SEO Stupidity In The Wild

CCarter

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Things are getting out of control in the "SEO realm". There is a lot of SEO Stupidity going on in the Eco-system and it's leading to just plain SEO failure. The problem is the people getting results don't usually have time to write blog posts - they are getting results. The people that have too much time on their hands are usually regurgitating other White Hat SEO nonsense published by others who source always seems to be some rumor or gossip from one of the "SEO News outlets". It's pretty bad on Twitter too. I've been waiting for someone to "call out" this nonsense but it's been going on for several years and Serpian Derpo is dead - now it's at a point where I realize it's never going to get answered.

Failure #1: Over Optimization
The biggest failure I baffled at seeing it "over-optimization" - This one is soul crushing for me to have conversations about this, cause I can assure you 5, 10, or 50 anchors for an exact term will not flagged you for "over-optimization", unless you literally have zero backlinks.

That wouldn't be over-optimization that would be an anchor text dilution problem - I forgot the term that's used. That's a simple fix by increasing your anchor text with generic terms and other related anchors terms - problem solved.

If you want a good gauge on your keyword's threshold use AHREFS.com and look up each of the Top 10 URLs ranking for the keyword you are going after. Look at their top anchor texts get the average, maximum, and minimum amounts for that keyword. Example:

1. URL#1 has 30 instances using "MY KEYWORD" as an exact anchor.​
2. URL#2 has 10 instances using "MY KEYWORD" as an exact anchor.​
3. URL#3 has 20 instances using "MY KEYWORD" as an exact anchor.​
4. URL#4 has 10 instances using "MY KEYWORD" as an exact anchor.​
5. URL#5 has 5 instances using "MY KEYWORD" as an exact anchor.​
6. URL#6 has 50 instances using "MY KEYWORD" as an exact anchor.​
7. URL#7 has 40 instances using "MY KEYWORD" as an exact anchor.​
8. URL#8 has 20 instances using "MY KEYWORD" as an exact anchor.​
9. URL#9 has 10 instances using "MY KEYWORD" as an exact anchor.​
10. URL#10 has 5 instances using "MY KEYWORD" as an exact anchor.​

Max = 50, Min = 5, and Average = 20.

Now do that for Positions #11-100 for each URL ranking. You'll get some wild anchor ratios in there, if you can group them like so: #11-20, #21-30, #31-50, #50-100 - get the Max, Min, and Average for each group. You should be able to quickly determine how many exact terms you can get away with and whether the threshold is - because most likely there are going to be URL in the #31-100+ ranges that have above page #1 averages of anchors AND above your page #1 MAXIMUM. There are multiple factors on why pages after page #1 are not ranking, but assume all things are equal you can quickly eyeball what a good ratio is for your "MY KEYWORD" should be for your own page.

While you are at it make sure to get the Position #1-3's "also rank for" keywords each page is ranking for, you can use those additional terms as anchors for your own page. The reason I like #1-10 is because Google has determined through their algorithm that these 3 pages are most relevant, I guarantee you there are are related keywords they all share in common.

This philosophy is literally what SERPWoo's Keyword Finder is based off of. You input a keyword and then it outputs not only related keywords but then finds the URLs ranking for #1-3 positions and pulls all their keywords they are ranking for. It mashes it up and then using the "Source" column you can see all the keywords that Google has determined are related to your original keyword - use those keywords within your text and as anchors and voila you are printing money.

Here is a visual:


^^ Above you see that I inputted "boat sailing lessons" - first thought that came to me, pretty weak but whatever. It shows me that I should also have "yacht sailing lessons" since 2 of the Top 3 URLs ranking for "boat sailing lessons" ALSO rank for "yacht sailing lessons". I should also have "live and learn sailing" - don't know what that is, but 2 of the Top 3 URLs also rank for that term. Another one is "boat sailing near me" - Perhaps I should have a location section on my page that shows places - hint. Going down there are some 256 other terms, but the ones I really should look into are the ones that have 2, 3 or even 4 commonalities. I should use those within the text of the page I want to rank AND as EXACT anchor text when linking internally or from an external source for those terms.

If you input a good competitive term you'll get A LOT more related keywords - but that doesn't help when you need to get quick answered when creating a piece of content and know drinking from a fire hydrant will only lead to paralysis by over analysis.

