And, despite all the various measurable quality signals, content quality, etc...Google organic rankings still mostly care about links.
"I know for a fact that it’s possible to circumvent these sandbox effects. If a site goes even somewhat viral and is getting a few hundred to a few thousand daily unique visits, some social media mentions each day, and real backlinks, that site will immediately be taken seriously by Google’s algorithms. I’ve seen this happen twice so far with brand new websites, eventually ranking #1 for their top keywords."
My experience has been the same. Except in this case...and it just struck me as strange.
I know little about SEO ... but I'm sorry man you are CRAZY if you think your are going to rank for the words
good, fast, OR cheap
for something that came out in the past year.
And outside of that im sure there is strong competition to rank for all of the categories of devices that appear on the site...
This is just not a think the author can make the conclusion in their title based on...
Because it's impossible to fake the age of a domain. If you have a long-running site with lots of old links from other long-running sites, it has phenomenal pagerank power.
I am aware of this because I have been a volunteer admin and the DNS contact for blogs dating back to circa 2004. My inbox is an absolute river of people sending me offers to write articles, infographics, helpful "corrections" for "broken" links etc etc et bloody c.
Having said that brands with long running sites still have links to pages from 95 - 97 that are worth redirecting I found one last week :-)
You would be surprised.
Each page is certainly useful, but doesn't really show much information that google _believes_ is useful to a user.
The page itself is quite useful to someone searching for the right cordless vacuum, but google's algorithm is looking for signs of quality that would assist it in better understanding the potential value.
Examples here include:
1. Structured data in the page such as a standard price / discount price / features / avg rating table
2. A longer description of the product with more information, such as features
3. Shorter backlink anchor text to Amazon that have less data crammed in them (try and separate out the features from the actual product name here)
4. Crosslinking: you have reams of content that is related, so cross link it! You're making it hard for google to discover relevant content paths. Cordless Vacuums -> Robot Vacuums -> Dyson Vacuums -> Dyson Vacuum Accessories, is one example. The content journey one can take is pretty much Home -> Search -> Article -> Amazon, much too short.
5. Everything is stacked under tld/articles/article-name and you have very little variation, making it harder for users to easily see this sort of indexing. Interestingly, category pages, landers with aggregation of multiple areas of content, etc. can help because you assist in discoverability for the user. Keep your canonical tags sorted, no-index variants of category pages so you don't end up with reams of pages indexed, and you should see better potential user journeys.
This is just off the cuff and YMMV, but is my first take. Hit me on LinkedIn if you want to chat.
2. What's your average dwell time? If people are visiting then bouncing after 1 minute that sends a bad signal to Google. Average dwell time of a first page result is 3 minutes 10 seconds, according to Brian Dean.
3. You feature 0 images. Where's the alt text? Looking at these walls of text makes me want to bounce ASAP, which isn't obviously good for your dwell time.
4. I think you need to step up your content game A LOT. Look at what Wirecutter does: https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-high-end-ranges/
5. You say the site features no ads-- but that's kind-of a lie. You are an affiliate site, which I personally never trust anyway, when they're created in this sort of way. It's like look how bad the mattress industry is with these sites. You can't trust any of them.
6. Good content that ranks in Google is comprehensive. You should think about making your post format meatier. Help people choose which one is right FOR THEM. Explain why you chose what you chose. Use descriptive headlines so people can skim. People want to see pics before they click through.
7. I highly recommend learning more about what constitutes good content vs bad content.
Is this really the best way that google can distinguish good from bad content? IMO google results are starting to become stale and it makes the internet feel a lot smaller, this is probably why. I know there are tonnes of far more interesting things out there but they seem to come up less and less now.
I think there is a real need for this kind of information, and I would even suggest Google or (any search company really) go as far as to build a feature/small-platform specifically for content like this. _Quality_ affiliates linking.
- Keyword targeting: seems like you're targeting a lot of product based keywords; these tend to be hotly contested, generally favoring brands and top retailers for top slots
- Not quite enough content on the pages, in terms of word count...
