Yes folks it has happened again – Google have shifted the goal posts for the umpteenth time.
This Google algorithm change goes to the heart of the content of your site. They are always preaching “quality content” and this update underscores just how serious they are about controlling what you publish on your website.
So what was this change or update called, since they all have names don’t they?
Google “The Brackets” Update March 2018
According to reliable sources, this update has been labeled The Brackets Update. With this update, the powers that be at Google, or at least the ones with a public voice, a la John Mueller, we are told that there is nothing you can do if you have been affected by this most recent update. If you have “great content” good for you, if not you are going to see a significant drop off in organic search traffic.
He makes a underlined emphasis on the long term in the above linked content, which means that you can’t just expand your quality content and see changes immediately. What I am reading between lines here, is that if you have tarred with the Brackets brush, you are likely going to see your site quality score take a hit and your links are going to need to work harder. More and better high quality links are going to be required.
Apparently even if you acted today and fixed up the low quality (thin content in Google speak) pages on your site, it could take up to 6 months or more to see significant improvements.
Was All The News Bad With This Recent Change?
If you are one of the smart ones following the Google rules of high quality content (read: at least 2000 words per page or original well written text), then if these pages are your landing pages, then you will most likely have seen a positive boost to your site traffic over this past couple of weeks. This rule is not one across the board, ie in the case of eCommerce sites, you just need to make sure your product descriptions are original and not simply copied and pasted from the manufactures website or suppliers website, as this will get you into hot water. Good thing to know when you are planning a new eCommerce business.
Where Can I Find Out More Information On This Update?
You can head on over to this blog to read up on the full details or the “tremor” and “quake” happenings these past weeks.
If you need help with your site, then you may need to get in touch with me and I would be happy to take a look at your site, to determine what if anything can be done to improve your search rankings in Google
The following is an important checklist to do before you disable your old website and hosting provider, when you have a planned move to a new hosting provider.
1. Backup – It is a good idea to download all your old website files, including all text documents, images, pdf’s and any associated files of your old website, even if your new website is going to be created brand new. Consult your web master about how to do this, which is typically done using an FTP application. If not available you can use a nifty tool called, Sitesucker.
2. Email – Download all email boxes as POP3 email accounts. This step is very important to check on before disabling your old website host, as any email boxes that are set up as IMAP email accounts (this type of email account allows you to check your email on one machine and then have it updated as read or not, on any other device or computer you may also check emails from.)
It is of paramount importance to change your email type over to POP3 if you have been using it as IMAP. If you have many years of emails stored in an IMAP (server based email) then you will have to be prepared to download your emails to your local machine which can take a considerable amount of time depending on the amount of email you will be downloading.
If you change the type of email account from IMAP to POP3, this should trigger the event of downloading to your local computer, all historical emails the very next time you check your emails. You may wish to do this at the end of the work day and let this download process occur as you leave your office for the day. They should be downloaded and ready as historical backups when you return the next day.
If you are unsure of what type of email account you have set up, then please consult your IT support person or systems administrator.
3. DNS – Changing the Name Servers. Once you are notified that the site is ready to move from your old host (and possibly old website) to the new web hosting provider, as instructed by your web master, you will need to get in touch with the company who holds the registration details of your domain name. This company is known as the Registrar and you as the owner of the domain name are the Registrant.
As the owner, you are the only one authorized to make changes to the domain name servers (DNS) which tell the Registrar where to look for your domain. So when you ready to change where to point the DNS, you need to contact the Registrar and authorize the change.
You will need to know the new DNS which your new hosting provider will supply to you. It is typically expressed like this: ns1.newhostingcompany.com and ns2.newhostingcompany.com
Is it still possible to do SEO in 2018 and get free organic search traffic without the fear of Google slapping you?
Well what I have we to say about the state of SEO in 2018? With the past history of Google acting very severely with their algorithm updates and wiping out many people’s websites from the top pages in the search results, you could be forgiven for thinking that SEO doesn’t work anymore and even SEO is dead.
Is SEO Really Dead?
This is in fact precisely what Google want you to believe.
