June was mostly a quiet month for the SEO world, but that didn’t stop Google’s John Mueller from discussing a few things about the algorithm, including why Google ranks searches for singular and plural version of the same word differently and why guest posts should use nofollow links – effectively devaluing them as an SEO strategy.
Singular and Plural Rankings in Google
In one of the many Google Webmaster chats held on YouTube, John Mueller discussed why rankings for the singular and plural versions of the same word can be different.
…we also recognize that maybe there’s something kind of unique to one of them or to the other one.
Such as, if you’re looking for a plural maybe you’re looking more for like a list or a comparison page or maybe a category page of different kinds of these items.
So that’s something where our systems try to take that into account and it can result in slightly different results being shown for one or the other.
There are several factors that can cause there to be a discrepancy. In the quote mentioned above, plural usage in a search may reflect that the user wants to view a list of companies providing a similar service for either comparison shopping or to read reviews. Branding may also impact results if there is a well-known business that uses a specific version of the search.
It’s important to review your SEO strategy to make sure you’re optimizing for keywords that will yield the most relevant traffic for your site.
Guest Posts Take Another Hit
While guest posts have largely been left behind by the SEO community for a few years now, Google took an even stronger stance against them. Guest posts should use nofollow links – even if the guest post opportunity came about naturally.
Guest posts can still make sense for a business if the external site can yield significant referral traffic. However, for the purposes of SEO, the value in this strategy is virtually non-existent. That’s because most guest post don’t occur as a natural endorsement of a sites content and are often negotiated – whether that be paid or free.
Setting links to nofollow indicates to search engines that the link should be ignored and preferably not crawled (although the latter can still happen). If guest posts are a central part of your content strategy, you should reevaluate your approach immediately.
Unconfirmed Google Algorithm Update: The Federal Update
While Google did not announce nor confirm an update in June, several influencers in the SEO world saw movements that usually indicate an update occurred. Some are calling it the Federal Update due to its perceived targeting of government sites and official organizations. However, other types of sites being affected are being reported too.
If you are seeing fluctuations in traffic to your site, contact Deep Footprint to see how we can help you navigate these uncertain times.