- As you mentioned, Google is probably seeing the Amazon links on your landing pages and penalizing your rankings
So - potential thoughts on how to change it up...
- Switch from talking about products to problems... probably can get rankings a lot easier for those keywords, especially if you're willing to target long tail traffic.
- Move amazon links off the landing pages; at a minimum, cloak the link but better yet try having a page or two that discussed the problem then make the user click to get to another page which recommends specific products
- Also getting the vibe you might need more content density for each topic; more pages addressing a single area, with a higher word count.
My own experience is that carefully reading the google documents which return when you do the obvious searches on how to improve SEO are very clear: do some structural work, be very clear about your sites underlying page relations, proffer keywords which contextually make sense, but do not try and game the system.
If you pay search engines money they increase visibility of your site. If you host adverts since they place adverts it increases visibility of your site in their systems because its a "virtuous circle"
If you attempt to use other mechanisms to direct traffic to your site which the search engine can (a) detect and (b) proscribe, you will be penalised.
What else is there?
It's not the link building or content that needs to be fixed, what is needed is the skills of a competent technical SEO who understands web dev. In many cases a site just needs to fix it's site structure and the crawling issues and it will rank well.
For example, I've seen plenty of sites that have over 1 million pages of content but the only way to get to those pages is through an XML sitemap--that's not SEO.
I honestly wish it was that easy. Trust me, it's not.
I think everyone just assumes the front page is fair game for them. If there are ~10 better sites then yours (not out of the question unless your in a tiny niche or started the site long ago) then doing the work still won't reward you with the front page, and there isn't anything necessarily wrong with that.
Part of that is user experience - their goal is to get the searcher to the information they need as fast as possible, and it's hard to slow them down more than by putting an additional page between them - and part of it is corporate strategy. Anything that helps organize the world's information - particularly information connected to a purchase, which is Google's revenue stream - is potentially competition.
Unless it's an AMP page of course!
For example, specifically take a look at the line that says, "Links with optimized anchor text in articles or press releases distributed on other sites" in the Google Webmaster Guidelines.
How do you explain the hundreds of press releases, with optimized anchor text, linking to good cheap and fast dot com? Such as this one: http://www.kitv.com/story/39477963/presenting-good-cheap-and...
It was growing steadily, but after I switched to https, it started consistently falling, every day.
Google, I try to keep my website healthy and have good content, why are you testing my patience?
Is link building still the #1 strategy to boost your page rank? OR has the game changed?
Can anyone point to a good SEO guide? (Would be willing to pay $$$)
They seem to publish new articles/guides every week or so and have addressed link building in the past which, according to their case study, appears to not be the most important thing, although it is important.
I wrote a concise and actionable guide for on-page SEO here:
I also wrote a Chrome extension that will check the suggested SEO guidelines for you automatically, checking multiple pages at a time:
The biggest problem I see is that sites are migrated to HTTPs but they fail to set up the redirects properly or they forget to updated all the internal links on the site so they point to HTTPs.
If you navigate directly to the http url for an article, it does NOT redirect, but if you goto http://www.mysite.com, it redirects to https://www.mysite.com
I also see that when I Google my site's content, the links in google are https://, which means Google now knows that my website is running https.
What may I be missing here?
That would be your problem. As far as Google is concerned you are operating two different sites. Redirect all your old http URLs to the HTTPS versions of the same content. But it might be too late if that old http content is considered “gone” from Google’s index.
I dont understand HN ranking at all.
At the time of writing Apple's earnings sits at #10 with 45 points (36 comments) and this one sits at #6 with 20 points (3 comments).
> "How are stories ranked?"
> "The basic algorithm divides points by a power of the time since a story was submitted. Comments in threads are ranked the same way."
> "Other factors affecting rank include user flags, anti-abuse software, software which demotes overheated discussions, and moderator intervention."
No images? Why not hide the description too?
How a product looks is a significant factor when deciding whether to buy it.
Bring back photos if you want real humans to buy from your website.
