Google’s Latest Update Gives the Power Back to the Whitehats

In the last few days, Google has rolled out yet another update to their search algorithm, and it’s one that promises to reward ‘high quality’ websites. The change will reportedly affect just 3% of English language web searches (as opposed to the 10% that the Panda update hit a year or ago), and is designed expressly to weed out so-called ‘spammy’ websites and those that exist to take Black Hat SEO V White Hat SEOadvantage of Google’s ranking system.

Who is affected by the change?

This is great news for honest hard-working webmasters and terrible news for practitioners of blackhat SEO. Even in their post announcing the update, Google’s Matt Cutts gives examples of the types of websites that will be negatively affected – including sites that are stuffed with keywords and others that offer no real value to visitors. The ‘made for Adsense’ sites that you see dotted around the web are the types of websites that will no longer be making an appearance in Google’s index – and that’s great news not only for honest website owners, but also for the people searching – because quality content will once again rise to the top. The new algorithm update applies to all websites regardless of niche or industry, so whether that be a truck insurance company running a logistics site or a fashion blog, the same rules will be in place from now on.

How whitehats will benefit from the update

Google has said time and time again that the very best way to achieve search engine success is to add quality, unique content that people will actually want to read. Every change that Google makes to their algorithm is another step towards this objective, and this update is no exception. Because of the way that Google ranks sites, there has been a large focus on generating huge volumes of backlinks for sites. In fact, all you have to do is hop onto a site like Fiverr to see how many people are selling thousands of backlinks for just a few dollars. The problem lies in the fact that these are almost always spammy backlinks that do nothing but make a site look much worse in Google’s eyes. These lazy and cheap blackhat solutions very often result in being penalised by Google and losing rankings. Whitehat SEO practitioners on the other hand, who work hard to generate real backlinks from other relevant sites, will benefit from a boost in the rankings now that all (or at least some) of the spam has been filtered out.

What does this mean for ongoing SEO efforts?

The message that Google is giving out couldn’t be clearer: if you want to rank highly in their search engine, you need to play by the rules. That means that any SEO effort that has cut corners, either by generating spammy backlinks or using private blog networks (like the now de-indexed BuildMyRank), will be punished (fairly, some would say), whereas ‘genuine’ tactics will be rewarded. All of the sites out there that pay their writers a fair wage to generate quality unique

slash wears a black hat

Slash might be a brilliant guitarist but don't let him near your website with a hat like that!

content should see a benefit from this update. This doesn’t mean that articles can’t still be optimised for search engines; of course they can. It simply means that obviously blackhat tactics like keyword stuffing and spamming backlinks will result in de-indexing. Articles can still be written with a keyword or phrase in mind, and still have the same levels of keyword densities – you just need to be careful to keep within Google’s guidelines and focus on quality, not quantity.

How to avoid being penalised by future algorithm updates

If you’re worried about this update, or about any that Google may implement in the future, you could well benefit from a quality SEO service like the one we offer here at LandingNet. The service is all about employing legitimate SEO tactics that stay firmly in the ‘whitehat’ camp while still achieving the search rankings boost you’re looking for. We’ll make sure that your site stays on Google’s good side. The world of SEO has always been one that changes on a dime, so being on board with a service like ours can help give you the confidence and peace of mind you need to climb the rankings without risking the longevity of your web presence.

Don’t Get Caught With Your Hand In The Cookie Jar – A Guide To The Cookie Law

cookie monsterYou’ve probably heard a lot about the new cookie law that is due to come in on May 26th 2012. But what exactly does it mean to you and what do you need to do as a website owner to comply with it and what might happen if you don’t?

In 2009 the EU who are responsible for a number of totally crazy directives that don’t seem to benefit anyone passed yet another ridiculous directive regarding cookies. A directive isn’t law but it forces member  states to create their own laws. All the member states were meant to do this by 2011 but this one is so ridiculous that only a couple have complied so there was a stay of execution. It is being brought in to try and protect peoples online privacy by ensuring that when someone visits a website they are aware of how that site collects information about them and allows them to choose whether it happens or not.

What Is A Cookie

Cookies can take a number of forms with the 2 main ones being session cookies and persistant cookies and 92% of websites use them. Session cookies are stored in a computers memory only during that browsing session. They allow the browser to remember details, for instance when you fill in a multi-page form it ensures that the information is carried from one page to another and any preferences that you set are retained. This information is automatically deleted when the browser is closed or is inactive for a certain amount of time. These are essential to our everyday browsing and are the basis of how functionality like shopping carts operate. They have a session ID  and aren’t personally identifiable, they don’t collect information from the users computer and aren’t really of concern regarding privacy.

Persistent or permanent cookies on the other hand are stored on your hard drive by a website and are not deleted when the browser is closed. When you visit a website your actions and preferences are recorded, packaged up into a cookie and then stored on your PC so that when you next visit that site the information can be retrieved and amongst other things they are used to analyse the behaviour of the individual on the website, pages visited, how long they spent on each page and how many times they revisited the site etc. They are usually configured to be retained for long periods of time and it is these cookies that are of concern when it comes to privacy.

