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Thursday, May 03, 2012

Google Algorithm Updates Disrupt The SEO Industr.

Recent changes by Google focusing on 'black hat spam techniques' has left the SEO industry reeling from the barrage of attacks, penalties, and position changes they [Google] have made. Google started a new wave of attacks eater this year and as soon as web owners started to feel the effects of the first punch, they were bombarded with an encore of uppercuts, left jabs and knock out punches which has left the entire SEO industry in shock, very much in panic mode and most defiantly on the run.

The calendar over the last few months is packed with spicy updates called Penguin, Venice, Panda and many unnamed updates too. Internally I suspect this is all refereed to as codename 'Operation Panic'. It's like a war room has been set up with Larry Page at the helm directing his army into battle with the goal of wiping out the effects of manipulative techniques by crafty SEO'ers which trick the algorithm into placing companies at the top of the FREE search results when instead those companies should be paying Google for that traffic!

There is no love on either side of this battle, this is business and were talking about big numbers like $30 Billion a year on Googles side alone. That's a big cake, with companies typically spending some of their traffic generation budget on PPC advertising (Google) and others who pay SEO'ers the same or less to get top in the FREE listings. So we can assume the Search industry is worth $100 billion a year, (give or take a few billion) and when Google eliminates companies from 'gaming their system' the more they [Google] make in PPC ad revenue.

And it is a clever system too, with small companies typically becoming hooked on Google search traffic only to later find (when they are totally helpless) they have falling victim to one of the many penalties and traps laid by Google who then hang them out to dry.

The very latest trap has caused over 3% of companies search results to disappear (a huge portion of the web) and is called the Over Optimization Penalty. When added to the effects of previous updates this year we see that probably more than 20% of the companies who were previously in top positions in January are no longer visible. This is a major victory for Google and no wonder the SEO industry is in shock.

The Over Optimization Penalty refers to a practice where SEO'ers would keyword stuff the anchor text in links pointing to a domain, so if a company wanted to get to the top of search for "Cheap Insurance" they would stuff the same words in the anchor texts of a bunch of manipulated links to that domain. Of course as with all loopholes fragrant abuse has taken place, which has tricked many companies into following others into this hole. As always jealously leads people to research top positions and when they see large numbers of those top positions using the same practice they tend to follow, in this case with devastating results.

In the last few weeks this penalty has taken effect and many are now totally confused as to what links they need to remove. Since this is an algorithm change there is no point doing re-inclusion requests (begging Google for forgiveness) that wont work, instead changes have to be made (manipulated links removed) and then companies have to wait and pray for the best. However when you have thousands of back links pointing to your domain knowing which links to remove is no easy task. Removing the wrong ones is only going to make the situation worse, so forensic link audits are necessary to work out exactly which links are causing the problems.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Facts of the week: Google and latent semantic analysis
Rumor in search engine forums has it that Google is giving more weight to latent semantic indexing (LSI) in its latest ranking algorithm update.
What is latent semantic indexing?

LSI means that a search engine tries to associate certain terms with concepts when indexing web pages. For example, Paris and Hilton are associated with a
woman instead of a city and a hotel, Tiger and Woods are associated with golf.

Google has been using this concept to determine suitable ads for its AdSense service for some time now. It seems that Google is now also using this concept
to improve the quality of its search results.

If you search for a keyword on Google and add a tilde ~ before the search term, then you get an idea of what Google thinks about a search term.

For example, if you do a semantic search for phone, Google returns Nokia as the first result. A normal search for phone returns different results. Adding a tilde
to the search term seems to instruct Google to do a semantic search.

Why is this important to your SEO activities?

If Google uses this concept in its ranking algorithm (which is very likely) then its advisable that you don't focus on a single keyword, but on a set of related
keywords with your search engine optimization activities.

You should optimize some of the pages on your web site for keywords that are synonymous with the keyword you're targeting.

When you exchange links with other web sites, make sure that you vary the link text to your web site so that it contains different variations and synonyms
of your keyword.

Where can I find further information about LSI?

