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ajkeal, post: 260904, member: 102243 wrote:
Hi Ricardo,

Firstly, let me start by saying that this is a great question. It had me thinking for quite a while as this type of strategy is something I recommend that my clients don’t do.

I even brought this question to work this morning ( I work for a Digital Agency in Richmond as a Snr. Digital Producer) as a bit of trivia.

Also, I’m doing work for a local electrician who implemented this strategy and is not happy with where his suburb level landing pages are ranking organically on Google. I’ve advised him to create suburb specific content on each of his landing pages to rank higher. It’s a golden rule for creating location specific landing pages.

But, back to your question…

We came to the conclusion that we think the pages are ranking high organically because, despite not using best practise, they are are owned by a well known business and are therefore much more likely to be relevant.

That, combined with Domain Authority and History, backlinks and other SEO practises allow it to rank higher that a lot of other smaller players.

At the end of the day, that’s Google job – to serve the content most likely to be perfect for your search term.

I hope this helps!
Hi AJ,
With the greatest respect, I believe your Google ranking info is out of date/inaccurate.

  • Google does not use domain authority in its ranking algo.
  • Google does not use domain age in its algo.
  • External links are unlikely to be a significant factor in these results.

I’ve listed Google’s statements on each of these issues below.

The ease of ranking to a specific search query starts with the level of competition for the search query. As a rough indication, the more pages that match a search query, the harder it should be to rank #1.

Ranking is a point scoring exercise based on the combined score of how the individual search words are used on the matching answer pages and on those that link to them. That will also include how internal site pages are linked and the link text used on them.

Eg. If folk search for “lawn mowing” G says it has indexed 1.32 billion pages that match the query.

The first cut of G’s algo is to boost pages based on the location of the searcher and the pages.

If I search for “lawn mowing“, as a Sydney resident G gives me a list of top 10 results that are all Australian and all of which include the word “Sydney” in the page text or in links to it.

Now consider the matching pages/level of competition for these two G. queries:

  • Search: lawn mowing services Sydney = 676K matching pages
  • Search: lawn mowing services Blaxland = 105K matching pages

By the time you get down to the low level of competition implied by the 105k matching pages of the “Blaxland” search, you should only need to hold up a wet hankie to blow your page into the top 10 results.

For the “Blaxland” search, only two of the top 10 results are to Home pages and that is another indication that external links play little part in the ranking scores.

Top Pages for: lawn mowing services Blaxland

#1. http://www.yellowpages.com.au/find/lawn-mowing-services/blaxland-nsw

G has indexed 11.5 million pages from Yellow Pages. When it comes to passing PageRank, there is no link to this page from the Home page. If you want to find the pathway, click the link near the bottom of the Home page to “Site Index”. By the time PageRank is divided, divided, divided, etc. by these tens of thousands of internal links, the external PageRank to …/find/lawn-mowing-services/blaxland-nsw page will be worth three/fifths of five/eighths of damn all.

The SEO history of directories like YP has been to progressively increase the number of listings on each page. I can remember a time when YP only listed 10 businesses on a page. Later this was upped to 20.

Now YP says it lists “70 Results for Lawn Mowing Services in Blaxland, NSW 2774“.

The thing is, that statement is incorrect. There are only 3 lawn mowing services located in Blaxland listed on the page. What YP does is construct huge lists that score many on-page ranking points for three of the search words.

The word “Blaxland” is used very sparingly on the page but in high ranking point locations. (Eg. Title, URL, page heading.) SEO is often about knowing how/when/where to use an individual word from a search query to attain a top 10 position.

