Archives for March 2012

Google’s 3-Prong Strategy That Has Changed SEO Forever

SEO has changed, and there is no going back. Want to ensure your site doesn’t disappear from Google and that you’re “future proofed” for the next round of vicious Panda updates? Read on.

Recently Search Engine Land reported that Google is de-indexing link networks like it’s going out of style. That means that all the links they (the link networks) had in Google are now gone. In Google, they no longer exist.

This is just the latest round of updates Google has pushed out. And they’re just getting warmed up.

Matt Cutts – Google’s head of web spam  – recently gave a sneak preview into Google’s next update. Their target? Overly SEO’d websites. Here’s a tasty quote from the article:

We are trying to level the playing field a bit. All those people doing, for lack of a better word, over optimization or overly SEO – versus those making great content and great site. We are trying to make GoogleBot smarter, make our relevance better, and we are also looking for those who abuse it, like too many keywords on a page, or exchange way too many links or go well beyond what you normally expect. We have several engineers on my team working on this right now.

– Matt Cutts

Too much SEO? You’re next in line for the Google smackdown.

These updates have been happening for the past year. And if you look at the big picture, there are 3 strategies that Google is implementing.

Strategy #1: The Angry Panda

Yep, that Panda sure is angry

Yep, that Panda sure is angry

The string of Panda updates Google has released over the past 13 months are meant to clean up it’s search engine of what’s essentially garbage, and provide better, more relevant results. They also show where Google is taking SEO for it’s search engine. Here’s the shortened history (with approximate dates).

  • 2.24.2011 – Panda 1.0: targeted scraper sites – sites that merely pull content from other sites (meaning they lack any original content)
  • 4.11.2011 – Panda 2.0: handled English-language queries
  • 5.09.2011 – Panda 2.1
  • 6.18.2011 – Panda 2.2: targeted content farms – websites that farmed content from other sites and used (shady) SEO to have it rank higher than the original content
  • 7.22.2011 – Panda 2.3
  • 8.10.2011 – Panda 2.4: improved results for all languages except Chinese, Japanese, and Korean
  • 9.28.2011 – Panda 2.5
  • 10.2011 – Panda 3.0
  • 11.18.2011 – Panda 3.1
  • 1.15.2012 – Panda 3.2: data refresh
  • 2.12.2012 – Panda 3.3: data refresh
  • 3.24.2012 – Panda 3.4: search query update

What’s the pattern here? Targeting sites that do not produce original content and manufacture backlinks rather than earning them by creating quality content that people will naturally share.

But these Panda updates are only one part of the trifecta Google is putting into place. Leg two of this iron triangle are the keywords, which they are taking away.

Strategy #2: Keywords, Now You See Them, Now You Don’t

If you’re looking at your HitSniffer or Google Analytics stats you may notice the [not provided] keyword showing up. For me it’s showing up more and more. In fact, it’s currently ranked #1 for the past month.

Google Analytics Top 10 Keywords

Google Analytics Top 10 Keywords

And Google said before that it wouldn’t have that much of an effect. Silly Google. Misleading Google.

Now a triangle without a 3rd leg does not a triangle make. The third strategy Google is pulling out is:

Strategy #3: Social Media Invades SEO

For a professional searcher like myself personalized search is the last thing I want. I need access to all the potentially relevant information, not just that shared by people in my Google+ circles. I can’t circle enough people for that.

Here’s an example search. When logged into Google and I search for “WordPress SEO” I see the following:

WordPress SEO Personalized Google Search

WordPress SEO Personalized Google Search

And when I’m not logged in I see the following:

WordPress SEO Non-Personalized Google Search

WordPress SEO Non-Personalized Google Search

That’s a huge difference!

Now we can debate the usefulness of personalized search, or how it limits (or doesn’t) your access to information, but let’s save that for another post.

For now just understand that if any of the tens of millions of people who run a search on Google are also logged into ANY Google product AND are also a member of Google+, their results will be personalized. Oh and you won’t know what keywords they search on to get to your site.

Currently that label can be applied to many millions of people.

Bonus Round: Microformats

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I added support on this blog for the tags. These tags tell Google and other search engines more about what kinds of information are on the page. We’re about one-month in and I have some preliminary data to report.

Overall, when compared to the month previous, visitor numbers are down. That’s not surprising as I have a steady flow of visitors to this site and get boosts each time I publish blog posts. For the past two weeks I’ve published very few posts due to my working on our Blog Summaries site.

However even with visitor numbers down, for organic search only (people searching on Google and getting to the site), the rest of the stats are looking better thanks to the updates I made. Here they are:

Google Analytics Organic Search Results

Google Analytics Organic Search Results

I’ll report back in another month when I have more data.

So wow, that was a lot of stuff! Now all that’s left is the big question – what do you do now?

