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The provider of affordable website hosting presents - Are You Overlooking This Important SEO Factor?No matter how brilliant an SEO you are, trying to SEO a poorly built website after the fact is a challenge. Wouldn’t it make more sense to make sure the web developer you use understands SEO? The most important SEO factor is to design a site correctly in the first place.
The advent of mobile has made it obvious that many sites are badly designed. Many site owners will have to have their sites redesigned to make them mobile friendly. When choosing a web developer, find one that knows both mobile and SEO. Strong Demand for SEO Savvy Web Developers According to this new Freelance Guide, web developers are among the best paid of all freelancers. That is not surprising given Google’s push to rank only mobile friendly sites. Anyone interested in freelancing or hiring a freelancer should check out that guide because it contains thorough advice.
Web developers who understand SEO, responsive design, and are wise enough not to want to custom code everything are worth their weight in gold and all too rare.
Developers who think of themselves as coders often build really awful blogs. Instead of using a quality, professional theme and plugins that already exist, they insist on their own coding – even when they have no eye for design. Avoid these developers or risk truly bad results.
Most ecommerce sites and almost all blogs are best built on existing platforms. Professional themes handle more than just appearance. They are built by teams who know SEO and handle the internal linking and navigation far better than a custom coded site (unless the coder is truly brilliant). How to Evaluate Web Developers Professional web designers should have an online portfolio of sites they have built. For example, look at the portfolio page for this major Sydney responsive web design company.
Click through to any of the sites they’ve built and view them on your portable devices. Or use a mobile test site to see how they appear on various size monitors.
Be sure to check multiple sites. Examine the navigation and the design. Do searches in Google and see if the site comes up for the company name and tagline.
Look at the descriptions. View source on the main pages of the site and look at the meta tags. Copy and paste the pages into an html validation service to check for errors.
If the sites in a company’s portfolio are not mobile response or SEO friendly, look for another company. Web Developers Are Not Necessarily Web Designers Many business owners do not realize the difference between a web designer and a web developer. A developer installs the framework and plugins. Developers may edit CSS and html. They set up email addresses, security, and how to backup the database.
Developers create excellent sites based on existing themes. Some of them can choose color schemes. They should all be able to adjust the width of the columns and the overall site. They know how to use WordPress and configure it properly.
Blog developers are not necessarily experienced at building ecommerce sites. Some are; some are not. Make sure you hire a developer with experience creating the type of site you want.
Most web developers are not web designers. A designer can create custom imagery. They are graphic artists. If you see a site with rounded corners or a unique header, those are created by web designers. Go to TeamThesis.com to see an example. How to Find an SEO Savvy Web Developer The preferred method of finding talent of any kind is to ask people you know if they can recommend anyone. Request an email or Skype introduction and ask for examples of their work and any contracts they use.
If you don’t find anyone directly, do some searches and look at sites. Find some you like that are ranking for keywords in their industry. Look in the footer for their developer’s name or the name of any theme they are using. (Not all sites provide either one.)
View source and search for the word WordPress. If it is an ecommerce site, look for an indication of what ecommerce platform is being used. Call the business and ask them directly. Most won’t mind telling you who built their site.
Remember that the developer may have only SEOed the main pages. If blog posts or product pages do not have SEO information on them, blame the site manager – not the developer. If the main pages are not SEOed, look for a different developer. The most important SEO factor is to design a site correctly in the first place.
The post Are You Overlooking This Important SEO Factor? appeared first on SEO Chat.
The provider of affordable website hosting presents - Google Panda 4.2: Recovery Tips
This month sees another Google Panda update – the first in over 10 months. But version 4.2 is no ordinary Panda, because Google has once again changed the way it updates the search algorithm.
The first Google Panda update was rolled out over a period of a week or two in February 2011, and those that followed were updated in a similar fashion. This all changed in March 2013, when Google announced that the Panda algorithm was to be integrated into the main search algorithm and therefore updates would be effective almost immediately.
This was good news for website owners, as once again it was possible to make positive changes to the content of a website and see quick results. However, the latest Panda update will roll out over a period of several months, according to Google.
So far, few people have reported any Panda-related changes to their Google search referrals, which is as expected for such a slow change.2%–3% of English language queries
Google has suggested that this update will affect around 2% to 3% of English language queries, which has the potential to be a massive change. What do we know about Panda 4.2? Why has Google needed to make such a big update now? This is the 28th Panda update – surely Google must have optimized this feature of the search engine by now?What is new?
Google Panda is still a site-wide penalty that examines all of a website’s pages to determine the overall quality of a site. A few thin pages will do no harm, but a website that has hundreds or thousands of empty, thin or duplicate pages will very likely experience a drop in search engine referrals.
When the first Google Panda updates were released, many websites experienced dramatic falls in search referrals, often losing as much as 90% of all search engine traffic. In most cases, the problem was an abundance of thin pages – usually user generated profile pages and empty product pages. Deleting such pages would often lead to a Panda recovery.
For a while Panda took a back seat while Google focussed largely on Penguin, the web-spam algorithm. Now that Penguin has also been integrated into the main algorithm it seems Google is returning refocusing on on-site quality factors.
Google has made several specific updates in the last year, all of which point to quality. Google has been promoted secure sites, mobile friendly sites and has recently taking a stance against sites that display aggressive pop-ups.