Failure #2: Expired Domains

This one is odd, first you have to view the Twitter thread:



--

^^ What these people are talking about seems almost innocent until you step back and think about the macro of the discussion. This guy wants to buy a domain that was previously registered and got John to admit that expired domains' links will always matter.

Then someone cheekily comes in and says to disavow everything, but then two others take that idea and one suggests to "reconsider any existing link profiles" when a "change of IP address" or "change of nameserver" or "change of registrar" or "change of domain owner" happens.

Anyone with a brain can tell you that in the course of a website you'll eventually change hosting - which will trigger a nameserver and IP address change.

Even upgrading on some hosts triggers a new IP Address. Godaddy just increased their pricing by 20% this year after doing the same last year, so a .com now costs $17.99 - yikes I saw that on some auto-bill so I've been moving domains to another registrar NameCheap in this instance - should that trigger a complete "link profile" removal?

If I see the company and there is a new domain owner - should that trigger a complete "link profile" removal?

Jebus.

Then another guy comes in with the bright idea having an easy "this is a new site" button option - wouldn't that make spammers like really happy???

WTF is going on out here? The crazy part is the macro of it all - dude is asking John if he can "reset the link profile" with an easy button. I clicked through the guy's Bio that asked and he is the "Head of SEO".

I'll give it to John - he actually takes the time to write back to this nonsense.

The whole purpose of buying an expired domain is to gain the link profile UNLESS it's for the brand name, then I could understand.

I don't understand though how the "Head of SEO" has "never done active link building" - how do you make money than?

The real problem is tweets like this are getting indexed into the SEO Eco-system, someone is going to pick it up at one of these SEO News Outlets, then someone is going to blog about it, then 10 other bloggers are going to regurgitate the original blogpost and the SEO News Outlet's article and next thing you know regular SEOs start believing these ideas.

This tweet seems innocent but I'm starting to think people are working behind the scenes to create misinformation on purpose, I've seen it on viral content type sites like Imgur and Instagram and Facebook, but when it starts happening within "SEO" a niche that literally 99% of the world has no clue exists or what it's all about, something is just way off.

But then again real Blackhat and Grayhats stopped talking about SEO on twitter and blogging about it because it's easier to make money and let the lemmings think - and I kid you not I saw this written "You do not need to have links to rank in Google". Literally there are White Hats running around thinking you do not need to create links - this is where we are at folks.

This was @Grind's whole plan - Everyone has stopped outting techniques and the latest, and now "You don't need backlinks for SEO" is a real conversation people are having. Grindstone used to be mad when people were outting blackhat and grayhat techniques - now no one says anything and lemmings run the show.

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As I find more failures I'm going to post them in here - I've got thousands of them over the last couple of weeks but I got work to do at the moment. Feel free to add your own or ask questions.

We have to stop this madness, there is so much mis-information out there I can understand why people need more and more help. SEO isn't difficult, there is just too much overthinking or over-analysis cause it's a waiting game.
 

Stones

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I came across a large national (small country) internet provider who was "A/B Testing" by changing the company domain from brand.com to phoneandinternet.com and back, every day.

I reached out and got him on the phone, some kid with a degree in marketing. I tried to explain, he got snotty and asked me if I even knew how to use Majestic.

Nobody is perfect and we all make mistakes but you can't teach stupid.
 

CCarter

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I even knew how to use Majestic.
Funny you mention that... I had a conversation around this topic and am realizing that people are using SEO Tools as sort of a replacement for actual work - which makes sense but only to a degree. I know everyone wants an "easy" button, but with SEO there is a lot of on-page and off-page factors that need to be taken into consideration, so it's more of a Art and Science versus reading whatever the SEO Tool's output states.

Everyone wants everything easy.
 
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I don't understand though how the "Head of SEO" has "never done active link building" - how do you make money than?
Lol. But yeah cheers for coming here and pulling us all back into reality. It's difficult to find sources disagreeing with the official SEO groupthink outside of private groups.
 

CCarter

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It's difficult to find sources disagreeing with the official SEO groupthink outside of private groups.
Here is my question - what's changing in SEO so much that it requires constantly updating news? I mean backlinks, good on-page SEO structure, fast loading time, mobile friendly, and a well converting theme, and content designed to convert is all you need.

