- Posted by Jordan
- 01 November 2012
With all the talk of Panda and Penguin updates flooding the online marketing world over the past 12 months, you would be forgiven for thinking that Google have finally stepped up their battle to combat low quality and spam websites within their rankings but with thousands of innocent sites caught up in these changes, it seems that their mission to clean up the rankings really hasn't delivered what they thought they would see, instead the SERPs are in one of the worst stats we have seen for years.
Now I am not someone that tends to share his opinions of the matter too much, instead I would rather continue to develop value-rich sites that are offering the visitors what they want to find and that seems to work fine for me however this latest showing seems to have really shown just how little protection sites that like mine are getting from the sort of spam sites that are infiltrating the search engines for some of the most competitive keywords online.
Now i’m not about to break out into a post about the state of the PayDay Loans ranking ladder as there are already hundreds of these, this time it seems to be the major affiliate terms that have been breached by one website creator who has clearly tried his luck at executing what would be a great plan if it wasn't for the domains that he has used.
Earlier this afternoon I realised that there had been a site that had sudden jumped into the search results on page one of one of the most competitive keywords that I have ever tried to target myself back in the days of being a gambling affiliate (which are now behind me) but it looks like his underhanded tactics are about to pay off for this blackhat creator.
Looking at how he was able to breach page one of a term that has some of the biggest industry leading sites on there, it seems that he has been resourceful in his approach, using the equity of others to ensure that he was able to break into the major rankings with ease and however he has done that has clearly tricked the Google computers into thinking that the equity within the site is enough to throw then into the dizzying heights of page one.
I’m not one to out sites that do this sort of thing and nor am I going to spread his data over the internet as that is clearly what he is looking to do himself, but I have to say that the faith that Google were moving forward with their mission to better themselves has just been proven to have been derailed.
This is a low quality ‘site’ (term used very loosely) that is hosted on a domain that is clearly there to manipulate the Google rankings with the use of keyword rich domain and a number on the end (clearly not bothered what number as I have seen that the same guy has the higher numbers too!) and then he has simply laughed at Google as they credit him into a term that could potentially make him a very large affiliate within the gambling market.
Google want to clean up their SERPs for the better but why is it that old, blackhat tactics are clearly going un-noticed in the world of unstability and wrongful penalisation?
- Posted by Jordan
- 02 October 2012
Whenever Google announce that they are set to roll out a new change to the way in which they look to populate their search engine rankings there are many website owners that simply close their eyes and hope that the changes simply pass over them like a sudden gust of wind, secretly hoping that their competitors will have done enough to trigger something to be able to see them sent to the bottom of the virtual sin bin but the latest Google update seems to have once again made their search results worse!
Over the weekend, Matt Cutts, head of the Google Web Spam team revealed that there would be a new roll out of an update that would be aimed at targetting “low quality, exact match domains”, believed to be aimed at eliminating the boost that site owners received for being able to hold an exact match domain (EMD) for the keywords that they are looking to rank for but once again it seems that innocent sites have been caught up in the aftermath and our enquires for help have shot through the roof.
Although the EMD update was believed to affect only 0.6% of UK/US keyword searches, it seems that there was something else that Google have rolled out that seems to be causing further issues for site owners due to the revelation that even branded domain sites have seen their rankings and organic traffic crash, potentially leaving companies with hard times ahead.
Although the EMD roll out was announced by Cutts via his Twitter account, a further, more secretive update has silently broken into the industry unannounced and seems to be eliminating sites left, right and centre for reasons unknown.
Google have already said that they are looking to be more transparent for users and websites owners but the release of updates cloaked by ones that apparently only affect a small percentage of sites is hardly laying their ‘cards’ on the table is it?
Assessments of the branded sites that have come to us for help seem to show that there are no announcements, messages or indications within Google Webmaster Tools about the drops, nor has there been any release as to what the silent update really offered to the search engine resullts as from what we can see, quality sites have been axed from the rankings which are now populated with some of the worst sites that we have ever seen both in terms of the information held on the pages of the site as well as the backlink profiles which are clearly more about quantity of links, many clearly bought and unreleated.
Although we would like nothing more than to create a complete insight into the underhanded and guideline breaking methods that some sites are using in order to rank in Google, the search engine that claims to act on breaches of rules, we aren’t about to open up any sticky situations with any firms anytime soon.
All we can say is that once again we think that Google have overdone their filtering options and seem to have taken a huge step backwards to delivering the best possible search results and that we believe that there has to be a retraction of the updates which have hit the industry if Google are going to be able to really have the best search results for the users...