The latest Panda update may simply be incorporating some of these newer quality signals into the main Panda algorithm.How does this affect your site?
To protect your website from Google Panda you need to focus on building a quality site. This means ensuring that website code and architecture is clean to prevent thin and duplicate content pages, and also ensuring that the quality of content is high. To prevent Panda impacting your search positions, or to recover from being hit by Panda, you need to tackle these three areas:Good web design
In this context, good web design refers to the structure and code of a website. Poorly built websites can cause duplicate and thin content issues that are interpreted by Google as being deliberately spammy.
For example, some content management systems create dynamic pages using parameters, which can be crawled and indexed by Google. Although there are ways to patch problems using Search Console, it is always best to resolve the problems by cleaning up website code and architecture.Removal of thin content pages
Any pages that serve no real purpose should be removed. Empty pages are common in many older eCommerce websites – a product line is removed, or just out of stock, and the result is a content page with little more than a title.
Another common problem are profile pages, which are created by website members but contain no unique information. A good CMS will ensure that all of these pages are set to noindex, but unfortunately, many are not. This problem is made worse when members are allowed to add a link back to their own website in profiles – some Drupal community websites have over 100,000 profile pages that have been created by drive-by-spammers – and sites like these are affected by Panda.Addition of quality content
Creating content-rich pages, with excellent copy and images, is a great way to ward off the dreaded Panda. Some people believe that Panda not only identifies low quality content, but also identifies when there is a lack of engagement on a page. Panda 4.0 was thought to factor user engagement – and Glenn Gabe reported on Search Engine Watch that improving user engagement can reduce the effect of Panda on a website.
A website that experiences a drop in search referrals following a Panda update can often be recovered by technical SEO experts and content managers, who together will improve site architecture and site quality. This is also why so many people are now using WordPress to run their business websites – WordPress provides a clean platform that allows owners to share quality content with ease.
If your website has been affected by the recent Panda update, contact FSE Online today to discuss your recovery package.
The post Google Panda 4.2: Recovery Tips appeared first on SEO Chat.
The provider of affordable website hosting presents - How to Aggregate All Your Data into SEO Dashboards
Have you ever missed a client mention or let an SEO project fall through the cracks? We all have, but there are now solutions that make getting organized and staying on top of our complex work lives easier.
While we all know how to set up alerts, receiving them in emails doesn’t make it easy to organize them and share them with clients. Did you know you can pull them all into an All-in-one Cyfe dashboard and track your keyword rankings and backlinks in the same place?
Between that how-to post and the comprehensive instructions Kristi Hines wrote up in this Search Engine Watch managing your SEO clients with Cyfe post, it is possible to monitor everything, pull it into a dashboard, and even export it into good-looking reports for clients.Monitor Client Brand Mentions Kristi wrote that Google no longer allows us to monitor brand mentions using RSS. But she provided a process to do it using Cyfe: Use Google blog search Search for brand mentions minus the brand site URL. For example, brand name -brand.com Scroll to the bottom of the search and copy the search result RSS link Use the Cyfe RSS widget to create a latest blog post mentions dashboard View All Client Gmail Addresses in Cyfe
Do your clients have multiple email addresses (such as info, sales, support, etc.) that you need to monitor? Set up a Cyfe gmail dashboard to review and preview them all in one place.
Running a big promotion? Use Cyfe to count the number of emails coming into an email address set up just for that promotion.Client SEO Dashboards
Create a dashboard for every client and pull up to 60 metrics from Google Analytics showing traffic sources, audience, conversions, content, ecommerce and events.
Add a Google Webmaster widget and never miss an important notification again. See crawl errors, unread messages, top internal/external keywords and sitemap URLs.
Moz widgets can import a snapshot of domain authority, page authority, MozRank, external links and backlinks, external links for each client website.
Important keyword phrases and URLs can be added as widgets to monitor client SERPs.
Find the Alexa widget and add it, too.
The number of prebuilt widgets available continually grows. If what you want doesn’t already exist (and if it is a major solution it probably does), build a custom widget.Import Backlinks Export backlinks from your favorite backlink monitor program and import them into Cyfe. Export One-Off or Regular Reports Never manually create reports for clients again. Use Cyfe to export any dashboard as a CSV, PDF, JPG or PNG. Set up a regular schedule to automatically email reports, or send them individually at any time manually. Keep your clients, boss or yourself continually up-to-date. Expand to Social Media Management
Once you’ve automated all your SEO work, why not expand into managing your client’s social media accounts, too. Cyfe makes it easy to stay on top of them.
They provide widgets for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn YouTube, Google+ Search, Pinterest, Instagram, Bit.ly, Klout, AddThis and much more.Stay on Top of SEO News Create RSS feeds right in Cyfe to aggregate all your favorite SEO blogs in one place. Here are some SEO blogs to add to your list: SEOChat Search Engine Watch (SEW) Search Engine Land (SEL) Search Engine Roundtable (SER) Threadwatch.org Competitor Dashboards Once you optimize your client dashboards and have them just the way you want them, start adding dashboards for competitors, too. Track their stats, SERPs, and create graphs to compare them to your clients. Zapier Widgets
Cyfe added 400+ more widgets when they integrated with Zapier. First check to see if there is a pre-built widget. If there isn’t, and you’re not sure how to build your own, it can be easier to “make a zap” than to create one custom.