Is there some new magic coming out on a daily basis that requires SEO News outlets to have content daily? What's actually changed in the last 1-2 years in terms of how to rank? Or the last 3-6 years?

Google adds new rich snippets and structured data which users can take advantage of, but other than that not a lot has changed where it requires a daily feed of SEO news or content.

Realistically SEO is a very boring industry. Now MARKETING - that's where things are constantly evolving with new platforms, new ideas, and new techniques. But SEO - what new techniques are there really? Even stuff like PageOptimizerPro and CORA SEO - that's all just more "in-depth" understanding of the same SEO metrics and techniques that we've been manipulating for the last 10-15+ years.
 

CCarter

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Here we go again:

If Google says H1s don't matter for rankings, why should you use them? Here's why

What Google said

"Our systems aren't too picky and we'll try to work with the HTML as we find it — be it one H1 heading, multiple H1 headings or just styled pieces of text without semantic HTML at all," Mueller said.

In other words, Mueller is saying Google's systems don't have to rely on specific headings structure to indicate the main focus of content on the page.

Additional sauce: Multiple H1s won't get in the way of your SEO, Google says

This is a fluff piece. John never said that H1 tags do not matter, yet here is a SEO news outlet which needs content just making stuff up. It's a bit odd since the section's title is labelled "What Google said" instead of "What John said".

It's a sly trick - since it re-affirms John as the end-all be-all authority to the Google algorithm, when we have known in fact for years that not one single person knows the complete algorithm, and it's constantly changing and updating daily.

I guarantee you though there is going to be some SEO blogger that regurgitates that "Google said not to use H1 tags" - and we're off to the races. We'll have other bloggers re-blogging, and soon enough a good chunk of the masses will believe it. They'll remove their H1 tags and watch their rankings tank quickly. Then come crying "But Google said..." - No they didn't.

You see if you were in the trenches you would know that header tags matter. In fact just run a CORA SEO or PageOptimizerPro report and you'll quickly start deducting what factors matter and what is just fluff.

Guys - don't believe the shit you read! Believe what's in the search results, believe what shows up when you do CORA reports, believe hard data. It's more difficult to get - yes, but the facts are within the search results not on some blogger's latest blogpost.

You know what I do when I see something unusually in the search results, I go to the page and view the sources code and see how that URL/page is doing what they are doing, where is the source of that anomaly. That's how you stay ahead of everything.
 

Ryuzaki

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They'll remove their H1 tags and watch their rankings tank quickly.

Many dummies already have:



How little do you have to know about SEO to think the H1 tag doesn't matter or you can scramble the hierarchy of the headers?

Sure, you CAN, and Google will do their best to sort it out, but it's not optimal in any way. In the case of H1's they can derive what they need from the <title> tag, but even then look what happens.

The funniest part is, it's not just one person doing it. THEN, they all come back and claim it was by accident, but it all happened on the day of or the days after Mueller made those statements. Not only are they stupid enough to announce they did it, but they're liars about why they did it.
 
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Is there some new magic coming out on a daily basis that requires SEO News outlets to have content daily? What's actually changed in the last 1-2 years in terms of how to rank? Or the last 3-6 years?
A little off-topic, but I was actually subscribed to SER's DAILY newsletter. It's pure trash. 5% useful links (for a newb like me) and 95% google gossip (latest tweets, birthday parties, founder getting married etc.).

Like seriously, what does Sergey Brin's marriage have to do with SEO? Wish I had unsubscribed earlier.
 
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In terms of over optimization with anchors, researching some terms like "city + web design" in large or competitive areas will quickly show there is no specific % you need to stay under across the board. Its been a while since I did, but in the past I've seen some sites with percentages up above 30%. Its a good example of how things are so keyword specific and why POP and CORA work so well like you mentioned. Using POP when first building your page and then CORA for further optimization is a killer combo.
 

CCarter

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His confirmation that links can take effect “essentially immediately” might seem startling to some. That may be that it takes weeks or months to see an effect on rankings because it may take more than just one or five or ten links to see an effect in rankings.”​

“Startling”? What? What in God’s name is going on here? Anyone that has ever bought/placed/acquired links knows within 24-48 hours is the bare minimum for seeing results. Weeks? Months?!? WTF

It is clear as day that people that REPORT on SEO do not do SEO. So what about the bloggers that regurgitate what SEO news sites report?!?!

