Google just recently updated Page ranking for all websites and of course many SEO Companies were happy to see their rankings go up and some are actually sad because their rankings went down. On another note there are some who would not care about page ranks and would rather focus more on their SERP or otherwise known as the search engine results page ranking. This therefore started the debate on what is really important increasing Google’s page rank for your website? Or climbing up the rankings for the search engine results page?

What is Page Rank?

Page rank is a patented ranking system from Google, developed by its founder Larry Page, this focuses on evaluating the value of a webpage based on its relevance and authority. The page rank basically ranks websites from zero to ten where ten is the highest value. The page rank of a website relies heavily on the following factors:

1. Link Quality – a website must link to your website in order to gain a page rank but with Google Penguin algorithm there is already a strict requirement that the link going to your website should be of high quality, which means it must be relevant and it must also be an authority site thus the higher the page rank of the site linking to you the better.

2. Structure of the Website – your website must also be structured in a way that it is easily crawled and that the links within your site are connected based on relevance. Every page in your website must be linked properly with each other and no web page in your website must stand alone.

What is SERP

The Search engine results page ranking on the other hand is focused on the ranking of your website on the search result page based on the keyword that you have chosen to optimise your site. As for Google and other search engines the SERP depends on a lot of different factors. For Google specifically, there are said to be more than two hundred ranking factors and every algorithm introduced by Google seeks to refine their ranking of the websites in the SERP. Among the ranking signals or factors for Google is said to be the site’s page rank, site structure, content development quality, loading time and even social media signals such as the plus one from Google Plus.

So which is More Important?

Focusing on your sites’ SERP does give you the advantage of having to drive traffic to your site based on the rankings you have. If you are able to reach rank one on page one of Google for a very difficult keyword then you have a huge advantage of getting traffic, where as we know traffic also equates to your websites’ possible revenue. As for page rank we believe that this is a strong ranking factor which means that in order to push your site further up the SERP ranking for Google it would be necessary to also increase your websites’ page rank, however SERP should be of your primary concern and if you do that you would automatically put your Page Rank into one of your sub-priorities.

For a lot of search engines giving the best user experience is one of the ranking factors, that is being sought after by SEO companies, where such is of course broken down into several aspects. One of those aspect is the websites’ page layout, it is believed by search engines especially Google that the page layout must show the content of a website rather than giving every site visitor the runaround. This is why Google has released an update to its algorithm dubbed as the page layout algorithm.

The Reason For the Update

One of the major reasons why Google has incorporated the page layout algorithm in their search engine ranking factors is the fact that the company has received several complaints about websites ranked in their search engine results page which does not outright display the content users want. For example, a user searched for a particular website using a specific keyword via the search engine and after being given the search result, clicks one of the link to a particular website. However, such particular website has a page layout that was structured in such a way that the actual content is already being swarmed by different advertisements which of course does not give a good user experience.

Therefore, in order to make sure that Google search engine results page would not foster such practice in a websites’ page layout, they have de-ranked websites’ that utilises a page layout that does not show their content above the fold and have utilised ads instead.

Are Ads Above the Fold Bad?

According to Google, they understand that placing advertisements about the fold are the ones that converts best, this is why the page layout algorithm only seeks to penalise websites that uses too much advertisements above the fold that it already is covering up the content of the web page making it a lot more difficult for a site visitor or user to locate the information or content that he or she needs.

Total Effect and Solution

According to Google the total global scale of websites that would be affected is around one percent, which means that one in one hundred websites will be affected. Among the different algorithm changes by Google this might be the easiest search engine optimisation problem to solve, if you see your content being pushed down below the fold and only ads are seen above the fold of your website then it is time for you to redo your websites’ page layout, and make sure that your content is highlighted by pushing it upwards above the fold which could be done by removing or resizing your advertisements.

Posted by: Ben Austin

Posted on: October 17, 2012 12:44 am

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Many search engine optimisation companies and even consultants are always looking at Google as their focus when conducting search engine optimisation campaigns. This is because of the fact that Google is considered to be the search engine with the highest number of users worldwide. For several years the number of users’ share from Google is about sixty to seventy percent, more than half of the total number of users worldwide. This is why many have experienced an increase in their return of investment if their website ranks first in page one of Google’s search engine results page. This is why trying to understand Google’s search engine algorithm is a must for every search engine optimisation company. This also means that you have to look at the company beliefs of Google, and if you happen to wander around that are you will realise that some of those beliefs that Google has are applicable to search engine optimisation. Here are some of the beliefs of Google which we think is very much SEO-centric.

