Immigration Epidemic in the West

There’s more than 7 billion people in the world now and somewhere around 5 or 6 billion of them would love to live in Western countries. Unfortunately, it’s just not sustainable. Furthermore, I personally would not like to become a minority in my own country and have my culture erased but I have been labeled as a racist or a xenophobe for saying so. The purpose of this post is to prove that NO ONE wants to become a minority in their own country except for us stupid ass, brainwashed Westerners. I aim to prove that rest of the world would rather retain their cultural homogeneity and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Are Koreans Racist?
I asked a few of my Korean friends if they would be ok having more foreigners in Seoul than actual Koreans and they all said, “No, that is totally not ok”. Then I asked them, what if these foreigners received government support and petitioned to have public radio, TV, documents and signs also in another language like Russian or English. They were flabbergasted that I would even ask such a ridiculous question and said that Koreans would NEVER tolerate that. Does this make Koreans bad people?

Are Filipinos Racist?
I asked some Filipino friends the same questions but this time in their native language. Ok lang ba sau kung mas maraming mga foreigner dito sa Manila kesa mga Filipno? (Would that be ok for you if there were more foreigners here in Manila than actual Filipinos?). I’ve asked this question to many Filipinos and 100% of them said, “No, that’s not ok” or “Not a chance in hell!”. Then I take it a step further and propose that these foreigners that are coming are from poorer countries and have to rely on government handouts to support them and pay for their housing, food, education and healthcare. Then they really get irate and say that the local population would probably riot and kill those foreigners to drive them out of their country! Does that mean Filipinos are bad people?

Are Africans Racist?
Even though its covered up by mass media so most people in Western countries never hear about it, white people have been institutionally targeted and driven from their homes and even killed by the tens of thousands in African countries like Zimbabwe and South Africa. Some say it could be classified as an actual genocide. The president of South Africa has even sung this song during public speeches “Kill the Boer” (Boer, meaning white people). The sad thing is that these “Boer” aren’t even foreigners, most have been there for over 300 years and only have African passports. They have nowhere else to go? Its the same as if the American government decided to start killing all African Americans and trying to drive them back to Africa.

I have traveled to many countries and have asked this same question as a social experiment. I have never found one Filipino or Korean or Chinese or Indian or Romanian or African that would like to become a minority in their own country. Yet this exact thing is happening in many Western cities and if you dare oppose it, you will be labeled as a racist or a xenophobe.

Do you Have a Rebuttal?
I’ve had a few debates about this and usually what I hear is that Western people deserve to be dissolved and their lands taken from them because of what their ancestors did hundreds of years ago. This is really twisted and sad to hear But if that is true, then so do many other peoples. Just one of many examples is Turkey. I guess they deserve the same fate because the Turkish Ottoman Empire was twice as big as the British Empire and committed far worse atrocities. Enslaving whole nations and exterminating whole tribes of peoples. Does this mean Turkey should not remain Turkish? And they should be dissolved and forced to give up their conquered lands?

Please someone comment and tell me why its ok to have hundreds of millions of foreigners pouring to our countries and making us minorities in our own lands? Its happening everywhere you look. London, Miami, Amsterdam, Oslo, Kansas City, Denver… Some studies show that by the year 2050, Westerners will be minorities in their own countries! This is a real epidemic and for some reason its taboo to even talk about it.

Guest Blogging Aint Dead Yet

Guest Blogging Is Not Dead

After Matt Cutts post about guest blogging sent a ripple through the webmaster community, I wanted to clear some of the smoke and explain why I think Matt Cutts is just trying to use scare tactics and discourage hard working SEOs.

Matt Cutts on guest blogging

As we say back home in North Carolina, If you believe this, I got some oceanfront property in Tennessee selling REAL cheap! If guest blogging hurts your rankings, that means every time someone else writes about you on their blog or site, they are actually hurting you and this just cannot be the case. It doesn’t take an SEO genius to be able to see that Google could never implement an algorithm that would effectively put a stop to guest posting.

Heres a Real World Example

When I was working at NYFA.edu I noticed hundreds of articles being written about our organization every week. Being one of the most famous film schools in the world with several thousand students and international locations, this is just bound to happen. I even set alerts to notify me of each one so I could track them down and make the most out of each posting and mention. That being said, according to Matt Cutts, this kind of activity should have killed our rankings!

guest-posting-seo-tips

How to Guest Blog Effectively

As mentioned in one of my earlier posts Guest Posting for SEO, you can be caught violating Googles link scheme guidelines via guest blogging and penalized! However, the trick is to not get caught so this means you have to do it in a way that looks natural and compliant.

Don’ts

Don’t send mass mailers– If reported as spam, it will raise red flags with Google. Manually write each email to be unique and customized to each outreach scenario.

Don’t ask– for links that pass PR in your email exchanges. That’s a clear violation of Google’s quality guidelines.

