All posts by Andrew Radics

The Expert SEO Company, for local seo, search engine optimization, online reputation management and perform full seo audits on any website-03 9738 1927

Google Penguin 2.1: Who Got Hit?

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Everybody’s favorite (or least favorite) aquatic bird is back, and now site owners are once again asking how Google Penguin 2.1 has affected their website.


As he did for Penguin 1.0 and  Penguin 2.0, Glenn Gabe at G-Squared Interactive hasanalyzed 26 websites impacted by the algorithmic change to determine what factors contributed to sites that got hit.


Gabe, who has now analyzed more than 275 sites hit by Penguin, told Search Engine Watch that he believes Google Penguin 2.1 had a much greater impact than its predecesor.


Why Sites Were Hit by Google Penguin 2.1


Not surprisingly, Penguin 2.1 appears to have identified newer link spam  those links that were created at a later date than the Penguin 2.0 rollout in May, Gabe said.


Of that link spam, Gabe said the following represent the culprits:


  • Forum spamThis includes comments in forums with exact match anchor text links.
  • Forum bio spam: Biographies of forum users containing exact match anchor text links.
  • “Do follow” blogs:  Blogs that don’t add nofollow to the links posted. “Let’s face it,” Gabe said.
  • “Being listed on do-follow resource sites can absolutely send Google a signal that you are trying
  • to game links.”
  • Blogroll spam: Watch for blogroll links gone wrong. “Some may be fine,” Gabe said. “If you are unsure which ones are bad versus good, ask for help from a seasoned SEO.”
  • Spammy directories: If you’ve used spammy directories in the past, and still have links out there, Gabe said “nuke them, have them nofollowed, or disavow them.”
  • Blog comment signature spam: Google seems to be targeting these links even when they’re not followed, Gabe said.

Gabe also spotted a new culprit: classified websites showing up with heavy unnatural links leading to destination websites. He also said that, unfortunately, he has seen proof of negative SEO rearing its ugly head during Penguin 2.1.


“Ive had several companies reach out to me that are claiming negative SEO,” Gabe said. “And after looking at the situation, I have to agree with them. And worse, I saw an entire business category (in a geo area) get hit with spammy links. That seemed very suspicious. All the business owners (who are competitors) were all blindsided.”


Tips and Recovery Recommendations


It’s business as usual on how to deal with cleaning up your site for the next visit from Penguin, Gabe said. That means downloading and analyzing the links, creating a plan of attack to remove and disavow as needed, and if you have to, remove pages (unless they’re important).


Here are Gabe’s top five recommendations on what to do if you’ve been hit by Penguin 2.1:


  • Understand that Penguin heavily targets unnatural links. Your new content and social activity won’t trigger a recovery.
  • Thoroughly analyze your link profile, while keeping a keen eye on exact match and rich anchor text. That’s what Penguin targets.
  • Remove those links if you can, and disavow the remaining links. And use the domain operator in the disavow file when the domain is low-quality. Don’t try and target specific URLs on a spammy domain, when you can nuke the entire domain.
  • Make sure more unnatural links arent being added as time goes on. Gabe said he’s had a number of business owners think they cleaned up their situation, only to get hit harder during Penguin 2.1. After checking their link profiles, you can clearly see more spammy links were added during the spring, summer, and fall. This is what got them hit by Penguin 2.1.
  • Move fast and be aggressive. Gabe said he has seen Penguin recoveries during Panda updates, so there is a possibility of recovery prior to the next official Penguin update.

Keywords, and #Hashtags, and Hummingbird! Oh My!

A long-standing aphorism in the search community dictates that chaos brings opportunity. Well, Google has brought us the chaos.


The last couple of weeks have been full of the kind of Google news that fundamentally alters the way SEO professionals and site owners do business. Reeling from a triple shot of change, the search community has been eating anti-anxiety meds, writing emails to clients explaining what will happen next, and generally running around in circles.


From a social media and content marketer point of view, Google’s recent changes ring with the thrill of opportunity.


Businesses tend to parcel out their digital marketing tasks to multiple third-party service providers. One company does SEO. Another does PPC and a third does social marketing.


