SEO is a moving target at best! And, myths whirl though this industry like no other! We at SEONitro don't believe what we hear, but only what we test. This is where we report and discuss the happenings in our industry as well as our test results. Please feel free to praise, argue, or just rattle on about YOUR point of view. It is all good. :-)
Released on October 4th, we are still looking and studying the winners and losers to figure out "exactly" what Google targeted.
Josh Bachynski has put out a great 33 minute video explaining what is becoming apparent for him and what you can do to recover. (besides starting over! lol)
I have another friend that has told me that his old school super spammy sites that got hit back in March 2012 completely recovered the same day that his quality sites got penalized. These old spam sites jumped into the top 10 although he deleted all of their content and let them sit for 18 months. They had no content (they were blank wordpress pages) and they jumped from 10,000 to #2, 5, 6 overnight. (go figure!)
Back to Josh though, he commented to me earlier that "John Mueller leaked that Penguin 2.1 is harsher, more "critical", based on the links that white hats were complaining Google missed last time (yes Google listen's to the complainers), it is an algo refresh and partial rewrite, which explains why it seemed to hit emq -> emd site like 2.0, but also the senuke style manual post site, that you need to disavow very aggressively to get rid of it, (but we have earlier conflicting data on that as well) or delete the backlinks, or target pages, it is page flag based"
Now about deleting those backlinks. Here we go again! Wouldn't it be nice if you could just go into one dashboard and click the delete button? (it's coming with SEONitro 2.0, stay tuned :-)
But until then, do the best you can, and consider moving the content on the page that was hit, creating new page, and deleting the old page.
Will the new page automatically rank? NO of course not, you have to build back up to that, but it at least you don't have to buy and brand new site and start over!
Some other interesting things Josh says in the video is that John Mueller says "Backlinks NEED TRAFFIC!" I know a lot of us link to our links, but it may be prudent to start testing sending actual traffic to the page that has the link lives on and even maybe click on the link. Hmmm
How was it for you? Anything to add to the conversation? Let us know below! :-)
Ok, you may or may not of seen Matt Cutt's video he posted on May 13th but once again, he is telling us about how "deep" this next Penguin update will be.
When I listen to Matt, he seems like such a nice trust-worthy type of guy, but I just can't help from thinking, that is exactly what Google wants us to think! LOL
And, Cutt's has already once before warned us of a "jarring and jolting" Penguin update that was to take place last year. (http://www.seroundtable.com/google-penguin-warning-15577.html) The update happened on Oct 5th, 2012 and well, it was a smooth ride.
So, when he made THAT statement "last year," could he have really been referring to what Google is internally calling "Penguin 2.0" that he just announced to be rolling out in next couple of weeks?
Could be. But, my gut tells me, it may be more of the same and hit the sites that are doing the same ole linking patterns that got the first round of sites penalized last year. You know the ones, the ones that used exact match anchor text over and over again, or just as obvious, partial matches of about 10 keywords.
For example, I just arbitrarily Google'd "weight loss" and look at this site... 123-weightloss.com ranks on the FIRST page of Google for these major monster weight loss keywords that they are hitting incredibly hard with links! Below is a screenshot from LinkDensity (that by the way is a great tool for competitive research!) that shows the percentage of incoming links to 123-weightloss.com with the anchor text being used. They have heavily targeted about a dozen keywords and are ranking for ALL but one, not to mention the variations and derivative keywords that fall inline with this type of linking campaign.
I scratch my head thinking, well this is an obvious SEO'd site! lol But, look, TODAY at this very moment, it is working and working VERY WELL!
But again, my guts says once Penguin runs again no matter what update they call it, (http://searchengineland.com/google-matt-cutts-penguin-update-158980) we are going to see these types of sites fall like we saw them fall a year ago with the Panda 3.3 on Feb 27 and Penguin 1 on April 24.
I mean, come on, whomever owns this site is not even doing any buffering, barely any type of decent (as in well made) sites linking to them, but they do have sites with a ton of PageRank and MajesticSEO Trust Flow. (Here is a lint to a short video I did further examining the site on a side note: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6bj_jN2A-0)
I have had many people tell me, "oh Dori, don't be so pessimistic about exact/partial match keywords! Sites are ranking all the time doing it." And I would always say back, yeah and I bet they didn't started ranking until AFTER the last Penguin update! And proof here with this site as well. The last Penguin update was Oct 5th and guess what, MajesticSEO shows all the inbound linking taking place right after!
So... ahem.. and again, I bet this site disappears after the next Penguin Update. But does that mean that the next Penguin will do more damage then it already has? I just can't imagine! It may however turn Penguin into more of a recurring event so we "can't" do the quick churn and burn model that this site is doing by hitting it quick and hard and having a hay day for about 8 months! But, it sure is worth giving it a go AFTER the next update! lol
I also just want to comment that this site has AGE (first resisted in 2002!). It was probably purchased in the Auctions before it dropped and boom, all that "Who is" age stays along with it as well as archive.orgs. It was a Herbalife consultant that use to own this and I highly doubt it was her who did this incredible "go for it" SEO job! lol
But back to Matt Cutt's video. Let's look at what he has to say, he starts out the video with what SEOs should be doing and that is..
And then he goes into Penguin and says..
"We are relatively close to deploying the next generation of Penguin and internally what we call Penguin 2.0 (Dori: what, I thought we were up to Penguine 4.0) and again Penguin is a webspam change that is dedicated to finding Blackhat webspam (Dori: now remember, anything YOU do to try and modify your rankings is against Google's terms and conditions and is now considered BlackHat!) and try to target it and address that. So this one is a little more comprehensive then Penguin 1.0 and we expect to go deeper and have a little bit more of an impact then the original version of Penguin." (Dori: rut row, I can't imagine it going "deeper?")
