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A Theory on Google’s Not Provided

Writing by Nick Stamoulis in Search Engines


A Theory on Google’s Not Provided

According to (Not Provided) Count, “not provided” data in Google Analytics will hit 100% on December 16th, 2013. We’ve been watching not provided crawl from the originally reported and promised 10% to 40, 50, 60 and 70+% over the last few months. Recently, Google announced that they would be securing all searches, pushing “not provided” to 100%, much to the dismay and frustration of site owners and SEO professionals everywhere. Plenty of SEO experts have offered their advice on how to work around not provided and some of them have come up with really clever alternatives. Their workarounds might require a little bit more work on your part but the data can be salvaged in some part if you are really willing to put the time and effort in. Google says the reason they are encrypting search is to better protect the privacy of their users. (The fact that CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

The Penguin 2.1 Punch

Writing by Shawna Wright in Search Engines


The Penguin 2.1 Punch

We started working with a new client back in May/June 2013, right after Penguin 2.0 was pushed live. This client came to us knowing their website has been negatively affected by Penguin 2.0. A little digging through their link portfolio and we found that an easy 75+% of their inbound links were from directories (some paid, some free, none very good) and a good chunk of the remaining links were from article spinning sites or blog networks. They had a small handful of quality, trusted, and valuable links but of the 1,500 or so links we manually reviewed most CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

Penguin 5.0, aka 2.1, Is Live

Writing by Shawna Wright in Search Engines


Penguin 5.0, aka 2.1, Is Live

On Friday, October 4th Matt Cutts tweeted that Penguin 2.1 launched, affecting about 1% of search queries. For the record, some SEOs are referring to Penguin 2.1 as Penguin 5.0 so know that they are talking about the same update. Why the naming confusion? As Danny Sullivan over at Search Engine Land explains; …when Penguin 4 arrived, Google really wanted to stress that it was using what it deemed to be a major, next-generation change in how Penguin works. So, Google called it Penguin 2, despite all the references to a Penguin 2 already being out there, despite the fact CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

Are You Dealing with a Partial Manual Action?

Writing by Shawna Wright in Search Engines


manual webspam actions

In early August, Google announced that they would be sending messages to site owners about manual actions being taken on the site. The messages will let site owner know if they have been affected by site-wide manual actions or just partial actions. In his example below, Matt Cutts shows how a partial manual action has been taken to a specific section of the website saying "the webmaster has a problem with other people leaving spam on mattcutts.com/forum/. By fixing this common issue, the webmaster can not only help restore his forum's rankings on Google, but also improve the CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

The New Hummingbird Search Algorithm from Google

Writing by Nick Stamoulis in Search Engines


Google announced their new search algorithm at the end of September, although they have reportedly been running the new algorithm for a month or so already. The new algorithm is called “hummingbird” and was so named because it was designed to be “precise and fast.” Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land reported that this is probably the biggest change the algorithm has undergone since 2001 Unlike Panda and Penguin, which were updates to the existing algorithm, Hummingbird is a completely new algorithm. Hummingbird still uses Panda and Penguin, as well as other “old parts” from the previous search algorithm, CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

“Not Provided” Google Analytics Data Could Reach 100%

Writing by Nick Stamoulis in Search Engines


“Not Provided” Data Could Reach 100%

Back in 2011 Google announced they would be hiding the organic keywords secure searchers (those logged into their Google account) used in order to find a website from the Google Analytics data.  This was only supposed to apply to roughly 10% of the search data so site owners could still trust the information they were learning from Google Analytics to direct their SEO campaigns. However, it became readily apparent that 10% was nothing more than a dream and in the following months sites began to see “not provided” data grow to 40+% depending on their niche. Site owners CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

The Annotations Feature in Google Analytics Is Your Best Friend

Writing by Nick Stamoulis in Search Engines


The Annotations Feature in Google Analytics Is Your Best Friend

It sometimes feels like one of our SEO clients is dealing with a cursed website. Code has been accidentally deleted or changed (and no one will say they did it), the site has gone down for no apparent reason, the Google Analytics tracking code was removed, hackers have been able to sneak past their firewall, the Googlebot’s IP address was accidentally blocked and more.  Luckily we’ve managed to catch these issues in time before any lasting SEO damage was done but it does make for interesting data when reporting time rolls around. How can we accurately judge the success of CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

