You may not have heard of domain stuffing, but you’ve probably seen it in action. Sometime recently, when Google made one, or many, algorithm changes, search results have started to show more and more just a few content providers as the top results. I’ve experienced this doing searches for SEO clients and personally for various, random searches. I’m attaching the results for a search query which is near and dear to my heart: ‘wood railing‘.
Take a look at this image and the problem is clear: too many results from the same domain above the fold. No, this is not just something that’s happening on pages 2 and 3 of the SERPs. The first result is Google Shopping. And while I’m not going to get into a long rant on it right now, I understand that Google has built its empire on search ad revenue and I’m alright with it. But how are three of the same products from one domain relevant and helpful to searchers? And fine, if you want to promote your advertisers, I understand. ((Disclosure: I run AdWords AND AdSense)) But why also the #1 organic? Does this mean that paid ads on Shopping help with organic SEO? If so, does this not fly in the face of the spam team saying that paid links are bad and even going out of their way to penalize paid links? So, if I buy and ad on any other site, it’s bad for my organic SEO, but if I buy ads on Adwords/Shopping, then that’s good for SEO? This is clearly a double standard and another way that Google has cultivated black hat SEO.
The numbers 2 and 3 organic results are from Houzz. As the link shows, I have a presence on Houzz and, disclosure 2: guess what? I also advertise on Houzz, and I have been extremely pleased with the results. But surely, one link to Houzz would be a sufficient and strong presence all across the search results, not confined to this specific query.
(Incidentally, if you’re in a market that is any way, shape or form, related to the housing industry, I STRONGLY recommend that you build a presence on Houzz. Google, as shown, seems to love the site right now. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, there is a strong community of architecture and design professionals using the site to showcase and share their work. There are question and answer sessions and plenty of interaction.)
So, above the fold on the first page of results for this particular query, searchers are basically offered two choices. This is not what made Google top of the search engines in 1998. This results are neither relevant nor useful and do not provide a meaningful amount of information.
In conclusion, it would be nice to see the spam team take notice of some of the real problems that are being generated by their actions and algorithm changes. I understand that every change has unforeseen circumstances, but this issue of domain stuffing needs to be addressed.