We all have too much data to keep on top of so why not aggregate it in one place? While it may take some time to get it all pulling correctly, you will be glad when you’re done.
The post How to Aggregate All Your Data into SEO Dashboards appeared first on SEO Chat.
Source: SEO Chat | How to Aggregate All Your Data into SEO Dashboards | 12 Aug 2015, 6:01 pm
The provider of affordable website hosting presents - Will Changing Hosts Affect Search Rankings?
A common question in the SEOChat forums is whether moving your site or changing hosts will affect your SEO rankings and position in the serps.
If everything were exactly the same, moving your site between identical servers should not impact your search engine positions if the move is done correctly. But everything is never exactly the same.
Each hosting company has different hardware, networks, versions of server code, and configurations. How quickly your site loads is important. The faster you can make it, and the more reliable your hosting, the higher you will rank. Factors that impact page load time are:Speed of the server Demand on the server (how many sites with how much traffic) Distance from the end user (the person looking for your site) Using a CDN can greatly speed up your download times by duplicating the most often requested content on your site across multiple servers. Load balancing and failover speeds up your site and also ensures there is no downtime. Watch Your Downtime
Extended downtime can definitely negatively impact your rankings on Google and other search engines, so choosing a reliable hosting company is essential to your success.
CDNs also provide serious security, which ensure your site is far less likely to get hacked. Lengthy outages recovering from damage hackers do can can largely be avoided.
Be sure to choose a CDN known for security as some focus more on page load speed while others focus on both.Speed Up Download Time If you are serious about getting your site to load faster, start with these tips. And do note the links to additional information at the bottom of that post. There are some simple things every site owner should know. For example: Your site should be hosted on a server in the country whose audience you most want to reach. See Server Location as a Local Ranking Factor for details. Other sites on a shared server can negatively impact your search engine positions, so choose carefully and know what other sites are on the same server with you. Use this lookup tool to find out. How moving your site can impact your search rankings can be a complex question, but here is a good video that explains some of the variables: Video Highlights: Changing servers CAN impact your rankings If your site is still identical, the main concern is other poor quality sites on a shared server Switching between content management systems (between Drupal or Blogger to WordPress for example) will change your URLs and directories; this can definitely cause major issues if not done correctly Be sure to redirect any URLs that change so you don’t lose the value of those incoming links If you’re not happy with your current hosting company, use this guide to moving your site. One common mistake is to take down your existing site before you’ve tested the new one. Use a Test Site When Moving
An expert tech should leave your existing site up and load a duplicate copy of it onto the new server. That new copy should be checked over and tested to ensure it is working fine and has no issues BEFORE you re-point the DNS servers to the new location.
Another useful tip is to shorten the caching time on your existing site well before you start the move. This will reduce the amount of time it takes for all your users to see the site at the new location.
Whether changing hosts affects your search rankings will depend upon the quality of the move. If everything is done correctly, there may be a temporary drop in search rankings, but it will quickly recover.
The post Will Changing Hosts Affect Search Rankings? appeared first on SEO Chat.
The provider of affordable website hosting presents - How to Promote Your eBook Using Social Media
Writing a ebook is no easy task, requiring that lots of time, effort and inspiration, but there is no better feeling than wrapping up your own epic story and preparing it for the rest of the world to read and enjoy.
When it comes to delivering your ebook in ebook format, you’ll find yourself with many options to promote and distribute it; the Internet puts the world at your fingertips if only you know how to tackle and leverage it.
Thankfully for all of the ebook writers out there, social media brings people together and provides the tools that you need to easily get the word about your work out to the masses, helping you to generate interest, fans, and, ultimately, sales.
Here are five easy ways to promote your ebook using social media:1. Create Informative, Compelling Profiles
Once you’ve determined the networks that you want to tackle, with the giants like Facebook and Twitter almost certainly among them, the first step in introducing your ebook to the world is to create informative profiles that not only help readers to quickly and easily understand what your story is about and what it has to offer them, but also contain the kind of tidbits that make your ebook truly compelling.
The method for achieving this will vary depending on the profile; for example, Twitter allows you a very limited amount of room to describe yourself and your product, while Facebook gives you much more freedom and space. With that in mind, you’ll need to work with what you’re presented with as you create your profiles, always finding that delicate informational balance that will create the interest that you need to inspire sales.2. Be Active, Stay Active
With informative profiles online and new fans beginning to find and follow you, the time has come to focus on the true purpose of social media: engaging with real, live people.
To this end, take a few minutes each day to add content to your pages, answer questions, involve yourself on other similar pages, and generally present yourself as a living, breather author instead of a mere ebook-selling robot.
The truth is, you’ll be surprised at just how little effort it takes to draw people into your web of imagination. One of the most prevalent myths about social media marketing, whether for an ebook or any other product or service, is that it takes copious amounts of time to stay engaged enough to make good things happen, but that simply isn’t true. A little effort goes a long way, and your fans and followers will appreciate every minute of it.3. Find Influencers to Help Get the Word Out
Influencer marketing is the fastest way to see the actual results. Get just one influential Twitter user tweet out your book offer: And you’ll see dozens of leads coming in within just a few seconds.
Influencers may add the powerful social media context to your book and your brand and get you those needed leads and publicity.
