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TLD Experimentation & Authority Building with Publishing and SEO [Podcast]

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How Decentralized Web3 Is Changing Online Publishing & SEO [Podcast]

Can a website or network of sites rank with little linking and multiple TLDs? What about a brand that’s been built over the past few years being indexed in Google News with a “.news” domain and hitting featured snippets in Google with a separate domain using a “.reviews” TLD?

How can this be done and what can we learn from it as SEOs?

In this episode, Jon Henshaw, SEO at Paramount+ and the founder of Raven Tools & CoyWolf, joined me to discuss his experience with building his personal publishing project, the Coywolf network.

Included in our discussion are insights into what this means for the future of content publishing and SEO.

It’s a place for me to test things around publishing and to get something to rank. So with that being said, I would say that one of the most interesting things that I’ve observed over the last year with what I’ve been doing is the ability to rank content really high without any outreach or link building.–Jon Henshaw, 18:47

I always write in a way that’s very that’s focused on disambiguation. When I write, I mention an entity that can confirm to Google that this is what this thing is about.–Jon Henshaw, 26:13

At SEJ, we don’t do any link building. Our link building tool is our publish button. –Loren Baker, 1:04:29

[00:00] – A little about Jon
[06:23] – Is the increase in videos and images in search results relevant?
[10:05] – How Coy Wolf started.
[17:29] – What signals are becoming stronger over the last year?
[18:50] – One interesting thing Jon has observed in the rankings.
[24:16] – Coy Wolf’s other experiments.
[37:30] – A tactic for reputation management.
[56:07] – Did search visibility for professional news & review sites increase?
[1:01:42] – Can dot-com quality help?
[1:07:00] – How Jon sets up his hosting.

Resources mentioned:
https://www.coywolf.news/
https://coywolf.app/
https://coywolf.pro/
https://coywolf.reviews/
https://coywolf.surf/

I think the latest algorithm update probably hit on things that may have to do with how much time people spend on the content before they actually click back to the search result.–Jon Henshaw, 26:38

I definitely do the experiment and do things that many people within our field would consider not best practices. Never seen that before, or I certainly wouldn’t advise doing that. But, I’ve learned from it that there are some things I now would suggest or recommend because it’s not as bad as you thought they might be.–Jon Henshaw. 54:14

It reminds me of the Japanese concept of Kaizen. Every mountain starts with a speck of dust, right, so Kaizen’s at the thousandth step. But you have to start with step one, and you just grow and grow slowly and slowly over time. –Loren Baker, 50:43

For more content like this, subscribe to our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/searchenginejournal

Connect with Jon Henshaw:

Jon brings an unmatched combination of experience and expertise to the world of digital marketing and web technologies. He founded Raven Tools, which became widely used in the industry after selling it to TapClicks in 2017.

He’s also no stranger to the big screen, having worked with Fortune 500 companies throughout his career. Currently, he is the Principal SEO analyst at Paramount, where you can find him directing and overseeing streaming services of Paramount+, Pluto TV, Showtime, and CBS.

Also, as Editor-In-Chief of CoyWolf, he ensures that all stories are reported with rigorous journalistic integrity.

Connect with Jon on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jonhenshaw/
Follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/henshaw

Connect with Loren Baker, Founder of Search Engine Journal:

Follow him on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/lorenbaker
Connect with him on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lorenbaker



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Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?

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Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?

Google defines “breadcrumbs” as navigation that indicates the page’s position in the site hierarchy.

When you hear the term “breadcrumbs,” Hansel and Gretel might come to mind. In the old fairy tale, the main characters leave behind a trail of breadcrumbs to avoid getting lost in the forest.

Similarly, breadcrumbs are helpful for users as they drill down into your site hierarchy.

A website can display a “breadcrumb” trail of internal site navigation so that a user can easily find their way back through the website’s structure.

Screenshot from NASA.gov, June 2022Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?

So, we know that breadcrumbs are helpful for users and that Google always tells us to focus on the user experience. Does that mean breadcrumbs are a ranking factor?

[Deep Dive:] The Complete Guide To Google Ranking Factors

The Claim: Breadcrumbs As A Ranking Factor

In 2009 Google announced that search results would begin displaying site hierarchies.

