Cardiff Web Marketing Specialists and long time Introbiz members, MA Consultancy are currently looking for a few more blog management and blog marketing customers. They usually charge £200 a month to manage a companies blog, often one linked to their company website and to write 20 articles a month on the blog to help improve […]
1. Twitter Marketing
Set up a Twitter Account and Follow up to 5,000 of your target audience.
A large proportion will follow you back and those that don’t can be unfollowed so that you can follow some more.
This could be a particular niche or businesses / consumers in a certain geographical location. Whilst you are building followers and when you have thousands of followers, send out information, tips, offers, competitions and advice that would be useful and of interest to your target audience.
2. Facebook Marketing, Facebook Pages and Facebook Group Marketing
Use your personal Facebook account to connect with potential customers and partners, also create a Facebook Page and get your friends, potential partners and target audience (clients etc) to like and share your page. Whilst you are building likers & followers and when you have thousands of followers, send out information, tips, offers, competitions and advice that would be useful and of interest to your target audience.
You can also set up groups for your target audiences and get some of those to join your group where you can also share information, tips, offers, competitions and advice that would be useful and of interest to your target audience.
3. LinkedIn Marketing and LinkedIn Company Pages
Make sure you have a good LinkedIn profile page that covers everything that you do including all of your skills and which links to your company website, blog and Facebook page etc. Also add links to any video that you might have etc.
Also create a Company page on LinkedIn (you need an email address on a registered domain to do this) and regularly post information, tips, offers, competitions and advice that would be useful and of interest to your target audience via your LinkedIn company page and your regular posts facility on LinkedIn.
Finally on LinkedIn regularly connect with lots of people in your target audience on LinkedIn (but not to many all at once though as LinkedIn can block you). Also join lots of groups full of your target audience and connect with them via the group (Something linkedin allows you to do more aggressively than just connecting with people).
Create a blog or ideally add a blog to your existing website or get a new website with a blog already included and start blogging regularly about your business, products and services etc.
This can help to improve the Seo of your website and get it associated with more keywords to help you get indexed more regularly the search engines and helping you to appear higher up and more often in the internet page ranks.
5. Keyword Content Marketing via content pages on your website
You should have an existing website or get a new website and create great keyword written landing pages for your business, as well as every single product and service and geographical area covered etc.
This will help to improve the Seo of your website and get it associated with more keywords to help you appear higher up and more often in the internet search engine page ranks helping you to get more enquiries.
If you need any help with any of the above please call: 07517 024979 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here at MA Consultancy we offer three different types of Link Building Services to help increase the ranking of your website:
These Link Building Services are:
- Blogger Outreach Programme
- & Relevant Website Standard Links or Content on relevant sites with a Keyword Link
Costs for the Link Building Services Cardiff, South Wales, Wales:
You can get some of our Link Building Services Cardiff, South Wales, Wales for prices from just £200.
For more about the Link Building Services Cardiff, South Wales, Wales including the various different packages available, please follow the link or contact us on: 07517 024979 or email: email@example.com
This page was written and posted “By Mike Armstrong”
New post on Online Marketing Hub
Can You Grow Your Organic Traffic Without Generating Content?
Did you know that the average web page that ranks on page 1 of Google has at least 2,000 words of text?
That means if you want more organic traffic, you have to create tons of content, right?
What if you don’t have a content bone in your body—does that mean that you’re out of luck when it comes to your rankings?
There has to be another solution…
Luckily for you, there is. Before we get into that, let’s first dispel the myth that you have to generate more content to grow your organic traffic.
Does more content mean more organic traffic?
When you think of the best ranking sites on the web, which ones come to mind? Sites like Wikipedia, The New York Times, Huffington Post, and Mashable, right?
The reason all of these sites rank so well is because they have thousands—if not millions—of pages with unique content. In general, if you create more content, you’re giving search engines more keywords that will help them rank your site.
If you look at the image by SerpIQ, you’ll see that the average web page that ranks on page 1 of Google contains at least 2,032 words (see link). And when you look at the top three positions, you’ll notice that those web pages have at least 2,400 words.
When you start dissecting the keywords that most of these content-rich sites rank for, the majority tend to be long-tail keywords. Just look at Quick Sprout: 91% of my organic traffic is generated through long-tail terms due to the fact that I write content on anything related to marketing.
long tail traffic
But that doesn’t mean you can’t get rankings if you don’t produce content. Take UpWorthy as an example: they get millions of visitors from search engines when they rarely write more than 100 words of content on a page.
