Digital Marketing

Jan 25, 2011

Google is going to fight search engine spam sites in 2011

A few days ago, Google announced that they are going to fight search engine spam stronger than before:

"We're evaluating multiple changes that should help drive spam levels even lower, including one change that primarily affects sites that copy others' content and sites with low levels of original content.

We'll continue to explore ways to reduce spam, including new ways for users to give more explicit feedback about spammy and low-quality sites."

What exactly is Google going to do? Could Google consider your website spam?

1. Google might downrank content farms

Websites with low quality content that has been created to get clicks for AdSense ads might have a hard time in the coming months:

"As pure webspam has decreased over time, attention has shifted instead to content farms, which are sites with shallow or low-quality content. [...]

We hear the feedback from the web loud and clear: people are asking for even stronger action on content farms and sites that consist primarily of spammy or low-quality content."

If your websites mainly exist to display Google AdSense then your site might lose its rankings on Google. Google makes it clear that running AdSense ads won't help the sites to remain in the index:

"One misconception that we've seen in the last few weeks is the idea that Google doesn't take as strong action on spammy content in our index if those sites are serving Google ads. To be crystal clear:

* Google absolutely takes action on sites that violate our quality guidelines regardless of whether they have ads powered by Google;
* Displaying Google ads does not help a site's rankings in Google; and
* Buying Google ads does not increase a site's rankings in Google's search results."

2. Google might enable you to tag other websites as spam

In an online discussion a user asks about the possibility for personal domain blacklists for Google accounts? Users might be given the option to remove sites from their own search results.

Google's Matt Cutts indicates that this might be an option for the near future:

"We've definitely discussed this. Our policy in search quality is not to pre-announce things before they launch. If we offer an experiment along those lines, I'll be among the first to show up here and let people know about it."

3. It will be more difficult to get high rankings with clone sites

Many spammers clone the content of websites to get high rankings for the long tail keywords that are listed on these pages. For example, some people scraped the contents of Google Groups and actually got higher rankings than the original Google Groups pages in Google's search results.

Matt Cuts also comments on that issue:

"I've been tracking how often this happens over the last month. It's gotten much, much better, and one additional algorithmic change coming soon should help even more. I'm not saying that a clone will never be listed above SO, but it definitely happens less often compared to a several weeks ago."

What can you do to make sure that your website won't be downranked?

If you have a regular website with regular content then there's nothing that you have to worry about. As long as your website has good content and good backlinks, Google will give it high rankings in the search results.

You should not try to game Google's algorithm with scraped content and you should not take any optimization shortcuts. Optimizing your website for users and search engines takes some time. If you want to get lasting results, you should use ethical search engine optimization methods.

Jan 21, 2011

What Is Three-Way Linking All About?

The talk over linking and the value it has to your website has intensified over the past few years with no one truly being able to tell which is most efficient. There are one way links, two way links and three way links, but the only people that honestly know which is best for you is Google. The problem is that Google has taken it upon themselves to keep everyone in the dark on this.

The newest form of back links to come about is three way linking. In simplest terms, three way linking is when Site A links to Site B, Site B links to Site C and Site C links to Site A. The problem with getting back links using this method is that you have to be able to trust everyone that links with you.

With two way links, you have to be able to trust one person and hope that they will truthfully put your link on their site. With three way links there are more people to trust with that much more of a chance that someone will try to cheat you. If one person breaks the chain and cheats you out of your rightful link, the whole circle is ruined.

It doesn’t take a great amount of time or effort to get one or two way links, but it can become a little more confusing with three way links. The reason being is that there is more to calculate and record to make sure your links are being placed on other people’s websites. If you get a number of different three way links going, it becomes almost impossible to keep track.

Although it isn’t too difficult, the most time consuming part is initiating the trade. You have to research and find your qualified candidates to be involved in the exchange and then contact them. Once you contact them, you will probably have to explain why a three way link exchange will be more beneficial than a simple two way link exchange. Because of this, be prepared to explain with details and statistics about how you all will benefit.

After that, you may want to consider bringing up the trust factor. While it isn’t the end of the world if you get cheated out of a back link, it can be frustrating to go through the entire process only to find out that you don’t even have a link pointing back to you. If you can bring up the trust factor without threatening anybody, you will have a better chance at building an efficient three way link exchange.

Three way links can be a great way to build back links for your website. The only risk is that there are more chances for a website to back out or cheat you from a link. As long as you research and find trustworthy people, three way links can be extremely beneficial for your website.

Free Directories To Submit To: Get Hundreds Of Inbound Links

Are you looking for free directories to submit to? There are literally thousands of web directories available today. Almost every day a new web directory is being created and it is difficult to judge the quality and relevance of these websites. But you never know which website will be ranked high by the search engines when the next round of indexing happens.

Today the site may be free and ranked low but next week the same site may be ranked high in the search engines with high page rank and become a paid service! So, how to judge free directories to submit to?

Here are some factors to help you judge the free web directories

1. Are the directories search engine friendly?
2. Do the web directories provide static text links to the website? Many directories use javascripts, which are not search engine friendly. So you won't get any SEO benefit. But if it a high traffic web directory then you can still consider placing your link on the web directory to get targeted traffic.
3. Has the directory been around for a long time? Search engines value older directories more than newbie sites.
4. Quality of the web directory.
5. Quality of sites linking to the directory.
6. Human edited directory, response time to questions.
7. Are the directories listed in the top search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN?

A Few Top Directories That Are Search Engine Friendly - The Open Directory Project - Yahoo Directory - Best of The Web Directory - MSN Small Business Directory - Joe Ant - Ty

Some are free directories to submit to and others accept only paid listings. Some like DMOZ are difficult to get into but once your site is listed you can expect a big boost in your rankings and traffic.