“Our search results can’t be manipulated to your advantage, so you better stop trying”.
And for many who have departed the SEO game, unfortunately for them, the only alternative to traffic from Google, is the ever increasingly expensive paid ads from Google Adwords.
The fact is SEO is now easier than it has ever been. I will say this again, so that it sinks in…SEO in 2018 is now easier than it has ever been.
No SEO Is Alive and Kicking – Just Different.
That is a pretty brash statement and one you are probably wondering if it could possibly be true.
“Is this guy nuts, or just raving, how could SEO be easier with all the updates from Google acting so destructively on anyone doing SEO?”
Fair question and one I am going to answer with no uncertain doubts in this blog post. So please read on…
As an SEO consultant of the past 9 years, I have seen my fair share of blood on the tracks when it comes to what Google can do to those who step outside their rules.
Websites that were doing so well, providing a great relevant search result for Google’s visitors, decimated and slaughtered to the 9th page and subsequent sales, profits and businesses down the gurgler. Ouch!
What Is Going On Behind The Scenes With SEO?
Along the way I have kept my ear to the ground and observed what is going on behind the scenes, away from the public eye and the very vocal Google spokes-people and seen what is happening with search results and exactly what is producing them.
Google would loooove you to just create “great content” and “we will look after the ranking” for you. And that is exactly what they claim will work and get you traffic to your website.
You probably are aware, if you have followed their guidelines, that this just plainly doesn’t work.
Building Great Content Is NOT Enough!
The only problem with this is that their algorithm (the way they figure out who is worthy of the top #1 ranked position) is still based, yes even in 2018 on their original foundation principles that they established back in 1998.
So many people today are feeling frustrated by the fact that yes they have built a website filled with great content but still Google doesn’t rank them for much and it’s driving them crazy.
If that is you, and this is the reason why you are reading this post, then honestly, I feel your frustration.
Google Show You How To Do It – Yes It’s True!
You see people are still doing SEO and it is NOT just build a great website and Shazzam – instant traffic. No, not by a long shot.
There is a way of doing SEO in 2018 that is Google compliant (not by their written rules but by their unwritten rules – a la “who we allow to rank at the top”, rules) and it is way easier than the SEO of the past.
If you have access to the right tools, and a bit of know-how, you can see this for yourself. Really once the veil is lifted it is not hard to see what is really going on.
This Used To Take Loads Of Grunt Work – Not Anymore.
Previously, SEO was a hard slog, back in the days before the Google Penguin update in 2012.
Before you had to build more links to your site than the next guy and they had to be powerful links, from high quality sources. Essentially SEO was like an “arms race” with the biggest force winning.
That is what worked back then. It took a long time and involved a lot of (outsourced worker) hours to pull it off.
Today in 2018 the work required to pull off top rankings is minuscule by comparison. Instead of putting in thousands of hours of SEO work, you can do it all with a small fraction of the time previously invested.
What you need to understand is that there is a precise “right” way to do SEO that actually works and many, many wrong ways that will just lead to frustration.
Googles Algorithms Are Still Harsh But…
Many SEO practices that will still get you into hot water and out of the top of the search results are performed by the uninformed on a daily basis. This is very sad, and totally unnecessary!
You may even have had someone previously do SEO for you. An SEO firm, or consultant, an outsourced team or marketing company and another reason why you are probably reading this page is that things didn’t turn out so well. Am I right?
Helium SEO Is Here To Help Solve The Mystery
The whole reason I started the Helium SEO consultancy, was to fulfill the pressing need for people such as yourself to find out what SEO is really all about and how with the right strategy, you too can be getting high volumes of targeted traffic to your website.
If the thought of finding out how to drive free organic traffic to your website get’s you excited, then we share some common ground here.
If you are sick and tired of paying through the nose for your search engine traffic, then isn’t it about time you figured out how to get possibly $30K worth of free traffic, like the plastic surgeons in the above example are doing?
This is happening right now in 2018, it is SEO driven and happening right under the noses of those who are still stuck in the old ways of SEO or are forking out their hard earned profits, and this is taxing their bottom-lines incredibly.