If you search for the phrase “unrealistic bodies,” you’ll see UpWorthy with the first spot on Google.
What’s even more impressive is that the body of the post contains only 55 keywords.
You may say that “unrealistic bodies” isn’t a popular search term. And it isn’t. But UpWorthy is competing with 19 million other web pages that also rank for that term. Which means they must be doing something right…
Plus, it’s not the only search term they rank for. They rank for 17,112 more popular terms according to SEMrush. And some of these terms are indeed popular… such as “Rosa Parks” or “Robin Williams.”
But UpWorthy still generates content
I know what you are thinking… UpWorthy only gets organic traffic because they generate content. And sure, they may not create as much content as Wikipedia, but to some extent they still create text-based content.
Airbnb, on the other hand, also generates millions of organic visitors a month, and they rank for competitive terms like “vacation rentals.”
If you look at Airbnb’s home page, what don’t you see? You don’t see much content.
Even when you look at listing pages, the only content you see is short descriptions and reviews, both provided by users. The user-generated content might be helping them rank, but it doesn’t perform as well as it would if it were Airbnb-generated content.
Just look at this warning I got from Google last year…
It shows that Google knows the difference between user-generated content and content created by the website owner. Still, Airbnb ranks for long-tail terms like “Brookstone apartment by Central Park.”
And if you want to see a site that ranks well but contains little to no content, check out WhitePages. Just perform a search, and you’ll see that their listing pages contain little to no content, yet they rank for competitive terms like “people search.”
So, what’s the secret to ranking high if you don’t want to focus on content generation? It’s backlinks.
Do backlinks help with rankings?
What Upworthy, Airbnb, and WhitePages have in common is they have a lot of natural backlinks pointing to their websites. When I compared them to QuickSprout.com using my analyzer tool, I saw that both sites have more organic traffic than Quick Sprout even though Quick Sprout contains web pages with more in-depth and longer content—over 2000 words per page.
If that doesn’t help convince you that links are important, consider this: Moz asked 120 search marketers what they felt impacts a site’s ranking on Google. Can you guess which factor they listed as most important?
As you can see from the chart above, links are the most important factor (see link below). Twelve out of the top 15 ranking factors were all link-related.
When you look at these popular sites that contain thousands of backlinks and little to no content per page, you’ll also notice that they have something else in common…
They have a lot of web pages indexed. Airbnb has around 45 million pages indexed; Upworthy has close to 10,000; and WhitePages has 105 million.
So, how can you grow your organic traffic without generating more content?
How to grow your organic traffic
Just like Airbnb, Upworthy, and WhitePages, you can get hundreds of thousands—if not millions—of organic visitors per month as long as you do the following:
Build more pages – whether your pages are content-rich or not, you need more web pages. The more pages you have, the higher your probability of ranking for more long-tail terms.
Make your pages count – if Google doesn’t like the content quality on your web pages, you will get slapped with a Panda penalty. To avoid this, you want to utilize technology that helps you create valuable web pages, like White Pages has done. Or you can choose to focus on creating user-generated content such as reviews, like Yelp and Airbnb have done.
Press builds links – UpWorthy, Yelp, and Airbnb all did a wonderful job getting media exposure. By getting mentioned on sites like The New York Times, not only were they gaining traffic but they were also building up their backlink profiles, which helped their search engine traffic. To get media exposure, you can either hire a PR agency or use a free service like HARO.
Be proactive – there are dozens of ways to build links if you are willing to put in the time. This article I wrote recently breaks down seven tactics such as leveraging Quora or using broken link building. And if you find yourself with more free time, check out this guide on link building.
Be patient – if you aren’t writing in-depth articles, your search traffic won’t grow that quickly. In the long run, you can still gain organic traffic, but don’t expect miracles overnight. I remember when I first started checking out Airbnb, they were getting over 100,000 visitors a month from search, and most of the organic traffic came from people searching their brand name. Things are different now, but it took time.
You can grow your organic traffic without generating content. It won’t be as easy as leveraging content marketing, but it is still possible.
Just look at companies like Apple, Microsoft, IBM, and Amazon. They all receive millions of organic visitors a month, and none of them truly focus on blogging. Instead, they focus on creating great products or services.
If you want to grow your organic traffic and you don’t want to create content, focus on building backlinks. It’s the best way to generate more search traffic, even though it is hard work.