Don’t use EMAT– Using exact match anchor text is a thing of the past anyways and a clear signal of ranking manipulation. Less than 20% of your inbound links should contain EMAT.

Don’t post on crappy sites– Stay away from splogs, bad neighborhoods and spammy networks. Only do guest posting exchanges with high-quality relevant sites that will increase your credibility and authority not pull it down.

Don’t allow bad placement– Make sure your posts are not specifically marked as “guest post”, “sponsored post” or even put into a sponsored category or archive.

Don’t worry about even getting a link! Instead, a mention of your site or brand can be just as effective via citation building. You can also get great exposure and link juice from your Google Authorship account or from linking to your Twitter, Facebook and other social media accounts.

Dos

  • Think of legitimate ways to engage and collaborate with relevant sites.
  • Provide high quality content from authoritative Google Authorship accounts or known bloggers.
  • Pick up the phone or try to contact people on other networks such as Linkedin, Twitter, FB or even face to face within your business community. Relying solely on emails can be view as spam.

Link Buying Ain’t Dead Yet!

It’s been a while since my last comprehensive post so I figured I better come out with this epic guide to make up for it. That being said, I teamed up with an old colleague of whom I’ve worked with for over 5 years now in Canada, Romania and the Philippines. You may know him as Kurtov from Pornhub.com, Freeporn.com, Bangyoulater.com or more recently, SillyPlace.net. I brought Kurtov in on this project because the adult industry has always been at the forefront of SEO and link buying techniques, just as they were the first to invent eCommerce with the first online credit card transaction in 1996. Together Kurtov and I have come up with this definitive guide to link buying for the post Panda/Penguin era. We were going to offer this knowledge as an eBook but decided to share the information here to encourage feedback and keep the discussion going.

Is Buying Links Legit?

Google clearly states that buying links for the purpose of manipulating Google ranking is a practice that can get your site penalized if discovered. That being said, the trick is to not leave an SEO footprint behind for them to discover. The fact is that almost all sites that you find on the 1st page of Google got there as a result of their backlinks and most of these sites acquired their links through very similar practices. Link buying still works, post-Penguin and when done right can be compliant with the Google Link Scheme Guidelines.

Why Build Links?

Think of linking as a voting system. One website linking to another can be thought of as one site voting for the other to rank higher in search engines so this means you should be fishing for links daily. Sure social media is big and getting bigger but even Matt Cutts says it could be another 5 years or so before social signals replace links so, in the meantime, you should still do what works now.

matt-cutts-phishing

Why Build Relevant Links?

The best way to explain relevancy is to use the metaphor of comparing apples and oranges. If a page that talks about oranges, links to another page about oranges, Google applies more weight to the link because it is more relevant than if the link came from a page about apples. That being said, you want to get links from pages that are about the same topic as your page and the more relevant the topic is, the stronger the link will be. There are different levels of relevancy and there are legit ways to find and create relevancy within a site. It’s okay to use your imagination but don’t go too far out on a limb like trying to link an auto insurance site from a blog about women’s shoes.

Glossary to help with the lingo:

Page Rank: (PR) is a number from 1 to 10 given by Google as an overall score for your website.
Alexa Rank:  Alexa.com can be considered a better measuring tool because instead of using several complicated algorithms like Google PR, it only uses one metric; Shear traffic.
Link Juice: is the amount of page rank passed from one page to another through a link.
SERPs: (search engine rank positions) A jargon term referring to where a website is listed in a search engine for a given search term.
Anchor text is the text representing the URL of a link. These are the clickable word(s) that link to another page.
Money Site: The main site that you’ll be promoting in the search engines.
Bot or Spider: is a program sent out from search engines to read and index every page of every website. These bots collect and store this information and use it to evaluate websites. Google named its bot Googlebot.
Keywords: are the search terms you type into a search engine to get a result.
Reciprocal Link: when two pages or websites link to each other.
ABC/3way Linking: When site A links to site B and site B links to site C.
Site Networks A network of websites owned by the same entity.
Link Farms a site or network of sites whose sole purpose is to provide links to manipulate page rank.

Part 1: Getting Started:

Get Some Trading sites

These are additional websites that you can use in negotiation with link trades. Instead of offering links from your money site, you can offer links from these sites in exchange for a link back to your money site. This is known as ABC, or 3-way link trading. Using trading sites can save tons of money and help you stretch your link buying budget.

Where do I get Trading Sites?

Option 1: Build from scratch

  1. Register domains. Domain names with your keywords in them still perform better, however, exact match domains are not necessary. If you will be registering more than 10 domains in the same niche, you will want to register them under different names and also use private registration.
  2. Launch and publish relevant content to the sites. This content must be unique and preferably high in quality. Flash can be copied as long as the titles and descriptions are rewritten to be unique. You can double check your work in Copyscape.com.
  3. You can maintain these sites by publishing content regularly and building the occasional link to them.Option 2: Buy Trading Sites
    The quickest but most expensive way to acquire trading sites is to just buy them. I recommend buying trading sites rather than starting from scratch because they are already established with content, page rank and history.

