Google Algo UK Brand Update

Google pushed it’s algo update in the UK this weekend, it leans heavily towards ranking big brands highly in the SERPS over the teeny tiny guys who took years to get there. Just one click of the mouse and boom, Big Brands up, people who have invested huge money in their rankings obliterated.

It’s a sad day for sure as it spells the beginning of the end of traditional SEO. If you though SEO was hard before, it has now entered a whole new dimension and the gravitational forces are ten times stronger. Many of the weaker SEO companies will be wiped out which will release some of the clients back into the SEO market. (Good for the better ones, bad for average ones with families to feed)

Sure many SEO tools are free, but links are not getting any cheaper and building a brand can take years and a good chunk of change.

I’ve put out my feelers as to how to turn your little website into a giant that can compete with the rest of them, and the answers I have been getting back are less than encouraging. Most people are saying “forget the short-tail, focus on the long-tail”. While this is a solution, it’s a pretty bad one as it means we’ll be targeting less traffic, just to stay alive. Personally, I will not stop targeting the highly competitive keywords, as I don’t want to miss out on that traffic. I will turn some of my sites into “amazing brands” and let them compete with the traditional companies that now occupy the lucrative spaces on Google.

I’ll be creating jaw dropping sites, with super content and usability along with incredible tools and then marketing the hell out of them. I think YOU CAN still compete with the big names, but you have to be highly creative and work your ass off to get those authority links. (This is obviously ideal for Google), and the long term future of your sites.

So don’t panic, there is hope but you’re going to need to sit down and work out a hard hitting strategy along with some aspects to your site that are very interesting for your visitors.

Social Media with a Twist of Business

Social Media is still relatively new and not understood very well and being successful is still something of a “dark art”. I think a lot of “social media experts” consider themselves a kind of artist. They write or build something pretty creative (if it’s going to be successful) and then promote it. If they get the mix of creativity and interest right whilst following the rules that you need to appeal to Social Media geeks then it will probably be a “success” and garner a high volume of traffic.

That’s kind of how these people sell themselves, “We’ll create something awesome and it’ll go popular and get a bunch of traffic and maybe some bloggers will link to it” – and that’s where it ends for most people selling their “Social Media Expert” services.

There is usually one vital element missing: Business. What’s the point or the end game? Well, I found a unique blog which makes sense of all this stuff and actually brings a side of sense and reality to social media.

The blog owner and writer is called Derek Showerman, looking at his blog and playing a bit of email Ping Pong, he seems to be a very switched on kid *ahem* (okay, he looks too old to get asked for ID) with an excellent business grounding who’s going to do great things in this crazy world of Social Media.

Social Media needs good people like this in the industry, this is for two reasons:

1. There are too many people that don’t know how to produce a good ROI for a client.

2. We need people that know what they are doing to produce positive results which will be good for the ecology of Social Media and bring a lot of good work in for the industry as a whole.

Happy Social Media Marketing!

Whacky Google Shakeup in the SERPS

Google is tweaking is algorithm as it does regularly, we seems to get one of these “large” shakeups every two one three months now, where the results are significantly mixed up.

However, I can’t believe what’s going on at the moment is going to last, the results are truly weird and have some irrelevance creeping in. For example:

1. A number of US based sites creeping in financial based searches and ranking well, this is totally pointless in the UK as we can’t buy their products.

2. Duplicate results for the same search on the same page. eg: “SEO” on Google.co.uk

This may just be testing, and this post maybe largely irrelevant tomorrow, but I do hope it changes soon.

Mauve Hat SEO

Mauve Hat SEO

We had a conversation in the office on how to get certain widgets, gadgets or any other “viral material” viral. We discussed various explosive techniques which would ensure that the project would be a roaring success and would get a gargantuan amount of media attention.

We decided to call it “Mauve Hat SEO” – now everyone has a particular take on what colour their particular hat is, and to be quite honest, there are way too many “White Hats”, “Black Hats” “Blue Hats” and every other colour under the sun. However, I seriously doubt anyone has reserved the “Mauve Hat” peg. Nor will they want it or have the guts to wear it.

In order to obtain the right to wear the special Mauve Hat, you need to use an interesting technique to get your “viral” project started. Now, what you have to do is the following:

1. Murder someone – Preferably, someone that does not deserve a place on this earth. E.g.: Mugabe, Bin Laden etc.

2. Carve the URL which needs promoting into the chest of the now deceased person, don’t forget to include the obligatory “Made By:”

3. Call the media and alert them to the body.

This should ensure that your URL gets worldwide exposure and your viral project is a success.

EDIT: Seth has done a post here explaining why you need to be different to get the results you require.

Happy Marketing ;)

Thanks to Aaron for original hat picture.

