How to Recover from Panda 4.1 Update

My name is Miguel Salcido, and I've been a professional SEO consultant for over 9 years.

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How to Recover from Panda 4.1 Update

How to Recover from Panda 4.1 UpdateLast May, Google released Panda, which is an algorithm used to prevent sites with poor-quality or thin content from ranking highly in search engines, which affected many sites. With the release of the update, many sites have been hit again, noticing that their organic search traffic has dropped significantly.

If you’ve noticed a change in your site, here are a few effective SEO tips that can help your site recover from Panda:

Revise Content

Before Panda’s release, many sites were able to rank high in search engines by publishing short-form content that targeted and repeated keywords and phrases. However, since Panda’s release, Google refers to that content as ‘thin,’ and as such, your content will not be anywhere near the top search rankings. There are different sites you can visit to check how Google views your site’s content, and if it is in fact deemed thin or low quality, revise those articles or get rid of them altogether. Low-quality pages, through Panda’s unique algorithm, can drag down the rankings of your entire site.

Quality Content

What makes quality content? Luckily, Google has specific criteria they judge content by, starting with what they refer to as ‘meaty’ content or long-form content. Since Panda, articles that have anywhere between 500 and 1500 words rank better because the longer the article, the more likely it is you have covered all aspects and arguments of a topic, leading it to be a quality article.

As always, to improve your search engine results, your article also needs to focus on long-tail keywords. Once you have a potential long-tail keyword, Google has a keyword tool that allows you to see the search engine volume behind it. Using long-tail keywords is a wise long-term strategy because people typically search in a more pervasive manner.

Authoritative Voice

Whenever possible, look to include any credentials you or your staff has to prove your expertise as an authority. Especially in terms of articles dealing with medical or financial aspects, an authoritative voice is critical when determining the quality of piece content.

Having an authoritative voice does not mean speaking in esoteric terms only and avoiding personal pronouns; rather, it means proving your knowledge behind the written content. It should follow grammatical rules, and explore the topic in depth.

Internal and External Links

Like your authorship, your quality of authoritative internal and external links is highly important to where you land in search engines. For external links, link to well known sites that have proven time and again to be trusted and authorial. Also, do not abuse internal linking. While linking back to your site is positive, balance it out with quality external links.

Social Media

With social media’s technology takeover, there is a link between social media shares and high search engine rankings. Outfit your site with social media share buttons and counters, and market your site by promoting it across a wide variety of social channels.

If Panda has negatively affected your site, it can take a while to recover entirely. However, fixing any of these issues will, in the long run, optimize the life of your site.

Image Source: www.seoclarity.net

Pigeon UpdateFor those in the online business community, Google’s SEO algorithms have induced as much elation as they have stress. While these algorithms are for the purpose of bettering organic search results, many websites have unintentionally been penalized, which can cost their website for months to come.

Specifically in regards to Pigeon, which is Google’s algorithm to ensure that local results are more relevant and useful.  Both Panda’s update and Penguin’s update, which were released earlier this year, transformed fundamental search engine ranking. Likewise, Pigeon’s update impacted local businesses significantly as it was designed to offer users a more cohesive and relevant search experience when seeking a local business. As such, old local SEO tactics were put out to pasture in order to make way for new ones.

In order for local businesses to maintain their SEO relevance and stay ahead of competitors, these three local SEO tips are essential:

1. Data Accuracy and Consistency

Since the web is inundated with irrelevant websites, Google is cracking down on how local businesses present their information via their websites. Any sites whose information is inconsistent or unclear will be penalized in SEO rankings. On the other hand, businesses that provide clear, concise information will be rewarded.

Consistency is key with data accuracy. Check out any online mentions of your business. Is the name, address, and phone number of your business not only accurate but also consistent among online local business directories? The more times your business is mentioned, the better it is for organic search results. However, if the information is inconsistent, your business will most likely be penalized. Google notices when your information is inconsistent—even something as small as your address stating “drive” in one directory and “dr” in another.

Additionally, if your business is not in any business directories, apply to add your business’s information. Websites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and UrbanSpoon will allow you to claim your business for free.