    1. Look for webmaster forums and online communities to find sites for sale in your niche. Digitalpoint.com covers many niches but you can always find industry specific forums that can render some good deals as well.
    2. Buy from domain auctions such as Sedo, Flippa and Godaddy.
    3. Look for sites that already have Google or Alexa rank, history and SERPs. The higher any of these metrics are, the more you can expect to pay.

Part 2: Keyword Research

Tools to determine the best keywords- The best tool for choosing your keywords is the human brain. Ask yourself, “what would I search for if I was looking for my site, service or product?”. The second best keyword tool is Google’s Keyword Tool. I really don’t suggest using the paid services for this part of the process.
Top tier vs long tail keywords- Top tier keywords will have a higher level of competition and bring in more traffic while long tail keywords are less competitive but bring in less traffic. Choose only a handful of your favorite top tier keywords and keep at least 4 times that amount in longtail keywords.

Part 3: Building the Pipeline of Contacts

The easiest way to find people in your niche is to search Google to see who’s already ranked for your relevant keywords. Systematically go through each website looking for contact information. This could be on-page contact forms, email addresses, chat accounts or phone numbers. If you cant find their contact info on their site, you can always try Whois.net to try to look up the owner.

Keep in mind, the higher the website is ranked, the stronger the link will be, therefore the more compensation they will want in return. If you are on a tight budget or don’t have good trading sites, you may want to dig deep instead of just going after the big fish on the first page.
Dig down to at least page 5 to 10 per keyword, anything past that can be unreliable. Depending on your work style, you can either build a huge list of contacts and once you have your list, start contacting them or contact them as you go. The important thing is that you keep a record of who you’ve contacted, who you’re waiting to hear back from and who you’ve closed deals with.

Keep in mind, the higher the website is ranked, the stronger the link will be, therefore the more compensation they will want in return. If you are on a tight budget or don’t have good trading sites, you may want to dig deep instead of just going after the big fish on the first page.
Dig down to at least page 5 to 10 per keyword, anything past that can be unreliable. Depending on your work style, you can either build a huge list of contacts and once you have your list, start contacting them or contact them as you go. The important thing is that you keep a record of who you’ve contacted, who you’re waiting to hear back from and who you’ve closed deals with.

Organizing contacts
Some people choose to use CRM software for this like Brightedge.com or RavenTools.com but you can just as easily use Excel or Google Drive to track this part of the process for free. Create a spreadsheet and organize it like this:

contact-example

Freeze the top row because you’ll fill the above the fold section pretty quick, so it’s nice to always be able to see the top panel no matter how deep you are in your file. You can do this in Excel by going under View -> Freeze Panes -> Freeze Top Row.

Here’s the explanation for each row:
URL- Is the site that you found
Keyword- Is the term you searched
Found On Page- Is what page of the search engine you found the website on
PR- Is the Google page rank
Contact info- Usually it’s an email, sometimes a Skype, ICQ, MSN messenger, AIM, or phone number. I’ve noticed the types of contact info people use varies from industry to industry.
Comments- I like to make little notes of anything specific or unusual about the site or conversation I had with the webmaster. Maybe “Price was too high” “Not willing to trade” “Wants me to contact him next month”. Something like that.
Deal, Pending, and No deal- As you can see I marked each contact with a different color so that I can label a whole row based on the outcome of the conversation with the webmaster. You can put more details and notes in there if you like. Sometimes I add a “contact next month” one if I’ve gone over my budget or if the webmaster isn’t currently selling or trading.

Getting on webmaster forums

Search in Google to find webmaster forums related to your site. This is a great way to network and find other webmasters to trade and buy links with.

Part 4: Valuations and Negotiations

When appraising the value of a link, there are certain factors of a website that make it more or less valuable. Some of the main metrics are:

Content- Get links from sites that have high-quality content. In the world of SEO content is still king, meaning higher quality sites will pass higher quality authority when they link to you.

Relevancy- If content is king, then relevance is his queen. The more relevant a site is, the more authority and link juice it will pass.

Page rank– Page rank is not the sole determining factor (neither is any one metric) there are many websites with a page rank of 2 that get millions of clicks while some page rank 5’s only get a few thousand clicks.

Alexa Rank– Unlike page rank, you will never find a site with a good Alexa ranking that does not get millions of clicks, therefore, Alexa ranking is a more accurate measure of a site’s traffic but not its authority.

Domain Age– The age of a domain directly relates to the authority of a domain. Older domains are likely to get more love from Google.

SERPs– The most valuable links you can get are from the sites that already rank high for your keywords. These links are by far more valuable than any high PR or high Alexa sites.

