Recovering Failing SEO Sites with the Kitchen Sink Method

Ryuzaki

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Thoughts on this moving the needle? RE: Health YMYL site
My concern with health specifically, because it's the specific reason the whole YMYL / EAT thing came into existence, is that you can do every single thing right and even leagues beyond what everyone else is doing, except links... and fail to gain any traction.

Am I convinced Google can do author profiles? Probably. We fed them plenty of info with Google+ to teach the machine learning algo's what to identify, etc. But do they have some access to university databases to check credentials and all that? Hell... maybe. I don't put a lot of stock into who the author is or that having multiple authors helps. But I do put stock into having at least one author with an author box on the content. It's a quality signal, or really an expectation that should be there and you're docked points if it isn't.

I think the bulk majority, if not all, of EAT (expertise, authority, and trust) is about links:
  • Quality of links (page rank)
  • Trust of links (seed site distance / trust rank if it exists)
  • Quantity of links (pervasiveness and public trust)
My point is that you can do everything WebMD and everyone else started doing. You're not going to beat them out on anything but all of you can reach the 100 out of 100 score on everything but links. And then you have to compete on links and they have a HUGE headstart.

WebMD, to continue the example, is DR92 with 110,000,000 backlinks from 493,000 referring domains and have a SERP exposure of 18,800,000 keywords. This all is an estimate and is likely undershooting the reality.

And the reality is it's a zero sum game and there was a boatload of losers and very few winners. And those winners won BIG. Look what happened to WebMD's organic keyword coverage around January 2017 to March when the YMYL / EAT stuff started firing up:



If there's even 9 more sites that managed to not flop with the million ones that did, then the health niche is pretty much an open and closed case. It's sewn up from the flo' up.

That's how I feel about Health. Fitness isn't as grim but it'll get worse over time. Financial advice too, probably.

These aren't verticals where having a diversity of opinions is helpful, especially not to Google who likely fears repercussions and liability. What is helpful here is expertise, trust, and authority, because your money and your life is on the line as a searcher.

These big players have a monstrous head start and continue to publish and cover more ground. They will enter your sub-sub-niche eventually. Tread carefully, I say. Know when to hold'em and know when to fold'em.

The "Who Moved My Cheese?" book, as dumb as it is, comes to mind for me whenever the health vertical comes up in SEO discussion. I'm not saying the answer for anyone is to no longer engage in it, but be ready for a long-term uphill battle.
 

animalstyle

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These big players have a monstrous head start and continue to publish and cover more ground. They will enter your sub-sub-niche eventually. Tread carefully, I say. Know when to hold'em and know when to fold'em.

Thanks for your wisdom. I think you're absolutely correct. My site is an ecommerce brand that started in a niche that was grassroots and was essentially re-categorized into the health industry as it grew into the mainstream.

The last google update crippled my organic traffic, but it didn't cripple the business. Revenues have grown through it all. It's made me pivot and put resources into other marketing avenues like our affiliate program. Now instead of ranking, I just work on getting listed on the big boy health sites, getting a piece of the organic traffic that way. It's a breath of fresh air not to be solely relying on SEO and to instead have diversity and options.

Your posts here have been very helpful in confirming my approach, improving some remaining technical items, and setting realistic expectations. I'll continue building authority through links and since the business thrives without SEO traffic, if its a slow grind over years to build traffic in less competitive areas of the industry, its all good and just a cherry on top.

Not sure if this is helpful to anyone, but I wish the younger me could have heard this post. I think your reply to me is also invaluable for anyone deciding where to build. You want to be realistic that your resources and experience can match the size and difficulty of industry you're trying to enter - you can't fake it till you make it like you once could.
 

Ryuzaki

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I know we had a lot of YMYL conversation in this thread and a lot of sites failed due to it. It's not quite what this thread was meant to be about (more about other quality and tech SEO issues).

But this came up recently in the Webmaster Hangout videos. Someone asked:

If a website covers both YMYL, so your money or your life, topics as well as non-YMYL non-sensitive topics and for some reason we're unable to establish E-A-T, so kind of expertise, authority, trustworthiness in the eyes of Google algorithms, does the rank of all articles on the website get hit including the non-YMYL topics as well as where the required E-A-T score is relatively low to rank well or just those that belong to the YMYL category?​
They're basically asking "is YMYL a sitewide thing even if half the content isn't YMYL?"

And John Mueller responds:

It's always going to be challenging for Google's algorithms to figure out how to deal with that website. So regardless of anything around YMYL or EAT or anything, if you have this mix of very polar opposites almost with regards to content, then I would assume that Google's algorithms are always going to struggle with figuring out how how to rank your website.​
My own personal view would be that Google wouldn't have a problem separating your site into "two factions" if you had sub-folders where YMYL existed in one and not in the other, almost like .com/ymyl/ and .com/non-ymyl/. But it's likely all scattered together and mixed together.

I know Google wants to be a page-level algorithm, but it's increasingly expensive to do that and some things are much better dealt with at the site-level as a whole.

I'm also thinking along the lines of like... if I had a cooking site where I often mentioned the health benefits of ingredients, I'd be going in and deleting all those mentions and keeping it strictly about cooking. Not health, not dieting, not anything but "mmm food tasty heres how to cook it".