Google Penguin Recovery Tips by Barry Schwartz and Others and My 2 Cents

Compiling all the suggestions presented by experts in last few days, Barry Schwartz   wrote some of his tips for recovery for the recent Penguin Update by Google. This blog post an elaboration of the tips he place of his blog.

The Penguin Penalty Update was made to attack bad sites and level the gaming field for web spams. This is not actually another version of Panda Update. Because Panda is not actually a spam filter, it is rather a priority inbox :-) i.e. Panda was introduced to like better contents, not hate bad contents.

Google Penguin Recovery Tips by Barry Schwartz and My 2 Cents

Image Courtesy: Dave Naylor

Let me start by describing some of the tips by Barry.

De-Optimize the Web Site

Just put only 8 (max 10) keywords in Meta Tags. Google has mentioned several times that they don’t use Meta Keywords for ranking. But, after the Penguine update, they are saying that they are now using it to hunt you down. So, it is about time you stopped stuffing your keyword meta tags with keywords.

I usually tell people to optimize site for only one keyword. And use multiple deeper pages for longer tail keywords or keyword variations. But, it is ok to optimize a page for 3 keywords. I know, I said 5 keywords few years back. But, things are getting pretty competitive, now-a-days.

I know many people that are still obsessed with keyword density. If you still are, then you are still in old school. Reanalyze your keyword density and try to reduce the keyword density of any page, if it is more than 5%. But, 2012 is the year of thick contents. i.e. quality 500+ words articles perform better than others. So, you can guess that even 5% would be more. Usually try to keep the keyword mentions right, i.e. not more than 5 times in the page. Do not manually or automatically count the keyword density percentage.

Try avoiding keyword stuffing in Page Titles. It is actually useless. Doing such things are also over optimization. Page Title is the major place to put your important keywords. But, the keywords that are available at the end, have no power. The influence is algorithmically discarded, but since Google is punishing you to have keyword stuffing in meta data, it can also be true for keyword stuffing in page titles as well.

Another place for keyword stuffing are the URLs. For Search Engine Friendly (SEF) URLs, make sure they are also not stuffed with keywords. So, de-optimizing your site is more about re-optimizing your site so that keyword stuffing is taken down to a tolerable and natural level.

According to the article by Google on the Penguin Update, there are really some hints about what you should do for de-optimizing your site. Other than Keyword Stuffing, Google also mentions other aspects that they are also looking into:

Outgoing links are completely unrelated

This means that you should be careful in what anchor text you use and which site you link to. I don’t think that the anchor text is much of a problem, but try to link to relevant site from your article. Even LSI keywords are also relevant. Try to link to the sites that talk about relevant stiffs.

Page text has been “spun” beyond recognition

I searched for the keyword “spin”, “spinning”, and “spun”. Looks like Google Inside Search Blog has mentioned the overly popular term Content Spinning for the first time. Though some are based on guesstimation, but see this old video from SENuke to understand the level of intelligence that Google uses for identifying near duplicate and spun contents.

Increase Quality Links to Pages

I get many questions from people asking me what is quality links. Well, this should not be answered from the perspective of an SEO professional, rather from the perspective of Google. A Quality Link is voluntary in nature and is provided naturally (or organically) to your site from relevant pages. A Quality Link is always a free and enthusiastic link and not influenced by money or any other benefit.

If you have been doing link building from high PR but irrelevant pages just to increase the Page Rank, then you might be a Prime Prey for Penguin Penalty. It is pretty easy to suggest you to remove the bad quality links, but I know how hard it is. If you have already purchased links, try to find highly relevant pages on their site and try to get links from those relevant pages. If you are out of luck in finding relevant links, then propose them to create some relevant pages and have them linked from their high PR pages and get a level deep link, but from highly relevant one.

In future, make quality contents, so that they are either newsworthy or share-worthy. Actually social media marketing plays a great role in having your contents found now-a-days. And getting mentions is secondary. e.g. I found Barry’s article in Facebook and now giving link love to his blog with very relevant page title. I am not boasting, but this is indeed a quality link to Barry’s article.

You can also try to use link baiting technique on related topics to your business. e.g. if you sell Diamond Rings, you can start celebrity gossips around Diamond Rings. Or talk about most controversial story in your industry. Another good way to get quality links is by providing  a news faster than CNN, BBC, Reuters. The first provider of a breaking news always gets link love.

Make Sure Link Anchor Text is More Natural

Anchor text has been the driving force in passing relevance to a site. But, in recent years, exact match keywords in Anchor Text is thought to be manipulative. If you evaluate the anchor texts of voluntary links, then you might find that most of them are not using exact match keywords. So, it is high time to alternate your anchor texts from backlinks.

Those who were complaining about Penguin Penalty, most of them were complaining that the sites that were targeting less than 5 keywords were affected in some way. But, those who targeted more than 10 keywords, were in sound health. This is also an indication that anchor text alteration is crucial now.

It is ok to have exact match keywords in anchor text. But, try not to make it wide spread. It looks very much manipulative in the eye of Google. Always try to get links from relevant pages and don’t care about what your anchor texts says. Google also recently announced that they have turned off some classifier for anchor texts. Not sure which particular classifier they were talking about. But, you can help yourself in making the anchor texts look pretty natural.

Actually, Google Webmaster Tool does has this insight here (change yoursite.com with your site). If your anchor texts are natural, you should see varied keywords and many anchor texts listed in Google Webmaster. So, if you see limited number of anchor texts, then you have something to worry about.

Remove Links from Blogrolls

Actually the suggestion should be: Avoid Sitewide Links. Site-wide links does pass some page rank but in most cases, it may also link to you from irrelevant pages, which does not help you in ranking. In recent Penguin Penalty, sites having sidewide links have been affected. Sitewide links are actually indicative of link purchase.

