Have you ever found yourself wondering what the whims of the Google gods are this week? How can you make your site an all-singing, all-knowing powerhouse when it comes to the latest tricks of SEO? Maybe you’d just like to find out more about how Google and search engines work. If so, then EverSpark Interactive’s weekly What’s New In The World of Google meetup is for you. Ever week, professionals from all levels and numerous fields come together to discuss and learn together. Better yet, the meeting is free and open to all.
Join us at our next meeting on Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 from 8am – 9:30am. Space is limited — so be sure you RSVP to get your front row seat to what’s always an excellent discussion. Even if you’re not positive you can make the meeting, you can always play a little catch up with our blog recap posts. This is also a great way to review previous meetups you may have attended, and investigate some of the issues covered further.
The meetup takes place at EverSpark Interactive’s offices located at:
6 Concourse Parkway
Atlanta, GA 30328
What’s New This Week:
Recovering From False Claims On The Internet
As discussed in previous meetups, EverSpark was subject to a personal attack on RipoffReport.com. The claims made there were unfounded and untrue, but the site claimed that in order for them to remove it, EverSpark would have to pay a fee. Sadly, due to the size of the RipoffReport site, these claims were landing on the first page of Google’s search results when anyone looked up EverSpark — an extremely damaging problem for the company.
EverSpark took legal action against the individual responsible for the post, and a retraction was issued underneath the original claim. Additionally, they obtained a court order, signed by a judge, which they were able to show to search engines such as Yahoo, Bing and Google in order to get the site deindexed from their search results. One of the ways Google reviews these documents is by using ChillingEffects.org, a group of law students who look over such documents and deem which cases are worthy of being acted upon. Luckily for EverSpark, all three search engines were happy to remove the result from their search engine profiles.
If you’ve ever found yourself the victim of someone posting false information about you or your company, there are a couple of ways to recover:
- Build your profile up to optimize results for the first page. Take a look at your competition and see what pages they’re ranking for on the first three pages of their results. There are likely opportunities for profiling your company on powerful listings pages, social media and others which can help to build up your first page and push down the negative result.
- Get legal and fight it. The only way Google will deindex a result is with a court order, signed by a judge. Otherwise, it becomes a freedom of expression issue. Once you’ve submitted the order to Google, they will not get back to you. However, EverSpark noticed it took about 30 days for it to be removed. Upon its removal, there will be a note at the bottom of the first page of search results indicating that something was removed from the results.
Link Echoes: Whiteboard Friday
You’re not alone if you’ve ever found yourself wondering how the dark arts of linking works and how it relates to your site. Adding to the confusion is the idea of “link echoes,” or “link ghosts.” This means that links can still have an effect even if they’ve been removed. Spooky.
The wizards at Moz have been running a series of tests related to links to determine what actually happens with link echoes. They pointed links from 22 different websites at two test websites. It appeared that these 22 anchor text links moved Site A up to position 1 in the search results. They then removed the links, and it has remained in the first search engine position for 4 1/2 months.
This has proved true on every test link they’ve run, and they ran eight different consecutive tests. While some sites might have fallen a position or two, nearly all of them stayed on the first page. To learn more and watch the presentation, head over to Moz.com’s Whiteboard Friday.
More From The Web Extortion Files
According to a recent article from SearchEngineLand, there have been widespread reports of emails making the rounds, threatening to use negative SEO tactics to sink a site unless an “extortion fee” is paid. These have been forwarded to Google who apparently investigated it. The email reads as such:
Subject: I Want To Buy. Please Guide Me.
Read this email very carefully.
This is an extortion email.
We will do NEGATIVE SEO to your website by giving it 20,000 XRumer forum profile backlinks (permanent & mostly dofollow) pointing directly to your website and hence your website will get penalised & knocked off the Google’s Search Engine Result Pages (SERP) forever, if you do not pay us $1,500.00 (payable by Western Union).
This is no false claim or a hoax, download the following Notepad file containing 20,000 XRumer forum profile backlinks pointing to http://www.negativeseo.cn.pn/ (this is our website and go and see on this website, you will find our email address email@example.com from which this email right now is being sent to you) :
Just reply to this email to let us know if you will pay just $1,500.00 or not for us to refrain or not from ruining your precious website & business permanently. Also if you ignore this email and do not reply to this email within the next 24-48 hours, then we will go ahead and build 20,000 XRumer forum profile backlinks pointing directly to your website.
We are awaiting your wise decision.