The trick is engaging those influencers.
Ego-bait is one of the most efficient ways to attract those influencers. You can go as far as getting those influencers contribute to your eBook to later engage them in promoting it.
You can also use influencer connection platforms like Tomoson to find influential users across many social media platforms. Tomoson supports
You can specify a minimum number of followers required to make an offer for your project. It saves time and really helps you find your core influencers to start with:4. Add Multimedia to Your Bag of Tricks
As a writer, it’s likely that you enjoy and relate to words more than any other informational medium, but don’t let that perfectly reasonable prejudice allow you to overlook the power of multimedia to catch attention and drive clicks on the web.
By its very nature, social media platforms tend to present information in small, easily digestible packages, beckoning users to follow through with a click if they want to learn more. With millions of these packages floating around at any given time, though, it can be very easy to have your particular message get lost in the mix.
In order to draw even more attention to yourself and your masterpiece, consider leveraging multimedia like unique artwork, related photography, and trailer videos to help to capture the attention of your social media visitors.
Here’s a huge collection of visual marketing tools to use to create and market your images.5. Continue to Engage Your Fans and Followers
Even once you’ve got well-aged profiles online, full of content and teaming with new followers, the trick to continued success is to continue to personally engage and contribute every single day.
Besides giving your ebook the dedication it deserves after months spent writing, maintaining a well-liked social media presence will also set you up for future success as you continue to forge your writing career.
And there is a sequel coming… isn’t there?
The post How to Promote Your eBook Using Social Media appeared first on SEO Chat.
The provider of affordable website hosting presents - Google Penalties: Strategists and SEO Pros Share Their Insights
Even after these past few years, the phrase, “Google Penalty,” has a way of stopping one in their tracks as if frozen. Not everyone is affected that way, but it is still common enough. It is a similar reaction that some people have over the mention of going to the dentist.
That fear has subsided for some. As people gain knowledge about the penalties and the process of penalty removal, the fear begins to dissipate. There are some people who do not care about Google penalties and can live blissfully in spite of them.
There is one thing that remains constant. That is that the perspectives of Google penalties vary from one person to the next person. The understanding also varies. Many times this is easily identified in the difference between those who have experienced it and those who have only heard about it. There is also a defining point between those who have experience removing penalties (SEO Pros) and those who may have only done it for themselves. That doesn’t mean that there is a right or wrong way, but there are different perspectives.
Survey for the Identification of the Perspectives
We set up a survey to ask people what they thought about Google penalties. We welcomed those who had experience, as professionals, and we welcomed those who may not have experience, but had opinions. We received some interesting responses, which is the basis for the opinion that opinions vary. (I know, you are all thinking that that is quite obvious!)
Now that we have discussed the background, we have one more thing to cover before digging into those perspectives and tips.
The Relationship Between the Reconsideration Request and the Penalty
Many times the terminology gets people all hung up, so let’s get some of that cleared up first. There is so much more that could be explained, but we will touch on just a couple of items here. As you will see, the SEO pros, quoted below, are consistent with what we are about to share. Also keep in mind that while there is no right or wrong perspective, some have more experience. So, for those of you that are newer to SEO, let’s just define a couple of these things.
First of all, when Google sends a person a message (you know, the nasty message) that talks about a potential penalty, it is just that, a potential penalty. If you notice the verbiage it says that you “may” experience traffic drops or be excluded from SERPs (Search Engine Results). It doesn’t say that you “are” excluded or that you “will be,” but that you “may be” excluded and the traffic to your site may be affected.
The key element here is that you need to check your stats to see if you have indeed been affected. If your traffic has dropped (especially in comparing to the same time last month, the same time last year), then it is true that Google has taken an action.
If you have an option to submit a reconsideration message, then it is a good idea to submit a request to Google to be reconsidered. Why is this important? If you have an option to do so, it means that Google has identified an issue. In order to get on Google’s good graces, you will want to respond and ask Google to “reconsider” your site and find that you are no longer an offending party. You see, with the reconsideration, you are either asking Google to 1) remove you from the naughty list (currently no traffic impact); or 2) include you in Google search (penalty as evidenced in traffic stats). To check for this, visit Google Webmaster Tools > [click on site] > Search Traffic > Manual Actions.
Ok, we have only scratched the surface, and haven’t even talked about disavows, emails to webmasters to request link removals, and so much more. If you are a novice, this should be enough to have a basis to understand the rest of this article, which is all about what the interviewees have to say about their perspective on those Google Penalties.
Hopefully this helps to put some of the responses, below, in context. Also, you will get some great nuggets of tips from our SEO experts, below. For those of our surveyed guests who are a bit more novice you will realize that you are not alone in your fear of a Google penalty and also have a chance to see that there is hope. There are even solutions in the most drastic circumstances, as you will see.
(Author’s Note: There is no such thing as a “dofollow” link. However, I have changed any interviewees’ reference to “follow” links to “dofollow” links for clarification. No matter what the terminology, it is a reference to a link that is NOT a nofollow link.)
Two Questions That Started the Discussion:What are you thoughts and perspectives on Google penalties? Do you have experience or insight to share with us? What have you learned, going through the Google penalty process? What success tips can you share with us?