If you want to get to know the truth about SEO, then we should talk. Get in touch today!
With a headline like that, you are probably expecting some flames to be flying and I promise, I will not disappoint.
It has been some time now that rules of SEO have been rewritten to now place a major focus on the actual content that is found at the top of the search results, more so than the sites that link to that content. Or so it is thought. Content is King right? I mean Google say that you just need to write (create, publish) good quality content on your website and that they will take care of the rest.
Don’t go about creating any links from other people’s websites, just to boost your rankings because Google will just magically find your content boost it to the top, as long as it is “quality content”, right? Watch this video from Google…
Well let’s just think about the logic behind this for a minute…
Let’s just suppose there are 10 plastic surgeons who are all excellent doctors with outstanding medical histories, a long list of satisfied patients and essentially well established surgeons in their own right.
Now they have the sufficient resources at their disposal to not only build a high quality website, but publish it with high quality content complete with extensive before and after photo galleries. They all appear to be great choices when it comes to quality content.
So the questions beckons, “who does Google decide is the best, and sits at #1?”. The answer is they don’t know and can’t tell just purely based on the quality of the website and it’s “King Content”.
They need more information before they can make this decision.
What information and where do they get it from?
Other people’s websites, and what they have to say about these doctors, via what is referred to as a “backlink”. Now these backlinks are not all of the same power when it comes to balancing the equation on what is a valuable link.
Let’s take a look at two examples, and see if you can determine which is the higher valued or valuable link to have.
The first website that has a backlink pointing to a surgeon’s website is all about plumbing supplies. The link is in the sidebar, along with other advertising banners. It is a text link surrounded by mixed content that ranges from plumbing supplies, building information and links to other construction websites.
The second website is a health related blog. It has topics that cover women’s health issues in particular. The link that comes from this site is in a blog post by a guest author, who is taking about the pros and cons of a particular form of facial plastic surgery. There are references to alternatives that don’t require going under the surgeon’s knife and also a list of doctors who are widely accepted as authorities on the subject. There are quotes from one of the doctors and it is also a link to his website.
Now before you decide which is the better link, times this equation in your head for our 10 surgeons we mentioned above. They all have a range of different links but for the sake of the argument, lets just imagine that there is one doctor in the list who gets more and more of the Website B styled links and the rest get a mixture, but mostly weighted towards the Website A style links.
It is pretty obvious that the doctor with more of the relevant links is going to fare higher in the search results than the others, purely because he is demonstrating a higher degree of authority in his field of endeavour.
Yes it is more complex than this simplified version I have used for my illustration but I think it demonstrates the point that content is not really the king it used to be or is at least made out to be.
Content yes it is important, and sort of kingly but is KING, no I don’t think so. Everybody can produce top quality content, it is easy, just hire a good copy writer and plan your site well and you are in the running for being a great content producer. The kind that Google say they love.
Google also say that you don’t need to do anything else, they will take care of it. Matt Cutts the former (now vanished) Google engineer turned SEO spokesperson aka Webspam Fighting Team Leader can be seen in the video at the beginning of this post espouse exactly that.
Don’t build any backlinks, that is risky and will get you banned by Google. That is also what they say, but it is not what they do. Even so SEO companies will tell you the same thing, “Don’t build backlinks, that is old school, we have a better way…”
So if you can’t build any backlinks and nobody is going to link out to you, i.e. create a backlink for your website, unless they can find you in the first place, how are any links every going to be established if your site is totally invisible?
Good question. It is a real chicken and egg situation.
Someone is lying when it comes to the Content is King and Backlinks situation. Could it be Google are not being entirely transparent or truthful here?
One way of finding out what the truth is, is to see what Google allow to rank at the top of the search engines and with the help of some fancy backlink discovery tools, one can easily see what backlinks are actually doing the work required to get this website to the top.
When you can see the actual links, and see how they have worked their magic, you know that Google have access to this information as well, so you can draw your own conclusion on what the truth is.
The fact of the matter is this, backlinks do count and will continue to count. They are not going anywhere when it comes to Google’s algorithmic calculations about who is the top authority on any given subject. They need backlinks to prove the value of their choice. Naturally the higher valued backlinks are more difficult to acquire but they need to be there to make content the King that he is supposed to be.