1. Focus on the User – Google believes that if you focus on the user everything else will follow. In search engine optimisation the focus on the user is one of the most important aspects of SEO. This is because of the fact that user-friendliness of your website allows you to gain loyal visitors to your website. If your website is easy to navigate and all features are easy to use that it doesn’t require a higher level of technical knowledge then your visitors will love you for that. According to Google they have been focused on giving the user the best experience and makes every part of their development even their advertising to be geared towards making a great user experience, this is why their advertising offers only relevant content as well as placed in areas where such are not distracting to the user.

2. Do One thing Really Well – Google focused on the development of their primary product and that is search, by making sure that their product on search is at its peak level they were able to provide the best service for their visitors or clients. From search other products have spawned and thrived, like Gmail, Maps among others. What Google want’s to tell us is that we have to concentrate on one niche and continuously improve on that from there other products will come to light. In SEO this could be applied to Keyword research and ranking. If you first focus on ranking a high level keyword or head keyword chances are you will be targeting a lot of traffic and once settled you can just do maintenance SEO and then focus on ranking other keywords.

3. Fast is Better than Slow – Google, values the time of its users this is why they want to deliver information faster, this is why they aim to make sure that every product they give to their clients would be delivered at a fast rate. This is also applicable in search engine optimisation because Google has incorporated as one of their ranking factor the increase speed of loading time. According to many SEO companies it was noticed that websites’ that loads faster than its competitors would get a higher ranking. This is why it is very important to make sure that your website is loading fast enough not only to appease the search engines but most of all to give your users the best user experience since you actually make sure that their time is of your paramount concern.

These are the three things that Google believes in which we think are actually applicable to your SEO campaign and if you closely look at it you will realise that indeed Google has been incorporating their company beliefs into their search engine algorithm.

Posted by: Ben Austin

Posted on: September 27, 2012 3:47 pm

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It would seem that Google have been updating their search engine algorithm on a monthly basis, staying true to their commitment to improve on their search engine algorithm. Of course every SEO Company knows that search engines are updating their search engine algorithm on a regular basis and most often than not the algorithm updates could have an effect on a websites’ Ranking. When Google released their Panda and Penguin updates a lot of websites were affected so much that it did not only hit their rankings but also it greatly affected their return of investment. Because of transparency search engines always inform the public regarding their algorithm updates through blogs or even through tweets. Once algorithm updates are released and rankings have already been hit many SEO Consultants are actually on a panic mode that they lose focus, worrying instead of looking for solution.

Instead of fretting over something that you cannot change you have to start creating strategies that will help you control the damage done to your ranking by the change or update of the search engine algorithm or to at least give you a good start in recovering from the damage done. You can use the following tips in order for you to recover from the algorithm update just in case your site has gone down in terms of the search engine ranking.

1. Check Your Webmaster Tools – both Google and Bing has its own webmaster tools, this is where you can check the status of your website with regards to the search engine. Webmaster tools usually sends notifications to its users whenever there are warnings or alerts concerning the website, violations or causes of suspensions are also seen through the webmaster tools, so if you haven’t connected your site to Google or Bing Webmaster Tools it is time for you to do it.

2. Read and Understand the Algorithm Update – as what was said above the search engine algorithm updates are always published by the search engines for the public or those interested persons to know. Explanations are given in Google and Bing’s blogs and from such explanation try to understand the goal of each update this way you can have an idea on what might have caused your site to be de-ranked and what maybe the best practices that you can do in order to recover from such damage done by the algorithm update.

3. Review Your Analytics – the analytics is one of the most powerful search engine optimisation tool, this is because it allows you to track the number of visitor in your website as well as the demographics of your visitors. This way you will be able to understand your audience, and in relation to an algorithm update you will be able to easily see if your traffic has gone up or down significantly. Further, you will be able to see which keywords are affected, this way you will be able to create an SEO plan that will help you recover from and algorithm update.

These simple steps that you should be doing will definitely help you recover and not fret about any algorithm changes or updates.

