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In case you're new here, it's not everyday that you'll hear me disputing something Matt Cutts said.
In fact, I tend to quote him, and other official Google sources, more frequently than most SEOs, primarily because I feel many SEOs are out of touch with what Google's guidelines actually say, and out of touch with what we actually know about Google's algorithm.
But when I took a look at what the search results had to say about duplicate meta descriptions, pretty much every search result quoted Matt Cutts and then called it good.
So here's the thing.
When Matt Cutts says something about the Google algorithm, or something about Google's guidelines, you should take it seriously.
If, on the other hand, Matt Cutts gives you business advice, such as when he says things like "just create good content" (paraphrasing), you need to keep in mind that Matt Cutts is not a business guru.
So yes, Matt Cutts is the authority on what Google considers spam.
He is not the authority on meta descriptions, duplicate or otherwise.
Here's why that matters. (more…)
On the night of July 24, 2014, the "Pigeon" update hit Google's search results.
This update doesn't target spammy sites like Penguin, or content mills like Panda.
No, Pigeon does something very different.
It dramatically alters the landscape of the local search query, virtually spelling the end for Google's local listing pack:
The number of search queries containing a local search pack has dropped from 12 to 3 percent, a seventy-five percent drop.
Needless to say, this has caused a lot of movement in the search results for local businesses, with inevitable winners and losers as a result.
What many seemed to have missed about the update, however, is how this relates to Google+ (and social media in general) as SEO tactics. If you were counting on Google+ becoming some messianic tool that would allow Google to finally understand your true influence and authority, the news doesn't look good.
In fact, Pigeon is probably just the beginning. (more…)
Virtually every website has crawl errors, and that's not an exaggeration.
Unfortunately, this doesn't mean that you can feel free to ignore them.
In fact, 404s and other crawl errors can be disastrous for your site under some circumstances.
But before you rush out and immediately redirect all of your 404s to the home page, it's important to understand that this isn't always the right move either, and sometimes it's actually the wrong move.
So, let's talk about those pesky crawling errors, what they mean for your site, and what to do about them. (more…)
Websites and blogs are onto our game of guest posting by now. Under many blogs’ “write for us” guidelines, we’re being told that we need not apply if we’re just looking for links.
If you have been sending the same template to multiple blogs a day, chances are that your emails are ending up in someone’s trash bin. Editors get tons of guest pitch emails daily and have no reason to respond to one that doesn’t stand out. To get noticed in the field of other bloggers, your pitch has to be unique and tailored to every website you attempt to contact.
When it comes to sending a successful pitch for a guest post, customized content is key. (more…)
Whenever you move a page, you have two options: a 301 or a 302 redirect.
(Okay, yes, there are 303 and 307 redirects, but they're rarely used in practice since not all browsers understand them.)
So, the question is, which one do you use?
The answer is typically pretty straightforward. You should almost always use a 301 redirect. A 302 redirect does not pass any link authority to the new page (at least not reliably); it's all lost on the defunct page.
But is there ever a case where a 302 is actually the right choice?
That's what I'm going to talk about today. (more…)
There was a time, back in the dark ages of 2009, when "web 2.0 SEO" was the next big thing. Interest since then has...waned a bit:
Well, it was a number of things, but it was mainly Panda. In February of 2011, Google unleashed Panda, which was most likely a machine learning algorithm, trained on a set of manually chosen low quality pages. It identified some of the hidden patterns exhibited by low quality content writers, and it didn't take long for links from places like EzineArticles to become close to useless.
All those "web 2.0 properties," like Squidoo and so on started to look a lot less like viable link building opportunities.
Of course, anybody who was claiming to build links from sites like these for referral traffic and branding was either lying through their teeth or out of touch with reality. The update didn't effect many legitimate marketers, because very few of them were using sites like these. The same goes for any above board SEO agency who steered clear of such grey-hat tactics.
But today, I thought it would be interesting to revisit the state of web 2.0 link building. Does it still work? If so, what does that mean for the rest of us marketers and full-fledged businesses? (more…)
Most marketers' video promotion strategy goes something like this:
Step 1: Submit to YouTube.
