In Melbourne we actually have penguins. There is a small colony of them in a St Kilda a bayside suburb. They’re very cute, not like Matt Cutts’ Penguin.
A Melbourne Penguin
That is going to be one mean, grumpy sucker. Right now it is the calm before the storm as all indications are that this update is going to be brutal if you have a spammy backlink profile or if you have a site that is selling links. Here are a few checks you can do to prepare.
1. Check the frequency of anchor text in your backlinks.
Using a backlink checking tool like majesticseo, you can sort your backlinks by anchor text. If you have a lot of backlinks that have the same anchor text you may have a bit of an issue. This is what happened last time with Penguin 1.0. Sites that were buying getting backlinks from paid articles guest blogs posts tended to have the same anchor text across hundreds of backlinks. Google then discounted a lot of these sorts of links and sites that were benefiting from them plummeted. The reason for this is very simple. Google is using the existence of a backlink as a vote for your page. It is unlikely that hundreds of webmasters would link the exact same phrase to your website, therefore the backlinks must be contrived and not a real citation for your content.
2. Check where you are getting backlinks from
If you have employed someone that is promising you X amount of backlinks a month, then you may have some issues. Chances are they are doing something like I show in today’s video. I have no doubt the sites getting backlinks from the .org.au site that is the subject of the video, would have benefited from them. Not anymore though. I have checked several of them and they were hit by the May 3 Update that ..ahem… we detected here first . This is why it feels like a little bit of Penguin 2.0 has already been rolled out here. The content of the posts I show in today’s video are totally irrelevant to the rest of the site, so Google will now discount the value of these links.
3. Start getting good backlinks!
Create content and share it with people who you think might be interested in it. Write guest articles for other sites if you think it is good for traffic or attention but don’t do it for the backlink. In today’s video I expand on a couple of these ideas and share some simple ideas you may not have thought.
If you drop when Penguin 2.0 comes out, remember it is not a penalty! You can come back from it.
As if the last few weeks haven’t been tumultuous enough for businesses SEO with Google changes, there is more on the way. Matt Cutts released a video (below) today announcing what to expect in the next few months from Google. It’s going to upset a lot of people but there are some wins if you think you have been hit unfairly by Panda updates. Here’s what you need to know.
1. Penguin 2.0 is coming.
I’ve been saying this since late April and we thought the changes we saw recently were related to a new Penguin. We’re still not sure. What we are sure of now is that is imminent. Matt has said it is going to be more comprehensive than Penguin 1.0 and that had a massive effect on rankings, so hold onto your collective hats.
2. Panda Gets Fixed
Matt has admitted (kind of) that the Panda update went to far. They will be adjusting it to un-punish sites that were caught up unfairly in this update. Too bad if your revenue went through the floor in the last six months because of Panda and you thought you were doing all the right things.
He also said they will be rewarding content that has “authority” . Authorship is my guess. If your site has some of the most reputable authors on your site your content is now going to rank higher. This could be the much talked about AuthorRankupdate.
4. Spammy Backlinks
Generally if you are doing spammy backlinking on sites it’s going to be bad for you. This will hit a lot of affiliate sites that engage in this practice as well as sites that have backlinks from poor content that may have previously helped their ranking.
Here’s Matt’s video.
The massive Google update we saw last week is still evolving but here’s what you need to know so far. We don’t even have a name for this update yet so I can’t try to rank for it About a month ago I said Penguin 2.0 was coming it feels different to Penguin though.
1. Broad category searches are location dependent
Google Places results still seem to be jumping all over the place and of course vary from city to city as they always have. Now we are seeing that with organic results as well. Last week it was possible for you to rank nationally for a broad category even if you only had an address in one city. This no longer seems to be the case. If you want to rank in a city for a broad category you’d better have an address in that city. Also make sure your address page is using structured data.
2. Ecommerce SEO Is Unaffected If Structured Properly
If you have your ecommerce product data structured properly you should be able to rank in any city in a country for a given product. See the structured data link above. Product related SERPs do not change much from city to city. However all the ecommerce sites we have looked at so far that rank for individual products have good structured data. The same would apply to event related sites. We are now checking all our ecommerce clients SEO and tweaking where necessary. Of course make sure your ecommerce site is not making these seo mistakes.
3. Focus on the longtail for searches outside your city
If you are an ecommerce site you should be focussing more on the longtail and not on the broad search phrases for users outside of your city.
What is your experience with this change? What are you seeing that I have missed? Love to hear your experience.
Whooa big change today. On Wednesday our Head of Development Jine, noticed that the “places” menu item had disappeared from Google. This is a capture from my video of April 16.
Places menu two weeks ago
It was there on Wednesday morning as well as we use it a lot to edit and find clients places listings quickly. Then in the afternoon. Boom! Gone.
Places menu disappears tweet
Today’s SEO Ranking Reports.
