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Matt Cutts Official Word on the next Penguin Update

There was a lot of fuss at the end of last week reporting that Matt Cutts had warned SEOs that they would not want or a like the next Penguin update (Penguin 2.0 I think it would be? depending on the size of the update). SEOs panic’d, some said they had seen this coming for years and that it would change everything. Matt Cutts has released an official statement that this was taken slightly out of context and taken the wrong way. This is what he had to say on the matter.

 

Hey Barry, I wasn’t saying that people needed to overly stress out about the next Penguin update, but I’m happy to give more details. I was giving context on the fact that lots of people were asking me when the next Penguin update would happen, as if they expected Penguin updates to happen on a monthly basis and as if Penguin would only involve data refreshes.

If you remember, in the early days of Panda, it took several months for us to iterate on the algorithm, and the Panda impact tended to be somewhat larger (e.g. the April 2011 update incorporated new signals like sites that users block). Later on, the Panda updates had less impact over time as we stabilized the signals/algorithm and Panda moved closer to near-monthly updates. Likewise, we’re still in the early stages of Penguin where the engineers are incorporating new signals and iterating to improve the algorithm. Because of that, expect that the next few Penguin updates will take longer, incorporate additional signals, and as a result will have more noticeable impact. It’s not the case that people should just expect data refreshes for Penguin quite yet.

 

I’m sure people are still not looking forward to the next update, but we’ll see how the next one plays out.

Google to add vanity urls to Google+

A step in the right direction for Google’s own social network. You will soon be able to pick a vanity url for your Google+ profile. This is great news for businesses and individuals alike. They will appear in the format http://www.plus.google.com/+name which isn’t bad, and keeps with the + theme. I’m sure the move will be optimised for search, redirects and users once it launches to ensure all current profiles, links and authorship set ups still work.

Google to reduce known copyright infringers ranking in searches

Sites which have had multiple copyright notices taken against them will have a diminished presence in searches with a new Google algorithm update. It is important to point out that it mentions that they won’t be removed from searches without a valid reason or notice as Google cannot determine what is and isn’t copyright infringement, but it will reduce the rankings of known infringers allowing legitimate websites such as Hulu to show up more in related searches. As some people have noted, Youtube will not be affected as they treat their copyright claims slightly differently to outside websites.

Read more about it here http://insidesearch.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/an-update-to-our-search-algorithms.html

Sometimes its not what you expect that stands out from the crowd

Jose is clearly the best poster designer out there! Sometimes it takes something unexpected to stand out from the rest of the marketing out there. I found this great rushed together poster on a night out which stood out from the rest of the glossy over designed band posters.

Make the most of beautiful clients

When it comes to client’s websites – some are better than others. At Goddard SEO we review sites and submit seo recommendations to make the most of any site we are working on to give it a fighting chance in the searches this can cover UI, Code, Copy, Tags, Structure and so on. Now while we would never want to name any names – some clients sites look a lot better than others.

When you have a clients website that stands out from the rest you can make the most of it. There are design and css gallery websites that will look at your website, and if the design is considered of a high enough quality they will do things like, add it to their own design database, give it a dedicated page, write a blog post about it, feature it on their site. In most cases these websites are great PR (Theres some great PR3-5 websites) and in nearly all cases the link you get is followed link.

You also tend to get a dedicated URL with the website name. This is a great bonus as it will take up space in the SERPs for your clients brand name and as we all know brand links are worth more and more these days and make up the basis of a well rounded link profile.

Oh and hey – look at that, some websites even let you add the developer urls. If you are working on the websites yourself, supplying site changes, customising sites etc, have a word with your client and see if they mind you being listed as the developer. In most cases they will be 100% fine with this. This is great for companies that neglect their own link building or let it fall behind. Not only are you getting yourself a high quality link, you are attaching yourself to clients who are getting the correct kind of attention.

Now some of the sites have guidelines about screenshot sizes that you need to submit and it can be a pain resizing your screenshot, but it’s always worth putting in a little extra time for a great link.

The other great thing about these links is that they are really picky. I have had clients I thought looked great who got rejected, I’ve tried submitting generic designs and they’ve been rejected too, so if you do use this method make sure to only submit outstanding or unique client designs.

I have seen clients competitors ranking with only a backlink profile of featured design galleries so these links are pretty powerful even on their own, but mixed with a great linkbuilding a social media strategy your clients should be way ahead.

To get you started here are 3 great galleries to submit your website to. But more can be found with a simple Google search.

This also works great if you have a mobile site. Mobile site galleries are practically GIVING away high quality links and even driving great quality traffic.

Don’t Name Your Company after a search term – Become who people search for

With Google now clearly the way to find businesses and services online, businesses are adjusting their methods to make sure they are being found when you are looking for anything they offer.  Employing an seo company is a great way to get your business to the top of these searches, but another way that seems to give you a boost in the rankings is to have a keyword rich domain.