Try to avoid getting sitewide links from other sites, unless the site has all article or contents related to the keywords you are targeting. However, for natural looking linking, always try to get links to deeper pages, instead of the homepage. If you are using topical satellite blog or topical spokes in link wheel, try to link to deeper pages as much as possible. By topical, I mean having separate blogs in specific topic, not diverse topics and building it as micro-authority in a relevant niche. 

If you are selling links from Blogrolls, then Google also tells you to use rel Nofollow tags on links. It is also a good idea to nofollow link to your homepage from spokes as well. But, favor only the deeper links.

Scale Back the Internal Link Anchor Text

Not sure what exactly Barry wanted to mean by this. But, in most cases, keywords in anchor text plays a great role in passing relevance to deeper pages. That’s why for sites in flash, footer links with relevant anchor texts plays a great role in making Google find the most relevant page for your keyword. However, there are people that over do it and try to get as many links possible without considering Content Siloing. Content Siloing through anchor texts in now more effective than just random internal links.

Exact Match Domains Hurt

In Penguin Penalty, many exact match domains have seen less traffic. Exact match domains have been a part of the manipulation process. But, I personally don’t think that Google would be hurting your site if you have built a good brand and authority around your keyword. If you don’t have a good brand or authority, then there is reason to make Google believe that you are manipulating Google. So, to get out of the penalty, you should build a good brand as well as authority around your site.

After the Penguin Update, I really don’t think, exact match domain are NO (totally zero value). There is still some value in it. It is just that, sites that does not have much authority, should not get the Google love for having exact match keyword name of the domain.

Practice Negative SEO

Recently, Google has sent mails to many webmasters through Google Webmaster that they have suspicious backlinks for their sites. This has led to the idea that you can make a site look suspicious in the eye of Google. May not be a good one, but this is also another idea to make your way to the top by hurting other competitors.

But, personally I think you would be wasting your time. Because, Google has been working with Google Bowling for long time. Google Bowling is the term where Google discards any back link influence, i.e. they become nofollow even if they are dofollow. Moreover, Bruce Clay in SEO FB Group suggested a nice option in Google Webmaster:

I am hopeful that there will be a WMT disavow option soon so that recipients can essentially “nofollow” a link from the receiving end.

And with the Penguin Update and the negative SEO fear, I also think Google should be serious about Google Bowling and you might see similar feature in Google Webmaster soon. So, all the time you spend on negative SEO will be waste of time.

Move Content to a New Domain

Well, I don’t think you need to do that. Actually, sub-domains are also ok for doing this. Google treat each subdomains as separate sites. And that’s how you see WordPress and Blogspot blogs multiple times in SERPs. But, this might also deprive you from age scores. I’d suggest you to build your site as authority. If you are determined, then fight it, not quite it. 

Build a Smaller Site with Very Few Pages

Not a good one and I really don’t support it as an option. Sites with fewer pages rose in rankings as other heavily optimized sites’ ranking dropped. But, sites with good authority still are standing strong. Having fewer pages does not help you grow authority. Moreover, it is like doing nothing for your site. Serious businesses prefer having more and more contents. That is how they reign by becoming authority in their industry.

Write Better Content

This is perhaps the most important piece of suggestion for both Panda and Penguin update. The better the content you have, the more the probability that others in the same industry will prefer you above your competitors. That will also help you build natural links.

Add More Social Elements, i.e. Google+ Sharing

Social SEO is real guys. You can not deny it. Many webmasters are running after only dofollow links. But, Social SEO made nofollow links worthwhile. And having only dofollow links also looks suspicious. But, to make proper balance of both nofollow and dofollow links, enabling social sharing is a good way.

Search Plus Your World was not only meant to make searches more meaning, but also to convert Google from a search engine to recomendation engine. If you asked someone, what is better than a search engine, then the obvious answer would be a freind or trusted person who knows about the keyword I am searching for. And Google always wanted to be that recommendation engine. And Google+ was not just meant for a social media, it has much wider purpose.

Social Signals from Facebook and Twitter is also important. Banded3 did a nice research and found that twitter mentions has great influence in rankings. If you are looking into the marketing in future, you should also invest much time in Social Media Marketing.

Site Audit to Determine Problem Areas

Whenever a new algorithm update happens, this is the first thing you should do. In perspective of the Penguin Update, the audits you should do are:

  • Various diagnostic reports in Google Webmaster Tools
  • Traffic analysis in your major web analytics app (Google Analytics)
  • Keyword ranking analysis for your important keywords
  • Competitor ranking and search engine performance analysis
  • Backlink popularity and quality analysis

Think More Long Term, Stop Taking Shortcuts

This has always been the last suggestion for every algorithm update. And Shortcuts were never an option in White Hat SEO. Every shortcuts are actually manipulating Google and Matt Cutts is also simultaneously taking actions against such short cuts.

Long term thinking also helps you to reduce the loss of effort you spent on your site. Moreover, the effort you put into the site steadily becomes an asset. Otherwise, the spammy links you made through money and effort are now a disposable expenses.

If I talk something about the future of SEO, then my opinion is that: SEO can not be done by agencies anymore in future. Though, it is still possible through agencies. But, people will need to build inhouse SEO team that understand the business well. SEO Agencies in recent times, need to have training centers or resources to train companies to market themselves. Or they can build specialization in specific areas. I already see this happening, because you can find Real Estate SEOs, Celebrity SEOs, Mortgage SEOs, etc. and in future you might see more product or service SEO specialization.

Moreover, Google is steadily transferring the power of SEO to individual level. I predicted this shift long ago in May of 2008 on my blog 13 Prophecies of Internet Marketing on Marketing Pilgrim (Prophecy #10: Personal Power to Influence Purchase will Increase). Some of the indications are shifting power of influence from forum to blogs, search plus your world, social signals, etc. Moreover, I strongly support AJ Kohn that Google will bring AuthorRank soon, which will revolutionize SEO to the next level and SEO will be more person oriented than website oriented.