- Posted by Jordan
- 01 May 2012
Well we have all known that it coming at some point, the time that Google decided that it was time to make even more money from the online market than ever before and it now seems that they have taken the first steps towards it.
Google search engine users this morning have been presented with a new range of advertisements within the search engine results pages for terms that relate to the financial market, such as ‘compare credit cards’ and ‘compare savings accounts’.
The move to present the offers in a page dominating manner have been met with anger from sites that are looking to rank for related keywords as they have been placed firmly above the top ranking sites within the results, meaning that only the top positional site can be seen above fold.
The impact that the advertising placements will have will be sure to impact organic traffic for sites that were previously displayed within the top three positions within the SERPs and this will have a knock on effect throughout the industry as the new ads placement is now present throughout all pages of the search results.
As more website owners begin to notice the sheer fact that the only way in which to be displayed above fold on the first page of the results is to either rank within the number one position for your chosen keyword or to conduct an Adwords (PPC) campaign, again a Google operated advertising platform from which the search engine benefit financially.
Google have maintained that they are looking to improve user experience within their search engine but the result of these alterations is a clear indication that financial return is more important than returning the best possible results for the browser, seeing a number of large, reputable brands being relegated below the fold in order for themselves to benefit.
Thus far we have only seen the new adverts being placed within financial terms but as Google revenues climb, you can be sure that they will be looking to implement further instances of this change and before long you could be presented with nothing but ‘paid’ or ‘sponsored’ results taking up the majority of the search engine results pages.
At the moment it seems that those of us that are willing to place money in the pocket of Google are going to rank for the keywords that they want to, as long as you take your money and place it through their Adwords PPC platform, but surely this is similiar, if not worse than actually building links as this is still a method that would allow you to 'game' their system and increase your SERPs visibility?
Let us know your thoughts on the alterations, should Google remove them immediately or do you see honest value in them?
- Posted by Jordan
- 26 April 2012
Well the Google shake up that is firmly underway since the beginning of the month has seen a number of sites suffer devastating loses as affiliates, companies and hobby sites are sent crashing through the rankings at an alarming rate thanks to ‘WebSpam’ updates are more recently a new ‘Panda’ update that has crippled a large volume of sites.
Although Google are fighting the battle of delivering the best possible search results for users, these alterations have left a huge amount of work still let to do for themselves as webmasters look on helplessly as their sites are replaced by low quality sites with exact match domains, but just how long will this last?
We have in good authority that the Google updates that have rolled out so far this week are not the only ones that we can expect, with a new roll out set to hit the UK rankings this weekend as the search engine giants look to combat the power that exact match domains currently carry, meaning that if you are ranking thanks to the level of exact match your domain possesses for the keywords that you rank for, you could be about to have a very rough weekend.
According to our sources, the EMD (exact match domain) combat roll out will begin to roll out throughout the Google.co.uk rankings as early as Saturday and could take until Sunday evening to complete the culling of low quality sites that are clearly created to feed profits and traffic into bigger sites.
How will this affect your site? Do you still have the strength within your site authority to be one of the EMD sites that are bypassed by the update or will you be caught up in the whirlwind that we have now revealed is set to embark throughout the UK rankings?
As always there will be a number of sites that will be caught up within the drops that aren’t the sort of sites that Google are looking to eliminate, but avoiding these crushing movements could now be a faint dream for those of you that have a site that could be caught up within the update.
Usually we would be offering you advice on how to ensure that you can add value to your site in a bid to avoid the potential of being caught up within the ‘clean up’ that Google are set to action but with so little time to be able to change the way that your site is seen within the search engine community, it could be time to board up the windows and hope that the hurricane that is set to race through your niche simply passes you by.
If you are successfully able to avoid the culling that Google look set to make, you can safely assume that your site has some value to users and enough evidence for Google to believe that your site should be ranking for the terms that you are chasing, so the time has come to see whether your site is built on a solid foundation or whether you have a site that is unable to withstand the changes.
The end is coming for a number of sites that have simply been thrown up in a short period of time without careful planning and your site could be about to be tested, so we wish you luck over the next few days and as always, we are on hand to be able to offer our services should you feel that you need them.
- Posted by Jordan
- 02 April 2012
We all know that Google have already said that they do not like paid links that offer any form of boost towards a website that is going to manipulate the search engine results or the PageRank that your site holds but the fact of the matter is that there are millions of webmasters out there that are actively buying and selling links on a daily basis.