If you want to get an idea of your own backlink profile and see how this stacks up against your competitors who are currently out doing you in the Google search results, I suggest you get in contact with and I can arrange a free 30 minute Skype strategy call. We will do an audit on your website and show you what your current SEO company doing that is good and as the case may be, not so good.
So click here to schedule your call with me today.
It has been some time now since Google in December of 2013, moved away from PR or PageRank as an identifiable SEO metric.
You may have heard people say, “PR is not important for ranking anymore” or “Google don’t see PR as important for you to rank” and have probably been wondering, is PageRank still important and if it is how do we find out what our site’s PR is.
PageRank Is Far From Dead
The answer to this question is multifaceted.
To begin with, Google used to update PR every 3 to 4 months via what was called “Toolbar PR”. This gained it’s name from various toolbar add-ons that picked it up and displayed a sites PageRank. So toolbar PR is no longer being updated by Google and many have wrongly interpreted this to mean Google no longer value the metric when determining the overall value of where one’s website fits into the pecking order, when it comes time to place it in the search results.
So What Is PageRank Exactly?
The second part of answering this question needs to cover what PR is and how it is calculated. PageRank is one of the methods used by Google to determine the page’s relevance or importance, when it comes to search engine results.
PageRank, named after Larry Page, one of the Google founders, represents the page rank of a page on a website. The system ranks sites from 0 – 10, with a site like Google or Youtube being a 10 and a brand new website with no one linking to it, a zero.
When it comes to raising a website’s PR one needs to be gaining links or backlinks from a site with a high PR, for example a PR6 or PR7. Some of the web authority is transferred to a site by the calculations checking what other higher authority sites are linking to it. This has been a way in the past for SEO practioners to manipulate a site’s ability to rank, so when these numbers began to be outdated, it made it more difficult to find the value of a linking partner.
There are new metrics in place DA or Domain Authority and TF, Trust Flow and Citation Flow CF that have essentially replaced the old gauge of PR. This is just not the same as Google not using PR anymore. It is just that they have removed this metric from the public eye.
Your website still has a PR and so do all your internal pages, it is just that you don’t know what this is anymore.
New Ways Of Discovering Your Page Rank [sic]
With the new ways of calculating the value or authority of a website working just as well, Google have not been able to kill SEO just yet. PR is now out of sight but is still alive and very important when it comes to the search results and where you fit in. SEO is not dead, just more difficult to do than once it used to be. You only need to take a close look at the knowable metrics behind top ranking websites today, to understand what this exactly means.
If you are in need of an SEO expert to independently look at your site or your competitors site(s), then it may be time we spoke. With the right tools and understanding the whole process of what is working today and is going to continue to work with SEO, formulating an effective SEO strategy is still the best way to be getting your message out there, to your target audience.
When it comes to acquiring traffic for your website, in a business sense there is a very real difference between paid traffic and organic traffic.
Not simply a matter of calculating the costs of each channel but fully taking into consideration the responsiveness and the convertibility of each channel.
In simple cost terms, it is not uncommon to expect highly trained SEO specialist to be able to return a 50% reduction in traffics costs when going head to head to with paid traffic sources, in particular Google Adwords PPC.
There is another dimension that needs to be taken into account when analysing the value of each traffic source. When it comes to “Ads” or “Advertisements”, the psychology behind someone who clicks on an ad, typically renders their potential to make a buying decision, a whole lot less likely.
Let me explain: Google savvy web surfers, know the difference between an ad, and an organic listing in the Google search results. Despite Google’s best efforts to provide people with a “poor user experience” ie, trick them into clicking on an ad, so they can make money, smart users can identify the Ad symbol and move down to the organic listings, as these have a higher reputation of being the best results. Ads on the other hand can be bought by any Tom, Dick or Harry, and therefore render themselves with a whole lot less trust.
So if people come in on the back of not trusting what they are seeing, then they are less likely to move towards a buying decision.