Now Google has given our industry a reason to force consolidation. Businesses that continue to see digital marketing as a series of silos will miss out on a myriad of opportunities to cross-pollinate their marketing with all of the their other online efforts.


Here’s what Google has changed and what those changes mean from a social marketer’s point of view.


Keyword Reporting


Not Sure If...


As Thom Craver pointed out in his article, “Goodbye, Keyword Data,” all searches now happen on encrypted servers, eliminating keyword data previously provided to site owners. Google said it’s a user privacy issue:


“We added SSL encryption for our signed-in search users in 2011, as well as searches from the Chrome omnibox earlier this year,” a Google spokesperson told Search Engine Watch. “We’re now working to bring this extra protection to more users who are not signed in.”


For businesses that live and die by their keyword rankings this sounds like catastrophic news. In fact, their visibility for certain terms in search is only a starting place. Granted it’s an enormously strong starting place.


Keywords told us “what,” but weren’t indicators of how likely a site visitor would find exactly what they were looking for on a particular website or how likely they were to stick around and convert into a paying customer.


The removal of keywords forces website marketers to move the needle forward. Google is very good at figuring out what your site is about and no longer wants to be told.


This is where content and social media come into play. Well-written pages that serve value to the human beings navigating a website are critical to conversions and true ROI.


Establishing relationships via social media with visitors that are still in the decision-making process help to foster an emotional affinity for the brand and separate the researchers from real customers. In other words, search and social shouldn’t be separate. They need to be working together as a marketing team.


Hashtag Search




Just as easily as Google taketh away the keywords, Google giveth hashtagging. Hashtags, particularly those used in Google+, are now providing value added results in Google search.


Along with standard search results for their query, the user will also get a live scrolling feed of public Google+ posts bearing the hashtag searched for and links to those hashtag feeds on Twitter and Facebook. The Google+ feed isn’t showing up for every hashtag searched, it seems to depend on if the tag is trending at the time of the search.


Hastags present branding and topical authority opportunities. When used judiciously, well-placed hashtags in blog titles, Google+ posts, Facebook and Twitter updates, and in image descriptions across Pinterest, Instagram, and Vine can add a layer of cohesiveness to a brand’s online campaigns.


One of my clients is interested in developing an ongoing series of Hangouts on Air for their customers. We had already discussed the use of a branded hashtag to help promote discussion on other platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Now that we know there is an added benefit in search, we will be even more tactical about how we post and share promotions of their Hangouts.


Combined with the authorship markup, hashtags used appropriately in blogs should help writers aggregate their articles around specific topics and increase the perception of authority on those topics.


Hummingbird Update


Google Hummingbird


Danny Goodwin points out that the technological update of Google search is designed to handle more complex queries, in his article, “Google Hummingbird Takes Flight.”


As the search engine has matured over the last 15 years, its understanding of language has become more sophisticated. Like any other teenager, it can combine vocabulary with grammar to understand the meaning of questions rather than just matching words on page to words in a query. Google has grown up to understand how we communicate and share information with one another.


This is what is most exciting about Internet marketing. The content of a website no longer needs to be artificially loaded with terms meant to attract web crawlers.


The more we produce material that real human readers will enjoy, the more search will understand the communication connection. The digital space continues to become a more accurate reflection the real world.




Embrace the change, shift your paradigm, tear down a few cubical walls, and free your content writers, webmasters, SEO professionals, and community managers to work as a cohesive team. It’s a brave new world we live in.


Thank you for visiting.
Andrew Radics


Image Credit: Dimka/Flickr


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Removing Unnatural Links by Removing Pages on Your Website

removing unnatural linksTrying to clean up your backlink profile? Did you know that you can quickly remove links by removing the page of your site to which that link points?


Obviously this tactic can’t be used for links pointing to your home page. But, if you have inner pages that have built up large numbers of unnatural links and are causing your site to be affected negatively by a Google penalty or algorithm issue, then this could be a good tactic to use.


Be sure you do it correctly though! Later on in this article I’ll share about how a client of mine got their site re-penalized by making an error in 404ing their pages.


Removing a Page With Unnatural Links Pointing to it


During a Webmaster Central Hangout, Google employee John Mueller was asked:


Does removing a page that has unnatural links pointing to it accomplish the same thing when it comes to removing a link when it comes to the Penguin algorithm? If a site has all of its links pointing to one page and removes the page is the issue solved?


