Low quality guest blogging is considered little or no original content by Google.
Google has updated their webmaster guidelines, specifically in the little or no original content guideline, to add “low-quality guest blog posts” as an example of “scraped content.”
Brian Ussery first spotted this change, noting how Google has been fighting the use of guest blogging and posting around link building. Specifically when Google’s head of search spam said guest blogging is done for SEO purposes.
Since then, Google has penalized several guest blog networks and continues to set their targets on low-quality guest blogging that aims at manipulating their search results.
Google local results have long been a mess; complicated by semi-annual rebranding. Frankly, local results have been a hodgepodge of mistakes and spam, so I’m not surprised to see an algo update – pushed out quietly late Thursday night.
What exactly changed? It’s very hard to say, as the announcement was phrased as the lovechild of geek and marketing speak that even I can’t decipher anything substantive:
“the new local search algorithm ties deeper into their web search capabilities, including the hundreds of ranking signals they use in web search along with search features such as Knowledge Graph, spelling correction, synonyms and more.”
They also announced improved signals around distance and location – which seems strange as that doesn’t seem like a very difficult factor to measure. The update is currently rolling out across the US – so you may see some variability within local search results in the upcoming week.
The Results so Far?
Early results indicate improved performance for major local directories which I find both surprising and disappointing, as it seems counterintuitive to the entire concept of local search. You’ll remember that the results of the Panda 4.0 update were large improvements for Avvo. Given some of Cutt’s comments, I’ve long believed that Google will back off the directories in favor of smaller businesses. The directory angle may be a response to Yelp’s recently leaked anti-trust whinings pointing out that even branded searches were failing to reach Yelp.
The Important Takeaways
- Pigeon impacts both local AND natural search results – so for law firms, the overall impact may be fairly significant. Cross your fingers and watch your natural search traffic over the next two weeks.
- Google remains in the middle of an anti-SPAM rampage. Combine that with the rampant spamming of localized results and I wouldn’t be surprised if Pigeon may also have teeth – negatively impacting those of you (and yes there are lots of you) who are faking your office locations – to the detriment of your actual office location. (This is 100% conjecture.)
- Care about your Yelp profile . . . . I hate to say it (and never advertise with them) but customers vetting lawyers may increasingly be led to Yelp.
If a website is all about cars, it won’t be found for the keyword “buy shoes” even if it has thousands of backlinks. On-page optimization is very important if you want to get high rankings for the right keywords.
Before you focus on off-page factors such as backlinks and social mentions, you should make sure that the on-page factors of your web pages are correct.
Your keywords must appear in the right web page elements
There are several things that you can do to make sure that your web pages will be found for the right keywords:
- Target a maximum of two keywords/key phrases on a single web page. If your website is highly relevant to one key phrase, it will get better rankings than a page that is somewhat relevant to many keywords.
- Use your main keyword in the title of your web pages. That shows search engines that the web page is relevant to that keyword.
- Use the key phrase in a heading tag on your web page. <listyle=”margin-top:10px;”>It sometimes helps to have the targeted keyword in the page URL. <listyle=”margin-top:10px;”>The images on your web pages should contain related keywords.
- The content of your web page should contain the keywords for which you want to be found on search engines. Do not write content for search engines but create useful web pages that help your website visitors.
It is important that your keywords appear in the right elements on your web pages. If you use the keyword too often, this can look like spamming.
For that reason, it is very important that you find the right balance. The Top 10 Optimizer in SEOprofiler helps you to find the perfect balance.
Google must be able to index your web pages correctly
The navigational elements on your website should be logical and easy to use. A good website navigation helps Google to index your web pages correctly:
- The internal links on your web pages should contain keywords that are related to your business.
- The navigational elements should be easy to find.
- High quality design is important.
- Your web pages should load as quickly as possible.
- If possible, use static URLs.
- Use rich snippets to make sure that your web pages stand out on the search results page.
The website audit tool in SEOprofiler automatically checks all of your web pages. If there are any critical errors, the website audit tool will show you these errors.
Optimizing the on-page factors is important if you want to get the best possible rankings for your web pages. The tools in SEOprofiler help you to optimize both on-page and off-page factors.
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In 2013, Google imitated a “mapathon” project in India, offering prizes to encouragepeople to help fill in gaps and improve Google Maps in the country. At the time, India’sCentral Bureau of Investigation (CBI) asked the company not to collect “classified data,” such as the locations of military installations.
The mapathon focused on business locations, points of interest and major geographic features. It didn’t solicit input on military bases. Yet apparently, the participants provided that anyway.
Google is now under fire and faces potential penalties for “polluting the internet” with classified material according to the Indian government.
The government’s official Survey of India (SoI) is responsible for approving all public maps and mapping data. The agency says it was not consulted by Google prior toundertaking the mapathon. The CBI is now investigating what happened.
A search for “military area” on the mapathon site reveals multiple locations. It’s not immediately clear whether these are known bases or classified locations.
Coverage of the case has indicated there may be criminal penalties. However, it’s not clear what the fallout for Google will be upon conclusion of the investigation. Once revealed, secret military locations cannot be made secret again.
This is not the first time that Google Maps or Earth have published (or indirectly revealed) the locations of supposedly classified military bases or installations. It haspreviously happened in Australia, Israel and the U.S.
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