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  1. Roll the dice.. and live
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    Food for thought…..


    Another recent thread here http://forums.seochat.com/jackets-only-89/pet-peeves-463434.html morphed into the age old debate of content against links is king… Personally I think this argument is now of little relevance to Google SERPs these days…..

    To me SERPs are driven by relevance and trust. Not content or links. What SE/Goolge is trying to do is return the most relevant results to a given query and when relevance levels are similar it more or less ranks pages in order of trust.

    If this is true what every webmaster should be pursuing is really how do I make my site more relevant to search queries I wish to rank for and how do I make my site more trusted… I think this is now what we are seeing with recent Google changes.

    Google is now relying less on offsite factors or more specifically is reducing the generic benefit of links in favor of increased targeting of specific benefit ie relevance. This translates into link benefit being much greater if the link goes to the page which is relevant to the search. Google ability to identify spam content has now reached a stage where a website is to a much greater degree being seen as a collection of individual books rather than a library. Google is trying to send people to the book they are seeking rather than just sending them to the doorway of the library is my view.

    I think many people have gotten penguin changes very wrong. They think the links to their site have been devalued/penalized and that is why their rankings have fallen…. My view is this is not really the case… It is more that links to the ‘library door’ are not helping the ‘book’ rank… Thus having links to a home page are not really helping internal pages rank any longer (or helping very much). Google is considering relevance before trust. If others internal pages are viewed as being of more relevance then all the generalized site trust in the world is not really going to help a site rank an internal page (or help as much as it used to)…

    The bottom line then is how do you make the internal pages more relevant to the search. Then my view is really multifaceted but largely tied around a) Getting themed/geo relevant links to the pages a site wishes to rank for a search term b) Determining how to make on page content more relevant to the search phrase/type you wish to rank for ie transactional content versus informational content, Geo relevant content as opposed to theme relevant content, semantic related content rather than simply direct matches….

    Links are of lesser importance than they were…. Targeted relevance’s are the name of the game to website owners these days…….

    Penguin and Panda are really Google’s way of telling us rankings are now black and white… Be relevant if you want to rank….

    Woops long thread….

    Comments on this post

    • PhilipSEO agrees : Thanks for sharing your views.
    • EGOL agrees : Thank you! I always appreciate hearing your ideas.
    • SEO_AM agrees : I think this is where an authority site comes from.
    • NewDelhiSEO agrees : Thanks. its reassuring.
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  2. #2
  3. Philip@SearchBenefit.com
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    Very smart thoughts, Gazz. Trust, relevance, and I would a third parameter here: quality, which is distinct from relevance. Web material can be perfectly relevant yet of trashy quality. Google, I have no doubt, strives to evaluate quality.

    I feel that no real contradiction is implied by your distinction between links and content (and used behavior and other tangible signals) on the one hand, and on the other hand more abstract, computed quantities such as "trust" (this one is hypothetical, it's not clear that Google uses a single metric called trust), relevance and quality. Trust, relevance and quality are computed algorithmically, based on signals. And while the algorithm (the evaluation of signals) has changed, there seems to be a consensus that the signals themselves are still the same.
    Last edited by PhilipSEO; Dec 1st, 2012 at 11:59 AM.
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  5. Roll the dice.. and live
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    Originally Posted by PhilipSEO
    Very smart thoughts, Gazz. Trust, relevance, and I would a third parameter here: quality, which is distinct from relevance. Web material can be perfectly relevant yet of trashy quality. Google, I have no doubt, strives to evaluate quality.

    I feel that no real contradiction is implied by your distinction between links and content (and used behavior and other tangible signals) on the one hand, and on the other hand more abstract, computed quantities such as "trust" (this one is hypothetical, it's not clear that Google uses a single metric called trust), relevance and quality. Trust, relevance and quality are computed algorithmically, based on signals. And while the algorithm (the evaluation of signals) has changed, there seems to be a consensus that the signals themselves are still the same.
    Thanks phillip really appreciate your response.

    I agree with you quality should be included with the two variables I mentioned. My management team had a training seminar on using Facebook for our business last week. The guy who ran it was excellent and he certainly believes that social signals are being used by Google to determine quality and thus influence ranks. He had quite a few anecdotal examples of rankings change after a successful implantation of social media with a website. It makes sense that Google would start using every signal it has available to it. SM would be a significant indicator of quality of results. I know we are about to spend significant money and time on developing and implementing social media into our internet marketing strategy.

    The point to us is Google has changed. Just having content that generates link bait and lots of links to that content just does not cut it now. It is no guarantee you will beat a weaker sites (link wise) internally relevant pages ranking. My link bait ranks number one for its terms always. I now see heaps of competition for my internal pages that do not have their own links from other sites with virtually no links internal page/home page. Google is definitely giving less weighting to generic type link bait/links and using other things to determine serps to some degree now (post penguin). The changes are not simply the result of links being devalued/penalized. Link benefit has changed.

    This is where the distinction comes in from the old content/link argument. It is now much more important to get links to landing pages and not just links to link content pages IMO. It is also easier to compete with other sites by developing very high (in Google’s view) relevance/trust/quality pages on specific topics. The idea put up some great slightly relevant content on your sites that gets heaps of links to the bait will make ranking your money/transaction pages rank well is just not true anymore (or less true Than it was).

    Webmasters need new strategy’s is my view. These include mini link bait (maybe via social media) on landing pages (ie download discount brochure) or 10 best things to see in (name city), short funny relevant video etc. I think webmasters that do not consider leveraging social media now are going to suffer at the hands of those that do. Anyway I do not want to make my posts to long so won’t go into my plans on new SEO strategy.