“Yes, essentially that’s pretty much the same thing,” Mueller said. “So, what happens when a page is removed and the page returns a 404, what happens is that we drop those links so that they don’t count. Generally speaking, if you can’t remove those links and you don’t want to use the disavow backlinks tool then you could remove those pages.”


And here’s how Mueller answered a question in the Google Webmaster Forum on the same topic:


In general, if you remove the page that is being linked to (such as a spammy forum thread) and make sure that it returns a 404/410 HTTP response code, we’ll ignore the links to those pages.


Don’t Make These Mistakes!


Please know, though, that the page must be truly removed in order for the links pointing to it to no longer count. The following won’t work to remove links:


  • Noindexing and/or nofollowing the page. A noindexed, nofollowed page will still receive PageRank from links pointing to it. Marking a page on your site noindexed and/or nofollowed doesn’t accomplish the same thing as physically removing a link.
  • Blocking by robots.txt: A page that is blocked by robots.txt will still receive PageRank as well. The robots.txt directive will simply tell Google not to crawl that page. But, if links point to it then they will still count towards your site.
  • Redirecting the pages to another page on your site. A redirect will pass somewhere from 95 to 100 percent of the PageRank from bad link on to the redirected page and won’t remove the link.
  • Removing the link but creating an identical page on your site with a different URL. I’ve seen situations where Google can recognize identical content and automatically canonicalize it. What this means is that links pointing to the original page will be attributed to the new page.

A Grievous Error


One of my clients made a big mistake. Several months ago we worked hard to remove an unnatural links penalty that this client received.


A previous SEO company had built unnatural links to their site by creating a large number of articles on the site and then paying other sites to link to these articles. We removed those unnatural links by removing all of the articles that had been made on the site. If someone clicked on one of those unnatural links, they would be directed to a 404 page.


The site also had some other obviously unnatural links, such as low-quality directories which we dealt with as well. We were very pleased when Google removed the unnatural links penalty from the site.


However, I was very surprised to find out about two months later that the site was penalized. Again.


It didn’t take long to determine what had happened. The site owners had decided to redirect all of those 404 pages to the home page.


Whether it was done in error, or done to try to sneakily regain some link juice, I don’t know. Somehow their site underwent another manual review and the penalty was levied again.


Did you know that when a site gets penalized a second time by Google that the penalty is often more harsh and also harder to remove? This is because it takes more work to convince the webspam team that you really are committed to the quality guidelines.


For this site, we quickly removed the redirects so that the bad links once again pointed to 404 pages and filed again for reconsideration. But, this time Google didn’t remove the penalty.


Google gave examples of unnatural links that were very hard to find as they were not in the list of Webmaster Tools backlinks. Now that this site has lost Google’s trust they are going to have to do a lot more work to get the penalty removed.


Should You 404 Pages or Just Disavow the Unnatural Links?


In the same Hangout linked to above, Mueller said that using the disavow tool to ask Google to not count these bad links would work just as well as 404ing the page(s) on your sites to remove links.


However, as there is controversy over the use of the disavow tool, (see Cyrus Shepard’s disavow experiment and my theory on what happened), I would suggest that if all of a page’s links are bad ones, to just remove the page rather than disavow. Removing the page will remove all of the bad links.


Thank you for visiting.
Andrew Radics


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Can Google’s Balloons Unite the World Online?

When Google first announced Project Loon back in July, we had to check the calendar to ensure it wasn’t another of the company’s elaborate April Fools’ gags.


Thousands of balloons on the edge of space, floating around the globe on stratospheric wind currents, self-aware and conscious of each other’s movements like a flock of birds, sounded outlandish enough, but beaming Wi-Fi down to remote or underprivileged black spots? Pull the other one, chaps!


However, as we listened to the pitch, the derision evaporated. Yes, this idea seemed beyond crazy – its absurdity is even acknowledged in the name – yet somehow still plausible. In Loon’s case, the premise is so crazy that it just might work. On a small scale, at least, recent tests in New Zealand have shown the idea, from Google’s secretive X Labs, does work.