Step 2: There is no step 2.
As you can probably guess, I think there's a lot more to it then that.
But today, I'm not going to be covering the more nuanced aspects of video marketing. Instead, I'm going to be pointing out something that should be rather obvious: YouTube is not the only place that people watch videos online. There are actually quite a few sites that let you submit your videos.
Surprisingly, there actually aren't a whole lot of lists online that tell you which sites you can submit your videos too.
And the problem with the lists I have seen is that they either detail every single site that has anything to do at all with video, or they organize them by nonsense metrics like PageRank. Sorry, but the PageRank of the front page of a video site isn't going to tell you anything about how much a link from the video is going to help your SEO.
In fact, before this list becomes some go-to place for every grey hat spammer who thinks that video submission is the new "article marketing," let me add a little disclaimer here. I would not expect a link from a video submission site to do much for your SEO, especially if the video isn't picking up any positive user behavior metrics and natural backlinks of its own.
However, I do believe that traffic from video sites tends to be much higher in quality that the referrals you tend to see from other sites, and you can really improve that click through rate by reminding viewers that there's a link right below the video.
So, I've decided to organize the following sites not by SEO metrics, but by Alexa rank. I know, I know, Alexa and all other traffic estimation tools suck, but it does still give you some indication of the relative popularity of these sites.
Alright, I think I've ranted enough. Here are the sites. Enjoy. (And you better. This list took a much longer time to put together than it will take you to browse through...) (more…)
Want to find out how much traffic a competitor is getting?
Well. Let's start with the bad news.
Google Trends? Don't make me laugh.
It's probably the best tool out there. They certainly have an amazing keyword tool, but they still underestimate the search traffic to my personal site by a factor of 2 to 5, and even the trend lines don't match up all that well:
No disrespect to SEMrush. Being off by a factor of 2 to 5 is damn good when it comes to estimating a competitor's traffic. There's no way they could have known that "the p-value formula" doesn't get searched for very often in the summer months, being a subject that only college students tend to care about. Nor could they have predicted that up to four fifths of my traffic is coming from obscure search queries they couldn't possibly have guessed in their wildest dreams.
I hate to say it folks, but the only way you can actually know how much traffic a site gets is to have access to their server logs or their analytics account. This data is not publicly available, and let's hope it stays that way forever.
Now for the good news. (more…)
It's neck and neck.
Through your amazing powers of persuasion and charisma, you have assured yourself the possibility of earning a link from one of two places.
One opportunity has amazing domain (or "site") authority, and the other one has exceptional URL (or "page") authority.
Through some bizarre hypothetical twist of fate that I lack the creativity to imagine, you can only choose to earn one of these links.
Which one do you choose?
Well, for starters, if you actually do have that much precise control over where your link ends up, you're creeping close to the edges of Google's Guidelines and you'd be wise to tread lightly.
That said, as an SEO, your strategy can change pretty dramatically depending on whether you think in terms of earning links from high profile pages, or links from high profile domains. In fact, this same line of thinking can have important implications for the way you approach your on-site SEO as well.
So, when all is said and done, where should you put your focus? (more…)
Now that everyone is into full-on summer mode, you probably don't want to spend your time in front of the computer searching for the best content. Luckily for you, we've gathered up our favorite SEO, social media, and content marketing articles from June into one convenient place. Peruse these informative posts at your own leisure this long July 4th weekend, whether on the hammock in your backyard or under the rays of the sun at the beach. If you're looking for the same great content the rest of the year, join us on Twitter, Google +, or Facebook. Enjoy!
If you haven’t heard of DuckDuckGo yet, you will soon. On Apple's iOs 8, users can switch their default search engine preference to the up and coming search engine option. It’s all about optimizing privacy, sidestelling filter bubbles and takes a stance against profiling.
Us SEOs put a lot of effort into increasing rankings. We spend thousands of marketing dollars creating link bait, weeks reorganizing the internal linking structure to best support important pages, and hours complaining that Target’s terrible category page or eHow’s poorly written post is still outranking our perfectly crafted page.