In the olden days! When people used to look through their local Yellow Pages, businesses would want to be the first business you called up. The options in yellow pages were a small text ad, a highlighted advert, larger banner style ads of various sizes up to full page adverts, or a cheap option was to just take a listing and your business would fall naturally based on its alphabetical name. Businesses quickly figured out the best way to get to the top was to have a business beginning with an “a” or a number. So “Al’s pest control ltd” would appear before “Pest Solutions ltd”, just like marketers today some people took this to the extreme, so often you would open your yellow pages and turn to pest control and the top listing would be “aaaaa pest control ltd” or if they were being slightly more creative “aadvark pest control services”.

Search engines as we all know don’t rank you based on alphabetical order, so once the internet gained popularity your aaaa business name no longer gave you an instant advantage. Over the years SEO has grown up too, you used to be able to get away with listing hundreds of towns on your site and stuffing your tags and images with towns and services, now these will quickly get your noted as spam and won’t help you at all. One technique that has worked for a good few years and continues to work (or help) despite Google insiting it is adjusting its bias, is having a keyword enriched domain. So, “pest control london” for example brings up this

Keyword Rich Domains Work. Now I’m not saying they haven’t done plenty of SEO work, but they seem to be doing pretty well. If you look at varations on “pest control london” if we look at domains that are variations on “pest control” then its nearly all of them. Now in the following video from Matt Cutts he says they are trying to give them less weight.

To be clear I’m not complaining that it helps businesses, its nice when a business is clear on what they do, and so on. What I am complaining about is the lack of great business names. Businesses are now being called “pest control in wherever ltd” “carpet cleaners in this town ltd”. Where are all the fun and punny names we love seeing in town. No longer will we get “Best Little Hair House” “Ali Barber” and “short chat and sides” we’ll have a highstreet of “hairdressers in surrey” and “barbers in london”. When we became a LTD company ourselves part of our consideration was having some keywords in the name in the end we only stuck with one, but it shouldn’t be like that. Years ago I worked in a bathroom store and we weren’t called “bathrooms in this town” we didn’t even have bathroom in our name, infact our name came from the road we were on and the type of tree on that street. Not only did this give us a great business name, it resonated with people that lived in that area and knew that street and saw our shop. If I was coming up with a new business or brand and settled on “getting your website to number one on google ltd” or something that boring it’s just disappointing more than anyway and yes it could be argued using my name is just as boring, but it gives a name and a brand to work with and build up. I guess the point of this article is to say that when forming a company name, don’t do it for the search engines, do it for a brand and reputation you want to build up. Don’t name your company after a search term, build up and your name and become the search term.

 

Update: 30th September 2012

Google has now added features to its algo to remove low quality exact match domains, it is now even more important than ever to have a good quality site with a solid reputation.

http://www.seroundtable.com/google-emd-update-15776.html

New Style Of Integrated Shopping Results and Description in Google?

I’ve not noticed this before, but I was doing a search for the 3D Blu Ray of Pixar’s Up. If you look at the 4th result down you’ll see that there is a result just called Up: 3D which contains a description of Up, which has been pulled from Amazon which is the first result listed and then 3 store links and their prices for the product.

I have seen listings from the merchant feed in results before, usually at the side with a little picture and a slightly different layout that make it more obvious that is isn’t a natural website. This is the first time I’ve seen looking more like a natural search listing with links inside the result(which occasionally happens too). These link out to the top merchants and give you the option to view more results from the shopping results.

Is this the new style of google shopping results in main search or just a random result?

Google Ordered to Stop Autocomplete/Predictive feature in Google Japan

Japanese courts have ordered Google to stop and shut down the autocomplete or predictive feature in Japan due to privacy complaints after a man took them to court due for violating his privacy and claiming it has hampered his career. His claim is based around the fact that when you enter his first name into Google it comes up with over 10,000 defaming or disparaging words about him.

His lawyer Hiroyuki Tomita, says

It could lead to irretrievable damage such as a loss of job or bankruptcy just by showing search results that constitute defamation or a violation of the privacy of an individual person or small and medium-sized companies.

The man contacted Google and asked for them to be removed, but as they are generated mechanically rather than by person this was not possible, and claimed it did not violate his privacy.

From Google:

Autocomplete is a feature of Google search that offers predicted searches to help you more quickly find what you’re looking for. These searches are produced by a number of objective factors including popularity of search terms. Google does not determine these terms manually–all of the queries shown in Autocomplete have been typed previously by other Google users.

Should you always avoid links on hosted blogs like wordpress and blogspot

Do you Avoid Links on wordpress/blogger websites?

After a conversation with a fellow SEO about picking appropriate domains for Guest blog posts and links we came to a slight disagreement about whether it was a good idea to go after guest blog posts on .blogspot and .wordpress domains. Initially I had rejected and ignored these sites straight away even when they were relevant and had decent page rank and good quality content. But after thinking about it for a little longer I realised I was missing out on some great links for the following reasons.