How many backlinks does your site have?
For more including images and charts see:
Can You Grow Your Organic Traffic Without Generating Content page posted “By Mike Armstrong”
Are you a small or medium sized business in Wales?
Do you require more customers or help with you marketing?
If so we can provide the following Marketing Services:
A New Website – Website Design & Build
– get more customer through more engagement and more targeted content,
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App marketing services
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Social Media Marketing Services & Social Media Management Services
– we will manage your social media and build the following as well as plan and implant a content marketing strategy, so that you can get on with what you do best;
Social Media Advertising Services
– We can market your company, products, offers, videos, marketing literature, websites and SocialMedia accounts to help you gain more customers, via our own Social Media following of over 200,000+ engaged followers.
For more info on any of these Marketing Services for Small and Medium sized businesses in Wales please call: 07517 024979 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Marketing Services for Small and Medium sized businesses in Wales page was posted “By Mike Armstrong”
New post on Online Marketing Hub
Long Tail CTR Study: The Forgotten Traffic Beyond Top 10 Rankings
Posted by GaryMoyle
This post was originally in YouMoz, and was promoted to the main blog because it provides great value and interest to our community. The author’s views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of Moz, Inc.
Search behavior is fundamentally changing, as users become more savvy and increasingly familiar with search technology. Google’s results have also changed significantly over the last decade, going from a simple page of 10 blue links to a much richer layout, including videos, images, shopping ads and the innovative Knowledge Graph.
We also know there are an increasing amount of touchpoints in a customer journey involving different channels and devices. Google’s
Zero Moment of Truth theory (ZMOT), which describes a revolution in the way consumers search for information online, supports this idea and predicts that we can expect the number of times natural search is involved on the path to a conversion to get higher and higher.
Understanding how people interact with Google and other search engines will always be important. Organic click curves show how many clicks you might expect from search engine results and are one way of evaluating the impact of our campaigns, forecasting performance and exploring changing search behavior.
Using search query data from Google UK for a wide range of leading brands based on millions of impressions and clicks, we can gain insights into the how CTR in natural search has evolved beyond those shown in previous studies by
Catalyst, Slingshot and AOL.
The NetBooster study is based entirely on UK top search query data and has been refined by day in order to give us the most accurate sample size possible. This helped us reduce anomalies in the data in order to achieve the most reliable click curve possible, allowing us to extend it way beyond the traditional top 10 results.
We developed a method to extract data day by day to greatly increase the volume of keywords and to help improve the accuracy of the
average ranking position. It ensured that the average was taken across the shortest timescale possible, reducing rounding errors.
The NetBooster study included:
65,446,308 (65 million) clicks
311,278,379 (311 million) impressions
1,253,130 (1.2 million) unique search queries
54 unique brands
11 household brands (sites with a total of 1M+ branded keyword impressions)
Data covers several verticals including retail, travel and financial
We also looked at organic CTR for mobile, video and image results to better understand how people are discovering content in natural search across multiple devices and channels.
We’ll explore some of the most important elements in this article.
How does our study compare against others?
Let’s start by looking at the top 10 results. In the graph below we have normalized the results in order to compare our curve, like-for-like, with previous studies from Catalyst and Slingshot. Straight away we can see that there is higher participation beyond the top four positions when compared to other studies. We can also see much higher CTR for positions lower on the pages, which highlights how searchers are becoming more comfortable with mining search results.
A new click curve to rule them all
Our first click curve is the most useful, as it provides the click through rates for generic non-brand search queries across positions 1 to 30. Initially, we can see a significant amount of traffic going to the top three results with position No. 1 receiving 19% of total traffic, 15% at position No. 2 and 11.45% at position No. 3. The interesting thing to note, however, is our curve shows a relatively high CTR for positions typically below the fold. Positions 6-10 all received a higher CTR than shown in previous studies. It also demonstrates that searchers are frequently exploring pages two and three.
When we look beyond the top 10, we can see that CTR is also higher than anticipated, with positions 11-20 accounting for 17% of total traffic. Positions 21-30 also show higher than anticipated results, with over 5% of total traffic coming from page three. This gives us a better understanding of the potential uplift in visits when improving rankings from positions 11-30.
