It seems most sites are ranking unethically?
I'm using Ahrefs to check on sites and I've noticed that what matters most is the number of referring domains and backlinks.
Keywords is only 1 piece of the puzzle. What matters more it seems is getting backlinks from high Ahrefs Domain Rating (DR).
I've noticed that many sites are ranking very well because they have a shit ton of backlinks from a group of high DR sites. With not much relevance. I'm guessing that these sites must be providing a service to refer them.
Is this the case?
Everyone is talking about how we should use whitehat tactics but it seems like the real winners are not…
The real winners are not using white hat and waiting for organic growth.
I can't tell you the site name but a site I was working on was doing well, natural growth, 50% increase in traffic per month for nearly 6 months. Lots of on-site tech SEO, good content added daily, a few solid backlinks per month.
The company was acquired and they use their internal team for all their projects.
They started cranking out paid posts on mostly garbage sites, sometimes 20-30 a day.
Their ranking and traffic shot through the roof. Like 15x in a matter of 4-6 weeks. Completely unnatural but they've been crushing it for the last 4 or 5 months.
Paid links work and if done well, it works better than anything you've ever seen.
The long term might mean getting de-indexed or total loss in ranking. Even though I've seen zero to hero with my own eyes, I would still never go that crazy with any of my own or a client sites because it's just too risky for my blood.
Paid links are working better than you could imagine. I have seen a tweet (don't like to mention here.) where they have spend $6000 in 3 weeks on sponsored posts on websites with decent Domain Authority (DA) around 30 to 60 and with 6 weeks their organic traffic grew from 3000 visits a day to 10,000 a day. The point they proved is, don't try to look for big fishes with DA 90 plus, focus on small and medium DA's and you could grow big
I agree. I see lots of websites in my niche ranking high with weak, barely legible, content. All based on aggressive back link strategies. -Much of which is far from organic.
I don't think Google's as smart as presumed.
Although not quite on par with paid back links, take a look at Quora. Google seems to favour links from them, and Quora prefer long form answers to even the simplest question. The result? Every answer on there is a nonsense 1000 words of junk with a few back links thrown in. It appears everyone is happy, unless you're actually looking for an answer.
Here's an example I saw: How do I redirect a page in WordPress? The no.1 backlink filled answer went on for days. My answer was a sentence with a link to the WordPress plugins directory. (I got to get better at the bs game!)
But, those links will help that site rank higher, regardless of the quality.
quora is greatly under appreciated. Great for backlicks, but also great for directing traffic if you give semi-relevant content. Using it to create back links has inadvertently given me like 4M+ content views on the platform.
I cannot second this enough!!!
Aren't all Quora links nofollow, though?
nofollow don't mean what it used to
Agreed. At this point, most of google's content is so shit I don't even use it to browse for anymore. Anything that is ranked high has a hidden agenda to it. Whether it is selling you some shit products or affiliate products.
What do you use?
I'm new to the game. Just commenting on my observation. Spending some time on Ahrefs will you tell you a lot more than what most can tell you on Reddit since it's real data (or at least close enough)
It's not just backlinks, it's how Google ranks content. It now prefers A LOT of content. That's why you get these bullshit posts that go on for days to answer one stupid question. The blog post that answers just that in one paragraph cannot rank because it does not have the fluff that Google now requires.
I don't think it's that Google just likes a lot of content, although depending on the keyword it might like more. For some searches you'll notice most of the top results have less text on average than other searches.
It's that longer content gives you more space to cram related terms, Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) and long tail keywords, etc in a way that looks natural. So if you try to do that in a non abusive way, you'll actually end up covering the topic with more depth and writing better content.
Yes, those top results have more backlinks :)
"Writing better content" is very relative. If I need to read through 5 pages of fluff to get my answer, I wouldn't really count that as better. And I've been seeing a lot of that lately.
Not what I mean, I mean depending on how Google interprets the user intent, it may believe a shorter piece of content is better. Not just because backlinks.
If you search something like "disable emojis in WordPress" sure it would be useful if you found a result that's like "put this in your theme's functions.php file." But how is Google to know that's the best content?
When Google tries to make sense of this query, it has to look back on every time it's seen those words together. It's gonna have an idea of what other terms are said in that context. It's going to see how the name of some plug-in has been mentioned, something about page speed, lower page size, etc.
Unless you mention the same things, touch on the same ideas, Google doesn't even know what your content is about, let alone if it's quality.
Why aren't post links in quora no-follow like every other comment section on the web?
I haven't checked but agree, they must be no-follows, but I don't think it's as clear cut as follow/no-follow.
Quora is/was heavily policed, and getting those back links required a hefty article-like response. Maybe Google recognises that?