2. Online Directories

Pigeon’s update was not only for the purpose of boosting rankings of sites with consistent information. Many companies had accused Google of not treating reviews on online business directories favorably in Google’s algorithm. Pigeon’s update fixed that problem by updating the algorithm to improve search rankings based on reviews in Yelp, Google+, etc.

Not only is it important for businesses to be included in these online directories, it’s also important to have reviews. Ask loyal customers to leave reviews, or offer a discount on a customer’s next purchase if they leave feedback. Positive reviews will help to boost your ranking further.

3. High-Quality Content

Although the Internet is still a written experience, it is growing into a more visual experience. Google is offering websites who provide high quality images and videos a better ranking, for it draws in the eye of the consumer. The more quality the content, the higher the organic search ranking.

Although Pigeon created some problems for local websites, the update is merely trying to help both the business and consumer achieve the results they want. These tips can help improve your rankings, which in turn can improve your overall business success.

In conclusion, it can easily be said that all three of these strategies are relevant to not only to Pigeon, but to every named Google update ever, and improving an SEO strategy as a whole. However, it’s clear that since Pigeon targeted local results, these three strategies are of greater importance when discussing Pigeon based strategies. Local SEO is as important as ever nowadays, so be absolutely sure you’re taking these three into account.

Image Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/seoplanter/7460434930

By now everyone has pretty much come to grips with the fact that we can no longer get accurate keyword data from organic search. Wait, what’s that you say? Bing offers this data? Well soon they too will switch to secure search and that data will be gone. Not to mention that Bing currently makes up anywhere from 1% to 15% of organic traffic for all clients I’ve had analytics access to over the past year. For those of you new to the game, that means that its hardly worth any effort or attention.

Alternatives Sources of Organic Keyword Data

We still have Google Webmaster Tools search query data though! Except that is wildly off the mark when compared historically with analytics data. This is a widely debated issue. Some people feel that the data is good, but it just needs dome additional manipulation to make it usefule.  But I still love it for bigger picture keyword data, taken with a grain of salt. I love the Top Pages tab and then investigate all the terms for a given page that Google shows you and use that for content marketing efforts and blog post fodder.

Tools like Blueprint Search Analytics, from RKG, will basically extrapolate all of the Google Webmaster Tools Data and slice and dice it, combine it with some math, and is said to deliver sound data on keyword data. Even predictive data can be sourced from this they claim. I’ve take the demo and it does look sweet! After all, its the brainchild of the Queen of Google Webmaster Tools. But alas, its way too expensive for something that just downloads GWT data and plays with it. It does offer analytics integrations, which helps. But its just out of range price wise for the majority of businesses.

Google Analytics Fail

So today, I got this cool email from the Google Analytics Team that basically encouraged me to check out last month’s data for one of the sites in my account. It had a link to a dashboard and pulled some data into the email for me, as a teaser. But then as I scrolled down the email, basking in the glory of this targeted and thoughtful email, I say their message about using keyword data to help inform better advertising decisions. KEYWORD DATA! YOU WANNA TALK ABOUT KEYWORD DATA?!?!


Check out this screen grab of a section of said email….

Google Analytics Fail - Keywords Not Provided

As you can tell, I was NOT amused by this. Thanks for the “tip” Google. <sarcasm> I’ll be sure to login to analytics right away to check my “keywords” so that I can gather the insights necessary to more effectively promote my business online. </sarcasm>

Comment and share your stories and experiences. I’m especially interested in hearing any tips and tricks you might have for recovering keyword data and your thoughts on GWT data accuracy.

How to Grow Healthy Guest PostsOrganically grown foods are almost always accepted as healthier and better items to add to your shopping cart. Without pesticides and other chemical processes, naturally harvested fruits and vegetables don’t possess the junk that often lurks in other produce. When it comes to creating a successful guest blogging campaign, growing organic guest posts is also a healthier and more effective strategy in the long term.

If your online marketing campaign can benefit from naturally produced guest blogs, then here are some helpful tips to healthy posts.

