Archive for category Google

Tackling Google Over-Optimization Penalty

As if Panda and the news of deindexing weren’t enough, SEO companies and clients now have to contend with another vague and mysterious warning regarding over-optimization penalty.
As is the norm, whenever Matt Cutts announces anything, SEO industry sits up and takes notice.

This time Matt Cutts made an announcement on over SEO update

Matt Cutts hinted what he and his team meant by what over-optimization is when it comes to SEO. The main culprits are keyword stuffing and over the top link exchanges. Even if he had not mentioned these SEO tactics most SEO consultants may have guessed it correctly.

Let’s try to understand why these 2 particular tactics were mentioned by Matt:

Keyword Stuffing: For too long, SEO practitioners have been focused about keyword density. Even though there was no official word regarding it, even industry experts bandied out percentages which were accepted by SEO noobies as the holy grail of SEO. Everyone use a stuffed a keywords inside the tags and contents of their pages. No one even cared to question these figures. Gradually the stupidity has died down, but still we see websites stuff with keyword. Google has been quietly targeting pages which it thought were stuffing their pages with keywords.

What we will see now is much vigorous effort by Google to clean up the internet by targeting websites who have little content beside keywords.

Link Exchanges: Link exchange had outlived 3 years back but still many not-so-bright SEO companies have been persisting with this approach. Why? Probably this is a no-brainer activity which can be done by anyone with no skill set. Link exchanges evolved as one way link exchanges, two way link exchanges and three way links exchanges.

Google had stopped giving it much weightage in its ranking algorithms but now it seems that it will specifically penalize sites indulging in link exchanges.

Likewise, Google will also be targeting websites which are violating its guidelines for webmasters. It will keep an eye for signals which will indicate sudden increase in links, exact anchor text and artificial link profiles. Such signals are flashed when link buying and link exchanges are pursued vigorously.

So, if Google is tightening the screws for SEO companies and webmasters what are the options for them? If you ask me, I will suggest going back to basics.

One of worst things about on-page optimization was that we had to read keyword filled content which made no sense for a human reader. If one has to avoid this new penalty from Google, then he should make the content for humans and not bots.

This is perhaps the simplest SEO strategy one can use and which can never go wrong. Enhance the experience of your user with improved web design and content and you will notice gradual changes in your Google rankings.

The purpose of SEO was to optimize a website for human readers. Sadly, even the best intentions go horribly wrong. Till now, search engine bots have been fooled by keyword stuffing but the things are changing. Google is changing and evolving. Now, only the websites with relevant and human readable content will be recognized by Google. Though, this update can take many months, one thing is for sure – spammy SEO tactics won’t last long

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Panda 3.4 is here

Google has announced over twitter that Panda 3.4 is happening as of now.

Panda refresh rolling out now. Only ~1.6% of queries noticeably affected. Background on Panda:

— A Googler (@google) March 23, 2012

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French Court Fines Google $660,000 because of unfair competition

Court rules that giving Google Maps free is tantamount to abusing its dominant position

As Google gets more powerful, various voices are being raised over its money power and dominance. In such a case, a French court has ruled that the company is abusing its dominant position by making Google Maps free resulting in huge loses to a French mapping company.

The court asked Google to pay a fine worth $660,000. As per reports the French commercial court “upheld an unfair competition complaint lodged by Bottin Cartographes against Google France and its parent company Google Inc. for providing free web mapping services to some businesses.”

Bottin Cartographes provides mapping services for a fee and its clientele list includes Louis Vuitton, Airbus and several auto companies.
The French court ruling ordered Google to pay $660,000 in damages and interest to Bottin Cartographes, along with a 15,000 Euro fine. That means total damage from the ruling is about $680,000.

A Google France spokesperson says the company is still studying the court’s decision and reviewing its options, adding that Google is “convinced that a free high-quality mapping tool is beneficial for both Internet users and websites.”
This ruling can have far reaching implications as many critics and analysts have been saying that Google’s dominance over internet is squeezing out both customers and competitors.

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Google doodle Tribute on Microchip Co-creator Robert Noyce’s 84th birthday

Google home page today pays tribute to microchip co-creator and Silicon Valley’s one of the earliest on his 84th birth anniversary with a doodle on its search page.

Google doodle Tribute on Microchip Co-creator Robert Noyce's 84th birthday

Google doodle Tribute on Microchip Co-creator Robert Noyce's 84th birthday

To celebrate what would have been the 84th birthday of Robert Noyce, one of the founders of Intel Corporation, the doodle design shows a electronic chip with the Google logo as the circuit layout

Born on December 12, 1927, in Burlington, Iowa, Robert Noyce grew up in Grinnell, Iowa and attended the local schools. Even in his early days, he exhibited a talent for mathematics and science while in high school and took the Grinnell College freshman physics course in his senior year. He graduated from Grinnell High School in 1945.

Noyce, nicknamed “the Mayor of Silicon Valley” co-founded Fairchild Semiconductor in 1957 and Intel in 1968. He is credited along with Jack Kilby with the invention of the integrated circuit or as popularly known microchip, which ushered in the age of personal computers.

He died in 1990 in Austin, Texas, at the age of 60.

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Minor Google Panda 3.1 Update

Google’s tweet on 19 Nov said that a “minor” Panda update effecting less than one-percent of all searches has been effected.