Two Three Sections
There are two sections of this article (three if you count all of what is above). The first section is the “Perspectives” section. It is about what people think of the Google Penalties and the Google Penalty Process. Ranting aside, it is interesting to see how the perspectives are similar and yet different, depending on how much experience a person has with SEO and specifically the penalty removal processes.
The second section is about tips and advice on how to remove the penalties. Much of that section is brought to you by the SEO professionals. There are also some gems from non-professionals, as well.
Are you in a hurry? You could skip the perspectives section (after all, you likely have your opinion, right?) and go to the tips section.
Each section is broken down into two groups:the strategic thinkers, or everyday people who have run into Google Penalties, or have an opinion; and the SEO professionals that have experience doing this for their clients.
There are some common tools listed in the perspectives and tips and here are those links to the Google Resources:Google Webmaster Tool (Technically, Google “Webmasters” Tools) Google Disavow Tool Google Analytics More information about Google Webmaster Tools More information about Panda. More information about Penguin. “23 Questions to Ask of your Site Content” [Google Webmaster Central Blog, 2011] Google Support Documentation
[Thanks to Casey Markee for many of the informational links, above.]Section 1: Perspectives on Google Penalties
Perspectives from the Strategists
Alex H. Yong (Writer, Journalist)
Yes. Thought I’d never get a penalty but I now know what they’re like. I did a reconsideration request and nofollow’d my links and shortly thereafter I was in the clear.
I use nofollow a lot, which proves Google has me in a state of mild fear. I sent them a few notes via [Google Webmaster Tools interface]. Those contained a notable amount of emotion and opinion and it felt good to get those thoughts officially off my chest.
I’ve had one of my websites that received a Google penalty, but I’m not sure if it was Penguin or Panda, I just saw a dramatic decrease in traffic in a very short period of time until almost all of my traffic was gone.
I tried looking into the problem but I couldn’t fix it so I gave up on that website and started fresh. I’m not sure you can really recover from a penalty, so in my opinion I think it’s better to just start fresh instead of focusing all your energy into fixing the website.
Denisa-Alexandra Cinca (Blogger, MyBloggingThing)
Kari (Professional Blogger, Writer)
On March 20, 2014, I got the message from Google that I had unnatural outbound links from one of my sites. I knew where the links were coming from because I had been accepting daily guest posts on my site, and even though the articles were original and pretty decent, the posts linked out to some random sites that had nothing to do with the articles themselves.
The message stated that a manual spam action had been applied to my site.
The recommended actions were to add “nofollow” to the paid or inorganic links and remove problem links, so that is exactly what I did. It took me a few days of continuous work to fix everything, but I had the spam action revoked six days after I received the message.
I haven’t received a penalty notice but I did use a blog network back in 2012 to rank one of my websites. It worked very well but after the Panda and Penguin updates I saw the site drop from the number 1 spot.
I decided to leave the links as they were and after coming back to the site in 2014, I noticed that most of the links had been discounted by Google and running a AHREFs report confirmed most had been deleted.
There were a few left that were from spam websites so I decided to use the Google Disavow Tool to request a removal. So far I have had no response from Google.
Paul Manwaring (UX Expert and Web Analyst, Blogger)
Matt B. Gates (Web Developer)
I received a Google Penalty in March of 2014. My site was a rank of 3 at the time and was about a year old. I was [presumably] targeted for being associated with a guest blogging site. The majority of my links were dofollow.
What did I do about it? I added some code to the site to nofollow every link on the site. This penalty did not affect my traffic at all, only my rank. After about two days, and a request for the penalty to be lifted, it was removed and my rank was returned.
I still nofollow every link on my site. I depend on the traffic that the site receives. I expect most of my contributors to depend on that, too. I will occasionally dofollow a link. It is pick-and-choose. Other than that, everything is nofollow and that protects the entire website along with the hundreds of contributors who have made the website possible.
Perspectives from the SEO Professionals
I’ve been working as an SEO for almost a decade now and I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve had a number of sites hit by Panda penalties.
Panda penalties: Five years ago, content duplication and syndication were not an issue. In fact, it was a standard practice. When Panda rolled out, I had a couple of websites that got hit hard.
Ryan Stewart (Content Marketing Expert, Webris)
Casey Markee (President, Media Wyse)
As someone who performs “Professional Penalty Audits” for a living, I can honestly say there are not many manual or algorithmic penalties that I haven’t seen. From Panda and Penguin, to manual actions like unnatural links and thin content, penalty issues are something that “most” average site owners will experience at least once in their lives.
Penalties shouldn’t be feared, though. Sure, false positives do happen, but they are rare. Instead, penalties provide you (and in many cases your marketing staff) a chance to reevaluate your current marketing approach. Contrary to popular belief, penalties don’t happen in a vacuum. If you have triggered a penalty, it’s most likely because you chose a shortcut and in doing so, did a disservice to your site visitors and target audience.
…Penalty issues are something that “most” average site owners will experience at least once in their lives. -Casey Markee
I have handled Google penalties on behalf of clients who have approached us with this problem. I would say, from experience, that it is wise to adhere to Google’s guidelines [as opposed to] any potential penalty you may be facing. Until there is a change in the search market share [(i.e. another search provider powerhouse equal to Google)], it is best to keep a position on Google.
