Monday, 2 September 2019

Domain Authority is a Great Metric, but NOT my Focus!

Moz's Domain Authority (DA) has become the industry standard to measure the strength of a particular domain relative to ranking. I have seen a lot of clients and SEO experts way too keen on increasing the Domain Authority score of their sites. Some of the SEO services are sold with a promise of increasing the DA. There are several clients who demand DA to be tracked on a regular basis and ask for a justification if the Domain Authority drops for their website. Trust me DA doesn't work this way. It's a great metric that needs to be understood properly but it should never be the single focus of your overall SEO strategy.

Understanding DA according to Moz :-

    Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs)

    Domain Authority is calculated by evaluating linking root domains, number of total links, MozRank, MozTrust, etc. — into a single DA score. This score can then be used when comparing websites or tracking the "ranking strength" of a website over time

    DA is a logarithmic measure between 0-100. The logarithmic nature means that it’s going to get harder to increase your DA as it increases; and that these increases will become exponentially harder as you move through the curve

Domain Authority is best used as a comparative metric rather than an absolute one.

Some inputs from Russ Jones, principal search scientist at Moz; that summarises the whole concept that I believe in: -

Domain Authority is meaningless when it isn’t compared to other sites, full stop. What matters isn’t whether your site drops or increases — it’s whether it drops or increases relative to your competitors.

Furthermore, Domain Authority is just one metric to illustrate a website’s search performance. Page Authority, Keyword Difficulty, Keyword Opportunity, Keyword Volume, Rankings, CTR, and local search best practices are slices of the same pie that marketers need to be monitoring and measuring against as well. Issues only arise when webmasters fixate on one metric, whether that is Domain Authority or anything else.

I found some expert opinions on DA that I believe in :- 

Why do I feel its illogical to solely depend on Domain Authority? :-

     Domain Authority (DA) is built by Moz, not by Google

    DA is calculated based on Moz’s own link index. According to studies, this link index is much smaller than the actual Google link index or even index of Ahref or Majestic. So even if Google has a concept like DA it’s value would be much different from Moz’s DA

    DA calculation is dynamic in nature and not real time. It changes only when Moz link index is refreshed

Why is it difficult to justify drop or increase in your site’s DA? :-

   Moz link index refresh must have included/not included your new links. Generally when your DA increases/drops, your competitor sites follow same trend (unless their links were included and yours weren’t)

    Highest authority sites could have earned massive links and up-scale DA 100 mark. So your DA can get stuck at a certain number because growing from there is difficult considering the up-scaling of DA graph in this scenario

     20 to 40% sites disappear every year from web, many of those could be your referring domains and also a part of Moz link index, resulting in a drop

My final take on tracking Domain Authority or Page Authority : -

     While DA is a good metric, relying solely on it isn’t a good idea

    DA can be used for reference purposes while we get a link from another domain or to check how our site is growing from the linking domains perspective compared to the competitor sites. But again, not to forget – it’s hard to influence DA or justify any drop/improvement in DA    

    Effectiveness of SEO or continuous improvement can’t be gauged by the progress of DA. One shouldn't be obsessed with DA or track it every month to gauge SEO progress. In most of the cases it has served as frustration for both clients and SEO experts.

   Even if Google has (or doesn't have) a similar concept in their ranking algorithms, there are definitely other areas/ranking factors that need more attention for organic traffic growth – technical hygiene, optimisation of site, more engaging content, weaving of the site, creating more sections that are highly searched, etc.

Saturday, 6 April 2019

SEO Podcast Episode 1 - Importance of Storytelling in SEO Meetings

Check out the first episode of SEO in Short's Podcast series. 

The first episode covers my short introduction followed by my inputs on how important is storytelling in the SEO meetings. You can also grab couple of important SEO Tips in this episode.

Listen to all the episodes on any of the following podcast listening platforms:-


Apple Podcasts

Google Podcasts




Pocket Casts



- Tejas Thakkar

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Importance of Content Parity in Mobile-First Indexing - Video 3 Mobile First Indexing Series

Importance of Content Parity in Mobile-first Indexing - Video

What is the most important factor that you need to consider when it comes to Mobile-first indexing? It's content parity. Watch our video to understand why is it so.

Content would anyways match on a responsive website. But for websites with a separate mobile version, it is important to match content on both mobile and desktop version. This reduces chances of ranking drops once your website moves onto mobile first indexing. 

Watch SEO in Short Video Series to know more about Mobile-first indexinghow is it not connected to Mobile usability and what is the most important thing you need to concentrate on when it comes to Mobile-first indexing.

Recommended article - 
Clearing up some Confusion around Mobile-First Indexing

Tejas Thakkar

Is Mobile Usability connected to Mobile-First Indexing? Video 2 - Mobile First Indexing Series

Is Mobile Usability connected to Mobile-First Indexing?

There is absolutely no connection between mobile-first indexing and mobile usability. Google will try to check the content parity between mobile and desktop version of a website to move it onto mobile-first indexing. It won't check mobile usability of the website which relates to how easily a user can access the website on a mobile screen.

Watch SEO in Short Video Series to know more about Mobile-first indexinghow is it not connected to Mobile usability and what is the most important thing you need to concentrate on when it comes to Mobile-first indexing.

