Q and A: What are the upcoming changes to Google AdWords?

QuestionHi Kalena,

I’ve been hearing rumors that Google is about to roll out some major changes to AdWords. Do you know anything about this yet? I’m a bit nervous about it.

Thanks
Kylie

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Hi Kylie

Google announced some major changes to AdWords today – the main one being Enhanced Campaigns.

Basically Enhanced Campaigns mean that advertisers can now present consistent ads to people via multiple devices in the right context within a single campaign, rather than setting up separate campaigns for mobile/tablet users.

The focus here seems to be Google’s way of increasing the adoption of mobile advertising.

I’m still getting my head around the new functionality and will post an indepth article here about it soon, but if you’re interested to learn more in the meantime, here is a round up of articles about it:

More soon!

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Q and A: Should I optimize my existing site or start over?

QuestionHi Kalena,

I have a question. I want to start optimizing my own site. Would it be better to start fresh with a new site or should I try to fix the existing site? And does it make sense to purchase a template or have a webmaster design it from scratch?

Thanks
Nelson

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Hi Nelson

Whether you optimize your existing site or start from scratch depends on a lot of factors:

  • Are you happy with the design of your current site?
  • Is the current web site designed with users in mind?
  • Does it convert well and/or attract a lot of traffic?
  • Does the current design allow for SEO to be performed easily?

If you’re able to quickly answer YES to these questions, then you may not need to start from scratch. If you hesitated even a little, you would probably be better off redesigning your site from the ground up.

In other words, if there are more ticks in the *negative* column than the *positive* one, you should absolutely not fear scrapping your existing site and starting a new one. If you are worried about losing current search rankings for existing pages, you should consider 301 redirecting those pages to their replacement pages when you create them.

In terms of a new site template, I have been recommending WordPress for SEO purposes for a long time now. I advocate keeping your own domain and installing WordPress on it, with an attractive theme that is easy to use. Google and other search engines adore web sites built with WordPress and there are a lot of SEO-related plugins that will help you. Plus it’s free! Can’t argue with that.

If you aren’t confident using WordPress, there are a lot of talented WordPress designers out there who can be of assistance, or you can teach yourself using the detailed WordPress user documentation.

As an alternative to WordPress, you could also consider Google Sites.

Hope this helps.

Kalena
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Q and A: What steps can I take to recover from Google Panda / Penguin?

QuestionHi Kalena

I work for an online retail site and our company was hit really hard by Google Panda and then the ongoing Google Penguin algorithm updates.

We haven’t used any obvious spam tactics and we don’t use link farms, but a lot of our content is auto generated based on our product database and it is also duplicated on the sites belonging to some of our distribution partners. For example, we sell toys and promotional gifts made in China and these categories and product descriptions are replicated on our partner sites.

Two years ago, we hired a SEO firm to optimize our blog and write some articles for us that integrate links to our products. I think all these things have contributed to us getting wiped off Google search results after the Panda and Penguin updates. From what I’ve read, we may be guilty of over-optimization. Is this right?

Our traffic from search engines is down by at least 40 percent and has stayed that way for the past 6 months. What steps can we take to get back in Google’s good books? This is really hurting us.

Thank you in advance,
Tim

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Hello Tim

I started to answer this and then realized that Jill Whalen has already written an excellent article on this very subject. I believe it answers all your questions, including specific problems that have likely contributed to losses of organic Google traffic for many sites in the past year.

Please go have a read of  Jill’s article: 18 SEO Killers You Must Clean Up and Avoid for 2013 and all the best!

Kalena
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Q and A: Is it good SEO practice to cross link related sites in the footer?

QuestionHello Kalena

I took your SEO classes at Search Engine College a while back. I’m hoping you might be able to help me with a question that I really don’t know the answer to.

I now work at an advertising agency and we have various clients…some we work on their SEO and some we don’t.

One of our client’s websites [link removed] has their sister companies listed on the bottom of the site with links pointing to each. All the companies are related and interlinked in the same way. They were told by their “SEO” company that having the companies linked is not a good SEO move.

I would think that since these would be quality links that it is good practice to link them.

Can you please weigh in on this?

Thanks
Lena

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Hi Lena

Actually, I can see where their SEO’s concern lies. All of the sister sites are linked together in the footer, in a kind of feedback loop. This can be misinterpreted by Google to be a mini link farm of sorts.

Please read Google’s guidelines about links and you’ll understand what I mean. They particularly highlight this issue:

“Here are a few common examples of unnatural links that violate our guidelines… Widely distributed links in the footers of various sites…”

By all means link to the sister sites, but use the *rel: no-follow* tag on those links so that no link value is attributed to them. That should prevent Google from misinterpreting the link intention.

Hope this helps!

Kalena
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Q and A: Do women bring a different perspective to SEO?

QuestionHello Kalena

I’ve recently learned very quickly that SEO is a very male dominated industry.

As a female who has just begun in the SEO industry I was wondering if you would be able to tell me how you have dealt with working in a male dominated industry so well for all these years and what kind of challenges/obstacles have come your way? This would be great to know so that other female seo can prepare themselves if they should ever come to terms with them. More importantly how have you dealt with them?

Another question I was wondering – in your expert opinion – what do you feel that women bring to the SEO table? Anything new? Perhaps a different perspective?

Any advice that you could offer on this topic would be awesome and extremely appreciated.

Thanks for your time.

Monica

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Hi Monica

To answer your question, I no longer work in a traditional *office* so I’m no longer exposed to the same male/female office politics that I once was. However, when I was starting out, there was a very obvious male bias in the industry, particularly at search-related conferences I would attend.

We used to see around 5-10% female attendees at such conferences, whereas now it tends to be 35-40% or higher. Not sure if this spread is because SEO is kind of a geeky/programmer industry which has traditionally attracted more males, but it has definitely evolved to become more mainstream and marketing-focused. With that shift has come more females interested in the industry and thriving in the field.

In terms of the female perspective on SEO, I definitely think there are points of difference that females can bring to SEO roles. One in particular is our insight into emotional purchasing and shopping trends. It is well documented that females respond differently to advertisements and also search differently from men in general – with emotional response being key in the decision-making process. Plus women tend to be the key gift purchasers in a large majority of households. These factors can give female SEOs added insight when it comes to keyword research and copywriting for web sites aimed at females in particular.

Same goes for pay per click advertising – ad copy, headlines and images/videos used can influence purchasing decisions so using both male and female SEOs/SEMs in the ad creation process is going to ensure a more successful campaign.

Hope this helps!

Kalena

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