Ok… Google have made another update and this is a doozey!
No I’m not talking about the latest Panda or Penguin refresh, or the EMD (exact match domains) update.
Today we’re talking about the ability to ‘Disavow’ your existing links, especially if you think they are affecting your online footprint and causing your ranking in the Search Engines to bomb.
Yes, this means you could potentially get rid of any ‘Bad Links’ pointing toward your website.
On the 16th October at PubCon, Matt Cutts (head of spam for Google) announced the release of a tool that will allow you to Ignore Bad Links that come through to your site.
This is specifically designed for those individuals that received notification within Google Webmaster Tools (or those that know they have been engaging in bad links schemes) letting you know that they had detected un-natural link building patterns.
Although this sounds like a big win for Google and SEO’s alike, Matt warns you should only use this tool if you are experienced in SEO and if you really believe you (or another SEO company) has been engaging in negative activities, based on their Quality Guidelines.
Here’s a Video Matt released where he talks you through it (it’s 9 Mins and 20 Seconds in length)
- Matt is really specific in mentioning ‘Most People Will Not Need To Use This Tool’
- The tools lets you tell Google which links you would like them to ignore
- You can use the tool to clean up various link building schemes or if Google have sent you a notification to clean up your link patterns (see an example letter of this here)
- Before you use the tool, they encourage you to try to get them removed manually by contacting the source of the link
- By going through Google Webmaster tools (and looking at recent links) you can potentially identify the source of the links to remove
- If you do choose to use the tool it will take a couple of weeks before you see an impact as Google re-index the requested sites
Matt then explains how to actually use the tool.
Let me show you live how it works:
Side Note – The ‘Disavow Links Tool’ is not actually inside webmaster tools yet, so to access you need to go here.
The ‘Disavow Link Tool’ is another feather in Google’s cap.
It’s yet another acknowledgement that they can’t simply use their in house algorithm, ignore shady SEO’ers and hope the issues go away.
Google have said they are looking ways of implementing more social methods into their algorithm and isn’t this in itself an example by involving the wider webmaster community?
I think they’re going to have a number of teething issues implementing this new strategy (I can already think of a number of ways of abusing the process off the top of my head), but at least they’re giving it a go.
No, I’m not a Google lover, but I do run an SEO business and believe if I were to run to the hills every time Google releases something new, blowing my trumpet over the negatives, that I would lose whatever hair I have left.
Like any real SEO will tell you, slow and steady wins the race.
Let’s ask a couple of questions:
- Have you used any link building (or hired a company) that you know are using techniques that go against Google’s Guidelines or received a notification from Google (in Webmaster Tools)?
- If you’ve experienced a drop in traffic to your site do you know it’s as a result of link building or is it as a result of poor on-page structure?
If you’re answering yes to both then I would look at using the tool but HANDLE WITH CARE!
Personally, I have a few clients that I can confidently answer yes on both counts, but I see it as a last resort.
I’m first going to re-explore if I’m able to add more good quality links, rebuild the site structure, or add more quality content to re-channel the theme of the site.
That will give enough time for the dust to settle and make a more informed decision.
Rich Snippets are turning up everywhere in the SERP’s as a result of Bloggers and Publishers marking up their content to make it more visible in the search engines.
And Why Wouldn’t You?
Rich snippets allow you to put a break in the sometimes mundane search engine results, with information showing the same result in a SERP including rich snippets experience a 20 – 30% rise in click through rates.
For those of you that are new to the whole internet game, check out the image below that shows an example of a rich snippet in action:
You can see the search results for ‘Beef Mince Recipes’ giving you the ability to make your page stand out from the crowd.
As mentioned above, rich snippets allow you to stand out from the crowd in the SERP’s (search engine results pages), resulting in an increase in click throughs as a result of the end user getting a much better idea of the details of the page their visiting.
I know if I was looking for ‘Beef Mince Recipes’ I would definitely select the second result as I can see an image right away and it even shows me a 4.5 out 5 stars, based on 51 reviews.
You can instantly share this important information by simply marking up your pages and you could really say that marking up your content helps you stand out from the crowd.
As I am writing this post and checking Google’s site on rich snippets (check it out here) there are 11 different types of mark-up you can use that cover an array of services.
The current list of Rich Snippet Types are:
- Review Ratings
- Software Applications
Each snippet has it’s own unique code, some offering different features and functions then others.
As I mentioned earlier, check out the Google’s Rich Snippets Page Here .
In this post I have placed a short video which and have marked up that video using the rich snippets methodology.
If you take a look at the ‘source code’ of this post you can see exactly how it looks.
As of writing this post it is a little complicated to set up mark up your code but like any emerging technology as people use an embrace it, developers will develop to simplify.
Check out the video below:
Ok, let’s briefly get a little Techo for a moment…
The elements of a marked up video are:
These are the areas you essentially need to tag in order to communicate what the video is about. If you understand a little bit of code, it’s really that simple.
So, how does it actually look for those that are a tad lazy or don’t understand how to view source code?
Yes a word of caution! There are a couple of not so bright individuals that have figured… Hey, I can use rich snippets to make the SERP’s think my page is about [subject] by just placing the wrong or inaccurate mark up code. Well, don’t bother! The SERP’s are keeping an eye on that too and they may penalize you if you mess around with it.
Direct from Google Webmaster Quality Guidelines:
At the time of writing this post… no.
But as mentioned earlier it will help with the conversions of people viewing your site and more importantly will assist with your end users overall experience.
Cool? I think so!
In any successful business there are a series of smaller elements that come together in order to create a good model. These are really very basic pointers that most people understand and cover off before they open their doors.
A few of these elements include:
These elements combined create an image of a legitimate business that you could buy from with little risk.
A real no brainer, right?
Let’s look at these elements and see how they compare on a website…
To get people to take action when they visit a website uses the same principles as running a successful business. Without these core elements people visit a website and leave confused and lacking confidence in using their products and services.
As an example – When I start working with a new client I usually find their website is on average losing 47% of all visitors without even looking at details on their products and services. This means for every 100 people that walk into your business, almost half of them turn around and walk straight out.
If this was happening to your business you’d start asking questions, yes?
Did you know that you can access this information easily for FREE.
Lesson Number 1 – Get Access To Your Websites Stats
When you look at your websites stats you can see immediately why your customers are leaving right away. You can see what they are doing when they visit your site.
Google have a really cool tool called Analytics that you can install on your site for free which lays out your stats in a nice simple graphical method.
If you don’t understand how to read them, hire a person like me to show you or to set up a simple summary that will give you a list of recommendations to implement.
Lesson Number 2 – Apply Real World Rules To Your Website
Remember our successful business elements we mentioned earlier? The colour and shape of these elements may change, but the same basic principle can be applied to any component of a business, especially your website.
To make this nice and simple, I’m going to show you a simple, yet highly effective checklist every well performing website uses to get customers to take action when they visit their site. Compare this to your site and see how you stack up.
These are proven techniques I have tested with many clients and have achieved great success:
By using these proven techniques and measuring your website stats you are on
course to a better performing website. Not only will these techniques make your
website easier to navigate, it will build credibility in the eyes of your