If you're interested in the theories behind this concept, the following pages can give you detailed information:
Latent semantic indexing helps search engines to find out what a web page is all about. It basically means to you that you shouldn't focus on a single keyword
when optimizing your web pages and when getting links.
to visit:
The web pages on your web site should be related and focus mainly on a special topic while using different words that describe the topic. Use variations of
your keyword and synonyms. That makes it easier for search engines to determine the topic of your site.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Calendar on Keywords

For long-term keyword analyses, I gather monthly data from Google, Overture, and Wordtracker. Additionally, I review related search results on Yahoo,, and Teoma. By researching all these resources, instead of just one, I can determine which specific keyword phrases are the most popular on all these Web search engines and look for a common denominator. I can also see subtle differences among the engines. Some searches are more popular on one engine than another.

For many sites, creating a keyword phrase calendar is a good strategy. The construction industry tends to be more active in warmer months than colder ones. The cold and flu season is coming up in the U.S., which has implications for pharmaceutical and health-related Web sites.

By creating a calendar based on keyword research over years, site owners know what pages to create for timely "natural" search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns and what ads to create for pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

How To Start An Internet Business - Meta Tags and Keyword Density

Okay, you have a domain name, layout and content. Now we get to a step that will go a long way to determining how the site will rank. Yes, we are going to focus on two infamous topics, meta tags and keyword density.

Meta Tags

Meta tags are html code blocks that "tell" a search engine what is on a particular site page. Meta tags are not visible on the pages of your site, but search engine robots focus on them. Three different meta tags should appear on each page of your site.

The meta title essentially acts as the title of the page. When you do a search on Google, the meta title is the first underlined text in each listing. The content of the meta title should include the keywords you want to push with the most important being listed first. Each word should be included no more than 2 times and the total word count should not exceed 13 words.

The meta description tag allows for an expansion of the meta title. Use short sentences to emphasize the who, what, why and where of your business. Make absolute sure that every keyword in your title also appears in your description.

One of the aggravating things about search engines is how they use meta descriptions. Most pick only certain sections of your description. When your link appears in the search results, the description may make little if any sense. Unfortunately, there isn't much you can do about it.

Historically, meta keywords were a very important factor in the ranking process. How times have changed. Google doesn't even look at them, while MSN and Yahoo give them marginal value. You should still use them, if for no other reason then forcing you to focus on your keyword phrases when creating content.

But, when submitting your page to the ranking process to get indexed the best you could do is to trust in one of the best Search Engine Optimization in the Net: Axandra seo tools. Here you'll find several especialized tools, some of them are free to download and free to use, just go and find out.

Keyword Density

Keyword density simply refers to how often keywords appear in a page as a percentage of the total text. A few years back, it was common practice to cram and hide keywords all over a page. You probably remember seeing pages with thousands of keywords listed at the very bottom. This no longer works and is considered spamming by search engines.

Much like the meaning of life, the best keyword density percentage is a hotly debated topic. Theories and opinions ranged from 1.5 to as high as 20 percent. We recently ran a test with a page that only had a keyword phrase on it, thus representing a 100% keyword density. The only search engine that reacted was Yahoo, which listed it at number 1 for 25 days before dropping it. Notwithstanding this test, the simple fact is that nobody really knows the optimal density, except for programmers at the search engines. Rumor has it that they are permanently locked away in the Himalayas, so there isn't much hope of getting any information from them.

Our experience is keyword density really doesn't matter if you have flowing text on the page. The point of your site is to sell, so write copy that accomplishes that goal. Once you have completed the copy, modify it to make sure the important keywords appear at least once in the first paragraph. Do not force the keywords into sentences; just make sure they appear at least once. We have clients with number 1 rankings on Google, Yahoo and MSN that have keyword densities ranging from .5 to 18.5 percent. Yes, these rankings are on keywords with lots of competition and traffic.

In Closing

In my opinion, meta tags and keyword density are mystified far too much. They are important factors, but the content on your pages is far more so. Be judicious with your content, pursue a targeted linking campaign and the rankings will follow.

Halstatt Pires is with - an Internet marketing and advertising company in San Diego, California comprised of a search engine optimization specialist providing meta tag optimization services and Internet marketing consultant providing internet marketing solutions through integrated design and programming services

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