In my experience, severe panda-related hits tend to boil down to a root cause of either duplicate content, thin content, or extremely poor user experience.
As I’ve already covered many of the other areas involved in recovering from panda this month, I wanted to focus on thin content – what it is, how to spot it, and most importantly, how to fix it using Google Analytics.
A few weeks have passed since Google’s long awaited and much speculated Penguin 2.0 update, and with the dust beginning to settle, we took a look at its impact in the UK.
There’s been no shortage of hype in the run-up to Penguin 2.0, with everybody’s favourite Google spokesperson and distinguished engineer Matt Cutts describing the forthcoming update as ‘a big one’ back in March.
But, so far at least, has it lived up to its billing as Google’s most advanced piece of spam-fighting technology to date?
Matt Cutts announced this week that Google update ‘Penguin 2.0’ has been rolled out and has affected about 2.3% of English-US queries.
With Google so keen to cut down on webspam, where does SEO go from here?
Thanks again to Panda, Penguin etc, it seems many webmasters are panicking about links they have obtained in the past, or have been pulled up by Google as a result of over-zealous link building.
As a result, we are receiving many more link removal requests than we ever used to, ten or so in the past couple of months.
To be frank, these requests are annoying, and I'm also a little put out that they see this blog as a risk to them. Chris Lake touched upon this recently and, as he says, 'a lot of folks seem to have a bad case of The Fear'.
I thought it was worth exploring this issue in more detail, so I've asked a few SEO experts for their views...
It sometimes sucks, being a publisher in a post-Penguin, post-Panda world. It’s great that Google is cleaning up webspam, but it’s not so great to be on the receiving end of stupid demands from people who give the SEO industry a bad name.
What am I talking about? Dubious links, that’s what. Or should I say dubious links on a supposedly authority website (ours), that have been flagged up by dubious SEO tools. Emails with ‘please remove this link’ make our hearts sink.
What else? Dubious expectations. Why is it that publishers like Econsultancy are expected to clean up the mess? This is the last thing I want us to be doing. “It will be good for both of us,” they say, with various degrees of menace. No it won’t. It’s a cost to our business, and to the publishing industry more broadly.
We have always been hugely supportive of the SEO industry, and as a web business we’ve always tried to stay on top of SEO best practice. As such it is deeply frustrating to be on the receiving end of requests to remove ‘suspicious’ links, or to add no_follow to links that I think are perfectly acceptable.
I’m not planning on revealing any names here, but let me explain what I’m talking about. There are three areas for concern. The first two are linked to stupid, short-term thinking, and needless panic. The last one might indicate that Google is changing the goalposts around guest blogging.
Is this the tip of the iceberg, or a few isolated incidents that we’re experiencing?
We've seen a lot of changes in the SEO world over the last six months, with content marketing in particular becoming a hotter topic almost by the day.
But if you really think about what a good SEO campaign should look like, it's pretty obvious that link manipulation and over-optimisation is never what Google was looking for when reviewing quality in sites.
In fact, in the words of Google themselves; creating quality content is the single biggest thing you can do!
As search marketers, we know that there are proven methods of improving our page rank such as creating unique and relevant content with the right keywords, promoting this content, and building links from the domains that matter.
These are methods that have been used for the past ten years and while, these methods have been quite effective, SEO is more complex today.
The rise of social media as an effective SEO tool, the growing competitiveness of SEO, and tough guidelines by search engines, call for a re-evaluation of how we have been doing SEO.
At a conference earlier this year, Hollywood big wig Ari Emanuel suggested that Google could do more to thwart digital piracy by helping to ensure that pirated content doesn't find its way into the world's largest and most popular search engine.
At the time, a Google executive called Emanuel's suggestion "very misinformed" and noted that identifying who owns content is not always an easy task.
But apparently behind the scenes, Google was far more amenable to the concept than it indicated publicly. In a post on Google's Inside Search blog on Friday, Google SVP Amit Singhal announced that the company has launched a new update that may ensure Google's top executives get invites to all of Hollywood's red carpet events.
Before going on, I want to make one thing clear. I am not setting out to be intentionally provocative with this article. It goes without saying that there are some excellent freelance search experts able to offer their clients first class advice in how to plan and execute an SEO strategy.
Instead, I am driven by helping those buying digital marketing services, SEO in particular, to make more informed decisions when sourcing external partners and agencies.
I am passionate about SEO, and digital marketing more generally, but I also understand it has its pitfalls, the main one being the complex, crowded and confusing market for SEO services.
As such, my purpose is not to antagonise the world of freelance SEO but to simply encourage buyers to question whether it is realistic for a freelancer to deliver every aspect of a highly effective SEO strategy on their own.
Yesterday, we attended the Amazon Web Services Summit in New York where Dr Werner Vogels, CTO, Amazon, gave the keynote speech highlighting how cloud services will transform how we do business.
Though some critics think cloud services may have unforeseen challenges, Vogals somewhat salesy keynote also had representatives of companies using Amazon cloud services come to the stage to say why the cloud is enabling their businesses to do things they could never do before.
As these (and most) businesses are discovering, a data revolution is taking place. The amount of information we need to process, map and store is growing at exponential rates. So in comes cloud services.