Search News - 4/14 - Digital Marketing Agency

Google Plays Hardball with Paid Link Networks

By | Google News | No Comments

In their heightened quest to disband sites and services who try to artificially manipulate their search results, Google has signaled a devastating blow to blog/link networks, de-indexing a significant majority of site and its system of link networks.

This move comes to no surprise to some, as Google has a history of disbanding link networks. As highlighted previously on this blog an “over optimisation” penalty is being cooked up by Google tech scientists. Attaching your sites to such networks is a recipe for over optimisation but Google are increasingly effective in negating the source before even having to penalise a site. It does go to show that adopting a mass paid link strategy is far from sustainable. I believe long term site integrity is a lot more conducive to building brand equity than short term exposure, where your site could be flagged for unnatural links. The punishment? A simple warning, index penalties or being invisible (dead) to Google FOREVER.


So how do you go about building a legitimate link portfolio? Google assesses link penalties algorithmically. Things to avoid are linking to sites with little or no relevance or possessing minimal brand presence. Inversely too much exact match anchor text also yields possible penalties. It definitely is a tight rope of getting your link strategy right. You don’t want to be undertaking both activities at once, Google will come knockin’ at your door, y’all be in trouble!

Yes building links from legitimate sources can be a hard task and extremely competitive (depending on the industry) but with the right sprinkle of creativity and the strengthening of your value proposition to potential reciprocates, an effective ethical link strategy is very much possible.

“Over Optimisation” Penalty Coming Soon to Google

By | Google News | No Comments

Google’s Matt Cutts has announced that a search ranking penalty is in development, targeting sites that are “over optimised” or “over SEO’d”. This has heralded an impending win for firms that undertake ethical SEO practices and stemming the effectiveness of implementing “black hat” SEO practices.

In a panel at SXSW titled “Dear Google & Bing: Help Me Rank Better!” which also comprised of Search Engine Land’s Editor in Chief and Microsoft’s Senior Product Marketing Manager of Bing it was revealed that a penalty for the over optimisation of a website had been in development the past few months. With a proposed timeline of being introduced into the search results in April or even within the next few weeks, the main purpose of the penalty was to “even the playing field”. Sites which supply great content for users and engage in “SEO friendly” practices will be rewarded, where sites which lack usability, aesthetic appeal and/or an undesirable user experience due to over SEO will be penalised, relegated or even disqualified from ranking.

In 2009 Matt did a video on over optimisation penalties, stating there were none. Check it out.


Cutts elaborated they were making the GoogleBot smarter, identifying sites which make a great site and content, where inversely, focusing on sites which take advantage of the Bot, such as irregular keyword density and anomalies in heightened link exchange. The organic Google search results have always been a source of an “even playing field” where companies are able to effectively compete online versus competitors who may have a larger offline presence and marketing budget. I believe the introduction of the over optimisation penalty will only encourage the creation of innovative and creatively designed sites, making the online experience an increasingly more pleasurable one. Lets wait and see.

Google Remains the #1 Source for Search Traffic to Top Websites

By | Google News | No Comments

A recent report by Citi Analyst Mark Mahaney highlighted what most of us already know, top sites receive their traffic from Google. Received by Search Engine Land, the report identified that 23 of the top 30 websites obtain traffic from Google, scrutinising search traffic in six key areas focussing on the top five websites of each vertical. The key areas involved were Media, Retail, Travel, Autos, Finance and Health.

Google still beats Bing and Yahoo in Search Traffic 2012

Google still holds dominance over Bing and Yahoo in all key verticals

Though Google saw a 1 percent drop in comparison to January 2011, primary competitors Yahoo and Bing failed to make any significant ground, in January 2012, Google comprised of 16 percent of all traffic versus 11 percent from Yahoo and 6 percent from Bing.

Mahaney made comment that Yahoo’s stagnant growth in traffic is a positive sign where there is a market perception that the company/site is a “deteriorating asset”. Inversely these findings according to Mahaney are a “negative surprise” considering the market share gains made by Microsoft concerning the search site. In the past three years, Microsoft has been aggressive in its acquisition of market share, most notably its Bing product placements in prime time television shows such as Gossip Girl, Hawaii 5-0, The Vampire Diaries and How I Met Your Mother. Not remarkably subtle but effective in generating brand/product awareness it makes you wonder is this the best approach? Where there is a creation of market share without conversion to search traffic to show for it?

Check out the Bing Placement in this clip from Hawaii 5-0 below and you be the judge.

Google’s Privacy Policy Change

By | Google News | No Comments


The past week or so there has been a lot of angst directed toward Google following the announcement that they would be consolidating the privacy policies for over 60 different products into one global policy that would cover every interaction you have with Google on the internet. In response to this a number of companies including Microsoft and the Technology news website Gizmodo have quickly jumped on the Google bashing ship. Microsoft has published a number of newspaper adds essentially saying Google is evil, come use our products instead. Gizmodo, the eager to be controversial tech news blog that brought us the iPhone 4 leak fiasco a number of years ago also published a piece titled “Google’s Broken Promise: The End of ‘Don’t Be Evil’”.


Following this Google has issued a response in the form of a post on its public policy blog clearly stating what they do and do not do. Like two kids having a fight in the school yard Microsoft then replied to this blog with another that in simple English translated to “nah you’re the worst”.  To truly understand the impact of this change and ignore the sensationalist information around the internet you just need to stop and think for a second what Google is and what they are trying to do.


Image source


On one hand (some say the evil hand) you have Google the advertising company who collects information about its users so that it can then sell ad space to other company’s on the chance that people will click or look at the given ad. No doubt the more data Google has about you the more likely that you will be shown an ad that may interest you and thus click earns Google money. On the other hand there is the Google that provides a large variety of free services some of which have indisputably changed the course of the world.


So what does this policy change mean to you and I? At its basic level it means that separate Google products can now look relevant advertising data collected about users from other products. For example YouTube can now display ad’s based on what types of android app’s you download. Going back to that good Google bad Google I spoke of before, this change will now doubt make it easier for Google to offer advertisers targeted ad’s that have a higher likelihood of being clicked on. On the other hand Google is providing more relevant information to its consumers (ignoring the medium). For the average person, these changes will have no impact on them at all and the reality of this situation is like for most high profile items of news, there will always be someone there to sensationalise it for their own benefit (selling apps or gaining readers).

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