Isn’t The Internet A Spooky Place

As you surf the web you may have come across a lot of spooky coincidences. You’re interested in buying a certain car for instance and go and have a look at it on a website. Then over the next few weeks you’ll see an ad for that car pop up all over the place. “Wow that’s spooky”, no it’s not that’s a well placed cookie! Google remarketing allows you to show ads to people who have visited your site across the whole of their display network, which comprises all of the sites where you can buy Google ads such as AdSense, DoubleClick Ad Exchange partners, YouTube, Google Finance, Gmail, Google Maps, and Blogger! An exceptionally powerful advertising medium as I’m sure you’ll agree and if you’ll like to learn more about Google Pay Per Click advertising then drop us a line and we can have a chat.

So What Does This Mean

Not all cookies are of concern but the 2 main areas are for tracking website statistics and for targeted ads. As a website owner you have the following options:

   1. Stop Using Cookies – this is just not practical. Tracking visitor statistics using a package such as Google Analytics is essential for improving your visitors experience on yourkeep calm and don't worry about the cookie law website and the value of your website to your business. It is a ‘win win’ situation and allows you to analyse which pages people are interested in and which they are not and constantly improve your content and asess whether your users are primarily on mobile, tablets, high resolution monitors etc and allow you to fine tune your website to benefit the user. We are just touching on the benefits of analytics to both you and your user and to do away with this information would cause internet development to totally stagnate. If you don’t have analytics on your site then ring us on 0843 289 0120 or email us and we can get it set up straight away.
   2. Ask For Permission – you could do this in a number of ways but they are all intrusive and annoying and guaranteed to put your visitors off your site. We have come a long way since the days of being bombarded by pop ups and do we really want to go down that route again? The ICO who are the office for data protection and freedom of information have a banner at the top of the site asking for your permission to use cookies before you enter the site and a link to another page which displays details of their cookies. But you will notice that even if you don’t tick the checkbox to give your permission you can still navigate through the site! This makes a complete farce of the whole thing – does that mean you can put it in tiny letters tucked away in the footer of your site? So all this leads me to the 3rd option.
   3. Keep Calm  And Carry On – not complying to the law could carry a maximum fine of £500,000 but it is unlikely this will ever be enforced and if it is it will be with a high profile site such as the BBC. I wouldn’t possibly dream of advising you to break the law but feel that most people including myself will ‘sit it out’ and see what happens. In my opinion cookies are an important aspect of the modern day internet that benefits us in so many ways and to be without them would leave us with nothing to dunk in our tea!

Difference Between SEO For Google And SEO For Bing

Google and Bing: The Background

For many years now, Google has been the most popular search engine for people around the world. Bing is one of the most used search engines after Google and is considered to be a rival especially with their partnership with Facebook. Though the popularity of Google is so much that the noun has become synonymous with the verb ‘search’, there is still hope left for Bing. Since the algorithm is different, the techniques used for search engine optimization also vary for Google and Bing.Google Vs Bing SEO


The first thing we consider while differentiating between Google and Bing is demographics. Bing is not popular everywhere in the world but its user base is mainly from the USA. Also, Bing users are usually Microsoft customers that use Internet Explorer as their browser with the default search engine as Bing.

Traffic Sources

Both search engines get traffic to their home page in differing ways. Google is a household name and gets a lot of direct traffic that comes from simply typing the website name into the browser address bar. Bing on the other hand, gets as much as 21% of it’s traffic from MSN as opposed to Google traffic which comes from a lot more sources and websites compared to Bing and it doesn’t have dependency on any particular website for its traffic.

The Algorithms

Bing search results are influenced by whether the page is linked to MSN pages or not. If not, it may not show as high on Bing’s SERPs, even if it is more relevant to the search phrase. Google on the other hand has an incredibly complex and advanced algorithm and Google users expect to find impartial information on the site. They like the intelligent Google search engine and are not looking for reference to other sites while using it.

Monetization and Site Credibility

However, if you are looking for paid ads Users using Bing and Yahoo are more likely to click on advertisements and hence if you are looking to implement a paid search campaign, Bing may be a good choice for you. Google tends to collate information from a wider variety of sites like forums and blogs better than Bing, is more intelligent and identifies the relevancy a lot better than Bing which brings back matches that are primarily based on word matching.

These are just a few general observations about the differences between optimisation for Google and Bing and since the search algorithms are constantly being updated you need to spend many hours a week just to keep up with the industry or employ the services of online marketing specialists who are constantly monitoring the trends and changing world of search marketing.

About the author: Alyssa Clarke is a blogger who also happens to be a tech buff. She is always on a look out for latest tech stuff and is currently hunting for some cool Macbook air accessories and an Android PDF reader.