Trump is here

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G'day people,

My name is Trump (no, my first name is not Donald) and I work with SEO.

I've been in this business for around 5 years now.

Just wanted to pop in and say hello. There is not much to say about me, and honestly, I don't think anyone cares. I'm just your regular Joe, trying to get rich.

So to make it a little bit more interesting, I thought I'd start off with a question:

Is domain relevance a:

A)
Myth
B) Real thing
C) Misunderstanding

It's popular to talk about relevance now days. I see it recommended all the time "only build relevant links". Sure, I think relevant links are better than non-relevant links - but that doesn't mean non-regular are bad, or can be better than a low value relevant link.

My question is not about relevant links, though.

I'm talking about relevant domains in the SERP. For example, when Googling "best xxxx" - the SERP is populated with strong, general websites. It's only when breaking it down to longer terms like "best xxx for fat people with 200 in their pocket", that I get "relevant" sites that are in that niche. If even then.

Another example is that I started a general experiment site one year ago, with 50 articles on it. These articles were in widely different niches. All my competition are niche sites.

Yet, I manage to rank above these sites - even though we have similar link strength and article quality. Their "relevancy" doesn't seem to play a big part at all. They have whole sites dedicated to, for example, fishing, my site have 5 articles about fishing, some about flowers and some about weight lifting. I still rank higher than them.

Another interesting aspect is that their niche sites also have loads of informative and relevant articles that links to their money articles. I have none, only money pages. But I'm still above them.

What do you think? Is domain relevancy overrated?


Two quick examples:

"Best fishing rod"
1. Menshealth
2. Amazon
3. Nytimes
4. Businessinsider
5. nymag

6. fishingbooker
7. outdoorgearlab
8. calloutdoors
9. outdoorempire

"Best horseshoes"
1. kicksack
2. Amazon
3. Horseshoesonline
4. Cicagotribune
5. bestreviews
6. thewiredshopper
7. pingpongbros (lol)
8. thebackyardsite
9. cabinlife



I also have a niche site (pretty wide, think "Flowers") and my competition are general review sites. We all have similar link strength and quality of articles. Sometimes I beat them, sometimes they beat me.

Since we are so similar, I'd think I would beat them since my site is only about flowers with supporting info articles - while they also write about paintball, car stereos, fishing and boxing gear. "Domain category relevance" doesn't seem to mean much in search.
 

secretagentdad

American Dad is the best show of all time.
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This isn’t a totally direct answer because I think you need a bit of a perspective change. Organic Sem isn’t this straight forward and the answers change from time to time depending on what google feels like cracking down on.

Google, historically, has been a page based algorithm.

Everything works. If you’re saturating for your tier, topic specialization appears to work better.

Very few webmasters ever push their organic footprint to their domains maximum potential. It requires an enormous amount of content that passes the various indexing tests. Topicality impacts aren’t very discernible until after you’re at saturation.

If you write better topical section headlines and you can beat niche sites easily if you have a couple of URLs to send signals from and aren’t living up to your domains potential. We’re not in a post page rank era but it’s not the only mode inaction anymore.
My default assumption based on what you’re saying would be you could be picking up harder keywords anywhere by just writing more so I don’t think you’re making fair comparisons.

Good to see some thought being put into a first post. I think you kinda missed the boat, but I think my response also did so what evs.

Welcome to the internets best public club.
 
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Ryuzaki

お前はもう死んでいる
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Hello, @Trump. Glad you joined and are posting with us.

Relevancy is a very real thing and has been for nearly a decade, without doing the math. I agree with you that you shouldn't ONLY build relevant links while avoiding others. In fact, you can't avoid others since you can't control what other people do online. Non-relevant links still pass page rank but aren't going to be the same needle movers a relevant link will be.

Your example is interesting and illustrates how many various factors there are in the algorithm and how you can win despite missing some signals. But for sure, one thing that's still weighed very heavily is link authority and branding because it's an easy way to fight spam. That's why you see giant general sites winning on short tail, high volume keywords where Google's possibility of being embarrassed the most is at risk.

You did mention your case where your general site beats niche sites despite similar backlink profiles. There's also on-page SEO, technical SEO, page speed, and a myriad of other things that can account for the difference.

The thing with niche sites ranking for long tails is a great thing. That's where the money is at. That's where the very clear user intent is and often you don't need to fight giants because they're fighting over short tails because they can't justify the wages spent to chase a 200 volume keyword.

@secretagentdad is right about Google largely being a page-level algorithm. That's where most "relevance" starts and stops. But we know for fact that there's domain-level niche classifications. Those domain-level signals aren't strong enough to dominate the game and probably never will be, but I also know there's a clear point where a switch gets flipped where suddenly you have "topical authority" for a niche topic and can pretty much clean house, only mitigated by the rate at which you can publish. I think that's assigned at the domain-level but it's not acquired at the domain-level, if that makes sense.
 
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I agree with @secretagentdad There are many ways to skin this cat, as long as you end up with a strong page for the query. Links to the page itself, links to the main domain, both work well. Links that are on-topic (relevant) work best.
Strong brands like the NY Times tend to be perceived as more authoritative, so their posts are more likely to gain good relevant links. They could outrank other sites even though the domain is more "generalized".

Authority (brand) generalized domain = more on-topic links to the page = better rankings.
 
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Seems like Barron got in the IM scene at an early age.

All I can say is that my personal project is knocking over most general competitors (think wikihow), and the ones that put up the most resistance are the ones that are only focussing on my niche.

I do think it's because my niche is 99% informational, so topical relevance probably spills over in authority.

I've only focussed on topical links because those make the most sense to me. But looking at my competitor's backlink profile, it does seem to matter little. They have tons of links from irrelevant websites (many mommy blogs). To me, it appears that the number of links got them to where they are.

But I'm kinda new to the backlinking game, so we will see :smile: Glad to have heard your input!