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  • #1198299
    bb1
    Participant
    • Total posts: 4,485
    JohnW, post: 238923, member: 6375 wrote:
    Please FS business owners, learn how to assess the quality of SEO consultants and put more research into your evaluation of them. If you don’t, you are just fat pigeons waiting to be plucked.

    JohnW just another reason SEO people should be pushing for a certification process. Sorry I’ll shut up and pull my head in, this was done to death 6 months ago, and everyone thought it was to hard, but here we are 6 months later and confusion still reins supreme.

    #1198300
    Aidan
    Member
    • Total posts: 1,125

    Bert, its not really unlike many other services, some gardeners haven’t got a clue while others are genius level. Get the cheapest and you’ll very possibly have difficulty communicating and end up with a crappy job done, the work done might even harm your plants.

    The problem for the customer in both industries is finding the best provider for him. It’s a fact of life that at the small and micro end of the business ladder, many will go with the cheapest provider.

    They somehow completely forget what they charge per hour themselves and think wonders are going to be made happen for $300 per month.

    Further up the business chain the buyers tend to be very suspicious of those cheap services which only further concentrates the sharks and shonks to the S end of SME.

    You really do tend to get what you pay for in most aspects of life – you choose to buy the old Toyota Corolla with reliability problems or the spanking new BMW X5 – the choice is everyone’s.

    #1198301
    JohnW
    Member
    • Total posts: 2,642
    bb1, post: 238946, member: 53375 wrote:
    JohnW just another reason SEO people should be pushing for a certification process. Sorry I’ll shut up and pull my head in, this was done to death 6 months ago, and everyone thought it was to hard, but here we are 6 months later and confusion still reins supreme.
    Hi Bert,
    As you say, we’ve done this dance before.

    Still, the basic problem is that there is no defined knowledge base on which SEO accreditation can be built.

    • The SEs only offer crumbs of info about how their algos work.
    • The crumbs we get are often couched in very vague terms.
    • The SEs are modifying their algos at around 3 changes per day.
    • What about all the variations associated with the different country location search engines?
    • How would you address SEO strategy in an accreditation scheme?
    • What about addressing cost-effectiveness in SEO qualifications?
    • And, my favorite, big company vs small business SEO.

    The problem is SEO is as much a marketing art as anything else. I can’t see anything being able to address all these issues in an accreditation program.

    SEO certification has been tried. This is a good article on the issues:

    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1198302
    bb1
    Participant
    • Total posts: 4,485

    [USER=2298]@Aidan[/USER] [USER=6375]@JohnW[/USER] , it all comes down to why SEO’s are scared of certification. I let that question hang.

    Just using what [USER=2298]@Aidan[/USER] basically says ”you get what you pay for”, that is the biggest problem you have. So I can go and set up an SEO business charge $1500 per month, and I have authority, because the whole premise on quality is based on price. Note: do not pay me anything a month for SEO services

    And sure some gardeners stuff up, but at least in 99% of circumstances a client can tell after the first visit which may have only cost a few dollars, in the case of most SEO complaints we see here, the poor client has being paying these prices for 6 or more months, and nothing has happened or things have gotten worse, in which case great damage has being done to the business and owner, beyond just forking out the $’s for SEO.

    We have some good SEO people on here, but not everyone comes on this forum to get your advise. SEO’s need to take a positive forward looking approach to how they can legitimise the quality work they do, funny how JohnW you have quoted things from google themselves which basically says we don’t want certification because we may have to train people, that must be the worst reflection on any industry, that we don’t want to train, coming from the industry leaders. SEO’s stand up and revolt against attitudes like that, you are better than that..

    #1198303
    Aidan
    Member
    • Total posts: 1,125
    bb1, post: 238984, member: 53375 wrote:
    [USER=2298]@Aidan[/USER] [USER=6375]@JohnW[/USER]

    …it all comes down to why SEO’s are scared of certification…

    … ”you get what you pay for”, that is the biggest problem you have…

    …because the whole premise on quality is based on price. Note: do not pay me anything a month for SEO services

    …SEO’s need to take a positive forward looking approach to how they can legitimise the quality work they do,

    ..

    Hi Bert, how many SEO guys do you know? Have you actually asked them all about their attitude to certification?