He also talked about NEW Link Analysis..
"We are also looking at some ways to go upstream to deny the value to link spammers, (Dori: this makes me think they may possibly devalue PageRank? or?) for people who spam links in various ways, we've got some nice ideas and trying to make sure that THAT becomes less effective, and so we expect that will roll out in the next few months as well. (Dori: and since they seemingly still go after blog networks and link sellers manually, this tells me 1) those activities still work to rank sites, and 2) they may have something in the hopper that will combat this algorithmically, which "I" would RATHER deal with actually! lol)
And if fact we are working on a completely different system that does more sophisticated link analysis, we are still in the early days of that but are pretty excited, we have some data that were are ready to start munching and see whether that bears fruit or not." (Dori: so something that may or not bear fruit but telling us about it for a good scare factor.)
Then some GOOD NEWS on Panda..
"We have also been looking at Panda and seeing if we can find some additional signals and we think we have some to help refine things for sites that are kinda in the boarder zone, in the grey area a little bit, so if we can soften the effect a little bit for those sites that have some additional signals of quality that will help some sites that might of previously be affected to some degree by Panda." (Dori: I am SO happy to hear they are going back and fine tuning this so perhaps some of us that were unfairly hit may come back!)
Another topic that was actually in the middle of the video was the idea of Google going after "Advertorials." I thought this was interesting because I had been long planning a blog post title "Guess Who is Selling Links and Getting Away With It?"
A couple months ago I had found some pretty big news media selling text link ads and giving them full DO FOLLOW links from NICE PageRank pages. You can see for yourself, (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/national/usstatesterritoriesandpossessions/texas/index.html) and even though I could of and probably should still write an entire post on how the "Big Guys" get away with not only selling links, but clearly BUYING links with NO penalty what-so-ever, but I will just post this one example for now.
If you download any of the major media's ad specs you are going to see different types of display ads along with "hyperlink text" in the notes, meaning, they get a "link" with "anchor text" in it!
Look at this, here is a beautiful New York Times page that is a PageRank 7 that has what they are calling "Texas Navigator" resources, and one can argue for example that since "Whole Foods," and "Neiman Marcus" both have their national head quarters in Texas that these links are appropriate even though they just go directly to non-Texas landing pages. However, the New York times is not stupid and they know how to place links, either purchased through their advertorial department or other concessions, the placement of such are no doubt under the radar paid links. I mean, why even have a "Texas Navigator" with links that go off-site? Duh! They are PAID!
What makes it even more notable is that it isn't like they don't know how to use the "No Follow" tag as they us it on 95% of links that go directly back inside the site, but interestingly leave it out on links going outside of their site, thus, sculpting the PageRank to flow to you know who, their undisclosed advertisers! (Like I said, they aren't stupid! lol)
Below, Cutt's says they are going to be "a little bit stronger on enforcement on advertorials that violate our quality guidelines." If they really mean it, then they would and will go after the obvious big guys, but my guess is that is it more scare tactics for the little folk.
"We have also been looking at Advertorials that is native advertising that violate quality guidelines, so again, if someone pays for coverage or an ad, those ads should NOT flow PR, we have seen a few sites in the US and around the world that take money that do link to websites and do pass PageRank. So we will be looking at some efforts to be a little bit stronger on enforcement on advertorials that violate our quality guidelines. (Dori: I just gave you one example! We sill be watching. :-)
Now there is nothing wrong with advertorials or native advertising but they should not flow PageRank and there should be clear and conspicuous disclosures so users realize that something is paid and is not organic or editorial."
So bottom line with the Cutt's Video is that linking is still working or they wouldn't be going after it, AND, for those of you that don't think paid links work or it is just the scummy BlackHatter's doing it, you may want to think again.
I DO think we are going to see another annihilation round with the next Penguin Update, but after last years folly the guys that are doing the quick churn and burn know exactly what they are doing and are laughing at us that they got away with it for 8 months!;-)
Onward and Upward!
Dori Friend :-)
Google Guy Matt Cutts just uploaded a video to try to "debunk" the myth that they sent out over 700,000 un-natural link notices.
He says that over 600,0000 of THOSE notices were for "black hat!" And only about 25k were for UN-natural linking the myth that they sent out over 700,000 un-natural link notices.
He says that over 600,0000 of THOSE notices were for "black hat!" And only about 25k were for UN-natural linking. Here is the video.
So I am wondering... what the heck does THAT "Black Hat" message look like?
We sure have a TON of examples of the famous "UN-Natrual" link notice but where are the "black hat" notice examples? What do they look like? What do they say?
If you got one, please post it here!
But I am thinking most Black Hatter's don't put their sites in Google WebMaster Tools so those notices to them probably went unread! I mean, come on, if you were doing Black Hat, would YOU put your site in the cross-hairs of Google? I know I wouldn't and didn't! lol
So, I thought, ok, let's see if one of my de-indexed blogs got a notice, so I found one that was still up (no content on it any longer) and see if it had gotten a notice. And sure enough, it did! But there is NOTHING in this letter that says anything about Black Hat!
So if this is the notice he is referring to, and they sent them out to all the blog network sites, then that would mean there were about 600,000 sites that were doing the "grievous" job of ranking those 25k customers? LOL
My old networks only account for 20k of those, and as far as I know, I lost the most, so who else got hit in large quantities? Or was it just thousands smaller network owners? But then again, can we ever believe what comes out of Matt Cutts? Let me know what YOU think below. And please, if you got a message in Jan--March that wasn't a Link Notice, let's see it!
p.s. And how totally uncool he would wear a Panda t-shirt on one of these videos! The below comment says it all and I totally agree..