So, it is not sites that can make another site rank well in future, it’ll be individuals or group of relevant individuals that can help a site or business rank well in search engines. So, SEOs in future will be great marketers like Oprah who’s endorsement is worth millions of dollars.

Additional Penguin Recovery Tips

Penguin has hit sites that were doing much spamming and building low quality links. While Panda hit mainly onpage factors, Penguin has targeted offpage factors. Many people already have mentioned some nice tips to recover from it. Some are:

Link Pruning

The term Link Pruning was initially invented by Bruce Clay, which is really the opposite of link building. It is the process to keep quality backlinks and delete the bad ones. The best tool that can give the the insight for quality links is Majestic SEO’s ACRank (replace yoursite.com with your site). See the video below to understand more about Link Pruning and also read the blog on Stone Temple. 

Create Microsites or Micro-Authorities

In a recent post in Microsite Masters, they have suggested using Microsites. Initially this has been a greyhat technique. But, personally I think that it can be a good option to Silo Contents from external sites.

I think microsite does not need to be outside your domain. it can be in subdomain. Specially after panda, subdomains have been good way to Silo Contents. If you target and promote keywords and services like: Web Design, Graphic Design, Web Development, etc. then you can use External Authority Content Siloing for each keyword. External Authority Content Siloing from authority sites will help you to become bigger authority. But, for that you need to create separate authorities. 

For commercial sites, there is really not much engagement. Rather, you can start the engagements on external educational and news sites or subdomain. I really don’t support having 20-50 blog for Graphic Design only. Just create one blog which you create as an authority (which is not really that easy). And another blog for Web Development and try promoting deeper pages of the bigger authority site instead of homepage. 

Affiliate Marketers actually do that for you and it is already happening. Large companies are already doing it. But, their microsites are really not that micro. The philosophy here would be External Authority Content Siloing and I think since Microsite has less reputation, “External Authority Content Siloing” would be the best word that I am trying to support.

Again, if I support that future of SEO will be more people oriented than website oriented, then if you can create a strong supporter for your domain from external domains, you can stay at top in future as well. So, try not to create crappy microsites, just create a strong supporter for you.

Guest Blogging

Guest Blogging is actually not a new concept. It has been around for long time, as Ann Smarty has been supporting it for long time. And when I am speaking about AuthorRank, guest blogging will be more prominent in future. Since you really can increase your AuthorRank even by blogging on other sites.

It’s pretty hard to get quality links. Again it is also hard for people to get quality contents for their blogs. This is the phenomenon where synergies can happen. While other blogs are looking for quality contents, you can jump in to provide that, even by buying quality articles. That’s why in recent future, I think the SEO industry will be seeking for quality contents than backlinks.

Update: In recent discussion between Matt Cutts and Danny Sullivan at SMX Seattle, Matt Cutts revealed that Google is coming up with new feature in Google Webmaster that will help Webmasters to disavow some bad links, which will eventually turn a dofollow link into nofollow. This mean that the suggestion for such feature by Bruce Clay in SEOFB Group is finally seeing life. And this will help webmasters to fight negative SEO better and also make link pruning more effective and easy. Here is the exact word for the news:

He also mentioned — and this will be good news to many search marketers — that Google is considering offering a tool that allows web masters to disavow certain links, but that may be months away if it happens.

Disclaimer

Google Penguin update is relatively new. The update went live at April 24, 2012 and this article was written a week later. So, most of the suggestions based on best guess and some of the strategies have not yet been tested. 

©  of SEOPPCSMM.COM - Source: Google Penguin Recovery Tips by Barry Schwartz and My 2 Cents

3 May 2012 ·

Find Professional References through Facebook

So, you have a dream company you want to work in? You are constantly looking for people to connect with from your dream company. But, I hear a lot of people complaining that “I don’t have references to get a job there”. Well, if it was 5 years ago, that would be a fate you had to accept. But, at the age of Social Media, there is no reason in admitting it. So, if you don’t have any references or don’t know who you can connect to, then it is your fault.

Find Professional References through Facebook

You really can use social media like Facebook find professionals references for:

  • Job or career,
  • Business opportunity,
  • Joint venture opportunity,
  • B2B Networking,
  • B2B Lead Sourcing, etc.

Last time, I gave the idea (that I am also going to give you) to someone, he found that his sister-in-law (bother’s wife) had her brother-in-law (sister’s husband) working in the company he was seeking references for.

You are probably wondering how this is possible. To tickle your brain, here are some ideas:

  • You probably saw the “Find Friends” feature where Facebook suggests you to add more people that might be your friend
  • On each un-connected Facebook user’s profile you can see how much mutual friends you have
  • Each mutual friend has some kind of a relation with that specific user
  • You know that Facebook also suggest you to add colleagues working in same company
  • Now, what would happen if you could find people by company and also could see their mutual friends?

So, I think you got the idea.

Professional References from “Find Friends” with Other Tools Links

Getting your feet wet to find a professional reference is not quite easy. You have to apply certain tricks. You might have seen the find friend feature in Facebook. If not, then go to the URL mentioned in the image below:

Find Friends Link in Facebook

If you go to the page, you will see some list of other ways to find your some friend suggestions:

Find Friends Page in Facebook

If you click Other Tools, you also can see the options to search people by the companies you work in:

Other Tools Options on Find Friends Facebook Page

If you click on the link of the company, e.g. marked red in the picture (http://www.facebook.com/find-friends/browser/?type=work&id=102777693132451&ref=ff), notice that the URL has specific number (in bold). Now, if I take this number and use it after Facebook.com like this: http://www.facebook.com/102777693132451, it takes you to the Facebook Community or Fan Page of Grameen Solutions. But, the URL of the page looks like this https://www.facebook.com/pages/Grameen-Solutions/102777693132451. Now that you know the number trick, you can go on searching for people that are working in a specific company using http://www.facebook.com/find-friends/browser/?type=work&id=THE_PAGE_NUMBER.