This was an effort to show users the location (thus providing context) of a page on the website.

Below is an example of what Google search results looked like in 2009 before and after this monumental change.

Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?

Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?

Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?Screenshot from search, Google, June 2022Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?

Given that Google is tight-lipped on what exactly ranking factors are (for a good reason), the search community relies on what is accessible to better understand how search works.

This includes a medley of what we can see in the search engine result pages, patents, official documentation, and what Google representatives say.

Google changed how search results were displayed and wrote, “By analyzing site breadcrumbs, we’ve been able to improve the search snippet for a small percentage of search results, and we hope to expand in the future.”

Search marketers listened and asked the question: Are breadcrumbs a ranking factor?

The Evidence: Breadcrumbs As A Ranking Factor

Search engines try to make sense of your website by analyzing how the text is organized into main topics and subtopics.

Breadcrumbs reinforce the hierarchical arrangement of pages on a website and how those pages are related.

Google developer docs explain that using breadcrumb markup in a webpage’s body helps categorize the information from the page in search results.

Because a webpage ranks for more than just one keyword, users often will arrive at a page from multiple different types of search queries.

Each of these unique search queries returns the same webpage. But, thanks to breadcrumb markup, the content can be categorized within the search query context.

Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?Screenshot from Google Search Central, June 2022Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?

In January 2009, Google filed a U.S. Patent Application titled Visualizing Site Structure and Enabling Site Navigation for a Search Result or Linked Page.

The patent may suggest that Google could include breadcrumbs in search results even if a website doesn’t use them.

However, the patent also explains how this could make it easier for Google to understand a website’s structure and include that information in search results.

The patent has since been listed as “abandoned.” Could that be a clue that Google has abandoned using breadcrumbs in this fashion?

[Recommended Read:] Google Ranking Factors: Fact or Fiction

Breadcrumbs Pass Pagerank

In reply to a question on Twitter about breadcrumbs, Gary Illyes, Google webmaster trend analyst, said, “We like them. We treat them as normal links in, e.g., PageRank computation.”

Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?Screenshot from Twitter, June 2022Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?

PageRank (PR) is a link analysis algorithm used by Google to rank webpages in their search engine results.

While it doesn’t have as much impact as it used to, Google still uses PageRank, among many other factors, to rank results.

Google Search Console Warning

There is a Warning in GSC featured guides under breadcrumbs for manual actions against websites that misuse structured data guidelines.

Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?Screenshot from Google Search Central, June 2022Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?

Most manual actions address attempts to manipulate Google’s search index.

If breadcrumb markup were not part of Google’s search index, it would not likely be at risk of manual actions for spammers abusing it.

Not only is Google serious about not wanting people to manipulate breadcrumbs, but they are also invested in website owners implementing breadcrumbs properly.

Check out Google Search Console’s tweet below, from September 2019.

Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?Screenshot from Twitter, June 2022Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?

GSC updated its interface to show users where there were errors in search enhancements, including breadcrumbs.

That same weekend GSC started emailing accounts with breadcrumb structured data errors on their sites – and they’re still doing this three years later.

Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?Screenshot from Google Search Central, June 2022Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?

If breadcrumbs were not important to Google, why would they spend time and resources to educate website owners on proper implementation and send notices when there were errors?

[Discover:] More Google Ranking Factor Insights

Our Verdict: Breadcrumbs Are Kind Of A Ranking Factor

Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?

Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?

 

Breadcrumbs are inadvertently a ranking factor.

A ranking factor is a set of criteria that search engines use to evaluate web pages and put them in the order you see in search results.

Does Google use breadcrumbs to evaluate web pages?

Yes, Google documentation supports the theory that breadcrumbs are used to evaluate webpages.

And a representative confirmed that breadcrumbs are considered normal links in Google’s link analysis algorithm, PageRank.

The weight given to those links is unknown.

Does that mean that adding breadcrumb markup will propel your page to the top of search results or that you’re doomed to never reach page one by not having them?

Of course not; the Google algorithm is far too complex for that.


Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal

Ranking Factors: Fact Or Fiction? Let’s Bust Some Myths! [Ebook]Ranking Factors: Fact Or Fiction? Let’s Bust Some Myths! [Ebook]

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