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Bigcommerce SEO

by Jim on October 20, 2014

Bigcommerce made some SEO “improvements” back in June. Problem is they actually had some very negative SEO impacts. Thanks to “Dylan” who saw one of my posts on Twitter. He forwarded me their newsletter from June where they discuss their improvements and also have a free SEO eBook. For an ecommerce platform, their SEO ebook lacks some key advice such as using structured data for all your products as well as a bunch of other basic stuff. Maybe I’m being too harsh but the ebook is very basic and sadly some of the things that are omitted, like using structured data for addresses (Google my business) is not possible on their CMS.

Bigcommerce SEO

Bigcommerce SEO email

This video though is a last ditch attempt to get BigCommerce SEO to use robots.txt on . This is a change they made in June. Basically they are duplicating all their clients sites at subdomains. If you use bigcommerce, do a search like this. “brand name” you will then see your site in the results. As I point out in the video, they do use rel=”canonical” but they are using it from one domain to another. Now whilst Google will tell you that you can canonicalize across domains if you really have to, it doesn’t work. That is our experience anyway.

SEO & Canonical across domains

Over the years after working on thousands of sites we have found it a good idea not to use rel=”canonical” across domains, even though Google has a whole page telling you how to do it. The reason we don’t is that Google still crawls and indexes content even though it as the canonical tag AND Google webmaster tools sees it as a backlink. Wait, what? Yep, if you canonical from one domain to another Google will see that as a backlink from another domain.

Bigcommerce SEO Canonical

Bigcommerce is the biggest backlinker

Bigcommerce Inconsistent Canonicals

So digging a bit further since I made the video I can see that there is some real inconsistency in the way Bigcommerce applies the canonical tags to their sites. For instance the site below has it’s content indexed at both the sub domain and their real domain. In this case the sub domain is canonicaled to itself.

bigcommerce seo canonicals

Bigcommerce inconsistent canonicals affecting SEO

Why Bigcommerce?

Whilst it’s lovely to have an intellectual discussion on whether canonicals should work like this, here’s what we know;

  • The sub domains are getting crawled and their pages indexed even though they are canonicalled
  • Google sees these canonical URLs as backlinks from the subdomain to the main domain (spammy much?)
  • Bigcommerce application of this technique seems inconsistent.

If you need these sub domains just BLOCK THEM FROM GOOGLE so we can all get on with our lives!!



Top SEOs Smashed In Australia

by Jim on October 15, 2014

Last Wednesday it was reported that long time SEO “ranking” or “awards” company was absolutely smashed by Google and removed from the index. According to the story over at Searchengineland Top SEOs has being using a couple of domains since their deindexing by Google including and As you will see from today’s video they have since moved on from those domains and are now employing a sub domain strategy.

What was Top SEOs

I use the past tense as it looks like their business model has just been ended by Google. Top SEOs has been around since 2002 according to a media kit I have from 2010. In that they claim the following;

top seos research

Top SEOs Research Claims

We regularly were “awarded” Top SEOs gongs or rankings and I can tell you that none of the above happened. In fact in 2009 we were awarded the “Best Link Popularity” firm. I don’t even know what that means. Below is part of the email notification we received at the time.

Top SEOs award

Top SEOs award from 2009

In that notification they claim to have contacted our clients and they list 3 “clients”. Only one of those listed was a client the other two were sites that belonged to mates. The reason they assumed they were clients is that I was linking to them. It was at that point it was confirmed for me that the “awards” were questionable to say the least. Mind you over the years a lot of people have put a lot of stock in them. So what was their business model? Advertising essentially. From the same 2010 media kit they offer different levels of membership for $1000, $2500 or $3500 per month. Amongst other things the membership includes a backlink from a PR5 page. Or as you and I would call it; a paid backlink.

top seos paid links

Top SEO Paid Links

In addition to that you can also sign up for their “lead generation” plan for an additional $10,000/year. A quick search of Google news reveals that SEO companies, including Australian ones are still touting their Top SEOs awards as recently as Saturday AFTER they had been removed from Google.

SO why has Google smashed them now? Surely they have known for years they were selling backlinks. Who did TopSEOs piss off at Google? This is no algorithm adjustment, this is TopSEOs been hunted down and obliterated. It’s only taken Google 12 years to work out what the rest of us have known for years.



One thing I have noticed a lot this week is that so many businesses have not optimised their websites for Mobile and Tablet devices.

I’m getting married next year and my fiancé calls me the ‘research queen,’ because I look up everything online, I compare prices, I send requests via Facebook and get ideas from Pinterest. I do all this on my phone before I go to the laptop to get serious. This is called Multi-Device screening and is it part of today’s digital decision-making process. If you have recently found yourself on your phone, tablet and laptop, then you are not alone.

However, one thing that is driving me crazy is the fact that so many websites I spend double time on because they are not optimised for my mobile. Most of the time I end up leaving the website and finding a better one.

What percentage of Mobile and Tablet traffic is coming to your website?

The majority of our clients are now receiving between 30%-60% of Mobile and Tablet traffic to their websites. When users reach your website, are they having a good experience or are they just leaving because like me they do not have the time or patience to zoom in on every page?

I highly recommend that you review your Analytics to see what percentage your website is receiving from each device and if those users are converting.

Have you converted your site to mobile responsive?

Jim has previous spoken about Google punishing websites for having and converting your website to Mobile responsive design.