Reputation is both earned and given. It is earned in the sense that you can shape your reputation based on what you are doing in the eyes of the public. It is also given in the sense that your reputation can be molded based on what other people sees on you and says about you. In laymen’s terms, reputation is shaped through public opinion, and constantly evolves as you progress through life. The more popular you get, the more your reputation gets vulnerable against attacks, hence, the more you need protection.

One of the best examples of environment where reputation is easily manipulated and altered is the field of online marketing. With anyone can access the internet and can post anonymously in the webpages, online marketers really face great threat to their reputation. Basically, there are two ways why your reputation as an online marketer can be damaged. It is either your clients speak their own sentiments about your products or services and express their dissatisfactions or your tough competitors resort on black propaganda to ruin your name in the public.  And if you simply let these attacks on your reputation pass through, you might end losing everything about your business.

 The Purpose of Online Reputation Management

Answering online reputation attacks is online reputation management. Whether you are a small-scale businessman, or a big-time politician, a business guru, or a celebrity; the call to protect your reputation increases as you make yourself a public figure. Basically, managing your online reputation entails a lot to consider. One is thorough planning of what to do which includes the knowledge on the real issues, the involved parties, and the content. The real challenge in managing your online reputation happens when the damage has already been done in a wide scale. This needs you to implement an effective reputation management strategy that can counterattack the negative things being said about you or your company, products, or services without hyping the small details. One best way is to utilise the potentials of press releases to repair particular damages on your reputation.  However, the press releases can be of no use when no one is able to read them. That is why, they must be search engine optimised so to secure the top spots of the result pages of the search engines.

Today, the most widely used media among detractors are blogs. Here, they can freely express their opinions and sentiments about a particular name or brand no matter true or not without having held accountable. That is why as part of your online reputation management campaign, you can neutralise the attacks against your reputation through posting on that particular blog page and strengthen your post by linking it either to your own site or to your published press releases designed to uplift your name.

 

Nevertheless, the best way to manage your online reputation is by preventing somebody to cause negative issues about your name, products or services. This can be done by having a well-developed content in your site, providing opportunities for effective content distribution, and ensuring active participations in every discussion online relevant to you.

The emergence of social media has truly revolutionised the way internet marketers do in their respective businesses. If we are to rewind to the time when facebook and twitter were not yet in existence, small and large businesses were actually doing the traditional advertising campaigns. It might be a lot slower compared to the present advertising capabilities brought by social media, but that was fair one and the public receive information without having them fooled or manipulated.

 Social Media as Form of Advertising

Today, most business owners are beginning to utilise the power of social media in making their businesses put into the limelight. It is even safe to deduce that all existing companies who know how social media work to their benefits made fan pages where people can like or follow. The potentials for companies to earn a wide audience have pushed business owners to incorporate facebook and twitter badges on their sites.   At first, we can say that these actions of marketers point to a single purpose and that is to shape public opinion. With their respective fan pages where they gained thousand likes and thousand followers, it would appear that many people trust their companies or the brands they are trying to market.

 The Dark Side of Social Media

But here is the other side of the coin, some business owners are now resorting to fool the public by manipulating the number of likes and followers for their brands or companies. This is done by sponsoring people to create different social media accounts such as in facebook or twitter and make them like or follow the page. The controversial part is these facebook like or twitter follow stuffs have been made job posts in various online job freelancing platforms. If we are to analyse these moves, these guys are simply making fun of the credibility of the social media by trying to manipulate their company’s credibility.

 What Matters Most

Basically, there is more about the social media than just relying in the number of likes or followers you get to your page. And it’s one of the things that are overlooked by these business owners. They think that by getting thousands and thousands of likes or followers, they will gain the trust of the public just like every business marketer wishes to. But, they are wrong. Though the number of likes or followers can be a factor to build confidence among the public, the best weapon to win the heart of the public is through content sharing through posts, discussions, and forums where close interactions between the company and the clients are empowered. If business owners only invest in the quantity of likes and followers without building an interactive environment with their clients, then their efforts to pay for people to like and follow their pages will only be futile.

Until there has not been proof that the number of likes and followers has a value to search engine optimisation, then it would be better if these business owners would implement the proven SEO techniques to gain a broad audience where their products or services can be seen to the maximum.