This is not always so straight forward. First, you need to find all possible pages that are available in Facebook belonging to that company. The phenomenon of having many pages for the same company (in the image below) happen because, many people do not use the exact match spelling for the same company.

Grameen Solutions Facebook Pages Search

When you click the community pages (the page with briefcase icon), you will find the number of the page that you can use to search for professionals working in your desired company. But, some pages uses vanity URLs like: http://www.facebook.com/grameenphone. In that case, finding the number of the page becomes hard. But there is a trick. Go to the vanity URL page and right click and get the URL of any image on the page:

Right Click to Get Facebook Page Number from Page with Vanity URLs

e.g. from http://www.facebook.com/grameenphone if you right click and copy the location of the image, you’ll see that the location is https://fbcdn-profile-a.akamaihd.net/hprofile-ak-snc4/373042_135237519825044_132091699_n.jpg. The bold numbers you see in the middle of the image file name is the page number, which you can use to find other people from the same company. If you need to confirm if the number is real, then try to see if http://www.facebook.com/135237519825044 takes you to http://www.facebook.com/grameenphone.

Professional References from Find Friends Browser

Now, I might have made this a bit complicated, but the trick I mentioned above is the best way to find all possible people or connections that belong to your dream company.

However, there is also a shortcut way. Just go to http://www.facebook.com/find-friends/browser/ and in the employer section, search for the name of the company in all alternative spelling that people used. If the page is popular, after typing some text, Facebook will suggest you some name of the pages or companies. But, in cases where there are too less people in a company, you might not find that listed in the employer search suggestion. In that case, go back and use the previous trick again.

Find Friends Browser

Now, you have the list that shows you people that are working in a specific company. Even though, you still have a problem. Because, they are not your friends in Facebook. But, the mutual friends suggest that they are friends of any one or more of your friends. So, use the mutual friends to learn more about the person working in the company and use them to get introduced. If you have a healthy number of Facebook friends, then I am sure that you will find at least one distant relative in a large company. It was actually not much possible even 5 years ago. But, in the new age of social media, use the strategy to benefit you, your career, and your business.

Professional References from Existing Friend List

Oh sorry, one thing missed. What if you already had friends from desired company and want to see which friends are from that company? Then the best way to do it is by going to your profile and then to Friends from Facebook. At the top, like the image below, you can search friend by Workplace. Select that and start typing the name of your desired company. You will find friends that are connected to the company. 

Find Friends Working in Specific Company

One last thing, when you see the list of friend suggestions or the list of friends from a specific company, don’t guess that all of them are currently working there. Facebook tries to show all past and current workers in your suggestions. So, try to see their profile individually. Another thing is, you can get the maximum benefit from this trick, if you have a large number of friends in Facebook. So, be more open and helpful to others to make more friends in Facebook as well as in real life.

©  of SEOPPCSMM.COM - Source: Find Professional References through Facebook

30 March 2012 ·

Archive.org’s Wayback Machine - 5 Great Use of it in Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Recently, I’ve blogged about 5 Great Reasons Why Archive.org’s Wayback Machine is a Great SEO Tool in Blueliner Marketing blog.

5 Great Reasons Why Archive.org

Here are the higlights of the article:

  • You can use Archive.org’s Wayback Machine for SEO Diagnosis with WinMerge. The Wayback Machine gives you the historial site codes and WinMerge allows to to see the changes in codes.
  • Old links are good for SEO. If you want to age your current links, then the best place to find them is in the Wayback Machine.
  • If you want to troubleshoot all time links that are broken, you can use the Wayback Machine and Xenu’s Link Sleuth software to find them and then take measures for improving Usability as well as SEO.
  • Unique contents are the new King now. But, have you thought that you have created unique content earlier, and it is now residing in the Wayback Machine repository? Use them freely for inbound link building for your site. Use them as soon as possible, before the scrappers do.
  • For claiming copyright for your contents, you need a good evidence and the pages indexed in the Wayback Machine can ensure you exactly that.

© of SEOPPCSMM.COM - Source: Archive.org’s Wayback Machine - 5 Great Use of it in Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

31 October 2011 ·

301 Permanent Redirects for Old and Broken Links - SEO Strategy that Most Forget

Sites evolve a lot after it has been created. Even if the contents and themes are same for the site, they throw away the old bottle and take on a new bottle. But, with the old bottle, sometime the webmasters don’t know that they are throwing away precious old wine of the link juice. Even, many SEO experts and webmasters forget what they are throwing away and go for short-term solutions.

Not all sites goes for CMS at first. The common evolution pattern is from Plain HTML site to Animated Flash site and then to Content Management System (CMS) site. For some sites, the evolution pattern can be quite complex. Each time while changing, most site owners and webmasters rarely bother about redirecting old links to the right and very relevant link or page. While doing that, they are harming the visitors, hence their business potential, and also the search engines.

SEO Perspective on 301 Permanent Redirects for Old Broken Links

301 Permanent Redirects and SEO Value Transfer

301 Permanent Redirects transfers almost all the SEO value of a site including: PageRank, Authority, Anchor Text and Relevance, etc. Since, Google rolled out the advice to use 301 redirects, there was a debate whether 301 permanent redirectlso transfer the relevance score in SEO. Matt Cutts in the following video has confirmed that Anchor Text does flow-through when you use 301 Permanent Redirects. Which does indicate that content or keyword relevance also passes through.

