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Is there an angry Penguin bearing down on you?
Change is GOOD (but Damn that penguin!)
Hi, it’s Mike Liebner here with a few words on the ever changing SEO landscape.
There has been a lot of confusion and misinformation going around these days regarding changes Google has made to their search engine results. It started about a month ago with the deindexing of a lot of websites and once again the past week with new changes how Google is ranking websites in search results.
A lot of confused people are speculating about things that don’t have any real world proof of and are passing the info around as if it is factual.
Google loves when people pass around all kinds of bad intelligence because the NOISE helps make it more confusing for SEO type people to “manipulate Google” for top rankings.
It’s understanding to expect that Google wants to show good results, but the problem is that when major changes such as with this so called Penguin update affect so many legitimate websites and businesses, that people start to yell and scream and panic.
There are actually petitions being passed around to demand that Google do something to fix what they just did.
Good luck with that!
Here is the Google Penguin petition if you want to read it.
I suggest instead of hoping that someone else will FIX the problems you may have encountered that you accept a little responsibility and put some effort into finding out the solutions to any losses that you may have incurred from the algo changes.
Try to focus on what you know is really happening – ideally to you and your sites – and don’t make too many assumptions unless you see for yourself they are indeed fact based conclusions.
If you were impacted by the changes Google has been making I sincerely believe you can make changes and do some sensible things to get things back on track.
Now, first off – if you’re in this web publishing thing for the long haul, which I am, you need to adopt an attitude of confidence in your abilities to do better than most other people who plain and simple do not belong here.
We can beat them even IF the rules change. So do not give up.
Simply do what it takes to get back on top.
So what has happened? Has Google made changes to intentionally rub out small timers like you and me? Are they trying to favor the fat cat established authority sites and big corporations and edge out the little guys from the top of the search engines?
Maybe – that’s certainly a part of it. The reason they would do that is because the fact is most big budget websites put out better quality stuff and have more social signals. Sure – they likely paid for it. They have huge ad budgets and teams of people doing all sorts of things. BUT I don’t think the changes are so BLACK and WHITE that it will eliminate any chances for small publishers to get big traffic from top rankings.
It just means we need to earn the spots and do the kinds of things that other top web sites are doing.
1. QUALITY and VALUE for VISITORS
2. SOCIAL SIGNALS that INDICATE PEOPLE REALLY CARE ABOUT US
If you lost sites that were de-indexed by Google you may just want to start over with new sites. That is up to you. It’s hard to say what to do to get them back in and it may be tough working blind because Google won’t tell you exactly why and you’ll have to fix everything – even if it was NOT the reason you got de-indexed. Once again – your call on whether the site is worth the effort.
If it is simply a matter of a drop in rankings for a keyword phrase or a handful of them – it should be easy to get back on top.
The key is still getting good quality links and social signals from pages that are indexed and crawled by Google.
Now – if you had LINKS coming from sites that were de-indexed by Google you will be affected. It doesn’t mean you were penalized so much as you have lost link juice from sites that were indexed.
Simply get more links to replace any that were lost on sites that are no longer in Google.
Be aware that this ONE THING may just be enough to get you back on top reasonably fast. If you lost links from sites that were de-indexed you need to GET MORE LINKS to replace them! That will help you move up! NOT removing links! You need MORE LINKS not less!
If your links appear on those de-indexed sites it will not hurt you. It just won’t help you. If Google is NOT crawling the sites – just forget about it and focus on new links.
The de-indexing that happened a month ago was a pre-penguin effort before an actual update by Google and was done to clean out some garbage from the index and test what would happen IF they did X Y and Z.
A lot of sites were de-indexed and that’s just the way it is. A few might come back – but instead of worrying about something you can’t fix – why not focus on something you CAN fix – like getting FRESH new links that you know Google will appreciate.
How do you know they will appreciate the links? Well – for one – if they INDEX the pages that the links are on – that’s a pretty good sign they value the links.
If sites dropped in rankings it most likely is a reflection of losing links from sites that were LINKING that are no longer IN the index and therfor not being crawled. In addition there are some new recent scoring adjustments that may also be a factor, but since we do not know what those are exactly we can only guess.
My guess is there is a much higher weight on SOCIAL SIGNALS. You know – buzz.
