Building links, SEO and navigating the ever-shifting sands of Google’s likes and dislikes is enough to drive even the most calm of website owners to be brink of insanity. If you’ve ever found yourself even simply wondering how Google works, then joining in on EverSpark Interactive’s weekly What’s New In The World of Google meetup should be marked as a must-attend on your calendar. You’ll learn all the latest going’s-on with the search engine giant, and also a few tricks you can take home with you.
Join us at our next meeting on Wednesday, August 20th, 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:
Syndication: The Great Content Debate
Nearly every web marketer, blogger or SEO has heard that duplicate content is a huge no-no when it comes to publishing on the web. So how could you possibly harness the power of syndication without creating a huge duplicate content headache? There’s the concern of dreaded penalties, or even that it will allow another site to outrank yours while featuring your work. Though this could possibly be true if you syndicate incorrectly, syndication can actually help you to gather more authority for your website. By posting content on an high authority site, you are essentially judged by the company you keep which helps pass link juice, trust and authority back to your site. Additionally, syndication gives you unrivaled access to what’s known as OPA — other people’s audience’s.
Moz.com‘s much-loved Whiteboard Friday presentation for this week is from Eric Enge from Stone Temple Consulting. In the video, he explores the right and wrong way to make the most of syndicating your content, essentially getting the most bang for your content buck. You can watch the video by clicking here.
Essentially, there are three best practices to make syndication work for your content:
- Ask the authority site that you are working with to add a rel=canonical tag for linking back to your page. This essentially tells Google and other search engines that the real version of the content is actually on your site. All of the page rank will now get passed over to you. Ideally, this is the best solution.
- Work with the authority site to include a noindex meta tag on the content. This removes the content from their searchable index to prevent the possibility of search engines judging the page to be duplicate content.
- Implement a clean text link to show who the original author is. This is often referred to as an original source link. This can help to pass page rank. Even a nofollow link can be viewed as extremely helpful for passing trust value back to the original site.
While 1 and 2 are great solutions to the problem, they oftentimes aren’t something that an authority website is inclined or even likes to do. This can be particularly true for larger authority sites such as CNN.com and the like, who are publishing thousands of pieces of content every day. That’s where option 3 comes in.
Jason’s Top Tips
According to EverSpark Principal, Jason Hennessey, press releases can actually be a hugely powerful tool when looking to make the most of syndicated content. “If you can afford it, you should be trying to do press releases at least once per month. You can do them on a whole variety of things, from what clients you’re working with to new products.” Jason has also discussed the importance of diversifying your distribution channels when sending out your press releases in previous meetups, which is well worth a read.
New Updates at Google This Week
The ongoing guest blog saga continued earlier this week when Google updated their guidelines on using them. Though over the past few months the practice has become universally frowned upon, there is still a place for guest blog posts if done correctly. According to an article on SearchEngineLand, Google have updated their webmaster guidelines to classify “low quality guest blog posts” as an example of scraped content. Sites that appear to have little to no originally sourced content, relying heavily on poor quality guest blog posts, are likely to feel a penalty sooner rather than later. How can a site owner or publisher engage in some guest blog posting without incurring the wrath of the search engines?
- Make sure your content is authentic and relevant to the kind of site you have. Content simply for content’s sake is just not a worthwhile strategy.
- Link naturally by using a brand name, URL or a mix of that and terms. Though it’s advised to avoid using exact match keywords, it is possible to do it every once in awhile (i.e. rarely).
- Take the time to ensure that any guest blog post you might be using is completely original, otherwise you might end up with duplicate content.
- Make guest blog posts only part of your blogging mix. Ideally, at least two-thirds of your blogging content should be original and exclusive to your site.
Another new development in Google’s Webmaster Tools is a new notification for faulty redirects and a color-coded Fetch as Google interface. You can read more about it on SearchEngineLand’s excellent article. Considering the importance of mobile in use of search, ensuring that your redirects are working and up-to-standards should definitely be a top priority.
Moz Drops Some Web Science On Site Removals
The crazy kids over at Moz decided to hold an experiment on site removals to see how long a removed site would take to come back. According to their post, they were interested in the results that Groupon recently published that showed that up to 60% of direct traffic is actually organic. How did they achieve this? Groupon did the unthinkable, and de-indexed their site. Not wanting to be outdone, Moz decided to try the experiment for themselves.
The results were surprising. While it only took around three hours for the site to reappear, it took approximately three days before it was fully back to top speed and rankings. Though de-indexing your site is certainly drastic, it’s good to know that it will return in a matter of days if the unthinkable ever did happen.
Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines Leaked (Again)
If you’ve ever wanted to sneak a peak at what exactly Google’s team of search quality evaluation team is asked to look for, now’s your chance. Dated from March 2014, these guidelines can now be viewed by clicking here. Though the guidelines previously made their way out of the hands of Google in late 2013, the updated guidelines for 2014 are enlightening to say the least, and well worth a read. There’s also some good in-depth discussion from EverSpark’s previous meetup on the subject that’s covered on the December 18th, 2013 blog. No time to read the new guide? Take a look at this handy guide that will tell you all the updates that you need to know.
HTTPS: Do I Really Need This For Everything?
It’s no secret that Google loves pushing its own products. While that’s not necessarily a bad business practice, a recent article in the Tech Times has indicated that Google is now planning to make security a ranking single, thus giving those sites with an HTTPS URL may see a boost in their rankings. HTTPS shows that the website is using Secure Socket Layers (SSL), thus making it less susceptible to hackers and attacks on personal information. As it so happens, Google has started to sell SSL certificates, so pushing it as a necessity seems to be a way to monetize this. However, do you really need an SSL for your entire site? “Only secure pages that are asking for a credit card or details generally need this,” says Jason. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the coming months.
Hijacking Local Search Results
One of the most important features of any good SEO program is the use of local search results. Getting local has been on the lips of most SEO’s lately, and there are many different factors that effect how you’re ranked by the search engines. One of these is through Google instant, or the recommendations that Google gives you when you’re typing into the search box. Though falling somewhat towards the grey side of SEO, one of the ways that search marketers are utilizing to rank is by hiring people to merely type in various search terms into Google and complete the action. You can read more on this practice on SearchEngineLand’s excellent article on it. Google then sees this, and gives the page relevance based on the high number of searches. While this method can be used for good, it sadly can also be used for more unscrupulous purposes, such as shutting down a competitor. For example, if you were to have your searchers type in the name of your competitor followed by “fraud” or “lawsuits,” it will start to pop up on the suggestions on Google’s autocomplete. Even if it isn’t exactly true, this can give potential customers the impression that there’s something wrong with the competition. Though this practice is currently in use throughout the industry, it’s expected that Google will eventually look to find a way to close it down to preserve the integrity of their search inquiries.
New Tools For Your SEO Arsenal
Though maybe in the past the mantra was you could never be too rich or too thin, it seems now you can never have too many excellent SEO tools. Netspeak Spider is a new tool that helps you analyze websites with its very own robot. Having a tool like this by your side is extremely helpful in identifying site problems such as broken links and redirect errors while also providing a helpful analysis of general SEO parameters and links, both inbound and outbound. There are a few other tools on the market that Jason and his team at EverSpark highly recommend that have been discussed in previous meetings, such as Screaming Frog’s SEO Spider tool and Xenu’s crawler (which is free but less robust than the other two options).
<h2><span style=”color: #3366ff;”>See you next week!