So, if a site has high PR inbound link to a page that is not on site or lands on 404 page, then the link juice and authority will be spilled and spoiled. Because, the Anchor Text and Relevance of the inbound Link page aka keyword stream flowing the link juice may not land on page that has that relevant keyword. And since the Google Bomb Update, incoming anchor texts coming to a page that does not have the keyword, has very little or no probability to rank well in Google.

301 permanent redirect does transfer SEO values to the landing page from the moved page. However, over time, Google also confirmed that 301 Permanent Redirect does not flow 100% link juice to your site. in March 2010, Matt Cutts of Google confirmed that Google does not transfer 100% of the SEO value. More story here: Google Confirms: 301 Redirects Result in PageRank Loss! 

However, in my experience, we have not seen much harm in the redirect of links within same site to redirect old and broken links. So within a site, the relevance will flow perfectly. Moreover, it’s not just about SEO. Sometimes, many people bookmark you page and would want to come back to your site. So, in terms of usability, you loose potential future visitor who already has attained information about you.

But, does 301 Redirects Transfer Age?

The question whether 301 Permanent Redirects transfer age of the domain or page is a debated issue. But, there is absolutely no harm in 301 redirecting your old links to the relevant new links (with the same keyword). If your old link on the site is broken, then you are bleeding the precious link juice out of your site :-o

It is evident that to permanent redirect of old links using 301 Permanent Redirects to the relevant page in your existing site and new domain is one of the best practices in SEO. Because, many inbound links may be out there that are linking to your specific page using specific anchor text that is passing relevance to your site, not just Page Rank. So to feed both the visitors and search engines with exactly relevant information (not a 404 page), 301 permanent redirect is the best thing you can do.

WHAT TO DO THEN?

Now that you know redirecting the old links and broken links to relevant page is very important in terms of SEO. What should you do now?

Find Old Links and Anchor Texts

First you have to find the old links withing your site to transfer the relevance graph to the new site structure. If you were the site owner, you may know that after a hard guessing. But, if it is the site of your client, then any guess work will not work. The best way to find the old links on your site is Archive.org.

From Archive.org, you have to collect links from all available chronological versions of the site. You can use HTTack Website Copier to locally cache and create a list of URLs on the old version of the site. You also need to store the Anchor Texts used for the link, so that you can find relevant current page to redirect to.

Find Inbound Links to Your Site

If you don’t care about what others have bookmarked, and only want to concentrate on SEO value. Then you need to collect all the inbound link statistics along with the anchor texts. But, sometimes anchor texts does not say relevant content on the page that links to you. In that case, you need to collect specific keyword for the respective inbound link, so that you can find the relevant page or URL on the current site. 

Identify Broken Links

Once you collect all the old links, you have to verify if the link is broken. Xenu’s Link Sleuth can help you in automatically identify broken links from a link list in txt file. However, while working 404 pages, you will get wrong results. Because, when you have active 404 page, Xenu will show 200 OK Status. So, it would be wise to turn off the 404 pages for the time being. However, there are many software that can help you identify broken links.

Identify the Relevant Current Page

Once you have the list of old and broken links, Google the keyword in the braces: [“Anchor Text of the Broken Link” site:mysite.com]. The first result you see other than the homepage in Google search, is the most relevant current page in the eye of Google. Create the link graph using excel sheet or any file format you prefer. Once you get the relevant current page, then you are ready to redirect.

301 Permanent Redirect Using .htaccess

For 301 permanent redirects, you need to manipulate the .htaccess file in your root folder of your site. Tony Spencer over SEOBook.com provides a good article on how you can do it, once you have the list of old links and the corresponding new links.

Prepare for the Future

So the next time you plan to upgrade your site, it is wise to have a back up of your current link structure along with the old ones. So, when your site takes on new links, you can easily create 301 permanent redirect for the current links to the relevant future site.

The 301 Twist

Some SEOs believe that old links are stronger in getting ranks than newer links, if the content freshness is periodically maintained. So, you can switch the previous method and use the old link as the current link and permanently (301) redirect the current link to the old link.

©  of SEOPPCSMM.COM - Source: 301 Permanent Redirects for Old and Broken Links - SEO Strategy that Most Forget

19 October 2011 ·

LinkedIn Wishlist - Part I: User Generated Search Tags to Create Narrow Searching, Keyword Channels for Profiles, & Virtual Directory of Interest Groups

This post is actually posted in February 04, 2008. Reposting the article here as a reference for my new upcoming article: LinkedIn Wishlist - Part II: LinkedIn Profile and Page Features.

LinkedIn Wishlist - Part I: User Generated Search Tags to Create Narrow Searching, Keyword Channels for Profiles, & Virtual Directory of Interest Groups

Dear LinkedIn,

Being an open networker, I always try to help my connection by forwarding relevant news, articles, resources, etc. in my network. To do so, I forward mails to the appropriate members in my network by searching them and adding them one by one. 

But, I think Other Filtering Option should be used to make the forwarding mails more useful by sending them to appropriate people. Currently, you can only filter by location and industry. But, there are many custom searches we can make in our contacts and group them as per our need.

Therefore, I would like to suggest User Generated Search Tags. Search Tag is similar to Blog Tags and Interest Group Tags in Blogger Profile. However this can be used to tag people with appropriate keywords. XING is already using this type of tags. You can actually use this tag for various purposes:

Search Tags for Narrow Searching

Use the tags for creating narrow search of LinkedIn connection. You can provide the tag option as narrow search for forwarding any mail. To create the tags, the users will do a people search and tick/check the appropriate people and write a tag for them. e.g. If someone searches for “SAP Developers” in people search, he will be able to choose by clicking on the check box on the basis of his judgment on the summary and then grossly mark the checked profiles with a generic tag, like “SAP Developers”. And when s/he wants to send mails to people within this search tag, s/he will be able to send it by choosing the tags defined by the user. Again, if anyone joins the network with similar People Search Attribute, then s/he will be automatically tagged.

