10/26/12
Google Penguin & The Disavow Tool

broken linkIn April Google released it’s Penguin update. This was aimed at weeding out poor quality links and websites that have over optimised anchor text on the links. This has had far reaching affects both to the owners of the websites that have lost substantial traffic and the SEO industry in general.

We posted a blog in June about how to recover from the Penguin update and one of the most obvious things to do is to remove these poor links but that is easier said than done as by the very nature of these poor links you are unlikely to receive a response to any request to remove these links from the offending sites. So Google have release the disavow tool which can be found in Google Webmaster Tools and allows you to upload a list of URL’s so that any links from there will be discounted in Google’s ranking algorithm.

Good news you may say….. well yes hopefully but we can see immediately how this tool may be open to abuse.

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction

Google are constantly updating their algorithms with the intention of providing their customers with the best search results possible. But for every tweak they make someone will find a way of exploiting this. Years agoNewtons Cradle when blogs first started to appear Google saw a link from a blog as being very powerful as they were seen as links coming from a site which was somebody’s personal opinion and therefore very relevant. The result of this was that a cottage industry set up with sites where you could go and buy blog posts with a link for specific anchor text on blogs with a Page Rank of your choosing – the higher the Page Rank the higher the cost of the link.

The value of a lot of these sort of links have long been discounted by Google but the Penguin update has pushed things to the next level by ensuring that these links actually poison your site. One of the main concerns about this action by Google is that it opens the door for people to negatively affect the rankings of their competitors by creating sites and creating over optimised links to their competitors sites.

The problem with the disavow tool

So Google have released a tool to help us get rid of those pesky links surely that is a good thing isn’t it? Well apart from the fact that by using this tool it could be seen as an admission of guilt by Google there are a number of other concerns within the industry. Yes you can only use the tool within Webmaster Tools where you are the verified owner of the domain so that prevents other from using the tool to discount your links but it opens the floodgates for sites that have made it easy to get back links to be penalised, web 2.0 sites, forums, blogs with open comments etc and if those sites have been penalised that bad ‘link juice’ with flow through to any sites that have links from them even if they were genuine comments, forum threads etc. It also allows for competitors to build links to their site from a site that you have links from and then disavow them and negatively affect your rankings.Google Disavow Tool

So what should I do?

In terms of your competitors using this tool and the penguin update to negatively affect your site that isn’t something you have a lot of control over and it is Googles lookout to ensure that this issue is kept to a minimum. But if you’ve received bad links warnings, been denied reconsideration or been penguinised then this tool gives you the opportunity to get things back on track, but be careful, use conservatively and only use as a last resort after the normal channels of communication to try and get the links removed have been exhausted.

If you don’t have a Webmaster Tools account which is imperative to running a healthy site, or you would like any help with any of the issues discussed here or  then give us a ring on 0115 896 7715

09/06/12
How to recover from Google’s Penguin and Panda Updates

Has your website been pecked by Penguin or pawed by Panda? Here are a few tips on how to get your websites listings back on track. First off, what is Google Penguin and Panda? These are two new algorithms that were introduced in April 2012, and have caused a lot of problems for websites all over the Web.These algorithms put tighter guidelines on the optimization of websites and tweaked a number of methods used for web spam, including keyword stuffing, cloaking, unnatural links and content spinning.

google panda penguin 300x213 How to recover from Googles Penguin and Panda Updates

Contrary to what many of us think (and what it feels like), Google’s aim isn’t to run amuck with algorithm updates and discipline every site until they are the only ones left on the internet. They just yearn for the web to be a better place, and want to provide their users with the best websites for their desired search and they do this by pushing sites who do things right and by the book to the top of the SERPS.

To ensure that your website is not penalized by future algorithms, here is what you can do to help, and what you should avoid:

1. Build up your content

Add a blog that you can update regularly. Have a news section so you can tell your clients what’s new and what’s changing. Any of these ideas are useful and if you can think of any more ways to boost your content, then go for it! Good, rich content will always keep you in Googles good books, but a word of warning, don’t plagarise, it must be unique

2. Make use of Google Analytics and Webmaster tools

These two applications give us an insight into where our websites do best. From which search results give us the most traffic, to the bounce rate of the visitors that arrive on our websites. This is like a look into the belly of the beast, and with Webmaster tools assisting you with your errors; you’ll be well on your way. If you need help setting up analytics or webmaster tools or require some training then please give us a ring on 0115 896 7715.

3. Keep an eye on your keywords

Too much optimisation can definitely be a bad thing. Having too much repetition of a keyword is is counted as spam, so here are a few tweaks you can make to ensure you’re keeping your keywords relevant and organic;

Use relevant pictures on your website, and make sure you’ve filled in their ALT tags. By using relevant images, the ALT tags should include your keywords.

