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,


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.


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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Factbrowser: the research discovery engine

Blog imageYou might remember a couple of weeks ago I wrote a piece about How to Find Compelling Internet Statistics?

Well after that post I heard from Keith Anderson who wanted to introduce me to a site he founded called

Keith created Factbrowser about a year ago to help people discover the most compelling new research about technology, business, consumers, specific regions and the Internet.

The site is totally free, and it’s updated daily with new reports from hundreds of credible sources like Nielsen, NPD, IDC, Pew, gathered from press releases, social media posts and newsfeeds.

The entire database is searchable and filterable by topic, source and region, so you can narrow down the most relevant research quite quickly. It also uses quite a detailed topic tagging system if you like that sort of thing.

Each snippet of data also has social sharing buttons in case you want to share it with your online community with one click. But what I find best of all about the site is that the source of the data is clearly highlighted in red, together with a link to their web site and Twitter account if available.

Great job Keith and thanks for sharing.


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