Aidan

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  • #1222393
    Aidan
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    Sorry – late to the piece but I’ve been saying for years that site load speed is not really that important. Brian Dean, a guy I sometimes disagree with recently did a fairly in depth experiment on it expecting to prove that it was important – but nope – not at all at this stage.

    If you read Google’s own statements they have always said their aim is to avoid the slowest sites, being a second faster than your competition means nothing.

    You can see it for yourself here [MEDIA=youtube]zpV0_jdo0og[/MEDIA]

    You’ll see us both briefly in the comments there agreeing it’s really about speed being acceptable or ‘not slow’ – don’t get sucked in to wasting time on the little things. Also be aware that most of those links you got from Reddit, forums etc are nofollow links, they make no difference at all to your ranking – its actually the whole point of the nofollow tag.

    #1221221
    Aidan
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    Hey all, long time no visit. Hope all here are well. Just found myself checking on something a small biz client says he ‘picked up here’.

    Just want to say be real careful of getting overly wrapped up in some of the advice you’ll see out there on the wild web, there are lots of site selling SEO services and tools and let’s just say their advice is sometimes a little ‘biased’.

    For instance Brian there tends to confuse correlation with causation, he always has. The ‘Spy’ tools are generally really really really crap. Just last week I had to hold up a meeting when a prospective new agency used a certain Spy tool to talk some numbers for a client who had asked me for some ‘SEO Bullsh*t Detection Service’ for a US website.

    Yes – that is a thing.

    Most info you can find on backlink profiles is already OOD when you see it and in any event Google sees it all very differently. Good old Search Engine Land just isn’t so good anymore… I could go on… sigh…

    As for the keyword research tools… actually… don’t get me started… I’ll blow a fuse. Put them in the GUB (Generally Useless Bucket) and have a rumage around in there from time to time when you have real world data from Google Search Console and Google Ads to compare with.

    Yes – Google really is it in AU, there isn’t any return from spending extra time and effort on others.

    I don’t disagree with putting your site on directories but will it help your SEO? Pfffffft… no… it can’t. Think of it this way, if a link to your site is easy to get (or arrange) it means precisely zero to Google.

    Someone mentioned John Romaine and someone else mentioned Kate Toon – talk to them if you can, they are good people who know where to draw the lines between the fantasy-land biased stuff and the stuff that might really apply to you. I don’t think either of them are cheap, nobody good really is – why would they be? – though some of us try to help out where we reasonably can…

    I still haven’t gotten around to dropping in to see John just up the coast but I find I tend to agree with him 90%+ of the time in debates (which is outstanding in our circles).

    Kate’s got a great knack with content, she has written some really great copy that gets noticed by Google as well as users (she’s also hella nice).

    Be good and be unique in your content, if you’re the local seamstress or plumber write about the jobs you do and have done in the areas you cover. That bit is important. Just last week I had to call another agency’s client (I work quite a bit with other agencies too) to ask WHERE they offered their services. Seriously, it’s a nice site, great copy about what they do but not a single mention of where they operate – What the!

    Don’t just copy others. Try to be a different voice.

    Best of luck!

    #1218571
    Aidan
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    Horses for courses…

    I deal with owners of all kinds of websites and must admit that as an SEO guy, I hate Wix websites but as someone pointed out, it depends what you need to achieve. You can do some great landing pages on Wix for instance.

    On the other hand I hope I never have to deal with an old DNN site again (some government/infrastructure/media sites still use this), possibly the world’s most powerful, though awful, open source CMS…

    I don’t at all agree agree that 80% of SEO is offsite, though it possibly can work in some cases. I’d suggest closer to 80-90% is onsite for most businesses.

    My experience is that as long as you can structure your content (and it’s internal linking/urls) in a way that Google can crawl and understand that content and its’ internal relationships – then you’re good from the crawl end. Most website packages support this!

    After that it becomes how good your content really is and then perhaps how ‘reputational’ it is (the offsite bit).

    #1218707
    Aidan
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    Hi Shane,

    If you believe you know better than the various execs at Google, not just JM, then go right ahead, I myself don’t imagine I know more than them.

    Where many experiments go wrong is that they are not isolated enough to stop other factors working and there is a huge misunderstanding in the SEO community as to how nofollow works. Many can’t even tell the difference between discovery and the conferring of value (or not).

    As you pointed out, in general Google won’t follow them, BUT that is a different matter to conferring value. You see Google can still crawl the link to see what is linked, it can then index that content if it likes it, it does not however place any value in the nofollow link pointing at it. That’s the whole point of nofollow, its a poor choice of term perhaps but it was never meant to say that Google wouldn’t crawl the link at all.