Now you understand why we live in a world where SEO bloggers claims links do not matter and people just go along with that nonsense. This is how stupid this industry has gotten.

If you get links and do not see results/movement (up or down, down is good) in 1-7 days, MAYBE ~14 days for brand new sites than your on-page SEO is shit OR you need more powerful links. That is it, one of the two or both factors are the only possible answer.

Anyone telling you otherwise is full of shit and hasn’t ranked a website in a serious niche from scratch, like all these SEO reporters apparently.
 

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Damn, I am not so sad anymore about my unread Search Engine Journal newsletters

These excerpts are so full of shite
 

Ryuzaki

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Anyone telling you otherwise is full of shit and hasn’t ranked a website in a serious niche from scratch, like all these SEO reporters apparently.

Most of these bloggers and "SEO Journalists" have no clue what they're talking about, since all any of them do is rewrite each other's stories and pull info they can't comprehend out of forums. It's exactly like every other type of news. It's derivative and agenda driven nonsense.

But I do tell everyone reading this otherwise, and I'm not full of shit, and I rank in serious niches every day. There are parts of the following quote that I take beef with and I can prove them wrong and will:

If you get links and do not see results/movement (up or down, down is good) in 1-7 days, MAYBE ~14 days for brand new sites than your on-page SEO is shit OR you need more powerful links. That is it, one of the two or both factors are the only possible answer.

I agree with the main concept of what you're saying in the quote above (especially downward movement being a good thing), though I'd argue against a couple of the details. I agree that usually the main problem is the links are too weak to cause a noticeable difference, especially when you're beginning to compete on the 1st or 2nd page for competitive terms.

But I also argue that the exact opposite of some of your details is often true. If the links are too powerful, you run into Google's Rank Transition. And it tells you the exact time frames they deal in, although I've measured the longer time period many times and I'm certain it's actually 90 days on the dot.

"In other words, it might take approximately 70 days for a change in a document's link-based information to change the rank of the document to its steady state (target) value (e.g., 1.0 in FIG. 6)."​
and...

"In other words, the document's rank may decrease for a period of approximately 20 days before settling in on its new steady state (target) value (e.g., 1.0 in FIG. 7) in approximately 70 days after a positive change in its link-based information."​
There's the temporary negative bounce ("may decrease for 20 days") that I talk about on the forum, and the random delay of positive results ("before settling in in approxmately 70 days").

The key word in both Search Engine Journal's quotes of John Mueller and in the Google Patent above is "may". It "may" take effect immediately. It "may" decrease, etc. These weasel words are in there because it's randomized and Mueller doesn't want to draw attention to this patent I'm talking about, which is absolutely in effect. I know things get patented and not used. This is not one of those things.

Like him saying "We take links into account immediately upon finding them." Yes, but what he's not telling you is that there then "may" be a negative bounce or delayed reaction or, yes, even an immediate reaction. "We count them immediately, but they may not count immediately" is more accurate.

But my point is, if you go viral and get a ton of not-so-powerful links, you can pop up on their radar screen. And you can pop up on it with even just one, two, or three really killer links, too.

So to say "within 24-48 hours is the bare minimum for seeing results. Weeks? Months?!? WTF" as if it's a big surprise is completely off the mark. Google's patent confirms "approximately" 70 days, and I'm saying I've measure 90 days exactly several times which I believe is the true maximum delay. So yes, months! Three to be exact.

It's a combination of things that can trigger it, but it's mainly a relatively (in comparison to the existing amount) large influx of page rank that does it. Combine that with a plain-as-day manipulative anchor text and your chances go way up.

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This is from the same patent and is extremely important, although unrelated to the stuff above, I figured it's worth people seeing:

"The spammer's behavior may be observed to detect signs that the document is being subjected to rank-modifying spamming (block 860). For example, if the rank changed opposite to the initial 10% change, then this may correspond to a reaction to the initially-inverse response transition function. Also, if the rank continues to change unexpectedly (aside from the change during the transition period due to the rank transition function), such as due to a spammer trying to compensate for the undesirable changes in the document's rank, then this would be a sign that the document is being subjected to rank-modifying spamming."​
Like I say at least weekly on the forum. Expect random reactions from Google and LEAVE IT ALONE. If you start tinkering around, you're confirming you're a spammer and you'll lose your incoming positive gains and a lot more.