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SEO Video Blog

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 on 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 despite Google making a change to how it ranks them about two years ago. Having a keyword early in the domain is treated as a ranking signal for that keyword. These days I’m getting asked more about the new Top Level Domains (TLDs). Most of these have only recently been released but there is a bit of a gold rush going on to secure potentially lucrative ones. For instance, I have received marketing material proffering that it would be beneficial for me to purchase, .melbourne being a new TLD . Traditionally Google has not looked at the TLD as a keyword signal. It’s either been a geo signal like .au or an institutional one like .edu or .mil. The lines have become a lot more blurred in recent years with the flurry of alternate TLDs available like .me .co .info etc.

    SEO Is About Content

    Whilst the keywords in a domain are part of the signal and right now it would seem an important part, they are only one part. A couple of years ago I was offered to buy It was tempting but I declined as I had enough content to create with existing sites and could not justify spending the $1000 for the domain and then throwing additional resources at it to create the content. Having keywords in a domain is not a magic ranking pill, you still need great consistent content and a well structured, well performing site.

    TLD & Branding

    Whilst I’m not a branding expert I can see how TLDs might be great for a new brand. I’m not sure about existing brands though. I guess you could have but you would still need a content strategy for that site, unless you were just using it in advertising because it was easy to remember. In that situation you would need to 301 redirect to If it simply pointed at the same content you would have a duplicate content issue.

    TLDs Not A Magic SEO Pill

    Look at this way does not rank for travel. Why you would even bother setting up the www in that situation is beyond me. You go to all that trouble to have a keyword rich domain then you mess it up with WWW? Keep this in mind, the earlier you get your keywords into an address the better. That has always been a good signal. Guess what does rank for though? “Travel Travel”. Interesting eh?

    SEO & TLDs

    SEO & TLDS

    The travel industry sorted itself out with SEO years ago, so best practices have been in place a long time as they have gone through a lot of Google seismic shifts. In this situation the keyword rich domain MAY provide a ranking edge in a highly competitive environment, all other ranking signals being equal but the more competitive the space is, then the more important great content is.

    Google on TLDs

    Google has said it will take time to understand the various TLDs but for the most part it will treat them like other generic TLDs. This means the likes of say .melbourne won’t automatically indicate to Google that the site is Melbourne related. This may happen once Google has several years of data to show that only Melbourne related domains have been registered at .melbourne but initially no geo juice will be bestowed on such TLDs. Here’s what Matt Cutts said about them a couple of years ago.


    Digital Ready Business Kit

    by Jim on 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 this week’s show. I’m not going to delve to much into the merits of a taxpayer funded site delivering a “Digital Ready Business Kit”. I will leave that to the likes of the aforementioned scribe. I will however record another show today as I can’t stop thinking about some lessons we can learn from the seemingly total abandonment of any SEO principles.

    I’m sure the people behind the site are lovely and there is always a back story of which I know nothing about and the site may have built this way for a reason. I just can’t think of good one.

    Best CMS For SEO

    If you are just doing content and you don’t need a big ecommerce engine then I would always recommend WordPress. If someone asked if they should build in Joomla my advice would be only if they didn’t care about ranking. It would seem Digital Ready would be in that category. I am very familar with Joomla and up until 2009 it was my CMS of choice. As the image below demonstrates though, the world jumped off it and onto WordPress at about the same time.

    Joomla vs WordPress Digital Ready

    Joomla vs WordPress Digital Ready

    I’m not saying you can’t get ranked with a Joomla site but it a heck of lot harder than WordPress.

    Do HTTPS or HTTP

    Don’t do both like this site is doing. Right now you have the site visible at an http and an https version. In our experience this is a big quality issue with Google. If your launching anew site just do HTTPS.

    Don’t Launch With Errors

    20% of the pages are either 404s or 500 errors. This is another quality issue.

    Digital Ready Errors

    Joomla vs WordPress Digital Ready

    Don’t Duplicate Your Home Page

    The home page is duplicated, another quality issue. It is available at / as well as index.php and /?view=featured which is actually a link on the page.

    Don’t Replicate Your Site At WWW

    The whole site is replicated at To Google we now have four versions of the same site. The HTTP & HTTPS plus the WWW versions of those.

    Don’t Copy, Create Original Content

    Selecting a random selection of content shows that it has been repurposed on a number of other related sites. Once again a quality issue as the site is just republishing another site’s work. Why should Google rank it when it can show the site which originated the content? From the checks I have done most of the content is lifted from the parent site

    There is so much more I could go on with like page titles, H1s etc but you get the picture.

    Be Digital Ready, Be SEO Ready

    Getting these things right not only helps your users it helps you rank :) The fact that taxpayers money was wasted on this is one of the reasons that I have total disdain for ALL politicians.