    In other words the nofollow link can still lead to discovery and indexation but NOT to any value/juice/equity/pagerank from the link to the target.

    In the Adam White example you mention, he may well have had a great page capable of ranking without anything more than content itself, or content plus his internal links, he may well have had other external links pointing to it that even he didn’t know about! If you’ve been in SEO for a while you might well have played pranks on friends along this line? I know I and others certainly have.

    As for the survey monkey test – read the takeaways again there – it simply says what we’ve known all along – that Google can take a look at the linked content and then choose to index it. As the writer said, the jury’s still out on whether it picked up the anchor text or not (in my experience it won’t support nonsense made up words for long, if at all).

    [USER=8383]@Bert[/USER] – yes it’s a minefield and there is now an industry in SEO bs detection, where some specialists will actually review the pitches given to clients who are tendering, or even sit in as a ‘staff member’ on the presentations. It’s amazing some of the stuff that is claimed!

    #1218703
    Aidan
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    I might just leave this here. Its a little old and less relevant now that Google has further dialled down the links factor since 2017 but it’s still interesting how Mueller says most sites even then were ranking without backlinks:

    https://www.seroundtable.com/google-rank-without-link-building-24815.html

    We see good content ranking all the time with no more than internal links, though it needs to be really good in competitive niches and I still see backlinks as necessary in very highly competitive niches (e.g. hotels, finance…).

    For FS’ers with local services the chances are you need few if any links to rank for appropriate search queries just a GMB page and a few directory citations are usually enough. (SEO’s don’t treat directories as true backlinks as they are generally very weak and/or use nofollow links anyway).

    #1218700
    Aidan
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    There’s so much nonsense written about links it really isn’t funny, the majority of Flying Soloists are probably not going to need any if they have a good informative website and are concentrating on local business. On the other hand if you’re trying to get ranked for ‘hotels in Sydney’ you’re unlikely to manage that without some great backlinks.

    While many including myself might suggest checking out your competitors links we rarely talk about what needs to happen next and the average FS’er won’t be able to identify a good link from a bad one.

    Many site owners will not even realise that many directories, press release and media sites use nofollow on their outgoing links making those links absolutely useless for SEO purposes. They confer no value at all in Google’s eyes.

    If I find it I’ll link it but I recall one of the Googlers (possibly John Mueller) saying that the vast majority of links to a site do absolutely nothing for the target site and it is difficult for most of us to guess which backlinks are providing a boost to the target site. That’s partly because there is potential that a link from A to B would give a boost to B but adding a link from A to C would not necessarily give C the same boost.

    Others have said it already here, try to write the best content you can. One of the most basic principles of SEO is the larger the site content, the greater the potential catch. In addition to having the fishing net, you can also use your site content for internal links, they can be quite influential and they are links you have complete control over.

    #1219542
    Aidan
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    I hope we can all agree that experience and testing is how we learn and prove things (as long as the test is controlled sufficiently to exclude external influence).

    My input here is with the small business owner in mind. We’ve seen many of them over the years struggle unnecessarily because they ‘learned’ some SEO on a website or forum and so got to work on their Keyword Density, Bounce Rates, ‘Authority Backlinks’ and more. As a result they have not only wasted time and energy but sometimes have actually shot themselves in the foot.

    I’ve actually seen cases where site owners broke their page content up into two pages because it would lower their bounce rate. Ask them “so what makes you think that making the user visit two pages instead of one is a good user experience?” coupled with “don’t you think Google would prefer a good user experience?” It’s at that point that the penny drops and the site owner realises they’ve been reading the more tabloid end of SEO websites.

    Some of the more technical SEO people were telling us 10 years ago that LSI was not really a thing that we could make practical use of, instead we should just focus on writing good comprehensive content. By doing that we’re likely to include related words and phrases to the main topic anyway. It’s hard to argue with that advice. Content is what Google actually ranks, so try to have the best, the language will look after itself if you have good comprehensive content.

    How can you tell what is comprehensive enough? Look at whats already ranking well and note the topics and sub-topics those competitors cover then try to better it. It’s the simplest form of tf/idf style analysis (another language processing tool) and it works well.

    #1219540
    Aidan
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    [USER=7765]@John[/USER] I left Moz some time ago as I found it of less use and accuracy for my needs, so no argument there, my point was even they found no link

    If you can share your observations of how you found a link between schema and rankings that would be awesome? Genuinely interested to know how you managed to exclude all other factors that are at play but also appreciate if you want to keep private.

