Google’s Matt Cutts: Feel Free To Use The Disavow Tool Even Without A Manual Action

google analytics links In a new video answer today from Google's head of search spam, Matt Cutts, he says that you can use the disavow tool even if you do not have a manual action. In which cases can you use this tool even without a manual action? (1) You tried to remove links but the webmaster linking to you will not remove the links. (2) You think you may have been hit by negative SEO. (3) You see links pointing to your site you do not want to be associated with. (4) You saw a link bomb attack and are afraid it might hurt your site. (5) You are afraid someone will submit a spam report about you. [...]


Google’s Matt Cutts On What To Do If Your Site Was Hit By Panda

google-panda-generic-featured Google's head of search spam, Matt Cutts posted a new video today talking about the Panda update. The question he tried to answer was, "what should a site owner do if they think they might be affected by Panda?" Matt's short answer to the question is to make sure to write high quality content, content at the level of published books or in popular magazines. Cutts explains that Panda launched on February 24, 2011 and this year has been integrated into the "indexing process" where the algorithm is somewhat baked into the normal ranking algorithms. The reason for this is because now the [...]


How to Recover When Your Content Is Stolen

dmca-google Last month, I shared a case study of a client I'm currently working with on a duplicate content issue. It turns out that this particular site had significantly lost rankings over the past year because of other sites "lifting" their content, often verbatim, causing the client's site to lose rankings through Panda updates. This is a common problem for content producers. You produce great content only to have other sites disregard copyright and repurpose the content on their own sites -- without attribution. I see this often in the case of associations and non-profits that may be producing val [...]


Google’s Panda Dance: Matt Cutts Confirms Panda Rolls Out Monthly Over 10 Of 30 Days

google-panda-featured At SMX Advanced, Matt Cutts, Google's head of search spam, announced that the Panda algorithm is still being updated roughly every month, but that update is rolled out slowly throughout the month. It is like a Google Dance, but in this case, a Panda Dance. What happens is Google will run the update on a particular day, let's say on the 4th of the month. Then Google will slowly push out that impact over 10 days or so throughout the month. Google will typically repeat this cycle over monthly. Google said in March that they will stop announcing Panda update because they were more of a rolli [...]


Study Finds Google’s Penguin Update Getting Stricter Over Time

google-penguins-computer-featured A study by Portent, an Internet marketing company, shows that Google's tolerance of spammy links to trigger a Penguin algorithm ranking drop has declined by 30% since the Penguin algorithm launched. The study shows that of the 500,000 links found, Google has been steadily reducing its tolerance for webspam. Now, Google is likely to penalize sites with as little as 50 percent suspicious links in their link profiles, whereas 80 percent was required when Penguin first launched. Portent analyzed about 10,000 links pointing at each of the top 50 sites on the 2012 Inc. 5000 list. They then cap [...]


How To Stop The Panic Before Asking “Have I Been Panda Slapped?”

[caption id="attachment_112063" align="alignright" width="205"] Image credit to ShutterStock[/caption] You may see a drop in rankings or traffic and immediately panic. Have I been Panda-slapped? Even now, as we look at the two year anniversary of Google's Panda Update, the likelihood is that you have not. Rankings and traffic fluctuate for many reasons, most of which are not related to penalties from search engines. But, how can you tell? Instead of watching rankings overall, watch categories of keywords. If you separate your keyword categories by topic, you can more easily spot trends t [...]


Infographic: The Google Panda Update, One Year Later

panda-year-infographic-featured One year ago, Google launched its "Panda Update" designed to filter low quality or "thin" content from its top search results. Below, our infographic produced in conjunction with BlueGlass covers how Panda works, what it impacted and the various updates from Panda 1.0 through Panda 3.2 that have happened along the way. After the infographic, you'll also find more information about the Panda Update ranging from in-depth analysis of how it works, "winners and losers" and well as recovery tips. (Note: An earlier version of this infographic listed scraper sites as something targeted by Pa [...]


Panda Update 3.0 Live & Panda “Flux”

panda-face-top-news On around September 27th, Google launched what's being called 2.5 of its Panda algorithm. On October 5th, Google's Matt Cutts tweeted: "Weather report: expect some Panda-related flux in the next few weeks, but will have less impact than previous updates (~2%)." Panda-related flux? Indeed, this seems to be the case, with site owners reporting Panda-related changes on at least October 3rd and October 13th. In several  cases, I saw sites with Google organic traffic declines on 9/27, recovery on 10/3, and decline again on 10/13. I talked to Google to find out more about the flux and what sit [...]


Google: Low PageRank & Bad Spelling May Go Hand-In-Hand; Panda, Too?

bad-spelling If your website and/or web pages have low PageRank, it's possible that they also suffer from poor spelling and grammar. Google's top spam cop, Matt Cutts, made the correlation between low PageRank and poor spelling in a Google Webmaster Help video just made public today. In responding to a question about whether spelling and grammar matter when Google evaluates site quality, Cutts says: "We noticed a while ago that, if you look at the PageRank of a page -- how reputable we think a particular page or site is -- the ability to spell correlates relatively well with that. So, the reputable sit [...]


Yet More Tips For Diagnosing & Fixing Panda Problems

search-results-interaction Here we are, five months after Panda and the only publicly confirmed Panda recovery stories are those that followed the Panda 2.3 update. This is notable because this particular update was one in which Google took actions to help restore some sites that were unfairly hit by the earlier versions of Panda. Google told Barry Schwartz about the update: "this update incorporates some new signals that help differentiate between higher- and lower-quality sites. As a result, some sites are ranking higher after this most recent update". So what is the formula for Panda success? It starts with und [...]