In/outbound links- You should also bring into consideration the amount of links pointing to the domain and the amount of links pointing out from it. The reason is because the link juice of a page will be diluted based on the amount of outbound links it has. For example; if a page has 100 outbound links each link will only get 1% of the link juice but if the page only has two links, each link will get 50% of the link juice.

Network Links/Link Farms– When considering a trade or purchase on a network of websites the most important thing to look for is any SEO footprint or something that could connect the sites together. In other words, you don’t want the sites to be identifiable as a network. Instead, they must appear to be individual sites that are not connected.
Here’s what you need to look for to identify a network of websites…

IP address- A bunch of sites all being hosted from the same IP is a dead -giveaway. Each site should use its own IP address instead of sharing. You can check the IP of a site by using an online IP checking tool like that can check up to 10 sites at once.

Duplicate Content- Run a quick scan of the site using Copyscape.com to make sure they haven’t posted the same content on the other sites in their network or snagged the content from other sites.

Duplicate Links- Some website networks will post the same links in the same order on every website in the network and this also leaves a traceable footprint. Copyscape.com can also identify these.

Watch Out for Link Farms

Sharing IPs and duplicate content are dead giveaways so do your due diligence to make sure the site(s) you are buying links from is not part of a network of sites. You will surely come across these as there are people out there that build these networks of sites just for the sole purpose of selling links.

Check Their Backlinks Too

Since link building is the name of the game, why not look at what sites link to your trading partner to help gauge the value of the trade. You will want to do a deep analysis of their backlink profile by using tools such as Ahrefs.com or OpenSiteExplorer.org. Check to make sure they have high-quality links pointing to them and be on the lookout for spammy links as well. If a site has tons of spammy links pointing to them, you don’t want them to link to you.

Link Purchase Terms

Try to negotiate your deals for at least 1 year instead of month to month and the main reason is because links can take up to 3 months before they affect your SEO and up to 1 year before they become seasoned. Furthermore, you don’t want to rack up a bunch of monthly charges that will exhaust your budget and keep you from acquiring new link deals.

Closing the Deal

When negotiating a link trade, try to come to a mutually beneficial agreement. There are different levels of sites ranging from low quality, low traffic to high-quality high traffic but the best way to evaluate a trade is to appraise the value of the sites so you can make a fair trade and sometimes this means you may need to bundle sites together. There are countless situations that can arise but one common example is if you want a link from a site with an Alexa ranking of 10,000 but you don’t have a comparable site to give him in return, then you can offer a few less trafficked sites in exchange. In other words, it’s common that webmasters will trade equal valued sites. However, sometimes other factors such as domain age, SERPs, PR or how frequently content is being updated, could be considered when a straight trade won’t cut it.

Only offer to buy links as a last resort, when all attempts to trade have failed. You’ll want to set aside a monthly budget for buying links, and once you see your traffic increase, you can increase your budget accordingly.

Part 5: Adding the Links in a Penguin-Friendly Way Don’t Add All the Links at Once

penguin-linksGoogle likes natural progression of links being added to your site. If you’re periodically getting large clumps of links pointing to you, it looks unnatural and is not good SEO practice. Remember as a site grows, more and more people will find out about it and link to it naturally. That’s why adding large amounts of links to your site needs to mimic this process. Don’t add a ton of links one month and very few the next. Keep a consistent and progressive schedule. If you buy a large package of links, it is very common to request that the links are added gradually and not all at once.

Anchor Text Diversity

Don’t exceed more than 15% of your anchors having exact match anchor text. Use your brand name, domain name or even the full http: raw link and make sure that the keyword that you are trying to target is in the nearby text and this way Google will contribute it as a link and a citation.

Placing the Links on the Site

Follow Googles link scheme guidelines by not putting links in the footer, site-wide sidebar or on the links page. It’s been known for years that footer links, links page links, and blogroll links are very low in value but in this post-Penguin era, they can even hurt you. The most ideal place to put your link, even though it may not always be possible, is inside the body of the page, inside the text. Depending on the type of site you are getting the link from, there may be other options. For example, if you are getting a link from one tube site to another, some of the strongest and most natural links are in the form of video embeds. If it’s a photo site then get a link from the image description or even insert the image source from your site. If it’s a blog, offer to contribute a post and put your link in the body of the article. Things to avoid are site-wide links, blogroll, footer or a links page. Links pages are also referred to as friends, sponsors, and other terms but stay away because Google knows what that page is all about and getting links from these pages will surely blow your cover with Google.

Part 6: Stay Consistent With Your Strategy

This is important because Google tracks the rate at which the links are being added and are looking for “unnatural” behavior in link flow. As a website grows and becomes more popular there will be a naturally increasing trend of incoming links to the website, so your strategy should be consistent to emulate this natural behavior. Therefore, as your website grows, you should increase your budget and link building efforts accordingly.

