Students in 60 Countries Taught by Search Engine College

SEC-smiley-150x178Staff at Search Engine College did their own version of the Harlem Shake this week to celebrate reaching students in 60 countries worldwide.

The 60 country milestone was reached when a new student from Columbia took up our $99 subscription this week.

Since its inception in 2004, Search Engine College has set new industry standards for online training in the field of Search Engine Marketing and we are very proud to have produced over 1,500 happy graduates.

Here’s a list of countries / regions where our students to date are located :

USA
Australia
Germany
Finland
Italy
England (UK)
South Africa
Portugal
India
Sri Lanka
Iceland
West Africa
Canada
Jordan
Belgium
France
Philippines
Ireland
Austria
China
New Zealand
Argentina
Netherlands
Russian Federation
Hong Kong (China)
Czech Republic
Singapore
Vietnam
Greece
Barbados
Brazil
Croatia
Trinidad and Tobago
Mauritius
United Arab Emirates
Malta
Turkey
Sweden
Latvia
Kuwait
Norway
Dominican Republic
Montenegro
Spain
The Netherlands
Israel
Romania
Pakistan
Bulgaria
Mexico
Slovenia
Uraguay
Thailand
Scotland
Costa Rica
Cayman Islands (UK)
Syrian Arab Republic (Syria)
Egypt
Cyprus
Slovakia
Columbia

I wonder which country will be next?

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Google Targets Article Marketing, Guest Blogging & Press Releases in Link Scheme Definition Update

article-marketing-newIf you don’t pay regular attention to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, you might have overlooked it, but last month, Google made a significant change to their definition of link schemes.

The revised link scheme wording now cites the following as violating Google’s guidelines:

  •     Large-scale article marketing or guest posting campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text links.
  •     Advertorials or native advertising where payment is received for articles that include links that pass PageRank.
  •     Links with optimized anchor text in articles or press releases distributed on other sites.

Google also removed these examples from the link scheme guidelines:

  •     Linking to web spammers or unrelated sites with the intent to manipulate PageRank.
  •     Links that are inserted into articles with little coherence.

The changes are important in SEO circles, because article marketing, guest blog posts, advertorials and press release syndication are often key components of holistic SEO campaigns. Note in particular that “links with optimized anchor text” are mentioned specifically for the first time. Until fairly recently, the use of anchor text was considered a standard component of effective article writing and any on-page optimization.

With these changes, article syndication and press release optimization – unless implemented extremely carefully – may end up having a negative SEO impact on the very web sites they were intended to help.

In the wake of the changes, we took our Search Engine College Article Marketing course offline temporarily to check lesson content against the new guidelines and re-write any sections that may have been ambiguous.

If your SEO strategy uses any of these initiatives, I suggest taking a very close look at the revised Google Webmaster Guidelines and ensuring your implementation adheres to the revised policy.

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Q and A: Why hasn’t Google indexed our 301 redirected site?

QuestionHi Kalena,

I have been asking around forums with no luck and you were suggested. I have a site which is 4 years old. One year ago we changed our url and management system and did a 301 redirect on all urls. The problem is one year on and Google is still seeing the original page and title and not recognizing the new work and page title, Any ideas?

Thanks so very much,
Steve

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Hi Steve

You don’t provide your site URLs, so it’s going to be a tricky one to answer. It’s very unusual for Google not to recognize the 301s after such a long time. I have a couple of questions:

1) Have you moved from a free hosted site?

2) Is the old site still live?

If you moved your site from a free hosted site, you may not have had full control over the redirection or the 301s may not have been implemented correctly. If you no longer have control over the old site, or you only have access to some pages (through a CMS or similar), you could try using rel=canonical instead of a 301 redirect as recommended by Matt Cutts of Google in his video below:

If your old site is still live in some form, you should try to remove any remaining pages to ensure that Googlebot can no longer index the old site. If Google can still index some original page content, it may impact their ability to obey the 301 redirects. The ideal scenario is to maintain ownership of the old domain until your new site stabilizes, but this may not always be possible.

3) Did you redirect the old pages to their corresponding new pages on the new site?

You should always redirect on a page to page basis, rather than just using a top level 301 to redirect all old pages to a new domain.

4) How many redirect hops did you use for individual pages?