Google have once again done what they do best, move the goalposts for webmasters looking to manipulate their way to a number one ranking within the search results pages, but are they really helping the users find the best websites within the higher areas of the search engine or are they simply causing a stir and ending up with the same level of results as they were before although altering the sites that are gaining financially from the placement?
We know that Google was originally based on a ‘most votes wins’ mentality and that back within the early stages of birth the site was solely looking to rank sites that had millions of links pointing into them at the top of the rankings, after all no one would want to simply throw millions into the cost of a number one ranking for a big name term would they…?
Following further development within the GooglePlex and surrounding areas of the building that seems to make the search engine world go round at the moment, the latest update has really issued a stern fightback against the websites that have done exactly that, spent thousands if not millions on links over the years in order to show the automatic search engine filters that they should be considered to be the best site for that particular search term.
Now we have seen many an update from the ‘Mighty G’ that has sent shivers down the search rankings over the years but the birth of the Panda update a couple of years ago was the first release that was sure to alter the way that webmasters were going to conduct business.
Gone were the days of spun content being placed across 5000 free article directory sites and low quality churn out that would help to fill out a landing page, hello user friendly information that actually carries some form of useful information for the visitor to a site rather than the complete dribble that chased them through affiliate links that were strategically placed all over the page to capture even the most strayed of clicks.
Well the Panda attack from Google completely floored a number of webmasters and that was a huge wake up call for them but the recent alterations from Google have really changed the way in which the manipulation game has to be played if you are going to be able to make ground on the keyword terms that you are looking to breach.
Consider the latest update the biggest alteration to the search industry that you have ever seen and this is somewhere near to the effect that the alteration has had, although not exactly there as we haven’t seen the full extent of the roll out if all things that are pointing to an Armageddon of the search results pages continues to be tipped to happen.
Not only have Google now announced that they are going to look to overlook the value of links coming into the site, which is a huge shift in power compared to the early birth of the search engine, but they have coupled it with the most vicious Panda update seen to date alongside the promise that they are on the hunt for link buyers and sellers that are breaking the Google guidelines.
According to sources within the industry at the moment, there has been a mass of over 700,000 penalty notices that have been issued to webmasters through their Google Webmaster Tools dashboard with everything from ‘unnatural links’ to warnings of the quality of website that you are linking out to being pushed upon you like a lit firecracker that is ready to explode.
Primary thoughts about the warnings seemed to show that webmasters were willing to overlook their existence in order to continue to push their site for that big term that you simply wanted to be able to benefit financially from but now they are paying the price and are more than likely feeling like they are falling into free fall as their rankings continue to fall… page one… page two… page three… Gone!
Although it can bring a sick feeling into your stomach at the thought of being seen as a link building site within the eyes of the Google policing patrol, failure to take action on the warning will result in a severe loss of rankings that are only going to get worse and how do you get out of this? Clean up your backlink profile and submit to a manual review of your site.
Although this could seem like you are opening the doors to your site and the shady looking building that you have been doing over the last number of weeks, months or even years, a Google worker has revealed that the only way that you will avoid a fall through the pages is if you are open with Google, name and shame the networks that you have bought links on and shown an effort to have links removed.
Although I would strongly advise not naming any networks that you have bought links on, I would strongly recommend that you strip the links out of any low quality sites before you consider removing the juicy PR links, after all, you can afford to lose the low equity links!
- Posted by Jordan
- 20 March 2012
The online world has awoken to the sound of panic following news that Google have begun their battle to clean up the internet from all of the low level spam sites that have plagued the landscape for so long but inline with their battle against such sites, they have made alterations to Blogspot .com domains that have left site owners stunned.
Webmaster forums are quickly being flooded with posts that show that their Blogspot.com hosted sites have been completely stripped of their Google PageRank, a metric that is still seen as important to website owners regardless of the lack of proof that this is anything more than a very slight indication of authority within the eyes of the Google search engine.
The panic seems to relate to the huge mass stripping of PageRank throughout the Blogspot.com platform, including the official Google blog, but it seems that the alteration happened late last week and no one picked up on it until what seems this morning judging by the flood of panicking website owners.
Well we can reveal that the loss of PR is not related to the fact that you may have or may not have been selling advertising or links through the site, instead it is a Google side switch that has seen your PR disappear, thanks to their movement to geo-target the blog to the country that the user is based in.
