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17 10, 2013

Hummingbird, Penguin 2.1 – The Guidelines Are Still The Same

By |October 17th, 2013|Categories: , , , |Tags: |0 Comments

HummingbirdWhile there is still a lot of buzz going on about the Hummingbird and Penguin 2.1 algorithm updates, and how it affects ranking. On October 3rd, Barry Schwartz posted a blog about specific dates where there were noticeable ranking changes and conducted a survey asking how SEOs and webmasters were affected. He discusses the results of the change in the video below.      

Barry Schwartz Discusses a Poll On How Rankings Were Affected By Penguin 2.1

There were over 1600 responses to the poll. These were the results:
  • 63% of the respondents said that their site was hurt bad.
  • 21% said that their site had no change at all.
  • 8% said that their website recovered from the previous penguin update.
  • 6.2% that their rank gained with more traffic.
This shouldn’t be surprising to most of us. When we look at historical SEO tactics, it’s easy to see that yesterday’s white-hat is today’s grey-hat/black-hat. Guest posting used to be one of the most effective ways of manually building links, but even that has become more challenging. So with these new updates, what do I do next? Is SEO dead?  

The Guidelines Never Changed

As SEOs we’ve all tried to “manipulate” rankings. I mean… isn’t that part of our job? Some of us have tried riskier tactics than others. Now, it’s just getting to the point where these old tactics aren’t working for us anymore. Sigh… so what do I do now? The same thing that Google has been saying since the very beginning! Create great content and let links build naturally! Yeah… yeah… yeah… so you’re one of those “link building is dead” guys? No, I love link building. In fact, it’s what I am most passionate about. Link building isn’t dead, just the meaning has changed.

What Link Building Means Today

With today’s link building there are some very specific “Dos” and “Don’ts.” Let’s go over a few, shall we?  

Link Building Don’ts

  • Keyword Filled Anchor Text- Instead, use your brand in your anchor text.
  • Guest post byline links with keyword anchor text. Again, use your brand name or domain name.
  • Buying links- This has been the case for a long time now, but people are still doing it.
  • Blog Networks- Google is on these like the DEA is on drug cartels. Stay away from them.
  • Press Releases and Ezine Articles- You should read John Lincolns article discussing this.
There are a lot of don’ts… in summary think about it like this. If you can buy it or you can manually submit it, then it’s probably going to hurt your rankings or it’s not going to benefit you much.  

Link Building Do’s

  • Write beautiful, amazing, and compelling content.
  • Build an outreach network of people in your industry.
  • Focus on building a strong social following.
  • Link to other authorities in your industry.
  • Don’t be afraid to discuss your opinions.
  • Be an innovator, not a follower!
In summary, the guidelines with Google have not changed. When they warned us, we did not head the warnings. Google’s focus and goal has been the same since day 1, and that is to provide it’s user’s with the best experience possible. They are doing a good job at it. So, follow the guidelines, focus on building your content for the users, network like crazy, and be social!
16 10, 2013

Game Changing API for Big SEO Data

By |October 16th, 2013|Categories: , , |Tags: |0 Comments

Part of our jobs as SEOs includes gather data for campaigns we’re conducting research on. Most of us have a collection of sources bookmarked or we subscribe to a service to speed up the process. One way of gathering data is by submitting queries to Google to get keyword ranking data, collect information on competitors and collect historical data to help us understand Google’s algorithm changes at a deeper level. With some knowledge of web development, there is an API solution that up until now hasn’t been heard of. It is currently in beta testing and requires you to apply for an API key, but is free to use for the time being if your application is approved. If you are a big data geek like me, you are going to want to check this out. To give you an example of how this API can be used, I’ll tell you about an application I’m working on. It basically allows you to match multiple keyword queries (up to 10,000 queries per hour) with certain advanced search operators to pull in bulk data. I won’t go too much further into detail but hopefully this gives you an idea of the capabilities the API offers. Sure, roll your eyes OR check it out for yourself. Happy programming!
11 10, 2013

8 Ways to Use Search Operators for Link Building Relationships

By |October 11th, 2013|Categories: , , |Tags: |2 Comments

related-contentEvery SEO knows that links are an important factor for ranking. Google algorithm changes have made link acquisition more difficult with every update. At one point in time, article directories, directories, web 2.0, and even paid links were link building tactics that actually worked; however those days are long gone now. With social metrics and Google even cracking down on guest posting, link acquisition  has become more about the quality of the content and relationship building. The first step to building a relationship is understanding how to find the right people to build a relationship with. With that in mind, here are 8 ways to use search operators for link building building relationships.
  1. ‘keyword’ + inurl:write for us While guest posting seems to be a dying breed, there are still effective ways to go about it. One way is by leaving out your author byline and submitting it as an article. Many publishers are more than happy to do this for you in exchange for quality content.
  2. ‘keyword’ + intitle:write for us This will serve the same purpose as tactic #1, however, sometimes the url doesn’t always have the exact keywords in it, so sometimes you can find more relationship opportunities by using the title as well.
  3. ‘keyword’ + intitle:Google+ Many people under-utilize Google+ in their link building strategies. This can be one of the most effective ways to find authoritative writers in your industry. Use Google+ to build a strong social following. When you share content, others will share it as well which will not only send your content social signals, but also encourage others to link to it as well.
  4. ‘keyword’ + site: #3 will pull up Google+ profiles and articles written with Google+ in the title, but this method will literally only pull up Google+ profiles (businesses and personal).
  5. ‘keyword’ + inanchor:”submit site” This is a method for finding niche directories. While you have to be careful with directory submission tactics, niche directories are still valuable to your link building campaign. Just whatever you do, carefully review the site to make sure it is moderated before submitting the link.
  6. “write for us” The oh-so coveted .edu backlink is possible to acquire. Many schools allow students and professors to host their own blogs on the school’s servers. They are looking for people to supply them with content just like any other blogger. Try using different combinations of keywords and search operators to for your .edu link building campaign. You can find tons of opportunities.
  7. If you already know of a competitor or authoritative blog in your industry, why not try piggybacking on their strategy? Using the ‘link:’ search operator will should all of the indexed backlinks of the site you follow it with.
  8. After finding a few sites that you are already targeting, you can find related sites by using the ‘related:’ search operator. This may give you a broader view, but you can still find some great link acquisition opportunities this way.
Half the battle of link building is learning how to do the research correctly. Connect with other authors through social media, and share their content. People appreciate that and will return the favor. Organic link building, especially post hummingbird can be tricky and time consuming. However, if you connect with the right people and build those relationships, overtime it will become much easier.