We check our clients rankings everyday. We like to know what Google is up to on a daily basis. Today is BIG. We have had some of our major clients jump into top 3 spots from outside the top 50 for single highly competitive keyword. Jine came in excitedly and explained about one client we were having trouble with had moved onto the front page.. then another. I said to her, Google has updated. There has been a change. She agreed and then we got to work on the parallels between the clients that had all jumped onto the front page for highly competitive phrases. We realised they were all already ranking for their main keyword + Melbourne. So “blue widgets Melbourne” if you like but the keyword without Melbourne was nowhere to be found. Then Nick one of our First Year SEOs, said, “They’ve replaced places for organic…” I quickly asked them to test the theory. Check clients in other states and cross reference where the addresses are. Sure enough he was right… kind of. Our clients are now ranking for single competitive keywords that Google was ignoring if they have an address in the city where the search is being done!!
More to follow.
We’re not sure who the losers are at this stage, all we know is that our clients are winners. There will be more to come on this but I would love to know what you are seeing. I said a few weeks back I thought there was a big change coming. Didn’t expect this though.
Seeing some major losers here, Beacon lighting has been hit, looks like Woolworths Money as well.
Google are usually pretty coy and vague when they talk about keyword specifics. You may remember last year I did a post and video on Michael Jones of Google and how he basically said don’t worry about your keywords. Earlier this year Google hinted at this again in the SEO Cheat Sheet where they said be “descriptive” with your filenames, headings and URLs. They forgot to tell you to use your keywords in these descriptions. Well Matt Cutts just released a video where he talks about being VERY specific about your keywords. I’ll drop it in at the end of this post. As much as Google has got better about understanding the relationships between words by looking at their context, you still need to have the keywords you want to rank for on the page. A simple concept right? You would think so but I have been talking about keyword research for a long time and I’m constantly surprised by businesses who don’t want the keywords they want to rank for on their page.
Press Releases.. really?
Mat also said, as did Michael last year, that press releases are a good way to expose users to your content. I guess they mean backlinks. Some of the press releases from SEO companies I see though are disastrously spun nonsensical twaddle. I sure hope Google is not rewarding rubbish content like this that I found in Google News.
An example of SEO Press Releases that proliferate on Google News
Sometimes it can be difficult to work a phrase into an article so it sounds natural. For instance if I wanted to rank for “Advertising Company Melbourne” it’s kind of hard to make it sound natural. For services, people will often use a geographic qualifier to get more relevant results. Gone are the days where you would have an article that read like “So if you are looking for an Advertising company Melbourne..” although I am sure there are a few on this site scattered about over the last 8 years:) However you could say “We are the best advertising company Melbourne has to offer”. Slightly messes up the meaning of the search but you get the idea.
In his video Matt also talked about using more content. For years a lot of us have been talking about publishing content as essential for SEO. That was one of the reasons I started doing these videos back in 2006 and published my first one to Youtube in 2007. Today this concept is called “Content Marketing” and we’re finding that sites are being rewarded more than ever now if they have a blog and update it regularly. In today’s video I take a look at a great opportunity that is coming up at the end of this month with Darren Rowse also known as Problogger. If you want to take the next step with your business into the world of blogging (and you should) you can’t go wrong with Darren and this masterclass he is doing as part of PESA. This man taught me a lot.
Proof of blogging & SEO
We created a report 12 months ago on power company websites and their ranking and then repeated it again this year. We found that all the companies that had added blogs in that time now ranked higher than they did last year. If I can work out how to remove the commercially sensitive data so it still makes sense I’ll publish some of the findings here.
Google continually changes the rules for their products. Back in 2005 I used to do a lot of adwords for myself. This was before I had staff or office rent. Back then I was able to sell other people’s products and not even have my own website. It was great fun. Every month I used [...]
Back in 2008 or 2009 when Google Maps was trasitioning into Google Places a lot of us SEOs tried to be too clever for our own good. We put our keywords in our business name, stuffed them into every nook & cranny we could find in the places dashboard. I even setup a PO Box [...]
We work on a lot of ecommerce sites SEO. By far the biggest issue we see are 404 errors. 404 errors are bad for SEO If Google comes to your site and finds a lot of missing pages, which is what 404 erros are, it essentially sees a faulty site. If all your competitors have [...]
You may have missed a small announcement by Google last week about an Adwords policy change. It only caught my eye because Chris Morley of onlinemarketexperts.com did a post about it. It all started back in 2005. PPC 2005 style. Not a lot has changed in Google Adwords since 2005. Sure there’s been a lot [...]
Yesterday a report was released by Portent, an agency based in Seattle. They have observed that it looks as though Google’s ability to better detect spam links has become stronger. This was one of the original reasons for the Penguin update nearly a year ago. An article in Search Engine Watch about the report has [...]
In Melbourne we actually have penguins. There is a small colony of them in a St Kilda a bayside suburb. They’re very cute, not like Matt Cutts’ Penguin. That is going to be one mean, grumpy sucker. Right now it is the calm before the storm as all indications are that this update is going [...]
As if the last few weeks haven’t been tumultuous enough for businesses SEO with Google changes, there is more on the way. Matt Cutts released a video (below) today announcing what to expect in the next few months from Google. It’s going to upset a lot of people but there are some wins if you [...]