"I really don't think it is very funny the wearing of penguin and panda stuff. People have been drastically hurt and business destroyed by these updates. In many cases I have seen the webmaster doing nothing at all wrong with the websites from a algorithm perspective." -Jaan Kanellis
And for that, Matt wins the ___________ award! Again, you can fill in the blank! http://seosmurfs.com/
p.s.s. Now for the "Shameless Plug." SeoNitro's Network is Closed to new people, but we are making buffer site networks to help keep your money sites safe. Click on the graphic below for more details on Buffer Site Networks.
Lisa Parmley of InlineSEO.com asked to do an interview with me, so I had so much fun ranting about Google, I thought I would post it here so we can all either rant together, or argue about what is coming next! LOL
Here it is..
Lisa: Hi, I really appreciate you taking the time to give me an interview. That was really nice of you to reply to my email so quickly! I asked a few questions here, I know my readers would be interested in as much detail as you're willing to share.
Q. I know you've been doing SEO for a long time, exactly when did you first get started running an online business?
Q. If you're willing to share it, what was the first business idea you put together?
Back in 1985 when the MAC came out (and yes that dates me! Lol) I was heavily into HyperCard, which was the FIRST piece of software that used “hyperlinks.” (can you imagine? Lol) I created a product called MACINFO.
It was just a directory of Macintosh products of the day but the novel thing was that you could “link” and “jump” around and get to information you wanted, so it was non-linear, which WAS pretty novel at the time! lol.
Two MORE novel things about that that first product was ..
1) I was sent a cease and desist letter for using “hyperlinks” by the guy who had the patent on it (Apple squashed that pretty quick) and,
2) at the first HyperCard conference where I was showing my wares, my booth was next to the guys who did a pretty cool animated product that eventually turned into the best selling game “Mist!”
Q. Did you start out with SEO right away as your favorite source of traffic?
Actually, I think I started out buying PPC traffic for TheLogoGuru, But in 2002 I had gotten heavily into SEO with a buddy of mine. Together, we created a piece of software that let us put sites and content up in MASS!
This is in the day when on-page optimization was all you needed, so it was typical for us to put up 50k page sites and crank in long tail traffic in hordes! We had been doing well with affiliate stuff at Commission Junction but when Adsense came to town, it quadrupled our income almost overnight and we dance a jig for 3 years on that business model! ;-)
So yeah, you could say SEO was my favorite source of traffic right from the start. :-)
Q. Compared to what getting top rankings were like when you first got started, what do you see as the biggest changes to SEO over the last decade?
Wow, well, the biggest “change(s)” I have seen in that last decade have all happened in the last 6 months! I mean, things are always changing, SEO has always been a moving target even on a good day, but the last 6 months have been just horrendously HUGE. But since the infamous “Florida” update, things changed at a lower pace then what has just happened to the industry.
And those gosh awful “un-natural link notices!” Oye!
It is almost like we are turning full circle back to 2003-04 where on-page optimization counts as much as incoming links.
From about 2007 to six months ago, I didn’t give a squat about ANYTHING on-page! I could rank what I wanted just by using inbound links.
Even, if there was NO content on the page let alone “quality” content! Lol (that by the way was another HUGE myth Google had everyone chasing for years, that content was king, cause back then in SEO, LINKS were KING, period! ) And to some extent they still are, but Google has really up’ed their game so now there is an ever-increasing amount of variables that we didn’t seem to have to pay as much attention to back then. And, on-page is back.
I had always paid attention to title tags, but now we have to really pay attention to ad to content ratios, bounce rate, time on site, inner linking over optimization and an entire line up of Panda disqualifiers.
Off-page, we are calculating things like “link density” and “referral ratios” for the first time. This is stuff we (or I should say “I”) would never give the time of day before.
Q. Do you have any funny stories of ranking? Like a site you built that should have never ranked, but was getting out-of-control awesome rankings in the search engines? Would you care to share what top rankings for a particular key phrase or phrases have meant to you in terms of money?
OMG I have some GREAT ones right now!! But unfortunately I can’t share with your reader’s cause the data is reserved for my workshop attendees in September, but I will say this, it goes against, everything Google says is true. Crazy insane stuff even “I” didn’t believe until I saw it with my own eyes!
But, as far as rankings for super killer keywords go?
I have had my share of page one monster terms, like “blinds,” “payday loans,” “cover letter,” “area rugs,” “slipcovers,” “weight loss,” etc.. But it is my SeoNitro clients that REALLY hit them and of course I can’t share those, but I do have a funny story about one that a customer was trying to hit for a killer keyword.
It was for the keyword “Toner.”
I was sitting at the bar (which I do lol) at one of the industry events and was talking to this guy next to me and he asked me my name and I said, Dori. He then said, “oh, do you know a gal named Dori Friend?” and I said, “well as a matter of fact.. I do.” Lol
He then preceded to give me a 30 minute dissertation on Dori Friend’s system SeoNitro and how it didn’t get his site to page one for “Toner” after a couple of months and so he angrily quit and signed up with Brian Horn (whom by the way is actually a friend of mine, in my seo mastermind group and will be speaking at my event in September!) and that Brain was SO amazing he ranked his site on page one in the matter of weeks.
I listened to EVERYTHING he had to say and took it ALL in! I mean how often to you get a customer’s viewpoint like that, it was SO unfiltered! Remember, we were AT the bar and this guy was drinking!! Lol
And then, I paused and looked at him, and I said, “You DO know I AM Dori Friend right?” Lol And, OMG he turned 50 shades of purple!! LOL it was actually pretty funny. He really didn’t put together that I was THAT Dori! Lol He felt SO bad for saying all the things he said about me not knowing it was me but I just thanked him! It was actually the best “take home” from that event for me!
Then later, I then went up to Brian and ask him how in the hell did he rank that guy so fast for “toner” and he said, “Not much.. you had already done all the heavily lifting for me!”