Best Practice Tips for Google’s Link Disavow Tool

Writing by Shawna Wright in Search Engines


If your site has been flagged manually or algorithmically for unnatural links part of the recovery process will involve Google’s Link Disavow Tool. This tool, which only became available in the last year, gives sites owners the ability to request (no guarantee) that Google disavow (i.e. not count) certain links against their site’s SEO program. Google heavily stressed that the Link Disavow Tool was not a reset button and should only be used as a last resort to clean up links. Here are 6 best practice tips for using Google’s Link Disavow Tool: Pull inbound links from multiple sources. As useful as Google CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

Google Doesn’t Care About Your Website

Writing by Nick Stamoulis in Search Engines


Google Doesn’t Care About Your Website

It’s a harsh reality that a lot of businesses and site owners struggle to come to grips with. After all, we pour our hearts (and budgets) into our websites; writing content, building a social presence, focusing on the user experience and tweaking, updating, and optimizing every last detail all to make our sites more appealing in the eyes of Google. But guess what---Google wasn’t created to help your business succeed. Google was created, just like any other company ever created, to sell something. In Google’s case, they happen to be selling the organization and presentation of relevant information. Your website CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

Google Makes Big SEO Changes to Webmaster Guidelines

Writing by Nick Stamoulis in Search Engines


One of the biggest complaints many site owners have with Google is that when they need real direction Google’s go-to response is to refer to the Webmaster Guidelines, which can sometimes be rather vague. Every now and then Google makes updates to the Google Webmaster Guidelines in an attempt to better guide, teach, and explain SEO to site owners and recently the search giant made some major changes to the Link Scheme page (the kind of links that would trigger a Penguin or manual link penalty) that every site owner should be aware of immediately. These changes could CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

What is A rel=”canonical” Tag?

Writing by Shawna Wright in Search Engines


What is A rel=

There a couple of reasons that a site might get flagged for duplicate content. Perhaps it was an honest mistake when the website was being built and two versions of a page (like mysite.com and mysite.com/homepage) were accidently created by the CMS. Perhaps you own an e-commerce website and you have several pages listing the same set of products, one in alphabetical order and the other price or by rating. It’s also possible that someone stole your content for their own site but didn’t give you credit as the original author and Google thinks you’re the one doing the stealing! CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

The Power of Real Author Authority

Writing by Nick Stamoulis in Search Engines


The Power of Real Author Authority

When Google introduced PageRank it was basically the search giant’s attempt to “grade” pages on the Internet in the same manner that academic pages had been “graded” offline. Academic papers that are cited more frequently are generally considered more authoritative and prestigious; Google applied the same principle to the web but used links instead of citations to determine which pages deserved to rank better in the SERPS. For a long time links were the purest measures of online authority.  But over the years spammers found loopholes and were creating more and more links from directories, blog networks and other “black CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

Choosing a Preferred Domain in Google Webmaster Tools

Writing by Shawna Wright in Search Engines


Choosing a Preferred Domain in Google Webmaster Tools

The other day I noticed that one of our client’s sites had both the www version and non-www version of their domain working. This meant that when I typed in clientsite.com into the address bar the site did not automatically redirect to www.clientsite.com. I was worried that this might be impacting their SEO in some way, so I threw both domains into SEOMoz’s OpenSite Explorer tool and found that the two URLs actually had slightly different back link profiles. The non-www domain had 1,107 links and the www domain had 2,459. That’s a pretty sizeable difference! I sent a quick email CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

Duck Duck Go Hit 3 Million Searches Thanks to Privacy Issues

Writing by Nick Stamoulis in Search Engines


Duck Duck Go Hit 3 Million Searches Thanks to Privacy Policy

Duck Duck Go appeared on the scene a few years ago, vying to become a real search competitor to Google and Bing. Duck Duck Go’s staked its search value on privacy as they do not store IP addresses or log user information. While the new search engine had done okay for itself, Duck Duck Go hit a milestone last week when they hit 3 million searches in a day. The most amazing thing is that only a week before that they announced hitting the 2 million mark.  So what spurned this spike in search traffic? Well since CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