What You Need To Do Now

The long and short of it is this: the future of SEO combines standard “good” SEO practices, social signals, and adding additional markup (like tags) to your pages that help tell Google and other search engines what your content is all about.

To be successful moving forward you need to adopt a strategy that includes:

  1. Creating valuable content that people want to link to and share. What defines “valuable”? That’s up to your ideal customers.
  2. Having your content shared on social media, including Google+.
  3. Being social: connect with your current and ideal customers on social media. Don’t fake it. You either care or you don’t. I hope you do. I know my clients do.
  4. Getting people on your list. The importance of an email list cannot be over emphasized, especially now. It’s not enough to entice someone to your site with valuable content – you need to capture them as a potential lead, and that means having an email list.
  5. Helping the search engines help you. Add or another supported microformat to your website. We’re early stages here and there’s a big opportunity. Get your geek on and add them!

Of course none of this works if you don’t have solid products and services in place first. So before you embark on this mission, be sure your boat floats and is ready to weather the storm.

Robert Dempsey

Robert Dempsey

Rob lives in Thailand with his wife and daughter. He is the CEO & Founder of Dempsey Marketing. Host of The New Social SEO Podcast, and moderator of the Dempsey Marketing Chat. He specializes in attracting & converting your ideal customers.


Twitter: rdempsey

Attention All Bloggers: Why aren’t you on Triberr???

I wrote a post last year that included Triberr called 5 Social Media Favorites from 2011. Today I wanted to take a deeper dive and try to undercover why more bloggers are not using this valuable platform. Triberr is self described as a website for bloggers interested in increasing their reach. This reach is increased via tweets on Twitter. Triberr is so much more. It all starts at the top with Dino Dogan and Dan Cristo. Dino is the entertaining and charismatic voice of Triberr, while Dan is more technical in nature coding away and continuously answering questions. These guys care. They care about you and your blog getting more exposure. They continue to work feverishly to provide a great environment and community. So, why aren’t you on Triberr???

Getting Started – Triberr had been by invitation only until a couple of months ago. Now you can stroll over to Triberr and be registered in minutes.

1) Join for free at Triberr
2) Connect your Twitter account(s)
3) Connect your RSS Feed(s)
4) Find a Tribe or start your own
5) Start Posting (Well not so quick, but close)

Find a Tribe – A tribe is a group of users that make up a team. While you’re able to start your own tribe I highly recommend that you find a tribe to join, and ease into the platform. For the newbie, starting your own tribe and building an efficient group is extremely challenging and time consuming. The first thing you want to do is click on “Bonfires” and then “Looking for Tribes” to start your search. “Bonfires” is an internal messaging area for different discussions. Post on “Looking for Tribes” and communicate what your blog is about and give your site address. You will also see Tribe leaders looking for bloggers in this forum. While Social Media, Marketing, and Mommy Blogs are very popular, you can find many other areas of interest. Some of these include: Food, Travel, Health & Wellness, and Finance, etc. With Triberr open now, the number of topics are growing, and you should be able to find something that meets your needs. Just about all tribes are topic specific, so all members write about the same topic. There are not many hodgepodge tribes that I’ve seen.

1) Click on “Bonfires”
2) Click on “Looking for Tribes”
3) Post your message on “Looking for Tribes” on what you write about and your site
4) Be Proactive
5) Feel free to contact me @sbhsbh if you need some direction

Game Time – So let’s say you’ve landed in a tribe with 15 members. Each time one of the members in your tribe publishes a post it hits your Triberr stream for review. You can either approve or delete from your stream. Unless something is total garbage or just not your taste you can delete the post, and it will be removed from your stream. The posts you approve will be tweeted in 20 min. intervals. Below are a few that I tweeted earlier today. Your mindset should be I’m going to approve all posts, unless your tribemate(s) give you a reason not to. Publish solid original content and you’ll be in good shape.

Sharing, Sharing, Sharing – I hope you heed my advice and share. That is the heart of Triberr, and in many ways Social Media. If you want to make the most of the platform you need to share. You’ll also be amazed on how many relationships you can build within Triberr by sharing. Under Each post there are share buttons that allow you to send to Facebook, LinkedIn, G+, and StumbleUpon. There is a ton of great content that comes through my stream from tribemates, and I want to share that on various platforms. This is seamless when using the share buttons. It’s another form of content curation. On any given post of mine I’ll get 20+ StumbleUpon thumbs up. There are a fair amount SU fans in Triberr. I’d highly suggest for current and new Triberr members to take advantage of SU. You can learn more about Stumbleupon here, Bloggers – Make StumbleUpon your Best Friend in 2012. SU drives traffic to your post.