And THAT is SEO for ya! Ya win some, ya lose some! LOL
Q. It seems to me that Google is really learning toward brands, almost every health search I do anymore has webmd and the mayoclinic near the top. Do you think there's still room for the little guys (and girls)? And if so what's the best strategy for them?
Yeah, when this all started, SEO gave the little guy a chance to compete and more often out compete the BIG Corporations. And THAT is what really made SEO so fun and exciting! For the first time, small business were able to show up on the national level and bring in customers from all over the world.
It totally gave the middle class a bump and I don’t understand how Eric Schmidt, (Google’s CEO) can go on record for “being” for small businesses, when it is obvious that they just kicked small business’s teeth in!
Even Google’s poster child for Adsense, “AsktheBuilder.com” has come out to say Google’s changes have nearly destroyed their business. And these are the guys Google gave us as a THE example for a great Adsense Model.
So, room for the little guy?
Yes, I believe so. We just have to “look” like the big guy now! Remember, GoogleBot is still just a spider sending back information to the mother-ship. So, the game is the same as it always has been, to feed the BOT whatever flavor of the day it is. LOL
Q. What do you think are the top mistakes small business owners are making when it comes to getting high rankings?
In no particular order..
-wasting time taking links down because they got an un-natural linking notice
-linking “just” to their homepage
-linking with the same anchor text over and over again (over optimization on exact match terms)
-not linking to their site using their Brand and URL in the anchor text
-not linking to their inner pages (which coincides to many just to home page)
-not paying attention to on-page optimization (never thought I would be saying THAT! Lol)
-listening to Google
Q. What are your top 3 methods for getting links?
1) Blog Networks (of course) lol
2) Press Releases (which FYI for the exception of about 145 major news pick-ups you can get with the $200 paid release at PRWeb, news sites are really just glorified blog networks)
Q. You're so tapped into the SEO industry; I bet you can give some pretty good predictions. Where do you see the SEO industry in 2 years?
Well I don’t know if you can listen to me on predictions! LOL Cause I would of never in a million years predicted the things Google has just done to the industry in such a short amount of time. But, ok, I will give it a stab. LOL
I think by this time next year the SEO industry will have caught up with the changes that have occurred in the last 6 months and once again have a standard “best practices” that work and work well again. We are coming really close to this already through all the testing we have been doing.
Then give it anther year to hit the two year mark and Google will probably do another switcheroo on us! Lol
And at the same time, I think more emphasis will be placed on multiple methods of generating free traffic with social media being at the forefront of that.
Q. What about 5 years?
I hope we will see the emergence of another significant search engine (or multiple) diluting Google’s current monopoly and ability to somewhat “control” the industry.
But Bing/Yahoo is slowly increasing in market share and then there the development of verticals like YouTube and Facebook. We don’t really see them so much as “search engines” now, but YouTube already generates a TON of free traffic from internal keyword searches for those who are ranking “just” in YouTube, so I think this is one of the types of venue of free traffic I mentioned above we will be seeing more SEO attention placed on.
Q. What are your predictions for Google Plus? Is it worth the typical small business owner's time to get started on it or will it fizzle out?
Jury is still out. Lol
But, right NOW, I see more of a SEO factor to ranking on Google with Facebook shares and likes. And, that could change, that is just at THIS moment in time a TON of Google Plus’s seems to be over optimizing a bit so I wouldn’t go hog wild on getting them but instead focus Facebook shares and likes and probably more on shares.
Q. Google will supposedly come out with a link disavow tool. If so are you going to suggest people who've gotten unnatural links warnings to use it sparingly or just disavow pretty much everything linking back to their site?
Unless we have data that shows us that a webmaster regaining their rankings or show “any” type of improvement at all from using such a tool, I will say it’s a waste of time and don’t bother with it.
Now if such a tool does come out, we WILL test it and test the crap out of it to get our own data, and if I have to eat crow on the above statement, I will. Lol,
I just don’t put much credence into they un-natural linking hype. I just HAMMERED a site in one of my test using ONLY links from de-indexed blogs and I didn’t even GET the notice!! Talk about un-natural linking!! Lol So, until Google becomes more transparent to what that actually means, everyone who is reacting, is shooting in the dark.
Q. Do you trust what Matt Cutts says?
HAHAHA Trust? Hmm. Let’s say this, I trust that he has Google’s back (of course) and tows the line with industry rhetoric that places the fear of you know who into webmasters and plays them like a fiddle. Do I believe ANYTHING that comes out of his mouth? Mostly no.
And like I said above, I have data that I would just LOVE to share with your readers, (but can’t) that goes directly against what Google and Matt Cutts tell us.
So, I will say this, learn how to read between the lines and “really,” only listen to test results rather then hear-say, EVEN (or ESPECIALLY) when it comes from the mother ship as THEY, like the rest of us, are looking out for numero uno. So unless you are a Google share holder (and a couple of my retired friends are! Lol) then that is NOT you, and is certainly not me! So test everything or become friends with people that DO.
And let me rant for a moment if you will.
Google was a start-up that depended on the grassroots efforts for publicity back in the day. They courted the SEO Professional. And it was the SEO Professional that in-part has been responsibly for Google’s success. We WERE the grassroots army that shouted from the rooftops to all offline business to GET ONLINE. Not only did we educate them on SEO we educated them on PPC. WE did that!! So for Google to come back and WACK us on the side of the head for continuing to do SEO is, well, incredibly distasteful and heartbreaking.
And for those who think you are “White Hat” and are a Google darling, think again. Except for making your site easier to crawl, ANYTHING you do to try to increase your rankings is considered “manipulating” the search engines and IS very much against Google’s terms and conditions!
So the very nature of SEO itself is now against Google’s terms and conditions!!
In a recent video I watch Matt Cutts say they weren’t against SEO and he then went on to explain the role of a SEO professional from “his” eyes.
