The Week in Search is a weekly column produced by the Studio team to keep marketing professionals and ecommerce merchants up to date on changes in the search industry, and provide valuable context on what it all means. If you have questions or think we missed something, email us directly.

Hints at a Google Search Update This Week

SERoundtable is reporting some murmuring among the SEO community that there is an undisclosed Google algorithm update today. Many SEOs are seeing fluctuations in their rankings.

Looking historically, there’s nothing too out of the ordinary from the SERP reporting tools, however, many folks in the SEO forums are reporting random dips and spikes in their traffic.

Google Says Guest Post Links Have “0” Value

Like the rumor that just won’t go away, guest posting backlinks are a continually talked about strategy to grow a site’s domain authority.

This week, John Mueller responded to Twitter thread stating in very clear terms that guest posting backlinks have “zero value…It’s a waste of time if you’re just doing it for the links.”

Studio Takeaway: For years, we’ve been pointing our clients away from hacky backlink campaigns, but there’s still a TON of literature out there claiming that guest post links, and even “nofollow” links still have value. While Google clearly says that those links don’t have value according to their algorithms, we often find that the data shows otherwise. When we are looking at domain authority, there is often a clear correlation between a high number of backlinks and high domain authority.

Blog Comment SEO Advice from Google

In the most recent episode of the Search Off The Record podcast (hosted by Google search folks) they dug into some of the nuances of blog comment SEO that I found really interesting. Here are some of the tips and takeaways from the episode embedded above:

  • It is fine to use a third-party platform for serving comments but just be aware that you do not control that platform, so there are some potential drawbacks and limitations
  • Comments are not really weighed as highly in terms of defining the topic of the page, especially if they’re lower on the page
  • Google might flag your page or site as adult, that can cause some issues. So if you use a lot of X-rated content in your comments or if you use a lot of curse words, like F-bombs, then you need to be careful

Other Interesting Links