The Basics of Blogging Still Apply

Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s webspam team, says that rather than attempting to “make your links appear natural” it is important to ensure “that your links are natural.”

In creating a nutritious guest blogging strategy, some of the best advice is to treat your guest posts just like normal blog writing. All the basic rules of normal blogging still apply to guest blogging.

Quality Ingredients

The good content argument is a common rule of blogging and is perhaps more imperative in guest posts. If you want your guest posts to generate authority and not be discarded as potential spam, then spending the extra time to research and write quality articles proves key.

The extra effort will pay off as a positive investment. A well written piece will advertise for itself because something worth reading will garner its own word-of mouth publicity as well as shares on social media sites. A good post can also quickly gain backlinks since it is a good reference source.

Additionally, producing good content will quickly establish a positive reputation for yourself as a writer. This gives you a leg up the next time you pitch a guest post. And with enhanced credibility, you may even be welcomed as a regular guest blogger for individual sites.

Gone Fishing

Also just like normal blogging, the creation of “link bait” in guest posts will go a long ways in attracting attention and capturing an audience. Aiming to be intentionally provocative can excite and interest potential readers. Simply developing an arresting title can go a long ways in determining the success of a post. There are several ways to shoot for this:

•  Choose a controversial topic

•  Write a report on a breaking news story

•  Include a number in the title such as “7 Easy Ways to Create Attractive Links”

•  Include an interview with an industry expert

Organize Your Seeds

Just like a farmer planting rows of crops, it is also important to keep track of what links go where and other information necessary for creating guest posts. Spreadsheets are fantastic ways to manage several simultaneous guest blogging opportunities.

If you are staging an entire online marketing campaign through guest blogging, then it is especially important to stay on top of details in order to reduce your footprint. The common use of specific personas to write for different niches can be highly effective, but must be managed in an organized fashion to eliminate confusion that might detract from your posts’ authenticity.

With these keys in mind and a bit of hard work, a healthy crop of naturally grown guest posts can be yours to harvest.

Image from www.american.com

Things to Consider When Hiring an SEO ExpertMaking the decision to hire someone, whether an individual or an agency, to take your business to the next level with search engine optimization is a great decision to make. It means you’re obviously ahead of the game, and making important business decisions that will no doubt better your company.

There are a lot of things that you should consider when you decide to hire someone to do your SEO. Failure to consider some of these things could lead to spending a lot of money yet not getting any results, which isn’t fun for anyone. Check out these things you need to consider and these tips you should hold on to when hiring an SEO expert or consultant for your business.

Check References and Results

When you’re hiring an SEO professional, you’re hiring someone that is expected to deliver you results. Since you’re expecting results, you should check that person’s references to see if they’ve delivered results for other people or companies, too. Call their references and ask them what they liked and what they didn’t like about this SEO person, and if they followed through on the results.

Be wary of any SEO professional who promises you immediate results, as this is simply not possible without any tactics that are considered unethical and that might get you in trouble with the search engines. Any respected SEO professional will tell you that SEO takes time, and it is a marathon not a sprint.

Ask to Be Involved

When searching for an SEO professional, you should opt to hire a professional that will keep you involved throughout the whole process. You want an SEO professional who will be involved with you, and help make improvements to both your online ranking along with your Mentel web development enterprises. You want someone who will always be there to answer questions about anything and who will be open and very transparent about the services that you’re receiving.

Be involved in your SEO, don’t just hire someone and hand off the torch. Ask what you can do better, and be prepared to make changes. You want a professional who is active and truly cares about results for your company, not just somebody who will cash a paycheck each month.

Consider Cost

Cost is something that you should definitely consider when shopping around for an SEO consultant. Be wary of hiring someone that charges suspiciously low, but also don’t hire someone with outrages rates. Instead, opt to hire someone who is right in the middle so you get the best bang for your buck.