This highlights that searchers are frequently going beyond the top 10 to find the exact result they want. The prominence of paid advertising, shopping ads, Knowledge Graph and the OneBox may also be pushing users below the fold more often as users attempt to find better qualified results. It may also indicate growing dissatisfaction with Google results, although this is a little harder to quantify.
Of course, it’s important we don’t just rely on one single click curve. Not all searches are equal. What about the influence of brand, mobile and long-tail searches?
Brand bias has a significant influence on CTR
One thing we particularly wanted to explore was how the size of your brand influences the curve. To explore this, we banded each of the domains in our study into small, medium and large categories based on the sum of brand query impressions across the entire duration of the study.
When we look at how brand bias is influencing CTR for non-branded search queries, we can see that better known brands get a sizable increase in CTR. More importantly, small- to medium-size brands are actually losing out to results from these better-known brands and experience a much lower CTR in comparison.
What is clear is keyphrase strategy will be important for smaller brands in order to gain traction in natural search. Identifying and targeting valuable search queries that aren’t already dominated by major brands will minimize the cannibalization of CTR and ensure higher traffic levels as a result.
How does mobile CTR reflect changing search behavior?
Mobile search has become a huge part of our daily lives, and our clients are seeing a substantial shift in natural search traffic from desktop to mobile devices. According to Google, 30% of all searches made in 2013 were on a mobile device; they also predict mobile searches will constitute over 50% of all searches in 2014.
Understanding CTR from mobile devices will be vital as the mobile search revolution continues. It was interesting to see that the click curve remained very similar to our desktop curve. Despite the lack of screen real estate, searchers are clearly motivated to scroll below the fold and beyond the top 10.
NetBooster CTR curves for top 30 organic positions
1 19.35% 20.28% 20.84% 13.32% 8.59%
2 15.09% 16.59% 16.25% 9.77% 8.92%
3 11.45% 13.36% 12.61% 7.64% 7.17%
4 8.68% 10.70% 9.91% 5.50% 6.19%
5 7.21% 7.97% 8.08% 4.69% 5.37%
6 5.85% 6.38% 6.55% 4.07% 4.17%
7 4.63% 4.85% 5.20% 3.33% 3.70%
8 3.93% 3.90% 4.40% 2.96% 3.22%
9 3.35% 3.15% 3.76% 2.62% 3.05%
10 2.82% 2.59% 3.13% 2.25% 2.82%
11 3.06% 3.18% 3.59% 2.72% 1.94%
12 2.36% 3.62% 2.93% 1.96% 1.31%
13 2.16% 4.13% 2.78% 1.96% 1.26%
14 1.87% 3.37% 2.52% 1.68% 0.92%
15 1.79% 3.26% 2.43% 1.51% 1.04%
16 1.52% 2.68% 2.02% 1.26% 0.89%
17 1.30% 2.79% 1.67% 1.20% 0.71%
18 1.26% 2.13% 1.59% 1.16% 0.86%
19 1.16% 1.80% 1.43% 1.12% 0.82%
20 1.05% 1.51% 1.36% 0.86% 0.73%
21 0.86% 2.04% 1.15% 0.74% 0.70%
22 0.75% 2.25% 1.02% 0.68% 0.46%
23 0.68% 2.13% 0.91% 0.62% 0.42%
24 0.63% 1.84% 0.81% 0.63% 0.45%
25 0.56% 2.05% 0.71% 0.61% 0.35%
26 0.51% 1.85% 0.59% 0.63% 0.34%
27 0.49% 1.08% 0.74% 0.42% 0.24%
28 0.45% 1.55% 0.58% 0.49% 0.24%
29 0.44% 1.07% 0.51% 0.53% 0.28%
30 0.36% 1.21% 0.47% 0.38% 0.26%
Creating your own click curve
This study will give you a set of benchmarks for both non-branded and branded click-through rates with which you can confidently compare to your own click curve data. Using this data as a comparison will let you understand whether the appearance of your content is working for or against you.
We have made things a little easier for you by creating an Excel spreadsheet: simply drop your own top search query data in and it’ll automatically create a click curve for your website.
Simply visit the NetBooster website and download our tool to start making your own click curve.
It’s been both a fascinating and rewarding study, and we can clearly see a change in search habits. Whatever the reasons for this evolving search behavior, we need to start thinking beyond the top 10, as pages two and three are likely to get more traffic in future.
We also need to maximize the traffic created from existing rankings and not just think about position.