Bringing the world online


Google estimates there are 5-6 billion people around the world without access to the internet. The majority of people on the planet are completely devoid of connectivity through poverty, a remote locale, a lack of infrastructure and, in some cases, all three.


Google’s vision for Project Loon procures schooling for those currently without education, brings doctors for people who cannot travel to see one, and provides important weather data to assist farmers, whose harvests are affected by droughts and floods.


Illiteracy, Disease and Famine could be dealt a swift and telling blow with a little Wi-Fi and according to Team Loon, balloons stationed so high above the earth they can only be seen with a telescope, is the most affordable and best way to achieve this.



“The materials are pretty inexpensive,” says Project Loon’s Richard DeVaul. “The plastic of the balloons is similar to that in shopping bags and the electronics aren’t that different from consumer electronics. This is a very cost-effective way to connect the world.”


Give a child a balloon and maybe they’ll smile for a day. Give them one with Wi-Fi and the possibilities, Google hopes, are limitless.



What is a Project Loon?




Naturally, the balloon itself is not just your average birthday party accoutrement. These massive structures are 15-meters wide and made a from polyethylene film that’s only three times thicker than a supermarket carrier bag, but still thick enough to withstand high altitude air pressures without exploding.


However, the responsibility of the balloon, and its helium gas filling, is to get the real tech wizardry in the air and keep it there. Each unit carries a mini Linux-based computer, toting the all-important Wi-Fi radios, GPS and several sensors recording air temperature, altitude and speed of movement. All of this information is sent to Google’s Command Centre on the ground below where the each balloon can be controlled to a certain degree.


Once it has reached the altitude of 20km (65,000ft), it’s will end its ascent. Then, as Google explains: “Signals are transmitted from the balloons to a specialized Internet antenna mounted to the side of a home or workplace that use radio frequency technology.


“The Internet antenna is connected to a consumer grade router. Web traffic that travels through the balloon network is ultimately relayed to ground stations, where it’s connected to pre-existing Internet infrastructure, like fiber cables and our local telecommunications partners.”


Once the trifecta of balloon, antenna and local ISP is complete, Each balloon is theoretically capable of bringing internet connectivity for everyone in a 12 mile radius. Get a few thousand of these up in the air, shove some antennas on a few houses and voila! Internet for all


Flocking together


However, won’t any balloon filled with helium, however large and resistant to the elements, just float away on the breeze once it takes to the skies? How can it bring consistent coverage to an area if we can’t control where they are?


Well Google says its Loon balloons are steerable from the ground. At stratospheric altitudes (twice as high as commercial aircraft fly, so there’ll be no unfortunate accidents) wind currents tend to move in very specific directions. Google’s Loon uses a custom-built, solar-powered pump to carefully inflate or deflate the balloon remotely from the ground. The idea is that each balloon rises and falls to the required height in order to move in the required direction at the required speed.


From they’re, they’re like sailboats, which Google says will eventually be able to stay in the air for 100 days at a time. When they reach the end of their shift, they can be directed to a designated rescue centres around the world and replaced.


As each balloon is able to communicate with its fellows, it’ll move accordingly to ensure that, while doing these laps around the world, the balloons remain a sufficient distance from a colleague. The result? A balloon is always in range for the folks on the ground.


“Is it possible to have a nicely spaced out flock of balloons? The answer is yes. Once people could see this was possible, it became a feasible project, not some crazy science project,” said Dan Piponi, a Rapid Evaluator for Project Loon.


Thank you for visiting.
Andrew Radics


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Google Looks to Voice-Based Interface as Web Search Goes Mobile

English: This is one of the huge welcoming sig...

English: This is one of the huge welcoming signs for Google plex in the silicon valley. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Google, the world’s most visited web address, is in search for a new voice-based interface as internet search increasingly gets centred around mobile phones and tablet computers.


Google, which on an average handles 100 billion searches a month, needs a new voice-based interface as web search enters the next frontier of mobile search.


Search accounts for the bulk of Google’s $50 billion (35 billion pound) annual income and a voice-based interface for mobile search is a challenge that Google cannot ignore anymore.


And, for the India-bred VP of Google‘s search business Ben Gomes, there is a better possibility of a solution getting easy with the touch screen technology and a really good microphone.


