This is the 4-year ranking trend for an IT site whose top 200 links are NOTHING but paid and Wikipedia nofollow links and expired domains redirects. A lot of these high DR paid links are listed side by side with casino and write-for-you essay sites at the footer section.
Listen to experts, read Google guidelines, but always keep an open mind. Look at what’s working and what’s not in the SERP.
Yet, this page has 20+ errors and 70+ warning in Chrome browser inspection, failed horribly in various speed tests, comes with multiple annoying pop-up / pop-under ads – and they rank in multiple position 0’s and ranked for thousands of highly competitive search terms.
SEO guidelines by Google and gurus are only for your reference. They are basic knowledge that serves, at max, as your foundation and can only carry you to a certain distance.
The best SEO thing you can do FOR YOURSELF is to monitor SERPs closely and run your own experiments.
There were 9 talk sessions and 1 Q&A / panel discussion in the fully-packed 7 hours event. Titles and topics covered were:
Keynotes / welcomes – by Lucian Teo
How search works – by Cherry Sireetorn
What’s new in search – by Gary Illyes
Search console – by Gary Illyes
Partnering with Google Search and Assistant – by Stacie Chan
Image Search – by Gary Illyes
Towards a safer web – by Aldrich Christopher & Takeaki Kanaya
SEO mythbusting – by Gary Illyes
Let’s talk about links by Duy Nguyen
Per Googler’s on-stage talks and guidance
eCommerce spending in Asean is estimated to hit US$250 billion by year 2025.
Content is king.
Businesses should focus on its core and worry less about SEO
Rankings are tailored to moment. Search engine crawl, index, and rank content in real time.
HTTPS is a must – make use of free SSL like Let’s Encrypt .
Link out to trustable resources – it helps Google understand the web better and your site rankings.
Any links that are obtained with exchange of money should be “nofollow”.
Google human raters will check and compare search results before an core update goes live.
Speed up your site.
Google is working with other relevant orgs to standardize robots.txt
New sites discovered by Google will fall under mobile first indexing.
Google now renders a web page when crawling a website – just like how users would see the page on browser.
Fun story – Facebook used up Google storage capacity when the two tech giants team up to test out hreflang implementation.
Use “hreflang” to gain more localised traffic, but prepare to lose traffic if you take it off.
Businesses are encouraged to control their online presence by claiming their knowledge panel and creating content on Google Posts and Cameos.
Use schema markup to help Google understand your website better – including the new FAQ and How-to markup.
You can now markup your videos with spreadsheets.
Make use of Tenor.com, one of Google’s latest acquisitions, to improve your brand visibility.
Q&A (in private and during panel discussion)
How users interact with content affects how Google understand intent (in real time); how Google understand intent affect how they serve their results in real time.
First meaningful content paint is what matters the most to Google in measuring speed.
When a website roll back to single-language from a multilingual setup, it will retain its (bigger) crawl budget for short term, which allow new pages get discovered quicker. This elevated crawl budget would be reduced and normalised based on the website size eventually.
In overall I think it’s a well-organised event.
Plenty to networking opportunities with other digital marketers and developers.
Plenty of good food – breakfast, lunch, and two tea breaks, to whack throughout the session.
Plenty of clear guidance and tips for newbies and local businesses.
A few attendants I met mentioned their disappointment with the depth of the topics. In overall they thought what covered on stage were too basic and lack of insights.
(Biasa-lah.. Of course the Googlers are not here to teach us how to SEO and manipulate their system.)
Every time Google says “First and foremost, we focus on the user….”, I get the feeling that something against the users’ interests is happening.
Be reminded that Google has been showing more and bigger ads in their search result pages repeatedly over the years. Read here, here, and here.
While Google is certainly serious about improving its users experience in overall. I suppose the shift in next 20 years also meant Google will
Track users closer and collect even more data to improve product stickiness,
Inject more suggestions in SERP (we have already seen a 35% surge in “people also ask” in July 2018) to better understand searchers’ intent; and then pushing more ads and product recommendations in the name of “improving user’s Google experience”, and
Provide better Google image and video search suggestions (probably allow users to preview the videos on site?) to increase users time spent on Google.
Does that red ball in the movie Minority Report comes into mind?
In my recent guest post at ProBlogger.net, I talked about the three on-page optimisations, proven by case studies and SEO experiments, which will create an immediate impact on your Google rankings. They are:
1- Tweak your page for better SERP CTR, 2- Clean up site broken links and 404 errors, and 3- Get mobile friendly.
Note: This got published on my newsletter first. I thought some of you can make use of this list, hence the post.
If you are keen to study Google Penguin 4.0 update at this early stage, this post will save you hours of searching.
I usually avoid analysing an update that early because 1- There’s hardly anything useful at this early stage. 2- It takes days or even weeks for Google to roll out a major update like this; so it’s meaningless to study current SERPs.
But hey – it’s Penguin.
The first time I heard about Penguin, that animal almost killed my business. It took me almost 3 years to crawl back where I was before everything fell off.
So… I search and read and search and read. And here are the articles I found worth reading.
Early thoughts on Penguin 4.0 Wise interpretation on Google’s announcement. The entire post is pure gold for those who want to quickly understand what means what. Also, I highly recommend the “A theory – New links are very important to build up TRUST” part.
1- if it has been tested extensively over the past month 2- if the algorithm is just now rolling out or if it is already done rolling out 3- if the launch of a new version of Penguin rolled into the core ranking algorithm means old sites hit by the older versions of Penguin have recovered or will recover anytime soon.
Key takeaway #2:
“The trite advice [to handle Penguin updates] is to make quality content, focus on the user, and build a strong brand. It is getting harder to win in search period. And it is getting almost impossible to win in search by focusing on search as an isolated channel.”
Google bias towards Wiki proven in both author’s two machine-learning models. Wiki search visibility relies on relevant scores; rankings, however, does not rely on relevant scores. If a Wiki page is deemed relevant, it will rank high.