 

Posted by: Ben Austin

Posted on: August 29, 2012 10:42 am

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Bloggers have been around ever since people have started bringing their journals online, originally known as a web log, this type of online journal have already evolved into becoming more than a personal site. Blogging in 2012 is considered as both as professional and personal news, anyone who maintains a blog is called a blogger. Bloggers provides information through their blogs depending on the niche that they have chosen or have focused on. Usually, bloggers chose a niche that is within their expertise thus indirectly making them an authority in the said niche.

Blogging and SEO

Normally, bloggers gain their traffic from the number of readers and followers, they do not actually focus much on SEO, however we do not discount the fact that bloggers implements SEO methods. However, more than SEO copywriting, bloggers focuses on the quality of their content, they are focused more on getting the message across through their articles.

The Panda and Penguin Effect

When Google changed their algorithms to ensure quality content and links, numerous problems arose, link building methods and content development methods that produce low quality content and links have been rendered useless by the two algorithm changes. Google focuses on quality content to clean out its search engine results page of any low quality and irrelevant sites. Where does blogging comes in? There are times when bloggers are unable to update their blog sites on a regular basis and by doing this many readers may not be able to get the freshest news about their niche. This is why blog sites especially those that have already established their foothold in their chosen niche requires help from other writers, thus allowing writers to go guest blogs.

What is Guest Blog?

Guest blog is primarily a written work posted on a blog site that is written by another person other than the blogger or site owner. Blog sites that usually encourage guest blog posts have usually sets a high standard in order to allow articles to be posted in their blog. One of the criteria is that the article should not be previously posted in other sites, and should be your original work. Another is that it should be written with the highest quality where the topic is focused on the blogs niche. In short, guest blog posts should be of the highest quality. In exchange you can place a backlink or two pointing to your own website. Since the blog sites are high quality sites, you can be assured that the link you will be getting is of the highest quality.

Conclusion

Guest blogging is one way to gain quality backlinks, however, before writing a guest blog post you have to still discern whether the blog site you are guest posting on is of high quality. This can be done by checking their page rank as well as the sites content and links on whether or not its backlinks are taken from link farms or other low quality sites. This means that not all blog sites are of high quality, low quality blogs are those created only for advertising and link building purposes.

 

Time and again we have been mentioning the fact that whenever Google updates its algorithm many SEO companies would scramble to determine if their sites were hit. If indeed their websites were hit by the Google Algorithm change many would give up but some would find ways and means to recover their lost rankings. Why is it important to recover lost rankings? This is because it is where your revenue would eventually come from. Ranking in the first page top three of Google search engine results page in a keyword with high traffic would mean that your site is easily searchable and would rake in a lot of traffic and potential conversions.

What Penguin Algorithm Did?

When Google released the Penguin “into the wild”, the wildlife of the internet and search, it attacked websites that has utilised web spamming techniques in order to trick search engines into ranking their sites high up in the search engines results page rankings. Web spamming techniques such as keyword stuffing, link spamming and gaining tons of links from low quality websites are just some of the techniques that Google Penguin is tracking to gauge whether or not a site should be suspended or de-ranked.

How To Recover From the Penguin Algorithm

You may have noticed by now that some SEO consultants are sending emails to different low quality websites asking them to remove the link that was previously placed in their sites. Not to get ahead of ourselves here are the different steps that you can take in order to recover from penguin algorithm update.

1. Trace Low Quality Links – go back to your link list and track the different websites linking to your own site. Determine if such site was built for linking or if it is a high quality website. Determine low-quality sites that linked to your website and build a contact list.

2. Ask to Remove the Links – initially you want those links in their website, otherwise you would not have ask them to place it there in the first place, ask the site owner politely via email or any other means to remove the link pointing to your website.

3. Trace Keyword Stuffing and improve content – not everything on Penguin is about low quality links, keyword use and abuse is also one of the things that Google Penguin is looking at. Go back to your content, have you used too much keywords? If so it may be time to reduce it. Keyword density matters but one thing you should understand is that you can even rank in your chosen keyword without minding keyword density in your content. There is no specific rule on what the desired keyword density but stuffing the content with keywords is definitely a red flag for Google Penguin.

4. Start a New Content and Link Campaign – After you have removed the poison links and have improved the quality of your content, it is now time to start a link building campaign and a content development campaign. This way you will be able to implement gathering high quality links and posting high quality content to your and in your website respectively.

5. Ask for Reconsideration – once you have implemented quality content and quality links you can ask Google for reconsideration through their reconsideration form provided via Google Webmasters tool.

