Google’s Link Scheme Changes Mean Changes for Us

September 16, 2013

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                        return to JayVee Media Link LLC

When Google makes changes we all need to take notice.  And Google has recently made changes to reinforce its new emphasis on quality content creation.  In fact, its new decrees are forcing a shift away from formerly acceptable methods of traditional link building; thanks to the modification those strategies may now land our sites in the penalty box.

The target of Google’s recent changes appears to be bloggers who sprinkle their posts too liberally with keyword rich anchor text links. In the past such a practice was a good way to attract inbound links.  Writers would guest blog on other sites, or create online ad copy that was stuffed with niche related keywords.  Then they would turn those keywords into links back to their own websites.  Ideally, interested readers would click those links, and voilà!  Inbound links would be earned, increasing traffic to the writers’ own sites.

Google link building scheme screen shot

Google’s recent changes reflect a new perspective on this formerly acceptable practice.  It now apparently views the strategy as more of a scheme, and will penalize websites that use it to increase their visitor traffic.

content crownThe answer to this shift is to adjust our content to reflect Google’s emphasis on quality creation.  Google wants us to build links, but via the natural route: the higher the quality of the value we impart, the more our readers will want to visit our sites.  So we need to concentrate more on readability, word flow and informational value, and less on keyword stuffing and rich anchor text links.  We can also boost our website traffic via other Google approved methods such as our Google Plus and other social media profiles, and registering our businesses with location services.

Do you think Google’s link scheme changes will facilitate the growth of website traffic for businesses?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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Building Blog Visibility – 6 Tips

August 5, 2013

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                     return to JayVee Media Link LLC

bullhorn overflowing with blog postsYour blog post is done and ready to ride the internet wave.  You used a great title; seeded your keywords judiciously; included a couple of compelling graphics; hit your message concisely.  You release it…and it is promptly swallowed up by the mind numbing horde of other blog posts released at the same moment.  How do you cut through the noise to get your content found?

The first thing to understand is that unless we are already established blog creators, even well optimized content will not necessarily get found right away.  Like so much else in the world of social media, ranking takes time to build.  It takes time physically for the search engine bots to find, crawl and index our sites and web pages.  And it takes time to build a trust factor between those search platforms and the websites they are working to rank.  Unfortunately, these factors are out of our control.

What we can do

We can work to facilitate those search bots’ discovery of our content and websites.  Here are six steps we should take:

1. Write consistently, even if it means delivering only one post per week.

2. Make sure the information shared is of the highest possible value for our target audiences, and presented in a professional manner.

3. Use keywords, but use them judiciously.  “Stuffing” our posts with them will result in rankings penalties.

4. Work hard to come up with blog titles that virtually scream to be clicked.  Titles should never be afterthoughts; they are the gateways to our wonderful content.  The more clicks our titles generate, the more search engines will take notice!  For excellent tips on creating killer titles, see Anne Reuss’ wonderful post “You Can’t Afford Not to Write Bewitching Headlines.”

5. Share widely, across all social media platforms. And include sharing buttons with blog posts so readers can easily share them as well.

6. Google authorship screen shotSet up Google authorship for our posts.  This creates a link between our blog posts and our Google Plus profiles, and adds our thumbnail profile pictures to the meta descriptions of our posts when they show up on Google search.  Rob Henry shared easily understandable directions for the procedure in his excellent post “How to Set Up Google Authorship.”

I’ll note here that promoting our posts is also a good way to gain visibility for them.  But it should be understood that doing so lends a temporary bump which ends with the termination of the promotion.  So even if we plan on promoting we must still do the SEO work to build overall longevity for our posts and websites.  Staying power is the goal, after all!

What additional tips can you add to help boost our blogs’ visibility?  Please share your ideas in the comments Google botsection below!

Google Carousel – How to Hop Onboard!

July 1, 2013

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                         return to JayVee Media Link LLC

Google Carousel – a feature that gives an awesome advantage to getting found among competitors in local search – has been rolled out to desktops in the U.S.  Are you ready to take a ride?  Here’s what you need to know:

What IS Google Carousel?