Most importantly, we can see practical applications of this data for anyone looking to understand and maximize their content’s performance in natural search. Having the ability to quickly and easily create your own click curve and compare this against a set of benchmarks means you can now understand whether you have an optimal CTR.
What could be the next steps?
There is, however, plenty of scope for improvement. We are looking forward to continuing our investigation, tracking the evolution of search behavior. If you’d like to explore this subject further, here are a few ideas:
Segment search queries by intent (How does CTR vary depending on whether a search query is commercial or informational?)
Understand CTR by industry or niche
Monitor the effect of new Knowledge Graph formats on CTR across both desktop and mobile search
Conduct an annual analysis of search behavior (Are people’s search habits changing? Are they clicking on more results? Are they mining further into Google’s results?)
Ultimately, click curves like this will change as the underlying search behavior continues to evolve. We are now seeing a massive shift in the underlying search technology, with Google in particular heavily investing in entity- based search (i.e., the Knowledge Graph). We can expect other search engines, such as Bing, Yandex and Baidu to follow suit and use a similar approach.
The rise of smartphone adoption and constant connectivity also means natural search is becoming more focused on mobile devices. Voice-activated search is also a game-changer, as people start to converse with search engines in a more natural way. This has huge implications for how we monitor search activity.
What is clear is no other industry is changing as rapidly as search. Understanding how we all interact with new forms of search results will be a crucial part of measuring and creating success.
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For more including images see:
This page about SEO and Page Rankings has been posted “By Mike Armstrong”
Double up for No Extra
Our Christmas / Winter Special offer is to double up on all of our Services for No Extra Cost. As you can see from visiting our online shop we offer a number of Marketing Services & Training Services for prices from jut £100. With all our services you can buy either time or actions and the double up offer gives you twice as much service as usual for no extra cost.
If you are looking for Marketing Services / Web Marketing Services or Marketing Training please select the service of interest and purchase via the online shop (remembering that you’ll get twice the time or amount than that quoted on the online shop).
If you want to discuss the price for a tailored marketing solution or a combination of a few of our services in one package, please call: 07517 024979 or email: email@example.com .
The double up offer is valid for the months of November to January.
The Double up for Free on Bargain SEO & Social Media Marketing Services this Winter page is written “By Mike Armstrong”
Welcome to the new special offer web marketing package for Corporate Companies for Christmas!
This special Corporate Web Marketing Package is available from now up until 31/12/14.
6 Months Web Marketing for £500 per month.
The Special Corporate Web Marketing package for Christmas would consist of:
6 Months of Local, Regional & National SEO services;
6 Months of Social Media Management;
& 6 Months of Advertising via the MA Consultancy & WelshBiz Websites, Blogs & Network of Social Media Accounts with over 200,000 followers.
To subscribe to the special Corporate Web Marketing package or to discuss your web marketing requirements further please call: 07517 024979 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org .
You might also like these other Christmas Marketing Offers.
The Special Corporate Web Marketing Package for Christmas page was written “By Mike Armstrong”
New post on Online Marketing Hub
The Danger of Crossing Algorithms: Uncovering The Cloaked Panda Update During Penguin 3.0
Posted by glenngabe
Penguin 3.0 was one of the most anticipated algorithm updates in recent years when it rolled out on October 17, 2014. Penguin hadn’t run for over a year at that point,
and there were many webmasters sitting in Penguin limbo waiting for recovery. They had cleaned up their link profiles, disavowed what they could, and were
simply waiting for the next update or refresh. Unfortunately, Google was wrestling with the algo internally and over twelve months passed without an
So when Pierre Far finally
announced Penguin 3.0 a few days later on October 21, a few things
stood out. First, this was not a new algorithm like Gary Illyes had explained it would be at SMX East. It was a refresh and underscored
the potential problems Google was battling with Penguin (cough, negative SEO).
Second, we were not seeing the impact that we expected. The rollout seemed to begin with a heavier international focus and the overall U.S impact has been underwhelming to say the least. There were definitely many fresh hits globally, but there were a number of websites that should have recovered but didn’t
for some reason. And many are still waiting for recovery today.
Third, the rollout would be slow and steady and could take weeks to fully complete. That’s unusual, but makes sense given the microscope Penguin 3.0 was under. And this third point (the extended rollout) is even more important than most people think. Many webmasters are already confused when they get hit
during an acute algorithm update (for example, when an algo update rolls out on one day). But the confusion gets exponentially worse when there is an extended rollout.
