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Google Algorithm Change January 26th Confirmed

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January 28  |  News  |   Ryan Clark

The cat is out of the bag and a major algorithm change has been launched within Google. Matt Cutts has come out and stated the news on his blog which you can read here. This is definitely a post everyone should be reading but to do a slight bit of dupe content myself, this is what their focusing on:

This was a pretty targeted launch: slightly over 2% of queries change in some way, but less than half a percent of search results change enough that someone might really notice. The net effect is that searchers are more likely to see the sites that wrote the original content rather than a site that scraped or copied the original site’s content.

While I’ve been ranting about our problem with content scrapers, but this week we’ve been seeing a huge improvement of the scrapers not even registering. I’m hoping this is the start of a cleaner search result, and a rise in revenue for everyone, including Google.

There is a huge amount of web chatter going on in the forums, on the blogs and Twitter so I’ll do my best to round it up here for your reading pleasure. Google and Matt are not always crystal clear on the entirety of a algorithm change, so the best course of action is to of course read up and view results for yourself. Take note of any problems your site is having and keep detailed notes of a more positive, or negative SERP result experience. Here is all I could find talking about the change, but feel free to drop some links that I missed in the comments.

January 2011 Algorithm Change Resources:

- Confirmed: Google’s Content Farm Algorithm Live! Sites Are Dropping! via Search Engine Roundtable
- Matt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO via Matt Cutts
- Matt Cutts: Google Algorithm Change Launched via Webmaster World
- Google algorithm change launched via Hacker News
- Google’s War on Spam Begins: New Algorithm Live via SEW Blog
- Google Launches Algorithm To Fight Content Spam via Search Engine Journal

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Content Scrapers Outranking Your Website? You’re Not Alone

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January 27  |  Link Building  |   Ryan Clark

As I went off yesterday about Google going after content scrapers and low quality websites, I also should have gone into this topic a little more. Our site gets scraped by a few sites and while it is getting better, I’m still finding posts I wrote a week or two ago getting outranked by the scraper site. This pisses me off to no end, and I don’t need any more stress in my life that’s for sure.

Matt Cutts has stated, below on video for good measure, that in most cases it won’t hurt your site. He also stated, that it can help out a little if the scraper site links to your site. This is all fine and dandy, the problem I have is all the scrapers I’m dealing with are not linking back, they’re stripping my links and they’re even hot linking my our images. I’ll go into how to attempt to put a stop to that below without having to hire some h4x0r to DDoS the living stink out of their server….not that I would ever recommend that lol.

On our end, from my constant checking, I’ve noticed a few things that I thought would have helped beat out the scraper sites. Google has mentioned that Facebook Likes and Retweets help rank your content, but even after 50+ likes on a content piece, and about a dozen ReTweets I didn’t notice much. I still need to measure what threshold levels are in place for that style of marketing to take effect. I’ve even submitted the best of the content to Digg, Reddit’s SEO section and a few other bookmarking sites we have built up properly.

So about two weeks ago we started using Google’s two new meta tags for content producers which is supposed to tell Google it started here first. If you’re using WordPress, I’ll spare you the time reading my post and you can just go ahead and install WP Original Source and never think about it again. I will say that we’re seeing a huge improvement with our content ranking very well, and our main scraper isn’t even registering in the SERPs anymore.

Some other advice I can give out here is get a few internal links pointing to your content when you can. I’ll even try and see what older, indexed content we have that is on the same topic and find a way to add a link in. Make sure you’re also using a related posts plugin if you’re a blog, just like the one you’ll see below this post. Every little bit helps, but if that’s still not working you can always file a DMCA complaint with Google and their Webhost. Sadly, when I tried this nothing at all ever happened, but I wish you better luck.

Last but not least, this is another good reason to grow your social profiles properly and of course, bigger and better! Having more and more people Retweet and Like your content is only going to help in the long run, even if we didn’t see any movement with it at the moment. This can also lead to Twitter apps picking up your content, and as I’ve mentioned before, most of them follow their links and we see almost lightning quick indexing because of it. I’ll also take this opportunity to BEG you all to Follow us on Twitter because we’re awesome.

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Google Targets Content Farms and Low Quality

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January 26  |  Black Hat  |   Ryan Clark

There has been a lot of talk about Matt Cutts recent remarks regarding the amount of content farms and low-quality (spun and other) content that dominates the SERPs. We saw in the Mayday update how Ecommerce sites with manufacturer content descriptions started taking a dive. This was also seen throughout the real estate industry because of IDX and MLS listing system spread across tens of thousands of Realtor sites.