Many of the directories on the list are highly regarded by the search engines and getting listed on them gives your site more credibility, visibility and a better chance to get higher ranks in the search engines.

These directories are crawled frequently so your sites will be indexed lot quicker. These one-way links are much better than reciprocal links in terms of seo value and your site is sure to rank better in the search engines. With thousands of free directories to submit to you can get tons of one-way links pointing your way some of them from top-quality web directories. With so many links search engines have to take note and your rankings will dramatically improve.

By including attention grabbing titles and key word descriptions your website might even get some amount of traffic. Most important if the human editors do not modify your descriptions you can a lot of links for the desired keywords and phrases, which gives you an added boost in the search engines.

Do not neglect the newer web directories especially niche directories even if they do not have page rank or search engine rankings. Niche directories that cater to your particular area of interest will tend to attract people who are looking for what you are offering. So it is a better match and you can expect highly targeted traffic to your website. So, when you are looking for free directories to submit to do not neglect the niche directories.

Why Link Farm and FFA Submissions Are a Bad Idea

Before search engines got smart, a site's page ranking was based on keyword match-ups. When webmasters stock-piled their sites with keywords, the wrong sites were getting too much attention. Google decided to focus on a site's "popularity" instead. The number of incoming links became the focus of PR criteria. The theory behind this system was that if a lot of sites link to another site, that site would contain valuable content.

But again, webmasters got sneaky. With this trend, we began to see the evolution of "Link Farms" and "Free-for-All" (FFA) sites. These pages were essentially a gigantic collection of (often times) useless links. In most cases, the sites were not categorized or descriptive. They became a place for webmasters to dump their links in order to make their site appear more popular.

This strategy worked for some time, but soon search engines caught on. "Link Farms" and FFA sites served no purpose to web users. Since Google prides itself on catering to web users (and NOT developers), a solution had to be formed. "Link Farms" were cluttering up the web and making it more difficult for users to find valuable resources online.

Google soon began to rate the quality of the links that determined a site's "link pop." "Link Farms" and FFA sites became categorized as spam, and thus contributed no value to a site's link popularity.

Today, submitting to a "Link Farm" or FFA site can be harmful to your website's reputation. Google takes a strong stance against these kinds of link pages. At best, the "Link Farm" will drag down your ranking and make it harder for the valuable sites to work in your favor. At worst, your site will be BANNED altogether for using spam sites to attempt to generate traffic. This is a very real possibility.

"Link Farms" and FFA sites present very little value. Although it may sound tempting, users will not obtain quality or relevant links from the submission. Plus, who wants to see their link among "junk" websites for adult entertainment, dating sites, and casinos? Submitting to "Link Farms" doesn't contribute to your credibility and is just not worth the risk.

Instead, spend your time submitting to credible directories and exchanging links with other relevant sites. The process can be time-consuming, but it is the only way to generate safe, site-specific traffic.

The Advantages of Using Directories to Build "Link Pop"

Link popularity, often called "link pop," can be a tricky thing. In the good old days, search engines determined a site's page ranking by the number of times the keywords appeared in the text. Soon webmasters learned that if they squeezed an obnoxious amount of keywords into their site's text, the site would eventually gain a very high page ranking.

Since search engines like Google gain users by providing quality webpage matches, they had to get smarter than the web developers. Google decided that instead of keyword match-ups only, page ranking would also be based on pages that had the most links to them. In theory, a website that has a bunch of other pages linking to it must be good, right? Wrong.

Webmasters would create these links any way that they could. "Link Farms" began developing and cluttering up the web. A link farm is essentially a page with a gazillion links on it, often in no particular order. These pages were virtually useless to web users, yet web designers were using them to gain better page rankings.

The fact is that search engines aren't designed for web developers. They are designed for web users. Thus, when the "best" sites weren't showing up first, Google had to try yet another strategy.

This time links would be categorized. The best kind of link is an "Inbound Link". An Inbound Link means another site connects to your site. This usually happens because the webmaster of the site feels that the information on your site is valuable to his or her readers. Your page ranking will improve noticeably if the website has a higher page ranking than yours and if there is obvious relevance between the two sites.

An "Outbound Link" means that your site offers a link to another site. Outbound links don't hurt your popularity if they are relevant sites, but it is better to limit your outbound links to your absolute favorites. It is always better to have more inbound links than outbound ones.

Then we have "Reciprocal" and "Non-Reciprocal" links. A reciprocal link means that two sites connect to each other. A non-reciprocal link is a one-way link. Search engines are able to tell the difference between reciprocal and non-reciprocal links. Obviously non-reciprocal links are more credible because there is no direct benefit to the linker, and will thus increase your link popularity.

In order to create "link pop," you should focus on creating as many inbound non-reciprocal links as possible. One of the best ways to do this is through link directories. Essentially, a link directory provides users with a collection of links organized by topic. There are thousands of directories to choose from. DMOZ and Yahoo! are the most heavily weighted.

Directories exist solely to provide users with valuable resources. They are edited and organized by humans, so appearing in a directory can be a measure of a site's worth. If your website is listed, it is viewed by users as a credible source.

Get your link on as many directories as you can! There are two benefits. It will generate targeted traffic to your site, and it can improve your page ranking. When choosing a directory, look for the ones that allow you to add your own title and/or keywords. Choose directories that have less than 50 listings per page, and make sure the addition can improve your page ranking.

The submission process can be frustrating and time-consuming. The upside is, once your link is posted your "link pop" can shoot through the roof.

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