    I ask as I know lots of them, here and overseas. I’m not aware of any pros who are “scared of certification” – I know several who have looked for things to certify for and others who don’t believe the current choices are relevant to them, others still who do not want to be judged by a cert.

    Certs mean nothing really, all the shonky lawyers, doctors, brokers, builders and tradesmen have lots of certs, degrees and diplomas yet they still screw up and screw clients over too.

    I’m also unsure what you mean about “the biggest problem we have” and I’m certainly not aware of anyone who thinks of themselves as authoritative because of their price per hour. The ones who are authoritative are that way by their knowledge and experience. I get to chat with some of the industry’s top people on a regular basis, folks you’ve probably never heard of who have shaped the industry over years. Not one of them has a cert in SEO that I’m aware of, some of them would laugh at the idea, though they have assorted qualifications in other disciplines from marketing through patent law to coding and the rest.

    Quality is not based on price but it does cost more than bad service in ANY industry. That’s not an SEO thing, its pure economics. If you want me on your side for 4 hours a month or 8 or 16 or whatever the agreed time frame is you are going to have to pay me for those hours.

    A gardener could do as you suggest and say pay me $1500 per month for my service – the question is how long would that business last if they didn’t provide good work for it!

    I’m thoroughly confused what you mean by “Note: do not pay me anything a month for SEO services” – why on earth would I want to pay you for SEO services?

    I’m also unsure what you refer to about Google training? They offer lots of it and certification too in various aspects of AdWords, Analytics and other disciplines. By sheer coincidence I’m in there myself later this morning and possible further certification is one of the topics at the meeting.

    EDIT: I’ve just seen the article on SEO Training by Google – I totally agree with the reasons it’s impractical. Just think about it, there would inevitably be a conflict between the demand for algorithm disclosure and the insight that could be given. Google would be under pressure to threaten its whole business!

    After that you need to add the many many changes over time. Nah – can’t work obviously. They are by necessity limited in what can be said, meaning their SEO certification would be no better than the many SEO Certification versions already out there – essentially meaningless.

    #1198304
    JohnW
    Member
    • Total posts: 2,642
    bb1, post: 238984, member: 53375 wrote:
    [USER=2298]@Aidan[/USER] [USER=6375]@JohnW[/USER] , it all comes down to why SEO’s are scared of certification. I let that question hang.

    Just using what [USER=2298]@Aidan[/USER] basically says ”you get what you pay for”, that is the biggest problem you have. So I can go and set up an SEO business charge $1500 per month, and I have authority, because the whole premise on quality is based on price. Note: do not pay me anything a month for SEO services

    And sure some gardeners stuff up, but at least in 99% of circumstances a client can tell after the first visit which may have only cost a few dollars, in the case of most SEO complaints we see here, the poor client has being paying these prices for 6 or more months, and nothing has happened or things have gotten worse, in which case great damage has being done to the business and owner, beyond just forking out the $’s for SEO.

    We have some good SEO people on here, but not everyone comes on this forum to get your advise. SEO’s need to take a positive forward looking approach to how they can legitimise the quality work they do, funny how JohnW you have quoted things from google themselves which basically says we don’t want certification because we may have to train people, that must be the worst reflection on any industry, that we don’t want to train, coming from the industry leaders. SEO’s stand up and revolt against attitudes like that, you are better than that..
    Hi Bert,
    For accreditation to start, you need an initial agreement of “what is SEO”?

    I think General Nathan Bedford Forrest of US civil war fame got it right with:

    “get there firstest with the mostest”

    In this case “there” is before the eyeballs of the billions of potential customers using hundreds of thousands of different devices and applications.

    And, “mostest” currently refers to hypertext links.

    I don’t expect many SEOs to agree with this definition but you could certainly argue a very strong case for it. :D
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1198305
    Wordsmith
    Member
    • Total posts: 194
    Corey, post: 234364, member: 31331 wrote:
    John,

    Never mind

    Cheers
    Corey
    Don’t let it get to you hon!

    #1198306
    maksimava
    Member
    • Total posts: 8

    Hi guys.

    I just found this discussion, and I might be a little late with my comment, but anyways.

    Let me introduce myself – my name is Masha, and I wrote that article that most of you thought was BS. I’m not mad or anything, but I’d still like to address some of the points you mentioned, because now that I found this thread, it doesn’t feel right to just leave it as it is.