There definitely is a reason why SEO’s keep talking about content being king, so be ready for that adage to be more real than ever. By the sounds of Matt’s post, I’m suspecting another major algorithm update in the very near future…are you ready? I’m hoping these coming changes play well into our new series of blog posts entitled “Google vs Bing“. I was recently searching for a serious dental product and got quickly frustrated with Google’s results…I was getting hit after hit of the same ripped content ranking nearly for 8 out of the 10 spots. This is what prompted the new series of posts, and I look forward to checking that search term again later for a blog post update.

One misconception that we’ve seen in the last few weeks is the idea that Google doesn’t take as strong action on spammy content in our index if those sites are serving Google ads

This statement I find tricky because sites like Mahalo for example has not stopped growing. That site has taken our content, taken my personal sites content and it is so thin on good material it makes me wonder. I know that site is making Google millions a month, as well other useless sites…so the question I still have in my brain is, would they put a stop to that? If I were a major shareholder I certainly wouldn’t want to see any of that happen…sadly I’m not a share holder.

While it’s not fair to pick on Mahalo as they’ve been attacked enough, I imagine Matt is more after sites like Fixya.com. I had a problem with my BenQ projector and that site dominated the SERPs for just about every result I looked at. This site rarely, if ever had an answer to the problem. It also had one line of text and the rest of the site was saturated with Google Ads and internal links…I couldn’t make out what was going on. By the looks of it, they just input long tail questions taken from other sites, and perhaps tools like Word Tracker. You can see what I mean here;

So basically if you spam a bunch of H1′s and not have any real content then you’ll rank anyway. The Fixya Alexa ranking certainly shows that Google thinks this is currently great. I imagine they’re making Google a mint so we’ll see if the lose some of their traffic due to ultra low quality pages. They have about 50 million indexed pages, and I imagine half are the kind of junk I showed you above. There are already enough Q/A sites as well so it makes me wonder how many of these sites are going to be able to grow like this.

I’ve seen other content farm sites in their infancy, making me frustrated about doing a site in a legit manor. Never the less, I can give you a perfect example of a site that show up huge in the rankings but eventually got the boot. DayMix.com is a site that was basically pulled RSS feeds and it saw some serious growth for a period of a few months. This was the first time I had looked at their Alexa graph in a while and it does look like Google figured them out and put the kibosh on that.

I really like what Matt has to say in the very recent video. We here at Linkbuildr always push for this type of content to our clients, especially in this day and age of getting social media followers. You’re not going to grow that area of your business well just tweeting about product prices and weights. Facebook fans are not going to stick around if you’re just posting pictures of your products…well, unless you’re selling bikinis or lingerie I take that back!

In closing, I highly highly recommend following this Webmaster World thread on the subject, don’t fully listen to me of course and keep a watch on the SERPs. If you’re a little worried about the quality if your content then I’d start looking for a writer, contacting us or getting out Notepad and get to work. I’m excited for a cleaner search result page, and it only backs up the people following the rules as well not expecting to dominate in a month. Good content, relationships and brand images take time to build up so make sure you do it right!

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Social Media Influences Your Google Ranking

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January 24  |  News  |   Ryan Clark

Some big news from the top stating, once and for all, that yes, social media will be affecting your rankings.

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Google VS Bing: Round 1

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January 22  |  Link Building  |   Ryan Clark

There has been a lot of complaining from webmasters around the world about Google’s quality in the search results, so I thought we could take a different scenarios and see for ourselves. I for one complain daily about Google, but mostly to the staff here and they’re getting pretty sick of it. We’ll take a look at different types of keywords and compare results to see what kind of useful information we’re getting back, especially for product reviews. I recently needed some information on a legit product for a personal reason, and I can say with Google I didn’t even come close to getting what I wanted.

Example 1) Buy Cialis on Google

We all know Xrumer backlink spamming is more rampant than ever, an the buy Cialis keyword is a perfect example of how Google can’t do anything about it.

Example 1) Buy Cialis on Bing

As you can see here there isn’t much difference in regards to hacked and spam sites ranking for this keyword on Bing. So it seems the same backlink schemes work here although there is an online pharmacy ranking number one this time, and not a .edu.

Regardless of the results, people will still get their dick pills. This kind of link spamming has been ruining all search engines slowly but surely, but all is not lost. In the next VS we’ll look at a few product review results and show that those are actually much cleaner these days. I’ve even noticed a huge positive clean up within Google for certain product review searches I’ve been monitoring, so stay tuned!

