About Kalena Jordan

In my day job, I'm Director of Studies and tutor at the online training institution Search Engine College. In my spare time, I'm a search engine agony aunt and SEO to global clients. I've been marketing websites online since 1996 and blogging about search since 2002. To learn more, visit

Q and A: Can a List of Client Sites Be Seen as Link Spamming?

QuestionHi Kalena

I recently finished up helping my dad remake and SEO his site. His company has been around for a long time, and his site hadn’t been updated in a very long time, so it was time for a total remake. The URL stayed the same, but we updated the content/graphics/general design of the site.

So my first question is about a page on the site for “Who Uses Our Service”. On the page there is at least 200 companies listed, and most had links to their sites included. Would Google consider this some type of link spamming to have that many links on a page? Or do they really only care about links pointing TO your site, rather than FROM it? For now we have added a nofollow thing to the robots.txt so Google won’t index that page, but if it wouldn’t impact us negatively, then it would be nice to have it indexed.

My final question is regarding SEO in general. Pretty much I’m wondering how long it takes for SEO to start taking affect, and any reasons why an updated/new site (but with a link that has been around for a long time), that is keyworded on every page for our target keywords, and has some backlinks (not sure of the quantity or quality because this was done a long time ago, not by me), would still not show up within the first 5-10 pages of Google?

We submitted the sitemap to google about 10 days ago, how long would it take for the SEO to really start affecting it’s place in results? The weird thing is it is still top 3 or so in Bing and Yahoo, but had pretty much entirely dropped off the search results in Google, which is part of the reason we remade it. But it still isn’t showing up anywhere, so maybe it just hasn’t been long enough for things to start kicking in?

Sorry for the very long post, but needed to give the details. Thanks for any help!

Chris

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Hi Chris

A double whammy! Ok, let’s see if I can answer both questions in one post:

1) Google recommends a max of 100 outgoing links on any page. Any more links than that and Googlebot may not follow them or index remaining page code. To combat this, I would recommend that you break up that page listing all client sites into several smaller pages, perhaps by category? So law firms on one page, govt agencies on another etc.

In addition, if you are concerned about the page being mistaken for a link farm or directory, I would advise you to use the rel=nofollow tag on all those outgoing links. Unless you specifically want to pass PageRank to those sites, that is the best option for you. It instructs Google that you are not passing on any link juice and so Google is more likely to treat those page/s as genuine content, which is what they are.

2) New sites can take anywhere from 3 to 30 days to show up in Google. To determine if the site has been indexed, you need to do a search for your domain e.g. site:http://[yourdomain].com. If it is showing pages for your domain, then Google has indexed it. If it is showing some pages but not others, you need to investigate any indexing issues using Google Webmaster Tools and compare your site map with the pages indexed to see what could be going on. Webmaster Tools will tell you exactly how often Googlebot is indexing the site and which pages it is indexing.

Also make sure you check your robots.txt file against your XML sitemap to ensure you aren’t giving Google conflicting indexing permissions. I’ve seen many a client blame Google for a baffling indexing issue that was caused by their own instructions to Googlebot in their robots.txt file.

If there are still pages from the old site listed in Google, you need to make sure you use 301 redirects on those old URLs to point them to the new pages. This will signal to Google to update any old content listings. If you spot any dodgy backlinks pointing to the site from previous link partners, you should request they be removed, and/or you can also use the disavow backlinks tool in Webmaster Tools to make sure Google no longer takes those links into account.

If the new pages are listed, but just aren’t ranking as well as you like, it may be that they are under-optimized or over-optimized for your target keywords, OR, the keywords you are trying to rank for are simply too competitive. Keep tweaking the page and testing until you hit the sweet spot that sees the page ranking in the first page or two of search results for logical, realistic keyword phrases.

I would also recommend doing some more in-depth keyword research using some of the tools and methods I’ve previously recommended to make sure you find every possible keyword combination that your potential audience is using when conducting searches. You’ll find that targeting long-tail keywords (search terms with more words and/or that are more specific) will give you the edge over competitors when it comes to ranking. You may not draw as much traffic from them, but the traffic you do attract will be more qualified to purchase/sign up.

