Conspiracy Theory in SEO: First Page Results May Change Your Mind or Knowledge

Igor
Suppose someone searches for "does coffee affect my heart" because a coffee drinker had some weird feeling in heart are. The rank 1 spot is taken by an article that claims coffee causes no heart issues. Knowing that today ranking is equal to budget, some big company like Starbucks could throw a couple grands on links and make that article rank 1, regardless whether it's true or not. In case coffee does affect the heart, that person dies because Google results can be easily manipulated and none gives a f*ck about the legitimacy of the information. With enough budget you can rank articles on how 4n4l s3x heals cancer.
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Andrew
In theory but if a site falls within a specific niche (YMYL) then it's harder to rank without being an authoritative. Starbucks could but would be sued. If it's not an authoritative site like Starbucks I don't think it would rank that easily
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Paul
If you keep worrying about shit like this you will get cancer.
Plus, 4n4l s3x does heal cancer.
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Diego
So… The big bad system is money driven… Welcome to the jungle.
Jon
The only thing Google could do is make a very clear warning about the search results not being recommendations or advise. But if you need to be told that, then I'm in favor of natural selection working it's magic.
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Roger
Top ranked sites are not there JUST because of links. That's 2006 style ranking not 2021.
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Chris
I think Igor
is saying that for an article that's already on the first page, it wouldn't take much links (and some CTR manipulation) to rise to the top. We do it for some of our barnacle search engine optimization (SEO) properties, and it works well. Google likes contrasting viewpoints so there should always be something on the first page to push.
Daniel
A lot of the top sites in the search engine result pages SERPs today were established when links were the be-all-end-all. Half of the ranking factors that give them an edge were established due to them winning the link wars when that was all that really counted…
So indirectly, yes links still have a hell of a lot of sway due to that.
You can't look at the present or to the future without looking at the past.
And right now, I've seen sites ranking despite poor on-page optimization due to their links. So sometimes sites do rank just because of their links. They are still the major ranking factor. I'm not saying it's sustainable, but the effect of links is still major.
CC Roger
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Roger
It strongly depends on the user intent.
For example, if there are multiple user intents, then no amount of link is going to push a site up from the lower ranks to the top.
But if the user intent is clear and all sites from one to ten are the same, then yes, links will be a strong factor.
Daniel » Roger
you mean query multi-meanings presumably.
“User intent is clear” is not a thing. The intent either is or isn't a particular search intent. Some pages are ‘optimized' for more than one but that isn't a bigger ranking factor than other on-page factors or links.
Roger
User Intent is Clear is a thing. It means unambiguous.
Some queries have multiple intents, ambiguous (like Jaguar)
Some queries have a clear and unambiguous intent (Restaurant Near Me/Brand X Product Where can I buy).
Where the user intent is ambiguous, meaning there are multiple user intents, Google will rank web pages according to the most popular user intent to the least popular user intent.
In THOSE cases, you can get a million links and it STILL won't help you crack the number one position if the user intent you are optimizing for (jaguar the animal) is not the top user intent (jaguar the car).
Links lose their ranking value against User Intent. User Intent is THAT important.

A full explanation is this article I wrote earlier this year. Some people didn't get past the title and bust a blood vessel disputing it WITHOUT actually reading it.
I know what I'm talking about and cite relevant research. So it's not just my opinion.
SEOs tend to get locked into a belief system and what happens is they're so invested in believing that single idea that when Google changes how they do things, they're years in Google's rear view mirror by the time they realize they're left behind.
Did you know that AI is answering 30% of search queries as of a few months ago? About two months ago Google did a major update that changed how queries are answered.
It's really weird but the Affiliate and private blog network (PBN) communities seem to be holding on to dated ideas of how Google ranks websites. Although I think *some* of the experienced members of that community would prefer to keep that info for themselves. Maybe that's it…
https://www.searchenginejournal.com/links-matter-less/248679/
Time to Consider that Links Matter Less for SEO? – Search Engine Journal
Daniel » Roger
broad keyword searches are 9x out of 10 informational in motive / intent. I don't think you can say that broad terms lack clear intent.
Multi-meaning queries mean someone might be searching for Jaguar the car or the animal. That's not a lack of optimization but a lack of clear intent from the user.
That's exactly why google have algorithms in place to attempt to work out the dominant, common etc interpretations of what the average person searches for.
Intent does not = query multi-meaning.
Also most sites in the top 10 for any keyword have their intent optimized. Google will index a page for many keywords and that's largely outside of your control. If you optimize for ‘best boat anchor' and google ranks you for that and ‘boat anchor' that's not because you screwed up intent. That's other sites being factored in, query multi-meaning being factored in and much more.
Trying to boil down any discussion about rankings to intent solely is ignorant. And as I said I think your definition of intent is sketchy.
Roger
Intent does not = query multi-meaning.
Totally agree.
The most popular intent is going up top. And I totally agree with what you said that the informational intent is a popular one, which is frustrating for businesses that want to rank higher when Google suppresses their pages for informational. <— That's what I'm talking about.
No amount of links is going to push that commercial site into the spot where the most popular intent is informational.
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DavidH
We should pool our resources and rank an article on that as a public service! Take over page 1 with various articles so it's inevitable. 😉

Dan
I still rank websites everyday purely on links. Let's be honest it's not hard to get on page right! It's natural. It's easy. Those that can't do anything with links only and your natural pages tells me one thing. Your links are crap. Get better links. When google stop using links they will break the internet 😂😂. Don't believe their hype it's all smoke mirrors
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Diver
Have u been keeping up with scientific studies in the last 20 years. They don't know what's going on either, remember when animal fat was the worst thing u could eat or butter was going to kill you?
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This may satisfy you: Marketplace Websites Get Each First Page of the SERPs With Lots of Keywords They Drive Visitors Who Are Intending to Purchase

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