Manual Link Building vs Automated Software

SEOs like myself got away with using automated link building tools like SeNuke, Scrapebox, Xrumer and more but those days are long gone! I used to have servers hosted in Moscow where I would run software 24 hours a day building hundreds of thousands of spammy (black-hat) links and this helped me dominate the SERPs for many years and in many different niches. I would even use programs like TheBestSpinner.com to rewrite aka spin articles so I could then post the content over and over to different sites. I stopped all black-hat activities in 2009 but there are still many companies, (mostly overseas) that still use these automated tools.

Adding links too fast, using black-hat tools and not following these rules will make it obvious to Google that you are trying to manipulate their algorithms. Hear what Matt Cutts, the chief engineer on the Google Webspam Team has to say about it.

Link Monitoring

You will want to check your backlinks on a regular basis. There are many tools out there like RavenTools.com and  SearchEngineWatch.com that will automatically check your backlinks and notify you if one has been removed. If you don’t want to pay monthly fees for these kind of tools, you can just hire someone on Odesk to code you a little script that will do the same thing as suggested by this Moz user. Webmasters will sometimes remove your links by accident and even intentionally so make sure you run a check once a week or so. I’ll even do manual checks to make sure they haven’t moved me to the footer or something like that.

Google Uses Analytics Data Against You

ga-is-a-scam

I have reason to believe Google just started using your traffic stats against you! I’ve come across two cases this month where the exact low performing keywords were abruptly removed from Googles search results resulting in a 20%+ loss in organic traffic. If this happened once, I could see this being just pure coincidence but lightning doesn’t strike in the same place twice and its happened on two different sites in different niches.

Further evidence that the penalty only removed high bounce rate keyword is that the day after the penalty took place, the overall bounce rate decreased significantly. This is exactly what you would expect to see if Google used Analytics data against you.

Even more reason to stop using GA is on September 23rd of 2013, Google removed keyword data entirely as reported by SearchEngineWatch.com making it almost useless.

This is a tough decision for me as I have been using the platform since it first came out and I am Google Analytics Certified.

Proof Positive

Starting today I am conducting experiments to see if removing the Analytics code from one of my sites will have any effect on the rankings of my lower performing keywords. I’ll be replacing GA with Piwik a more private, server based system. Continue to check back for the full details and reports.

I hope I’m wrong but if my findings are conclusive, I’ll never use GA again and mark this as the night they drove old Google down.

Results Day 3 After Removing

Its been 3 days since I removed Google Analytics from one of my sites and as Modelcircle speculated in the comments below, I think I may be seeing the lash-back that he warned me about. So far my index dropped from just over 10,000 pages indexed to 6,220 which means Google has removed 40% of my site from their index. This is very disappointing as the index for this site usually increases rather steadily from user generated content adding new pages daily.

The 2nd thing I noticed is a sharp drop in traffic from an average of 1,100 visits per day to around 800 visits per day which are roughly 26% loss in traffic. This could just be that Piwik is not recording all the visits correctly but I don’t think they would be 26% off because that’s a pretty big discrepancy. Maybe after 1 full week of no GA, I run GA and Piwik together to really analyze the discrepancy.

So far things aren’t looking good, it’s too soon to say but I still think Google could be using your data against you but they might punish you for removing GA altogether. GA might be like women, can’t live with em, cant live without em. 🙁

Matt Cutts on How to Identify Panda Penalty

Matt Cutts on how to identify Panda penalties

Matt still didn’t answer Nandita’s question in the video, How will a webmaster know if they are being affected by the Panda and I think that’s because the answer is, you will not know and you are not meant to know. Google doesn’t want to tell you the exact mechanisms of the algorithm. If your site is being affected by the Panda updates, you start by looking on-page at your site’s structure and content. The Penguin targeted off-page while the Panda focused only on your site’s on-page attributes.

To identify what Panda violations could be harming your site, you have to look at all aspects of the site to make sure it complies with Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. If your site isn’t ranking well, then the chances are you may have attributes or violations that are triggering the algorithms to affect your site negatively.

When trying to understand the Panda, I find its best to try to read between the lines of all Google documentation and Matt Cutts politically correct answers. It would take a small book to explain how to tell if your site is being affected by the Panda but I have given post panda tips and SEO trouble shooting instructions and here are a few Panda between-the-lines translations to get you started:

  • Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?

Get Google Authorship or other high exposure bloggers and journalist to write your work.

  • Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?

Avoid keyword cannibalization.

  • Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?

Display all logos and associations along with phone numbers and addresses that correlate with your local business listings.

  • Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?

Use correct grammar, spelling and a vocabulary above a 6th-grade level.

  • Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?

Avoid doorway pages that target similar longtail keywords of the same group.

  • Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?