Minor Google Panda 3.1 Update

Minor Google Panda 3.1 Update

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Google reveals curiosity about Sonia Gandhi’s health

Indian politicians & politics are discussed with great passion on Internet. So, i wondered what does Indian public wants to know about its politicians. I thought it will be fun to just see what keyword suggestions throws up. Maybe it will give us an insight in to the most popular searches.

I started off with Sonia Gandhi and here are the screenshots

Google search reveals curiosity about Sonia Gandhi's health

Google search reveals curiosity about Sonia Gandhi's health

Obviously people are concerned & curious about Sonia’s mysterious surgery which was conducted away from the media glare in USA.  There was quite a buzz about it in political circles too.

I will also conduct similar unscientific research on other politicians & events to find what Indian public searches

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Google Slips, Bing Up : A sign of things to come? has released US search engine market share statistics. The figures reveal what has been observed over recent months. Bing is slowlybut surely chipping away at Google’s market share.

According to Compete’s research, Google-powered search (which includes both Google and AOL) had 68.3% of the US market in August, down from 69% in July. Bing-powered search — Bing and Yahoo combined — held 31.7% of the market in August, up from 31% in July.

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Is Your SEO Campaign Built Around Algorithm Chasing?

Chasing Google?

Chasing Google?

Almost every online business nowadays has a SEO campaign with various rates of success. The success of any SEO campaign is largely determined by the targeted traffic it is able to deliver to the website. Traffic is increased by researching for the most relevant and popular keywords. Once the keywords have been selected, a website is optimized and a link building campaign is initiated. Hopefully, if dome correctly and consistently, all these activities result in a website rankings for all or many of its selected keywords.

But over the last few years, SEO has evolved. It is no longer about delivering traffic to a website but also encompasses analytics.

Usually, a SEO company will do the needful and deliver the traffic. If and when a search engine updates its algorithm, the campaign is tweaked accordingly. This becomes a never ending cycle where the bulk of efforts are spent on chasing algorithms. Rather than building a website according to your initial goals, the focus of an algorithm chasing SEO consultant is now what a site should be as dictated by the latest algorithm update.

With every algorithm, SEO consultant will be frantically making changes to the site’s SEO campaign but by the time SEO consultant is done with them next update m ay be around the corner.

Also, algorithm chasing means overwhelming attention on just one search engine at the cost of other search engines. This means putting all your eggs in one basket which is not a wise decision when you business depends overwhelmingly on your online presence.

Chasing algorithm means creating a one size fits all solution which takes in to account various signals which can affect the SEO of a site. But as we know such solutions don’t work across industries and niche. Such an approach can be a perfect recipe for disaster if followed to a T.

Chasing analytics is a better technique than chasing algorithms because it forces you to concentrate on much better and tangible statistics which make more sense.

Analytics involves focusing on your audience and serving them with best way possible. This is how search engines actually want the sites to perform in the first place. This also saves SEO consultant from always figuring how to game search engines or how to get off the penalty imposed during last update.

But analytics is only successful if you have considerable traffic. Without any traffic even the best designed and most UX friendly site may fail.

To get the best of any SEO campaign, a SEO consult should marry analytics with their SEO campaigns if possible. A traffic may not necessarily be converted in to sales and it’s here the power of analytics can be unleashed. Analytics can unearth user behavior and trend which can help a site convert visitors in to customers.

This will mean a much more successful website which doesn’t need to be tweaked with every algorithm update.


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Is Google acting like a crybaby?

Google’s David Drummond, Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer , moaned in his latest blog post about how other softwares companies like Microsoft and Apple are joining hands to make hurt its free Smartphone OS Android.

Numero uno of Internet – Mighty Google is behaving like a big bully who for once has found out the other kids in the school can fight back.

According to Google,

But Android’s success has yielded something else: a hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents.

They’re doing this by banding together to acquire Novell’s old patents (the “CPTN” group including Microsoft and Apple) and Nortel’s old patents (the “Rockstar” group including Microsoft and Apple), to make sure Google didn’t get them; seeking $15 licensing fees for every Android device; attempting to make it more expensive for phone manufacturers to license Android (which we provide free of charge) than Windows Phone 7; and even suing Barnes & Noble, HTC, Motorola, and Samsung. Patents were meant to encourage innovation, but lately they are being used as a weapon to stop it.

What Google is forgetting is that these companies are playing by the rules. Furthermore, as Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith tweet suggest, Microsoft had offered Google to join hands to buy out Novell patents, which Google refused.

Under these same patents, Google was later sued by Apple and Microsoft. It’s only fair on the part of Microsoft to protect its intellectual property.

Google’s whining doesn’t makes any sense because clearly in this particular case they wanted to have the cake and eat it too.

Google has lost an opportunity to really act like a leader and instead come out of the whole episode as a overgrown kid.

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Is Google benevolent on Link buyers?

Many webmasters complain that no action is been taken against websites that blatantly use paid link to boost their SERPs and page rank. It is common knowledge that a whole link selling/buying industry is flourishing.

Links from blogs and websites are sold and bought in large numbers. In a high profile incident, J.C. Penney was found to be indulging in buying of links on a massive scale to boost its search rankings on Google. Once the news came out in open, Google did penalize it briefly. After few months, J.C. Penney’s search rankings were restored to great extent.

Webmasters and SEO consultants have been wondering if buying links is a good strategy considering absence of any concrete action from Google. Though, webmasters have received notices regarding unnatural links, it is not that widespread as of now. These notices have surely not made much impact on link buyers and sellers.

Will we be seeing any further activity on this front? Will Google be able to curb this menace and that too without inflicting any collateral damage like we saw with Panda update?

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