Some may argue at this point, that if they don’t know they are clicking on an Ad, then their bias would be neutral. This is the very reason why Google try to hide the fact that they are ads, and trick people into thinking, these must be the best search results because they are at the top.
A few years back now, Google had the hide to come out arrogantly claiming that anyone with an “Ad” above the fold on their website would be penalised, as this represents a poor user experience. This penalty was referred to as the “Layout Penalty“. Google have been doing this very thing for years, but they don’t seem to penalise themselves.
But I digress, back on topic here. Paid traffic typically costs more because the cost of clicks via PPC or Google Adwords, has risen so high due to the constant messing with organic listing algorithms. With Pengin, Panda, and now Fred wrecking the rankings of websites, many folks have decided to give up on SEO and go with what Google wants them to do, namely pay for the traffic that they feel is the only way to make money from their website. With the way Google increase bid prices based on the “auction model”, is it any wonder in some highly competitive markets, come cost per click prices can be as high as $200 or more. Now that is a high price to pay to get someone to visit your website, and when you consider the number of visitors you need to have visit before one converts to a paying customer, this can be a very costly exercise.
Naturally not all markets are this saturated and expensive but I think you get the idea. Google started selling each and every click for just 10c back when they started selling ads on their site. This soon evaporated and became the auction system we have today.
So with higher convertibility and lower overall visitor costs, SEO or search engine optimisation when done the right way that produces #1 rankings, there really is no better choice. If your experience has not matched what I have been talking about here, and you are feeling like there is no hope in SEO anymore, then it is probably time we spoke. I have helped many companies in both Australia and overseas to achieve higher profits through smart and effective SEO. If this is you, then get in touch today.
Google have done it again. Another change to the search results.
This time it is the addition of your site’s favicon.
What is a favicon you ask? Well it that little image that appears in the web address bar in your browser. This now appears at the start of the line for each website listing in the search results. What Google are trying to make the serps prettier? Do you think this helps or hinders the decision making process?
Google’s reason for making this change IMHO, I believe is not to pretty up the search results pages (serps) but to further manipulate the look and feel of the listings, to their own advantage.
Why would this be so?
Fair question, but it is no mistake on Google’s part to place this favicon in the exact same position as the “Ad” icon on their (prioritised) paid advertisements. See the images below to get an idea of what I am talking about.
Before, ads were fairly easy to identify and now they are a little more difficult to distinguish between what is an ad and what is an organic or free listing.
Some may remember the Google penalty back in February of 2014, which was labelled the “Layout Penalty” where a site which was deliberately displaying advertisements at the very top of their website, was penalised for “not providing the user with a good user experience”. Really? Yep that is what that demotion was all about.
So now we Google eating their own words and not only at times pushing more ads and Google products to the user, when we all use Google to find the most unbiased and best ranking results, but now we have to push through this every increasing clutter provided by the company who’s motto used to be, “Don’t be evil”. Hmmm I am getting the strong feeling of, “don’t do as I do but do as I SAY!” from them.
And for the observant among you will see there is another major change in the layout of the search results listings. Can you spot what it is?
Right, the Headline used to take precedence but now it is the URL or web address in the top position of the listing. I have put the two together in the above image to show you the difference.
The Headline which is the Meta Title of the page, is still there but the favicon and the URL now occupy the top line.
Ok just call me a skeptic but that is my take on the latest offering we have to deal with in the serps and Google’s antics.
Now will someone come up with a browser plugin that strips out all the non-organic clutter from the serps and allows us to see just the pure organic results, like when Google first started? I get it they need to make money to stay in business but their every encroaching boundary line seems to be creeping closer and closer to the no organic just ads page one.
Maybe then it will make it easier to just skip to page 2, or then again it may spell the end of the line for a once great “user experience” in the search stakes.
So what do you think? Does this make the user experience easier to spot an ad to avoid, if that is your thing or does it make it more difficult as I am seeing it?
You have that nervous feeling deep down in the pit of your stomach.
You don’t quite know what to do about the cause of this pain but you know something has to be done, as things are just not going according to plan.
If you are like the many, you’re not alone when it comes to trying to figure out if you are doing the right thing, the wrong thing or something in between with SEO.