#2. http://www.yellowpages.com.au/nsw/blaxland/tpa-garden-maintenance-14894816-listing.html
The ranking point score needed is so low this YP page ranks #2. It does not need much more that the search words in its to rank so high.</p> <p>#3. <a href="http://www.gumtree.com.au/s-landscaping-gardening/blaxland-sydney/lawn+mowing/k0c18445l3003511?sort=rank" class="bbcode_url" rel="nofollow">http://www.gumtree.com.au/s-landscaping-gardening/blaxland-sydney/lawn+mowing/k0c18445l3003511?sort=rank</a><br /> #4. <a href="http://www.gumtree.com.au/s-landscaping-gardening/blaxland-sydney/lawn+mowing/k0c18445l3003511?sort=rank" class="bbcode_url" rel="nofollow">http://www.gumtree.com.au/s-landscaping-gardening/blaxland-sydney/lawn+mowing/k0c18445l3003511?sort=rank</a></p> <p>Gumtree uses the same SEO tactics as YP. i.e. Very long lists of businesses that score enough ranking points with on-page functions.</p> <p>#5. <a href="http://www.jimsmowing.net/service/lawn-mowing-blaxland" class="bbcode_url" rel="nofollow">http://www.jimsmowing.net/service/lawn-mowing-blaxland</a><br /> #6. <a href="http://www.jimsmowing.net/local/nsw/blue-mountains/blaxland+2774/" class="bbcode_url" rel="nofollow">http://www.jimsmowing.net/local/nsw/blue-mountains/blaxland+2774/</a><br /> #7. <a href="http://www.viphomeservices.com.au/services/garden-maintenance-and-lawn-mowing/nsw/blaxland/" class="bbcode_url" rel="nofollow">http://www.viphomeservices.com.au/services/garden-maintenance-and-lawn-mowing/nsw/blaxland/</a></p> <p>Same, same, same… It’s all done with on-page ranking point scoring.</p> <p>The thing is, when you see internal pages from directories, classified and franchises cropping up in the top 10, it is usually a sign that they are easy to knock out of page #1 in the SERPs.</p> <p>When G has finished its preoccupation with its new mobile index, I’m sure it will get around to hammering near dupe content page strategies as used by Jim’s Mowing.</p> <p><b>Google Ranking References</b></p> <p><b><i>Mar 2018: <a href="https://www.searchenginejournal.com/domain-authority/246515/" class="bbcode_url" rel="nofollow">John Mueller Rebuts Idea that Google Uses Domain Authority Signal</a></i></b></p> <div class="bbcode_indent" style="margin-left:4em"> “John Mueller’s response deflected a straight answer but also was consistent with all previous responses from Googlers that a domain authority ranking signal is not in use at Google.” </div> <p> <b><i>Oct 2016: <a href="https://www.seroundtable.com/google-domain-authority-22906.html" class="bbcode_url" rel="nofollow">Google: We Don’t Have “Overall Domain Authority” In Our Rankings</a> </i></b></p> <div class="bbcode_indent" style="margin-left:4em"> “Last week, we quoted Google’s John Mueller as saying Google doesn’t have a website authority score. Well, now, Gary Illyes from Google got into it by saying “we don’t really have overall domain authority.”” </div> <p> <b><i>Apr 2017: <a href="https://www.seroundtable.com/google-domain-age-23697.html" class="bbcode_url" rel="nofollow">Google: Domain Age Doesn’t Matter For Search Rankings </a></i></b></p> <div class="bbcode_indent" style="margin-left:4em"> “Google’s John Mueller responded with a resounding “no” when he was asked if domain age matters for ranking in Google’s search results.” </div> <p> <b><i>Sep 2017: <a href="https://www.seroundtable.com/google-ignores-tons-of-links-24410.html" class="bbcode_url" rel="nofollow">Google: We Ignore Tons Of Links But Which Links Is Almost Impossible To Figure Out</a> </i></b></p> <div class="bbcode_indent" style="margin-left:4em"> “Gary Illyes from Google was asked about why he didn’t mention links in his desktop to mobile comparison tool post. He said that is because it is “close to impossible for you to check which links are actually deemed critical.” So why bother trying to figure out which links are important and which links are not if there is no way for you to do so?”</p> <p>“Gary then added that Google “ignores tons of links” and that even if you collect data from Google Search Console and third-party tools ” that you won’t know which ones are absolutely critical.”‘ </p></div> <p> It seems to me G has made SEO link assessing tools all but redundant in the last few years.</p> <p>Again AJ, Please take no offence at this post.