Profile Tags for Keyword Channeling

You can use this User Generated Search Tags like XING, i.e. show it in their public profile. This will also automatically create Keyword Channels for the Profiles. This will enhance the Search Engine Rankings for each profile, since Google & other Search Engines like Keyword Channels (or simply Anchor Texts). You can also use Tag Cloud Option to show most popular tags in bold and least popular tags in plain text. I believe that Tags from people will actually represent what people are saying about you. And this will also allow members to top the Rank in People Search and establish them to stay ahead of the industry or Keyword Channel. If anyone is ranked 1st, 2nd or 3rd for the Profile Keyword Tag, then he can be rewarded with a badge. I believe that this will encourage people to promote their profile instead of their personal sites.

Tags for Virtual Directory of Interest Groups

If the tags are clickable tags, then you can virtually have Directories of Professionals channeled with Keyword Tags. Besides groups in LinkedIn, this will also create Virtual Interest Groups within LinkedIn, rather than an actual group. These tags can be further utilized for User Profile-based PPC Campaign like Facebook.

Update: This tags are more like the Google Plus Friend Circles that allows you to send updates to a specific types of people. When some one sends a Job notification for SEO Manager, it is pretty hard to find the right people and forward them the notification. If tags could be created through search, then people could have sent relevant message to the right people.

© of SEOPPCSMM.COM - Source: LinkedIn Wishlist - Part I: User Generated Search Tags to Create Narrow Searching, Keyword Channels for Profiles, & Virtual Directory of Interest Groups

7 September 2011 ·

Should SEO and PPC Marry Each Other, Date or Just Stay Single?

SEO or Organic Search Marketing and PPC or Paid Search Marketing/Advertisement, both have same goal to get your site found through keyword search in varios search engines. So, is the goal so common that they should get married? Or should SEO and PPC date, or just stay single?

Should SEO and PPC Marry Each Other, Date or Just Stay Single?

What if SEO and PPC Get Married?

Let’s define marriage first:

Marriage is about mutual understanding and about the economy of utilizing the limited combined resources in an efficient way for better life, if not, better future.

Well, that’s not a perfect one, but in Economics, it should sound like that. If I translate that for corporate language than it would be this:

Mutual Understanding between SEO & PPC

If SEO and PPC are operating differently, then they are learning in different ways. This can mean doing the same homework over and over again. Not doing the homework separately is very healthy for the economy. That’s why we see the giant companies acquiring (or marrying) the small companies. So that, the homework is not done again in the same economy. Even though, the giants have the setup to do it all over again. But, that’s bad for the industry. You are increasing the competition without adding any value to the economy.

So, whoever the husband between SEO or PPC is, both of their understanding can help each other greatly. PPC can use the learning from SEO and vice versa to reduce marketing cost and increase ROI. Isn’t that what the companies and advertisers are looking for? With mutual understanding, they can mutually reduce their homework and add value to the economy.

Utilizing Combined Resources

Before marriage, you probably have been using a small blender for milk shake that served your single user need. But, after marriage you can afford a better blender, which costs less than 2 blenders alone. i.e. you can also cut the capital investment and cost if you have SEO and PPC together. Moreover, they also can interchange their duties to perform other important tasks for the growth of your business.

Utilizing Limited Resources

You definitely have a budget for your marketing, from which you can’t go beyond. So, you should economize on getting more sales with less money. Since you are in fixed budget for SEO, you can cutout the variable budget for PPC, when you have competitive advantage in organic results for a specific keyword. So, for PPC you can only explore the markets, where you don’t have competitive advantage on. That’s should make the great use of your limited budget. So, managing these in separate units would mean extra cost for you, since there wouldn’t be any synchronization between these two units.

Utilizing Resources in an Efficient Way

When you have total understanding of your Search Marketing, you can have the flexibility to implement your strategy and set the players in the field. Thereby, you can play a good and strategic game utilizing every resource efficiently. Moreover, you can also reduce waste or spillover, which is a major factor in reducing cost and maximizing profit.

Enjoying a Better Life

Companies can gain greater ROI from the marriage and the management can also get all the information for their strategy from one source. So, that’ll make life easier and comfortable. It is obvious that combined SEO and PPC saves money for you. In return, you get greater ROI.

For a Better Future

In harsh situations, when comfortable life can’t be ensured, marriages are made in the intention to have better future. Investments are also like marriages craving for better future. Getting the reward right away isn’t possible. Combined investment in SEO and PPC can mean quicker break even. Moreover, as resources are utilized efficiently, the chance of having better life is quicker than having them separated.

What are alternatives if they can’t marry each other?

Date Each Other?

Now, if it happens that SEO and PPC can’t marry, then they can go out on dates from time to time to share things together. Even if they are separate, they should share each other’s learning from time to time by synchronizing each other and go toward a mutual understanding.

That way, some cost for advertising and marketing can be reduced by removing ad spending away from PPC, when SEO has organically reached its goal for a specific keyword. However, it can be more time consuming if you are to synchronize learning within these units.

Be Neighbors?

If they don’t synchronize, then the best way to learn from each other is by staying in the same premises and experiencing social and corporate activities together. That also can expand their learning. This can also mean hiring same internet marketing agency with separate units running campaigns with separate PMs.

What happens if SEO and PPC are Single?

SEO and PPC in the isolated island may mean loss in terms of the many benefits I mentioned above. But, not always their marriage is necessary. Their marriage can encourage cost reduction. But sometimes for the sake of online branding and converting visitors into sales takes more than just strict control of organic search marketing and paid search advertisement.

In the sales funnel, from visitors to sales, the communication and information feeding should be made several times before the purchase. So, limiting your doorways for the visitors to your business can harm you, if you are planning to sale big.

