black hat SEO

Four reflections on New Zealand’s digital industry from an international traveller

Twelve months ago I handed in my notice at a UK digital marketing agency and packed my bags to explore the wider world in which we live.

After several months in Asia, touring temples and burning on beaches, I settled into a digital marketing role in Queenstown, New Zealand.

It was actually the appeal of a ski season that attracted me to this buzzing town, but I was fortunate enough to have a skill set that was useful to local businesses.

Google penalizes another major retailer

If you ever lamented the fact that Google never seemed to penalize big brands for their shady SEO practices, 2011 has been an interesting year.

Faced with increasing criticism over the quality of its search results, Google has started cracking down on some big names. Last week, for instance, it took action against J.C. Penney for what appeared to be a paid linking scheme carried out by a third party vendor.

J.C. Penney’s paid link blow-up: do you know what your SEO is doing?

The phrase ‘black hat SEO’ probably conjures up images of shady,
fly-by-night operators doing anything they can to game Google. It
probably doesn’t conjure up images of large, established companies and
respected retailers.

But common wisdom about black hat SEO isn’t necessarily accurate. Case
in point: J.C. Penney, a major retailer that has been in business for
more than 100 years, was just busted for what appears to be a paid
link scheme concocted by a third party SEO vendor.

BadRank: is Google neglecting search?

Note to unscrupulous merchants: all of that negative online buzz you’ve
been creating to boost your sites ranking on Google won’t do you much
good anymore.

At least that’s what Google is saying following the New York Times’
high-profile story about Mr. B, who just might be the web’s most
unscrupulous merchant
. His strategy: treat customers like crap,
encourage them to complain about him online and watch his site’s
presence in the SERPs improve with every complaint.

Is Instant a distraction from Google’s flaws?

Google Instant certainly ranks as one of the biggest user experience
changes Google has implemented since it launched Google search more than
a decade ago. And for that reason, it has attracted a lot of press attention,
and sparked a significant amount of conversation among search experts.

But is Google Instant really little more than a convenient distraction
that masks Google’s flaws? Some are essentially arguing just that.