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Blog items tagged with "over-optimization"

Google's Penguin

Late last month, Google unveiled a massive algorithm change that effected the search engine rankings of many different sites. The change known as "Penguin" targeted sites that were 'over-optimized,' many of these plummeted as a result. In essence, Google has 'reset the deck' in a effort to clean-up its search engine results.

After facing a lot outsider criticism due to the poorness of its search results, the Google set out to do something about it. The primary reason for Google's results being so bad was mostly attributed to relentless SEO practices. Search engine optimizers worked hard to increase the rankings of sites that offered little to no value to Google users, and many of them were successful at getting these sites to ranking highly on competitive search terms.

In short, frustrated search engine users were quick to bounce when they came upon crummy microsite or SEO "doorway page," and their faith in Google's results diminished.

'Over-Optimized' = Unnatural Backlinks

Google's Matt Cutts and his posse of search engine gurus set out to determine why such terrible sites were appearing at the top of the search results. They pinpointed backlinks, namely 'over-optimized' backlinks, to be the culprit.

So what does having 'over-optimized' backlinks mean?

For the past few years, building backlinks to a site was the best way to increase its authority and search engine rankings. In order to attain a high ranking on a certain keyword phrase, the anchor text of its links needed to include the specific keyword target in which the webpage was set to rank for. So for a webpage optimized for "hair loss treatment," the best links for SEO would be those with the anchor text 'hair loss treatment."

Pretty simple concept that worked like a charm. "Penguin" changed all that by taking an in-depth look at the backlink portfolio of websites. Those websites that had an overwhelming amount of backlinks with exact phrase match anchor text (or anchor text that included the entire keyword target for its respective page) were consider "over-optimized." As a result, those websites fell in Google's search results and the rest is history.

How to Pinpoint 'Over-Optimization' and What to do About It

Over-optimization through Penguin's eyes is an evaluation of site's backlink ratio. That ratio looks at the anchor text of each link pointing to a site and weighs which links are keyword optimized and which appear to be natural. Optimized anchor text will include the exact phrase match of a page's keyword targets, where more natural backlinks will simply be the site's name or the URL of the page (such as "www.hairlosswebsite.com" or "Regrow Your Hair" - the name of the site).

To effectively pinpoint just how over-optimized a website is, one must run a backlink scan using a spidering tool such as SEO SpyGlass. Based on report from that scan, the anchor text of the site's backlinks will need to be thoroughly investigated. If it appears that too much over-optimization is presence, one must 'balance the ratio' with more natural backlinks.

So instead of building links with nothing but exact phrase match anchor text, ethical SEO's must diversify their backlink portfolios. Some strategies for backlink diversification include using:

  • variations of anchor text to include only some keywords, rather than always using exact phrase match (also known as "partial linking" in the ecommerce SEO world)
  • a blend of do-follow backlinks and no-follow backlinks (80:20 is a good ration here). Such no-follow backlinks include forum and blog comment links, which are rather easy to build
  • the domain name or URL of the page being linked to * relevant link sources that have similar content that reflects the backlink and its anchor text

Have you been effected by Penguin? Feed us your thoughts in comments section below.

 

This article written by Tyler Tafelsky, one of our Internet marketing specialists here at OIC Group, Inc.

Visit Tyler on Google+

The SEO Value of External Blogs

In today's digital age, blogs have become excellent marketing tools. Having a blog for your business can help to increase awareness about your brand or business as well as establish a greater online reputation. However what sparks the interests of many online marketers is the SEO value of building an External blog for their business.

What's an External Blog?

External Blogs for SEOIn essence, an external blog is a dedicated website to publish content. Unlike internal blogs that are a part of business's domain (e.g. www.businessname.com/blog), an external blog is separate domain outside of the company's website (e.g. www.businessblog.com). So what makes an external blog better than an internal blog? The answer to that question centers on the fundamentals of search engine optimization and SEO link building.

Link Building via Blogging

In SEO, external links (otherwise known as "backlinks") directing to a site are like measures of popularity and website credibility to the search engines. A website with several backlinks pointing to its webpages will typically be considered popular, valuable, and trusted, and thus deserving of a top search engine ranking.

The key to remember is that these links are coming from an external source, ideally via relevant content in a blog post or an article. For this reason, managing your own external blog to feed your money site backlinks is one of the most effective strategies for SEO and website optimization. Building optimized backlinks from your own external business blog is one of the easiest and most cost-efficient methods to generate "link popularity" for search engine optimization.

Best Practices Tips

You may be familiar with some of the Google search engine algorithm updates that have recently occurred. In short, Google has been penalizing websites for "over-optimization." That is, sites that have far too many backlinks with exact keyword matching anchor text. As a result, you will want to build links from you blog carefully and in moderation. As tempting as it may be to use targeted keyword phrases in all of your backlink's anchor text, it is wise to mix it up a bit.

For example: let's say you're optimizing your money site for the keyword phrase "Dallas business lawyer." Instead of linking to your website with that exact phrase each time, try using variations like "business attorney in Dallas" or simply "business lawyers," without the geographic modifier. It is also smart to link to your money site using the URL address of the domain (e.g. www.DallasBizLawyers.com) - this will make your SEO link building appear as natural as possible, and will help avoid any risk of "over-optimization" penalties from Google.

The last best practices tip when link building from you external blog is to consider the importance of content relevancy (or "contextual" relevancy of the link). This is another important factor that search engines like Google consider while evaluating the quality of your backlinks.

The practice is simple: only build links that are relevant to the surrounding content. Using the latter example, a link with the anchor text "Dallas business lawyer" should be immersed in blog content all about business law. This contextual relevancy is imperative to ensure that your link building and website optimization efforts are sound.

When you begin developing an external blog for your business, remember to build your blog with a purpose. Have goals for your external blog, and continue to keep the content fresh and focused on specific theme or topic. Blog righteously, my friends.

 

This article written by Tyler Tafelsky, one of our Internet marketing & SEO Peoria IL specialists here at OIC Group, Inc.

Visit Tyler on Google+

 

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