Top