Michael Bergen (Content Marketing Manager, Riverbed Marketing)
Konstantinos (Co-founder, Beakon)
Who hasn’t received a Google penalty? Back when the big G first released their lovely bird, Penguin, one website I managed was hit by the update. The reason was simple. Spam links. Though, it was those links that gave me the first page ranking on Google! The website was totally blasted and disappeared from Google rankings!
Some of my clients came to me because of a manual penalty from Google, related to unnatural links that were pointing to their website. In cases like this it’s very important to understand what type of links Google considers “unnatural” vs. what you [consider to be unnatural links]. Lately Google’s Web Spam Team (GWST) has been providing better examples of the links that cause the penalty, to give you guidance. In some cases they have been known to [converse] with you about those links.
Tom Shivers (Founder, Capture Commerce)
Andrew Isidoro (SEO Manager, Gocompare.com and Freelance SEO)
As a freelance SEO, I’ve dealt with my fair share of link removals, reconsideration requests, and disavowal campaigns. While some are fairly straightforward, others are huge affairs that require some serious work.
I was a black hat maniac before [changing my ways]. So yes, penalty is my everyday thing, [as a result].
The worst thing is that I used to think Google “unfairly” penalized my website, not realizing that what I was doing was wrong. At that time, I joined the bandwagon of Matt Cutts-haters.
That embarrassing part is gone and past me now. I’ve stopped doing this since about 2 years ago because it is definitely ethically wrong. We tend not to realize that what we do is wrong. The fact that you get penalized means you must be doing something wrong. So quickly find what you did wrong and fix that. If you’ve gone too far, it’s easier to create new clean website.
Darmawan (Founder, PanduanIM)
Section 2: Tips That Have Proven Successful
Success Tips from the Strategists
Alex H. Yong (Writer, Journalist)
I’m not an SEO. I deal with the fear by often using Twitter [outbound links] instead of a guest’s domain… [I think] it is harder for [Google] to [complain] if all my [outbound links] go to Twitter.
For me, it doesn’t really concern me that much; I mean if you are not using any black hat techniques you should be fine. A great tip is to focus on building your audience and traffic with white hat techniques.
Denisa-Alexandra Cinca (Blogger, MyBloggingThing)
Kari (Professional Blogger, Writer)
My motto has always been to create original and decent content that relates to my niche. Even though the ‘gurus’ that I followed in the beginning told me to spin content or create content that was made for search engines, I’ve never been able to create subpar content. Or, at least I don’t think it’s subpar!
I should say that I have always focused on SEO, especially on-page SEO. But, I’ve never used it in a way that looks unnatural. It doesn’t read well for real people, and even though you can still find some really crappy articles (that are keyword soaked) ranking well in Google, it isn’t going to last. One day they are going to get penalized, and I would rather have long-term sustainable content than a successful post for a few months.
I think Google penalties, for the most part, are fair. If you try to cheat the system, you risk the chance of getting caught. What I learned from my experience was to concentrate on high quality links. Then you’ll never worry about another Google update.
My tip is simple; if you don’t want to risk getting a penalty then don’t try to cheat.
I’ve had one site running for over five years. I’ve never tried to gain backlinks unnaturally and everything has grown organically. Guess what? I’ve never been hit by Google updates and I don’t even care about them with regards to this one site.
Paul Manwaring (UX Expert and Web Analyst, Blogger)
Matt B. Gates (Web Developer)
Google is your number one fan and Google is your biggest source of traffic whether you want to accept it or not.
They will deliver you the most visitors of any search engine that exists. As much as you might want to rebel and go against Google, understand what Google is doing in the long run and abide by their rules. A nofollow link is still a link, but without rank juice, and rank juice shouldn’t mean anything anyway. Google themselves created that mess.
If you were here for the dawn of the Internet, a link was a link and a link meant that you were just sending someone somewhere else. Make your contributors or sites you’re linking to understand that you respect and support them completely, but they do not need a follow link for your support. Traffic is far more valuable than any rank. Work on building and getting traffic [rather] than rank. You will survive as a website in the long run.
I’ve worked on many blogs that have noticed changes after a Google update, and the response has always been sensible. Don’t go nuts removing old content, just be sure that new content falls in line with the new guidelines. For instance, we stopped writing posts that were under 300 words long.
Being sure to stick to Google’s guidelines is generally a good way to have a successful blog, as it generally means you’re doing the right things: lengthy posts with unique content, not having links to or from dodgy neighborhoods, etc. Once you’re following their… best practices, stop worrying about Google and start working on other traffic generators like social media and your mailing list.
Angela Alcorn (Writer, Editor)
Johnny P. (SEO)
First of all, you ought to understand why Penguin posed such tough challenges for you. Many of you had aimed to touch with sky within a short time without really studying the key areas of website performance.
You never really had the time to do any research (involving Google analytics) on things that are being searched naturally. Following black hat strategies to shoot things up meant denying the honest efforts of your competitors. You have to start from the scratch and that includes removing irrelevant links, removing broken links and writing the content naturally without stuffing keywords.
Success Tips from the SEO Professionals
How to identify [penalties]:
The best way to tell if you’ve been hit by a Panda penalty is to check your Google Analytics account. Check Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages. Then, add an Organic segment. Set the date range to the last year.
This will show you traffic to your pages from search engines over the last year. If there is a sharp drop in traffic to one or more of your pages, chances are you got hit with a Panda penalty.
