It’s time for your info-packed SEO newsletter to kick off the weekend and keep you up to date on the latest news, SEO tactics, tests, and so much more.
We had an exciting week and you won’t want to miss a thing!
What Happened on the SEO Vault this Week
Deal of the week: 20% Cashback on any purchase over $200!
SEO Mad Scientist: What makes your content “original”
To your success,
Chaz and the Entire Team
FROM THE VAULT – Episode 59
Don’t forget The SEO Vault airs live on the Web 20 Ranker Facebook every Thursday at 4 pm EST.
🔹 How Ai is powering Goole
🔹 Google showing ads in maps predictive test
🔹 Google Passage Rankings posted about on Twitter
🔹 Slow pages on your website “could” impact rankings but Google
And so much more!
20% Cashback Weekend Deal Expires Sunday!
We’ve said it before but this weekend deal just may be the best one yet!
Any purchase over $200 will receive 20% cashback via store credit. All services included
Our store credits never expire, and can be used on almost anything!
No services are off-limits and this deal is good for everything on the site 💥 We won’t be offering this promotion again for a while
All purchases must be made between today 10/23 – Sunday 10/25 to qualify
Store credits will be applied to your account when the promotion ends
SEO Mad Scientist
Another exciting week at the SEO Laboratory!
Today we are going to revisit a test that has been running for a year now and originally was a part of the private Mastermind we held in Baltimore last year.
These tests are a big reason we were doing so many duplicate content tests on the SEO Mad Scientist earlier this year as well.
The question was how does Google assign authority to content? What makes the content “the original” and can it be manipulated?
Google has made many statements about ensuring your content is recognized as your original content but has also hinted at the fact that when the content we posted (if it’s the first index it’s not) is not how it’s determined. More so, if proper canonicals aren’t used, or others are syndicating your content without canonicals, then there is a chance their content will show in the SERPs over yours.
So the first thing we wanted to know was how easy it was for Google to decide “stolen” content was the original based on what they said could happen above.
So let’s get into one of these tests and how it was set up.
Our test website was in the digital marketing niche so we zeroed in on a longtail keyword by searching “digital marketing vs traditional marketing” and then selected a question from the “people also asked” section.
We went with “Can digital marketing replace traditional marketing?”
We went to that SERP and looked at the top-rankings sites, choosing one that had no backlinks and was on a site somewhat comparable to ours in authority/backlink.
The first question was if you have two sites, same power from backlinks, the same amount of branding and so on, and you take content from one and put it in another, will Google swap it out in the SERPs.
So we copied the content 100%. The only thing we did was change our post date to a few months before the original content.
We hoped Google was at least good enough to not be manipulated simply by changing the date…
Our page indexed quite easily and it wasn’t until a few weeks in we saw it start getting impressions for similar long-tail keywords, but wasn’t replacing the original content yet.
So we took it a step further and decided to “syndicate” the content and reference it as the “original” content.
There were three main aspects to the off-page we did which consisted of 5 backlinks/sites we “syndicated” the content on.
We copied the content 100% to 5 different sites, not the same niche and each had very little authority.
Each syndication included all the content with a sentence at the bottom like “Original content posted here: URL LINK HERE”
Each page also had a canonical back to our post…
We then backdated the syndicated posts so 3 were dated after ours was posted but before the original content was posted, and 2 were posted after the original content was posted.
We assumed this would tell Google that our content was posted first as 3 other sites supported that with links and canonicals, and even after the original was posted, 2 more sites still ended up syndicating and referencing our content as the original.
Over the next 3-6 months, we started to see huge shifts in the 2 sites with them being swapped out almost 50% of the time at any given moment, based on different search terms. Google was definitely getting confused.
But how else would they know who’s original if not going off of what the rest of the web was saying? (Same how backlinks work…)
After some time it became official, google had completely swapped out the original content in favor of ours, and not too long after we also obtained the rich snippet…
We don’t condone stealing content in any way but this was really exciting to see as it opened up a ton of possibilities for syndication and canonicalization optimization.
Since we had obtained the rich snippet, we also began to see impressions and clicks from other higher comp terms from the “people also ask” section. Our page was even showing in the SERPs for our original search “digital marketing vs traditional marketing” because of this positioning.
So just how good is Google at identifying original content 🤔?
Well, just like most things, they only know what the internet tells them which seems to be manipulated fairly easily if the site taking the content is in parity, authority wise,