7 critical SEO blunders agencies are still making

Darren Woolley discussed recently on the TrinityP3 Blog the poor digital efforts of Strategic Marketing Consultants.

And agencies are as guilty as these consultants with their poor online performance.

It never ceases to amaze me when I am creating keyword competitive analysis projects the woeful Search Optimisation execution of many large advertising agencies.

These same agencies are advising on digital strategy for some of the largest brands in the world yet they consistently fail in SEO basics for their own sites.

 

Search engine optimisation is no longer simply a technical exercise. It is definitely not an IT task and Design and Development are usually pretty lost as SEO is much more about marketing than code.

There have been some major shifts in the world of search recently.

Google has been extremely aggressive with a number of major updates to its algorithm in 2012. It is critical that any online strategies take into account the intent of updates such as the Panda Update, which is a monthly refresh, and the Penguin update which has had two roll-outs thus far.

Panda targets a number of content based techniques whereas Penguin is related to link profiles and the quality and natural appearance of back-links.

Without going into too much technical detail, Google is indicating what they see as being their core business value proposition. This is to deliver the best possible search results for their customers by eliminating spam or any borderline manipulative techniques including some strategies which were seen to be compliant in the not too distant past. And the jury is out on whether they have improved results or not.

So how do you achieve high page results without resorting to risky strategies?

  • Create great content – content that will be shared, linked to as a reference, newsworthy content that will inspire discussion and inspire further new content
  • Get social – social signals offer proof of brand authority and popularity and are factored into ranking algorithms. The more active you are socially, the better your SEO results
  • Ensure technical compliance – get familiar with Google’s Webmaster Guidelines or at least ensure your digital team have a comprehensive understanding. Conduct a site SEO audit to eliminate any potential search penalties

There seems to be a lot of talk about the value of search strategy, social media implementation and content marketing yet many of the same agencies which are doing the talking are falling down badly when it comes to their own efforts.
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Weekend Wrap 5 – Google Leaks, Link Building Fears And Kicking Ass Online!

We kick off the Weekend Wrap with some secret insider information leaked from Google followed by how SEO hasn’t really changed much in 16 years (sort of), post Penguin webmaster fears of natural links, moments of truth on how shoppers buy, heavyweight blogs to bookmark and follow and a whole lot more from the week gone by.

Enjoy the posts…

This weeks’ photo – between putting the Weekend Wrap together we found a bit of time to get some dead trees taken down (between rain showers). Many thanks to our nephew Marcus! (that’s Marcus in the photo)

 

SEO / Search Engine Optimisation

Google Search Quality Raters Instructions Gain New “Page Quality” Guidelines

Rarer than hen’s teeth! A leaked internal Google instruction manual for their human page quality reviewers.  Wow!  You don’t often get this sort of inside information.

The Only SEO Strategy That Works (Cutting Through The Bullsh*t)

The Google algorithm created back in 1996 is still basically the same as the algorithm that functions today! (kind of!)  So have the SEO experts just complicated things?  An excellent post showing how SEO works, no tricks, no subterfuge, but a clear no-nonsense breakdown of how to do it – don’t miss this one.

The Hidden Cost Of Cheap SEO & Social Media Labor

Second post from Search Engine Land this week however this one is too good to leave out.  How often have you heard the saying “you get what you pay for?”  This is a great summary of what can happen if you are miserly with your SEO and social media budget.  What really happens if you say yes to one of the daily cheap SEO offers that avoid the spam folder in your email?

Fear Of Google Ironically Has People Considering Making Natural Links Unnatural

Google has caused ‘fear and loathing’ among webmasters with its messages about links.  This panic has led to many webmasters requesting to have links removed from sites that they would otherwise find valuable, fearing that Google will not like them and hurt their rankings. This post looks at another symptom of Post Penguin Panic Syndrome! (PPPS)
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Weekend Wrap 3 – SEO Site Audits, Bad Google, Scrapers, Social Ecommerce

This week we found some astonishing data about the huge gap between paid and organic clicks, Google behaving badly (again), how to prevent people stealing your content and what to do about it when they do, why you should be thinking about your audience as five year olds and much more.

Enjoy the posts…

Photograph this week is our doberman Cooper on Muriwai Beach, West Coast, New Zealand – one of our favourite daily walks.

SEO /Search Engine Optimisation

PPC accounts for just 6% of total search clicks [infographic]

You could be very surprised at the results this infographic reveals involving 28 million people in the UK  (June 2012 research) which shows stats for paid vs. organic search!  Very interesting… particularly around gender and age… worth a look!  Figures like this show just how important SEO is – Adwords consultants will disagree I’m sure!