But just because a domain name is 10-12 years old, if it never had content and links, doesn't mean it's valuable. A pieceofjunkkeywordkeywordkeywordnonsense.com domain name, even if it's 10-12 years old, is still worthless and only valuable to you.
So maybe that soured them too much?
sees a SERP with
"The Best Cheap Smartwatches For Sale on Amazon in 2019 - Good, Cheap and Fast"
comes to a page like
which is really slow for the first time mobile user according to PSI https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/?hl=e...
where the headline is
"The Best Cheap Smartwatches For Sale on Amazon in 2019"
and then a text blob that nobody reads (when was the last time you googled something and really really read the paragraphs of text? i mean stuff you googled and not hacker news comments. and don't tell me your read the paragraphs of text on stack overflow answers)
knows nothing else what this site is (search users dont know your story, and dont reach your startpage (i.e.v what does the startpage of stack overflow lookn like?)).
then two list items with again textblobs, where the headlines link to amazon. giving the users no incentive to use your site more or google your brand in the future again.
if it looks like spam, uses words like spam and offers content nobody reads on a first user slow page, it probably is not a good search user experience.
please stop doing SEO, start thinking about the search user.
note: i wrote a book about it
reviews on amazon: https://www.amazon.de/Understanding-SEO-Systematic-Approach-...
and .com https://www.amazon.com/Understanding-SEO-Systematic-Approach...
disclaimer: i don't know how googles algorithms work, and i so do not care
I didn't set out to do SEO for this site. Rather, I'm building something that I would use. (I like to read the full text of a page, so I suppose I'm an outlier.)
- Consumer product and tech reviews, vs heavyweights like "Wirecutter, Consumer Reports, Cook's Illustrated and Crutchfield" as you mention, and also TechRadar, TomsGuide, Lifewire, etc
- That's not as difficult as credit card or insurance industries, but there are sophisticated players. Do you truly believe your page on "best video doorbells" is a better result than ConsumerReports.org's?
- Has 121 backlinks from different domains (great). But Wirecutter has 20,000+
- Has links from big press, which is cool, but topically relevant linking sites is important as well
- Is thin on review pages. See your wireless earbuds page: https://www.goodcheapandfast.com/articles/best-wireless-earb... vs the #1 organic ranking site for "best cheap wireless earbuds" (4,000 searches/mo): https://www.techradar.com/deals/the-best-cheap-wireless-head... (very important)
- Doesn't have many links to individual pages, so you're not seeing page level link signals, mainly just to the home page (very important)
- Is young, and while that's only one small part of it, is still part of it
Google broadly ranks on:
- Matching intent of query to the best page that serves the goal of the user, and is constantly testing - this does not mean they always reward long blog posts, as it depends on the intent of the query
- Topical authority and relevance - combination of keyword usage, topic coverage, etc
- Seems to reward topically relevant sites more than generalist sites, see the About.com split into different entities case study (though not always)
- Quality of backlinks at the page level, and also the domain level
- Relevancy of backlinks at page and domain level
- Quantity of backlinks at page and domain level
- Other link factors like referring link anchor text, placement on referring page, etc
- On-page optimizations (title tag, keyword usage in content, internal links, headers)
- Tons more, but the above cover ~40-90% of the factors, depending on query, industry, competition, intent, etc
Congrats on the press and growth!
If you truly want to optimize for organic, look at what competitors are doing, page by page, and model off them, with your own unique angle. Content & links, content & links, and repeat.
Funny aside: My pre-sabbatical day job was working for the publisher of Tom's Guide and TechRadar.
Tom's Guide is a point of pride for me. It was a fledgling site when our company acquired it in 2013 and I had the pleasure of watching its organic traffic grow 9,900% and hit 40MM visitors in a month. Man, did that feel good!
You can blame grey-hat and black-hat SEO for that. It's also why the quality of Google Search more generally has tanked, especially for non-trivial searches: it seems that Google is desperately trying to always play it safe and give zero incentive to potential spammers, even if this screws some users over in the short term. Bing and DDG are a lot better these days if you're looking for something highly specific, weird or uncommon, while Google is surprisingly fine for common, even trivial/mindless searches.