Don’t copy or regurgitate other peoples content. Copyscape.com will get you and spinners don’t work either, the Panda is for too advanced for that.

  • Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?

You must go above and beyond what else is posted out there. If you see a 500-word article on the same topic then you have to do a 750-word article and add more bells and whistles like I mentioned here on my post about Panda friendly articles.

  • How much quality control is done on content?

Keep a clean and organized site, instead of just having random content all over the place. It’s best to have 100 awesome pages than 1000 crappy pages.

  • Does the article describe both sides of a story?

Do in-depth research to cover all angles and even mention and link to other sources.

  • Is the site a recognized authority on its topic?

Google gives more rankings to brands and established online businesses. You can also do high authority citations and even get your own Wikipedia page.

  • Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?

Put the black-hat software away. Xrumer, SEnuke, and Scrapebox are all busted. Those days are long gone, Google started cracking down on that type of stuff two years before the Panda even came out but now its really over.

  • Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?

Get all the share buttons and APIs installed. Social media are more important now than ever before and the trend will continue. Google even integrated new social signal metrics in Analytics. Good content gets shared, liked, tweeted etc. I spend just as much time on social media as I do on link building and citations.

  • Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?

Watch out for the page layout penalty.

Low Hanging Fruit Can Rot on the Vine

Choose high quality links

start picking high quality linksWhat I mean by this is many of the easy-to-get links can and will have a negative impact on your overall SEO score. Instead, it’s time to focus on quality and this means you might want to think about increasing your link budget and getting a ladder so you can reach the good quality fruit at the top of the tree. 10 years ago complete noobs could run Scrapebox, Xrummer and other automatic link building software and dominate the SERPs no longer does that stuff keep Matt Cutts up at night. Google seems to be winning the race and forcing us to seek better, higher quality links.

Google vs SEOs

It’s always been a technological arms race between SEOs and the big brother of the web, Google’s Webspam team. As we evolve, so do their algorithms and really, Google should embrace and reward our mischievous efforts are the evolutionary driving force that made Google what it is today. Yes, we SEOs owe ourselves a pat on the back for our contribution in Google’s Algos we taught them how to identify truly higher quality, relevant content from the billions of other garbage pages out there.

As this race continues, it is a natural inevitability that the easiest way to obtain links will always result in lower quality links because as those channels become overused and abused, Google will have no choice but to update their algorithm and sometimes these updates come with serious consequences as we saw in the last Penguin update.

The White vs. Black Hat Debate

A good way to explain this is to compare it to financial investments. If you are willing to take on more risk and exposure then the rewards can be much greater. I know two different people in the same adult niche applying basically the exact same black-hat SEO strategy and today one is pumping in millions while the other got penalized and may never recover. Sometimes there seems to be no rhyme or reason why some sites get slapped while others never get penalized and that can be a risky game to play. Now, of course, the best financial strategy is one that combines just the right mixture of high-risk and low-risk stocks. That being said, your link building strategy should be the same.

Not only can adding quality links to your site render better results but it can also inculcate your site against penalties as I’ve mentioned before. You might think what you are doing is good for now but Google has already shown us what they are capable of with the Panda and Penguin updates. The Panda targeted on-page attributes while the Penguin fought against spammy link profiles. I’m not telling you guys that you should listen to everything Matt Cutts tells and go 100% white-hat but some expensive or hard to obtain links is just what this SEO doctor orders.

Where to get quality links?

  • The best links to get are always from the sites that rank for your keywords and these are usually the hardest but well worth the money and effort.
  • Contextual links. Produce high-quality content and push it out there linking back to your site.
  • Wikipedia- If your site is so awesome and credible then why isn’t it listed in Wikipedia?
  • Educational sites- don’t just spam .edu sites instead actually contribute to or participate in educational journals and studies.
  • Social Signals- Are people talking about you or your site? They should be.
  • News Sites- Get mentioned in the news or try the easier route press releases.
  • Partnerships- Forge real online partnerships with another reputable website.
  • Go the Extra Mile- Take extra measures in all your link building activities. Little nuances can make a big difference in the end.

Now go forth and conquer, my SEO compadres!

How to Write Panda-Friendly Articles

Is Article Marketing Dead?

The question isn’t whether or not article marketing is dead; The real question is how to adapt your article marketing to a post Panda SEO era. After watching the top article directories lose anywhere from 50% to 80% of their traffic, it’s clear that a new strategy is well overdue. Matt Cutts publicly announced the increasing ineffectiveness that article marketing will have on your search engine rankings. Usually, you have to read close between the lines with Matt but this time he just came out and said it

1. Social Article Marketing

Take Matt Cutts’ advice and stay away from article directories and instead focus more on Web2.0 and social media sites. That being said, the best channels for social article marketing are platforms that integrate Web2.0 with social media communities. A few examples of these are Hubpages, Squidoo and Tumblr. These sites not only offer a platform to distribute your articles but they also offer social communities by allowing you to do things like comment, bookmark, share, follow and attract other followers. This allows the Google Panda to judge the quality of your content not by the keyword density or the word count but by the user activity surrounding it. No longer is just posting an article good enough. Now that article must get commented on, shared, tweeted, dugg, stumbled, liked and +1 before Google will consider it worth a damn.