In case of online sales funnel, remember that:

  • Not all search engine visitors are your customers,
  • All those that find you when searching may not be your customer,
  • All the people that return to your site, doesn’t mean that they will make an inquiry,
  • All the people that makes an inquiry about your product or services, doesn’t mean that they will purchase your product.

So, in all stages of the sales funnel, there should be multiple ways for the visitor to get information about your company or product. If you have done SEO and simultaneously running PPC for content network (AdWords for AdSense), the chances are, when the visitor is reading something related, s/he might come back to your site.

Otherwise, after going a long way, the visitor might buy from the last good outlet s/he could remember, even though you were in top of the search (SEO efficient) when s/he found you earlier.

This happens to us always, when we go to a special product mall. Everyone visits the front stalls, but you happen to buy from a stall inside the mall. There is almost no extra competitive advantage for being the front stall (SEO effecient), when you have product that visitors always move around to find a good bargain. Getting these temporarily lost customers back to your site for sale is called retargeting. So, for retargeting, you need to be more liberal on SEO and PPC.

Another fact is, the objectives of SEO and PPC is not same. Most of the time PPC concetrates on Conversion and SEO on Branding & Reputation Building. I said “most of the time”, not “always”. e.g. Most popular keywords may not convert well and will mean unnecessary PPC spending on visitors that are not in action mode to purchase. But, popular keywords are good for Branding and Branding is one of the major targets for SEO. This difference in objectives is a good reason to stay in separate units.

Confused about marriage of SEO & PPC?

Well, if you have a product that visitors doesn’t care much about going for a good burgain (usually for cheaper products), having SEO and minor PPC dating is sufficient. If you are a small company, then having SEO and PPC get married would be a right choice. If you want to sell big, then SEO and PPC should stay single.

© of SEOPPCSMM.COM - Source: Should SEO and PPC Marry Each Other, Date or Just Stay Single?

12 August 2011 ·

Is SEO Expenditure an Expense or Asset? Or Does SEO Cost influence Profitability?

Your website is your intellectual real estate. Even though, you bear annual variable cost of maintaining the site, the cost never can be labeled as expense. After finishing your site, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC) to market your site, are they expense or adding value to your website? Let’s start with some definition:

Expense in terms of asset: The portion of the asset given away as variable cost for specific utility that has no reusability and to get the same utility, you have to pay again. e.g. advertising cost.

Asset in terms of expenditure: The expenditure invested as fixed cost for specific utility that has reusability. So with the investment, you get the same utility for a certain period of time. Please note that all assets are perishable, except for real estates. e.g. your computer is an asset not expenditure, but if you rent it, then it is expense.

Is SEO Expenditure an Expense or Asset? Or Does SEO Cost influence Profitability?

The accounting formula

Asset = Liability + Equity

i.e. Equity = Asset - Liability

In another analogy, Profitability = Capital – Expense

According to this formula, you can get more profit by decreasing expenditure or increasing capital. So, the more you add value to Capital, the more the profitability, even if you have to spend some expense to increase it. e.g. when you buy an asset, it does not get accounted into expense, rather into Asset or Capital.

Now, in terms of gaining profitability, how should the expenditure on SEO be labeled? As “Capital” or “Expense”? If it is a Capital Investment, then it will increase profitability, otherwise if expense, it will decrease your profitability.

Now, investment in SEO an expense or asset? 

In cost type analogy Profit = Fixed Asset - Variable Expense

Remember that cost on capital is fixed in nature, but expense can be variable. In that sense, PPC is an expenditure for your marketing. It is instantly perishable and each time you have to buy advertisement to get customers to your site. PPC is also a variable cost. So, this affects the expense, not the asset.

But, SEO is not like that. Because, it is not intended for short term marketing. SEO has reusability and brings you customers even after the SEO is finished. SEO expenditure has no attribute to be labeled as variable cost. Once you have done SEO on your site, you have added more value to your site, which in turn can have resale value. It’s not just $10 site anymore (the dollar amount you used for purchasing the domain).

So, SEO expense is a capital expenditure which increases your asset and should never be treated as expense that makes your site a marketing machine. 

Does SEO Cost influence Profitability?

We have tried to convince some customers that SEO doesn’t affect your profitability. Because, it becomes your asset. And asset is not expenditure that would negatively influence your profitability. The perishable behavior of SEO, may make it seem like expense. But, all assets are perishable. And we own a lot of short timed assets. So, if SEO expenditure is an asset, then you are increasing investment, not giving away money.

Can Advertising Convert into Asset?

Goodwill is something that has economic value. So, it is an asset. And achieving this involves much cost on marketing and advertising. Without marketing and advertising good will never can be achieved. If you consider long term affects, then advertising can also be converted into assets.

So, the next time you spend money on SEO and advertisement (for good will) in an effective way, don’t worry about the profitability of your company, brand or site.

© of SEOPPCSMM.COM - Source: Is SEO Expenditure an Expense or Asset? Or Does SEO Cost influence Profitability?

24 May 2011 ·

SEO Click-through Rate (CTR) Influence Ranking in Google, What to do now?

Which CTR Counts in SEO?

Click-through Rate or CTR is a popular term for PPC. But, here we are talking about SEO CTR, not the CTR related to PPC. And yes, SEO CTR now counts and has been confirmed by many experts that it does influence Google Rankings. In SES 2011 @ London many experts has confirmed that it does influence your ranking. 

What is Clickthrough Rate (CTR)?

CTR = Number of Clicks / Number of Impression

This usually tells you what percentage of impression that makes an actual click. For PPC, CTR is a great measure for you to understand how well the ad is. For SEO, this also can tell how well the content is in the perspective of the keyword searched in Google. 

Is it Possible to Know the CTR for SEO?

For SEO, evaluating CTR was tough. However, Google Webmaster now provides this insight, which can also help you understand how you can improve your SEO. This is an earlier step, before the clicks get stored in your web analytics application.