How to fix:
There are a number of potential reasons for a Panda penalty, all related to duplication issues: content, titles, metas, etc.
The best way to find this out is through Google Webmaster Tools. Check under ‘HTML Improvements.’ There you will need to determine if there are duplicate pages on your site. If you have an ecommerce site, it’s very common to have duplicate descriptions for similar products. This is an extremely common cause of Panda slaps.
Under Title Tags, you should see all different ones. If you see duplicates, there is a good chance you’ve been hit by Panda. The best solution is to identify the pages with duplicates, re-write so it’s [not duplicated], and then resubmit the pages through Webmaster Tools for reconsideration.
Ryan Stewart (Content Marketing Expert, Webris)
Casey Markee (President, Media Wyse)
It’s not a matter of “if,” but “when” you or your clients will be impacted by a Google algorithmic or manual penalty. As with everything, knowledge is power. Google provides detailed resources [linked above] on how to approach manual actions that are the most common penalties one will receive.
As for algorithmic penalties, knowing how each of these work (Panda is Content & UX-related, Penguin is Links and WebSpam-related) will go a long way in preparing your sites and the sites of your clients for any possible fallout. Just reviewing the Wikipedia entries on Panda and Penguin [linked above] will provide the average site owners with “some” understanding of how these work and what practices [they] should avoid.
With Panda, Google published a “23 Questions to Ask of your Site Content” [linked above] way back in 2011, which continues to be the standard to insulate yourself from its bamboo grips. Penguin in contrast, is all about working within the Google Webmaster Guidelines. Do you tend to run out and grab every link you can, regardless of niche or quality? Or maybe you design your content for search engines first and not for visitors? Then Penguin is probably going to waddle onto your site very soon.
There are typically two penalties you will need to watch out for, manual action penalties, and algorithmic penalties. Each presents its own process for resolution.
Manual action penalties can be link related and are discovered as notifications within Google Webmaster Tools. These will typically require link disavows and a reconsideration request be filed once you’ve taken due diligence to request removal and disavow unnatural links.
You’ll typically see a repetitive pattern of keyword optimized anchor text spanning across multiple web properties, as the leading culprit to the penalty.
If the issue is serious, you may receive an algorithmic penalty through the Penguin algorithm. This typically corresponds with sharp drops in inbound traffic in analytics that matches with key Google search updates. The same corrective path would be needed, but you may not see an improvement until the next manual refresh and update of the Google search engine algorithm.
Focus on really identifying common anchor text (link text) patterns that are repetitive and spanning across separate webs properties. Typically this will show the trails of link building automation tools or other unnatural link building activity conducted over time. It’s important to identify the manual action penalty through Google Webmaster Tools, or the Algorithmic penalty where traffic drops can be seen that match with recent Google update dates.
If you are experiencing an issue with a link penalty, it’s important to know you’re not totally at fault. As a specialist in this field I can say that there have been numerous sites with link building activities from the early 2000’s that have simply made them a victim of the times in Google’s eyes, over a direct offender in today’s world.
Michael Bergen (Content Marketing Manager, Riverbed Marketing)
Konstantinos (Co-founder, Beakon)
What I did -along with praying- was that I used a tool to find these links and report them using Google Webmaster Disavow Tool [linked above]. I used cognitiveSEO for that job. It is a great tool at a more affordable price than others. After a lot of updates, plenty of disavowed links, and a couple of years, the website is back on the 1st page, achieving the top 3, due to local SEO.
If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Google is the giant and all we have to do is play by their rules. Try to keep your link building strategy clean. Don’t trust a SEO agency that promises the top 3 positions within a month, and always, but always manually, check your links. The disavow tool is your only hope against negative SEO!
Evaluating the link profile to identify unnatural links is the most time consuming because you often need to reach out to the webmaster or owner of the site and request that the link be removed [or] nofollowed. [The other option is to] file for disavow.
Everything you do must be documented so the Google Web Spam Team (GWST) can verify that you have changed your ways, repented of your link spam sins, and vowed to never go that route again – even if it was the fault of your webmaster.
Finally, it’s time to use all of that documentation as reference material for your reconsideration request. Make it simple and to the point, take full responsibility rather than playing the blame game. Then wait and see what GWST says or does.
When they do lift the penalty, it can take 2-3 months for your site to begin ranking again.
As a SEO pro I’m mostly in agreement with Google’s unnatural link penalties, but I have seen unnatural link penalties that I thought were pure politics.
Google knows people want to rank well in their natural results so when they suggest or even tell you that your rankings will increase if you have secure URLs or a mobile friendly site, be wary and wait to see if what Google claims is true. Most of the time when Google cracks down on unwanted search results, no one knows it’s coming.
Tom Shivers (Founder, Capture Commerce)
Andrew Isidoro (SEO Manager, Gocompare.com and Freelance SEO)
Handling a Google penalty isn’t easy but diagnosing what is wrong is more important than anything. There are a number of Google penalties that can cause your organic visibility to drop so make sure you are dealing with the right one before you go hacking apart your link profile. The last thing you need after being caught up in a Panda refresh is to start removing decent links to your websites pages.
There’s no instant way in SEO, you can’t always manipulate the system. So, do SEO the right way.