  • The websites were highly relevant, on topic and full of good quality unique content

Surely these are the quality factors we are looking for on a website worth posting on or partnering with, infact I would say these are some of the most important. We want links from websites that are relevant to ours, who’s users would be interested in the link to your website, and on a website with good quality unique content. If these happen to fall on a .blogspot or .wordpress is that necessarily a bad thing or something we should avoid?

  • These domains had a history and age

These domains had a history, they had content going back 3 or 4 years or more in some cases, along with this comes trust, page rank, a userbase and a reputation for quality.  Again this is the exact place I want my link to be seen or my guest post to be read. If it was a .com domain I would be tripping over myself trying to get a link on a similar site.

  • These links won’t disappear

What happens when a person’s domain expires on a site that, while great quality, isn’t making them any money, is a pain to maintain for no reward etc – they let the domain expire and may move on to other projects. How many sites have you started and abandoned, while you may maintain these sites for a while and just leave them up, after a while renewing a domain you’re not really using, at some point you will probably just let it expire. WordPress and Blogspot domains don’t drop. Sites from 6 or 7 years back still exist even though they aren’t updated, while the site may not be updated, your link will still be there sitting with good quality, highly relevant content. now it would be ideal if the site was updated,but it would be the same with an old .com domain too, and there’s a chance that might not exist after its renewal date.

  • WordPress and Blogspot are getting better at spam control
I have had low quality sites removed from wordpress. WordPress is getting better and better at keeping their quality high and getting rid of sites that just exist as part of a linkwheel or contain duplicate content. Blogspot is now Google owned, and they host their own blogs on there, surely this comes with a certain level of trust.  They have even expanded the control options in blogger to allow you to change robots.txt, meta tags, set up redirects, http://www.seroundtable.com/blogger-search-preferences-14910.html if this isn’t a sign that they put faith in websites hosted on .blogspot I don’t know what is.



If a site is good quality and stands up to all the factors you deem a quality site or blog, don’t discount it just because it is on a hosted blog platform like wordpress and blogspot, I wouldn’t linkbuild on these sites only, or use these domains as my main source of links, but there is nothing wrong with getting links on sites like these when the situation arises. In a similar way to domain extensions, don’t automatically throw out a potential high quality link because of where it is hosted, with the possible exception of .info’s and .cc’s but again even among the rubbish there are some high quality websites that are hosted on those domains. Your factors for a link should be based on quality, relevance, trust and if a websites users would be interested in your link the same way that Google should return the best content regardless of where it is hosted.

Tips on Using Pinterest to Improve Your Business

Unless you have been hiding under a rock the past few months, you are probably aware of the new social networking site, Pinterest.  This unique social bookmarking site allows users to share and curate images onto different “boards.”  Growing up, you may remember your mother cutting images from magazines and arranging them as a way to gain inspiration for decorating or fashion. Pinterest is the online equivalent of this practice, and that’s why fashion and interior design are two of the most popular categories on the site.

 

Pinterest has gained hoards of followers as well. In fact, from December 2011 and January 2012, the number of unique visitors to the Pinterest, grew by 155%. Recent research has also revealed that Pinterest outperforms Twitter in referral traffic.  You currently need an invitation to join, but once you have attained one you can quickly reap the rewards of generating high volume traffic toward your business’ website. Just keep the following pro tips in mind:

 

1. Only pin striking images. Pinterest, like Tumblr, is an image-focused social networking site. You should have visually unique and interesting images if you want anyone to take notice or follow you. Otherwise you look like spam, and will be ignored as such.  Now, if you work in the home decorating sector, or in fashion, this will be easy. But if your business is not directly related to the visual, there are things you can do to create potential Pinterest content. An infographic, for example, makes a great pin. If you put out interesting and unique content, you will be amazed at the snowball effect “repining” amongst Pinterest followers will have on generating traffic to your site.

 

2. Pin relevant content. If you work for a company that specializes in computer monitors or something completely unrelated to fashion, interior design or the other popular categories of Pinterest, then the social networking site may not be the right fit for you. If you do decide to go the way of infographics, make sure that you post them to a board that has a topic relevant to the infographic. Posting unrelated material is one of the top ways to lose Pinterest followers.

 

3. Get involved. If you only post images of products from your own site, people will take notice. In order to avoid coming across as too self-promoting, limit yourself to one promotional pin per every ten. So what are you going to pin the rest of the time? Repin other pins, of course. It shows your followers that you are engaged with what they care about. Remember, Pinterest is a community, much like Twitter. You need to invest some time in it if you want to see real results.

 

4. Be organized. Each of your boards should have a specific theme, such as home design, fashion, etc. Make sure to keep everything organized, and don’t feel like you have to stay within the category that directly relates to your business. Having eclectic range of different boards shows other users that you are an interesting person with discerning taste and opinions, and this will likely garner you more respect amongst the Pinterest community.

 

Author Bio: Jenni Sunde is a freelance fashion and travel writer. She specializes in all things lifestyle-related from home and design to health and beauty. Her official work title pegs her as an editor at a website that specializes in providing people with quality online collegeand education resources; however, with her love of art and all things beautiful, she delights in sharing her sense of style from her life to your computer monitor.