    I suppose the big takeaway in my view is Google has changed. Change with it our start to see rankings fall. Those that can update their strategies to encompass the changes in Google will still do well. However I do think catching global markets is going to become a thing of the past for competitive stuff that has regionally based sellers. Geo search is being increased more and more also. If the trends continue the nature of successful link bait will continue to change. The advice will become more Make great pages rather than make great sites…
    Last edited by gazzahk; Dec 2nd, 2012 at 12:55 AM.
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  7. SEO Since 97
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    I know you've view is SM being a bigger indicator. But I don't think social media helps in rankings, and if it does...it's very very little.
    Why would google rank a site higher if it's social media is exploding? there's no need to. People don't search google for social reasons, they'll find it in their social network. Social Media is an entity of it's self and it feeds the social folks, they go to the site, now weather they stay there or not depends on how well the site keeps these interested socialites. Now Google might be looking at how long one stays at a site and adding some kind of preference to that, but then again that doesn't have to come from a site that is social in nature but it may add to it. That and I've seen too many site with no social web presences at all still rank at the top. (excluding the places results)
    Not saying it's something one shouldn't do, I just don't think it has much if any baring on organic results.
    But I've been wrong before.
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  9. B afraid.. B very afraid!
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    Interesting thread. I have thought for a long time that Google puts a lot of emphasis on trust of a site/page.

    If you go back throught the few high profile instances when a site has been caught violating Google's TOS, e.g. Penney's, part of Google's penalty given was clearly stated as a "loss of trust". What was interesting is that in each case the visible penalty was a taking away of Page Rank. I think that Page Rank is one indicator of trust primarily because other sites recommend through backlinks any given site or page.

    I have always argued that in evaluating a page Google looks to the link profile. Integral to a link profile is the link chain; both upstream and downstream. Google may look N links away to weight how valid or "trusted" a link is before assigning value to any given link. Google then would look at the composite or profile of all links feeding into and going out of a page/site to establish what the trust and possibly relevance is of that page/site.

    The above is just more fuel for your fire Gaz.
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    Originally Posted by Test-ok
    I know you've view is SM being a bigger indicator...
    I am not really saying that. My view is more like social media may being used as a way of helping Google decide relevance/quality of specific pages in relation to search queries. It may also be that social media is helping generate a page new links. It may also be SM and user behavior correlate and it is the user behavior that is moving SERPs. It may be that Google is using SM correlations to modify other algo signals/measures and change the whole algo and the way rankings are ordered in general or it may be something else all together… I have certainly been convinced that well leveraged SM can increase sales.

    Still ignore SM at your own longer term peril I would think… But that is not the main point. The point is really that individual page signals are becoming of increasing importance over overall site signals. You need to make the individual pages more ‘sticky’ and try to get geo/theme/topic relevant links to them. Positive user behavior to individual pages is probably going to become more important. Pages will need to be considered more as standalone entities. Generalized site strength is becoming less a factor in SERPs is my view…. Link bait and generic type links just do not have the same juice they once did (pre penguin and other changes in recent times)
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    Originally Posted by SEO_AM
    I have always argued that in evaluating a page Google looks to the link profile. Integral to a link profile is the link chain; both upstream and downstream. Google may look N links away to weight how valid or "trusted" a link is before assigning value to any given link. Google then would look at the composite or profile of all links feeding into and going out of a page/site to establish what the trust and possibly relevance is of that page/site.
    My view is a bit different I think a link brings whatever it brings. The values a link has is calculated when it leaves a page and not recalculated when it enters the new page. It really is more a case of if the page can use the benefits a link brings. ie a link from a surfing shop in Hawaii will bring relevance to surfing and Hawaii so a surf shop in another location will get the befit for search terms relating to surfing another shop in Hawaii that had nothing to do with surfing would get the geo benefit of the link coming from a Hawaiian website so making it more relevant to Hawaii. A hamburger shop in Australia would receive little benefit from the link as that shop is not targeting surfing or Hawaii. What each shops website got from the link was the same, the difference is what they can use.

    However… What I think has changed recently is that the benefit from links into a site is now being limited much more to the page the link goes to and not the whole site. More a case I think of the ‘relevance/quality’ benefit (do not know about trust as I think this is more a sitewide thing). Thus getting loads of links to one page on a site will still help that page rank but is of much less help for the other pages of a website. Maybe the dilution of juice has been increased so it does not pump as much too internally linked pages.

    I think it is more than just AT benefit being reduced (which in my view there is very strong evidence that this has happened). It may be the general generic benefit of links overall has been reduced. Google simply does not need them as much now. It is more confident of being able to determine relevance/quality from other means ie onsite or other signals (user behavior, SM etc).

    It is not simply that peoples rankings have fallen with Penguin it is also that sites with virtually no juice are now competing (especially so in Geo localized markets) Google has been purging its SERPs of large powerful global sites with heaps of juice but limited micro relevance to searchers in favor of picking a wider selection of websites with more micro relevant material even though they lack juice. To some degree this also seems to be happening in theme relevant areas.

    Once again I think many have missed what penguin has done is assuming that their junky links were devalued or penalized. What has happened is much broader and far reaching than that is my view. Google is calculating link benefit differently in how it returns SERPs. People rankings have changed because of the change in how juice is being calculated. This may have nothing to do with specific links a webmaster has. It is a new algo that calculates link benefit and rankings differently and not the old algo penalizing/devaluing some types of links is my view. Panda made penguin possible…
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    Excellent read. Thankyou. SM, just my opinion. SM, Facebook, Twitter. Why would Google not use it. If somethings get passed round social media and its attracting likes and hits then surely thats a sign the page is at least worth a look and is containing something that people are finding useful/of interest.
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