How to Conduct a Technical SEO Site Audit

In our Weekend Wrap #1 we gave you ‘How to conduct an On Page SEO Audit’ – you can now advance to the next step and conduct a Technical Site Audit with this thorough post which includes a checklist of items to watch for.  Bear in mind, if the pages on your site can’t be crawled, then they definitely can’t be indexed by search engines.

Rank Modifying Spammers

Aaron Wall exposes more tricky (bad) behaviour by Google!  Is Google toying with you before sending your site plummeting to the target rank?  Are there any webmasters still under the illusion that Google is the SEO’s friend or has that club diminished to zero?  Read on…

Google Is Smarter Than You

This post cautions SEOs as to how they should view Google’s changes and to think deeply about how they deploy their decisions.  Why?  Because Google is smarter than most of you…. (read the interesting comments)
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Weekend Wrap 2 – Penguin fears, meta tags, Twitter tips and more

There has been a lot going on this past week and with everyone waiting for the latest updates from Google we bring you a sneak preview from some of the most influential thought leaders in the industry, plus more about what Google wants from your link building efforts, how to create fantastic ‘explainer videos’ and why telling stories is now so important.

We welcome you to call in on a weekly basis and see the valuable goodies the week brings.

First up though – a picture taken during the week of the wild daffodils in our paddock that burst through every year – Spring is on it way!

 

Enjoy the posts below…

SEO / Search Engine Optimisation

Meta Description Magic: Think Less about SEO & More about Click-Throughs

Hilarious! Google overshoots meta-description length for their own results! Absolute wisdom on the frequently debated meta description tag and its importance to website results.

Google: Further Penguin Update “Jolts” To Come; Panda Is Smoother & Monthly

A lot of people are getting rather anxious as they anticipate  the impending Penguin Update!  Matt Cutts even went as far as to say that the next Penguin will have some jarring effects until Google gets it right…

Why Search, Social Media and Content are Vital For Your Company’s Success

Excellent overview showing how SEO, social media and content strategy are now critical to online success.  Jeff Bullas discusses the three core pillars of digital marketing with Technology Fast 550 expert Andy Jamieson and covers some of the reasons why an integrated strategy works… “Is your company stiff, static and slow or is it dynamic, social and real?”

The Unbearable Torture Of Linking

Is 2012 the time when the scales finally tipped the other way and Google officially became the enemy?  There is a lot of panic out there and this post assures if you provide Google with what they want –  quality website, quality content, engagement…

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Weekend Wrap – SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing Highlights

Every week we come across a huge amount of amazing content from the rapidly changing world of Social Media, the almost daily upheavals of SEO and the incredible creativity of the Web’s Content Marketing Strategists.

We find the very best posts for you on a weekly basis to save you time and filter out the noise on the web so you can get the best and most up to date information for your business.

We welcome you to call in on a weekly basis and see the valuable goodies the week brings.

First up though – a pic of our old Magnolia tree reminding us that Spring is not far away with its beautiful pink buds.

Enjoy the posts below…

Magnolia tree in flower – Muriwai Beach

Here are a selection of the best articles we have found from top bloggers, marketers, social media strategists and search engine optimisation specialists.

SEO / Search Engine Optimisation

Nine Articles for Serious WordPress Publishers

If you’re a WordPress fan (or not) you won’t want to miss these nine articles showing the value of an online platform that does convert!

How to Conduct an On-Page SEO Site Audit

It’s one of the first steps any good SEO consultant will do before beginning a project and this detailed post talks you through the crucial steps of a site audit.

Google Will Penalize Sites Repeatedly Accused Of Copyright Infringement

Beware the latest penalty from Google that could see your site taking a dive in search results and find out why it’s dubbed “The Emanuel Update.”

How Google Finds Unnatural Links to Your Website

Are you keeping the right company?  When it comes to Links Google has warned us… hang around in the wrong neighbourhood and you will surely get into trouble!
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Is Google Adwords the new snake oil target?

The last couple of months has been a rough ride for many website owners due to the frequent punitive Google Updates and now I am seeing new serious risks appearing for business owners who are not completely up to date with how websites and search engines work. Please use the share buttons above and let your business connections know about this new scam so they can avoid a really costly mistake!

Panda Updates and Penguin Updates

It had to happen really!

Let’s look at the last few months of Google updates and the repercussions felt by a large number of websites both good and bad.

First up, the Panda was tough… and very necessary!

The first Panda update was more than a year ago and I outlined the reasons for it here.

Each of the following Panda updates seemed to be even tougher and there was some serious collateral damage as even a number of high quality sites with tons of great content were punished!

And then came the Penguin… wow!