2. Article Marketing for the Masses

Take the time to do some guest posting. Find relevant, quality sites and offer them your high-quality content in exchange for a link. News sites, forums, white papers are all good ways to get your article out to the masses. It’s easy to see how this is making better use of your content in comparison to letting it get buried in some failing article directory.

3. High-Quality Rich Media Articles

Sorry folks, its time to put the spinner to rest! Take your content’s quality to the next level not just by improving your writing skills and following the Google Webmaster High-Quality Guidelines but also by including better images, audio, video or interactive flash. Google used to not like large images that load slow but now it’s actually worth sacrificing the load time for rich media.

panda-seo-articlesWriting Panda-Friendly articles is the foundation of any modern day SEO campaign. Googlebot armed with the new Panda algorithms is scouring the internet looking for poorly written content and punishing anyone that doesn’t comply. This is why changing up your article writing style may be one of the most valuable Post-Panda SEO tips I have to offer.

4. Small Informational Bites

Keep the paragraphs short; Between 3 to 6 sentences long and separate them with headers. Online writing is different than normal print publications in the sense that the average online reader is less engaged and therefore, wants to read small bites of information. Rather than having large blocks of text that might make a reader click away, keep your paragraphs short and packed full of information. No fluff!

5. Semantic Keyword Density

2% keyword density is too much in the Post-Panda era as a 1000 word article would have to mention the keyword at least 20 times and this totally looks spammy. Instead, use keyword synonyms or semantically related keywords because according to Matt Cutts, Google loves synonyms. An example could be replica watches, imitation watches, counterfeit watches or fake Rolexes. Using this strategy you can really get your keyword density up to 3% or even 4% without raising red flags with Googles webspam team. I also suggest reading my more in-depth article titled Expert Keyword Research.

6. Create Bulleted or Numbered Lists

Readers like to see bulleted and numbered lists because it helps them find useful information when skimming or scanning your article. In addition, search engines read the HTML attributes that create these list and give more weight to the article. You can put the whole article into a numbered format as I have done here or just create a number or bullet list summarizing, outlining or indexing the subject matter.

7. Use More Than Just Text

Other forms of online content increase the quality of your SEO-friendly articles. Include high-quality images, polls, relevant videos, quizzes, graphs, tables, charts or flash. A great example of this would be Squidoo or Hubpages; These guys won’t even publish your article unless they include a few of these bells and whistles.

8. Panda Approved Article Length

Some topics require more words than others however, longer is almost always better so try to aim for a minimum of 750 words. While this article may only be around 750 words it is packed with information, reads as a step-by-step guide and fully covers the topic. If I was writing about nuclear fusion, I would expect to write a couple of thousand words to accurately discuss the topic.

9. Give Outbound Links

This sounds crazy right?!? Why in the world would you want to give away links and lose your link juice? Link to your sources, not only because its proper journalism but also because Google likes to crawl as much as possible so if you can provide a relevant link to a helpful resource and the user clicks-through and sticks, it shows Google that your content was informative and high quality. Here are the dos and don’ts, do not link to any page or site that competes for the same type of traffic. Link only to high authority sites like .edu, .gov or any high PR site.

10. If Outsourcing Your SEO Articles

Outsourcing your article writing is tricky because few companies out there understand these Panda-friendly article guidelines or if they do understand them, they don’t want to follow them because the time and costs associated. That being said, if you will be outsourcing your SEO articles to other countries like India, Philippines and Romania make sure the copywriters write English like Americans write it. Common mistakes are punctuation, incorrect singulars and plurals, future, past and present tenses and poor sentence construction. Even little things like “I am interested to cars” when a true English speaking person would say, I am interested in cars. If an 8-year-old child can tell the difference, then you better believe a multibillion dollar company like Google can tell the difference too.

11. Create User Activity

seo-articles-panda1Easier said than done but the basis is to try to get the reader to engage by asking questions or evoking them to comment below. Google loves to see user generated content and user activity. The best way to give an example of this is by asking you a few questions here.

  • Was this article helpful?
  • Are there a few things that you might have disagreed with?
  • Is there anything I left out?

SEO is Not an Art, it’s a Science

The Science of SEO

There’s a way of thinking that is counterproductive to solving SEO problems and it’s the old saying that SEO is an Art. Now, after 10 years of updates and algorithm changes, I have to digress because that way of thinking has to change.

Is SEO an Art?