The more time that goes by between the initial launch and the impact a website experiences, the more questions pop up. Was it Penguin 3.0 or was it something else? Since I work heavily with algorithm updates, I’ve heard similar questions many times over the past several years. And the extended Penguin 3.0 rollout is a great example of why confusion can set in. That’s my focus today.
Penguin, Pirate, and the anomaly on October 24
With the Penguin 3.0 rollout, we also had Pirate 2 rolling out. And yes, there are some websites that could be impacted by both. That added a layer of complexity to the situation, but nothing like what was about to hit. You see, I picked up a very a strange anomaly on October 24. And I clearly saw serious movement on that day (starting late in the day ET).
So, if there was a third algorithm update, then that’s three potential algo updates rolling out at the same time. More about this soon, but it underscores the confusion that can set in when we see extended rollouts, with a mix of confirmed and unconfirmed updates.
Penguin 3.0 tremors and analysis
Since I do a lot of Penguin work, and have researched many domains impacted by Penguin in the past, I heavily studied the Penguin 3.0 rollout and published a blog post based on analyzing the first ten days of Penguin 3.0 which included some interesting findings for sure.
And based on the extended rollout, I definitely saw Penguin tremors beyond the initial October 17 launch. For example, check out the screenshot below of a website seeing Penguin impact on October 17, 22, and 25.
But as mentioned earlier, something else happened on October 24 that set off sirens in my office. I started to see serious movement on sites impacted by Panda, and not Penguin. And when I say serious movement, I’m referring to major traffic gains or losses all starting on October 24. Again, these were sites heavily dealing with Panda and had clean link profiles. Check out the trending below from October 24 for several sites that saw impact.
A good day for a Panda victim:
A bad day for a Panda victim:
And an incredibly frustrating day for a 9/5 recovery that went south on 10/24:
(All on the link below)!
I saw this enough that I tweeted heavily about it and
included a section about Panda in my Penguin 3.0 blog post. And that’s when something wonderful happened, and it highlights the true beauty and power of the internet.
As more people saw my tweets and read my post, I started receiving messages from other webmasters explaining that they saw the same exact thing, and on their websites dealing with Panda and not Penguin. And not only did they tell me about, they showed me the impact.
I received emails containing screenshots and tweets with photos from Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools. It was amazing to see, and it confirmed
that we had just experienced a Panda update in the middle of a multi-week Penguin rollout. Yes, read that line again. Panda during Penguin, right when the internet world was clearly focused on Penguin 3.0.
That was a sneaky move Google… very sneaky. 🙂
So, based on what I explained earlier about webmaster confusion and algorithms, can you tell what happened next? Yes, massive confusion ensued. We had the
trifecta of algorithm updates with Penguin, Pirate, and now Panda.
Webmaster confusion and a reminder of the algo sandwich from 2012
So, we had a major algorithm update during two other major algorithm updates (Penguin and Pirate) and webmaster confusion was hitting extremely high levels. And I don’t blame anyone for being confused. I’m neck deep in this stuff and it confused me at first.
Was the October 24 update a Penguin tremor or was this something else? Could it be Pirate? And if it was indeed Panda, it would have been great if Google told us it was Panda! Or did they want to throw off SEOs analyzing Penguin and Pirate? Does anyone have a padded room I can crawl into?
Once I realized this was Panda, and started to communicate the update via Twitter and my blog, I had a number of people ask me a very important question:
“Glenn, would Google really roll out two or three algorithm updates so close together, or at the same time?”
Why yes, they would. Anyone remember the algorithm sandwich from April of 2012? That’s when Google rolled out Panda on April 19, then Penguin 1.0 on April 24,
followed by Panda on April 27. Yes, we had three algorithm updates all within ten days. And let’s not forget that the Penguin update on April 24, 2012 was the first of its kind! So yes, Google can, and will, roll out multiple major algos around the same time.
Where are we headed? It’s fascinating, but not pretty
Panda is near real-time now
When Panda 4.1 rolled out on September 23, 2014, I immediately disliked the title and version number of the update. Danny Sullivan named it 4.1, so it stuck. But for
me, that was not 4.1… not even close. It was more like 4.75. You see, there have been a number of Panda tremors and updates since P4.0 on May 20,
I saw what I was calling “tremors”
nearly weekly based on having access to a large amount of Panda data (across sites, categories, and countries).