Costs for SEO are going to range dramatically depending on what level of services are offered and how billing is taken care of. Some SEO professionals might charge you by the hour, and some might charge flat rates depending on what services they perform. Some will want to be kept on retainer, and others will just want to consult you as necessary. Make sure you know exactly what services you’ll be receiving for the cost you’ve been quoted at, so no unexpected charges show up when you receive your invoice for services.

Image credit:  http://2.bp.blogspot.com

Microsoft Complains of Google Mobile Search MonopolyMicrosoft has filed a complaint against its rival Google, pinning the search giant for attempting to monopolize the mobile search market.

A complaint filed with the European Competition Commission by the so-called FairSearch coalition suggested that Google was abusing its Android platform, using it as a Trojan horse to quash competition. And by some accounts, the complaint could have merit.

Writing in ComputerWorld, Microsoft analyst Preston Gralla agreed with the complaint, despite pointing out apparent hypocrisy in its message.

“Microsoft and a host of other businesses are right to complain that Google unfairly uses Android to consolidate its monopoly in mobile search advertising. There’s certainly an irony in Microsoft making the complaint, but the company knows about anti-competitive practices, because it used similar tactics years ago in using Windows to harm competitors.”

The Google Android platform is open source, and powers a majority of smartphone models on the market. The allegation highlights the de facto forcing of the full Google suite of applications onto manufacturers that adopt the Android system ­– a structure they allege to be anti-competitive.

For Microsoft and its fellow complainants, this gives Google unfair access to an un-competitive majority of smartphone user data – at the direct expense of their own operations.

The FairSearch coalition is a collective of Internet organisations out to get Google. According to their website, the aim of the group, which includes Microsoft, Expedia, Oracle and Nokia, is to ensure “growth, innovation and choice across the Internet ecosystem by fostering and defending competition in online and mobile search.”

But given its own history of monopoly abuse allegations, some are pointing to the irony in Microsoft leading the action.

Microsoft has faced sustained criticism over its own market share and whether it was creating an un-competitive monopoly environment through its Windows operating system. With Google now dominating the parallel mobile OS market, some have argued that the move is just a touch hypocritical.

Nevertheless, those in the industry generally welcome competition as a mechanism for delivering choice and product improvements. Simplikate, a mobile application developer that works with apps for Windows, Android and other platforms, said that consumers win from effective competition regulation.
“The more providers there are in a market, the more we see business think about the needs of consumers. With smartphones, this extends to operating systems and apps, and more competition from providers will inevitably lead to greater innovation and the development of better technologies.”

The European Competition Commission regulates markets in Europe, with the power to prevent abusive business practices. While the process is often lengthy, a petition to the Commission, if successful, could enforce a change in the way Google does business with handset manufacturers.

Microsoft has previously been forced to yield to European Competition Commission rulings, including releasing a version of their operating system without Windows Media Player to comply with attempts to broaden competition.

While the complaint may have years to run, it could help unlock a market that is increasingly dominated by one major force – with the effect of increasing choice for smartphone consumers and allowing other manufacturers to compete on level terms.

If you don’t have a website to showcase your business and the products and services it offers, you might as well have a car with an empty gas tank. There are some good quality free websites out there for you to investigate, such as freewebsite.com. Once you have found the winning website, have optimized its content, and launched a solid SEO campaign, if you haven’t already adopted Facebook as a platform for your marketing efforts, now is the time to do so.

A Social Network in your Corner
Facebook started off as a forum where people could come together and share thoughts and ideas. It still achieves this, and is perhaps the greatest resource for businesses. In an article published by Forbes it is reported that half the people in the entire world with Internet access are using Facebook, and that one of the main reasons people interact with it is due to its many business pages. Even large corporations such as Porsche, AT&T, and CNN have over a couple million Facebook fans, and if they can see the value in this powerful social media tool, then so too should the small business owner. Here are some tips to help you utilize Facebook to the fullest:

·      Orchestrate a genuine interest in your services and products by creating an exciting business page that compels a person to become a “fan”. Add an energetic cover photo, and constantly add new photos, testimonials, and ongoing specials.