What he described was a PPC, Conversion and Marketing expert. Three things I am NOT. Even though PPC is about traffic, it is NOT SEO and “conversion and marketing?” Paaaleese, those two, are NOT SEO!
And even though some SEO Professionals fit into the “Internet Marketing Professional” model and help small businesses out with all of that stuff, most of us JUST DO SEO, which equals going after and getting FREE TRAFFIC AND ORGANIC RANKINGS, plan and simple!
OK, stop me before I break something! Lol ;-)
Q. You've been a major player in the blog network arena (if not THE top player) and I know there has been a major shake-up. I'm sure you've got something cooking now like a better version of a blog network, or maybe even something completely different. What can we expect to see from you in the future?
Oh yeah, lots in the popper! And yep, better versions of blog networks OF COURSE, lol, as they are STILL work and they STILL work very well. And actually, since everyone is busy taking “down” their links (which I believe is doing more harm then good for them) we are having an easier time ranking new sites!
I am also building private networks for customers and will probably eventually create a monthly site package so people who can’t afford the pretty big chunk of change it costs to buy the sites for a major network, can grow it gradually.
I also have a super ninja Advanced SEO Workshop happening in September which is actually turning into a major SEO Event. J
Because I have most of the guys from my elite SEO Mastermind group (which by the way we all pay $2k a year to be in it, so it isn’t your average popsicle, Perry Belcher, Keith Baxter and Brian Horn put it together and pulled in best of the best in all areas of SEO!) the brain power in the room (and in the bar lol ;-) is going to be like no other SEO event that has ever been held. I am pretty excited for it!
And last but not least, we are also working on some tools. The first one to come out will be http://www.linkdensity.com which I built because “I” needed to know my anchor text link density and not tool was reporting it yet.
It was strange cause I felt something happening with links last year, so I actually had an earlier version of this that I was using last November. But now that it has become industry significant to NOT over-optimize your anchor text link density, I decided to fancy up the tool and release it.
It is still in beta and is still free right now, but probably won’t be for long as it costs a bundle in processing and pulling API information on all those links we are analyzing.
And then after all that, maybe.. I will go to Disneyland! ;-)
Again, thank-you so much for taking the time to answer these questions! I know my visitors will get a lot out of it.
Panda 3.8 rolled out on Monday, June 25th.
Even though there were some rumblings of ranking changes
over the weekend, Google swears they didn't roll it out
Did this impact you?
Sometimes our old ways come back to haunt us. I know they haunt me!!
For SO long I said that content did NOT matter! It was certainly NOT king, and I couldn't give a rats a** about it! I spouted that for about 5 years and even said with a chuckle "it may come back to haunt me. lol"
Well, it has, as those days are here as I now sit at my computer doing "on-page" competitive analysis, something I wouldn't of have even considered this time last year!
So, how many things are YOU still doing things that can be haunting you and possibly killing your site and you don't even know it?
Here is an interesting case study that had me a bit stumped at first glance. Why did he take such a beating in the rankings lately. As you can see in the screen shot below, my client was scoring higher (except for social signals) than everyone who was ranking for his keyword!
So, I headed on over to SEMRush in order to get an idea of when his traffic dropped, which might give me a clue to what algorithm change he might have been hit with. (NOTE: This site represents a real business with original content.)
The chart above tells me that he was hit by panda 2.5. No one really knows what algorithmic changes were changed on that one, but if you look at the chart below, you can see that his competitors were hit as well. The only difference is that he was also hit by Panda 3.3, but they were NOT!
So, I dug a little deeper into his off-page density stats and found out his link density was way OVER THE TOP for the his main keyword "NLP", which was probably hurting all of his other keywords with the term "NLPN in it.
(NOTE: NLP stands for Neuro-linguistic programming which is an approach to communication, personal development and psychotherapy created in the 1970s.)
And once again, here is another site that has a "Dead Link" ratio that is pretty high.
Of course, my advice, at this point, was to get his dead links down to 20% or lower and same for the keyword NLP (10% would be even better) and to get his brand/url links up, up, up to 20-30%
(NOTE: Just so you know, I am making these anchor link density recommendations on the premise of what the other sites in this market, for this particular keyword, are doing. In the video you will see the percentage as high as 17% for "NLP training" for the competition. I am making the 20% recommendation for getting his dead links down too and his brand links up to what I have seen from doing dozens of other competitive analysis', thus am generalizing on those two, as of yet I do not have a link type analysis on the competition, which is in process, but was not available at time of this publishing)
So, that gave me three pretty big flags to make recommendations on, but I still wasn't sure if THAT was all that was going on, as the other sites link density wasn't a TON better. So, I kept digging.
I do know from Eric Lancheres findings that anything with a bounce rate of 55% or higher is going to have a tough time ranking on the first page for any decent term and I didn't know my customers bounce rate so I decided to go look at his site to see how if I could get any clues from it.
What I found was, with all due respect, something that wasn't very compelling for me to get in and click on or even go deeper into the site. It also had duplicate images and static navigation, Two no no's post panda!
Now, I do want to mention that the site owner is in the middle of a site redesign and I don't know which of the above is new or old or if they are both old. So, he could be getting all his on-site post panda kinks all worked out, but..
THEN I FOUND THIS!
After going through his site, testing other things, I came upon a resource menu on the bottom of his home page that had 11 small numbered links going to inner pages. Guess what I found?
A LINK FARM!
It may have been considered "reciprocal linking" back in the day or even a very cool three-way link "scheme", but make no doubt about it, having this many out going links to non-themed sites is what unfortunately Google would now probably consider a "link farm."
And it gets worse.
All of those links use content (for link descriptions) that have been duplicated over and over again. So, his site is, unbeknownst to him, not only a link farm, it is a content farm as well. So, a Panda triple whammy!
