First a confession, I’ve not really seen the ‘Mayday Update’ have an impact on any of our clients. That’s not me show boating, I checked all our clients over that period and none of them showed the symptoms that people have been associating with the update. But enough people I trust have seen the update for me to be fairly confident that something is in play. So far, in my opinion, the two most revealing pieces I’ve seen on the topic is the interview Bas recorded for State of Search with DaveN and the write up from Red Fly, both seem to imply that the change is away from domain authority being powerful enough to over-ride what could be seen as mild duplication, i.e. content that though not deliberately replicated from another domain is very similar, like manufacturers descriptions of products etc. As I read this I began to get very concerned a large number of our clients operate in the recruitment sector as job boards. If ecommerce sites were at risk surely so were recruitment site. Many job boards have listings which are available across multiple sites and many even use aggregators like broadbean to bump up their inventory. I would have thought this would make them a prime target of the update. But when I delved down into analytics the trend just wasn’t there it made me wonder if there was any reason why these sites weren’t being influenced. Job Sites Tend To Have Good Structures One of the benefit of working on job boards is that more often than not they have a very clear and sensible directory structure that tends to be relatively flat. This means even though a website may contain thousands of listings the most recent ones tend to be little more than a few clicks from the home page. Unlike an ecommerce system that may have many categories, sub-categories etc. In fact a job board has a stucture not dis-similar to most blogs which allows it to be constantly allocating it’s internal link equity at the pages which are most likely to be a rewarding result for searcher. Authoritative Links at Levels Below the Homepage Any of you at my talk at SMX London will have seen that I’m a big believer in academic and government links, when building these types of links to a job board you’re often able to gain links much deeper with a site’s structure than most ecommerce sites can. I think Mayday seems to have turned down the influence of internal links and turned up the importance of external links even if the equity is a few pages removed. Query Deserves Freshness Rewarding Fresh Content Over Stale The content on a job board is constantly changing and updating, over the last year or so Google seem to be giving ever more credit to dynamic websites with technologies like QDF. I would posit that given most job listings relatively short shelf life by the time they are beginning to lose the benefit of a topical boost in rankings they are already nearing there end of their life cycle. In comparison most ecommerce sites have a far more static set of pages which change far less frequently making them less likely to get any topical boost from a technology like QDF. Just a few theories, perhaps the site’s I deal with weren’t affected for other reasons, but all these seem plausible reasons why they escaped the update.
Kelvin Newman is Creative Director at SiteVisibility and specialises in achieving natural search results and producing link-worthy online content, working with a variety of brands including the RSPCA & uSwitch.
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