In the early days of SEO, I was less experienced and less familiar with the actual mechanisms of how stuff worked. SEO was new and exciting but it was also was foggier and had lots of mystery surrounding it. Back then, one could make simple tweaks to their website’s code or text and get ranked but Google was just learning too, so they often made mistakes and found it hard to close the loopholes. But now, most of the kinks have been ironed out, enough to consider SEO a true science and here’s my explanation.

Science comes from the Latin word scientia, meaning knowledge or to know something. The laws of science are simple, in order for something to be a fact it must be reproducible in a laboratory or a controlled test. Nowadays, SEO has evolved to the point where all occurrences and fluctuations can be analyzed with statistical data and tested to produce the same results time and time again. Matt Cutts and his team can measure the results at around 97% to 99% accuracy to the impact of billions of websites worldwide.  Just to give you a comparison, we are only about 99% sure the Atom really exists but they built the A-bomb.

seo-is-an-art

This is why when people use the expression SEO is an Art, I cringe! Worse yet, when I hear, there are different ways it could be done or there is more than one way to skin this cat.

The fact of the matter is that they are ALL mistaken. There is no more hocus pocus in SEO.  Instead, theres always a right and a wrong way to do things. The guidelines are clear as black and white and every action taken can either hurt or help your website. The effects can be measured and tested.Google brags that over 500 algorithms control the results and they are constantly being updated. There are testable, mathematical codes that are as accurate as quantum physics and therefore, factual and true. Sorry to disappoint the superstitious people of the world but SEO is a science and

Google brags that over 500 algorithms control the results and they are constantly being updated. There are testable, mathematical codes that are as accurate as quantum physics and therefore, factual and true. Sorry to disappoint the superstitious people of the world but SEO is a science and I’ve still yet to see an SEO problem that I couldn’t identify directly in either the Google Webmaster Guidelines, Google SEO starter guide and other Google resources.

Am I Wrong Here?

If you or anyone you know would like to call me out or challenge me on this statement, just send the domain name of the site and nothing more and I am sure to identify exactly which algorithms or Webmaster violations are affecting the site. One of my favorite things to do is solve SEO mysteries and I haven’t found one yet that I can’t figure out.

And remember, next time you hear, SEO is an Art it may be time to look for a certified consultant to come in and clear things up.

Lost Links in Google Webmaster Tools

On Feb 7th, 2013 Google announced a known issue with the links counts
found in Google Webmaster Tools. It may appear that you have lost most of your links but its just a glitch and Google is working on the problem now. In the meantime, your traffic will not be affected.

lost-links-google-webmaster-tools

Above is a snapshot of the Links to Your Site page in Google Webmaster Tools and below is a post that Google made on the Webmaster help Forum a few days ago.

Known issue: links to your site data issues

Thursday, February 7, 2013 | 2:23 PM

Labels:

Some Webmaster Tools users have reported missing data in the Links to your site section. We are aware of this issue and are looking into it; you do not need to take any action. We hope to have the normal data shown again in the near future. The data were shown there is informational and does not affect your site’s crawling, indexing or ranking.

SEO Troubleshooting | Algorithmic Penalty Identification

SEO-Troubleshooting-algorithmic

Einstein once said, The formulation of the problem is often more important than the solution and in the case of trying to figure out why your website has lost traffic or ranking, this couldn’t be more true!

The first thing to do in a dicey SEO situation is, Don’t Hit The Panic Button! One of the biggest mistakes people make is they start doing drastic updates to their site or their SEO campaign(s) and this is exactly the wrong thing to do because it could set into action, a chain of events, that can make the recovery process much more difficult. Furthermore, when Google punishes a site for a certain thing like let’s say, Link Scheming and then you all-the-sudden stop building links to your site, it will trigger another algorithm that confirms you were link scheming in the first place. Yes, don’t be surprised that Google with their top Ph.D. analysts and billions of dollars already thought of that.

Really, the best thing to do is absolutely nothing for at least a week, sometimes two, while you have time to fully analyze all the data from every angle and troubleshoot. Sometimes, websites recover on their own while the updates shuffle around.

Picture algorithms being stacked like a Jenga game and when you get smacked down by Google updates like the Panda or the Penguin, the last thing you want to do is make drastic moves that could cause the whole thing to collapse. This is why you MUST carry on as you were and identify the SEO problems before taking action.

google-algos-jenga

Where to Troubleshoot?

Out of my most recent 50 algorithmic penalty analysis that I conducted on websites for the Google Support Forum, I found most penalties were either because the website’s content was in violation or the backlinks profile was unnatural or spammy.

Content

Start by checking the website itself. Look at your content for keyword stuffing, duplicate or scraped content and coding issues.

Backlinks

Check Backlink Profile to make sure it doesn’t contain unnatural linking activity or what Google considers webspam.

These are two very broad places to start looking but if you have specific questions or want me to look at your site, just hit me up in the comments below and hopefully, you read this before making any drastic changes.