While I’ll usually refrain from posting about specific sites and problems, this is already made public thanks to Google Webmaster Central. Since JCPenny was getting some flack from Google and the web this last week, it looks like other Fortune 500′s are being treated equally. While a site like Forbes.com does have what to appear to be paid links, they’re always quite on target. Despite that, they’re followed links and it seems that the new “unnatural links” message was warranted. I applaud their marketing manager for addressing it, but I don’t think he has any other option as this is Google’s only support line!
This Google Webmaster Help thread got a response from even Matt Cutts himself, which makes total sense when a big name like this asks. The thread covers a lot of interesting ground, and shows you that even the big fish have to clean up things from time to time. While they’ll most likely just have certain pages devalued, a site with this many links and that much trust won’t fall too hard. But having the paid links in question under “Resources” is also bringing more bad attention than good.
Matt Cutts even calls out Conductor Inc in the thread as they’ve been known to sell links via such authoritative sites as Forbes…but again that’s all speculation. Regardless, a few nofollow’s appended to those resources and all would be cleared according to Matt. If you watched this video I posted the other day from Matt, we can see if it auto fixes itself. By the looks of Forbes Alexa ranking, they may already be feeling the sting of the Googlebot.
Here’s a great new Webmaster Help video with Matt Cutts talking about lifting a Google penalty. A lot of people, and I see it in their help forums a lot, think the only way is to have it manually reviewed. It’s great to hear that you can fix things and let their spiders fix you in good time. If you’re company is feeling the sting of a penalty, we do offer our services and help in getting you back on the white list. There’s no charge to get our advice on a problem you’re having, so get in touch.
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.
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.
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!
While I imagine most of you are also closet affiliate marketers, so I’m sorry to break this news to you if that’s the case. Exact match domains are well known to easily rank for their target keyword, and for the most part, they should. At Pubcon this past week Matt Cutts managed to briefly bring up that him and the Google Webspam team will be taking a closer look at the “power” that comes with these types of domains, saddening some while pleasing others. Unfortunately for the SEO Pug, he is not so pleased!
I for one am not too worried though for a few good reasons. One being that if you maintain a quality site and build that exact match domain with all the goods, you should be fine. Just like any other site right? While currently you can rank an exact match domain without much effort, it still takes really good content, a proper site structure and quality links to push it up to the top. I for one have no problem with this because you’re site could not be any more focused for one topic. I also say this because it’s a strategy I personally employ for my side cash, and with my caffeine addiction, I need all the extra money I can get my hands on! There is quite a bit of good discussion going on this topic so read up and let me know what you think here in the comments.
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Negative SEO Attack?
Check out the anatomy of a "negative SEO" attack on our own site in our latest post. There's too much worry about these attacks happening, but I wouldn't worry too much about it. Come read what I think and just what to do if anything like this happens to your brand.