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Google Is Testing Two New Meta Tags For Content Syndication

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November 18  |  News  |   Ryan Clark

It’s about bloody time Google! A lot of people this past year have seen their own content get outranked by other, highly authoritative syndication sites which has been causing a brouhaha. There are also a lot of mashup sites in the mix which are pretty much entirely syndicated content which I feel is fine as long as the source is credited, and now that won’t be a problem. This is going to be a major relief to a lot of content owners out there, lets hope it works out properly so these meta tags stick around. I’m going to be playing with them on our site, as well get some of our clients to look into implementation so I can bring back some stats and more details.

  • syndication-source indicates the preferred URL for a syndicated article. If two versions of an article are exactly the same, or only very slightly modified, we’re asking publishers to use syndication-source to point us to the one they would like Google News to use. For example, if Publisher X syndicates stories to Publisher Y, both should put the following metatag on those articles:
    <meta name="syndication-source" content="http://www.publisherX.com/wire_story_1.html">
  • original-source indicates the URL of the first article to report on a story. We encourage publishers to use this metatag to give credit to the source that broke the story. We recognize that this can sometimes be tough to determine. But the intent of this tag is to reward hard work and journalistic enterprise. For example, to credit the publication that broke a story you could use a metatag like this:
    <meta name="original-source" content="http://www.example.com/burglary_at_watergate.html">

I’m really pleased that they’ve introduced these two because even my own content is getting out ranked by aggregator sites. I get a lot of my posts picked up by Top SEO News, which I’m grateful for, but as you can see they’re outranking my own post which pisses me off. Again, this is Google’s problem, not the folks who run the site. The post I’m talking about was my recent Knowem.com review, which you can see below is getting sauced in the SERPs….booooo!

Take note that Google states, “Although these meta tags are already in use by our systems, you may not notice their impact right away”, so I’m not sure how long before I can tell any difference. I guess the only course of action for webmasters at the moment is to just keep watching the SERPs and take note of any new behavior.

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Google Is Testing Two New Meta Tags For Content Syndication

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November 18  |  News  |   Ryan Clark

It’s about bloody time Google! A lot of people this past year have seen their own content get outranked by other, highly authoritative syndication sites which has been causing a brouhaha. There are also a lot of mashup sites in the mix which are pretty much entirely syndicated content which I feel is fine as long as the source is credited, and now that won’t be a problem. This is going to be a major relief to a lot of content owners out there, lets hope it works out properly so these meta tags stick around. I’m going to be playing with them on our site, as well get some of our clients to look into implementation so I can bring back some stats and more details.

  • syndication-source indicates the preferred URL for a syndicated article. If two versions of an article are exactly the same, or only very slightly modified, we’re asking publishers to use syndication-source to point us to the one they would like Google News to use. For example, if Publisher X syndicates stories to Publisher Y, both should put the following metatag on those articles:
    <meta name="syndication-source" content="http://www.publisherX.com/wire_story_1.html">
  • original-source indicates the URL of the first article to report on a story. We encourage publishers to use this metatag to give credit to the source that broke the story. We recognize that this can sometimes be tough to determine. But the intent of this tag is to reward hard work and journalistic enterprise. For example, to credit the publication that broke a story you could use a metatag like this:
    <meta name="original-source" content="http://www.example.com/burglary_at_watergate.html">

I’m really pleased that they’ve introduced these two because even my own content is getting out ranked by aggregator sites. I get a lot of my posts picked up by Top SEO News, which I’m grateful for, but as you can see they’re outranking my own post which pisses me off. Again, this is Google’s problem, not the folks who run the site. The post I’m talking about was my recent Knowem.com review, which you can see below is getting sauced in the SERPs….booooo!

Take note that Google states, “Although these meta tags are already in use by our systems, you may not notice their impact right away”, so I’m not sure how long before I can tell any difference. I guess the only course of action for webmasters at the moment is to just keep watching the SERPs and take note of any new behavior.

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Google’s Getting Scared Of Bing?

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September 25  |  News  |   Ryan Clark

In a recent interview I caught on Business Insider with Google’s Eric Schmidt talking about what he see’s as the Biggest threat to Google’s market share. With the partnership Bing has setup with Facebook, I’d be worried too. Top that all off with the recent Mayday updates and I see a wounded Google who finally may have someone to fight with…and that’s a good thing! I really don’t like having my eggs, or my clients, all in one basket so look forward to garnering more traffic from the Bing/Facebook side, especially those who got “raped” last May.

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