There will be a large number of web design and development companies who add anchor text based site wide footer links to every client’s site who will be feeling the pain right now (and probably wondering why).

And it seems from the various SEO based forums that SEO companies, web development, bloggers, Internet marketing services and more in the tech services field were hit disproportionately.

But it was not just this field that were hit. Many sites who historically had work done by low cost SEO companies to “boost search ranking on Google” also noticed disturbing trends in their analytics reports after Google’s aggressive targeting of non-compliance.

And because of the close dates of the various Panda and Penguin updates it can be difficult to analyse which particular update has afflicted many sites. Duplication issues, site errors, anchor text repetition, unnatural link profiles, overuse of keywords, over optimisation, comment spam links, thin content, too many links from a particular source, links from unrelated niches? And I could go on.

Google really came out with guns blazing! They hit every possible webspam or manipulative technique they could think of in short succession.

Here is the list of some of the recent Google updates:

April 19, 2012 – Panda 3.5

April 24, 2012 – Penguin

April 27, 2012 – Panda 3.6

May 25, 2012 – Penguin 1.1

June 8, 2012 – Panda 3.7

June 25, 2012 – Panda 3.8

So, Google has decimated webspam. Nice one Google!

Matt Cutts (Head of Google’s webspam team), take a bow.

You have made the Internet a better place…

Or have you?
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Penguin Update – The Good, The Bad And The Ugly!

Almost a month after the fact, some of the noise has died down, some of the pain has become clear, some of the successes have been celebrated, and a new greater danger has surfaced!

This post describes what I have observed as an SEO consultant based in New Zealand.  I have noticed some major impacts to search results while researching keywords for clients – post Penguin.

Please feel free to share this post via the social buttons at the top or with any business that has a website or has paid an SEO provider in the past or is currently doing so.
Google penguin update
Wow! Firstly, it has been a hell of a big year for Google so far! 

They have clearly signaled their intentions to rid their search results of any spam, any borderline SEO techniques and any “black hat” stuff.

In the last few weeks we have had Blog Networks de-indexed (my post about the massive effects of this one here) and penalities dished out, a free parking  bug, two Panda updates in quick succession and to top it all off Google rolled out the nukes on April 24th…

The Penguin Update!

This one has had a remarkable effect on search as we know it. The idea behind it may have been noble but…

Did it work?

What really happened?

What are some of the shocking repercussions of this update?

Google’s Penguin Update was a direct and aggressive assault on the rise of black hat SEO, manipulative search practices, spam, poor quality websites cluttering the top positions in search…

And who would berate them for cleaning up this frustrating and time consuming (and revenue sapping) annoyance? After all, the success of Google relies on delivering the best possible results for any search query.

But, you know what? Penguin was never only about improving search results. It was a more punitive roll-out.

It was about webspam pure and simple!

So, let’s take a look at who won, who lost, who was destroyed and a major new threat to online business.

Maybe we should start with the positive stuff:

The Good:

White hat SEO

Ever typed a phrase into Google then been frustrated about the results you are getting?

Yes, the first one is a government site, or Wikipedia, or Amazon… not quite right

Then the next couple are not really what you are looking for…

Then you hit position 4 and BAM! It is a crap site with no relevance to what you are searching for and it is a cheap-ass landing page to get you to click on some lousy banner or to purchase something you don’t want!

And that is a mild version of how spam and black hat SEO pollutes search results.
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New Zealand SEO Companies Punished For Dangerous Link Building Strategies!

When SEO companies go bad!

After you have read this post please share it with anyone who currently employs a company to do search engine optimisation for their business website. What is outlined in this post could have a major negative impact on the future of their website and their online business prospects. You can also share on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn using the buttons at the top. Here we go…  

Something big has happened at Google… really big!

SEO companies try to fool search engine robots

And so far the new Google initiative has mostly gone under the radar (note I said “So far” )

But this will change very quickly once businesses realise that:

  • the phone is not ringing as often this week compared to last week
  • or maybe the email volume from the Contact Page seems a little more manageable
  • or sales seem to be down this week
  • or any of the other conversion targets your business has for the company website don’t seem to be firing the way they were

Sure, there are seasonal fluctuations, there are even weekly and daily fluctuations which seem sometimes to have no logical cause.

But, this is a bit different!

What has happened that could cause such a sudden drop in traffic and sales?

The major international SEO blogs have been abuzz with this latest initiative for a week or more now.

And it is looking like it cuts a bit closer to home and has more serious consequences  than Google’s now infamous Panda Update!

What is Google up to and how does this affect business SEO?

Google signaled quite clearly at the recent SXSW (Annual music, film, and interactive conference in Austin, Texas) that it intended to level the SEO playing field a bit…

No, actually, a lot!
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