How would a non-optimized site outrank a site which has done SEO?

By | November 9, 2019

Today’s webmaster video question
comes from Polyanna in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Polyanna asks, when analyzing
rankings for highly competitive key words in our
industry, we have found sites not as optimized as ours on page
and that have few links and little content that
are still ahead of us. What gives? Why are unoptimized sites
ranking so well? Well, the thing that I want to
avoid is the impression that it’s only the optimization
that would make you rank. There’s lots of different
factors that would make you rank well, but fundamentally,
we try to look at on-page content as well as
off-domain links. And it’s not the case that just
because somebody has done optimization it’s automatically
better than a site that hasn’t done
optimization. There’s a lot of sites from
schools and students and people that handwrite
their HTML. And they might not necessarily
get every single thing optimized, but that
doesn’t mean that it’s not a good resource. So another thing is, we
typically don’t show all of the back links for a site
to your competitors. If you log in to Google
Webmaster Tools, then we give you a very exhaustive
list. But even if you’re going to Yahoo! Link Explorer or anywhere else,
you’re going to get only a subset or a different sampling
of the links that point to a particular
competitor’s site. And the reason that we do that
is link colon originally, we didn’t have the storage space
to return all of the back links, and then over
time, that just sort of became a tradition. So there might very well be
links from very high-rate PageRank or very reputable
sites pointing to that particular other page that’s
allowing its rank. So it’s always tough whenever
you’re talking about it in terms of other people
in your industry. We always want to look at it and
say oh, that’s not as good a page, not as good
a site as my site. But bear in mind that you can
absolutely have links that you might not know about as far as
to competing sites or to your own site that your competitors
might not know about. And then we try not to put so
much emphasis that you have to do SEO because we want sites to
be able to rank well on the basis of merit. If they’re good, they should
show up in search results. That’s our basic philosophy.

25 thoughts on “How would a non-optimized site outrank a site which has done SEO?

  1. JDC Associates LTD Post author

    Does that mean if we type in the Google's Search Box for the command "link: SITEURL", we do not the complete backlink lists from Google's results?

  2. Dennis Moons Post author

    Nice that the background is always matched to his shirts 🙂

  3. sfussenegger Post author

    What a silly question … you wouldn't expect a turbo-charged Nissan Micra to beat an off-the-shelf Porsche either, would you?

  4. Mark Rushworth Post author

    …"tradition"… yeah right pull the other one.

    chances are that the domain above has a keyword in the URL or has been online for longer IMHO

  5. Rob Rutten Post author

    Now this was a disappointing answer! site:link doesn't give all the results! @google #fail. On the other hand he does point us in the right direction: links outweigh content, but I guess we all knew this already…

  6. Mal Milligan Post author

    OMG Matt spammed Yahoo calling it "Yahoo Link Explorer" instead of "Yahoo SIte Explorer." W O W !! Whenever I was to dis someone I mis-pronounce their name intentionally.

  7. Mal Milligan Post author

    @MalMilligan (lol) I'm sure he didn't intentionally try to dis Yahoo. But it's fun seeing so many insane SEO's playing Matt's statements over and over again like it's the cold war and they might be able to glean a little more of the secrets of the "Algorithm" by over analyzing every sentence Matt utters.

  8. Jim Huinink Post author

    It's a typically oversimplified answer as you'd expect in these videos. Age of domain is factor that can mean higher ranking for much poorer sites, over well optimized and well made but much newer sites. Thus, the backlinks might also be older and more authoritative as well.

  9. Ling-en Hsia - Solopreneur Post author

    What about the following factors to rank a site:
    – average time on site
    – bounce rate

    Aren't those factors very important to assess the quality of the content of a page?

  10. Wes McDowell Post author

    Makes sense but still seems stilted to me. Theres a site that ranks above mine that is purely made in flash. That goes against everything Ive learned about SEo but there are always anomalies I guess.

  11. Rakesh Narang Post author

    I totally agree with your Matt, that's where your Panda algorithm gets its brain.

  12. Kirk Holmes Post author

    I couldn't agree with Matt more! Content and Backlinks are KEY!

  13. Ryan Daniel Post author

    @tncxrkx yep i agree. i have been searching for a solution to build many back links for my sites. But the best thing when i started using this link building software that, i ddnt need any help at all to set it up. if you wanna try just try now :

  14. Jason Mailley Post author

    Google would never tell anyone if they take into account the bounce rate, since that would involve using GA data in an unfair way and could easily backfire at them. Truth of the matter is: spammers will outrank your site unless you have a pretty good architecture, valuable content and use advanced white hat techniques. What Matt won't tell you is Page rank is about to be ditched for Author Rank. Don't content yourself with good content, focus on awesomeness and you will be fine !

  15. Spook SEO Post author

    There are definitely a lot of factors to consider when it comes to ranking a site. Sometimes it's just plain old content. As they say… "Content is King" and it has been since the beginning of SEO.

  16. Rajat Sharma Post author

    i was working on a site (site of camera product) the site was ranking on 1 in serp but in next weak its ranking get down on reached on 24.. i had published only 10 article in that weak with inner page of site..
    can any one tell me what happen to my site and why it ranked down

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  18. Ovidiu Burduja Post author

    I think this is more of a "welcome to the jungle" scenario where you have some 600 locksmith businesses in organic + places results, and only 20 of them are registered and pay tax. Also, in some niches I found Google to be overwhelmed by new (micro)sites who ride the wave and outrank other, older sites until they run out of credibility and are thrown at the bottom on the queue. The new sites generate £££ whilst being in the first results, and the other sites are there to check on their "technical/on-page seo/backlinks/social media marketing" like a silly Ford T Model on a motorway. As a business owner, you tell me which one's the best avenue to follow to see a return on your investing in a web site / presence.

  19. Randy Baith Post author

    I have seen total crap sites with nothing but advertising and little content at the top of my search results many times

  20. Philippine Outsourcer Post author

    Thank you for sharing your ideas. This is very helpful.


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