This means that you Blogspot.com domain will now relocate to a sea of new extensions, such as .co.uk for the UK based searchers, .de for the German based visitors and .fr for anyone that accesses your site from France.
The reasoning behind the switch is still to be completely explained as the hosting of the sites remains to be held within the United States, so speed element is not one of the reasons behind the switch as far as we can tell but there is little need to panic over the loss of PR as it can be reclaimed automatically should your site have the right settings.
With the mass of domains that will now be present for your site, your content would be at risk of being duplicated across the globe by your own site, something that Google have recognised and taken action on, creating a rel canonical tag within the sites in order to show the search engine that the content all belongs to the .com version of your site.
The PageRank will return to the site within a week or two as it will pull the data from the original source of the content, so don’t panic, you haven’t been penalised by Google just yet!
- Posted by Jordan
- 19 March 2012
Following a recent questions and answer session help with Google guru Matt Cutts, the search engine optimisation work has been filled with panic following a question that asked whether a site could be too well optimised.
According to Cutts, Google are looking for over optimised sites and will be looking to punish the sites but it seems that the articles that have reported the revelation have taken the comments made by Cutts to the extreme, signalling that Google will be looking to hit any site that they find to be too well optimised with a dreaded penalty.
Although Cutts does admit openly that Google are looking to combat such sites, he points out that the type of sites that fall into this category are those that look to be written for search engines rather than the user, with such elements as keyword density being one of the main indications to their findings.
Although the use of keywords within your website copywriting is vital in order to help search engines to establish what a site is related to in terms of niche, over use of the one (or multiple) particular keywords means that the copy is less likely to read well for the use.
The panic that the articles that are spreading the news through have caused seems to be leading webmasters to question whether they are being over cautious on their planning of their website during the content addition and planning stages, resulting in lower levels of optimisation being completed within newer elements within their site due to fear of the penalty that Cutts has confirmed will be applied.
Below I have included the video of the question as answered by Cutts from Google, take a moment to think about what he is saying and you too will see that if you have a quality site that takes user interests into account, you will be completely fine and you will not feel the dreaded discipline of the biggest search engine in the world this time around.
- Posted by Jordan
- 09 March 2012
With the recent news that Google have once again ‘moved the goalposts’ for companies that are looking to rank within the top positions of their search results in a move that looks to have reverted the fact that anchor text links alone were enough to be able to rank a website for any term that you were looking to target.
The news will has still to really take effect within the realms of the Search Engine marketing world and but believe me when I share with you the knowledge that the search engine results are still set to take a huge shake up following the news that text links are no longer the driving force behind the ability to be able to top the returned results that are shown to users of their search engine.
Having heard about the news and learnt that tests are already underway within the industry to figure out the power than links now possess within the ranking factors that we are all so used to, I have today identified a huge shift in how sites are now being conceived as being worthy of ranking for specific terms, with one of my personal sites has now begun to rank for a term based purely on a news article on the site with the term being ranked for linking into a client.
Although there is clearly a link within the article pointing at the client, they are not ranking for the term anywhere on page one which to me shows the anchor text on links is no longer a passing factor and that means that that the industry could be about to be turned on its head.
The news will be a crushing blow to SEOs that are unable to adapt to the new way that the search engine seems to be likely to head towards, so finding the right SEO for your company can become even more of a minefield than it was before, with a huge number of individuals and companies that offer the service still unaware that Google are making these changes, let alone already thinking about the ways in which they need to move in order to offer their clients the best possible service.
These findings have not been confirmed by the powers that be within the industry but I’m sure that we will be seeing more on this subject coming to light over upcoming weeks as others begin to see the boost that they are getting for terms that they have never built a single link for while others see drops in their results like they have never seen before.
Interesting times ahead one thinks…
- Posted by Jordan
- 17 February 2012
With the constant changing times that we live in, you would think that we would all be used to the curve balls that seem to be thrown in our direction but the recent change to the Google ranking algorithm seems to have left us all scratching our heads as the change seems to be taking a step back in time.
Webmasters woke up earlier this month to find that their site had either taken a huge leap through the search engine rankings positions or taken a large hit to their position following the shift in power that seems to go against everything that industry professional and indeed Google had indicated through the limited stream of information that they drip into the online communities, seemingly giving more power to exact match domains after many revealed that they believe that Google will become more independent in their relevance establishment of a website to specific search terms.
One of the biggest shake ups has been within the online gambling niche as small scale websites have found themselves thrust up the rankings by the change in power and can be now found outranking even some of the most authoritive brands online, sparking calls from the online community for the search giants to sort out their problem and quickly.
