Proof is in the SERPS - Overestimating Domain Authority, Take 2

In my previous long-ass post titled Free SEO Course - Overestimating Domain Authority, I dared to outrank Peter Da Vanzo from V7n blog for the keyphrases “free seo course” and “seo course.” More than anything, I felt like challenging a slick sound bite that - while holding a morsel of truth - distorted the picture beyond recognition:

It’s not what you publish, its where.

Authority Matters

Where you publish a post matters. No question about it. V7n ranking high with just a handful of links says volumes about how authority score still remains a force to be reckoned with. Red Cardinal outranking my post with very few backlinks also proves content - even anchor text (if there aren’t enough of them from the right sources) - isn’t everything.

Nothing Really Matters

But “trust” and “reputation” isn’t everything either. Peter is telling me all that really matters is a big rep. Is SEO that simple? Is driving in NASCAR just about having Jeff Gordon behind the wheel? Is a 9-ball power break just about hitting a rack hard as hell?

If reputation is everything, I dare Peter to change the title of his post to “Expensive Golf Course” and see if it can maintain its position for “seo course.” All the so-called SEO’s in-the-know will tell you the post will tank.

There are hundreds of factors. We hear that 24/7 - but let’s say it again.

There are hundreds of factors. Yeah, only a few of them really make a big difference. But there’s no factor that is so dominant that you can forsake all the rest.

free SEO course SERP

SERP for “free seo course”. Screen cap for posterity (plus this SERP flip-flops more often than John Kerry)

seo course SERP

SERP for “seo course.” V7n is now off the front page.

Don’t Think You Can’t Outrank Wikipedia

What does this prove? First, it proves that even if your website doesn’t have that visibility you need to break into the “SEO circule of trust”, you can still outrank authoritative sites like V7N, SE Roundtable, and even Wikipedia. A gazillion links to a domain makes internal links that much more powerful, but you only need to outrank a page, not the entire domain. Put another way - even if a domain has millions of links pointing at it, if one of its pages has a weak link profile, you can beat it.

Second, it tells me anchor text creates relevance, and enough relevance will trump “reputation,” PageRank, or what have you.

Thanks to everyone that linked to me, but for the final push that put me on the map, the credit goes to SEO Theory.

UPDATE: Since I’m done with this test, I asked Michael to remove links to my post.

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