    First off, [USER=31331]@Corey[/USER], thanks a ton for sharing the post.

    [USER=6375]@JohnW[/USER], I appreciate your taking the time to go through the 5 points and try to make each sound like nonsense. I assume that must have felt very satisfying. If I may, I’d like to do pick up the baton and do the same with what you said.

    1. “Google has NEVER said don’t build links. Since its inception it has said, don’t artificially manipulate links for SEO purposes.”

    Here’s a quote from Google: “Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.”

    I’m not sure I can grasp the difference between “building links for SEO” and “manipulating links for SEO”; in particular, I’m not completely convinced why you believe building links is not a kind of manipulation. I’d appreciate it if you could dwell on this a little.

    2. “If CTR was used as a ranking signal then over time, the top rankings of search results would be skewed by a decreasing number of websites.”

    Google would never use CTR as a standalone ranking signal – it really is easy to manipulate. Instead, my bet is (and the numerous experiments back this) that they use it in combination with other factors, like pogo-sticking and dwell time. Then, of course, all that data is filtered out to ensure they only count the actual searchers. This isn’t so hard to do with Google owning one of the most widely used browsers in the world. Once they make sure there’s a human behind the metrics they are looking at (browsing history, search history, cookies, etc.), they can use it in their algorithm.
    If you’d actually read the article, you would have noticed that I mentioned all of that. I also did a separate in-depth piece on how user behavior metrics may affect Google rankings, which I’m sure you’ll find satisfyingly wrong. Enjoy: http://www.link-assistant.com/news/user-behavior-and-seo.html

    3. “Keywords are no longer important. What on earth is the basis for this statement? There is none to my knowledge, therefore the entire premise for this point collapses.”

    As I say in the post, Google has indeed never explicitly said that keywords no longer mattered. Instead, they said stuff like “we are now looking at things, not strings”. The keywords-are-dying myth does exist though; but for the most part, it was created by SEOs themselves.

    I don’t think it’s possible for anyone in the industry to have missed the fad about keywords being “replaced” by concepts, but here are some links, just in case.

    http://www.bruceclay.com/blog/keywords-are-dead-smx/
    https://searchenginewatch.com/sew/how-to/2390744/are-keywords-relevant-to-seo-in-2015
    https://blog.kissmetrics.com/do-keywords-still-matter/

    “4. Social signals do not have SEO value. Not this again… I predict that this myth is likely to replace the “keyword metatag” myth as the longest surviving SEO myth of ALL TIME.”

    I agree that a link from social media will typically not have a lot of weight; but if we’re talking about fresh content, it’s important to understand that it wouldn’t have been possible for it to build a lot of backlinks quickly. That is where social signals come in and may play a big part in a site’s ranking – because social links are practically the only kind of links new content will be able to accumulate quickly.

    “The real statement should be, get caught by Google manipulating link building (which often includes anchor text manipulation) and you are likely to be in trouble.”

    Again, I’m afraid I don’t really see the difference between the two. Let’s be clear; according to Google, “Links with optimized anchor text in articles or press releases distributed on other sites are examples of unnatural links.” According to you, “get caught by Google manipulating link building (which often includes anchor text manipulation) and you are likely to be in trouble.” What exactly are you disagreeing with here?

    And then, you said this:

    “I therefore find this a very ironic statement:
    “Google’s Hummingbird update seemed to shatter everything we knew about keywords and on-page SEO”
    No experienced/knowledgeable SEO will agree with either of these two quoted statements.”

    That’s when it dawned on me – for some reason, you’re treating the article about 5 myths about SEO (which I’m doing my best to debunk) as if I were actually backing those myths! So you’re quoting something that I refer to as a misconception, and then you go on and disagree with it (pretty much like I do). I don’t completely understand why you do that though…

    #1198307
    Paul – FS Concierge
    Keymaster
    • Total posts: 3,191

    Hi all,

    With the original author of the article in question dropping into the thread, the discussion has a chance of offering genuine insights.

    So I just wanted to drop into the thread to request that all participants keep on topic and refrain from personal attacks.

    Cheers

    #1198308
    Aidan
    Member
    • Total posts: 1,125

    Hi Masha,

    I think there are a few points that need further clarification to be fair to everyone who might read this and your original article:

    Firstly, the bit about link building – we need to look at what Google actually says and it actually says “links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation…”

    Note – Google does not say they will be considered part of a link scheme…

    There is a big difference in the meaning when you read the ‘may’. They deliberately leave the point open so that webmasters are put on notice that some links MAY be considered bad. It tells us to be careful of how we acquire links which is exactly what Google wants us to understand.

    The point is indeed reinforced by John Mueller who says “only focusing on links is probably going to cause more problems” – that is entirely correct, we really should be focused more on the websites and not ONLY focused on link building. If webmasters were ONLY focused on links, their websites would probably be terrible!

    By the way, at no point I’m aware of has Google ever said that that links are not part of the algorithm, they disclosed their pagerank formula years ago, Andrey Lippatsev says it straight out too, content and links lead to rankings.

    What does that mean? – It means there is no myth that you shouldn’t build links, you just shouldn’t build the wrong ones.

    As a sidenote – we should probably also mention that for many of this particular forum’s readers, they won’t need much, if indeed any, link building.

    The other point I’d like to address is the one about click through rates and in particular the Rand Fishkin examples you talk about. If you listen to the conversation you’ll hear a couple of crucial points that you ignore in your article.

    Let’s be clear, Rand states that the effect you talk about:
    a) does not always work and
    b) is a very temporary effect when it does work.

    Check it at 15 minutes into the March Q&A.

    In other words Rand’s experiments do NOT prove that clicks have a massive impact on rankings (which is what your article claims). His experiments prove exactly what is discussed in the Q&A – that CTR can sometimes throw Google very temporarily.

    Again – listen to what Rand and Andrey actually say – Andrey even says he will look into why Google is sometimes temporarily thrown by the CTR effect!

    Andrey acknowledge that they are watching for upsurges in mentions and searches for topics – we already know that as it is needed for QDF reasons, they have to be able to detect newsworthy stuff and issues like the Hurricane Katrina example becoming a trend (so they can prioritise news items rather than the other possible user intents).

    As for social signals – lets get one thing really clear. Good content tends to rank well. Good content also tends to get shared a lot. That’s a great correlation.

    It does not however mean that the social signals caused the ranking. It is the old chestnut – ice cream sales are high in hot weather. Ice cream does not however cause the hot weather!

    I think Google did use social signals for parts of the algorithm in the past, particularly Twitter when they had the feed, it was good for understanding QDF trends.

    I’m happy to believe them when they say they don’t currently use those signals. I’ve certainly seen recent correlation of social trends and rankings but I’ve not seen any causation shown by anyone. We have to be really careful not to confuse correlation with causation, the example of hot weather and ice cream is important here.

    I’m not looking for an argument, I’m a big fan of SEO Powersuite, I have used the enterprise edition for years and love reading the many articles you guys produce. I do however feel the need to point out that sometimes we all need to pay careful attention to the words our sources use and avoid jumping to conclusions about what they are saying! It’s all in the words if we listen carefully!

    Peace.

    #1198309
    maksimava
    Member
    • Total posts: 8

    Hey [USER=2298]@Aidan[/USER],

    Thanks for your detailed reply. You raise a lot of good points in there; always good to have a well-grounded discussion about SEO. Doesn’t happen a lot these days :)

    I think I’m starting to see what the biggest point of disagreement for us might be. In the article, I am not saying Google is entirely responsible for the SEO misconceptions I list. As you rightly point out, Google is hardly ever categorical in their statements; nor do they explicitly say that they will use something to determine a site’s ranking, unless they’re talking about the outright black hat stuff, like comment spam or PBNs. They could be epistemic modality champions if there were such a thing.

    As I say in the post,

    “To do the search engines justice, none of these myths are in fact their fault. Not entirely, anyway. They are often born and reinforced by SEOs themselves, heated up by fears and the gaps in what we know about Google’s algorithm.”

    So yup, to say the least, all the 5 myths are a stretch of what Google actually said. The reason I decided to dwell on them is that I hear about them increasingly often from SEOs, especially those just starting out in the industry. It’s almost like every new Google update or algorithm change inspires a wave of radical, astonishingly inaccurate beliefs about their ranking algo. I’m sure you must be hearing a lot of it yourself from clients.

