SEO - 5/12 - Digital Marketing Agency

Google Dislikes SEO – It’s a Myth

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Outside of the Search marketing industry it might be sometimes thought that SEO is performed to ‘fight’ against search engines, like Google.  The natural thought progression might be to think that this ‘fight’ is a two- way street, with Google fighting back against SEO’s.


The opposite is actually true though – well, for ‘proper’ SEO anyway. It might be true that Google dislikes Black hat SEO, but then so should everyone. Black hat SEO manipulates Google search results, interfering with the algorithm which is (in theory) trying to deliver to you the most relevant and accurate search results. These practices are things that Google definitely IS against, and works hard to stamp out – for example with the penguin and panda updates.


White Hat SEO though is the opposite of Black Hat SEO. White Hat SEO is about improving websites to be better for the users and easier for search engines to read. White Hat SEO improves the search results by ensuring relevant sites are showing up, and Google doesn’t at all dislike White Hat SEO. In fact, Google encourages and supports SEO’s who use white hat techniques.




1. Google provides an SEO starters guide  with beginners tips that any website owner could follow.


2. Google has the following quotes in their help center


Many SEOs and other agencies and consultants provide useful services for website owners


If you’re thinking about hiring an SEO, the earlier the better. A great time to hire is when you’re considering a site redesign, or planning to launch a new site. That way, you and your SEO can ensure that your site is designed to be search engine-friendly from the bottom up. However, a  good SEO can also help improve an existing site.


3. They provide Webmaster tools, which helps you optimise your site for organic search


4. Google’s Matt Cutts liaises closely with the SEO community and speaks at SEO Conferences


Yes, some Black Hat SEO companies give the industry a bad name, but despite this, SEO is actually an accepted practice by Google and other search engines, and it is a big myth that they are against it.


SEO for Foreign Languages

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Optimising a website in foreign languages uses all the same SEO strategies as optimising a normal site, but sometimes there are slight nuances. There are also some tasks which you will have to complete in addition to your normal ones. Here we cover the most important differences between optimising for your native language and optimising for foreign languages.


Regular Tasks


Keyword Research

Just like we do separate keyword research for each English language country you optimise for (e.g. U.S. searchers looking for ‘fancy dress’ may be more literal than those in Australia), we have to do unique keyword research for any additional language we want to optimise for. It is no good to simply translate your English keywords – these might not be at all related to what users of that language actually search for.  Direct translations rarely work – an English language sign in our Shanghai apartment block politely asked residents “Please do not allow your dog to #&%* on the lawn” – I’m pretty sure they didn’t mean to use that four letter word.


Start your keyword from scratch, focussing on that particular language and a specific location.


Linking Strategies

The technical aspects of link building will not change depending on the language you use, but what will change is the type of places you consider for your links. For example, in China, microblogging and forums are very popular, whereas distributed content is less so. Do thorough research into the market you are optimising for to understand more about how they use the internet. Links using the target language, on sites within your target country, will be the most valuable by far.


Choosing your search engine

Here in Australia,  there is not much problem in putting most of your SEO focus on Google because Bing and Yahoo have such low market shares. However, in the US, the market share is much bigger, and so it is likely worth considering optimising for Bing as well.


When you go to other countries there are even more differences. Baidu grew to be China’s most popular search engine because it’s algorithm better understood the way the Chinese language works. In Korea, the most popular search engine is Naver, and in Russia it is Yandex. Remember to consider search engines other than Google, depending on the country you are optimising for.


Extra Tasks

Targeted Domains

If possible, it is better for your site to have a local domain in the country you are targeting. E.g. a .cn domain in China, rather than using the same domain for all your different countries.


Multilingual Markup

In December last year, Google introduced multilingual markup. The markup will help your user find the most appropriate content for them as well as helping Google understand who the target for each of your pages is.


On each page you can put a new tag

<link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”target language” href=”the link you want to send them to“>


<link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”cn” href=””>


If you need help optimising a site for foreign languages, give us a call for a no obligation discussion on how we could help.


SEO Explained: What are CSS Sprites?

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A wide range of people dabble in SEO: SEM marketers, web designers, developers, content writers, bloggers, just to name a few. Not all of these people will have a great grasp of development language (ok, except the developers), but it is very useful for SEO’s to have a good knowledge of the code on their site – in fact, some SEO tasks make it essential.


Have you ever used SEO tools or read SEO Blogs and wondered what some of it even means? Maybe it’s in Google Webmaster tools, your CMS, Google Page Speed Tools, SEOMoz, there  is a lot of technical stuff to learn.


Today we’re going to explain one tiny bit of that, and in the future explain even more tiny bits, so that slowly you can expand your SEO vocabulary and knowledge.


Today we’re going to learn what CSS Sprites are. You might have seen this term being bandied about with reference to site speed – but maybe you didn’t know what it meant. Hey, we were all in that position at some point, we weren’t just born with the knowledge of what CSS sprites were!


Google Page Speed Tools might recommend you to “Combine images into CSS Sprites”… what does that mean? Well a CSS Sprite is a single image file which contains lots of different images. So, for example, below, the image in red is the whole file, but we might like to use parts of that file, individual images, like the Facebook icon there in blue.

CSS Sprites example

So what Google is saying is, that instead of having the six icon images stored separately, you might want to make it just one big image file (or ‘sprite’), and when you need to use one of those icons, you just reference the area of that picture you want to use.


This will improve your site speed, because instead of having to make six different http requests to get those images, you will only have to makeone. Then, whenever you need to reference that image, you just use pixel measurements to say which part of the picture you are talking about.


Don’t worry, you don’t have to do all the hard work on this, there are sites which can help you create these sprites.


Now, even if you’re not the one making changes to the website, you can be the one making recommendations and sounding like you’re knowing what you’re doing!


Bing’s New Back Link Checker

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Today Bing has released it’s latest update to Bing Webmaster Tools  – code named Phoenix (which I think is a bit Google-esque). They include a new interface, some new SEO tools, and, most excitingly, a backlink checker called Link Explorer. Is this a replacement to the Yahoo Site Explorer, which was cruelly taken from us last year? Does it use the same technology? Who knows, but there are some major differences.


Simply log in to your webmaster tools, and in the left hand menu you can see the link to the tool like this;


Bing Link Explorer

Note that you have to have at least one verified site in Bing Webmaster Tools to be able to use this site. So, not only do you have to sign in to use this tool (unlike Yahoo Site Explorer), you also have to be a site owner.


Once you open the tool, you can input any URL.


Bing Backlink Checker


You can decide whether you want to see the results by URL or domain, and then choose to filter by domain, anchor text or other text on the site, and then export the results. Note that the tool will not give you a total number of links (unlike Yahoo Site Explorer).


The tool is still in Beta, which is probably why I noticed a number of strange things in it. For example, for some sites it will mix in inner pages in the domain report and sometimes it offers longer lists of domains than URLs for the same site (or perhaps the results are just random).


Search Engine Land reported that it could give us up to 1,000 results in our exported report (hey, just like Yahoo Site Explorer!), however, I never got that many. I ran the tool for a number of different sites, both domestic and  international and compared them to the results in Open Site Explorer.

Bing vs Open Site Explorer


Since Bing is just showing a ‘selection’ of results, I would have expected it to always show lower amounts of links and domains than a tool like OSE. However, OSE has shown lower numbers of domains in a few instances.


In the last example, you can see that even when there are millions of links (that last site is Google by the way), the Bing tool still only gives us 691 results in our exported report.


I think this tool might be useful to see if there are any different results, but I wouldn’t use it to give useful competitive metrics or comprehensive views of how a link profile is looking.



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