Local Websites Can Benefit by Targeting Local Areas

If you’re a small business and need customers desperately, you’re much better off targeting your website towards your local area. This is because as a very small business you probably do not have a huge Internet marketing budget and 6 – 12 months before the traffic and orders start to come in.

I often see successful small websites that are catering to small customers, that seem to rank really well without breaking the rules. Sites like this will do very well in my opinion in picking up highly targeted customers through long tail and relevant traffic. Who cares if they don’t appear for vanity terms, as long as it delivers the right traffic.

Place your most important products on your page and the areas that you service, it’s basic and simple, but you may just be amazed at the results it garners.

Google’s Best Spam Weapon is it’s Indexing Intelligence

Just a short post on how Google combats spam with it’s indexing, or lack there of. Anyone that’s been around for a while will know that it’s better to target long tail traffic for several reasons:

1) It converts very well
2) It’s easier to get that the competitive phrases

As your skill develops, you start to build these “mega spam sites” that offer little value to the web in general and are just built out of pure greed. You build them in hope of capturing a lot of long tail traffic, stuff that is highly unique, three four and five word phrases. Because, there are so many option and variants, you build hundreds of thousands of pages, as you try to cover every possible angle, as people searching for purpose built pages will almost certainly find yours first and visit your site. It’s a magnet for traffic and business.

And then you run into a problem…Google will only index a very small percentage of your site, and try as you might you just can’t get it to index a meaningful amount of the pages to deliver the traffic you so badly want.

If you are really on top of your game you can get around it without too much expense or time, but it closes the door to many spammers having a go.

Social Media Networks are Highly Effective at getting Rid of “Linkbait”

There is always a bit of chatter about what Google will do when Social Media Linkbaiting becomes so mainstream everyone will be doing it. Will they De-value the particular page if it has a high ratio of social media links indicating that this pages authority was driven by social media linkbaiting, or will they simply not trust a site that has “social media spam” signals?

Personally, I don’t think they will have to do a thing. The Networks are doing a very good job at stamping out what is deemed to be spam. Digg installed a toolbar to artificially inflate it’s traffic whist making it almost pointless to spam Digg anymore as lazy bloggers will be linking to the short Digg URL instead of the targeted one. Reddit has become heavily moderated and now deletes many stories, while others get too many downvotes to reach the from page. Finally, Stumble Upon’s algo has advanced quickly and not nearly as many stories are getting 5 stars and going popular. Also, Stumble Upons traffic is of a much lower quality that of Reddit or Digg (you didn’t think it could get any lower right!), but it can! Stumble Upon’s users are much less likely to link, that’s because the profile of the users is different to those of the other two main networks in that stories are random and forced and not chosen.

Of course, there are other networks, Plurk, Twitter, etc, but in our experience, these do not work well for “links”. I think “link baiters” are being forced to go and find new ways to get links while staying within Google’s guidelines.

How Google can reduce its paid link spam by 25%

I don’t know why Google hasn’t done this before, but it would be incredibly easy for Google to reduce its paid link spam. As we all know, Google is the master of FUD and has thus created a culture of fear amongst link buyers and sellers. Google and/or Matt Cutts could reduce the number of links being sold by sending out a friendly message to the link sellers through webmaster tools and through the contact details on their website. A friendly message might include:

“Dear Webmaster, we noticed that you are possibly selling links on your website. As you might know, selling links is against Google’s guidelines and you risk having your site penalised or removed from the index completely, this would result in your website not showing up in Google and you getting now traffic at all…”

Now, most people getting this message will **** themselves and would probably remove all paid links straight away.

There you are Google; your index now has far less spam than it did previously :)

It’s been a while…

Hey everyone! Sorry it’s been ages since my last post, it’s just that I’ve been incredibly busy with work (you know how it is, right?) and stuff. I’ve not forgotten about this blog, so you don’t have to worry about that and I promise that I’ll post something great sometime soon.

In the meantime, I’m still more than happy to take on new clients if you’re interested in doing business. Please feel free to get in touch via the email address on the Contact page. I look forward to hearing from you!

Linkbaiting – What does It Deliver?

If you’re new to linkbaiting and you don’t know how many links or traffic to expect, I’ve created a little list so you can compare my results with your own. I consider myself and my team as one of the best in terms of results.

Once you master the “technique”, link baiting becomes easy. You’re not going to get a hit every time you launch however, you should see a good percentage of launches become successful. Building links will become easy and you’ll spend your time launching new websites instead of endlessly chasing for small amounts of links.

This is a rundown on the methodology and some average results.

Launch:

Mainly through the main social networks, however, we also launch with popular blogs.

Success:

We get a FP for most of the launches we do on one or more social networks, a Digg FP will usually mean FP’s on most sites. On average 50% – 75% of our launches are successful.

Traffic:

Normally, at least 10,000 visitors, but 100,000 is not uncommon.

Links:

Usually, 100 – 1000 per launch, with 1000+ occasionally.