June 11

The Weekly Briefing: HVAC Repairman Outranks “Google” in Search

Content Marketing Strategist Angela Sanders discussed a curious case of unintentionally outranking Google…

Egypt may be better known for its pharaohs and pyramids, but most recently, it got some pretty big attention in regards to SEO. According to a report from Eyad Nour appearing on Search Engine Watch, an HVAC repairman’s Google+ page actually ranked #1 for the term “Google,” beating out other Google product pages including Google’s Egyptian version of its search engine, Google.com.eg. The issue gained Mr. Saber, the HVAC repairman, quite a bit of attention – as his Google+ page experienced over 3 and a half million views and Mr. Saber himself received so many calls that he even turned off his phone just to get some rest. So how did Mr. Saber beat the search giant at its own game? After reaching out to Mr. Saber, Eyad Nour talked to a Google employee over Twitter who signaled that the issue had been caused by an algorithm update gone awry. Another possible reason for the ranking: Mr. Saber had his web address listed as “Google.com.eg” on his Google+ page.

Developer Zac Forsman discussed how Google ranks mobile websites…

Google bases how well mobile websites rank in search results on one thing: How well the desktop version of that same website fits its ranking criteria – criteria like load speed and content. It’s something we’ve suspected for a while now, but the topic recently received new attention after remarks made by Google’s Gary Illyes at the SMX Advanced conference. Technically, you can include completely different content on your desktop site VS the mobile version. According to a report from Search Engine Land, Illyes discussed how a website could center its desktop version on one subject, yet center the mobile version on an entirely different subject – something that could allow the mobile version to rank for search terms that actually have nothing to do with what it talks about. Illyes confirmed that Google investigated that issue – but discovered to the company’s surprise that there were no signs of anyone using the tactic. That’s not to say someone won’t try it in the future, however. So will Google ever create a separate index to rank mobile versions of sites? Illyes doesn’t yet know.

Copywriter Jared Townsend discussed Thumbtack getting penalized for its bad linking strategy…

Having high quality links that point in to your website signals to Google that you’re trusted and thus, can get you higher rankings in search results. However, getting these links in a way that Google considers manipulative can have the opposite effect – something that can actually result in a penalty and a significant rankings decrease. According to a report from Search Engine Land, consumer service website Thumbtack recently learned this the hard way, getting penalized by Google after requesting that companies who offer their services on their site link back to Thumbtack.com as a way to verify their identities. Not only that, Thumbtack had them link back in a way that used keyword rich anchor text – something that in 2015 might seem pretty spammy in the eyes of the search engine gods. Thumbtack, meanwhile, has admitted to the screw up and asked that companies either remove the links or add nofollow attributes to them, a measure the site hopes will convince Google to reverse the penalty.