Exact match domains were generally thought to be losing their value over the past year following between the line indications that the search giants were leaning more towards making their own decision of what a website is related to when searching to return the most relevant results to a user search query, a move that would see branded terms becoming more influential over a period of time but that was not the case when the change rolled out this month.
The result of the change has seen large name brands lose their grip on the positions in which they seemed to dominate with smaller, lower quality sites being rewarded by the roll out for owning an exact match keyword domain, a move that clearly shows that Google are still no closer to being able to determine for themselves what a website is trying to present to their users.
It’s not just the online gambling niche that has seen the alteration in power either, with payday loans, general finance and many other sectors also seeing their ranking results being impregnated by sites that have been simply created as a means to make money rather than to deliver the best information for search users, something that Google consistently claim to be looking to target when returning possible destinations for the user to visit during their quest for their query.
Not only is this a showing of a lack of progression within the Google algorithm but the fact that there has been correction of the issues seems to show that the search engine results pages will stay like this until Google roll out their next move to eclipse the sites that simply don’t deserve to be seen.
Can Google honestly put their hand on their heart and reveal that they feel that they have made the search engine results better for their users with their latest move or are they likely to simply keep quiet within the noise being made by webmasters that clearly feel that they are being out ranked by sites that have no right to exist within the top 1000 results, let alone the top 3?
- Posted by Jordan
- 23 September 2011
Now I am not trying to say that these auctions were ever out of the online webmaster community but there seems to have been a vast increase in the number of ‘premium’ domain sellers that are looking to try their luck in one of the oldest possible ways, and its working!
Online forums are riddled with webmasters that are constantly looking to sell domains, whether they are legitimate, dropped, aged, new or just that they need the funds from the sale to pay the bills, whatever the reason, there are thousands of domains listed for sale each and every day.
Lately I have been looking at expanding a football news network that I have even toyed with the prospect of adding dropped domains into the network in a move to help to expand the surface area of the site, so having one generic football news site and then club specific like Chelsea news, Arsenal News…
Today I have been looking about for ways in which I can further the size of my network and it seems that there is a huge number of Google PageRank domains being listed for sale over on DigitalPoint forums, a well known online webmaster site that seems to attract a huge variety of people.
With everything from hints and tips to scammers and complete and utter deceit, there is never a quiet day on the forum, there will always be some sort of confrontation or angry exchange in at least on of the threads on there.
Today I have had to offer up my opinion on a matter where one seller was looking to sell his “Valid PR7 Domain” and as I am always on the lookout for something with such high equity, I chipped in to see what sort of price the seller was looking for the domain.
After looking at the backlinks on the site, it soon became obvious that the site was not supported on high authority backlinks or anything even remotely close to that, instead the links into the site were little more than comment spam on posts that were carrying no PR what-so-ever.
I politely told the seller that I was not interested in the domain based on this fact and was told that the domain had survived the previous PR update (done in early August), puzzled I thought I would check the WhoIs information.
Just as I thought, it was a dropped domain that had been registered 15 days after the update, so that to me says that the links that must have given the domain the PR in the first place had been removed within the time between the update and me checking the backlinks.
So again I advised the seller on my findings and again I was told that I was wrong…
“Okay, you sell it to some other sucker then”
Yeah it was a little blunt but questioning my findings on the site when I knew that they were right really got under my skin.
So there I go, heading off to look at other potential gold mines and I get news that there is someone else adding their opinion on the sale thread, someone defending the seller for his antics and saying that he had bought many domains from him before and that people like me need to “go away and learn something”.
Right! Time to give this guy a dressing down and leave him feeling a little disorientated.
20 minutes of writing a reply and the job was done, fake PR domain once again avoided.
This got me thinking about many of the domains that are listed on the site, so I decided to have a look at 5 high PR domains that were listed for sale on the same site, see if the domains are legitimate or whether again these are the good old 301 redirect and then break redirect after PR update additions…
What a shock, 80% of the domains were little more than fake PR domains yet they were selling to webmasters on the forum for as much as $220!!
It seems that although there are a few webmasters out there that are able to avoid buying these domains as they look into a number of things to do with the domain but there are also so many people that are being mis-sold domains.
If you are on the look out for high PR domains, remember to:
Check the backlinks on the site – There should be a number of backlinks that are higher in PR than the domain in question.
Check the WhoIs information – Have a look at the creation date, is the domain aged or has the seller picked up the domain the day before and now they are looking to sell?