    A Post Authorship World; 4 Takeaways

    by Jim on 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 it was a great way to eliminate link buyers influence on rankings. Alas, not enough people took it up. Where to from here?

    Use a byline

    One of the things that authorship forced us to do was use a byline. So many business blogs have been written by “admin” or the company brand. I’m a big believer in still using real names against your content. I have a few clients that are rebelling against this and don’t want an individual associated with the content. In my opinion this restricts the blog to fluff content with no personal voice thus making it harder to connect with an audience. My advice is to use a still use a human byline even if it is an amalgam of individuals and not a real person, although obviously a real person is better.

    Keep Writing

    Just because rel=author is dead doesn’t mean content production is. In this week’s video I reference Laurel Papworth & Trevor Young’s comments about content. Laurel sums up my position very well with her hashtag Be The Magazine Not The Ad. Not the most practical hashtag in a 140 character medium but you get the idea :)

    Laurel Papworth Trevor Young

    Laurel & Trevor Waxing Lyrically

    What About Plagiarism?

    One of the things Authorship purported to do was stop having your content ripped off by others rank higher than your own. Well Google brought out a scraper report tool earlier this year if you want to dob in a plagiarist.

    Is It Really Really Dead?

    Logically I don’t think so. With anything Google does I always apply the test “Is this good for the user?”. Is it good for the user to know that a well respected author in their field wrote the article they are reading? Absolutely! That’s why I believe at some level Google will want to send it’s users to content written by authorities in their field. Keep writing and keep using a byline. ¬†Here are a couple of other resources to read



    SEO Google Pigeon Update Recovery

    by Jim on September 3, 2014

    Well this one was a bit weird. Back at the end of July there was a few stories around about a Google update code named “Pigeon”. This is not to be confused with the old PigeonRank April Fools day prank from Google. In fact Google has said little about this update publicly. It was first reported by who named it the Pigeon Update. I did not say much about it at the time as it had only been rolled out in the US and we hadn’t seen any significant changes to rankings. However a few days after the story we did see one of our clients sites drop significantly.

    SEO Pigeon Update

    Pigeon Update Ranking Return

    It’s rankings returned last week after we completed some work but the drop only corresponded with the Pigeon Update and no other external or internal changes.

    Ranking Drop Analysis

    The team went through our “First Aid” check list which helps isolate potential issues. Whilst things like server performance were looked at the major potential problem that was identified was that the same delivery information was on every product page. It formed a significant portion of the overall content for each product page.

    SEO Solution

    The SEO fix was to remove all the delivery information from the individual product pages and have a single delivery page. We then linked all the product pages to this delivery page. Voila! Ranking returns better than before.

    SEO Pigeon Update

    Ranking drop and subsequent return


    The changes were completed on the 25th of August, Google reindexed on the 26th and the rankings returned on the 27th. Well done o our team members, Jine, Vandi, Alex & Wing. Great work! I have a couple of theories why a “local” algorithm update affected this client but I’d love to know if you were affected by that update?

    SEO Crawl Activity Spike

    SEO Crawl Activity Spike



    4 Marketing Essentials For Christmas 2014

    by Jim August 27, 2014

    I hate to add to the “hey it’s only 100 days until Christmas” chorus but I usually get asked these questions in October when they should have been implemented in August. 1. Get A Blog As the old saying goes, “The best time to plant an oak tree was 20 years ago, the second best [...]

    Read more: 4 Marketing Essentials For Christmas 2014

    3 Steps To Capitalise On HTTPS Google Love

    by Jim August 20, 2014

    Google have been banging on about https as a ranking signal for quite some time. Well it became official last week. Here’s what you need to know. 1. Get an SSL certificate for your web server. For most businesses you will get these through your hosting company. They can cost between a few dollars per [...]

    Read more: 3 Steps To Capitalise On HTTPS Google Love

    David Jones SEO

    by Jim August 13, 2014

    Following on from the so called “faulty redirects” Google is now issuing these notices for sites where they have found an old page in the index that is now redirecting smartphone users to the home page. Previously we’d only seen these notices where smart phone users had clicked on a desktop result then had been [...]

    Read more: David Jones SEO

    Google punishes a big brand in mobile

    by Jim August 6, 2014

    It was just a few weeks ago that Google started issuing notices about smartphone faulty redirects. Now we’re seeing the warnings increase and sites getting removed from mobile search if they are doing the so called “faulty redirect” . BigW recently launched a new site and now has at least three sites that I can [...]

    Read more: Google punishes a big brand in mobile

    2 SEO Tools Unveil Some Massive Treasure

    by Jim July 30, 2014

    I have had reason to investigate speeding fine laws recently and I noticed a few people trying to sell information products in the space but it turns out they were targeting the wrong people. In todays video I use two tools that are free and I use all the time for SEO. 1. Google Trends [...]

    Read more: 2 SEO Tools Unveil Some Massive Treasure