“It can enable a new kind of interface. So we realised we want to build an interface that was much like the way you talk to some person and ask a question,” the BBC quoted Gomes as saying.


While Google already has a voice-based software for search application that responds to questions, Gomes told the BBC that the process is “going to get better and more intelligent”.


Gomes, 45, and his team at Googleplex are having a continuous conversation with the users to find out what they wants even as they continue working on “their fine-tooth comb search of the worldwide web to serve up the popular search engine”.


“When I joined Google in 1999, search was about basically finding the words that you search for in a document. Then we took this view that we were going to understand what you want and give you what you need,” BBC quoted Gomes as saying.


Thank you for visiting.
Andrew Radics


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SEO Packages Buyer Beware

All too often, I have new clients share the “strategy” their previous SEO company/consultant had suggested (or worse – implemented) and it’s some sort of a package deal. Often, these packages incorporate severely outdated tactics, many of which might have been at least marginally effective in the past, but are toxic today. But that’s not the worst part of those packages.


It’s sad to hear from the owner of a relatively small but successful site that was generating a few thousand dollars per month until recently, then suddenly, they’re considering a couple hundred dollars their norm. Even sadder is having to explain to them that it happened because they made a poor choice – one that was totally avoidable.


I’ve had many of the emails shared with me by which they were prospected. My own junk folder even picks up one now and then. Here’s one I recently received, that’s fairly typical:



We are offering S.E.O. services for your website. which will help you to improve your Google, Yahoo, and Msn and other search engine rankings.

Monthly Task and responsibilities: –


  1. 150 Directory submissions
  2. 10 Social Bookmarking Submissions
  3. 10 Article Submissions (1 article x 10 article directories)
  4. 10 Press Release Submissions (1 press release x 10 press release websites)
  5. 10 Blog Submissions
  6. 1 unique, 400 word article written
  7. 1 unique, 400 word press releases
  8. 15 One Way back links with mix PR
  9. Meta tags changes suggestions
  10. Keyword research
  11. Competitor Analysis
  12. Heading tag changes
  13. Alt tag changes
  14. Interlinking wherever required.
  15. Keyword density in site content.
  16. HTML Site Map
  17. XML site map and Submission in webmaster tool

Our Best rates for this are: – USD 150 per month per project at beginning of every month.

Please let us know in case you are interested.

Thanks & Regards,
[Name charitably withheld]
Business Development manager


Now, sometime during the last decade, parts of that package would have been effective for most sites. Parts of it are even still effective for most sites. But I think most of us know which of those are outdated, hence, toxic to nearly any site. (I say nearly any site, because there are a few niches which seem to be 100 percent filled with sites practicing such techniques, so it really has no bearing on the SERP placement of any site.)


So let me address these “SEO services” in a very general fashion:


Honestly, the first eight items are, for the most part, crap! For a website, they have the potential of being absolutely disastrous.


Would you assume this person has the ability and the motivation to single out site directories, article directories, blogs, PR sites, and social bookmarking sites that are both safe and effective? For any site? In any niche? (At $150/month, I doubt many would realistically expect a lot of specialized effort on your part.)


At $150, should you also expect that the keyword research and competitor analysis will be performed to a granular level? And that the quality of the press release and article will be of decent quality? Ideally, in comprehensible English?


This spam email demonstrates that he hasn’t got a clue which old techniques are now high-risk, low-yield. I tend to judge a book by its cover in such situations. Anyone who markets themselves in such a sloppy and outdated fashion, is not on my short-list of marketing hires.


Why Cookie-Cutter Packages Don’t Work


The real point: a cookie-cutter recipe isn’t going to work for just any site.


In fact, an argument could be made that no such package is likely to work ideally for more than one or possibly two sites, and even then, only if they’re identical in terms of niche, market, quality and a handful of other factors. Oh, and a huge amount of blind luck.


Any reputable SEO, in my opinion, will first look at a site to get at least a snapshot of what areas need attention or can be better developed, before proposing a strategy. If they’re willing to quote a price, sight-unseen, I would say that one of three possibilities exist:


  • They haven’t got a clue what they’re doing (which sadly, is often the case).
  • They’ve priced themselves sufficiently high to allow for virtually any contingency.
  • They’re too stupid to be allowed to play with either a keyboard or sharp instruments.

