December 9, 2023


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Google On Why Sites With Some SEO Bad Practices Rank Well

We have seen John Mueller of Google respond to this question before, the question of why does my competitor rank above me when they are doing X, Y and Z wrong. Why does this site rank when they are spamming or have lower quality content, etc. The answer is typically short and to the point; that is, the site is doing other things well and well enough to rank high in Google.

In this past Friday’s SEO hangout with John Mueller, he addressed the question again but in much longer form. Longer than he ever has, from what I’ve seen. He spoke about this for about seven minutes. I am not going to transcribe it, but I will use Glenn Gabe’s tweets as a summary and embed the video where he starts talking about this so you can listen yourself.

In short, why does a site that implements bad SEO practices rank well in Google?

  • A site does not need to do everything perfectly to rank well
  • Google has many algorithms to evaluate a site
  • Hence the image I used, it is like a balancing act
  • Google often ignores the bad things, so they don’t help the site rank but also do not always hurt the site from ranking
  • Larger site pictures are important over the long term
  • Focus on overall value to your users
  • Ask your users if they like your site, use surveys and focus studies

Here is the video embed, just click play and it should start at 37:43 into the video:

Forum discussion at Twitter.