Fast Five in Search – Week 15, 2014

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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 14, 2014

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Last week I treated you to five of my favorite Digital Marketing News Sources. This week I share the remaining five that wouldn’t fit on last week’s list.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five – Top Digital Marketing News Sources (continued):

1) TechCrunch – This site is similar to Technorati but more about the companies / products and less about the Silicon Valley egos. I’ll visit this site if I want to know more about a particular tech company, app or product. TechCrunch is best known for profiling startups, reviewing new Internet products and breaking tech news. The TechCrunch network claims to reach over 12 million unique visitors and draw more than 37 million page views per month, with more than 2 million friends and followers on the various social media channels. The site first came to world wide attention when it broke the news of Google’s acquisition of YouTube in 2006.

2) WebProNews Technology News – WebProNews mostly covers the latest developments in search engines, search engine optimization, search engine marketing, social media marketing, advertising, and online branding. Their authors also offer personal opinions quite freely, which can be both a positive and a negative. The site is a bit ad-heavy, but I’ll pop in here if I’m looking for an alternative angle on a particular news item or a second opinion.

3) Expanded Ramblings – A recent discovery, Expanded Ramblings describe themselves as a clearinghouse for original and curated digital marketing tips, stats and news. I think this is a little modest, as they have one of the most extensive libraries of Internet statistics and Infographics that I’ve ever come across. I’ll jump over here if I need to source an infographic or verify any type of fresh Internet stats.

4) HubSpot Marketing News – HubSpot is an inbound marketing software platform and somewhat of a pioneer in the online marketing industry. Although their core business is software and online tools, they have been publishing a solid marketing blog for years. I like this blog because the content is always super fresh and reliable and focused on actionable marketing tips and techniques for businesses of all sizes. Everything they publish is easy to read and implement and makes jolly good newsletter content.

and finally…

5) SiteProNews – I have to add this one with a disclaimer – I sometimes write for them :-) But bias aside, SiteProNews is a voracious aggregator of tech and marketing content. If you’ve heard rumblings on any tech topic, you’re likely to find an article about it already published somewhere on this site. With arguably the largest webmaster readership on the Internet, SiteProNews sources an enormous amount of fresh content from staff writers and guest bloggers alike.

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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Dry Your Tears: Link Building Isn’t Dead

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It’s been a controversial couple of weeks in SEO land, with Google again taking action against large online communities and sites that they claim have broken their webmaster rules.

The current crackdown relates specifically to the practice of guest blogging and how it breaches Google’s Webmaster Guidelines by falling under their revised definition of Link Schemes. Manual penalties have been handed out to sites that are known to offer guest posting services on a large scale or provide a guest blogging network. The penalties follow a similar pattern to Google’s action against article marketing directories last year.

What I don’t understand is why everyone’s so surprised. People are acting as though guest blogging is new to Google’s spam radar. It’s not. If you look at Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, you’ll see the following cited as an example of link schemes which can negatively impact a site’s ranking in search results:

“Large-scale article marketing or guest posting campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text links”

Based on my research on the Wayback Machine, this statement was added to the Guidelines sometime between the end of July and the beginning of August 2013.

Besides, Matt Cutts has given plenty of warnings about potential action taken on sites that use such methods. We’ve been duly warned, folks.

Even so, webmasters are like lost toddlers at the mall right now when it comes to the topic of link building. They are wandering around blindly, crying loudly, looking for familiar territory and some kind of reassurance that everything is going to be ok. I’m witnessing a lot of tantrums and hearing shouts of “link building is dead!”, “Google’s killed innocent links, it’s so unfair!”

If you’re one of those frightened webmasters, DON’T PANIC. Take a breath and review your current link building methods. If they include anything remotely similar to what Google describes in their link scheme definition, stop doing it. Now. Assign somebody to clean up aisle 4. Remove any incriminating evidence of said scheme and remove it from your link building plan, permanently. Breathe. Take a yoga class and chill the heck out.

Most importantly, don’t abandon your link building activities. The practice of building links is not dead, despite the rumors. It’s just different. The best link building tactics have actually been under your nose the whole time.

Don’t believe me?

Here are 11 Easy Ways to Build Editorial Links.

Now, go dry your tears.

 

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Q and A: What is the Best Keyword Approach for Google AdWords?

QuestionHi Kalena

I’ve seen two totally different approaches to AdWords keywords this week and I was wondering if I could get your opinion on them?

Both account mangers target roughly a million residents in their target markets and have the same type of business.

The first manger prefers to focus on 32 keywords providing about 64 ads.  Over the past 30 days, 10 of those keywords have no impressions and therefore no clicks (20 ads).

The second manager prefers to focus on 340 keywords providing 600+ ads.  Over the past 30 days, 239 of those keywords have no impressions (478 ads).

I side with the first manager, but I didn’t want to second guess the other.

Does having that many no impression keywords have any negative affect on how AdWords views the account?

Which keyword management system would you prefer?