·      Encourage fans to leave comments, questions and feedback. Respond to every single one of them, and motivate them to come back with more content. By adding content to your business page, your fans are doing your marketing for you, as all of the people in their sphere of influence will see your business when your fans post. When you respond to content, you are placing yourself in control of your brand and your business’ online reputation.

·      Give incentives for people to become fans of your business page. Offer a discount on utilizing a service for the customer’s first time, a free trial, or enter them into a drawing to win free goods.

Use Facebook when you are Offline

More than likely, if a person walks into your place of business, he/she is a Facebook user. Put a sign in your window and one on the counter that offers a free service when customers “check in” on Facebook. In other words, when a user checks in to a business, all of their friends see this, and therefore see your business. But what is even more powerful than that is simply that your customers are giving out business referrals by letting their friends know where they like to shop, eat, and hang out.

Initiate Domino Effect

By using Facebook correctly for your business, you will be acquiring new fans and therefore new customers. Once one jumps on board your brand, so too will their friend, and that person’s friend, and so on. No other place on the Internet has as many potential customers in one place. By working with this social media platform, it will in turn work for you.

Image source: http://www.executionists.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Facebook-Business-Page.jpeg

Technology is changing all the time, and with it so too is Google. The SEO (search engine optimization) tactics that webmasters used 6 months ago hold little relevance—Google is continually changing its algorithms, and without proper content even a million dollar SEO campaign will have little power in your website’s organic placement. As a business owner, there are things you can do to deliver on SEO yourself, and right from the sofa while watching Monday Night Football. Whether its joining an online directory that provides a free website like Yellow Pages United, or you are setting up a Facebook business page, there are some big steps you can take to ensure your website is growing, and on its way to finding better organic placement in the Internet search engines.

A Blog is not a High School Essay

Writing a blog is a great way to start the growth of your organic placement. There are two different ways to blog: one is to simply write a piece to provide information to a limited and special audience who already follow your online activity. The other is to utilize the science of SEO to optimize your content (what businesses want to do). In an article published by SEO News, the author states that marketers spent $16.6 billion on electronic content writing in 2011, and with good reason. The article continues to attest that no matter how highly optimized your site is in other areas, without content your site will disappear into Google obscurity. Here are some points of advice:

·      Write relevant content and be creative without deviating
·      Build relevant links into your content
·      Link social media marketing avenues to your content (like Facebook)
·      Use keywords and clusters to target your consumers and reflect what they are desiring and looking for
·      Make the content geared to your consumers, and not the search engines

You may be scratching your head in regards to the final point listed above. But there is a good reason for this. Remember, optimized content enables your customers to connect with you through the search engines, social media makes it easy for customers to share and participate in your content, and lastly good content marketing enables customers to build relationships with companies through content.

Tread with Optimistic Caution

Be ambitious and motivated to give this everything you have, but be careful not to focus too much on areas of little importance.  When writing your content, be sure to avoid keywords gilded in gold. When you research keyword content development, start by thinking about how consumers talk about you, rather than allowing your ego to run away with the show. Also, don’t spend too much time focusing on traffic measurement. All too often I see business owners attempt to “play god”, and they waste so much time in trying to track activity. At the end of the day, you will know if your content is paying off, as you will see an increase in your business, a greater buzz going around on your services, and people will be talking about you online. However, if you do all of these things, and business remains the same, then examining your traffic numbers and investigating where the problem lies is worth looking into. But let a professional handle this for you. Unless you have the skills of a true webmaster, you might be better off finding an affordable SEO consultant to help you iron out the wrinkles. But more than likely, if you create smart content, your business will start crawling towards the top of the search engines and you will be on your way to better organic placement.

Image source: http://www.digitalsynergy.com/wp-content/themes/digital/images/banner_seo-content-writing.jpg

A lot of opportunities await small businesses in today’s market. Not only are there numerous ways to target your customers in person, but there are also a multitude of resources available online. The fact is that consumers are increasingly using the Internet for a variety of reasons these days, and that includes shopping for goods and services online. Families are busy, and looking for information online is convenient and the process saves time.