Originally a feature for tablets, Google’s Carousel activates on desktops when users effect searches for local businesses.  It is a series of thumbnail pictures placed horizontally across the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) in a filmstrip-type format.  The photos are of businesses that meet the inputted search criteria.  They contain additional information as well:  addresses, number of Google reviews, and sometimes price ranges for goods/services.  The “filmstrip” may be advanced by clicking an arrow at its right end.

Google carousel

Clicking on one of the thumbnail photos brings up more detailed information on the business portrayed there:  additional photos and location details, contact info, hours of operation, website URLs, Google reviews, more links and other information come into view at the top of the SERP page, right under the thumbnail strip.

Google Carousel expanded view

How do we get onboard?

Google’s Carousel helps companies that can’t make the coveted first few spots on the regular vertical result listings to be visible right at the top of the SERPs, which is an obvious benefit.  It allows them to be seen in an eye catching way, with pertinent details right there for the taking.  From where does Google get all this information about the businesses?  It pulls the details from those companies’ Google Plus profiles and local listings – a critical reason to fully optimize and use those Google Plus profiles, as well as provide eye-catching pictures and complete details for local listings.

Since Google applies search algorithms when selecting the companies to showcase in its Carousel, it makes sense to provide the platform with as much visual and textual information as possible.  This includes cross listings on other directory sites such as Yelp, as well as the number of Google followers and reviewers companies have.  The more they show, the better their chances are of winning one of those coveted spots.

One post script: with this initial desktop rollout, Google Carousel deploys for local searches of restaurants, bars and hotels.  But the feature will soon expand to other industries.  So get your company’s Google Plus profile and local listing fully filled out and optimized.  You need to be ready for when the Carousel includes local search for your business niche!

Are you using Google Plus profiles for your business?  How complete is the information you supplied for them and for your local listings?  Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below!

Google logo with carousels for Os

Penguin 2.0: Friend or Foe?

June 10, 2013

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli              return to JayVee Media Link LLC

Google Penguin 2.0Penguin 2.0, Google’s latest search ranking algorithm tweak, is just over a week old.  Have you seen a difference of any kind in your site’s ranking because of it?  If you have been doing the right thing you probably didn’t even know it made its debut on May 22.  But if you live to game the system you had best beware!

Google’s latest algorithm update is the product of huge strides in the ability of the search bots to intelligently gather and analyze information.  Using data and feedback it has amassed over the past few years – especially since the original Penguin launched – this new version has become exceptionally intuitive regarding good and not-so-good optimization practices.  Chances are better now than ever before that users of frowned upon “black hat” optimization techniques will be caught and “busted.”

Basically, the way to ensure that our good rankings remain so is to play by the rules.  Google wants to deliver the best quality search results for its users.  The best quality comes from site owners who work diligently to 1. maintain and promote consistently strong branding; and 2. deliver top tier value that others want to consume and share.  When the quality is there it also attracts valuable links from other highly regarded, relevant sites.  This cycle proves authenticity, which in turn instills confidence from Google.  That confidence translates into higher search rankings.

Conversely, collecting links that are irrelevant to our fields and/or of poor quality just to show high volume does not inspire confidence, and will actually adversely affect our search rankings.  Google rightly believes that high quality, authoritative sites need not resort to such sham practices in order to make themselves appear deserving of high rankings.  Hence, it views gamers of its system unkindly.

In the end, it all comes down to this:  maintaining great search rankings on Google is simple.  But it is NOT easy.  It is simple to understand what Google wants us to do – play by the rules in order to help it achieve its goals.  But doing the work that’s needed to achieve what Google wants from us is not easy or quick.  Patience, perseverance, and a strong commitment to the moral path will ultimately save the day for our sites.  These qualities will make Google happy, which in turn will reflect positively in the form of higher rankings and protection from harm when future algorithm changes are introduced.

Did you see any difference in your rankings after Penguin 2.0 rolled out?  Please share your experiences in the Google Penguin 2.0 gives a warningcomments section below!