Know what keywords you want to use and incorporate them into your content, not the other way around. This can make your content look suspicious and could result in penalization.

4. Expand your link construction

Back in the day, as soon as everybody found out that using keywords in the anchor text of links and back links reaped huge dividends in where you ranked, they soon rushed to stuff their links with keywords. Stopping keywords stuffing and link spamming is exactly what these two algorithms are designed to do, so try to think of different ways to get your keywords into your links. Why not try using Non-descriptive links? Having links like: “Click here!” “Visit us here!” using an image but with a relevant alt tag are great ways to include your keywords whilst keeping your layout looking natural.

5. Definitely avoid Spamming, Spinning and Cloaking

Cloaking is creating a different version of your website and submitting it to search engines and clients in order to improve rankings. Content spinning is taking one of your already live blog articles, copying it, making a few slight changes and submitting it. This isn’t posting new content and therefore qualifies as trying to play Google’s ranking systems.

If you need help recovering from any of Google recent updates or would like a days training on Search Engine Optimisation/inbound marketing to help increase your business visibility on the web then ring us on 0115 896 7715, email us on hello@landingnet.co.uk or fill out out contact form

05/03/12
Optimizing Search Engine Marketing For Small Businesses

Swathe of Changes

The recent swathe of changes and developments in the Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Industry has left many of the most vulnerable businesses teetering on the brink. Owners of small businesses, who often exist in the smallest of margins, can ill afford to have weeks or months of uncertainty with how their businesses or products are being promoted through web giants like Google. Unfortunately that is precisely what has happened recently and left many diminutive companies looking at their vacuous joint account balances and wondering how they can stabilize their income in what is often a mesmerizing tide of misinformation.

Re-indexing and BuildMyRankgoogle penguin

The recent algorithm readjustments and re-indexing which occurred across the entire Google database has caused much confusion. Particularly disconcerting for many were the changes which occurred for the BuildMyRank Blog, which stimulated in excess of a million ‘unnatural’ link alerts for websites.

Matt Cutts Comments

Coupled with this was the wave of speculation which occurred as a result of comments made by the head of Google’s Webspam team, Matt Cutts, about the issue of over-optimization on business websites. On the back of these comments Google published information about their new algorithm designed to handle webspam. They believe this new feature will combat promotional tactics like spun content and keyword stuffing. The results are yet to be seen but for many small businesses, that do not have the flexibility in their business models, waiting for these results may spell disaster, and in the interim period their businesses might disappear altogether.

What Exactly Do The New Rules Mean For Companies?

Certainly things have moved on significantly this year and are a considerable step up from the Panda update of 2011, where the target for removal was low quality content that had been machine generated and altered. The question now is ‘Is it still possible for small businesses to access the traffic provided by the web giant?’ The answer is yes, but there are some key features which must be built in to your web presence before this can happen.

The First step is Diversification

For an effective approach to SEM small businesses need to look seriously at how they can fragment their approach. Those that have had to learn theseo penalty hard way from the recent changes have pointed to an over emphasis on link building within one blog network. There is no guarantee that these are not vulnerable and might result in your website being completely removed from Google searches. In order to ensure your business is Google proof in this respect an alternate array of marketing strategies is key. In addition to having a website which is not likely to fall foul of search engine optimization there are other aspects to promotion which should be developed. It is important to ensure you have a strategy to develop business even if Google axes your links. Using customer reviews, email marketing and development of social media links can provide a strong range of alternative sourcing for your business.

Getting Involved

There are many solid examples of where getting involved seriously enhances the prospects for maintaining and expanding a business portfolio. For many small businesses social media is regarded as a sideshow distraction from the real source of business on the web. The recent shift in how people use their social media means that this area can now generate significant traffic and in the case of small businesses may be sufficient to sustain or grow the company.

There are some tactics which can be employed to ensure that social media is effectively used. Collecting customer reviews is an excellent feature of social media marketing which is often neglected by small businesses. In addition talking in forums and writing guest posts on blogs shows a clear sense of involvement. These involvements leave back link footprints and are widely recognised as an effective part of a successful SEM strategy.

Focus on the End-User

This is a tactic which can help ensure your pages are bookmarked and ensure the return of traffic not just for products but for in

google penguin and panda

formation. It is essential that you create a web presence which has your client in mind and not just as a marketing vehicle. The perceived wisdom here is to use something that your customers will find educational, informative or entertaining. All businesses have wisdom to share; a builder can upload a DIY video, accountancy firms can include tax code information. This sort of marketing will leave your website on the positive side of the search engine optimization line.