So yesterday I learned something about Melbourne. It turns out I don’t talk about it enough. I was finishing up my SEO webinar from here in Melbourne and I went and had a look at our content keywords in Google webmaster tools. Turns out the significance of the word Melbourne across our site has dropped to spot number five.
Melbourne drops for SEO
When we ranked no.1 for SEO Melbourne from about 2005 – 2010 Melbourne was the second most significant word on the site. In 2010 we changed CMS and entire structure of the site and dropped from the top spot. This is one of the reasons why most SEO companies sites may seem old or ugly. SEO for competitive phrases is difficult and complex. Once you get to that top position you tend not to tinker with that fragile structure. Don’t misunderstand me, the leads that you get from ranking no.1 for the phrase SEO Melbourne are not our target market, however my ego still would like us to be no.1 again.
SEO Effort Vs Reward
I have clients like this too. You may not get a lot of business from the phrase but you’d like to be no.1 anyway for bragging rights or at least to be seen as top in your field. With all of these things though you have to balance the effort that you put into the SEO vs the potential gain to the business. I had a client that wanted to rank for “Hair loss” but they were selling a product indirectly related. I explained that the time and effort required to get there vs the potential conversions would simply not be worth it.
Gratuitous Melbourne Sunrise
SO I don’t talk enough about Melbourne eh Google? Well here is a photo I took last week from my place of a glorious Melbourne sunrise.
SEO Webinar Recording
If you are interested in the recording of the webinar I’ll be posting that soon so stay tuned.
In about 40 minutes I’m about to do my first live webinar in 10 or 12 years. I first started doing live webcasts as we used to call them, back in 1997. It’s a lot easier now let me assure you! As this is an SEO webinar I thought I’d write a post and try to rank for “Welcome Back Rankers”. Welcome Back Rankers should not be hard to rank for as it is obviously not a competitive phrase. Here are the key elements I have addressed in this post.
Welcome Back Rankers in a heading too
Actually I should have written heading 2 but you get the idea. So by using a subheading with my keyphrase in it I’m am showing that this article has depth about welcoming back rankers. When I was looking for a standard way to start the show years ago, it just came to me as it made people go “what did he just say” I remember David Meerman Scott nearly falling off his chair a few years back when I interviewed him.
For those of you who are not that familiar with Australian slang (And English as well) the word Ranker actually sounds very similar to a term used to describe someone who is a braggart, story teller amongst other things. The word is typically not used in polite company.
A Picture Of Welcome Back Rankers
What I’m attempting to do here is get the whole gamut of welcome back rankers in a comprehensive document. To achieve that one of the things I have to do is use an image.
Welcome Back Rankers
I took the image a few seconds ago. I have given the filename, alt text and caption the key words I am targeting.
In finishing I will mention the phrase again – WELCOME BACK RANKERS!!
In last week’s post I mentioned that it felt like there had been a Panda update as well as a Penguin one. From the data we are looking at it, it looks like Panda hit Australia last Sunday the 19th. We have several clients that experienced really good jumps across the board with rankings pre the Penguin roll out on Tuesday afternoon. One client had 9 phrases go to no.1 in a day which I haven’t seen in a long time.
SEO Panda Jumps?
Conversely we had one client that got hit quite hard and their backlink profile was ok. We had disavowed several months earlier and got rid of what spammy backlinks we could find. What we did find with the client that had dropped was that they had a lot of duplicated content external to their own site. We are now in the process of eliminating that.
Duplication & SEO
Google has previously said that you won’t get penalised for duplicate content unless you are doing it to be spammy. Why complicate things though? For instance why let Google crawl all of your blog tags to find the same content at a different address? It serves no purpose and simply complicates matters. So like the Bigcommerce SEO video I did, you could have an intellectual discussion about whether or not a certain practice is hurting your ranking chances or you could just eliminate it from the conversation. Time and time again when we fix duplication we get a good bump in rankings. Last week was pretty extraordinary.
Yesterday it was a flurry of activity in the office. In the morning I was off at the ATSA2014 conference on behalf of MYOB & The Savvy Accountant podcast series which I host. When I got back into my car to head back to the office my phone was buzzing with messages. Google had announced a Penguin update. Unfortunately for us it also coincided with our cloud based ranking tool failing to update. This meant we were in the dark about the Penguin effects until yesterday afternoon at 3pm when it started to update. We had checked a few keywords manually and the signs were good but as we currently monitor nearly 5000 keywords we did not have a very good snapshot until the updates were finished around 4pm.
Love A Penguin Update
We saw the usual effects of a Google Penguin update for SEO. A lot of the spammers got hit. There were some interesting exceptions though of sites that nothing happened to even though when you look at their backlink profile it is obviously spammy. What was nice to see was a lot of sites that we had disavowed for previously jumped up in the rankings. Typically if you have been hit by a Penguin update and you disavow your spammy backlinks you won’t see an upswing until another Penguin update.
A Panda Too.
Google Panda not Penguin client results today
Something else we saw yesterday though which was a little odd though was that the sites that had the biggest jumps had all undergone Panda treatments for duplicate content. Google did announce a Panda update around the start of the month but we had not seen any reall effects of it until yesterday. I’m talking massive jumps too, like in the case of one client, a 30 spot jump to no.1 or a 229 spot jump to no.6. Pretty extraordinary as there was no Penguin effect involved at all. Love to know what you are seeing and don’t forget to book for our webinar which is next week https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6070785589126366721
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 email
This video though is a last ditch attempt to get BigCommerce SEO to use robots.txt on mybigcommerce.com . 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. site:mybigcommerce.com “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 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 inconsistent canonicals affecting SEO
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!!