Conclusion

It is of course understandable that implementing all of these steps may take a long period of time, especially if you do not have people who can work as fast as possible during the implementation phase. This is why hiring a great and well experienced SEO company will make sure that you will be able to get the results you need in a fraction of the time when you make your own recovery campaign.

 

Posted by: Ben Austin

Posted on: August 22, 2012 4:16 pm

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Link building is a very tedious task because of the fact that it is multi-faceted. Link building does not only focus on just creating links for your website coming from another website. Link building is more of creating quality links from diverse sources. This SEO cornerstone is an essential part of any SEO campaign and should be done properly and not hastily. Therefore, like any other endeavor you will have to incorporate systems and standards and especially planning.

Planning your Link Building Campaign

When planning your link building campaign you have to consider the following steps in order to have an organised link building campaign.

1. Research – research for a link building campaign does not only focus on keyword research, this will also entail competitor analysis and research. It is a known fact that many SEO companies are basing their list of links to be acquired from websites that are being used by their competitor. If not, at least knowing the link list of a competitor website will give them the idea on what links will work and contribute to their increase in search engine results page ranking or even their page ranking.

2. Content Development – like it or not, content is already an essential part not only for website development but also for content marketing and link building. With the infusion of the Panda and Penguin algorithm quality content and quality links are essential. Most of the websites that are of high quality where you want to gain a link for your website requires quality content like guest blog posts, reviews among others. This is why you have to take time to develop quality content for your link building efforts.

3. Implementation – The last part is of course the implementation of your link building campaign. When implementing your link building campaign it is going to go smoothly because of the fact that you have laid the grounds on your implementation process by strictly following the previous two processes.

Conclusion

Search engine optimisation relies on its two cornerstones however, it is important that you have to conduct the processes involved properly to assure that you will be able to lay the foundation of your entire campaign. Following such processes will make sure that you will approach the link building campaign in an organised manner. Allowing you to make sure that you will be getting links that will not be detrimental to your sites’ ranking but rather it would be something that will allow you to acquire quality links.

Everybody knows that Google and other search engines’ algorithms are their highly guarded secret. Of course this is to prevent people from gaining knowledge about their algorithm and to subsequently abuse such in order to make a website rank higher in the search engines’ result page ranking. However, from time to time SEO companies learn from the engineers of search engine companies on what they consider as ranking signals or what might search engine optimisation professionals should expect in the coming algorithm changes.

Who is Matt Cutts?

Matt Cutts is the head of the Webspam Team at Google and he has stepped on the spotlight being one of Google’s ambassador to Search engine optimisation professionals explaining Google’s side on things regarding search. Recently, Matt Cutts gave a keynote in Day 2 of the SES in San Francisco and he was able to share some insights regarding Google’s search algorithm and about Google’s stand on SEO.

Insights from Matt Cutts

Matt emphasised Google’s goal of giving accurate and relevant data back to the search engine user based on the keywords entered. This is why several algorithm changes such as Panda and Penguin have been implemented. When asked if links will slowly be phased out as a ranking factor for Google, Matt assured that links will not be ignored when processing rankings for the search engine results page.

Social Media as Ranking Signals

According to a lot of SEO consultants social media have become a significant ranking signal for Google, this may be true however there are several other truths that was revealed. Google does not have the ability to fully crawl Facebook as users are able to change their privacy settings. Twitter on the other hand is also uncrawlable by Google, which means the number of followers or tweets could not be accurately measure to make it a ranking factor. However, nothing was said about Google’s own social media platform, G+. We can therefore speculate that Google may be utilising G+ posts, followers, circles among others as social signals that may influence search rankings of your website.

Google Hating SEO

Time and time again the question whether Google hates SEO is being put in the spotlight, maybe because of the algorithm updates that tends to target the creative works of some SEO consultants. It was made clear by Matt Cutts that Google does not hate SEO. In fact SEO is helping Google achieve the goals of their search engine and that is to deliver accurate and relevant results, the goal of SEO is to optimise sites in order for them to be easily crawled by search engine spiders and to increase their speed loading time for better user experience and of course to incorporate quality and informative content for the users or visitors. The only time Google would have an issue with SEO is when black hat methods are implemented like making comment spam links, creating spammy links from link farms, incorporating low quality content, buying links and even stuffing content with keywords.

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