- Over optimized link density
- Spam: housing a link/content farm that creates a high ratio of outbound links, which can also link to bad neighborhoods
- Duplicate Content: a BIG Panda no no
And remember Panda is a "site-wide" algorithmic qualifier. So, and this is important, it doesn't hurt just one page, it hurts them ALL!
So my simple note to him?
If you like this article and if it helped you then please, share it, like it and tweet it! Much Appreciated! :-)
However, it ain't cheap to get kicked in the pants and bound to the whipping post. lol At a cool $1k, you could get a VERY good bottle of wine or a fabulous dinner for 2, but if you are thinking that is a lot of money and are having a hard time making rent or your mortgage, you probably want to pass no matter how much you think my analysis is what you need to get back in the game.
There are NO guarantees in seo, especially now, and you would be better off watching the rich guys get hammered and learning what you can from their beatings and then apply to your sites.
On another note don't forget I am holding an Advanced SEO Training in September where I am not only going to to this type of stuff until everything in my brain is in your brain, I am also going to teach you how to build your very own link network with my proprietary software that let's you set it and forget it! That is until Google changes it's mind again about what signals it wants. But, this time you will be ready because you will have ALL of your links in your OWN CONTROL!
Did you see any change over the last couple of days in rankings?
Guys in my mastermind are telling me they got all improvements on it from sending 80% brand links to their clients sites. (means anchor text that just has the URL in it)
I myself, was doing a negative seo test and the site I was aiming at shot up to #2 for the term I was sending fiverr types links on, and it rose in all other positions for other keywords, so go figure. lol
And, remember that Yoast post that called Godaddy out on all those footer links they put on clients sites? Well, they are STILL ranking #3 for "web host."
No one really knows EXACTLY what metrics Penguin is dialing down, as it is really hard to tell since there are a couple of algorithmic cycles that are occurring and refreshes happen only once a month so testing takes an incredibly long time.
On one side we have the seo's that are certain that it is low quality links with excessive exact match anchor text,
(This article is proof how important it is to be in control of your own links!!)
and on the other hand we have seo's that are certain it has nothing to do with linking at all.
What do YOU think?
I want to hear how it is effecting YOU! Please comment below!
P.S. I have a Two-for-One Special this week on my Advanced SEO Workshop were we are diving into all of this with the latest test results in hand. I am also going to teach you how to build your own network so if you were like the guys in the webpronews article, you have complete control over you links and can turn them off at will!!
I have been asked a lot about what I think about the state of SEO, what others are saying about it, and if I think blog networks have a future.
And of course I do! Now more than ever. Google proved that by the massive de-indexing they did to the public ones. And, I am not alone on that thought.
First, because it is still really early since the recent Panda and Penguin updates, no one really knows "exactly" what to do (except for Google of course) as so many things have changed but there has been some great analytical data done on it in addition to the case studies I am going to share with you below. My personal favorite is MicroSiteMasters Is SEO Dead write-up on the Penguin, deriving at some interesting conclusions from looking at the data they had. (its a must read!)
Let's start here..
DID SOMETHING JUST CLICK IN YOUR HEAD? It should of, 'cause the JC Penny thing happened LAST YEAR!
I wrote that post Feb 24th, 2011!!
And of course that was the Panda 1.0 update and the Article Networks were hit HARD! The SEO community divided on the use of posting articles as a SEO benefit.
One year later, Article Network pages still don't appear on page 1 results as they once did, but links are proving to be as beneficial as they ever were in proper link density (more on link density later.)
So lesson #1. Deja vu!
One year later, the SEO community is taking another beating almost to the day! This time it is blog networks taking the brunt of the hit as everyone turn themselves in when Google sent out those dreaded "Un-natually Linking" emails into webmasters inboxes. We need to remember that THIS is the nature of SEO and not to panic, blame or react until the dust settles.
Here is the rundown of the last couple of months as "I" saw it.
May 10, Google's Matt Cutt's makes a revealing admission...
Um, "not about bad link networks?"
So even though the blog networks took the brunt of the blame this time around, all those notices were not the result of the blog networks? Wow!!
But, it actually makes sense.
Blog networks traditionally, and if done right, can't take on a massive amount of customers. I had only a little more than 400 in both SeoNitro and SEOLinkvine Elite so I knew "my" networks weren't responsible for 700,000 notices!! I don't know about BMR, HPRS, or ALNs membership stats but I would be surprised if all of us put together totaled more then 5k customers.
I had put that 2 + 2 together a long time ago, but it didn't seem to matter, the damage had been done. We (the collective SEO industry) told on ourselves and the unravelment of the incredible blog network ranking machines were thrust into the cross hairs of Google's de-indexing committee, and we did NOT win.
But here is the kicker.
Not only did they de-index the sites, they demanded that webmasters have their links taken off of those de-indexed sites before any reconsideration would be done.
Now, I scratch my head. Why would they demand links to be taken down if these links were on de-indexed sites that were dead, gone, forgotten, virtually rendered useless in the eyes of Google?
Except for the tattle tale element, there was nothing really compelling about it, I mean, surely Google is smart enough to know when a link is on a de-indexed site and rendered useless? Right? But the drill continued over and over, until we all blindly followed the piper and we took down links and then finally entire networks.
Now I would never want to open the can of worms or even suggest that de-indexed sites can still have some sort of relevance in Google. That would be ludicrous, wouldn't it? And I certainly would not want to get in ANY debate over it, I am still incredibly sore from the forum bashing's and hate mail I have received in the last couple of months over the entire de-indexing debacle the moment we launched SeoLinkMonster! Ughhh.
But.. I will say, I do have people in my line up that want those links.. de-indexed or not.
