The Two-Tiered SERP – SearchLove London 2018

A look at some ranking behaviour I’ve seen in the wild, and my working theory to explain it. I’m using “ranking factors” to describe the static metrics we’re all familiar with, and thinking about how dynamic feedback from SERPs might be feeding back into rankings where there’s enough data to do so.

Internal Linking for Mobile First

Something I’ve been thinking about for a while – what does internal linking best practice look like in a world with mobile first and (it turns out) “noindex,follow” URLs not being re-crawled? It’s easy enough for small sites, but this ought to be a major concern for any site with a 4+ figure page count.

Do you need local pages? – Whiteboard Friday

While I was in Seattle for MozCon, I had the chance to record a couple of videos for Whiteboard Friday – this was actually the one that I got out in a rush at the end, so hopefully I’ll be able to share the first one, too, in the fullness of time!

In the meantime, this is the 5-minute version of my MozCon talk, covering the meat of the analysis involved.

Testing (no)followed links

Original text (24th January)

This page is explicitly “noindex,follow”.

Here are some links to pages that (at the time of writing) are not and have never been linked to anywhere else:

In about a month I’ll remove that robots.txt rule, and see if Google crawls the previously blocked page. If it does, that means that this page is still being treated as “noindex,follow”. If it doesn’t, and that remains the case for a reasonable period of time, that indicates that this page is being treated as “noindex,nofollow”.

I’m using robots.txt to do this because it means I don’t have to update this page to change what it (follow) links to – so if this mechanic described by John Mueller refreshes when the page is updated, that won’t invalidate my methodology.

Here’s a link to the Screaming Frog output as it currently stands.

Update (29th January)

Here’s the site: search result on January 29th (I forgot to check sooner):

Site search for, showing the homepage, a paginated page that shouldn't be there, and the "perfectly normal page" linked to from the test page

This is behaving as expected, with two of the pages linked to from here both found, but not the one that I’ve linked to with a “nofollow” attribute.

In addition, I decided to add this link, in case I need a 2nd robots.txt blocked URL to play with later: