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Archive for the ‘SEO Practices’ Category

Who Is This Google Penguin Guy and What Has He Done With My Rankings?!

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

by Jake Brenner

Unfortunately, yes. Far from being the helpful hero they intended, Google’s new search algorithm, ‘Penguin’, has morphed from super-update to super-fiend (thus far). On April 24th, Google made the decision to unleash Penguin from its lair. Since then, no site has been safe and it’s taken the Internet by storm. From flipped rankings, to accidental site ‘Blacklisting’ Penguin’s devious ways seem to have been enough to confound even the most brilliant of Google engineers.

Like the officials of Gotham City, initially denying that Penguin was the one to blame, Google did eventually come out and say that the new algorithm was responsible for the “accidental” blacklisting of numerous sites during the switch. Even though that does little to help the websites affected during the takeover, many of which are signing the “Please kill your Penguin update” petition. Where’s Batman when you need him?

Our advice to you: keep a close eye on your traffic and your rankings. If you find that your site has completely dropped off, or the majority of your rankings don’t come back in a week or two, it’s possible to re-submit it for review by Google, although it’s unclear to us if they are still currently accepting submissions.

One helpful lesson to be learned from this, that we’ve preached since the beginning of time…or the Internet at least, is to NOT DEPEND SOLELY ON ONE MARKETING CHANNEL. Yes, SEO is crucial to the success of a website, but just like any investor will tell you, diversification is the best long-term strategy.

Going forward, we do expect rankings to come back up to normal, but for now we’re doing our part to monitor the airwaves as best we can and ensure we stick to our usual routine of excellence. If we come across anything relevant you’ll be the first to know. So for now, stay tuned for more. Same Bat-time, same Bat-channel.

Not so cuddly huh?

Googling Things is a Pretty Funny Activity

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

By Nicole Fletcher

We all Google….daily….multiple times daily. Whether we’re looking for pictures, facts, stats, information, what have you. We all do it and most of the’s a pretty basic, normal, even banal activity. Sometimes though when you least expect it, you’re thrown for a loop. That said, I thought I’d Google some random, basic, fun, things, phrases etc and post the weirdest stuff that comes up. As such I’ll ask you to post the same on our Facebook wall…because it’s fun and funny and you’ll enjoy yourself while doing so. Without further delay, here are some things I Googled.

Googled: Funny Cows (Googled simply because I started typing Funny and cows populated)

Googled: Crazy Face – Here’s a big screen shot with people’s faces ranging from Tom Cruise and animated characters, to babys with crazy eyes and Robert Pattinson. Go figure.
Screen shot 2011-07-05 at 4.19.11 PM

Googled: Where is...which then led me to Where is Chuck Norris. The result was perhaps one of the most awesome things ever. The world will never know.
Screen shot 2011-07-05 at 4.22.55 PM

Googled Who is…and these are the things that populated. I have a few thoughts.

1. Who would ever Google Who is in Jail? Are they looking for a master list? Seriously..what were those people thinking.
2. Those poor souls who awkwardly smiled and nodded at the mention of Rebecca Black’s name rushed to the computer the first free moment they got. Here’s the proof.
3. John Galt. I’m not going to lie to you, I had no idea but turns out he’s a character who does not appear until the last third of Ayn Rand’s 1957 novel Atlas Shrugged. I am now fulfilled that I know this but still don’t understand why this is a big enough deal to get auto-populated by Google.
4. Finally, I can’t even really comment on this …but it’s pretty darn funny. So funny in fact that Judas himself is laughing about it.
Screen shot 2011-07-05 at 4.24.13 PM
Googled: Funny Cookies. Priceless.

JCPenney’s Google Penalty Up, So Are Profits

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

As posted on Search Engine Watch, this post shows  the benevolence of Google after they buried JC Penny for link building a few months back. I, for one, am shocked.

The manual penalty Google handed JCPenney, which was outed by the New York Times for “shady” link building practices in February, is now lifted, according to two new reports. The damage? JCPenney last week reported $376 million in online sales, an increase of 6.6 percent vs. the same period in 2010.

Seems Google’s penalty didn’t really do any short-term damage to JCPenney, unlike, which reported a 5 percent decline in sales due to a Google penalty. Back when this news first broke, JCPenney said only 7 percent of its online traffic came from organic search results.

Search Visibility Returns

Now SEOClarity and SearchMetrics are both reporting that JCPenney’s search visibility is back, three months later.

SEOClarity JCPenney Google Rankings

SEOClarity, which had been tracking JCPenney’s performance on more than 2,000 keywords, on May 12 received more than 900 alerts of major ranking changes:

This particular change was unique because the keyword competition shifted to accommodate JCPenney moving up without any other significant movement in competitors’ rankings. The competitors had simply ‘moved aside,’ where normally we would expect to see a major shakeup typical of a global algorithm change.

SEOClarity noted that, in addition to removing internal links from the footer, JCPenney has made massive changes to its URLs (with redirects to the homepage rather than a relevant page), and now uses a more convoluted and less SEO-friendly structure with multiple query parameters. For example, this became this|chests+%2b+cabinets&Ne=4294957900

The new URL structure seems to have been in the works for a while. In a statement responding to criticism of their SEO practices in February, JCPenney said:

“ is a closed site. Google bots currently don’t crawl our site. Our natural search vendor manages a mirror site for us that redirects to … We are planning to open to Google bots with the launch of our new platform.”

SearchMetrics also put together a couple graphs showing the increased organic visibility. This one is an overall view:

Searchmetrics JCPenney Google Search Visibility

And this shows the rankings history of organic visibility for [jewelry]:

Searchmetrics JCPenney Jewelry Google Search Visibility

Google Rankings Check

When the original story was published in February, JCPenney was ranking either number one for or “at or near top” for several terms, which were then banished to Page 5 or beyond. Let’s check how those terms rank now that the penalty is up (with the February ranking in parenthesis as reported by the NYTimes).

  • dresses: Page 2 (1)
  • bedding: Page 2 (1)
  • area rugs: Page 2 (1)
  • Samsonite carry on luggage: 4 (1)
  • living room furniture: 3 (1)
  • skinny jeans: 6 (at or near top)
  • home décor: Page 2 (at or near top)
  • comforter sets: 3 (at or near top)
  • furniture: Page 7 (at or near top)
  • tablecloths: 3 (at or near top)
  • grommet top curtains: 2 (at or near top)

JCPenney hasn’t earned back all of those valuable top spots in Google, but the brand has seen some rankings restored.

As we reported in “What if JCPenney Link Buying is Just the American Way?,” JCPenney’s SEO firm saw a loophole in Google and aggressively chased the opportunity. They took a risk and, seemingly, they’ve come through unscathed.

Google Releases Their Own Like Button. What’s Next?

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

By Nicole Fletcher

Insert YET ANOTHER Google update…none other than Google’s own take on the ‘Like’ button. They’re calling it the ‘Plus one’. It’s goal? To further integrate social into search.

Google will now allow Internet users to vote on search content they find useful and then share that content with their personal connections within their Google accounts. Reports say, the ability to share this social content to twitter is coming soon. In search, people will now see the number of votes in addition to the name and photos of their Google connections who have shared content.
This would definitely be considered the most aggressive integration of social into search to date and we can only expect Google to incorporate the plus 1 button into their algorithm soon. Bryan Wiener, CEP of 360i, says:

“Its important for Google to bring in social influence into search results to prevent the social web from becoming a parallel universe. I do think they need to have the Facebook ‘likes’ in there because you’re going to have two webs, the social web and the open web.”

Interesting point Bryan. Indeed, if Google does not incorporate ‘likes’ into their algorithm, there will be further separating the social interactions that take place on social sites like facebook, from the rest of the open web. While they do of course have their differences, it certainly would be counter productive to compete with one another.

And here’s your answer…

Google’s Principle Engineer for Search, Matt Cutts, said, “When someone recommends something, that’s a pretty good indicator of quality. We are strongly looking at using this in our rankings.”

So far as SEO is concerned, inbound links have been of utmost importance when it comes to page rank. Last year, Google included Twitter updates to aggregate the most recent conversations on any topic. Adding Google’s plus-one will add yet another social component. Basically the point of this update is simple: you would more willingly visit a site recommended by a friend than you would click through the clutter that is modern search. This update makes it easier to find quality content because users are now able to see what their connections have shared.

This though, might not be the biggest part of this update. According to AdAge, “the biggest move here may not be about search at all, but about taking another swing at the social networking business — and at Facebook itself. The first time users clicks on a plus-one button, they will be prompted to create a Google profile, as well as be given the opportunity to adjust privacy settings.” Interesting. Is Google trying once again to compete with Facebook? And if so, will they succeed? Only time will tell. Bing integrated Facebook “likes” into their search at the end of 2010 but NOT into their algorithm itself. What that means is that a “like” does NOT, I repeat does NOT, affect search rankings. Google’s Matt Cutts also reported that Google does not have plans to include Facebook in their algorithm…but they also don’t have the authority to do so. He said, “It would depend on whether that data were available” …so again, time will tell.

In the mean time, keep an eye out for recommended content and small pics of your friends faces in your search results.