    I’ve just about always found that even if I could exclude everything else for the target site (or get to a near-enough state for an experiment), I could never find a way to exclude the competitors changing things or losing a backlink or adding cannibalising content… and of course the target’s rankings depends on competitor efforts in addition to mine.

    #1219538
    Aidan
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    [USER=7765]@John[/USER] I’d imagine your observed improved rankings might well be due to a few hundred other things as the guys who do high volume testing have never found such evidence. Even Moz found that too: “…As of yet, there is no conclusive evidence that this markup improves rankings”.

    As for the use of the ancient LSI – I’d encourage you to read the Slawski article I mentioned previously. I haven’t seen any evidence of an LSI type system at work in Google. I have of course seen that well written content that is comprehensive tends to rank well but the fact a text on cars might mention engine, wheels, transmission etc does not necessarily rank well because it mentions those ‘related’ words.

    #1219536
    Aidan
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    I’d have to disagree, I’ve never seen any evidence at all that the so-called LSI is a thing. It’s really ancient stuff. I see the lesser experienced writers talk about it all essentially regurgitating each other but never the wiser folks like say Bill Slawski on LSI (or see a mention at https://www.searchenginejournal.com/latent-semantic-indexing-wont-help-seo/240705/ ).

    I’ve tried schema on multiple occasions and like most others including the Moz surveys couldn’t find any evidence it improved visibility. It does make it easier for Google to categorise data on dates, times and snippet worthy content but improve rankings? Nah!

    Hummingbird and Rankbrain have much more up to date language processing abilities than looking for synonyms.

    #1219531
    Aidan
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    Late to the party here but just to clarify – forget anything you ever heard about keyword density! it is not used by search engines like Google.There is no magic figure.

    Describe your products naturally for humans and use relevant keywords in your title tags, headings, urls, navigation links and internal text links if you can. So your page about ‘turtle snorkels’ might have a url like domain.com/products/turtle-snorkles (as on Shopify but could be some other pattern and preferably short) and the products menu would have a ‘turtle snorkels’ item, the page heading would be ‘Turtle Snorkels’ etc…

    Your product description would then describe how your turtle snorkels are made of high quality plastic with a new comfort mouthpiece especially for Australian turtles. Professional turtles all use them… guaranteed not to cause drowning… Great value at just 3 mullet, fast shipping by speedboat… blah blah…

    #1216500
    Aidan
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    Recently advised an ecomm site to put their phone number loud and proud at the top right of their pages which they did reluctantly as they did not want to waste time on calls.

    They’re happy with the big increase in sales and very limited ‘waste of time’ on the phone.

    #1216348
    Aidan
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    Telling it like it is JW!

    As we’ve always said “it depends”…

    …mostly on the level of competition. There is no such thing as a way to rank for X that works also for Y and Z. It’s really a matter of out-scoring the competition at the time so every case is different.

    …and why do you want to rank for Z anyway… it might be a waste of time.

    #1214986
    Aidan
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    Not meaning to be awkward but if someone starts talking about authority and backlinks I’d be already on edge as a small business owner. The majority of small businesses on forums like this one probably don’t even need them and just about every ‘arranged’ backlink I see is of dubious value and mostly in breach of Google’s guidelines.

    Google’s John Mueller was asked if pages can rank without backlinks last year and his answer was ‘most of them do’! He has also denied the concept of Domain Authority (https://www.searchenginejournal.com/domain-authority/246515/).

    We’re still seeing SEO agencies ‘placing’ content on blogs with links to their clients’ sites even after Google has warned us all many times over about guest posting and similar backlink strategies. We still see obviously purchased links and private blog networks too.

    I rarely get involved in link building these days as good link building takes so much time it becomes unaffordable for many clients. I prefer to educate clients in how to attract links more naturally for themselves over time and I find most of them ‘get it’ and go on to be quite successful at natural link building, the kind Google actually likes.

    #1189197
    Aidan
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    Still going eh?

    One of the problems with regulation and/or certification is the small issue of WHO would oversee? It clearly can’t be Google who already does that for AdWords, Analytics and more so who else? One of the bigger tool providers?

    I for one was not impressed when SEMrush recently offered some sort of ‘certification’ that you could do in 20 minutes! I would not want to be a part of any such a club.

    I’ve been doing this since the 90’s and I’m still learning, things change too, we often complain to Google that the questions in their exams for AdWords for instance, are sometimes out of date!

    Maybe we should have an ASIC type oversight from government as it seems to work so well for the financial industry… oh wait the RC has just shown it doesn’t work…

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