And based on what I was seeing, I reached out to John Mueller at Google to clarify the tremors. John’s response was great and confirmed what I was seeing.
He explained that there was not a set frequency for algorithms like Panda. Google can roll out an algorithm, analyze the SERPs, refine the algo to get the desired results, and keep pushing it out. And that’s exactly what I was seeing (again, almost weekly since Panda 4.0).
When Panda and Penguin meet in real time…
…they will have a cup of coffee and laugh at us. 🙂 So, since Panda is near-real time, the crossing of major algorithm updates is going to happen.
And we just experienced an important one on October 24 with Penguin, Pirate, and Panda. But it could (and probably will) get more chaotic than what we have now.
We are quickly approaching a time where major algorithm updates crafted in a lab will be unleashed on the web in near-real time or in actual real time.
And if organic search traffic from Google is important to you, then pay attention. We’re about to take a quick trip into the future of Google and SEO. And after hearing what I have to say, you might just want the past back…
Google’s brilliant object-oriented approach to fighting webspam
I have presented at the past two SES conferences about Panda, Penguin, and other miscellaneous disturbances in the force. More about those “other
disturbances” soon. In my presentation, one of my slides looks like this:
(See link below)!
Over the past several years, Google has been using a brilliant, object-oriented approach to fighting webspam and low quality content. Webspam engineers can craft external algorithms in a lab and then inject them into the real-time algorithm whenever they want. It’s brilliant because it isolates specific problems, while also being extremely scalable. And by the way, it should scare the heck out of anyone breaking the rules.
For example, we have Panda, Penguin, Pirate, and Above the Fold. Each was crafted to target a specific problem and can be unleashed on the web whenever Google wants. Sure, there are undoubtedly connections between them (either directly or indirectly), but each specific algo is its own black box. Again, it’s object-oriented.
Now, Panda is a great example of an algorithm that has matured to where Google highly trusts it. That’s why Google announced in June of 2013 that Panda would roll out monthly, over ten days. And that’s also why it matured even more with Panda 4.0 (and why I’ve seen tremors almost weekly.)
And then we had Gary Illyes explain that Penguin was moving along the same path. At SMX East, Gary explained that the new Penguin algorithm (which clearly didn’t roll out on October 17) would be structured in a way where subsequent updates could be rolled out more easily.
You know, like Panda.
And by the way, what if this happens to Pirate, Above the Fold, and other algorithms that Google is crafting in its Frankenstein lab? Well my friends, then we’ll have absolute chaos and society as we know it will crumble. OK, that’s a bit dramatic, but you get my point.
We already have massive confusion now… and a glimpse into the future reveals a continual flow of major algorithms running in real-time, each that could pummel a site to the ground. And of course, with little or no sign of which algo actually caused the destruction. I don’t know about you, but I just broke out in hives. 🙂
Actual example of what (near) real-time updates can do After Panda 4.0, I saw some very strange Panda movement for sites impacted by recent updates. And it underscores the power of near-real time algo updates.
As a quick example, temporary Panda recoveries can happen if you don’t get out of the gray area enough. And now that we are seeing Panda tremors almost weekly, you can experience potential turbulence several times per
Here is a screenshot from a site that recovered from Panda, didn’t get out of the gray area and reentered the strike zone, just five days later.
(See link to article below)!
Holy cow, that was fast. I hope they didn’t plan any expensive trips in the near future. This is exactly what can happen when major algorithms roam the web in real time. One week you’re looking good and the next week you’re in the dumps. Now, at least I knew this was Panda. The webmaster could tackle more content problems and get out of the gray area… But the ups and downs of a Panda roller coaster ride can drive a webmaster insane. It’s one of the reasons I recommend making
significant changes when you’ve been hit by Panda. Get as far out of the gray area as possible.
An “automatic action viewer” in Google Webmaster Tools could help (and it’s actually being discussed internally by Google)
Based on webmaster confusion, many have asked Google to create an “automatic action viewer” in Google Webmaster Tools. It would be similar to the “manual
actions viewer,” but focused on algorithms that are demoting websites in the search results (versus penalties). Yes, there is a difference by the way.
The new viewer would help webmasters better understand the types of problems that are being impacted by algorithms like Panda, Penguin, Pirate, Above the
Fold, and others. Needless to say, this would be incredibly helpful to webmasters, business owners, and SEOs.
So, will we see that viewer any time soon? Google’s John Mueller
addressed this question during the November 3 webmaster hangout (at 34:54).