While there is no limit to the total number of 301 redirects you can use, there is a limit to the number of *hops* or the number of redirect levels you can use for a single page. 1 or 2 hops might be ok, but if you have a page that has been redirected 3, 4 or 5 times (a chain of 301s), Googlebot probably won’t follow them all.

In his video for Google Webmaster Tools, Matt Cutts explains how to use 301 redirects correctly:

5) Is your old XML sitemap still being indexed? Did you create a XML sitemap for the new site and upload it to Webmaster Tools?

One of the first things you should do when migrating sites is to create an XML sitemap listing all the new pages and get that sitemap uploaded to Google and Bing Webmaster Tools. Make sure you remove any outdated sitemaps from your Webmaster Tools account/s.

Aidan Beanland of Yahoo Australia recently gave a fantastic, detailed presentation about migrating a large site using 301 redirects. This might help you.

It’s hard for me to pinpoint what went wrong for you Steve, but the points above and Aidan’s checklist should help narrow it down. Also refer to Google Webmaster Tools for more 301 redirect advice.

Let us know how you get on and best of luck.

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Balloon Powered Internet: Has Google Gone Loony?

If it was 1 April, you might think it was just another of Google’s cheeky little April Fool’s Jokes, but Project Loon (launched today) is an actual experimental project from Google to make Balloon-Powered Internet a reality.

What? Balloon-Powered Internet? Yes. Internet access, powered by weather balloons in the stratosphere. Let me explain. We think of the Internet as a global community. But as Google points out, two-thirds of the world’s population does not yet have Internet access.

project-loon

Google’s idea of Project Loon is to create a network of balloons traveling on the edge of space, designed to connect people in rural and remote areas, help fill coverage gaps, and bring people back online after disasters.

What better place to launch a Beta test of Project Loon than in an area prone to natural disasters? Google has chosen New Zealand, specifically right here in Christchurch, as their launch site for specially-designed solar powered balloons to test Project Loon. As the location of thousands of devastating earthquakes in the past 2 years, which knocked out power and Internet connectivity for weeks at a time, Christchurch was a natural choice to test the project.

Today a total of 30 balloons were launched a short distance from here, to travel up 20km above the earth and beam Internet to a small group of pilot testers. The experience of these pilot testers will be used to refine the technology and shape the next phase of Project Loon.

I jumped at the chance to become a Beta tester so hopefully, I’ll be one of the first people in the world selected to test balloon-powered Internet. If I am, you can bet I’ll be reporting on the experience right here :-)

 

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Fast Five in Search – Week 11, 2013

fast-fiveThis week’s Fast Five contains some fascinating insights into Google as well as some great advice about compelling content and keyword research. Enjoy!

1) Liveblogging: Walk A Mile In Google’s Shoes With Matt Cutts by John Rampton         This is a fascinating live blog post from this week’s SMX at San Jose. Matt Cutts shares everyday moral dilemmas faced by Google when it comes to providing accurate yet questionable or unsavoury content. A must read!

2) How to Deal With Challenging Clients by Craig Bradford                                            Craig is right when he says that as consultants, a large part of our time is taken up managing other people’s attitudes and behaviours – particularly if they are unsatisfied for some reason. Craig’s helpful 7 strategies on maintaining excellent client-consultant relations are good solid advice. Make sure you read his 4 handy tips at the bottom – to rectify things if they do go wrong.

3) 5 Unexpected Keyword Research Sources by Sujan Patel                                     Finding it hard to think outside the box when it comes to keywords? There are many helpful tools regarding keyword generation and analysis, but this post will ensure you enter any client or management meeting with the kind of creative thinking that is sure to be noticed.

4) 7 Content Archetypes That Generate Natural Links by Brian Dean                      Everyone wants to know the secret of getting natural backlinks and answer is of course quality content. But what if your creative energy isn’t flowing? Well, Brian’s list of 7 Archetypes is a handy one to refer back to for inspiration. You’ll probably notice his Archetypes being used throughout the blogosphere after you’ve read this.

and finally…

5) How Is Your Search Engine Handling Synonyms? By Lenin Nair                                 This is an interesting article, particularly for keyword researchers. Apparently Google recognises some synonyms but not others. This interesting post outlines several reasons why this is the case. The one that particularly caught my eye was the fact that keyword targeting by SEOs is helping Google to identify synonyms. The circle is complete!

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless

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