Bad Home Page Links? Google May Boost Rank Pages Instead?

May 9, 2013 • 8:08 am | comments (6) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization
 

Google LinksA WebmasterWorld thread has an SEO sharing some experiments he is playing with. Before I summarize his experiment, I want you all to keep in mind that this stuff is hard to test when the Penguin algorithm has not been updated in six months and when there are tons of other variables floating around.

That being said, let's have fun.

This SEO said that he created a new site and pointed a nice number of junky links to the home page. He then waited and noticed that although the links were pointed to the home page, the home page didn't rank for the keywords it targeted. Instead, the internal pages ranked well.

He wrote:

The interesting thing is: google refuses to rank the home page for these terms, they rank deeper pages like widgetexample.com/red

The SEO continues to explain:

Google ranking pages other than the pages being targeted by junk links for the keywords we are targeting. It feels like it's a "loophole" in the algo. Almost like they know that you are creating junk links so they're not going to rank the page for the keyword but then something bigger kicks in and say this site must be about "keyword" so lets find a page to display.

Of course, I see plenty of webmasters complaining about the exact opposite situation as well. :)

Do you think this is a loophole or just the site waiting for the algorithm to catch up to it?

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

Image credit to BigStockPhoto for puzzle

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Comments:

Jack SEO Consultant - Eemes

05/09/2013 12:17 pm

No there is no loophole, Google gives more importance to Inner pages if they are more relevant. However if u are giving a 100% signal by force then google gets alert that you are actually forcing the home page to rank for such keywords, whereas google's algo determines that they can get much better pages from inside the website. So as simple as that. Long tail keywords rank for inner pages :)

Rick

05/09/2013 02:13 pm

I am seeing a similar thing happen. Links are being created naturally to an internal landing page and then Google decides to rank a different internal category that has no links at all. I have seen the other page switch back to ranking in a couple weeks. I think there is some kind of waiting period for the authority of links to pass to the correct page. I have seen this on at least twenty pages.

Won

05/09/2013 02:45 pm

Interesting. Wonder how he allocated his anchor text variation percentage? But this makes sense. We all know when linking to our targeted URL it usually results in impacting that particular URL. But pointing to the homepage (which is where most people are naturally linking to), Google reacts by looking for a more relevant page. Hmm...wonder if there is a link algo involved specifically for the root? I know Rick mention his deeper pages (when linked) resulted in the same way, but it really makes you think.

Karl-Heinz Müller

05/09/2013 04:27 pm

This makes sense from my point of view considering mainly PR propagation. Threshold for an effect on homepage may be too high to be seen but the effect forwarded from the homepage to deeper in-site pages may be enough. Also I think that a specific increase in position of deeper in-site pages based on anchor text on the test page is just artificial. Other deeper in-site pages may also have increased positions but this is not seen as the evaluation is done on the specific search phrases based on the anchor texts.

Alan

05/10/2013 04:38 am

It happens a lot! Blackhat forums have been onto this for months now. Happens mostly in uncompetitive niches where there are NOT too many brand sites to fill up the SERP's with. So he is kind of right it is basically Google saying damn we need to rank something but we are definitely not going to rank the badly link spammed root page!

Julian True Flynn

05/11/2013 03:01 pm

I would agree with this too, but there is a small part of me that feels like it is possible for there to be a 'loophole'. I know I'm not the only one who's noticed an alarming amount of tag archives from Wordpress sites for the last 8 months or so ranking well in search results — tag archives probably aren't helpful to the user either. I also think most people don't do an effective job of making their homepages 'search-engine friendly' and they have terrible site structure. AKA they don't make their homepage look like the most important page on the site.

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