Google Panda Update 2.4: Panda Goes International, In Most Languages

panda-international-featured Google has just announced that their "Panda" rankings changes, first launched in the United States in late February and rolled out to English language indices internationally in April, have now launched internationally in all languages other than Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. Their post notes that for non-English indices,  this change impacts 6-9% of queries (vs. the 12% the original US English launch). This launch also includes a few minor changes to the English version of Panda, but shouldn't have a substantial impact. In their post, they say: For many months, we’ve been focused o [...]


Can You Dig Out Of Your Google Panda Hole By Offloading To Subdomains?

google-subdomains-dig-featured The Wall Street Journal has an article out today reporting that Hubpages, acting on advice from Google, has found that using subdomains seems to have gotten some of their content to recover from a Panda penalty. By moving some of their content to new subdomains, it either has escaped the penalty or is being assessed afresh. The article said: In June, a top Google search engineer, Matt Cutts, wrote to Edmondson that he might want to try subdomains, among other things. The HubPages subdomain testing began in late June and already has shown positive results. Edmondson’s own articl [...]


Why Google Panda Is More A Ranking Factor Than Algorithm Update

google-panda-generic-featured With Google Panda Update 2.2 upon us, it's worth revisiting what exactly Panda is and isn't. Panda is a new ranking factor. Panda is not an entirely new overall ranking algorithm that's employed by Google. The difference is important for anyone hit by Panda and hoping to recover from it. Google's Ranking Algorithm & Updates Let's start with search engine optimization 101. After search engines collect pages from across the web, they need to sort through them in demand to searches that are done. Which are the best? To decide this, they employ a ranking algorithm. It's like a recipe for coo [...]


Coming Soon: Google Panda Update 2.2

panda-face-top-news One of the bigger pieces of news -- certainly for webmasters and SEOs -- from our SMX Advanced conference this week is that Google will soon be releasing version 2.2 of the Panda algorithm update. Google's Matt Cutts confirmed that during Tuesday's keynote question-and-answer session with Danny Sullivan. Cutts said that the update has been approved, hasn't been rolled out yet, but that should happen soon. Improved Scraper Detection The next update will target a common webmaster complaint related to the original Panda/Farmer update: sites that scrape and re-publish content and are out-rank [...]


Hit By Panda Update? Google Has 23 Questions To Ask Yourself To Improve

sad-panda-featured Amit Singhal, Google's head of search, published a blog post on the Google Webmaster Central blog named More guidance on building high-quality sites. Amit's goal with this post is to have those webmasters impacted by this Panda Update, which rolled out internationally about a month ago, with some direction and guidance to help explain what sites Google likes and which they dislike. Amit said that he cannot document publicly the "actual ranking signals" but will share questions you should ask yourself and consider when trying to understand why a site was impacted by this update. Those q [...]


5 New Tactics For SEO Post-Panda

chess-board-featured I hear this question, in various forms, quite often these days: "What's up with Google now, post-Panda/Farmer/whaddayacallit? What am I supposed to be doing for SEO?" (Usually accompanied with a deep sigh, aggressive hand gestures, and/or grimacing.) It All Started With Caffeine "Caffeine lets us index web pages on an enormous scale." - Carrie Grimes, Google   If we look back a year ago, when Google rolled out Caffeine, which was (and still is) unprecedented in search, it was this infrastructure change that allowed for the dramatic algorithm improvements we've seen recentl [...]


Yellow Pages SEO In The Post-Panda World

This week at the Yellow Pages Association conference in Las Vegas, I will be leading a session on the state of search engine optimization and how local directories can benefit (or not) from using SEO strategically. For those of you who can't make it to the show, I thought I'd provide some highlights of my presentation. Since February of this year, Google has been rolling out an algorithm change (known as "Farmer" or "Panda") aimed at identifying low-quality pages and sites. As of last week, the update has been rolled out internationally and is apparently (in certain situations) using [...]


Panda 2.0: Google Rolls Out Panda Update Internationally & Incorporates Searcher Blocking Data

panda-international-featured Late February, Google launched a substantial algorithm change (known as "Farmer" or "Panda") aimed at identifying low-quality pages and sites. These are pages (often seen on so-called "content farms") with text that is relevant for a query, but may not provide the best user experience. (Google calls it a "high quality sites algorithm".) Today, Google has rolled this change out to all English language queries and made a few minor updates (with an estimated impact to 2% of U.S. queries). Live for All English Queries The original algorithm update impacted only U.S. queries. As of today, this c [...]


When Pandas Attack: Online Retailers Need To React

panda-featured We interrupt our regularly scheduled RETAIL SMARTS column for this special update on extremely rare, but deadly Panda attacks in the retail community... So this week, I was supposed to share the results from that 300% sales increase of that leather dog collar with nameplate example from last column, but this is a little more important. Stock image from Shutterstock, used under license. I was out of the country and out in the jungle the week the Google Panda/Farmer update hit. None of our sites or client sites were really affected, but that meant I had no real information on the dire [...]


Lessons Learned at SMX West: Google’s Panda Update, White Hat Cloaking & Link Building

An amazing amount of great information came out of SMX West this week. Below is a summary of some of what I found to be the most actionable and useful. Google's Own Words About the Farmer/Panda Update Google's Matt Cutts said that while the change isn't 100% perfect, searcher feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. He noted that the change is completely algorithmic with no manual exceptions. Blocking "Low Quality" Content Matt reiterated that enough low quality content on a site could reduce rankings for that site as a whole. Improving the quality of the pages or removing the pages alto [...]


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