Don’t Rely on Just Google for Website Visitors

Writing by Nick Stamoulis in Search Engines


Don’t Rely on Just Google for Website Visitors

Ever heard the saying, “don’t put all of your eggs in one basket”? Well it’s a phrase that is applicable to the online marketing world too. A positive Google search presence is certainly important, which is why we are able to survive as an SEO business. Even so, we would never suggest that a positive Google search presence is sufficient. It’s not! You shouldn’t base the long term success of your website and the traffic that it generates only on Google, or any of the search engines for that matter. It’s important to focus CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

Can My Website Be Penalized by Google if My Link Profile is Penalized?

Writing by Shawna Wright in Search Engines


A lot of sites owners are wondering, in the wake of all the Penguin updates and subsequent penalties being levied, could their site somehow “catch” a penalty they way you or I catch a cold? If a site that links to you is penalized for webspam or paid links will your site be guilty by association and also be penalized? If you want an answer straight from the horse’s mouth, here’s what Matt Cutts, the head of webspam at Google, has to say; …The most likely scenario is if there is a link-selling site, and they get caught for selling CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

Google Penguin 2.0 Update is Live

Writing by Nick Stamoulis in Search Engines


Penguin 2.0 is Live

In case you haven’t already heard, the Google Penguin 2.0 update went live on May 22nd, 2013. Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam team, made the official announcement on his personal blog. Here’s what he said; About 2.3% of English-US queries are affected to the degree that a regular user might notice. The change has also finished rolling out for other languages world-wide. The scope of Penguin varies by language, e.g. languages with more webspam will see more impact… This is the fourth Penguin-related launch Google has done, but because this is an updated algorithm (not just a data refresh), CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

Understanding Google Penalties: Penguin 2.0 Is Coming

Writing by Nick Stamoulis in Search Engines


Understanding Google Penalties: Penguin 2.0 Is Coming

Word on the street is that Penguin 2.0 will be coming to a Google organic search result near you very shortly. If you aren’t familiar with the Google Penguin algorithm update, it was first launched in the spring of 2012 and targeted websites that were using low quality (spammy) link building tactics. According to Matt Cutts, head of the web spam team at Google, Penguin 2.0 will be significant. Website owners- you’ve been warned. Because Penguin 2.0 hasn’t happened yet and the only thing that we know for sure is that it is on the horizon, we figured we’d CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

Search Engine Penalty: Manual or Algorithmic?

Writing by Nick Stamoulis in Search Engines


Search Engine Penalty: Manual or Algorithmic?

If you’ve noticed a significant dip in traffic to your website that spans a substantial amount of time (more than just a few days or weeks) and you haven’t scaled back any of your marketing efforts and can’t attribute it to external factors like the seasonality of your product or service your website may have incurred a penalty. The first thing to do is to check your Google Webmaster Tools account to see if there have been any notifications. Google may have sent a warning explaining what happened. Then again, maybe they didn’t, so just because there CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

Is Your Website In the Google Sandbox?

Writing by Nick Stamoulis in Search Engines


Have You Been “Sandboxed”?

SEOs spend a lot of time thinking about the Google search algorithm. After all, Google is the King of Search as everyone “Googles” what they are looking for. Unfortunately the Google algorithm remains a secretive entity and we are only left to trial and error to even begin to understand it. However, one component of the algorithm that is widely agreed upon among the SEO community is that the domain age of a website plays a factor. “How come?” you might ask. Well, Google provides a service just like any other business. They want their service to be the best one CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

Google Tells Us “How Search Works”

Writing by Nick Stamoulis in Search Engines


Do You Know “How Search Works”?

As part of its continued effort to be more transparent, Google has recently published “How Search Works” on its Inside Search site which tells the “from algorithms to answers” story. The main “How Search Works” page tells the story in image form as you scroll down and it is separated into three parts: Crawling and Indexing, Algorithms, and Fighting Spam. Google explains that it navigates the web by following links from page to page and that webmasters can choose whether or not to have their sites crawled. Of course, any site owner that wants to get its content CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

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