Recommended article - 
Clearing up some Confusion around Mobile-First Indexing

- Tejas Thakkar

What is Google's Mobile-First Indexing? Video 1 - Mobile First Indexing Series

What is Google's Mobile First Indexing - Video

Google's Mobile-first indexing means Google will index the content available on the mobile version of a website to rank it on Google desktop and mobile searches. This is different from Google's traditional approach of indexing and ranking a website based on the desktop version content.

Google has already moved a lot of website onto Mobile-first indexing.

Watch SEO in Short Video Series to know more about Mobile-first indexing, how is it not connected to Mobile usability and what is the most important thing you need to concentrate on when it comes to Mobile-first indexing.

Recommended article - 
Clearing up some Confusion around Mobile-First Indexing

Tejas Thakkar

Friday, 2 November 2018

Google's Giant Shopping Ads/Knowledge Panels Seen in India - SEO to Take a Hit?

Google has been constantly experimenting with the search results layout, both in terms of ad formats or placements and organic components like top stories, people also ask, featured snippets, etc. For certain categories Google has gone ahead and completely revamped the whole search layout for the mobile devices. One such category has been the Movies! We covered an article on this earlier this year (Googled a Movie Name recently? Google testing search layout changes!)

While we aren't too familiar with the frequent changes in the Google sponsored ad formats, recently here in India we found some noticeable changes in Google Shopping ad formats. We have tried to cover a few examples here.

To begin with we will first post an example that isn't really a Sponsored ad but looks like one. Recently we started noticing Answer Box/Knowledge Graph kind of listings that seemed to have a commercial intent. But those weren't exactly ads. Just to give you an example, when we search for a query like Cotton Shirts, we see a box on the right listing a category page of Flipkart.

Moving on to our examples specific to Google Shopping Ads, if we search for a specific product say 'Note 9', we get to see a gigantic ad section on the right. Such a huge Google Shopping Ad! 

Here is another example:

We can see a lot of information for the users that includes user reviews, product details and similar products. It just looks like a Knowledge graph which is actually an advertisement!

Here is another example where we see not one but many sites listed in that sponsored section on the right. 

It provides you features such as:
  • User Reviews
  • Sellers listing with Product Price
  • Product Details
  • Filters for Product Categories (Colour and Phone Memory)
  • Similar Products

This huge ad unit is providing a lot of details to the users that would help them in making their purchase easier. One can go through the product images, user reviews, check price across various sites, check price for product variations and check similar products.

These kind of huge Google Shopping ads were seen in the US way back in 2015. Jennifer Slegg wrote a comprehensive post here

Now moving onto mobile devices. If you try to search a product on your mobile, you would see a huge Knowledge Panel (which is certainly not an advertisement as a whole, but it includes Sponsored listings in it):-

This takes a massive real estate on the Google Search results page. 

You can see tabs like Overview, Shops, Details and Reviews. If you click on either of these tabs or on the option that says 'More about Samsung Galaxy Note9' you would reach a dedicated interface for this Knowledge panel. And from there if you wish to return to the regular Web searches you have click on a button at the bottom that says 'See Web Results'.

Within this panel, users can check the images through a horizontal carousel, manufacturer information, sellers listed along with pricing in another horizontal carousel, product filters (in this particular example - colour and capacity), product details, user reviews, etc.
Search Engine Land covered this topic here in November 2017.

From an SEO perspective, this new Knowledge Panel on mobile certainly pushes down the organic results way down further! Currently such panels seem to be limited to mobile product queries here in India. But this can be further extended to various other categories in the near future.

Kiran Nair created a draft of this article which was later edited by me. Kiran is an SEO Strategist with more than six years of experience in this field.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

How to Fix Google Cache 404 Error? - A Step by Step Guide

Google Cache Returns 404 Error

It's been a while that SEO experts are facing an issue to obtain Google cache pages as Google returns a 404 error! This had certainly created a panic situation where people assumed their website would be deindexed or there could be ranking drops. As confirmed by John Mueller, this is an internal issue with Google Cache server and nothing to do with site rankings (Reference:

Guide to obtain Google Cached Pages:

Recently some articles are published with a workaround to obtain cache date of the site pages. One was recently published on Search Engine Roundtable. Here is a link to that article:

Bhumika Kateliya and Sujit Shukla from Logicserve Digital tried their hands on this hack and also tried attempting few more things. Here are their observations in the form of a step by step guide to obtain Google cached pages:-

Taking a random example of

The cached version returns Google's 404 error page as shown below:-

Google Cache version returns 404 error

In order to find the last cache date, follow the steps mentioned below:-

Step 1 - Search for the site on Google. Click on 'cached' version.

google cache in search results

Step 2 - You will land on a URL mentioned here:

Replace the highlighted part above with and hit enter:-

This will provide you the cache version:-

Google cached version

Note - We replaced with or,,,,,,, etc and it worked. It seems xyz can be replaced by first or last sequence of three letters or domain names/domain extensions. But it didn't work for random letter sequences that didn't form a domain name (example x.suv, x.coin or a.lmn)

Another Option:

In case you are trying to find cache of a particular URL that ends with a trailing slash (say a homepage or an internal page), just remove the slash to obtain the cached version of that page.

Remove trailing slash (highlighted in red) from the URL and hit enter:

You will obtain the cached version.

Another example - Remove the trailing slash highlighted in red and hit enter:

You will obtain the cached version.

Hope this is helpful!

Bhumika Kateliya created a draft of this article which was later edited by me. Sujit Shukla also helped us with his valuable inputs here.

- Tejas Thakkar