While 20,000 links pointing at a large site such as Amazon or Zappos would have little to no effect, smaller sites could potentially be ruined by the practice. Google responded by saying that it was unclear how credible these threats really were, but reminded webmasters, “Google works hard to prevent other webmasters from being able to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index.” They went further to suggest you can disavow in advance should you be concerned about a particular site, or disavow after the fact. You’re also encouraged to report the extortion attempt to local law enforcement.
Sadly emails of this type are not new, and black hat SEO tactics continue to pop up throughout the web. The important thing is to always keep an eye on your links, and to investigate if you see a sudden spike. By being proactive, you should be able to ensure your site stays safe. Alternatively, you can always engage the extortionist, as this fellow from AnalyticsSeo.com did, to hilarious effect.
Google Call Conversions
Getting the most out of your online advertising campaigns, as well as tracking the results, can occasionally be tricky. But what if you were to able to track your call conversions in tandem with your PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns? On their recent AdWords blog post, Google introduced exactly that with Call Conversions. With 70% of all mobile searchers saying they’ve called a business directly from search ads, monitoring this kind of traffic will be key in the future. By using a Google forwarding number, you will be able to keep track of who is calling you, what ads and keywords are working the best for bringing in callers and other great features.
To find out more about this, be sure to check out Google’s how to guide on adding phone numbers to your ad campagins. Also, you can read more about this new rollout on SearchEngineLand’s excellent article.
The Case For Moving To HTTPS
Recently Google had come out and announced that not only were they selling SSL certificates, but they were making security a ranking signal. This means that sites with an HTTPS URL could possibly see a boost to their search results. You can read more about this on EverSpark’s blog update from August 13th.
Internet marketing expert and blogger Bill Hartzer made the switch on his site, BillHartzer.com a couple of weeks ago, and the results he found after one week were impressive. Bill writes, “overall, traffic from Google organic search is up 9.58%. And the overall quality of the traffic is much better as well.” Some other figures from the switch include:
- Overall sessions are up 9.58%
- New users are up 9.14%
- Bounce rate went from 88% to 32%
- Page per session is up 81%
- Average position for keywords ranked for in Google organic search is up 10.54%
It will be interesting to see how this situation develops, but it is certainly an indicator that moving your site to HTTPS certainly can’t hurt.
Google Renovates Keyword Bidding in AdWords
Back in the day, you bid on the exact keyword and longtail keyword phrases you wanted, and whether you got them or not depended on how much you were willing to shell out. As of September, that will be a thing of the past. Google AdWords recently announced on their blog that they will be rolling out close variant keyword matching, which they feel will help searchers find the most relevant information despite slight variations on their search words. For example, if you wanted to bid on the keyword phrase “kids scooters,” other variations might include:
- kid’s scooter
- kids scooter
- kid scooter
While this might be helpful considering that 7% of all Google searches contain a misspelling or typo, AdWords users may start to see a change in the prices for the lower-level keywords that used to be very inexpensive. EverSpark will be monitoring this and it will certainly be discussed in upcoming meetups.
Dealing With Copycats & Content Thieves
MilitaryBases.com was having lots of problems recently with their competition copying their content verbatim and using it on their sites. Seeing as the site is robust with content, including blogs from military wives, interviews and information, the site owner was looking for a solution that would make hunting down these content thieves easier. Luckily, the DMCA offers a service which costs approximately $10 a month, which allows you to have a badge on every page of your site to show that the DMCA is monitoring it. Should they notice duplicate content of any kind, they simply file the Take Down Request for you.
Military Bases.com – People had been taking his content verbatim and setting up competition sites. He’s got military wives blogging and adding content. He was looking for a solution. DMCA offers a service for about $10 a month to stick a badge on every page of your website to show that DMCA is monitoring the site. If they notice duplicate content, they file the Takedown Request for you.
For more information on this service, visit DMCA’s Website Protection site.
Link Building In “Boring” Industries
It’s a fact: there are some industries that just don’t appear to have that “X-Factor,” making searching for link building opportunities seemingly a struggle. However, even the most boring of industries have opportunities galore, if you’re willing to take the time and get creative about looking for them. Wil Reynolds, founder of SEER Interactive, discusses hunting down those opportunities in his excellent video.
Other Interesting Bits This Week…
- Google’s Knowledge Graph proved to be a major PR nightmare for UK bakery brand, Gregg’s. Read more about the headaches on SearchEngineLand’s recent article.
- Did you know that Google, according to Head of Search Amit Singhal, made 890 improvements in the past year? This is up from the amount of improvements the search engine giant made in previous years.
- The Pigeon Update has been around now for about 15 days. But what do we know so far? Check out this run-down from the fine folks over at SearchEngineLand.
- Sure, you know that SEO is important. But how do you monitor the overall SEO health of your site?