Strange right? I thought so until they have showed me examples of sites ranking for amazingly hard gambling keywords with the majority of links coming in from BLOGROLL LINKS on DE-INDEXED SITES!! Yeah, that's right, blogroll links!! Forget that the site is de-indexed, if that isn't enough, they were BLOGROLL LINKS!! (I haven't given blogroll links any credence in years, but I saw it for myself.)
And I checked those links and sure enough, most of them are on de-indexed sites. (I can't publish them here to protect the site owner so you will have to trust me on that one.)
Then I thought to myself, well it is true.. whenever we suffered partial de-indexing in the past it NEVER correlated with a drop in rankings. Hmmm
So what if it wasn't the de-indexing of the networks that made a lot of these sites drop? Hmmm
(I was among everyone that thought the ranking drops of blog network users were because of the loss of links derived from the mass de-indexing. I mean, if the site was de-indexed, the link was as good as gone, right?)
Well, just what if..
..what if it was actually a loss of links from the networks taking down links at customer requests in combination with the "exact match" keyword dial down?
(the "exact match" keyword dial down had been coming and getting stronger (or should I say weaker) for a while. I had done an entire write-up on it for my seo mastermind back in Nov, 2011 and had been advising customers to make sure they had a large percentage of URL (brand) links to balance their linking profile for years)
I then wondered if Google still crawled de-indexed sites?
Well one way to find out was to go look at the logs of the network sites that I had that had been de-indexed.
And to my surprise... they DO!
This made me start digging a into money sites that had recently dropped in rankings.
And what I found was that in the sites that "I" looked at, every single one of them had a higher dead link percentage.
(IMPORTANT: a dead link is NOT a link from a de-indexed site, it is a link that is no longer there or the site is not available)
Average for dead links is running around 20% and anything with 40% or higher was NOT on the first page for their respective keywords and the ones over 70% were not in the first 100 for their respective keywords.
Here are three case studies I did for this article. Each of them in a different market and each had used blog networks, some more then others, but they all had dipped their toes into it.
You can see the affected sites on the left have a WAY larger % of dead links (in blue) and the two that dropped into the hundreds on the top right have a huge amount of dead links.
IMPORTANT: I want to say this again. Dead links are NOT a link from a de-indexed site, it is a link that is no longer there or the site is not available. The tool I used to pull this information does not decipher if the link is coming from a de-indexed site or not just if the link was THERE or not.
So what does all this mean?
I don't really know, but if we have a site ranking in the gambling industry that left their links up from de-index sites and sites that have dropped because they took those de-indexed links down, that there might be something here, and Google may have played us big time.
So, I am testing it.
I have created a case study on one of my own sites that ranks respectively in it's market and have just started a linking campaign towards it using ONLY de-indexed sites.
I am linking using industry phrases that I am currently NOT ranking for (top 1000) and if I show up for those keywords, then we know that de-indexed sites do play a role in ranking efforts. If I go down in my established rankings, then we know that links from de-indexed sites can be used to negatively seo a site. If nothing happens, then we know de-indexed sites do nothing. (which I am still inclined to think, but I will finish this out. lol.)
Lesson #2: Don't Panic!
I learned a long time ago to take what comes out of the mouths of Google's distinguished engineers with a discerning ear. Things may not be as they seem, and then again, they may be, but we won't know for sure until we test it. SEO changes all the time and a quick reaction may do you more harm than good.
Now with that said, I don't want to leave here with you thinking that the dead links are the ONLY contributing factor to the above sites loss in the rankings. That was something that was just glaring out at me and had to look into further.
But, as I studied theses particular sites and the competition that is currently on page one of Google for their respective keywords, in most cases I found the following post panda/penguin off-page disqualifies.
So lets go into the other 4 points a little deeper.
Let's face it, social factors have finally become a SEO factor.
For example, here is an example for Case Study #1 with the keyword being "model ships."
We see that even though we are not currently ranking for this keyword (and we were previously #2) our site has the most MozTrust and Linking Root Domains score and has the second best page authority, but is low on social aspects and especially low on "Times Shared on FaceBook" in comparison with the sites now ranking on page 1.
On Case Study #2 with the keywords of "moving companies" and "mover reviews" for the example on the left, again our two sites that have tanked are very low on social signals.
While this site out does everyone in Google+ in the group, our Facebook shares and likes along with tweets are the lowest.
In Case Study #3 it is important to note this site only dropped to the bottom of page two so the affects of Panda/Penguin were not as severe, but as we all know, going from the top of page one to the bottom of page two is like going to page 1000 traffic wise, so this drop is incredibly severe to the pocket book and worth analyzing the partial drop.
And as you can see, we have the best page authority and out match in almost every area and even have done a nice job in the social arena, so it may be a hint to why this site only was set back to page two.
Link Type Diversity
So, lets stay with this site and Case Study #3 for a moment as we look into reason number three why sites tanked, "Link Type Diversification." We can see that this site did a pretty good job as compared to the other two case studies.
And in every case, sites remaining on page one have a great deal of link type diversity. And I look at a lot of these links, and believe me, they are coming in from "low value sites!"
I hear a lot of SEO guru's telling people to try and get rid of these low value incoming links, but I say, the internet is mostly made up with low value links, de-indexed included, so chasing people down to have them stop linking to you may not be the best use of your time. Just sayin'. LOL
Lesson #3: Low Value Sites Make Up the Majority of the Internet
The internet is made up with low value links just by being the nature of the internet, so get links from them all, i.e. from article and web directories, forums, sidebar and blogroll (didn't think I would ever say that!! lol) blog networks, press releases networks, social, web 2.0, images, profiles, comments, etc.
And yes I want the authority links too, but might be funny if I only have PR5s pointed at me!
And now we get so anchor text and look at Disqualifiers #4 and #5 as they go hand-in-hand.
This is probably the biggest post Panda/Penguin disqualifier as in most sites we will have researched did not diversify their link anchor density and were hit hard this go around with the "exact match" dial down.