    Bottomline: I’m not claiming that the Google quotes I provide fully support the misconceptions listed; rather, those quotes may be mistakenly referred to as proof to back those statements. What I’m trying to do there is, on the contrary, disprove the statements by offering more tangible proof of the opposite.

    I’m sorry if that isn’t evident from the article; I probably should have made it clearer. Lesson learned for the future ;)

    As for clicks and their role in ranking web pages… Well, it really is a controversial topic. As you rightly point out, Google has said a couple of times they they do not use CTR for ranking. But then, they’ve also said the opposite more than once.

    In a Federal Trade Commission court case, Google’s former Search Quality chief, Udi Manber, testified the following:

    “The ranking itself is affected by the click data. If we discover that, for a particular query, hypothetically, 80 percent of people click on Result No. 2 and only 10 percent click on Result No. 1, after a while we figure probably Result 2 is the one people want. So we’ll switch it.”

    Edmond Lau, who also used to work on Google Search Quality, said something similar:

    “It’s pretty clear that any reasonable search engine would use click data on their own results to feed back into ranking to improve the quality of search results. Infrequently clicked results should drop toward the bottom because they’re less relevant, and frequently clicked results bubble toward the top.”

    Amit Singhal, one of Google’s top search engineers, mentioned in an interview with Wall Street Journal that Google had added numerous “signals,” or factors into its algorithm for ranking sites. “How users interact with a site is one of those signals”.

    I do agree that CTR is only able to temporarily boost rankings. I would assume that it almost works in real time; i.e. as long as the CTR for a given result is within or above the expected click range for that position and the query in question, it can work in your favor. As soon as it’s below that, it can work against you. I also believe CTR used in combination with other behavioral factors, such as dwell time and pogo sticking. Again, I’m sorry if that wasn’t evident from my post – was trying to keep it of readable length (which I’m generally terrible at, as you can see from this reply, lol).

    Lastly, the social signals. I can totally see the correlation-not-causation point you are making, and frankly, there’s not much proof that it’s the latter. I do not believe that social signals are a ranking factor in its own right; but I do think that they act like links and can thus contribute to a page’s PageRank (meaning its authority and importance in Google’s eyes), and therefore do have an impact on a site’s rankings. This is especially true for fresh content which wouldn’t have had the time to accumulate backlinks quickly; that’s why I think that for publishers, social signals can be especially important, as they are often the only kind (or the major part) of the backlinks a page has.

    Again, thanks for raising some good points in your reply, Aidan.

    Have the best day.

    #1198310
    JohnW
    Member
    • Total posts: 2,642

    Hi Masha,
    Welcome to the forum and let me apologise upfront if I have misunderstood any of your article.

    This is not a specialist SEO forum so please allow me some SE explanations for the small business owners around here before I reply to your post.

    FS,
    (I wrote the following before seeing Aidan’s and Masha’s comments above.)

    I’d like to offer my answer to two perenial questions:

    1. What search engine (SE) ranking factor is the most important?
    2. How can you assess articles about SEs and SEO?

    1. What search engine (SE) ranking factor is the most important?
    In my book the answer is the search environment. I.e. That is the product of which SE is used and the level of competition in a given search market.

    Consider this…

    • There are 192 country specific Google SEs around the world but 2 factors are always constant:
    • There are only 10 links displayed on the first page of results.
    • The total number of pages that qualify for any search query is the same for all 192 SEs.

    Let’s explore what this means to a small business service like a plumber.

    Page Matches: “plumber”
    There are 95.7 million pages that qualify for this term in all Google SEs. Yet G is able to bounce local plumbers’ pages to the top of the ranking lists, no matter what G SE is used.

    Example Local Page Boost Impact On:

    Google.co.nz
    Google.com.au
    Google.com

    I checked the top 50 ranking results for “plumber” in each of them. There were no non-local plumber pages in any of them.

    Competition Level:
    There is probably some relationship between population and number of plumbers in the three countries so I constructed a ratio based on that:

    NZ Population = 4.5 million. Competition level = 1
    Australian Population = 24 million. Competition level = 5
    USA Population = 320 million. Competition level = 71

    Now reconsider the impact of the competition level of the page #1 ranking positions…

    If you are a plumber in the USA you have around 70 times the level of competition than a NZ plumber. Imagine how many more SE ranking points you need for your #1 ranking position in the USA vs. NZ.

