How Does the Outbrain Widget Impact SEO? | Outbrain Blog

DISCOVERY & PERFORMANCE

How Does the Outbrain Module Impact SEO?

| Liraz Rahmin Postan

how does outbrain impact SEO?Most SEO marketers wonder if there’s an SEO value or benefit in using Outbrain and content discovery.

The answer — there’s a lot of value. In fact, Outbrain can be used for two main purposes when it comes to SEO:

  1. As a publisher: Grow in-site organic traffic by using the Outbrain Engage solution. Let your readers discover more interesting and relevant content inside your own website.
  2. As an advertiser: Distribute your content on other websites by using the Outbrain Amplify Solution. Reach users and/or potential customers and grow traffic to your web assets through content.

The Outbrain Module and SEO scoring

It is important to note, however, that our module does not impact a website’s SEO efforts directly. This means it also has no negative impact on your SEO efforts.

  • The module is based on JS (JavaScript), therefore, Google can render it, but cannot index it or save a cached copy of the page. From a more technical point of view, we are not violating any Google webmaster guidelines about widgets or modules. (See here the latest news about it). As John Muller says, It is just like any element on the page (click to see his response):

  • The traffic that goes from site A to B (in terms of paid links) goes through paid.outbrain.com, which is not visible to Google because we use meta tag “noindex,nofollow” and blocking it via robots.txt. Basically, we are not transferring any link juice from site to site.
  • Organic links from Site A to Site A which go through traffic.outbrain.com are not pure “organic links.” These are “referral” links. You can view them in your analytics and measure them as non-organic traffic.
  • Our module loads asynchronously, meaning our widget load occurs independently of the page load. They don’t wait for each other — so we won’t slow down page performance, or hurt your page load time — which can be a factor in search engine rankings and UX.
  • The module facilitates the readers UX, bringing them into a magazine mode — when they can discover what’s next.
  • By exposing your content to real users you can know how to better optimize it for your next readers and identify any problems.

promote your content today

A note on link juice

Why are we using the redirect traffic.outbrain.com on your organic links?

Because our module appears on many pages on your website, “clean/direct” links to your content pages could be considered “sitewide links” (see the video below regarding this issue).

This is considered to be bad practice. The situation is made even worse, when your site-wide links change frequently, as the promoted content on our module is dynamic.

The optimal web structure you should aim for is pyramid based. In this structure, you signal your most important pages to search engine bots. This structure should stay static and stable.

SEO Moz

Image credit: Moz.com

So, redirecting through Outbrain’s domain ensures that there is no threat to your search performance.

Additionally, the Outbrain module ultimately improves the user experience as well as the likelihood of gaining natural backlinks. The more exposure your content is getting, the more shares and traffic your content is likely to receive.

This is why content recommendation modules are great for content discovery. They help users or readers navigate to the next article in a way that traditional navigation never could.

Now You Know

Next time you’re wondering about the SEO impact of the Outbrain widget, just refer to this article. We all know that gaining traffic through SEO takes time.

So, please know that we would never do anything to counter all the hard work you’ve put in to achieve those rankings. Keep creating high quality, valuable content for your audience.

In the meantime, we’ll continue to focus on creating the best content discovery experience, delivered to the right audience.

Liraz Rahmin Postan

Liraz Rahmin Postan

Liraz is SEO Manager at Outbrain's digital marketing team. Previously worked at 888, Neogames, Go internet marketing and Plarium- Social... Read more

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  • Acsesicom| January 1, 2017 at 2:14PM

    I really appreciate you very

  • JOhn| January 4, 2017 at 8:20PM

    There are a number of factual errors in this that make appear to be a diverting response to Google’s recent comment on Outbrain rather than a useful article.

    1) “The traffic that goes from site A to B (in terms of paid links) goes through paid.outbrain.com, which is not visible to Google because we use “noindex”. Basically, we are not transferring any link juice from site to site.”

    Noindex stops the page being indexed, Google can and will still follow links on it.

    2) “The widget is based on JS (JavaScript), therefore, Google can’t read it.”

    No longer correct, Google processes more and more Javascript – test on a render in Google Search Console.

    • Liraz Postan
      Liraz Postan| January 7, 2017 at 2:14PM

      Hi John, Indeed you are correct.
      Please note the links are nofollow as well- I made an editorial fix regarding this matter.
      Re JS- Google renders this JS element just like any other element on the page. Google isn’t indexing the links on the JS element- you can see cache version of any our widget pages to prove it.

      Thank you for commenting!! I hope you enjoyed the article.

  • John Britsios| January 7, 2017 at 1:13PM

    Lisa you said: “… which is not visible to Google because we use “noindex”.

    Well just to be clear here, “noindex” accumulates PageRank. Did you probably mean “nofollow”?

    • Liraz Postan
      Liraz Postan| January 7, 2017 at 2:14PM

      Hi John,
      Thank you for your comment. I hope you enjoyed the article.
      I meant “noindex,nofollow” + blocking via robots.txt = meaning no link juice is passing through our widget.

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