SEO CTR in Google Webmaster Tools

Take a look at the new feature by Google Webmaster from where you can find the SEO CTR for your site for individual keywords.

What Would be the SEO CTR?

The SEO impression is how many times your site get ranked in Google SERP. Even if no one clicks your site, you will get a impression count, when someone searches for any keyword that you rank for. And based on the clicks and this impression, you can get SEO CTR.

Calculating SEO Click-through Rate (CTR)

e.g. Your site ranks 5th for the keyword SEO PPC SMM. Searchers made about 200 searches in a day for that keyword. So, you will get 200 impressions as the 5th site every time. But, only 20 people among the searchers actually clicked your site. So, your SEO CTR would be 20 clicks out of 200 searches or impression, i.e. 10% is your SEO CTR. Good news is that Google Webmaster does show you the SEO CTR to you:

SEO CTR in Google Webmaster

Why SEO CTR is Important?

Searcher or User Vote

Pagerank and inbound links are external vote for your site. But, Google also needs to evaluate the user or searcher vote for a content. So, if you have quality external votes and also get many searcher votes, Google may like you a lot for the keyword.

Google’s Perspective

If Google sees that a site is less clicked from 1st page of search result (SERP), while another good page in 2nd SERP is getting good amount of clicks. Then Google has every reason to believe that the page in 2nd SERP is more meaningful for this search query.

Evaluating Search Intent

Google has been heavily emphacizing on Personalized Search for few years. One of the thing they lacked, was to analyze the search intent of the searchers. The CTR can also be used to analyze the search intent of the user. But, my assumption for using CTR for search intent is not something that is prevailing now, may be in future. CTR has been applied by Google to not only rank the pages, but also to understand the search intent of the searchers.

Why Many People Did not Realize it?

I guess no one realized it since, Google may not be emphacizing heavily on this signal. Moreover, the searchers’ behavior stayed the same for clicking more on top 1-5 and less on top 5-10 search results. So, the external links’ vote is still prominently responsible for getting your site ranked. And very less people go to the 2nd or 3rd page of SERP. But, low quality and irrelevant Page Title can wipe out your site from 1st page of SERP and place you in the back seat.

What to do for Getting High CTR for Your Keyword?

Character Limit

Place the most important message including the keyword on your Page Title in the first 65 characters, anything beyond that will be replaced by 3 dots (…) and the searchers will not be able to see them.

Keyword Prominence

Keyword Prominence (i.e. how close the keyword is on the Page Title) is an important factor for SEO. So, try to complete the whole message in first few words; don’t just push the main keywords back to the end. e.g. title like “A Comprehensive List of Tips and Tricks for SEO” can be “SEO Tips and Tricks - A Comprehensive List”. This way, by reading first few words, people will know what the link is about.

Using ASCII Art

To increase the CTR, you can use ASCII Art (e.g. ::-::-:: Link Title ::-::-::) on Page Title to attract more attraction. However, this is not encouraged, since absurd use can lead to spammy looking titles. If you ask my opinion, ASCII Art does attract my attention, but I’d also evaluate the relevance of a search result aka page. So, be careful in using it.

Category and Brand Keywords

You might have other noises in the Page Title, like category keywords or brand/site name. Try to push them at the end of the Page Title or beyond 65 characters. Don’t bother about the brand keywords, if you have the keyword on your domain name. Moreover, for having multiple pages of the same category, the category page might also get some boost.

Keyword Usage Limit

Previously, I used to suggest people not to target more than 5 keywords for a page. But, to gain high CTR, I’d advise you not to target more than 1 keyword for a specific page. Why? If you want to keep Category Keyword and Brand or Site Name Keyword in the Page Title, then 1 keyword is your maximum limit.

Human-friendly Optimization

You have to frame the Page Title within first 65 characters and choose the best title that can create a spark of attention in the searchers. Apply the Human-friendly Optimization of Page Titles. e.g. many SEO software will tell you not to use any stop words. But, can you really make a good Page Title without using stopwords?

Short Page Titles

Long Page Title does not influence CTR, since Google does not show the keywords that are used further at the end. But, also make sure that you don’t have a short Page Titles.

Link Baiting Strategies for Increasing CTR

All the Page Title developing strategies of Viral Marketing and Link Baiting also apply for choosing the best Page Title, so feel free to Google around for “titling strategy for link bait and viral marketing” for more tips to increase CTR.

Keyword in URL

The Page Title is the most prominent thing that attracts most searchers. But, keyword in URL also is bold in green. So, that also can attract the attention of the searcher and create more relevance value in the relevance analysis in the searcher’s mind.

Keyword in Meta Description and Body Contents

Keyword in Meta Description and Body Contents is also very important in creating more relevance value in the relevance analysis in the searcher’s mind. It creates the text chunk, which is called snippet below the page title in SERP. This part becomes useful to searcher, when they think all the page titles in the SERP are relevant. So, in those cases, this can give you some competitive advantage.

Place the keywords in the body content with more relevant information. That way, when the adjacent relevant information will create more relevance value in the relevance analysis in the searcher’s mind.

© of SEOPPCSMM.COM - Source: SEO Click-through Rate (CTR) Influence Ranking in Google, What to do now?

9 March 2011 ·

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About Me

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Professionally, Asif Anwar is working as National Consultant (Web Optimization) of Access to Information (A2I) program of UNDP for various Web Marketing Solutions for the Bangladesh Government, small companies as well as large brands.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Social Media Marketing (SMM) consultant and specialist for various high PR sites and large brands.

Professional Internet Marketing Blogger and occasional guest blogger for Search Engine Journal, Social Media Today, and Marketing Pilgrim.

SEO Trainer, Mentor, Moderator, and Co-founder of Bangladesh Internet Marketing Professional Association (BIMPA).

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