It may also be that competing sites have a much stronger backlink profile and so Google is naturally positioning them ahead of you in the search results. If this is the case, conduct a link audit and kick off a consistent link building campaign. In particular, you’ll need to determine how your competitor’s backlink profile compares to yours so you know how much work you need to do in order to out-rank them. My recent post about link audits should help you through this process.

Best of luck!

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Search Engine College to Provide US $100 in Bing Ads Credit to Students

$100 advertising credit to spend on the Yahoo Bing Network

$100 ad credit for the Yahoo Bing Network

As part of our paid search advertising curriculum at Search Engine College, we walk students through the process of setting up a new Bing Ads advertising account and help them to structure their campaigns to achieve the maximum conversion potential across the Yahoo Bing search network.

With the assistance of Microsoft Advertising, we can now help new marketers apply this knowledge by providing the opportunity to work on a live advertising campaign of their very own.

After several weeks of discussions with staff from Microsoft Global Search and Display, we have managed to secure sponsorship for Search Engine College training courses in the form of US $100 in Bing Ads advertising credit for our students and subscribers.

Check out the official press release for the deets and it’s also up on PRWeb.

Subscribers can use the $100 credit to launch an actual Bing Ads campaign for their website or company, with helpful guidance along the way from our tutors.

Are you excited? We sure are!

To receive the credit voucher, you need to be a current Search Engine College student or subscriber (enrolled in at least 1 course) and be one of the first 200 people to request a voucher. If you’re not a current student, it’s simply a matter of signing up for a US $99 subscription to immediately qualify for your US $100 credit. Heck, that’s like us paying you $1 to join!

Once you have activated your student account, simply message me within the course area by clicking on my name and quoting *Free Bing Ads credit please* and I’ll email you the voucher and instructions. To activate the credit, simply follow the instructions in the email and in Lessons 5 and 6 of our PPC Starter Course.

See you in class!

Fast Five in Search – Week 10, 2014

fast-five

 

Hi folks. Running late today, so let’s get straight to the good stuff. This week’s Fast Five in Search is all about web analytics. Enjoy…

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) 8 Custom Reports from the Google Analytics Solutions Gallery by Rachelle Maisner in the Google Analytics blog. If you regularly get lost in your Google Analytics, but have a hard time extracting the right data to show the right people, you’ll LOVE this post. The Solutions Gallery is a free and public platform that allows users to share custom reports, segments and dashboards. In this post, Rachelle introduces us to the Gallery and shares 5 of her own custom Google Analytics report templates that you can import into your own Analytics account with one click. Invaluable stuff.

2) Top 10 Social Media Analytics Tools by Devindra Hardawar of Venture Beat. Most people now use tools to analyze the impact of their social media activities. But which ones are the best? In this post, Devindra makes a start on a top 10 list of the best social media analytics tools on the Web and asks for your input to grow the list further.

3) Introduction to Google Tag Manager (video) by Google Analytics. For those of you not using it yet, Google Tag Manager is a free tool that makes it easy for marketers to add and update website tags including conversion tracking, site analytics and remarketing, without needing to edit your website code. This video shows you how to set up an account and manage your tags.

4) Conversion Tracking with Campaign Analytics by Bing Ads. This tutorial explains step-by-step how to set up Bing Ads conversion tracking using their Campaign Analytics tool.

and finally…

5) 10 Web Analytics Trends for 2014 by Mark Ryan of Mashable. Here Mark outlines the major advancements in analytics that were made in 2013 and sets the scene for what we can expect in 2014 in terms of improvements and new features to help us better understand our web audiences.

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

Bing Ads Accredited Professional Status: Unlocked

Bing Ads accreditationAfter months and months of putting it off, I finally took the Bing Ads Accredited Professional exam this week.

Although I have been managing Bing Ads campaigns now for several years – even separately managing MSN adCenter and Yahoo! Search Marketing campaigns before they combined to form Microsoft adCenter in 2010 (rebranded to Bing Ads in 2012) – I had avoided taking the exam because I knew there were 100 questions and I didn’t feel confident I knew the program back to front.

