Fast Five in Search – Week 15, 2014

fast-five

 

Google’s head of spam fighting – Matt Cutts – posts regular videos on the Google Webmasters YouTube channel. His posts can make waves in the SEO industry like no other because they often preview upcoming changes to the Google algorithm. So this week’s Fast Five is a collection of Matt Cutt’s most popular webmaster videos of all time.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) How Does Google Search Work? – In this video, Matt explains how Google’s ranking and website evaluation process works from the crawling and analysis of a site, crawling time-lines, frequencies, priorities and filtering processes within the databases. With over 380,000 views, this is Matt’s most popular video in the Google Webmaster channel.

2) Does Google Use the Keyword Meta Tag? – After years of webmaster confusion over whether Google does or doesn’t index the content of the Meta Keywords tag, Matt put the rumor firmly to rest with this post by confirming that Google does NOT index the tag.

3) What Should We Expect in the Next Few Months in Terms of SEO for Google? – After months of Panda and Penguin algorithm tweaks, Matt thought it was time to set a few things straight and reveal a little more about what we might expect from future algorithm updates.

4) Canonical Link Element – When Google launched support for the Canonical Link Element, Matt took to video to introduce the element and the way it should be used for SEO benefit.

and finally…

5) What Are Some Effective Techniques for Building Links? – The fifth most popular Matt Cutts webmaster video involves the consistently difficult subject of link building. In this video post, Matt discusses several effective ways of building organic links that many webmasters overlook.

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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Fast Five in Search – Week 11, 2014

fast-five

 

I’ve got a bit of a mixed bag for you today. The following is a handful of recent marketing-related posts that caught my eye or that I found interesting. Let’s get straight into it:

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Twitter is Bringing Promoted Accounts to Search Results by Anthony Ha of TechCrunch. If you’re a Twitter user, you’re probably already familiar with promoted tweets and promoted accounts – Twitter accounts that businesses use to advertise to users. Last week, Twitter announced that as well as seeing promoted tweets from these businesses in your timeline and search results, you may now also see account profiles as a new kind of ad unit. TechCrunch has the low-down on the changes.

2) Skip to the End: 5 Great Ways to Make Your Readers Care by Mike Sowden on ProBlogger. Here Mike tackles the age-old blogging problem of how to keep your audience interested and engaged. There are some clever suggestions in here for ways to hook your readers in to reading your current and future blog posts without resorting to gimmicks or give-aways.

3) 4 Surprising SEM Stats that Every e-Commerce Marketer Should Know by Jordan Elkind on Search Engine Land. With plenty of paid search advertising accounts to keep track of for clients, I like to keep an eye on large brush e-commerce statistics, particularly usage increases. In this post, Jordan shares the latest online shopping trends and e-commerce statistics from the 2013 holiday period.

4) An Introduction to PR Strategy for SEOs by Samuel Scott on the Moz Blog. Following some intense discussions at Moz.com regarding the death of guest blogging, Scott offers this interesting perspective that SEO and inbound marketing are just PR by another name.

and finally…

5) The Mashable Jobs Board by Emily Chow of Mashable. I’m not sure how I missed this, but apparently Mashable has been managing a Jobs Board for some years – a hiring hub for more than 3,000 employers, no less. If you are looking for a social media or marketing job in the digital space, you might want to check it out regularly.

Enjoy!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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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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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!

 

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Where to Find the Best SEO and SEM Training Videos on YouTube

SEO and SEM as seen on TVIn my recent search for relevant videos to accompany our training material at Search Engine College, I trawled through my Evernote bookmarks and stockpiled a number of helpful YouTube channels that hold huge collections of training videos on the subjects of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing).

As I was collating these, my first thought was “I wonder how many webmasters even know all these exist?”. My second thought was “That would make a great blog post!”. So here they are. You’re welcome.

Google Webmasters YouTube Channel

Bing Webmaster Tools YouTube Channel

Moz YouTube Channel

Google AdWords Channel

Bing Ads YouTube Channel

SiteProNews YouTube Channel

WebProNews YouTube Channel

Search Engine Land YouTube Channel

SES Conference and Expo YouTube Channel

Search Engine Watch YouTube Channel

Google Analytics YouTube Channel

Raven Tools YouTube Channel

Rusty Brick YouTube Channel

Search Engine Journal YouTube Channel

I’ve probably missed some important ones, but these are the ones I had saved to Evernote. If you want to add some of your favorites in the comments, I’ll be sure to add them to the list.

Post Script – I remembered last night that apart from their YouTube channel, SiteProNews publishes a large collection of marketing videos from across the web, collated into 40 different topic channels. Be sure to check it out.

 

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