Reach – The number of Twitter followers you have can play a part in being invited to certain tribes. In some tribes a minimum following of 5K, 10K, or 20K may be a requirement for that tribe. Those are the facts. However, there is good news. There really is a Tribe for everyone. The big follower tribes are more the exception. So don’t let that deter you from joining Triberr. You will find a Tribe. So let’s talk about reach within Triberr. Reach is defined as the total number of followers from all your tribesmates. For example, I have 296 tribemates within the 13 tribes, and those 296 tribemates have over 9.5 Million Twitter followers. Now, this number is skewed as it includes duplicates. This is something that should be fixed in the next 30 days to give accurate numbers. I’d say the true number is closer to 160 unique tribemates with a reach of 6 Million. Can you see the power? You can really expand your current reach by being part of the Triberr community. This really helps the little guy like myself.

Exciting and New – I mentioned above that Dino and Dan are always moving forward and looking to make Triberr stronger. Well, earlier today Triberr launched a Global Comment System that allows users to comment within Triberr, without going to the actual blog. The comment will appear on the blog, and this feature expedites the commenting process. Triberr will also be delivering a Reblog Function where you have the ability to pull a post from a Tribemate and put it on your blog. A Guest Post if you will, where the original author gets full credit. This will only be available to self-hosted WordPress users through a Plugin for now. I could probably create another post on these two new features alone, but you can check it out yourself on Triberr.

So why aren’t you on Triberr? – Back to my original question, why aren’t you on Triberr? Is this your first time hearing about Triberr? Did you think it was by invitation only still? Oh I know, you don’t have a Twitter account. If you post once every lunar eclipse then it’s not the platform for you, but if you post at least once a week you’re missing out on something special. As you might have noticed, I’m somewhat passionate about Triberr. I think I’ve missed logging in two days in the last five months. If you’re serious about your blog, and want more viewers, I can’t think of any reason why you wouldn’t try Triberr.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post, it’s always appreciated. I would love to hear from bloggers that are part of the Triberr community and those that aren’t today. If you’re not a part of the community, I would like to hear the reasons. Maybe there are some misconceptions that I can clear up for you, or some questions that you need answered. Please hit me with your thoughts.

Left for Dead, Is Digg making a comeback?

I know. I can’t believe this isn’t a post on Pinterest or Facebook Timeline either. Yes, Digg was left for dead after a user revolt in August 2010. That’s when Digg released v4. The release was a disaster, with a bevy of technical issues. Digg has yet to fully recover.

What is Digg? – Digg is in the category of Social Bookmarking. It is a site where users discover and share content. That content is voted on by the users. The voting plays a major role in the positioning of the story. Better positioning usually leads to more shares and views. As a user you have the ability to submit a story that you find on the internet. You also have the ability to give thumbs up to a story, or “Digg” the story.

The Social Bookmarking Space – The other two players are ahead of Digg today in terms of traffic. Reddit has an Alexa ranking of 119, and StumbleUpon ranks at 136. Digg is back at 190. While I know Alexa is not gospel, it serves as a good barometer for traffic. StumbleUpon tends to cater more to evergreen content that isn’t time sensitive. Reddit and Digg both have an environment that features breaking news, and the user base is a touch geeky and focused on technology.

Digg Today – The interface is attractive. The ease of use and navigation is superlative. The site is very well organized, which is something not often seen. Digg is integrated with Facebook. So if you wish, your Digg activity will automatically show up on your wall. You can also post/tweet individual stories from Digg with FB and Twitter share buttons. Recently, Hootsuite added Digg integration to its arsenal, giving users a Digg dashboard. Below are the sections within Digg.

Top News – The section where you’ll find the most popular stories. Stories are promoted to this section based on popularity. If you submit a story, this is where you want it to eventually land.

News Wire – All stories regardless of topic show up under NewsWire. There is a Trending tab within this list, and you can also sort in range by number of Diggs.

Newsrooms – This a beta feature that has been well received by users. The newsrooms are topics that you can follow. The top newsrooms include: Technology, Apple, Science, Google, World News, Entertainment, and Facebook. Below is breakdown of top stories within

My News – Is where you’ll find a list of stories based upon the people you choose to follow. Below is breakdown of top stories of people I follow. Digg’s aim is to give you as much content as possible in a uniform matter.

The Future of Digg – I think the comeback is in process. While Reddit and Stumbleupon are great for driving traffic, their interface leaves something to be desired. I think they’ve left the door open. Reddit feels like spending time in someone’s unfinished basement. If you are a big Pinterest fan you probably won’t enjoy Reddit. It’s heavy on text, and super light on photos. I really enjoy StumbleUpon, and it’s a little bit of different animal, but for the last few months I was using the old interface. The new interface is far from user friendly. Following/Unfollowing is a challenge. It’s just confusing. Digg absolutely provides a better overall experience for the user. Sharing, finding information, commenting, and following are just a breeze. I think Digg is well positioned and doing the right things to complete the comeback within the next 12 months. I highly suggest you give Digg a shot yourself.

I always love to hear your comments. Have you experienced any or all three? Which is your favorite? Please share your pros and cons.