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    Originally Posted by JohnAimit
    DirectHits Quote: "Well this is a great post John, thanks. But I am unable to believe that a CNN link from a post about knives would be of no value to a website about knives."


    Hi DirectHits,
    I did say "probably very little, if anything at all."

    I'm interested in why you think a CNN link to a knife manufacturer's site is likely to be valuable.

    Well this is a very thorough post JohnA and I do agree with most of your points..

    In the case of a knife post by CNN, its probably unlikely that kind of post would happen today - I wrote that in theory. Much more a possibility if the topic was about guns. But there is such a vast amount of link juice headed to the main domain, and that juice must and will flow through the various outlets (Main navigation, footer and text links) to the internal pages.

    I also concur that when the post falls out of the Top Stories heading, the amount of link juice would really take a hit. But there is just so much to begin with. I would really like a CNN link to one of my sites, lol.

    I have no means to test or prove this, but I do believe there would be enough juice left to make a difference in SERPs to many average sites.
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    DirectHits Quote: "But there is just so much to begin with. I would really like a CNN link to one of my sites, lol."

    Hi DirectHits,

    1. Googlebot Pathways & PageRank

    This may come as a surprise to you - it certainly did to me, but it seems that there are only Googlebot pathways to around 10% of CNN.com's 2.7 million Google indexed pages.

    Worse news, it looks like none of the 10% of pages with link pathways from Home to them will provide permanent links to 3rd party websites. That really looks like links from CNN pages are useful as an udder on a bull.

    I checked out the money.cnn.com sub-domain and found this...

    G Home page "money" sub-domain navigation links go to:

    Money -> money.cnn.com/INTERNATIONAL = 2 pages in folder
    Luxury -> money.cnn.com/luxury = 12 pages in folder
    Technology -> money.cnn.com/technology = 100 pages in folder.
    Markets -> money.cnn.com/data/markets = 419 pages in folder
    Business -> money.cnn.com/news = 7,900 pages (There are scores/hundreds of sub-folders and sub-sub-folders in here.)
    Sub Total Page Pathways = 8,433 pages

    Where the PageRank pathways are blocked are on thousands of sub-category folder index pages like these:

    money.cnn.com/news/economy/ (G can read 12 internal links on this page)
    money.cnn.com/technology/gadgets/ (G can read 5 internal links on this page)

    It seems when a new sub-category article is published, it pushes the oldest one off the index page.

    The problem for Googlebot is that the article pages use an unrelated URL naming convention to the sub-category index pages they are linked from. Eg:

    money.cnn.com/news/economy/ page links go to:
    money.cnn.com/2018/03/06/news/economy/trump-trade-power/index.html
    money.cnn.com/2018/03/06/news/economy/steel-ceo-trump-tariff/index.html

    There are no robot navigable pathways to:
    money.cnn.com/2018/
    money.cnn.com/2018/03/
    money.cnn.com/2018/03/06/
    money.cnn.com/2018/03/06/news/
    money.cnn.com/2018/03/06/news/economy

    That means to me that when the internal page links on the sub-category index pages are out-dated, they will lose all PageRank passed from the site's Home page.

    I expect many of us automatically project our SEO client site tactics onto the CNN site but this site is really totally different.

    CNN.com exists to generate advertising revenue. As a USA news service it operates in a search environment where location of the searcher and "query deserves freshness" are dominant in the ranking algo for the search queries it wants to target. It also has the asset of a major TV audience to which it can promote its social media and website properties.

    It is not employing SEO to ensure its individual pages rank well in the SERPs. It does not even bother to upgrade old page graphics when it changes its page template.

    2. Check with a Google Search Query
    This is an indicative, non-definitive metric. Run a search for: best steak knives

    This phrase is included in the "money.cnn.com/2006/05/19/pf/goodlife_fortune/" page's title tag and page headline.

    The CNN page can only rank around #50 in the SERPs. If there was a lot of PageRank passing to it, it should rank much higher then this. By comparison, the top ranked page to me for this query was:

    knifeplanet.net/best-steak-knives-guide/

    • It is not a domain Home page that ranks #1
    • The entire site only contains 179 G indexed pages

    What it does have is a cloud of internally linked pages where most include the words "knives" and "best".

    Can anyone offer us logic or reasons why SEO tools showing high DA or "trust" scores offer us much predictive external link value relevance these days?

    I'm not trying to be argumentative, I'm looking for discussion about the new PageRank and external link assessment environment. It seems to me that the traditional SEO tools are rapidly becoming less indicative and useful.

    What do SEO folk think?

    PS to Bobptz, Sorry for going into a general discussion. I hope it is useful to you as an edu post about general external link building issues.

    Comments on this post

    • DirectHits agrees
    Last edited by JohnAimit; Mar 7th, 2018 at 02:56 AM.
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    Well this is a very thorough investigation JohnA. Thanks for taking the time.

    And I agree, it is quite a surprise that CNN would choose such tactics...

    As you suggest, it seems to oppose what we know about SEO, and you would expect CNN to be working with some of the best SEOs. So have they developed a new and successful form of page sculpting? Does completely orphaning these pages really outweigh the loss of all the IBLs that would normally accrue, directing link juice back into the site? I can't tell if they are just winging it or are really just ahead of the rest of us.

    This raises a lot of questions for me.
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    Hi DirectHits,
    I don't think it opposes what we know about SEO. I suggest it brings home to us the importance of first assessing the resources available, the characteristics of the project, the search environment in which it exists and its objectives.

    Few sites will have site SEO management issues like CNN.com. They will include:

    • The site's legacy issues complicated by it's size and age
    • Volume of content published per day
    • The huge numbers of in-house and affiliated journalists
    • The constantly changing SEO environment
    • The design/publishing changes needed for mobile
    • The design/publishing changes needed for AMP
    • The move to video presentations

    If you are offering SEO support to a site like this, it is probably based on technical publishing issues, setting up of automated systems, staff training, management reporting, SE change monitoring, etc.

    I'm not surprised that their SEO seems to focus on a few thousand search landing pages rather than the millions of pages it has published.

    What value is there in an SEO tinkering with 2 million old pages or passing PageRank to them when the whole site is subject to G's "query deserves freshness" algo?

    Passing PageRank won't overcome G's QDF algo nor its location of the searcher algo.

    BTW, I came across this CNN page of advice to its affiliates about SEO...


    I didn't realise SEO was so simple, did you?

    So much for CNN over-investing in SEO...
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    Hi, I have tried to fin out whether your content is thin or not. But your mentioned URLs are not working. So, I am not able to say it is thin content or not.
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