Summary of Search, October 2013

(Not provided)
Google recently started encrypting all searches, and is now showing “(Not provided)” in Google Analytics for most organic traffic. Some referral traffic will show up from, and is also organic traffic (But analytics cannot tell if the browser is being ultra-secure). There is no easy solution, but at the next Boulder SEO MeetUp we will be leading a presentation and discussion of alternatives.


Penguin Update
Around October 4th, there was an update to Google’s search algorithms. It’s being called Penguin 2.1 (or sometimes Penguin 5) and is a major update. The Penguin updates penalize “over-optimization” and “web spam”, both on websites and looking at website links.


What is “over-optimization?”
  • Using keywords too much in title tags and content
  • Links with anchor-text (the blue underline) focused around too few phrases
  • Anything with your site’s link profile that does not show a narural amount of diversity (duplicate pages titles, inbound links only from press release sites, etc).


What is “Web Spam”?
  • Link networks / schemes
  • Links from de-indexed and banned websites, including old directories, blogs & article sites.


While the impact is supposed to be 1% of English queries, the effect is very large considering the number of Google keyword searches!


The approach we recommend is:
1. Protect
Authority link building is the only protection against both negative SEO and Penguin penalties in general. Authority links are gained primarily from great content, promotion and involvement. One authority link can beat hundreds of spammy links in the algorithm of “the new Google”.


2. Defend
Find and remove as many unnatural links as you can manually before disavowing the rest. Watch for “Negative SEO” campaigns where an unscrupulous competitor might be creating links to your site just to penalize you!


3. Build
Over the long term, these strategies will also help protect from Google penalties, and are, of course, great marketing initiatives:
  • Great content: Copy writing has gone through an evolution and cheap content is not going to cut it. Could it ever though?
  • Promotion & Outreach for Social Media Marketing & Inbound Links: Since the web’s inception, much content has been posted with little regard to promotion. Social, link building, and other outreach initiatives are vital to maximize dollars spent on premium content.
  • Brand Name Searches: Google knows big brands are searched. Their “buzz” is a signal of authority, although not yet on par with link building.
  • User Engagement: Once a visitor is onsite, engage them. Keep their interest and involvement. Good design and excellent content have never been so important. Google has been watching this for some time.
  • Multi-tiered approaches: Spread marketing dollars broadly across many initiatives. It creates a variety of signals to Google that you are legit.


While Google+ is trying to understand social connections & influence from it’s own network, Bing is leveraging Klout. Bing has announced deeper integration with Klout and more control regarding how profiles show up.


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