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  • Google SEO experiment: Why targeting an indented listing may be a bad idea

    Last month Tad wrote a great post on travel SEO – titled 10 Travel SEO Strategies. The idea behind this was to provide fresh ideas to my original travel SEO post from 2008.

    Because the original post was already ranking at number three, we thought it would be useful to try and grab extra on-page real estate and increased clickthroughs. This would be achieved by creating a second piece of content, targeted towards the same term, and gaining an indented listing in Google.

    Google SEO Experiment

    However, this also had the negative effect of forcing the original listing down from 3 to 5 (see above).

    But this is what keeps us SEO’s on our toes…

    Optimising for a double/indented listing used to be a reasonably quick and easy way of generating extra traffic and clickthroughs for a term.

    Even if they don’t admit it, I’m sure SEO’s wouldn’t enjoy their jobs quite as much if it was too easy and everything you did in the past still worked a treat every time today – Google need to keep evolving their algorithm and just because it works once doesn’t mean it will work every time – or continue doing so.

    In the case of indented listings, I think we have three main options here:

    1. Target an indented listing by using the same target keywords in the second listing, which was our initial approach here.
    2. Use a similar variation of target keyword phrase – reinforcing the original post by linking to this – but not overlapping with the main target term. This is what we are now testing, by renaming the new post to 10 Travel Search Marketing Strategies, so that this no longer includes the keyword SEO in the headline, title tag etc.
    3. Republish new content using the old URL. Using a consistent URL such as www.seoptimise.com/blog/travel-seo to host all of the new content on. Either merging with or replacing the original content.  Or you could move the original post to a new URL instead (e.g. www.seoptimise.com/blog/travel-seo-2008), meaning that all old and new inbound links point to the same URL!

    I’m going to use this as a test and try a few different strategies here to see what works best. Would be interesting to see if anyone else has noticed anything similar with Google indented listings too.

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    12 Responses to “Google SEO experiment: Why targeting an indented listing may be a bad idea”

    1. Seems good… please let us know what are the results of tour tests !

    2. Tad Chef says:

      This also exemplifies the myth “Google loves fresh content”. In contrast I’ve had pretty good results with rewriting content completely using an old already ranking post. Seems counterintuitive but not for the Google algo obviously.

    3. crockstar says:

      Nice insights Kevin! Thanks for sharing this… I’ve definitely never seen this impact of double/indented listings pulling the original page down the SERPs. And I can’t agree more- the ever changing algo makes the job always exciting and always relevant. It’s a pretty good deal.

    4. Thank you for this info! Interesting thought that you lose a higher space on the Google page, but you also get a higher percentage of the page real estate…which would not necessarily be a terrible thing if you weren’t already in the top 3, however, that gets touchy because of the great benefit of being in the top 3 category… Variations of terms for some reason does seem to make the search engines regard the content as more unique however…. Sometimes I think we SEO people are forced to worry more about positioning than actual ROI effect we are providing to the client by targeting the variety of key phrases in both the long and short terms that will actually get the attention of more buyers…and while branding is of course, important, it has definitely been proven that branding doesn’t actually increase sales a large percentage of the time…just knowing a product or company exists no longer motivates us to buy from that company the way it did perhaps in the 50s – 80s…Also, I think the idea of Google loving fresh content may be misinterpreted…really, isn’t it all about just providing the latest and most relevant results? If a page shows up as being newly published, it then falls into that category of latest and that’s what searchers want and Google’s bottom line is always giving Internet searchers what they want….Not that they have perfected that by any means and until they do, we SEO people are going to have to keep dealing with outrageously extreme Google algorithm changes I believe….

    5. Everything in the internet is constant change. Also looking forward to the results of your tests.

    6. A Samuel says:

      Its good to experiment and test, however this proves that you have to take risks to get rewards and sometimes the rewards just aren’t there. I also agree with Tadchief, I have rewritten old index posts and achieved even better ranking via better targeting of keywords.

    7. tnteve says:

      Thank you, Also looking forward to the results of your tests. :)

    8. Eddy says:

      Hi have you tried removing the page that ranks in the indented result just to see if your original ranking returns?

    9. Howdy Kevin

      SEO is the cat an mouse game that us seo “experts” try to win. We see something working good and we try to tweet it to get more exposure. Why, because it our human nature to go up..not down.

      Thanks Kevin

      “TrafficColeman “Signing Off”

    10. Tad Chef says:

      How bizarre. We now rank at #3 (#1 in the UK!) for travel search marketing but still twice for travel SEO at the bottom of the top 10.

    11. Art Gould says:

      Since the last post on this topic in May, it seems that in August many indented listings have disappeared. Searches which used to produce indented listings no longer do so. I am curious as to what others are seeing.

    12. Latest SEO news – » Free Internet Marketing Seo Training- Keyword Research Tips … says:

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