Ideally, if a client’s site seems to need extensive on-page work, I’ll be able to talk them into a medium-level audit. That allows me to quantify the hours I expect to have to dedicate to each task. But even without that audit, I’ll still do enough checking on my own, to be able to put forward a decent guestimate of what’s required, before I begin a statement of work and pricing.


I can’t imagine quoting the same fixed dollar amount for the addition of alt attributes to both an eight-page mommy-blog and to Amazon. But selling SEO packages is essentially doing just that. Different market demographics, niches, product type, marketing style, business model and a host of other criteria demand an individualized strategy for every site.


Caveat Emptor

Caveat Emptor


Unfortunately, many site owners look for help with their websites without knowing enough about the sort of help they need to enable them to make informed decisions. They either fall for a scam and take a beating, hopefully learning something valuable in the process, or they do their own due diligence in an effort to avoid a beating.


When they fall for bad SEO packages, the least that’ll happen is that they’ll waste their money. Often, they’ll also suffer long-lasting losses, as they spend months trying to recover from a penalty – the only tangible result of their SEO investment. Another result, nearly as tangible, is the bad taste left in their mouth by what they consider to be SEO.


That, as we all know, reflects poorly on all SEO professionals, not just the asshats. It makes it more difficult for the rest of us to close a deal, gain the trust of our clients and deliver the results we know are possible.


As far as I’m concerned, silence is as bad as condoning. I don’t condone idiots taking advantage of clients, so I have no intention of being silent on the topic.


I also don’t hold site owners innocent of failing to inform themselves. This is the Internet Age, people! Virtually anything you want to know can be found with a few keystrokes.


If you’re not willing to invest the time and thought necessary, you deserve a lot of the blame. You could find some good resources with a quick Google search for “SEO best practices organizations”.




I doubt that most people would buy a used car without checking it out first. Or a house, a surgeon’s services or a babysitter. Doesn’t your livelihood deserve at least as much consideration?


You don’t have to become a car mechanic to inform yourself about known service problems, poor performance, or lousy gas mileage. You just need to make the effort to investigate whether what your being offered is typically considered acceptable.


The same is true of selecting a reputable SEO. Do your homework and protect your investment.


Thank you for visiting.
Andrew Radics


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Thai Villagers Apologize for Blocking Google Car

Thai Villagers Apologize for Blocking Google CarBANGKOK (AP) — Internet giant Google’s Street View project, which has raised privacy concerns in several countries, has ignited a minor uproar in northern Thailand where villagers suspected its cameras were surveying for an unwanted dam project.

Google’s regional communications manager Taj Meadows said Wednesday that the company was aware of the incident in Sa-eab village in Phrae province, in which about 20 residents blocked a Google camera-equipped car. Google’s project takes photos to accompany its Google Earth map program.

The Manager newspaper reported that the villagers took the vehicle’s driver to a local office to quiz him, then to a temple where they made him swear on a statue of Buddha that he was not working for the dam project.

The Prachatai news website said the villagers released the driver and later apologized to him and to Google.

Sa-eab village, 615 kilometers (385 miles) north of Bangkok, is known for its long-running dam protests by villagers and environmental groups.

‘‘(We) apologize to the official, to Google, as well as to the Thai people throughout the nation and to the citizens of the world,’’ the villagers’ representatives wrote. They explained that they were ‘‘extremely worried and there had been so many repeated cases that convinced the villagers to believe someone was trying to survey the area in disguise.’’

Google Street View has run into problems in some other countries where there are concerns it captures too much information that should be private. The project’s technology also scoops up Wi-Fi radio signals, and Britain’s data regulator in June ordered the company to delete personal data it gathered that way, or face a contempt of court action.

‘‘Embarking on new projects, we sometimes encounter unexpected challenges, and Street View has been no exception,’’ Google’s Meadows said in an email, adding that ‘‘Street View abides by Thailand’s local laws, and only features imagery taken on public property.’’

In 2011, the Tourism Authority of Thailand partnered with Google Thailand to launch a tourism promotion initiative involving images of streets and top attractions in the country’s major cities.

Thailand was the world’s 35th country to have Street View imagery available.