If a site only has one kind of links and NO BUZZ or any of the typical links from Web 2 sites and other social type signals – well – the site is out of balance with what the best sites do.
If NONE of your competition does those things – you may be ok – BUT if you are targeting REALLY COMPETITIVE BIG MONEY KEYWORDS welll… you know – you’ll need to DO MORE to convince Google YOUR PAGE is better.
It’s always been that way and it still is. There just be a new way they score pages and you need to adjust.
This SOCIAL change also may be the reason that the BIGGEST of the big authority sites like amazon seem to be gaining such a huge advantage from the Penguin update.
There is an increased valuation of social signals and this provides a boost for the biggest of the big authority sites (like amazon) who get lots of Google + and Facebook likes and links form all kinds of different web 2 places.
If you want to compete for really BIG VOLUME keywords you MUST be prepared to do a little extra work and get some social signals coming in to your site. How much depends on your competition.
Sites that are heavily dependent on links from only ONE or a few places will have a harder time ranking on top, especially if the social signals are weak or non-existent.
As far as blogs being good places for links – they still are – just try to link in more different blogs and make sure you VARY YOUR LINK TEXT (more important than ever – don’t act like a robot!)
Quality in-content relevant links from pages indexed by Google are still the best kind of links and will absolutely help you get top rankings – especially when you have a quailty page and some social signals.
If the pages your links are on are indexed – then the links will have value – otherwise Google would not bother indexing the site if it had no value.
Now there are obviuously many little other factors that are NOW in the mix in the overall ranking formula Google uses – so there is NO BLACK OR WHITE – RIGHT OR WRONG method – the rules to follow are simply not clear enough.
IF you want the MOST link juice from the links you are getting in a blog or anywhere for that matter – the URL linking must be indexed by Google and those links TOO should have some social signals.
You know.. the real world social signals – like links pointing to it – social bookmarks from delicous and other sites, Facebook likes, Google +, Twitter tweets with links, comments, forum links, links from authority domains like digg, reddit, tumblr links, a good mix of nofollow and dofollow links, links from authority web directories etc. etc. etc
Yes – I know what some people are thinking. This requires extra work. That is true. But unless you only want to focus on LOW HANGING FRUIT the really good TRAFFIC will require effort.
The more traffic a keyword gets – the more competition you will have that is willing or able to do those extra things.
If they’re doing them and you’re being lazy – well – sorry… they will beat you.
Flip it around.
You do the extra things like social signals if they are needed for some of your keywords and YOU will beat them. Just do a little more than they do and you’ll be on top.
So the biggest change or advice for a new path is I would suggest that you should NOT do the least you can and try to get away with it. Yes – links are still important and you want good links from within related relevant content but you should also put some effort into getting social signals to your websites, web pages and even those external web pages that link to your pages to insure they also get the most value from each “vote” for their content.
Get good links. Get some social signals. Get some social love for the links linking to your pages.
Oh – of course – your sites NEED to have good quality content – especially on the home page! It can’t be a duplicate or spun article and ABSOLUTELY stay away from using OLD articles from ezinearticles. Those articles are abused and simply appear on TOO MANY SITES! Try not to use them on yours. PLR is much better but if I were you I would make sure my home page has a well written original article that can’t be found anywhere else.
I realize it may be hard for a lot of people to accept the changes that Google has made and how they are forcing us to do new things – especially newbies to understand what is going on – but just remember that Google is a search engine and that they will ALWAYS make changes so their results are good and they stay in business.
We can always find ways to incorporate the things we learn are working and while we may have a temporary setback with some of our sites or pages – it’s very possible to get back on top with a little extra effort! All you need to do is a little more than the guy who has a page above you.
As for blogs still passing good link juice – they still do if they are indexed by Google. Remember it is NOT just ONE factor that makes a page #1 – it’s a combination of factors.
Links from within BLOG CONTENT that is RELEVANT will still help you if you do other things that are also important – like having social signals!
Yes there are other NEW factors NOW in the mix – so there is NO BLACK OR WHITE rules to follow, but it has always been that way. We just need to figure out the shortest ways to get to the top.
As always I will be doing my best to help you.
Best wishes for your online success!
SEO and Marketinng Tips from Mike LiebnerTags: backlinks, Google, social marketing
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