Company after company approach you with the same old line, “We can get you to number one on Google, but you will have to wait 3 to 6 months, and no we don’t offer a guarantee”.
Truth be told, it is amazing anybody is able to sell a product on these flimsy promises, but what is not quite so amazing is the fact the there an unfortunate number of charlatans in the industry that make the rare seo winner’s hard to find.
Unethical SEO companies that are all too willing to pull wool over their clients eyes, for the simple fact that they can. This is a really dangerous situation if you are committing not only time and money to dodgy SEO but the very existence of your business could be held in the balance if you have all your marketing eggs in the one basket.
Most smart marketers are all too aware of taking such a risky line with something as volatile as search engine optimization, especially given the heavy handedness of Google in recent times. So not only do many find themselves in SEO limbo, bending over backwards to make it under the ever lowering bar but on top of that they are paying for Google Adwords traffic by paying ultra-high cost per click premiums. Any industry that has a high dollar value on a successful sale, is liable to reach the dizzy heights of sometimes hundreds of dollars for just one click.
The medical industry is one such arena where the CPC’s can run into the hundreds of dollars. When you consider the cost of plastic surgery procedures running into the tens of thousands, it is easy to see why the CPC stakes are set so high.
So what is a good doctor to do?
You can keep on trying out different SEO companies in the hope that one day you will strike gold and not only will you be getting solid rankings that last, you can finally do away with those Adwords campaigns that are draining the coffers.
Yes and pigs might fly too!
What you need to gain back confidence in the incumbent SEO firm you have hired, is to have a truly independent analyst look over what is being done. By getting a third party to take a look behind the scenes and spell out exactly what the prospects of catching the flying pig are, is your only true hope of losing that awkward lump from your stomach. You can’t afford to ask the incoming SEO firm to be independent or even the outgoing, so your only choice is someone who has a fresh set of eyes, that can actually see and interpret what is going on with your current SEO deployment.
What you don’t need however is one of those highly confusing (intentional once again) extremely detailed double-dutch reports that SEO companies throw at you with the hope of confusing you into making a decision to go with them. These reports can look pretty dire at times and the shear fear factor is sometimes too much to resist.
Someone who can spell it out in plain English, is what you need. Enough evidence to hang or hang-onto the current SEO firm or consultant.
The endeavor of this blog is to use my skills that I have honed over the past 7 years, working with a good number of plastic and cosmetic surgeons in the US and Canada, to open peoples eyes so that they can see exactly what is going on with their SEO.
Some would call me an SEO whistle blower, and they would be pretty close to the mark. I am going to be blowing the lid off of all the SEO scams out there, so that regular folks no longer need feel pressured into hiring poorly when it comes to search engine optimization.
I will be showing you how to use the available tools, to see for yourself exactly what is going on with that top competitor who is getting all the free organic search engine traffic.
Believe me there are some really good SEO’s that deliver the goods and have the track record to prove it, and these I will be showing you how to find.
In the coming new year, 2018 I will available for hire, to do the undercover SEO discovery work on your website that will reveal the truth about your SEO, so you can move forward with confidence that you are on the right path, and it is just a matter of time, or finally see you are on a slowly sinking ship that you need to bail out from.
We all know there are some really terrible SEO’s and perhaps one of them has snared you, if this is the case, then we need to talk and really soon.
Today, we no longer have to wait to see the effects of Google algorithm changes, as the long awaited Penguin Live Update is now in live refresh.
For those unfamiliar with Google’s obsession with black and white furry animals, Panda and Penguin, we are talking here about one of the automated ways that Google applies filtering to the search results, or serps as they are referred to.
The use of automated rules or algorithms, helps Google with their mammoth task of deciding who should be listed at #1 in the serps, and who is worth of position two, three, so on and so forth – up to millions of places for those in the running for ranking.
Penguin Now Live Refresh
Now the Penguin algorithm, is a set of rules that attempts to intelligently analyze who has been playing naughty and who has been playing the right Google game, when it comes to links from other peoples websites. At the very heart of the way Google decide who is worthy of a top spot in their serps, is the ranking factor of links (actually votes) from other people’s websites, that determine who should be seen as the authority and claim the number one spot for any given search term or keyword as they are referred to.
