Is SEO a game of Chess with players outwitting the other until one makes a fatal mistake, leading to the King being vulnerable?

John Mueller, a Googler, recently held a Webmaster hangout where he inferred that Google resets a backlink profile if it sees the new site is completely unrelated to the old site

Let me state a few things. I’ve never known a Google rep out right lie, and to quote Matt from back in the day as best as I can remember.. [everything Googles says is..] “accurate but not necessarily precise”

I still believe that to be the case and although John M is a bit of a plonker, I think he is being honest… but again, not precise.

We can break topical relevancy into a few areas.

1. Link from a page to a topically similar page on the same domain
2. Link from a page to a topically similar page on a different domain.
3. Link from a page to a topically dissimilar page on the same domain.
4. Link from a page to a topically dissimilar page on a different domain.
5. Links from a page to a topically similar page on a different domain, where the domain sending the link has itself received links from topically similar domains.
6. Links from a page to a topically dissimilar page on a different domain, where the domain sending the link has itself received links from topically similar domains
7. Links from a page to a topically dissimilar page on a different domain, where the domain sending the link has itself received links from topically dissimilar domains

Now look at the above and ask yourself, in a purely common sense perspective, what would you believe should send the most link value?

For me, common sense says it should be #5 and thankfully, time and time again that is what the data (and I have a lot of it) shows me.

That is NOT so say 1-4 and 6 and 7, don’t pass value, but #5 sends more.

Ultimately I like it when common sense aligns with the data as humans build algorithmic adjustments, not computers and they all need to start from an idea a person has had.

I have summarised what I believe is happening in two simple pseudo codes… One of which I first used over a decade ago.

if (topic($linking_page,$receiving_page,range,2) {
$link_value = $link_value ^2}

The topic function runs a simple check to ascertain the closeness of topic between linking page and receiving page and if within a range (set above as 2) then the power of the link is squared.

This doesn’t actively devalue links where they aren’t topically relevant but does increase the value where they are.

For ease of explanation think of the topical closeness as being done by my bow tie method.

if ($domain_status > $foo ) {
$link_value = $link_value ^ $bar
}

The above was embroidered on a shirt i wore to PubCon in the early 2000s, and summarised my thoughts on the algo changes happening then. It stood the test of time very, very well and although not directly related to the earlier pseudo code, I have included it because the similarities are obvious, and human nature (and developers) being human mean things that work are used again and again….

Now imagine this being run across every link and I’d argue is recursively calculated..

A page receiving links from a topically relevant page on a different domain that then links to another topically relevant page on another domain is MUCH stronger than anything else.

(link value^2 / quantity of links on page)* (link_value ^2 / quantity of links on page)

For me…. this is close to summing up what I have seen across hundreds of thousands of ranking results I’ve looked at and with that knowledge, using it at the coalface, delivers better results than when I don’t.

So if you’re an SEO and building domains what should you do? If you’ve had training sessions from Jason and a TDN customer, then the answer is nothing… Carry on, carrying on as you’ve always done….

If you’ve not yet received a one on one session then book one now…. and as to the initial question?

Is SEO a Game of Chess?

Not really, SEO with Domains is most similar to leaving a game of chess for others to play as a knight, queen, rook and a few pawns is for everyone else to fight with. You have ICBMs to rule your SERPS! 🙂

If you are a UK Government department who wants to understand the web at large then please do get in contact with us via the UK Government Digital Marketplace

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