John explained they are trying to figure something out, but it’s not easy. There are so many algorithms running that they don’t want to provide feedback
that is vague or misleading. But, John did say they are discussing the automatic action viewer internally. So you never know…
A quick note about Matt Cutts
As many of you know, Matt Cutts took an extended leave this past summer (through the end of October). Well, he announced on Halloween that he is extending his leave into 2015. I won’t go crazy here talking about his decision overall, but I will
focus on how this impacts webmasters as it relates to algorithm updates and webspam.
Matt does a lot more than just announce major algo updates… He actually gets involved when collateral damage rears its ugly head. And there’s not a
faster way to rectify a flawed algo update than to have Mr. Cutts involved. So before you dismiss Matt’s extended leave as uneventful, take a look at the
Notice the temporary drop off a cliff, then 14 days of hell, only to see that traffic return? That’s because Matt got involved. That’s the
movie blog fiasco from early 2014 that I heavily analyzed. If
Matt was not notified of the drop via Twitter, and didn’t take action, I’m not sure the movie blogs that got hit would be around today. I told Peter from
SlashFilm that his fellow movie blog owners should all pay him a bonus this year. He’s the one that pinged Matt via Twitter and got the ball rolling.
It’s just one example of how having someone with power out front can nip potential problems in the bud. Sure, the sites experienced two weeks of utter
horror, but traffic returned once Google rectified the problem. Now that Matt isn’t actively helping or engaged, who will step up and be that guy? Will it
be John Mueller, Pierre Far, or someone else? John and Pierre are greatly helpful, but will they go to bat for a niche that just got destroyed? Will they
push changes through so sites can turn around? And even at its most basic level, will they even be aware the problem exists?
These are all great questions, and I don’t want to bog down this post (it’s already incredibly long). But don’t laugh off Matt Cutts taking an extended leave. If he’s gone for good, you might only realize how important he was to the SEO community
after he’s gone. And hopefully it’s not because your site just tanked as collateral damage during an algorithm update. Matt might be running a marathon or trying on new Halloween costumes. Then where will you be?
Recommendations moving forward:
So where does this leave us? How can you prepare for the approaching storm of crossing algorithms? Below, I have provided several key bullets that I think every webmaster should consider. I recommend taking a hard look at your site now, before major algos are running in near-real time.
Truly understand the weaknesses with your website. Google will continue crafting external algos that can be injected into the real-time algorithm.
And they will go real-time at some point. Be ready by cleaning up your site now.
Document all changes and fluctuations the best you can. Use annotations in Google Analytics and keep a spreadsheet updated with detailed
Along the same lines, download your Google Webmaster Tools data monthly (at least). After helping many companies with algorithm hits, that
information is incredibly valuable, and can help lead you down the right recovery path.
Use a mix of audits and focus groups to truly understand the quality of your site. I mentioned in my post about aggressive advertising and Panda that human focus groups are worth their weight in gold (for surfacing Panda-related problems). Most business owners are too close to their own content and websites to accurately measure quality. Bias can be a nasty problem and can quickly lead to bamboo-overflow on a website.
Beyond on-site analysis, make sure you tackle your link profile as well. I recommend heavily analyzing your inbound links and weeding out unnatural links. And use the disavow tool for links you can’t remove. The combination of enhancing the quality of your content, boosting engagement, knocking down usability obstacles, and cleaning up your link profile can help you achieve long-term SEO success. Don’t tackle one quarter of your SEO problems. Address
all of them.
Remove barriers that inhibit change and action. You need to move fast. You need to be decisive. And you need to remove red tape that can bog down
the cycle of getting changes implemented. Don’t water down your efforts because there are too many chefs in the kitchen. Understand the changes that need to be implemented, and take action. That’s how you win SEO-wise.
Summary: Are you ready for the approaching storm?
SEO is continually moving and evolving, and it’s important that webmasters adapt quickly. Over the past few years, Google’s brilliant object-oriented approach to fighting webspam and low quality content has yielded algorithms like Panda, Penguin, Pirate, and Above the Fold. And more are on their way. My advice is to get your situation in order now, before crossing algorithms blend a recipe of confusion that make it exponentially harder to identify, and
then fix, problems riddling your website.
Now excuse me while I try to build a flux capacitor. 🙂
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The SEO News & Advice page was posted “By Mike Armstrong” to the SEO Blog category.