Google’s John Mueller answered an interesting question about whether Google treats sites in different niches differently. John Mueller said that it’s true that Google’s algorithm handles different content differently but it’s not the case that Google treats niches differently.
Niche-Specific Ranking Factors
There is an idea that ranking factors differ across niches, based on looking at the kinds of sites that are top ranked.
For example, studies published by some SEO tool sites measured different qualities of top ranked sites across a range niches in order to determine whether ranking factors had different influence across the many niches they looked at.
The studies identified differences between the kinds of content, different kinds of link qualities, and other factors among the top ranked sites.
The research identified clear patterns that in some niches the top ranked sites have longer content or publish more videos.
The conclusion reached is that in those specific niches Google is ranking sites with more content or more videos.
However, those similarities and patterns do not reflect that word count or videos are the reason why Google is ranking those sites within their respective niches.
Those patterns are random or exist because the needs of the users demand longer content or video content.
Those kinds of studies are useful for understanding the content and marketing trends that different niches are following.
But the trends do not reflect “ranking factors.”
Does Google Have Different Algorithms for Different Niches?
The person asking the question wanted to confirm whether Google applies different ranking algorithms specific to each niche.
The person asked:
“Is it true that Google has different algorithms for the indexing and ranking of different niches?
We have two websites of the same type, and we’ve built them with the same process.
The only difference is that the two sites are different niches and currently one is working while the other one has lost all ranking.”
It’s Not About Niche: It’s About Content Type
John answered the question and noted that the niche of the site, as he understood it, didn’t affect what ranking algorithm was applied.
But he did confirm that content is treated differently.
John Mueller answered:
“So, I don’t think we have anything specific with regards to different niches.
But obviously different kinds of content is differently kind of like critical to our search results.
And if you look at something like our Quality Raters Guidelines, we talk about things like Your Money Your Life sites, where we do kind of… work to have a little bit more critical algorithms involved in the crawling and indexing and ranking.
But it’s not the case that you would say like… a bicycle shop has completely different algorithms than… I don’t know… a shoe store for example.
They’re essentially both ecommerce type stores.”
High and Low Quality Content
Mueller next discussed the value of creating unique and valuable content.
I’ve seen how some publishers focus on publishing content that is not plagiarized, with words that are unique, in an effort to create unique content.
But in my opinion, when Mueller says unique, I think he’s using that word in the sense of content that stands apart from other pages that are published on the Internet because, as an example, they are easier to understand, have useful research data, has measurements that other sites forget to publish, that kind of thing.
Here is John’s continuation of his answer:
“But the thing that you also mentioned in the question is that these are content aggregator sites and they’re built with the same process.
And some of them work and some of them don’t work.
That to me feels like it’s… kind of like… I don’t know your sites, it feels a bit like low effort affiliate sites, where you’re just taking content feeds and publishing them.
And that’s the kind of thing where our algorithms tend not to be invested in to make sure that we can crawl and index all of that content.
Because essentially it’s the same content that we’ve already seen elsewhere on them.
So from that point of view, if you think that might apply to your site, I would recommend focusing on making fewer sites and making them significantly better.
So that it’s not just aggregating content from other sources but actually that you’re providing something unique and valuable in the sense that if we were to not index your website properly then the people on the Internet would really miss a resource that provides them with value.
Whereas if it’s really the case that if we didn’t index your website then people would just go to one of the other affiliate aggregator sites, then there is no real reason for us to focus and invest on crawling and indexing your site.
So that’s something where, again I don’t know your website, but that’s something that I would look into a little bit more rather than just “oh Google doesn’t like bicyle stores, they like shoe stores instead.”
Would People Miss A Site?
It’s useful to consider the scenario that John presented where people would miss a site if Google didn’t rank it in the search results (SERPs).
“…you’re providing something unique and valuable in the sense that if we were to not index your website properly then the people on the Internet would really miss a resource that provides them with value.”
People don’t miss a site because the words used are different and not-plagiarized from other sites.
People miss a site if it publishes content that is different in some way that makes it more useful than other sites.
That way of looking at the content could be useful for updating older content that no longer performs or for planning the content strategy for a website.
Does Google Have Different Algorithms For Different Niches?
Watch at 23:49 Minute Mark