I've personally seen the impact of Quora back links, and I'm guessing 99.9% of the bloggers over there, have seen that impact too.
At the end of the day, here's a 1000 word article about Peanut Butter, with a link that's been hit 400 times. Google's likely to think that link has a lot to do with the true nature of Peanut Butter.
Does Quora have issues with providing answers to old questions when it comes to backlinks? Or do they just care about detail?
Yes, in my experience. -because they know you'd love a backlink from one of their questions which is already ranking. But, I'm sure there are more qualified people to speak on it.
More info… what I think happens:
• You answer an old ranking question
• All people following that question get a notice of a new answer
• Someone reports your new answer to a 5 year old question as spam
A pragmatic SEO does not, solely, depend on employing white hat techniques, at the same time [s/he] knows where to draw a line while using non-white hat techniques.
Great answer. I almost feel like people that are against blackhat are the ones trying to discourage the competition from using them. Paying for links also probably works too if you buy from the right source.
It's not an ethics issue, following a search engine's guidelines does not make you more or less ethical.
Pragmatically speaking, when all is equal, the page with better links wins.
A corporation's rules are not the criteria of someone being ethical or not. Especially a corporation like Google.
Had a brain freeze when I was writing the title. That was the best I could come up with haha
Why waste your time with it. Those sites are temporary. In the end people don't like them and bounce. You overlook the fact that lots of sites rank extremely well without backlinks. Instead they focus 100% on high quality content and value that interests their audience. If you post a site that gets good traffic, engagement, conversions and stickiness. Google will rank you regardless and the backlinks will come in time. Those shitty sites that lack any value or content can rank all day, it helps me because it makes me look better and I get clients for life.
It depends. You're right in that it's better to build a good site. But most good content site are no longer very searchable anymore. I remember back in the old days, I could Google and find answers very quick. Now you're stuck reading a 1200 word essay just to learn a bunch of useless bullshit with no added value. But I suppose that's considered "high quality" to some people.
Do any Google search and top 10 is mostly junk. But they're the only sites that are really seen because most people don't get past that. So to win the ranking game, you got to play the game.
It sad that I rely more on Reddit because at least it's much quicker to find something. Although the content is questionable and I could go on about it./
I started blogging as a hobby 10 years back in software domain. Didn't know anything about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) until this year. Started to read and watch everything related to SEO. As everyone here says I too thought that content is the king. When I look into the Google results there's 2 main sites that rank for almost everything related to my area. I am a person who checks the next few pages in google. When I did that I found a lot of really good websites with a lot better content than those that are currently ranking at the top. I never knew how they were doing it and was confused on why Google is not ranking good content.
This was all until I got Ahrefs . When I did an analysis both those websites were having a ton of back links from irrelevant nasty websites. I mean it was having back links from sex blogs.
Still they are ranking for all their content and beating out all the others with good quality content. And to those who are saying that they are having their time now and will be punished by Google at some point in time, my question is when? Those sites are there for around 8 years and I didn't even see any dip in their traffic for all those years.
You summed up my post very well. Well said
Yes. They are. Sadly. Even for my own sites that I'm dominating in my country, we're like 70% whitehat-ish and 30% blackhat-ish. I've seen blackhat sites just shoot through the roof and I'm just waiting for them to crash back down. I even reported their site to Google but nothing is happening to them yet. I dislike these blackhat guys but then again if Google goes 100% clean, it'll be extremely tough for small businesses to rank anymore
SEO is a dirty game. There are no rules of ethics in this game. The nice, ethically inclined businesses, finish last in this cut-throat SEO competition.
Be as simple as a dove but clever as a serpent, that's the only way to win at Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
I posted a few weeks ago about keyword stuffing coming back also. I've seen my site take a dip while other sites that are just stuffing keywords in their footer, which also have terrible content that looks like it was a middle school project, jumping to the top.
I don't know what Google is doing but black hat is back. Hopefully it's just temporary and they fix it quick.
I have a niche wiki site, and out of the 1000+ keywords I track, my rankings on, 80% of them are on the first page of Google (and all other search engines.
How? I write good content. No paying for backlinks, no active social media, no advertising. Now, I'm not selling anything but it relates to my business, and I use it to point my customers to, just building a solid base of visitors, and my reputation as someone who knows their stuff, and is always willing to help.
Sounds good. You stick with your strategy. I'll play blackhat.
Just noticed one of my competitors, who's page 1 ranked for "our industry + our major city"…
Has backlinks that look like this "hisCompanyNameCity1", "hisCompanyNameCity2", etc. Looks like he's running a Private Blog Network (PBN) and still somehow on page 1 in a VERY competitive search term.
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