Sticking to Case Study #3, let's look at the exact match anchor text ratio for the term "logo design" in comparison to page 1 sites.
We find that it is indeed the highest, but not totally out of the ball bark considering that LogoYes.com which is number 1 for the term pretty high as well compared to the others.
But the affected site has only 6.60% brand of incoming links (i.e., anything with their name or URL in it) while the other page 1 sites have them into the 26-35%. That says a lot.
But also noteworthy is that the affected site IS ranking on page 1 for the two terms that I show that have a lower exact match anchor density.
What is really great about the affected site is that it has a lot of onesy and twosy links that are all combined in the "other" category, so they are getting a lot of the "family" terms which we are finding important.
Another interesting thing about this case study is LogoMaker has an incredibly low exact match density for the term "logo design" except in the alt tag, which is the image descriptor. Hmm.
As we go up to Case Study #2 we find that our affected sites have VERY LITTLE brand incoming links. Ouch! This seems so drastically low that it is probably affecting a couple of the other low-density terms that I point out under site 2.
And look at MoverReviews.com with that HIGH exact match percentage for "Blue Horizon Shipping" where it ranks number 2. hmmm
(I would have to look at the other sites ranking for that term to see if that was high or not, but with the nice brand linking they have done, (and yes they rank number 1 for "mover reviews") they are looking in decent shape even though all the other metrics on our comparison charts were low.)
Lesson #4: Market/Keyword Sensitivity
This just shows me that EACH market/keyword is going to be different and I will have to research each one to understand what it will take to out rank my competition in that arena.
Case Study #2 was a little more difficult to do since I had two sites and different keywords, but hopefully it provided value as we look at the case studies as a whole.
Which leads us back to Case Study #1 for "model ships" and again our affected site has virtually no brand links coming in.
And again we see a site ranking (modelexpo-online.com) for a term with a trace amount of exact matches for this keyword that it is ranking on page 1 for. But this site has a ton of brand linking coming in and a lot of onesy and twosy links making it a very rounded site.
Lesson #5: Link Brand it!
It is natural for branded links (URLs) to come into your site, just look how many times I have done it in this article. And from what I just saw in these case studies, it is now become critically important.
So, besides the lessons that I pointed out along the way in this article, what are some of the solutions that can be taken for each of these disqualifiers.
And this isn't to say that this takes the place of great marketing and creating great content that people want to link to and like! LOL, I know you are already doing that. So if you are suffering from any of our disqualifiers, here is what you can do..
One More Thing..
..worth mentioning is On-Page factors are back and looking like Latent Semantic Indexing has finally come into play. I have not tested this, but have "heard" about it from a couple different sources (from people whom I consider know what they are talking about) and that this is helping sites that suffered and also ranking new sites at great speed.
The idea that is being presented is putting NEW content on your site using nothing but family keywords and synonyms that are used in your market and for the keyword you want to rank for and then linking to these new pages using brand or onesy, twosy types of links, which of course, are family anchors.
I also watch a great webinar that Matt Carter did with a guy who has been testing on-page factors related to Panda Recovery and seems to have narrowed it down to..
Which seems to go hand-in-hand with what I am discovering with my off-page tests. It is a very good webinar and I recommend you watch it for more on-page guidance. He does sell a product at the end but don't let that keep you from getting the goods he is delivering on the call.
I hope this study was helpful for you. If you liked it, please pass it around. I could use some coveted shares, likes and tweets! :-)
And, if you would like to spend a weekend with me going over this type of stuff in addition to learning how to build your own quality link network, then head on over here and reserve a seat. I also have packages where I will build your private link network for you so you can have FULL control over your linking.
"A private blog network is still something very powerful if used correctly. Building one does take some time but once you have a few high pr blogs that you can use for link juice (and you are the only one who’s using it) chances are you will not get de-indexed as the site in your network won’t look any different from any other website on the internet."
p.s. don't forget to comment below and let me know if you know of anything working or not working post Panda/Penguin as we are ALL interested. :-)
p.s.s. get on the update list to find out if Google did indeed make a fool of us when the test results come back from my de-indexing site valuation.
Have you tried doing a backlink search lately on Yahoo?
It doesn't work! :-(
Sometime over the weekend one of my staff members who does a LOT of research for me EVERYDAY, emails me to say, "Dori, something is wrong with Yahoo!, it is not giving me backlink detail for my research!"
And sure enough, I checked it out, and what I got was tragic!
It's not a total surprise since they did announce back in July (Bing Blog on Site Explorer Closer) they were going to close it down, but now that it is gone, well, makes me kind of sad. So now along with Yahoo! search..Yahoo! Site Explorer has gone totally Bing!
And the worst part is, is that Bing is pulling a Google and NOT showing us all link data. They have redirected SEO's to their webmaster tools, but that isn't looking promising either. When asked about competitive data Duane Forrester of Bing says..
"..So, I will tell you about what I have about your website, and you can have hundreds of websites and I'll tell you about all of those individually through the tool set. I won't give you the facility to simply enter another domain of your choosing and get similar data back. " - from SEOMoz 10/20/11 White Board Interview
And they aren't, for example, I just did a search on www.About.com, a site we all know that has a gazillion links going into it, and while OpenSiteExplorer.com and MajesticSEO.com are reporting hundreds of thousands of backlinks, Yahoo! ala Bing, is reporting a measly 112! (And yes, Bing reports the same thing)
So, what does this mean?
1) Bing now has 30% search share and that is something to pay attention too.
So for me, who uses this type of data everyday, it isn't that big a deal, and I belong to both. But, for the newbie or the person who needs the data only once in a while, the debunkness of Yahoo's Site Explorer Tool will be sorely missed.
TO COMMENT.. please click on the "Continue" button below! :-)