Thanks a lot,

Brendan

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Hi Brendan

There are too many variables to that scenario to be able to give you a fair opinion on either approach. Numbers don’t really matter as much as parameters. Firstly, are the two approaches for the exact same campaign and campaign settings? Having the same type of business is not enough information to compare the two fairly.

Secondly, are these brand new AdWords accounts – are they in the testing phase where they are both testing new keywords? This is crucial. If yes, then I strongly recommend the second approach – the *spray and stick* approach where you basically try as many keyword combinations as you can in a set period and see which ones build the most impressions and/or clicks. In terms of number of keywords and ads per AdGroup, there really is no magic number. It all depends on how tightly you theme your AdGroups. Some AdGroups may target very few keywords, but others may still have a tight theme, but many similar keyword combinations that all need targeting.

It also depends on your chosen match type. If you have mostly chosen Broad Match targeting, you will have fewer keywords, because Broad Match will automatically trigger your ads for more keyword combinations without you needing to specifically target all the possible combinations. Target [Exact Match] and you will likely have a lot more keywords in your AdGroups. It really is relative to the products/services you are advertising and the way you have structured your campaigns.

As for how Google views the account – I’m assuming you are talking about Quality Score here? See this article about how Google determines Quality Score. If keywords have zero impressions, it simply means people aren’t searching for those keywords. This shouldn’t affect your Quality Score for those particular keywords, but having non-performing keywords within your account may impact the overall quality of your account. You should pause any non-performing keywords – or better still, delete them – to ensure they don’t impact your entire account.

However, if you get impressions but no clicks, then THAT will affect your Quality Score. Please note that landing pages and ad text can have much more of an impact on your Quality Score than you may realize. So in my opinion, you’d be better off making sure your ad text and landing pages reflect the keywords you ARE targeting than worrying about a specific number of keywords or how many impressions those keywords attract.

My tried and tested approach to AdWords (and Bing Ads for that matter) is to make sure every single AdGroup is constructed tightly around a particular theme or topic, so that I can allocate only the most relevant keywords to each AdGroup and build my ad copy around that specific theme. Sometimes that means having hundreds of AdGroups in a single campaign.

Once campaigns are beyond the testing phase, I review each AdGroup every 30 to 60 days and delete all keywords and ads that have received zero impressions and zero clicks, pause all keywords and ads that have received clicks but zero conversions and add all new keywords suggested by AdWords. Then I take a close look at the keywords/ads I paused to see if I can improve the Quality Scores by tweaking them. Then I un-pause them and let them run another 30-60 days before starting the cycle again.

Try this approach and see how much better your campaign performs.

Good luck!

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Fast Five in Search – Week 13, 2014

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A few of you have asked me for my favorite blogs or newsfeeds where I find inspiration for my Fast Five posts. So this week, I’ve been putting together a list of my Top Digital Marketing News Sources. There’s more than five, but let’s stick to the format and reveal five at a time (more next week).

Here’s this week’s Fast Five – Top Digital Marketing News Sources:

1) Inbound.org – A collaboration between Hubspot and Moz.com. The site is a modest community of bloggers and marketers who share and discuss the latest news about SEO, social media, content marketing, conversion rate optimization and other marketing goodies. It reminds me of Sphinn (yeah, remember that one?), but with less SEO bias. I like Inbound.org because apart from hosting the latest digital marketing news, there are discussion threads for each post, meaning you are getting honest opinion on the news content from real marketers, rather than just the message prepared by the news source.

2) Technorati Technology News – Technorati indexes more than a million blogs and describe themselves as “The leading blog search engine and directory, tracking not only the authority and influence of blogs, but also the most comprehensive and current index of who and what is most popular in the Blogosphere.” Nuff said.

3) Mashable Technology News – Like Technorati, Mashable claims to be the leading source for news, information and resources for the blogosphere, however instead of using blogosphere, Mashable calls it the *Connected Generation*. Tacky catch-phrases aside, Mashable reaches 34 million unique visitors worldwide and has over 15 million social media followers, so can definitely claim to have one of the most influential and engaged online communities out there. I like pretty much everything about this site, except for the infinite scroll and the *evil magician* style photo of founder Pete Cashmore.

4) Huffington Post Tech Channel – What started as a political commentary site has ballooned into a breaking news and opinion site, with a seriously sexy number of news sources. I visit this site first if I’m looking for confirmation of a rumor spotted on social media (think celebrity death or political gaff) or if I need a bit of off-beat news to fill a newsletter gap. I’m almost positive that Huffington Post was the inspiration for the fictional blog site *Slugline* on the popular web TV series House of Cards.

and finally…

5) Marketing Land Top News – My first port of call for breaking news in digital marketing. Danny Sullivan and his team are almost always first to have the scoop, thanks to years of grooming contacts within the tech world and Danny’s own extensive background as a journalist. Apart from anything else, I can trust the content on this site to be factual and unbiased.

I’ll complete the list with my five remaining Top Digital News Sources next week.

Happy news hunting!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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