Every week on Wednesdays from 8am – 9:30am, EverSpark Interactive hosts their What’s New In The World of Google Meetup — a place where professionals gather to discuss how Google works, as well as clever SEO tips and tools. The meeting is free and all are welcome.
We’d love to have you join us at our next meeting on Wednesday, April 9th, 2014. Please RSVP on the Meetup.com link below. If you can’t make the meeting, it’s no problem — you can read the catch up on our blog. Not only can you view all the information from previous meetings, you can refresh yourself on anything you may have missed. Who likes taking notes anyway?
The meetup takes place at the EverSpark Interactive offices located at:
6 Concourse Parkway
Atlanta, GA 30328
RSVP here: http://www.meetup.com/Whats-New-In-the-World-of-Google-Everspark-Interactive/
What’s New This Week:
Google Updates Are Still Talk Of The Town
With the latest mandate from Matt Cutts to make an example out of My Blog Guest, there’s been quite a lot of speculation on where Google’s algorithm will go next. Despite the changes, it would appear that Google is staying true to its original mandate of providing the best search experience to their users. EverSpark put together a brief history of all of Google’s major algorithm changes since the start, which can be very revealing when thinking about the future for the search engine giant.
The MyBlogGuest Penalty
Unsurprisingly, the MyBlogGuest penalty was the talk of the meeting, as many people felt that Matt Cutts had finally gone too far in his quest to weed out “spammy” content from Google. For those who are unfamiliar with the story, Google’s web spam guru, Matt Cutts, had announced earlier in the year that the search engine giant would be penalizing a large guest blogging network soon. While many industry experts felt that this could only mean MyBlogGuest, founder Ann Smarty was confident that wouldn’t happen, and was quick to point out that her site did not engage in the practice of selling links, nor did she consider it a “network.” Because of this, Matt Cutts’ announcement and the penalty levied against the site came as something of a surprise to both Smarty and many industry experts.
This prompted a discussion amongst many in the industry about the priority of links in the world of Google. If Google feeds off links, how do you go about getting them? What were previously considered fantastic links are now frowned upon, so where does it go from here? EverSpark Principal, Jason Hennessey, was quick to respond, “In my opinion, this was a personal vendetta where Matt Cutts abused his power and position and attacked Ann Smarty, founder of MyBlogGuest, by penalizing her site and killing her business. This was publicly embarrassing for her in front of trusted colleagues and fans, as the penalty was revealed during PubCon in New Orleans, and quickly became the most talked about news at the show.”
My Blog Guest responded by blocking Google from crawling their site — a somewhat unprecedented move by a website. If you search for MyBlogGuest on Google now, you’re more likely to find articles on the penalty than you are the site. This can be done by adding the following code to your meta tags to block access to your site: <meta name=”googlebot” content=”noindex”>. You can read more about this by visiting Google’s Webmaster Tools help site.
What Does The MyBlogGuest Penalty Mean For My Site?
The unfortunate reality of Google’s penalty against MyBlogGuest was that sites that were practicing “good” linkbuilding strategies were swept up in the furor, getting penalties of their own. Other blogging sites, such as Blogger Link Up, were quick to make their standard practice only offering “no follow” links, however doing so has essentially made their site worthless as there is no value in an no follow link.
Essentially, the writing is on the wall for guest blogging when used for a link building purpose. Google is now going after sites who say, “Sure, you can write content for my site and get a link back for it.” This is particularly true for sites where the blog owner may have not have had the best or most relevant content in previous posts, meaning a great post can be judged by the company it’s keeping. EverSpark is currently running testing on the approximately 30,000 websites affiliated with MyBlogGuest to determine what could cause a penalty from association with the site. There are many pending theories, but it will be interesting to see what that research generates.
How Can I Tell If My Site’s Been Penalized?
Is there anything that strikes more fear into the heart of a website owner than the threat of a Google penalty? With all the penalties being levied against sites currently, many site owners want to know if there is a way to tell if they’ve been penalized by a particular algorithm change, or Google update. Matt Cutts discusses this on the following video. Basically, it’s very hard to determine why a site has been penalized.
I Think I Have A Penalty… Now What?
While it’s easy to tell if you’ve gotten a penalty by regularly using Google’s Webmaster Tools, getting it removed is a different animal altogether. One of the best things you can do as a site owner is to be proactive rather than reactive. By ensuring that you’re using good practice, providing great content that’s educational and not always trying to sell things and building your popularity naturally, you’re more likely to stay on Google’s good side. However, problems do a arise, and there are a few things you can do to help lift penalties from your site.
1) Come up with every link that you think should be removed. The disavow process was covered at length in our March 19th meeting, so be sure to familiarize yourself with that.
2) Remember that a “no follow” is oftentimes better than killing every link, as you may actually see some traffic from it.
3) Reach out to a blog owner and ask them to remove the post with the questionable link. Be sure to document this so you can show it to Google. Aim to do this twice before you disavow a link.
4) Review the websites your links are currently sitting on. Do they meet quality guidelines, or are they spammy? Is the site relevant to your site?
5) Keep your fingers crossed and play the waiting game with Google.