Thank you for visiting.

Andrew Radics

Original Article Source Here

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Matt Cutts: Google +1s Don’t Lead to Higher Ranking

Matt Cutts - SMX Advanced 2012 Photos

Matt Cutts – SMX Advanced 2012 Photos (Photo credit: planetc1)

It isn’t often that Google’s Distinguished Engineer Matt Cutts comes right out to debunk a highly publicized blog post regarding something to do with ranking in Google.


Everybody has their own opinions of what works and what doesn’t work, and SEO in itself can be highly subjective, primarily because Google doesn’t really come out and specifically admit the things that work, because they don’t want people gaming the system.


Moz published a blog post “Amazing Correlation Between Google +1s and Higher Search Rankings” claiming that Google +1s had a direct correlation with higher search rankings in Google – and that it was higher than any other ranking factor. The post was written by Cyrus Shepard, the “Senior Content Astronaut” at Moz, and the data was taken from their 2013 ranking factors.


It’s a pretty sensational title, and immediately sparked a lot of discussion. His post brought up a lot of points about why he feels this correlation is correct, such as posts shared on Google+ are crawled and indexed almost immediately, and that posts on the site pass “link equity”. He also noted that authorship shares in the rankings as well. However, he’s also stating it as fact, instead of just a possibility without any specific hard data with proof, such as specific sites where an increase in rankings can be solely attributed to Google +1’s.


In addition to grabbing the attention of many in the SEO industry (many of whom trashed the post as being highly flawed), Cutts immediately stepped into debunk the claim of the correlation between rankings and +1s. Specifically, Cutts wrote:


Just trying to decide the politest way to debunk the idea that more Google +1s lead to higher Google web rankings. Let’s start with correlation != causation:

But it would probably be better to point to this 2011 post (also from SEOMoz/Moz) from two years ago in which a similar claim was made about Facebook shares:… . From that blog post from two years ago: “One of the most interesting findings from our 2011 Ranking Factors analysis was the high correlation between Facebook shares and Google US search position.”


This all came to a head at the SMX Advanced search conference in 2011 where Rand Fishkin presented his claims. I did a polite debunk of the idea that Google used Facebook shares in our web ranking at the conference, leading to this section in the 2011 blog post: “Rand pointed out that Google does have some access to Facebook data overall and set up a small-scale test to determine if Google would index content that was solely shared on Facebook. To date, that page has not been indexed, despite having quite a few shares (64 according to the OpenGraph).”


If you make compelling content, people will link to it, like it, share it on Facebook, +1 it, etc. But that doesn’t mean that Google is using those signals in our ranking.


Rather than chasing +1s of content, your time is much better spent making great content.


So his belief falls in line with what a lot of SEO professionals are doing for long-term SEO success, where creating great quality content that is more likely to be shared is the best kind of strategy when it comes to content.


He does continue to reiterate that +1s and rankings are not related. “Most of the initial discussion on this thread seemed to take from the blog post the idea that more Google +1s led to higher web ranking. I wanted to preemptively tackle that perception.”


Cutts also mentioned that another SEO has been doing a rigorous study on whether it +1s lead to higher rankings are not, which he suspects will be released the next month or two. If it is providing specific examples in the study, it will be good to be the most conclusive evidence SEOs will have about whether it is or isn’t a ranking factor with concrete data to back it up.


Cutts made similar statements last year at SES San Francisco, when he said that Google doesn’t put a lot of weight on +1’s yet and advised people not to assume Google+ equates to rankings.


Below are a few reactions from Twitter. What’s your take?







Thank you for visiting.
Andrew Radics


Original Article Source




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Some Online Reputations Just Cannot Be Repaired

Some Online Reputations Just Cannot Be Repaired

With the internet growing every day, you have to protect your online reputation even more. Fox News PR person Irena Briganti recently found out the hard way.

In the news recently there was a Fox News PR person by the name of  Irena Briganti who was dubbed as being the “ the Fox News PR hatchet woman known for being the most vindictive flack in the media world”. Needless to say, her online reputation is extremely bad. In fact, check out what comes up in a Google search when you type in her name HERE. It is quite amazing…and sad at the same time.


