When Matt Cutts announced the unveiling of the latest Penguin update, you probably thought as many other webmasters thought-- it’ll finally clean up the leftover garbage that slipped through the loopholes of the previous Panda and Penguin updates. As Google guru Matt Cutts stated in a Webcast shortly after the release of Penguin 2.0, the latest update is going to “have a pretty big impact on web spam. It’s a brand new generation of algorithms. The previous generation of Penguin would essentially only look at the home page of a site. The newer generation of Penguin goes much deeper and has a really big impact in certain small areas.”
It’s pretty clear the update had a big impact on web spam-- it ranked higher while quality sites plummeted. Not to mention, users are reporting their search experience has dramatically declined since the update. Wait a minute… aren’t the updates meant to promote the search experience? As SEOWizz puts it, ...
If you’re running advertorials, paid content, or native advertising on your site make sure the ads and content associated with your sponsors are properly disclosed, or else you might find your entire website excluded from search results.
That’s basically the gist of Matt Cutt’s latest GoogleWebmasterHelp video (see below).
In the video, Cutts reminded users of Google’s long-time policy regarding paid links and content. The policy states that paid links should not pass page rank, and should therefore be labeled as nofollow. In addition, webmasters must see to it that all advertorials, paid content, and native ads on their site are clearly and conspicuously labeled accordingly (i.e. use words like “sponsored” or “advertisement”).
However, according to Cutts, Google’s webspam team has been seeing problems regarding advertorials, native advertising content, or paid content that aren’t being disclosed...
You've heard of AuthorRank, and you want to capitalize on it, but how? SEO changes so fast. It used to be that you could stuff your meta-keywords tag and rocket yourself to the top of the SERPs. A wellspring of anonymous authors got a lot of traffic, and a lot of spam sites presumably made a lot of money. Now, apparently, Google wants more quality and less anonymity. Meta-keywords have been out for a long time, but authorship hasn't been a big deal - until now.
Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are
Google is encouraging you to stop being anonymous. It's going to start following you all over the web. That's probably a good thing for a couple of reasons. First, the web is becoming more social with Facebook and Google+. It's not that the web wasn't social before though, it's just that people are wandering away from blogs and going to social networking sites. Yeah, they end up back on blogs in the comments section too, but bloggers and businesses...
There's an old joke that goes something like "99% of lawyers give the other 1% a bad name." You chuckle, but you know it's true. And that's not all - it's become something of a running gag in the SEO industry too. For years, SEOs have been beating the backlinks drum and small business owners have been marched off an optimized cliff. After Panda, a lot of the old backlink strategies just up and died. Article directories withered away into obscurity, and link networks were (and continue to be) crushed by Google.
Anchor Text Isn't That Important
SEO firms (and their clients) got a major wake-up call when Google dropped this bombshell on its Inside Search Blog in 2011:
Better page titles in search results by de-duplicating boilerplate anchors: We look at a number of signals when generating a page’s title. One signal is the anchor text in links pointing to the page. We found that boilerplate links with duplicated anchor text are not as...
Optimistic SEOs all believe that Google's message is consistent: meritorious links win the day. Content is king. Play by the rules, and you will be rewarded. Blackhat SEOs believe the opposite - that Google is pragmatic in allowing some paid links to influence search results while punishing other companies who use them. Officially, Google tells us that paid links are a one-way road to nowheresville in the search engine. However, there is evidence that Google allows spam to make it through - despite its much-touted Panda and Penguin solutions.
Proof That Google Allows SERP Manipulation
Our site specializes in sending traffic to other sites - a service that, arguably, a lot of webmasters need. Last month, we noticed a significant drop in traffic:
While this could happen for any number of reasons, we decided to look into the problem a bit further. What we discovered shocked us. Another site had taken our spot in the SERPs for one of our keywords using less...
The fact that SEO experts were caught off guard by radical changes to Google's search engine suggests that the experts aren't that good at predicting Google's moves. Yet, predicting algorithm changes is implicitly why clients hire SEO firms - to make sure that rankings don't tank, traffic keeps flowing in, and visibility is consistent. To be fair, no SEO firm owns Google. No one really could predict the devastation of the Panda and Penguin tweaks, so how much blame can website owners really place on SEO firms? A little, but not a lot.
Why a little? Consider Google's constant updates to Panda. It was just last month that 'G' updated its algorithm for the 23rd time. Did any SEO expert call it in advance with preparations for clients? It's unlikely, and here's where SEOs can take the blame. They know that predicting algorithm changes is shaky, at best. In fact, the better firms disclose this and focus heavily on providing quality.
Is SEO dead? No, but it's dying. Google signaled, in a roundabout way, that buying website traffic might be the way to go. A recent interview with Matt Cutts illustrates the point beautifully though the message might be lost on a lot of folks:
Matt Cutts is telling you that most of Google's recent emails via Webmaster Tools concerned black hat tactics. That's pretty incredible. While debunking a myth about "unnatural links," Cutts might have unwittingly admitted that Google is going after black hat SEO and has a lot of work to do to clean up its search engine.
Apparently, Google is full of spam - 600,000 out of the 700,000 emails sent, were related to black hat stuff. Ouch. That's a lot of spammy websites. According to Google, it was about 90 percent of the emails the company sent out.
While not every webmaster out there engages in black hat techniques to manipulate the search engines, a fair number of them do. If...
What has happened to the old way of doing SEO? When you first started your online business, you were probably taught that backlinks were the most important factor when you had to rank high in Google and other search engines. But then Google went and change the rules and now you have no control over you ranking, at least not in the same way as you had before.
In the old days it was much easier to control your own search engine ranking, as you knew exactly what you had to do to influence the search engines. You knew that if you made sure to increase your number of backlinks you were very likely to reach the first page of Google. You were told that you had to make sure that the anchor text you used in your backlinks was your keyword or keyword phrase to make them count and improve your ranking. This rule no longer exist, as you will be more likely to hurt your own business if you use too many of the same anchor text. This also means that the...
Google has been reminding website builders and marketers of the importance of quality link building for years now. Ever since the Google Penguin update came out a couple of years ago, it's become clearer than ever that while most of these people have been hearing Google, they have not really been listening. They haven't understood what exactly Google's admonitions really mean. Apparently, when they hear Google tell them to concentrate on “quality link building”, they fail to hear the “quality” part.
What are quality links?
With Google releasing new updates to its Panda algorithm on a regular basis now, the emphasis on quality link building is stronger than ever. Basically, the general rule to follow is this: if the links that you are getting for your website are easy to get, if they are links that you don't really need to earn through effort, they are not quality links.
Many people do know how to simply get...