    We are very lucky in Au. IMHO, If your target is Au clients, there should be few small business search categories where the level of competition is so high that you will need to implement the very expensive SEO process of link building.

    I can’t recall a single International SEO article on this ranking factor in all my 22 years.

    Why is that? I suggest it could be because the vast majority of SEO articles are written by USA folk who only ever search on G.com and who are often writing to attract big business USA clients.

    That is not a cricism of any USA writers, but it is sure a criticism of SEOs in the rest of the world’s small search markets. How come we don’t make more noise to clients about how/why SEO must be different in our markets and how this variance should impact our local SEO strategies?

    2. How can you assess articls about SEs and SEO?
    This is very tough if you have limited knowledge about SEs and SEO. Here are the categories I’d suggest you consider them under:

    • Relevance
    • Currency (up to date)
    • Accuracy

    a. Relevance
    Here are a few issues on which an overseas generated article and its relevance to you may be compromised:

    • The subject matter
    • Method of research generation
    • Conclusions drawn
    • Its application/implementation
    • Impact on measurement tools

    I.e. We know external links are a ranking factor. However, if your objective is to achieve the most cost-effective SEO in a low competition Au search market that does not need expensive link building programs, what relevance to you is an article on link building?

    b. Currency of article and its references
    The last number I saw from G was that it made over 2 changes per day to its algorithm.

    Most of the SEO articles on the web are based on out of date information.

    You are adviced to check the publication date of SEO articles and their references.

    c. Accuracy
    This is the hardest of all to assess if you have limited SE/SEO knowledge.
    Experienced SEOs will admit that they have been wrong at times during their careers. Here is my checklist of SEO guidelines:

    • Experience in SEO
    • Experience in related professions
    • Education in a relevant discipline
    • Location of experience
    • Type of client experience (Eg. Corporate vs small business)

    From there my accuracy preference list is:

    • Statements by SE spokespeople
    • Applying logic to known SE objectives
    • Unequivical search tests
    • Info from selected SEOs

    Let me give one last push for the importance of currency of info. IMHO, the changes G’s made to its basic algorithm have ben huge in the last 3 years. Prior to that the changes were many but mostly anti-link spammers with occasional leaps like Universal and others.
    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1198311
    JohnW
    Member
    • Total posts: 2,642

    Hi Masha,
    Please let me start by addressing the first two of the “5 Lies” in the original post again.

    There may be comments in your article that I’ve misunderstood in which case I apologise, but it also seems that some of your article is based on out of date info.

    Let me encourage you to listen to the video referenced above:

    Its participants include:

    • Andrey Lipattsev (Google spokesperson)
    • Ammon Johns (UK SEO since 2000.)
    • Eric Enge (USA SEO since 2006.)
    • Rand Fishkin (USA SEO since 1999.)

    IMHO, Andrey Lipattsev is the best speaker on SE matters I’ve heard from Google. He gives very clear and unequivical answers where he can and will say he can’t answer if the question crosses the Google confidentiality line.

    There are other videos in this series worth viewing.

    So to address your points and specific statements…

    Masha: “1. You shouldn’t build links for the sake of SEO.”

    “Whether Google will admit it or not, link building continues to be the most important part of any SEO strategy.”

    JW: Please refer to my post above. There are many search markets where link building is irrelevant and unecessary. BTW, I’ve checked further to see where any overseas plumbers’ pages rank on G Au. There are none in the top 100 pages. I did not find any when randomly clicking through to search position #3,860. (This is where G stops showing results.)

    IMHO, most Au small businesses will never need to build a single external link which is fortunate for them because this expensive, haphazard and low impact tactic is best used as a last resort.

    BTW, Last year Google’s John Meuller said there are some searches where
    G does not use external links at all. One of the first tasks of an SEO should be to see if this applies in the client’s search market.

    Masha: “I’m not sure I can grasp the difference between “building links for SEO” and “manipulating links for SEO”;”

    JW: G has been waging war on artificial link building schemes since its so called, “Cassandra” update in 2003. Every 2-3 years since then it has lowered the boom on the latest schemes. Its constant battles with link spammers has driven many companies out of business over the years.

    One measure of an SEO’s competency should be the their knowledge of the difference between external link building that contravene G’s guidelines, ones that do not and where there is a grey area.

