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Finding weird stuff (FWS) is part of SEO

I’ve a present: an innate capacity to search out bizarre stuff in search engine optimization.

As an SEO skilled, this capacity could be each a blessing and a curse.

A blessing, as a result of I can sometimes work out what makes one web site rank above one other. A curse, as a result of I’d spend many hours, together with many late nights, learning search outcomes and taking a look at stuff for thus lengthy that it led to what I known as “brain aches.”

Never heard of FWS? That’s as a result of it’s a brand new initialism, of my creation. Yes, you’re witnessing search engine optimization historical past proper now.

Ready to FWS? Here are some things you are able to do when approaching a brand new prospect or venture.


In the entire years of working search engine optimization initiatives and using SEOs, I’ve discovered that there are various who’ve a expertise in content material technique, Information structure/taxonomy, or maybe even deep technical evaluation.

As a lot as we could attempt to create the right course of documentation for search engine optimization efforts, there’ll all the time be one-off points. Challenges that you just received’t discover on checklists.

Sometimes, discovering bizarre stuff could unlock the important thing to search engine optimization success.

Get the day by day publication search entrepreneurs depend on.

So allow us to account for time for FWS in our search engine optimization scopes. We want a set period of time for analysis and discovery, even a number of hours every month, for a venture.

Convincing a consumer to conform to “research” (pulling threads and following the path) could be tough.

So, assuming which you could persuade the powers-that-be that FWS is important, what are some methods we’d learn to suppose otherwise and discover these nuggets which may result in search engine optimization success?

The website: question  

You can be taught loads a few web site by performing this straightforward activity. Type website: into Google, adopted by whichever area it’s that you just need to evaluation.

Then, repeat this train with the www model:

Now, on this case, resides on simply that, no www. So, you’d count on the “www” question to return zero outcomes if all the things is appropriately. And that’s right – zero outcomes for www.

But I can’t rely the variety of instances I’ve found unknown subdomains for firms. Sometimes even some nice/outdated content material was closely linked to and was about to be washed away within the subsequent redesign.

We now wanted to consider how we’d incorporate a refreshed model of that content material and redirect these URLs in order that we maintained the hyperlink worth and even perhaps recaptured some search site visitors (rankings) that existed years in the past.

Another frequent prevalence is discovering .pdf content material that nobody cared about.

When you’re reviewing your analytics to find out the efficiency of your search engine optimization efforts, you’re more likely to be unaware of the quantity of site visitors coming to .pdf pages hosted in your web site as a result of they lack analytics monitoring.

However, for those who have been to run a Semrush report and filter these outcomes by .pdf, you could discover that you’re rating for some fairly vital key phrases and haven’t any visibility into the site visitors.

In many instances, you could discover that by changing these .pdfs into HTML pages, you’ll be able to accomplish a number of issues:

  • Analytics monitoring for these ranked pages.
  • A extra constant person expertise, with a totally constructed web page, full with website navigation, and so forth.
  • Ability to replace these pages and optimize them; maybe additionally hyperlink out from these pages to different related pages.

Review the historical past of an internet site

Too typically, I’ve seen individuals bounce into an search engine optimization initiative and “optimize what’s there” quite than dig into an internet site’s historical past to see what was there.

Case in level (real-world instance) – I used to be just lately approached by a prospect who had misplaced a big quantity of their natural search site visitors over the previous 12 months. A routine that I’ve all the time adopted is to generate an Organic Research report through Semrush, filter to take away model key phrases and take a look at the All-Time developments.

You can see fairly simply the numerous dip.

The subsequent step is copying this report, pasting it right into a separate tab, and begin evaluating URLs.

In this case, the prospect had gone via a redesign. Rather than recreating the profitable pages, they (below the steerage of a “SEO consultant”) determined to show these pages into a bit of a web page (ie: class#page-name.html).

By utilizing the Wayback Machine (, I used to be capable of see precisely what these pages regarded like beforehand and illustrate to the prospect – in very plain phrases – why it’s that issues fell off a cliff.

Google search the model

Another tactic I exploit to FWS is to look an organization’s identify and click on via a number of the outcomes.

Several instances when doing this, I’ve discovered official firm domains that I didn’t acknowledge. In different phrases, the corporate had modified domains for his or her firm and simply parked the outdated area.

For these concerned with hyperlink constructing, this might be a fast repair. This is why my company has a normal area portfolio evaluation process. We need to know each area that our consumer owns in order that we’d perceive how (or if) these domains are getting used.

With this area analysis, you might also find out about their affiliations with different firms.

Did an organization buy them prior to now? Did they buy firms prior to now?

Drill down on this and you could discover alternatives past the particular venture you’re engaged on.

Perhaps different firms inside their “network” require search engine optimization help, too? Maybe they need to be consolidating domains/web sites to type a powerhouse of an internet site quite than two (or extra) weaker web sites?

Other locations to FWS

  • Check robots.txt and XML sitemaps. You’ll typically discover pages that shouldn’t be on the positioning or publicly obtainable.
  • Crawl the positioning and examine it to the sitemaps. You’ll typically discover orphaned pages or necessary pages which have fewer inner hyperlinks than they deserve
  • Google Search Console – indicators of unknown content material showing on the positioning within the Coverage > Indexed, not submitted in sitemap report.
  • Google Search Console > Settings > Crawl Stats – indicators of earlier hacks and unknown content material.
  • Reading via Page Speed Insights and looking out on the supply code – you’ll typically discover issues like JS, CSS, or photographs being served a number of instances or monitoring pixels which might be not in use.
  • Link profile – it might uncover hyperlink networks or unhealthy hyperlink methods reminiscent of random weblog commenting or efforts of the earlier company, the place they could have exploited WordPress vulnerabilities to create hyperlinks.
  • DNS – if you will get an inventory of their DNS zone recordsdata, you’ll typically discover references to sub-brands, prior acquisitions, micro websites, or different advertising and product initiatives.

Set apart some scheduled time to search out bizarre stuff

I imagine that good search engine optimization goes past figuring out the best way to use the instruments of the commerce effectively, conducting key phrase analysis, aggressive evaluation and the like.

Being inquisitive is a vital side of search engine optimization.

We want time to consider, think about and discover bizarre “stuff.”

It can typically be that there are priceless finds if we permit ourselves the time to suppose creatively.

Opinions expressed on this article are these of the visitor writer and never essentially Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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About The Author

Mark Jackson is the President and CEO of Vizion Interactive, an company based in Dallas, Texas in 2005 and specializing in search engine optimization Services, Paid Media Services (Search/Display/Social/Video/Amazon), Local Listing Management and Conversion Rate Optimization. Mark was a co-founder of the Dallas-Fort Worth Search Engine Marketing Association and Kansas City Search Engine Marketing Association and has been a contributor to Search Engine Watch, ClickZ, Pubcon and the Search Engine Strategies conferences.

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