I thought I would need to set aside time to revise the training materials and kept putting it off until I “had enough time to prepare”. Finally, after being asked outright by a client if I was a Accredited Professional, I thought carpe diem. What the heck was I waiting for?

I don’t know what I was worried about. I got 97 percent, without even glancing at the training materials, so now I’m a recognized Bing Ads Accredited Professional.

Similar to the Google Certification (now Google Partners) program, there are a number of benefits to being a Bing Ads Accredited Professional:

As an accredited member, you can:

  •     Use your official badge in your marketing materials, including your website.
  •     Print the certificate that confirms your accreditation.
  •     Get listed in the Find a Pro Directory to connect with potential clients.
  •     Enjoy industry recognition in the Accredited Professional Membership Directory.

So I’m throwing down the challenge to you – if you manage Bing Ads campaigns but haven’t yet become a Bing Ads Accredited Professional, don’t wait for the *perfect* time and don’t let the idea of an exam scare you off. Trust me, if you use the program regularly, you’ll know the answers.

 

Q and A: Why Doesn’t Google Rank My Site Higher?

QuestionHi Kalena,

My website has been up and running since 2008.

I regularly add new content & update my blog & facebook pages and yet 5 years on, I am still only attracting 30-40 visits per day and it has remained at this level for 5 years.

I believe my website is user friendly, visually pleasing & provides useful information for the visitor looking for the product I offer, so why doesn’t google rank it higher? I only have 83 pages indexed out of 1,400 – please help!

Natalie

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Hi Natalie

Assuming the website you are referring to is the one associated with your email address, I can provide a few recommendations immediately:

1) I couldn’t find a XML sitemap in the expected location of http://www.[brandwitheld].co.uk/sitemap.xml. Now maybe you have one in a different location, but if not, you’ll want to create one as soon as possible.  An XML sitemap is a file that contains a full list of indexable pages on your web site. It is the preferred method of lettting search engines know about all pages on your site that you want indexed. More information about the protocol and format required is available at Sitemaps.org. You can upload your sitemap via your Google Webmaster Tools account. Haven’t got one of those either? Read on…

2) If your site doesn’t seem to be as visible as you’d like in Google or large chunks of it are not getting indexed, make sure you create a Google Webmaster Tools account and check it for any obvious issues. Google provides an exhaustive amount of insight and advice in Webmaster Tools in terms of technical issues, indexing issues, SEO issues and visitor activity related to your site. If there seems to be something wrong, that should be your first stop.

3) Check your site against these 10 Most Common SEO Mistakes to see if you’re guilty of any of them and address the issues quickly.

4) You claim your site has 1,400 pages, but most of those are product and category pages consisting of dynamically generated versions of the same URL, plus a huge number of pop-ups. The site only has a small number of static HTML pages and therefore only a small amount of content that is visible to search engines.

For example: http://www.[brandwitheld].co.uk/fabrics.html is your main curtain category and then you have 11 different sub-categories under that, such as:

a) http://www.[brandwitheld].co.uk/fabrics.html?cat=browns

b) http://www.[brandwitheld].co.uk/fabrics.html?cat=reds

c) http://www.[brandwitheld].co.uk/fabrics.html?cat=golds

However, the content for each sub-category is dynamically generated from a product database, based on the category parameter indicated after the *?*.  To a search engine, a), b) and c) are seen as the same, single, page, with everything following the *?* generally ignored or treated as duplicate content.

Even worse, those sub-categories then break down into individual styles, but the style information is presented as a javascript pop-up dialogs, which can cause their own issues.

I’d put money on your URL structure being the spanner in the works preventing most of your content from being indexed. No wonder you see so few pages ranking well! I would suggest learning more about how Google treats URL parameters and reworking your site content to create flat, indexable HTML pages for each product, category and style.

Natalie, without having access to your Webmaster Tools account, I can’t really give you more advice at this point. However, if you’d like to invest in a full web site audit, I can certainly take a much closer look. Just contact me to get started.

Hope this helps!