So the thing that Penguin is attempting to do, is decide which links are real or earned and which links have been paid for or bought. Google are desperately stamping out anything that openly flaunts their rules with the Penguin algorithm, and that means even websites that have not done anything wrong other than rank too well for a competitor, who has no problem with hiring someone on Fiverr.com to do a “Negative SEO” attack on the competitors site (as in your site). This is usually what has happened in the situation where someone didn’t want to do Google allowed or approved SEO but wanted to remove a competitor from the search results so that they could ascend instead.
Negative SEO Is Real & It Hurts Bad
If you have ever had this happen to your site, you will know how devastating this is for traffic and conversions, and how much of a nightmare that follows in trying to get the penalty removed. Google have provided tools and means for achieving this end but the process has been horribly slow due to the fact that the penalty is only removed when Google get around to refreshing the Penguin algorithmic index.
The last time this occurred was in October of 2016, so even after disavowing low quality links and having links from dubious sources removed, a site may technically be out of penalty, it remains in a state of fallen grace until Google update Penguin which now openly ignores worthless links.
The promise of the “Live Refesh” of Penguin, is that in a penalty situation from over zealous or unscrupulous backlinking by you, an SEO firm or a hacker on Fiverr will be instantly removed. This essentially makes negative seo a thing of the past.
Overcome Negative SEO With Ease – Really?
Let’s take a situation one mind find one’s site in, with a negative SEO attack.
This is how it used to be done, before the live Update Refresh, but is still holds some relevance in today’s SEO toolkit or arsenal.
You login to your site’s Google Analytics platform to discover that yesterdays normal 200 visitors has turned into 2. At first you think it is just a bad in search but then this continues for a few days and realize something has changed. On digging deeper you discover a message in the Google Search Console alerting you to the fact that your site has drawn a penalty for low quality backlinks. You then phone your SEO team and get them onto the case. They quickly identify the toxic sources, disavow them and within a few days the penalty has vanished and it is back to business as normal.
When I say that the effect is instant, it is only by comparison to the old way of waiting, months (years?) for any effect to be seen. The important thing to remember is that Google need to go and index those toxic links again before they discount their association to your site, so this is why it can take sometime, maybe days to see the release of the penalty to occur.
Is this then going to mean that because a negative seo attack can be reversed relatively easily or is this going to mean it will continue for years to come? Many in the SEO industry have been arguing for years with Google over their stance on low quality links. There really need be no benefit or deficit from a low quality link, Google could and should just ignore such links. As they say, “ignore it and it will simply go away”. Why do they have to hand out a penalty for a low quality link or a million of them, if they could simply set a threshold on the effect of a link based on where it was a quality link or not?
So Who Has The Upper Hand Here?
The real reason I believe is that Google want to punish, not just deny any favors, but actively punish people for trying to manipulate the serps to their benefit. This is what SEO is about after-all. Giving your site a boost, be it from whatever means, either Google sanctioned or otherwise. It is about you getting ahead and this puts someone else behind or further down the page. Google need to show they have the power to decide about who ranks and who doesn’t to the point that they deny the reality firstly of negative seo and they see this far more important than trying to consider the plight of the damned who have fallen foul to the Penguin penalty due to someone else’s actions.
So here we have the search giant acting in their best interest before the interest of those who they are supposed to be serving with their search engine. Their customers have been put through undue pain and suffering all because they want to be seen as the authority on who gets to rank. Google would argue it is their search engine and they can do what they so please, but this ignores one important fact and that is without their customers website information, the content that we the other party create, their search engine would have nothing to show. They are a parasite living off the backs of someone’s work and they need to remember this. Then again who am I to tell Google what to do? It is Google telling me what to do, since they are in charge right?
Don’t Panic Just Walk Away…
There is no need to panic if your site, your branded website that is listed in all your advertising and represents your practice, for this be taken down just because it no longer ranks. You need to keep this site for many reasons, and one of those is your existing patients (or customers) who will come back to your site and will not be needing to search via Google to get there. Even a negative seo damaged site, should stay – just make sure you build a new one to make sure the old site still retains it’s regular visitors. When you choose the right team to do this for you, you will be glad you did.
