Yan Gilbert

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Saw this on Twitter... not sure if it was even said and if so, if it is accurate.

Garry Illyes: "ordering of content on mobile may impact how you rank", "when you move something up higher on the page, it would be better for that page appearing in search results"

John Mueller: "useful content, we'll treat it as such regardless where on a page it is"

 

Phil Rozek

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Regarding GI's comment: front-loading your content might be good insofar as Google grabs that to rewrite your title tags and description tags dynamically, as Google is wont to do. I'd be surprised if there was also a direct rankings benefit, but who knows.
 

djbaxter

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I don't see those two statements (Gary and John) as being contradictory.

The quote from Gary is saying that content higher up on the page is more likely to be picked up in search results ranking for specific queries, esepcially in mobile search.

The quote from John is saying that content anywhere on a page will be crawled and indexed. He's not saying that content buried way down at the bottom of a page is the best placement for that content if it is content you want to be ranked for.
 

CraigJMount

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That tweet seems to be taking things out of context, which would definitely make the statements confusing.

I felt like Gary was communicating "content" in terms of UX/UI. John seemed to be talking about content quality.
 

JoshuaMackens

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For on-site SEO awhile back it was "understood" in the community that your keywords need to be as high on the page as possible, likely "above the fold". This may be what he is talking about.

I haven't heard as much about this over the years. It may have become less important or just not as talked about anymore.
 

Ian Hammond

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Regarding GI's comment: front-loading your content might be good insofar as Google grabs that to rewrite your title tags and description tags dynamically, as Google is wont to do. I'd be surprised if there was also a direct rankings benefit, but who knows.

Have you found that Google's "auto-optimized" meta descriptions, for dire lack of a better term, pull from early in the content? Seems like they just pull a few sentences or phrases that contain the searcher's query/keywords to show that searcher the page is relevant to them. As an aside from this original thread, so apologies, we have found pretty good success getting Google to use the meta we write by making sure the descriptions we write contains that/those keywords. Obviously, don't stuff and make it for the humans, not the robots. Further, it's often going to be impossible to capture all possible search queries a page may rank for but we like to shoot for the ones with higher impressions and where the page already has a solid average position.
 

Phil Rozek

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@Ian Hammond, Google does seem to pull descriptions from the first few sentences, at least from what I've seen. Now, I don't know if that would be because people tend to front-load their content anyway (to get and keep readers' attention), or because Google has some preference. But it really depends on the search term. If you rank for a search term that you don't mention until later in your content, and Google decides to generate a description for you, Google often goes fishing in whatever section you mention that search term.
 

Yan Gilbert

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I have seen direct examples where rankings for a target keyword have changed significantly by shifting the positions of two paragraphs on a page. No content was changed aside from the ordering of a few sentences basically.
 
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