Tag Archives: Search Engine Watch

Google Penguin 2.1: Who Got Hit?

Penguin-fighter
(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

 

hashtag-abuse

 

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.

 

Summary

 

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

 

Article Source: http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2299177/Keywords-and-Hashtags-and-Hummingbird-Oh-My

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