Create remarkably helpful content, build the real backlinks, build relationships with other bloggers, and do real marketing. If you’re doing this, you won’t have any concern about penalties.
Darmawan (Founder, PanduanIM)
Ron Sanders (Online Marketing Strategist, Profit Labs)
I use a software tool called SEO Spyglass to check the backlink profile of the home page and other popular pages within there website. [This tool] organizes the links according to penalty risk, which allows you to easily sort which links Google is having issues with in their report.
You create a text file of all the bad high penalty risk links and save the file.
You will now need to add your file to the disavow tool [Login to the] Google Webmaster Tool and head on over to the Google disavow tool. Choose your website, click the disavow links button, then choose the text file of links you had previously saved and submit.
Google usually takes a week or two to start disavowing the links. Keep in mind this will not remove the links from the search. Google will simply turn them to nofollow and not give them any credit.
Reading through these perspectives and tips provides a lot of consistency in thought and some very usable step-by-step processes to use in your own penalty-removal and penalty-prevention strategies. Be sure to read these with a grain of salt, understanding that not all perspectives or approaches apply to all people. That is where Search Engine Journal and the SEJ community is here to help. The resources available on this site (including the podcast), help you to wade through the available options and make the right decision for you.
Now, all that is left is for you to share with us in the comments, below. We are eager to hear YOUR perspectives and strategies!
The post Google Penalties: Strategists and SEO Pros Share Their Insights appeared first on SEO Chat.
Source: SEO Chat | Google Penalties: Strategists and SEO Pros Share Their Insights | 8 Jun 2015, 5:04 pm
The provider of affordable website hosting presents - 5 SEO Tips For Boosting Your Local Rankings With Perfect Mentions
This recent online marketing technique is the ultimate solution to almost 90% of local business owners who are seeking ways to brand their businesses in the local market and enhance local SEO results without violating any search engine protocols.
Simply put, local citations refer to online mentions of your business name alone or with your address and phone number on local directories, classifieds, blogs, email newsletters, or websites.
These mentions may or may not have any links. If performed strategically and diligently, local citations can add immense value to any business.Why are local citations powerful?
Several reports and surveys show that local citations play a major role in determining the local SEO ranking of any online site, accounting for a 25% boost in the ranking of most websites.Types of Local Citations
There are two types of local references – structured and unstructured. Structured local mentions are those that are added to business listing sites, such as local classifieds, review sites, and yellow pages.
Unstructured local references are those which are added to blogs, websites, and government sites. Both structured and unstructured local citations play an essential role in improving your local business rankings in the search engines.
The more times your business gets mentioned, the higher it will rank. You can analyze the patterns with a local citation analysis tool to help you create powerful mentions for optimal results.1. Know the difference between links and citations
One common mistakes most business owners do is confuse local citations with links. These two are different – citations are basically intended for branding, while links are for conversions.
Citations do not have to carry any link, although links may be added to them, and they are used primarily for increasing online prominence. On the other hand, links are particularly intended for cross-linking other websites with yours.
If you want to fully understand the basics of internet marketing, you can sign up for SEO Training.2. Make sure all information are correct and use a consistent format
It is important that your SEO citations contain accurate information about your company and that they appear in the same format in all the different business listing sites.
Seeing consistency on your local citations in popular sites will give your target audience an impression of professionalism and committed approach.3. Avoid duplicate listings
Focus on building identical citations for your business across different listing sites. Remove any duplicate listings of your business on other sites. Having more than one citation showing different addresses, phone numbers, or names can cause uncertainty and affect the credibility of your business.
Perform regular follow ups with the listing sites and update your listing with accurate information or delete duplicate listings to ensure better user experience.4. Choose the right categories
The key to success for any business is in selecting relevant citations that will lead target customers searching for your products or services straight to your business.
When you incorrectly tag your services or products under the wrong categories, your rankings get hurt. Instead of being visible to people who are searching for your products or services, your target audience only sees your competition.5. Integrate key information Incorporate key information such as images, videos, and special offers, to add interest and motivate potential customers to your business. Adding these to your listing brings in more value to your business and creates trust among your target customers.
The post 5 SEO Tips For Boosting Your Local Rankings With Perfect Mentions appeared first on SEO Chat.
Source: SEO Chat | 5 SEO Tips For Boosting Your Local Rankings With Perfect Mentions | 6 Jun 2015, 6:07 pm
The provider of affordable website hosting presents - Video SEO Basics: Infographic by @Shakr
Video is one of the most forgotten aspects of SEO today. We’ve know about the positive effects of incorporating video in your SEO strategy for a long time, but it is still something that a lot of people overlook when trying to rank their sites.
The fact is that video allows you to tap into the second largest search engine (YouTube), helps increase conversion rates, makes your brand stand out in Google search, and make your visitors engage more with your content, both on your site and on social media channels.
The guys over at Shakr, a video ad template startup, created this handy infographic about the 5 most important YouTube SEO tips that will help you rank your YouTube videos in Google SERPs. Have a look:
Featured SEO tool: Video Schema Generator
More on Youtube marketing:YouTube Video Search Ranking Factors: A Closer Look HOW TO: Increase Youtube Search Rankings (Weekly Q&A) How To Make Your YouTube Video Go Viral The Ultimate Guide to Proper Youtube Video Tagging
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