    Masha: “A couple of weeks ago, a Reddit user spotted a new site in Google’s results, ranking for some pretty competitive keywords and rising to the top unusually quickly.”

    JW: IMHO, using one example and selecting one attribute out of 200 possible explanations is drawing an impossibly long bow.

    Masha: “The best actionable takeaway here is to closely examine the link profiles of your best ranking competitors to get an idea of what kind of links work in your industry.”

    JW: Can you define what you mean by “link profile“? I’m not aware of G giving us the detail of what goes into its valuation of an external link.

    Rand Fishkin had a go with…

    I’d disagree with a number of them and add some of my own. The truth is that no SEO in the world can do better than offer their own best guess as to what is in G’s “secret sauce” link formula.

    BTW, The top ranked plumber’s site for the search phrase, “plumber Sydney” on G Au only has 4 external links to it according to Moz’s Open Site Eplorer. What might we detect of value from closely examining these 4 links?

    Masha: 2. Clicks don’t influence rankings.

    “Google’s official position on whether or not SERP click-through rates have an impact on rankings has been inconsistent at best

    Rand Fishkin of Moz has run mutitple tests that proved that clicks have a massive impact on rankings.”

    “…Rand’s tests with human participants have shown impressive results,”

    “Rand’s experiments clearly show that the more your pages beat the expected organic CTR for a given position, the more likely you are to be upranked.”

    JW: It’s these comments of yours that lead me to believe you have not watched the video.

    We can all listen to what Rand Fishkin says to the Google guy and his response. The “clicks” discussion starts around 10 min 30 sec mark.

    Even before Rand speaks we have the Google guy’s reply to another SEO on does G use CTR with:

    “You know how the headlines will go “Google uses behavioural factors for ranking…”

    The answer refs two questions but as to the CTR component he gives a clear: “On the other hand “NO”.”

    It seems to me you are promulgating the very headline the Google guy was hoping to avoid.

    Then Rand joins the discussion at the 14 min point. To paraphrase him…

    What you describe as an “experiment” with “massive impact” he calls “just having a little fun” with audiences of “500 – 2,000” at SEO presentations.

    He says what he did involved between 11 to 15 audiences. He describes the results as, “7 or 8 cases” where there was “a day or two” temporary boost in a page’s rankings and “4 or 5 where there was no change“.

    Every time Rand introduces related issues like “pogo sticking” the Google guy knocks it on the head for a variety of reasons.

    Rand’s “little fun” does not show that the more your pages beat the expected organic CTR the more likely you are to be up-ranked. It may have shown that sometimes there was a 1-2 day boost if clicked by 500-2,000 people in a short period of time.

    Even if it were a ranking factor, what are we going to do with it?

    Are we going to hire 500-2,000 folk to click our page in G’s SERPs every 1-2 days to a small number of different search phrases? Sounds like a good way to get totally kicked out of G’s index to me.

    Please listen to all the reasons the G guy gives for why “engagement” (including pogo sticking) signals are NOT used by G including:

    “that is impossible – we don’t have the technical capability to do it.” (measure user’s befaviour)
    “gameable” problems
    “end up with a small subset of pages”
    “what is the nature of the query”
    “…we can’t use that, we don’t use that”

    I’m going to pause here and respond to your other 3 lies later.

    PS: Folk interested in the detail of SEO may find it useful to follow Michael Martinez of SEO Theory. I’ve followed his writings for many years. They include:

    Nov 15: 12 Provably False Ideas Your SEO Should Not Be Telling You

    Jun 15: 5 Reasons Why You Cannot Use Science to Show How Links Influence Search Results

    Regs,
    JohnW

    #1198312
    bb1
    Participant
    • Total posts: 4,485

    JohnW, Aidan and Masha,

    It is exactly because of threads like this with 50,000 lines of rebuttal and counter argument, and quoting, and counter quoting, that the small business community just see the SEO industry is just one big …………………

    IMHO

    #1198313
    JohnW
    Member
    • Total posts: 2,642

    Hi Bert,
    Tiring I know but what else can we do?

    Please don’t suggest any non-existent solutions.

    BTW, The thread views were 2,018 at the time I entered this reply to you. Let’s keep a check on that metric shall we? :)
    Regs,
    JohnW

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