This Week In SEO 87
The Consequences of SEO, E-commerce Tips, and More!


Why Link Spam is on the Rise Again: Because It Works

You guys/gals, this is a good post.

Before Panda and Penguin, you could throw crappy links and thin content at your site, and it might rank fine. But if it didn’t, you just got ignored–not penalized.

Post Panda/Penguin, the risk of this tactic carried a huge cost for an established business.

Current incarnations of various algorithms are penalizing less and ignoring more.

Here’s a TL;DR for you (but you should still go read. It’s not THAT long):

So when Google says they’re pretty good at ignoring link spam that means some of the link spam is working. They’re not catching 100%. Not by a long shot.

So while Google snickers thinking spammers are wasting money on these links it’s the spammers who are laughing all the way to the bank. Low overhead costs make even inefficient link manipulation profitable in a high demand market.

I’ve advised clients that I see this problem getting worse in the next 12-18 months until it reaches a critical mass that will force Google to revert back to some sort of penalization.


E-commerce SEO Tips

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Shout out to E-commerce sites!

This article contains some really great tips, and I recommend you browsing through them to make sure there are no holes in your SEO strategy.

Spoiler alert, if you’re a Smash Digital RankBOSS client, we’ve got you covered here:

Links are one of the two most important Google ranking factors.

If you don’t have any high-quality links pointing back to your site, it will be really tough to rank on Page 1 of Google because Google won’t view your site as relevant, authoritative, and trustworthy.

But there are other things we don’t cover, like this:

If you have a strategy for acquiring reviews on your products and they can be indexed by Google, then you can receive a tremendous value from having more content on your site.

Searchers are also more likely to trust your content, buy from you, and stay on your page longer reading reviews — all of which will help your SEO.

One thing I want you to keep in mind when reading this article. Feel free to follow their advice as long as it doesn’t contradict our own bullet-proof on-page SEO advice (like when they talk about unique content doesn’t matter. It does. Make your descriptions unique!).


Slow and Steady SEO Case Study

Slow and steady wins the race, but it’s not very sexy.

^ White hat SEO, basically.

This case study is pretty great, because it takes you from the beginning (what do you prioritize first, to help build success upon later?) to the middle stages of an SEO strategy.

“Get links” is a pretty solid SEO strategy, I gotta say, but there are things you can do in the beginning to make those links extra effective.

For instance:

Content drives SEO success.

It’s possible to secure a few links to bottom-of-the-funnel pages, but you’ll need middle and top-of-the-funnel content to sustainably capture attention and links.

Creating useful content for your audience is always a sound strategy, but you can take it a step further by being intentional and strategic about the content you publish. We maintained a relentless focus on SEO — creating every page with search, and the opportunities available to us, in mind.

I know I’ve never mentioned the importance of good content on this site before…

Oh wait, I do. Constantly.

This is a great article to read if you are just getting going and looking for some guidance. If you click through, you’ll see that the very first lines talk about building a site without any hacks or tricks. That’s good if you don’t understand the risks involved in all SEO tactics, but keep in mind:

1. It took a year to get there.
2. Hacks and tricks, done right, might get you there a little faster (or get bigger results.


Future Applications of SEO

Fascinating stuff. I love to think about, and read what others think about the future of SEO. What are some nontraditional applications?

What platforms (that aren’t Google) might performing some kind of search optimization prove to be useful (and valuable)?

This article is shallow in coverage, but it’s pretty interesting reading about how SEO might impact the automotive industry in particular, and gives a baseline for speculating into other industries:

There has been chatter within the SEO community about how voice commands could be a large contributor of search traffic in the near future. The thinking is based on good reason. Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in May 2016 that 20 percent of queries on mobile apps on android-based devices use voice search. Based on a Forbes article posted by Amie Bentahar, the number of people using voice search has increased to around 41%, and is projected to keep growing.

This number is sure to grow rapidly due to recent voice command development from tech companies, especially Google, providing further evidence that voice could be a large component to mobile SEO in the near future. An article on Campaign cited cross-platform measurement company comScore as predicting that 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020 — just three short years from now.


Thoughts on Advanced SEO in 2017

A great post from Michael Martinez on advanced SEO techniques in 2017. Nothing super groundbreaking here, but the article provides a nice framework of some pretty important things.

This was my favorite part, because it sparked my interest and I think there’s more to explore:

But the real money, in my opinion, will be found in queries with no traffic at all. It’s easier to optimize for search when no one else is competing with you. I explain why this is a great strategy for 2017 in the article I linked to. I’m not going to repeat all that here.

Most people won’t invest any time and resources in zero-volume queries but I expect that will change in the next 2-3 years. As more people compete for those proven keywords, more people will be driven to find traffic from other queries. The lowest of the low hanging fruit is all the rotten stuff laying on the ground.

As usual from, it’s a great read. Highly recommended!


Rapid-Fire SEO Insights

Google is testing increased front-page Google My Business (GMB) editing and call to action.

New to schema? Start here:

Tangentially related to SEO (and something very important to keep in mind about Google–especially if you practice SEO and use Google products…)

How Google Search Reveals Our Darkest Secrets

Search Console Positions, Long Tail Strategy, and More!
Special Edition: A New Google Algorithm Update

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.
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