If you ever hear this line from your SEO company, that “backlinks are no longer important“, then you are probably facing the “we aren’t ranking so well” dilemma at the same time.
Since the beginning of search and Google, backlinks have played the most important part of winning at the search game. Over the years, the elements that determine a top ranking, have swollen to include a lot of closer focus with the website itself but backlinks remain and as long as Google wants to function as democratic voting process of presenting the most popular sites at the top, then backlinks are here to stay.
So what exactly are backlinks and how do they work to produce top rankings for websites?
What Is A Backlink?
Let’s begin with how they work and then we will have a deeper insight as to their co-dependence for quality search results and how they will be remaining a strong ranking signal for the foreseeable future.
A backlink is simply a link from someone else’s website, linking to your website. The way this works for example is someone may comment on a blog post on a third party website and make a mention about something posted on your website.
This can be helpful for people wanting to find out more about the topic of interest.
For example you may be an experienced plastic surgeon who has expertise in some new cosmetic procedure or have a good understanding of the complications of certain surgical procedures and your blog post adds great insight into the matters being discussed.
Since people are searching for information to solve their problems, this scenario presents itself as a typical way that links or backlinks are created. Google developed their search algorithm around the democratic voting system that links from other people’s website were acting as. With links counting as votes in the election process for who should be ranked at #1 and so, they changed the way search engines and people the world over, searched for and found things on the internet forever.
It wasn’t long before many savvy webmasters began to take advantage of this ranking method and the process of SEO or search engine optimization was born.
Backlinks Important In The Early Days And Still So
In the early days of my trade it was a simple process to rank #1, that involved amassing more backlinks than the guy ranked at #2. Yes it did involve a lot of work at times but if you put in the grunt work, eventually got you there.
Now Google saw that many people were onto their “super secret” algorithm, so they decided to mix up the process to penalize anyone seen to be over-optimizing their sites. The first of these changes rolled out in 2012 and were code named Penguin.
Fast forward to today, 2016 and Google have slowed down the aggressive penalties, as most people are now convinced that the search engine giant, can’t be messed with. There are many who believe that SEO is dead and you might as well give up trying anything as Google will just slap you sooner or later.
SEO Far From Dead
In reality, SEO is far from dead and many people understand and do SEO very well. The problem is there is great confusion in the SEO world, and many practitioners have jumped ship and become content marketers. Some have combined the two with varying degrees of success, which usually has a lot to do with the Google Webmaster Guidelines.
Google are very vocal about what you can and can’t do when it comes to SEO. Companies that tread the line strictly by the Google book, are those who will convince you that backlinks are no longer important, simple because Google say that you can’t build backlinks anymore. They want you to create great content and then some how magically people will find your content and link to it. The only problem is that without any links to your “great content” it is not going to rank. And if it doesn’t rank, meaning no one will find it, then how is it that they are going to link to it?
Agencies that stick by the book believe the lies about backlinks not counting, because they will actually not be building you any. They will encourage or help you build quality content but this alone is never going to produce the traffic that your site is needing to actually shift the needle.
Also with the right tools, anyone can see that the sites that are ranking at the top of Google are sites that have lots of backlinks. Content alone is not enough to get you there and give you the traffic flow you are looking for.
So What Do Google Actually Say About The Necessity Of Backlinks?
In finally smashing the backlinks are no longer important myth, one need only to listen to voice of Google themselves. In a recent video by the Google SEO spokesperson, Matt Cutts, they openly admit that they have a private version of Google that they refer to that shows the search results without any backlinking influence and they say it ain’t pretty.
Well there you have it, backlinks are here to stay and if you hear differently, it is probably because your SEO guy or gal is too scared to build them anymore. There are still ways to build backlinks that are very effective and will not get you into any Google hot water, and if top search engine rankings are what you are looking for, then you first need to locate a top SEO consultant who can produce results based on what Google actually allow to rank, and not what they tell you they allow.