So what do the shopping trends in the consumer market mean for you as a small business owner? A lot, actually. While the big-box stores certainly get their share of revenue through online searches and sales, the market is changing for small businesses, too. In order to make it in your business, you must reach this ever-growing market online. There are three online marketing strategies every small business should try.

Website Creation

First and foremost, every business should have its own website. Whether you are a start-up company or have a business of a handful of people, you should have your own place to call home in the virtual world. Just as most businesses have stores or offices people can come to, there also needs to be a place where consumers can find you online. Customers need to be able to look at your website to gain more information about you, while others are completely new to your company and have found you through another platform. No matter what the precise circumstances are, the bottom line is that websites are one of the main keys to a small business’s success.

Before you launch your business website, make sure that it:

  • Has an easy-to-remember domain name
  • Contains clear copy
  • Has your business contact information

SEO

Now that you have your website up, how will people find it? While you may have the URL listen on all your business literature, this doesn’t help you out in the way of reaching new customers who have never heard of your company. When it comes to finding new clients within your target market, SEO is your best friend.

SEO, or search engine optimization, works by relaying commonly searched keywords within your website that your clients would normally search for. This way, when they conduct the search online, your business is more likely to pop up on the search results. Make sure that all your keywords make sense and that the rest of the copy on your website is both evergreen and natural.

Virtual Networking

You may have already signed up with your local Chamber of Commerce for business networking events, but what steps have you taken to network online outside of your neighborhood? There are a multitude of online networking opportunities with other businesses, such as those through LinkedIn and Meetup. You may also take this a step further by creating your own social media pages to reach out to the masses. Before you create your own page make sure that it:

  • Is separate from your personal social media page
  • Offers something unique and relevant to consumers
  • Is updated on a regular basis

Utilize these tips to get your small business more visibility online. At this point it is not a leap of faith. Online marketing has proven to be one of THE more effective ways to market your business these days. So if you are not doing it then you will be left behind eventually.

It is a safe assumption at this point to think that most people are familiar with Facebook and even have an account on the social networking platform. Initially, Facebook found its roots in personal peer-to-peer networking, but it has since evolved into a more all encompassing entity. It now includes businesses of all sizes and industries as members. It is a unique and deeply functional space, where friends and families can interact with each other, but businesses have found their place in the system too. As this business function is garnering popularity, more and more business owners are asking themselves, “How can I use Facebook for my business?”

While some naysayers try to shirk and deny the strength of this social network, comScore Inc. has put out information that shows just what a permanent fixture Facebook is to marketing. Accounting for nearly a third of online display advertising in the United States alone, it is abundantly evident that if you want to be seen, you need to be on Facebook now. For small and medium-size businesses, harnessing the potential of this globally popular social network is an affordable addition to your marketing efforts. In fact, having an active account on the site is the very epitome of the term social media marketing. This is because you are making direct and robust connections with your customers, potential customers and others in your industry. Let’s have a look at a few things you can do to fuel your business with Facebook today:

1.     Make sure you create a company page and not just a profile page. This will give you the opportunity to implement a custom created welcome page that visitors will interact with when they visit you. It should be designed to stimulate an interest in your products and services, and it should compel the visitor to become a fan. Updating your company page regularly is a must and always try to integrate new photos, testimonials and any news or information about your company and industry in real time.

2.     Keep on top of the content that is posted to your page on a regular basis. This includes reviews, notes, links and photos. While your page will be built to attract customers, there are other people online who will try to piggyback on the strength of your network. Sometimes, their intents are just malicious. They may often post irrelevant pictures, videos, comments and other things that do nothing but clutter and upset your page. A good example of well managed customer content is Yodle reviews on Facebook.

3.     Communicate with your fans. This is a part of branding and marketing that people shy away from because it is so time consuming but trust us; it is necessary. When a fan shares a heartfelt sentiment about how much they enjoy your products or services, you have to respond. This inspires a personal connection that will keep them loyal to you, and more of them will opt to referring you to their own networks.

We hope that you’re able to realize more success and better customer relationships through the tips we’ve provided. Keep at it and you’ll soon see how important Facebook is to your company and your customers!

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