Google Updates & Help

Anybody involved in the SEO industry will know that the recent ever-present updates to the Google Algorithm have been thrown at us with ever increasing regularity.

Today we’re going to discuss two updates that I feel small white hat SEO’s may have had some trouble with.

We’re not taking about the very recent Penguin #3 — October 5, 2012 or the Panda #20 — September 27, 2012. We feel these have been sufficiently covered by the majority of blogs.

Today at SEO Liverpool we’re discussing;

Exact-Match Domain (EMD) Update — September 27, 2012

Officially this relates to ‘a change in the way it was handling exact-match domains (EMDs). This led to large-scale devaluation, reducing the presence of EMDs by over 10%. Official word is that this change impacted 0.6% of queries (by volume)‘.

So if you’re domain name is the same as the major keywords you’ve been trying to rank for.

e.g. if your domain is ‘www.low-cost-insurance.com‘ and you wish to rank for ‘low cost insurance’… then you’ll lose some value. Not a huge amount but enough to lose a position or two dependent on the keywords competition.

Should I panic

Absolutely not, all these algorithm changes are not set in stone, quite often Google tweaks the algorithm or even totally reverses it. So please don’t try and change your domain name. You’ll lose the value of domain age and possibly the value of incoming links if not properly managed.

I’ve seen this happen!

What Should I Do

The answer is nothing. Any attempt to change will, without doubt cause you more harm than good. It’s swings and roundabouts with updates. The next could catapult you back to your previous positions. The best course of action is to concentrate on the fundamentals – More unique content, more links (Good Value) and Social. Think of the Google Algorithm as a score next to each individual aspect related to a webpage. That devaluation will, more often than not be pushed to another aspect or shared out amongst a group of others.

If you concentrate you’re efforts in content, social and links, then you’ll claw it back. If you choose these particular aspects then it is unlikely you’ll receive any penalties or devaluation in the near future. As I’ve stated above, this change could be reversed and then your hard work will certainly pay off.

Page Layout #2 — October 9, 2012

If you have been penalised with this one then you’re in trouble… ‘Google announced an update to its original page layout algorithm change back in January, which targeted pages with too many ads above the fold. It’s unclear whether this was an algorithm change or a Panda-style data refresh.’

If you understand the implications then it’s easy to understand the solution.

Why Have I Been Penalised?

Google generates the majority of its revenue in search via Pay-Per-Click. In order to generate PPC monies it’s search needs to be trusted. If organically your website ranks high and doesn’t show a good amount of useful content above the fold or a even small area e.g. http://browsersize.googlelabs.com/ then you’re not that useful. This is irrespective of what your site is about. Importantly if any website has sponsored links or even worse Ad-sense all over the valuable real-estate above the fold on the website… from the search engines perspective, you’re not useful.

What Can I Do

Personally, and I can only answer this personally, you need a website update. Get rid of ad-sense… I mean unless you’ve got a serious amount of traffic you can only be making pennies! Reorganise the site so you’ve good content in the key areas and look sensibly from a UX point of view at your offer. You can still keep them but place them down the page or on separate pages.

I don’t think Google will reverse this one, so make the changes quickly. 100% of nothing is still nothing, so if you reduce your advertising by 50% and get those top positions back you’ll still generate revenue.

Hope this helps

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Even More Quick Hits

SEO Liverpool have been asked these particular questions many times in recent weeks.

‘If i could do one thing, what would it be to get my website ranked higher within the search engines’.

This is easy… Content. It’s king don’t you know!

If you want to let the search engines know you’re alive and kicking, then show them. The fresh content part of the algorithm is still very powerful.

If you regularly put fresh content on your key pages, you’ll encourage the search engines to index you and hopefully generate some links.

‘I get lots of emails where people would like a link from me’.

This is a standard SEO practice. Remember not all links are equal and some people will try to deceive you.  The best possible advice is to get them to link to you. Then evaluate the link using either firebug or the simple PageRank icon on the Google toolbar. If it’s good, then it may be worth following them. Any business that wishes a link from you should be willing to give one back.

A good link will have good page rank, it’s from a complimentary business or even from a business in your particular field. Make sure the link isn’t a ‘No follow’ (a way to try and devalue the link back to you).

‘How can i get more links’?

It’s like I told you, good content is an easy win. Create a widget or a plugin for websites with a link back to your site. Info-graphics, Tweet’s, Facebook and YouTube are also good ways to generate links.

‘How come SEO costs so much’?

Well, this is a difficult one. There are only 10 organic listings per page (although talk is this may shrink). Competitiveness of keywords, level of competition and the actual current state of the website are determining factors. Do you want to compete locally, nationally or globally?

Anybody that solicits to you is generally not going to be that good. Anybody who asks you to pay a small monthly fee, won’t give you the attention your site deserves. Any company that doesn’t care to know about each aspect of your business and your current internal resources won’t generally be good either.

SEO is complicated, constantly evolving and fairly costly. If a company can demonstrate a return on investment then they’ll usually be worth it.

Thanks for questions guys

 

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SEO Liverpool Blogging Tools We Use

At SEO Liverpool this week we thought we’d let you guys into the interesting tools we use for blogging and productivity.

Have a look at these and let us know your thoughts

InboxQ
This blogging tool I’ve been working with for a few months ago. InboxQ essentially helps you to come up with better blog topics. This tool helps you find questions people are asking on Twitter.

The Content Idea Generator
The Content Idea Generator (v2) is a Google Doc that will automatically find news and related stories for your blog from a variety of sources… everything from Google News to Reddit, from tweets to public Facebook updates and more. Just search for it in Google.

Focus Booster
Focus Booster is a tool that many bloggers use to increase writing productivity. I’m the first to admit that I have an incredibly short attention span. My creativity thrives in short spurts of activity with frequent breaks. With Focus Booster I can concentrate on writing and turning ideas into blogs.

StorifyStorify
Storify is a great way to curate articles and opinions on any given topic or capture reactions to an event in real time.

Storify can help illustrate a point with third-party content and comments or help bring to life an event by pulling in activity from the news stream or Twitterverse.  We’ve previously used Storify on our blog to share news and tweets during a conference.

We’re not saying these are the best tools, but they will help.

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