This client had 43% of visitors from Mobile. The conversion rate is the lowest out of the three Device Categories because they currently do not have a mobile responsive website. Thankfully they have agreed to convert their website to a mobile responsive design and now they can aim to increase their conversions from mobile traffic.

SEO Mobile Traffic

SEO Mobile Traffic

Be reactive with your Digital Advertising based on the data

If your company is running Google Adwords and Facebook Adverts, have you ensured that these campaigns are optimised for Mobile and Tablet devices?

Particularly, if your Analytics is showing traffic and conversions coming from these devices, why miss out on the opportunity that is already working!

I did a search for “Wedding venues” on my phone just now and the top Ads were for Grange CC with copy that reads “call us now” but there is no Click to Call button? That’s a waste of a call to action.

And below is an awesome ad from with Click to Call option for my mobile.

Click to Call Mobile Adwords

Click to Call Mobile Adwords

However sadly when I clicked the link to open the Ad, I got this. At least their click to call works, but their landing page does not. I have since contacted the venue to let them know about their Ad not working.

Adwords URL Page Not Found

Adwords URL Page Not Found

Do a quick search on your phone to see what your users are seeing when they reach your website.

Closing up this post, chase up the following points with your website:

  1. What percentage of Mobile, Tablet and Desktop traffic is coming to your website and is it converting?
  2. Get a mobile responsive website.
  3. Optimise your Digital Advertising for Mobile and Tablet Devices.


Even though you are not using three of them. Several weeks back we brought you the story of setting up HTTPS for a ranking boost.  In that video and accompanyingblog post I take you through the steps. This week Google has started sending messages in webmaster tools about setting up all the different versions of your site in webmaster tools and setting up the preferred domain as well. What Google does not tell you is that you should redirect (301) three of those sites to one version.

SEO Webmaster tools

SEO Messages in Webmaster Tools

Google never used to be this explicit. Now it’s telling you to setup all four versions of the domain and to setup the preferred version to appear in search results. You can do this under “Site settings”. Google won’t let you do this though unless you have previously setup the www version as well.

SEO Setup Preferred domain

Setup preferred domain for SEO

Good for SEO

So why is this good for SEO? It ensures you have only one domain that should appear in search (providing you redirect the others). This is interesting as “setting the preferred domain” has never been a big deal before. As far as I was concerned it was more aesthetic than functional. For instance I have never set it up for this site but because I had everything redirected properly Google has never shown the www version of the site.

SEO Webinar

Finally today I’ll be doing an SEO webinar on the 30th of October at 11AM AEST (GMT+11) PLaces will be limited so don’t forget to book.


Google Panda 4.1 Really?

by Jim on October 1, 2014

Last Friday Pierre Far of Google announced on G+ that there had been a Panda update to the algorithm. For those playing along at home this would be update 4.1 . Whilst I have seen some reports of ranking devastation Panda 4.1 Brandon Dennisfor the most part I have not seen anything like this in Australian results. Some local SEOs are saying the exact opposite and are claiming that it has adversely affected directory sites, I’m not seeing any evidence of that though. In fact I’d even go as far to say that it has not been rolled out in AU yet. John Mueller is saying that it is a global update but it will affect different countries in different ways.
If you think you have been affected by this update then please let me know. From what I’ve read of sites that have been affected in other countries, it’s what you would expect lots of advertising above the fold. However there are a lot of quality issues in addition to too many ads on a page that we have seen sites get penalised for. They include;

  • Content duplication – do a site: search look for any results that should not be there and remove them
  • Broken links – crawl your site with a link checker and make sure it’s not full of busted links.
  • Unique Content Ratio – Make sure you don’t have lots of pages with only a couple of words of unique content. Typically these would be seen as low quality pages
  • Don’t forget to let me know if you have been hit.


    SEO And TLD Checklist

    by Jim September 24, 2014

    I get asked a lot about the SEO benefits of having multiple domain names with keywords in them. There is no benefit to having multiple domains pointed at one site. In fact if it’s done without the right redirects it will hurt your rankings. There is however benefit still in having an exact match domain [...]

    Read more: SEO And TLD Checklist

    The Saga Of The SEO Consultant

    by Jim September 19, 2014

    Well that was fascinating. The post I wrote yesterday afternoon has resulted in in a 3 spot bump for SEO Consultant Melbourne plus a 1 spot bump for SEO consultant. Taking a closer look at the results for SEO Consultant Melbourne reveals some strange rankings. For instance there is a Linkedin profile. On closer inspection [...]

    Read more: The Saga Of The SEO Consultant

    SEO Consultant Update

    by Jim September 18, 2014

    You may remember about 14 months ago I wrote a series of articles about getting ranked for the phrase SEO Consultant Melbourne. I got the page to no.1 very quickly and then subsequently we went to no.1 for SEO Consultant as well. Since then I have done nothing on the phrases and just recently we [...]

    Read more: SEO Consultant Update

    Digital Ready Business Kit

    by Jim September 17, 2014

    First of all I just want to apologise in advance to anyone involved in the site or the organisation behind ACCAN (Australian Communications Consumer Action Network). Their site was pointed out to me by know trouble maker and journalist, Paul Wallbank. He posted the link on Facebook last night after I had already recorded [...]

    Read more: Digital Ready Business Kit

    A Post Authorship World; 4 Takeaways

    by Jim September 10, 2014

    You may have missed the announcement last week that Google killed off Authorship. They did not make a big song and dance about it, just quietly took it out the back and choked the life out of it. As many viewers will know I have been a big advocate of the IDEA of authorship because [...]

    Read more: A Post Authorship World; 4 Takeaways