In an article entitled “Fox News Flack Irena Briganti Tried to Scrub Her Bad Online Reputation“, there are some readers comments and one I found to be particularly interesting. When commenting on the article, an online reputation management company owner said:


“My company was approached to aid a Fox contributer previously mentioned on Gawker for pantsing (skirting) a coworker in this particular area. I flat out told my team we wouldn’t be taking her on.


I told them, “If it’s on Gawker, we ain’t gunna be able to scrub it. We’re not that good.”


Edit: I had originally thought it was this lady. Not the case”


It goes to show how careful you have to be in this day and age to protect what you say and what you do as it will end up in places you don’t want it to be, namely plastered all over the internet. Like with this lady, there are some reputation management companies that will not touch you as some cannot be helped. These companies can charge more than $10,000 to help you improve your online image but with this company owner, and quite rightly so, refused to help as he said that it was going to be nearly impossible to do anything about such a bad online reputation such as Irena Briganti. I’m pretty sue I would have done the exact same thing.


To learn more about how to protect your online reputation, CLICK HERE.


Thank you for visiting.
Andrew Radics




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Google Search Becomes a Better Listener, Finally




Google Search Becomes a Better Listener, FinallyYou may not think you need voice recognition in your search, but Google does. It’s now opening its ears for all users on a broad range of queries that it began testing a year ago.




Google has spent the past year developing its voice recognition tools, and on Wednesday the company announced that the voice recognition tools in Google Now will be added to Google Search.




You’ll now be able to ask Google Search the same kinds of questions as Google Now, further connecting the services. Queries about five expansive categories make accessible in Search a lot of information from your Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google+. The categories include scheduled flight information, photos from Google+, event information from Google Calendar, purchase data from Gmail shipping notices, and restaurant reservations, from Gmail and Google Calendar.




The new voice-powered Search will work in most Google apps, including the Chrome browser on desktops and mobile and the Google Search apps on Android and iOS. Google will be rolling out the update over the next few days. It ought to be available to all Google users by the end of the week, according to Google spokeswoman Roya Soleimani.




The new features leverage Google’s Knowledge Graph and contextual voice recognition that first debuted in a field test a year ago. The information exposed in Search is limited by Google account, so you can’t search another person’s Gmail unless you’ve accessed his or her account.




The new voice recognition features are robust enough to be able to work with different ways of formulating the same question. Soleimani said that asking, “What time is my flight?” will elicit the same answer as “When is my flight?” or “When does my flight leave?”




These kinds of searches have been available for a while now in Google Search only as typed queries for people participating in the field test. But this is the first time Google’s voice search will be able to recognize this sort of typed query and voice query by default.




Contextual search and recognition allow people to ask more natural follow-up questions. “When is my dinner reservation?” could be followed with, “How do I get there?” Google Search then will open Google Maps to direct you to the restaurant. However, while contextual search is available in Google Search, it won’t work yet with the new query categories that pull information from your Google accounts. Google would not give a timeline for when it would be available, either.




A popular search, said Soleimani, is for nutritional information at a restaurant. People like asking about the calorie count of different types of food and beverages, she explained, by starting with the query, “How many calories are in avocados?” and then following with, “What about sake?” and “What about rice?”




Other benefits of the new features are that you don’t have to wrack your brain trying to remember when you got the airline reservation confirmation e-mail or where in Google+ your favorite photo from your last vacation is. “This information is just for you — secure, via encrypted connection, and visible only to you when you’re signed in to Google,” wrote Roy Livne, Google Search product manager in the blog about the update.




The downside is that you might not want to be able to access all your services from the same search box. The improvements come without a change to Google privacy policy, but Google is still likely to be learning a lot from how you search your account.




Not all the features from the field trial are being made available to the general Google-consuming public at this time. Drive integration is limited to people participating in the field trial, as is exposing information from some e-mails in Search. People in the trial will be able to stay in, said Soleimani.




She wouldn’t reveal how many people are in the field trial, saying only that it was a “substantial” number.




If the tying of Search so strongly to your personal information raises your hackles, CNET has a guide on how to opt out of the integration.




Update, 1:05 p.m. PT: Clarifies that the new queries won’t work with contextual searches.




Thank you for visiting.
Andrew Radics




Original Article Here






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