Blog Commenting Risks & Benefits: If you plan to leverage this technique just be smart about it. However, if this is one of your main link building strategies then know you’re setting yourself up for failure.

1. HOW TO REGAIN TRUST IN GOOGLE AFTER YOUR SITE HAS BEEN HIT BY A MANUAL PENALTY

We came across a Google Webmaster Help thread that has a story of a webmaster that is trying to disavow and remove all the bad links pointing to his site.

The webmaster simply has to remove the manual action, but Google’s John Mueller tells him, the site also has algorithmic trust issues. John mentioned –

“Looking at your site’s history, it looks like you’ve done quite a bit for quite some time, and it looks like our algorithms have picked up on that too. So while resolving the manual action is a good way to start, you need to keep in mind that it can possibly take quite some time for our algorithms to regain trust in your site even after that.”

We have typically seen this happening a lot – We notice drop in rankings, we review the backlinks and come up with a list that needs to be manually contacted, and then come up with a list that needs to be disavowed and finally disavow the links / domains. However, even after months, we do not see improvement in rankings. The only reason could be the algorithmic actions taken on the site. According to Google –

The algorithms seem to have lost trust over time. The manual action is a “good way to start” but the algorithms need to “regain trust” in the site for there to be an improvement – which may take some time.

How we are helping your site to regain trust after we disavow the links?

  • We build good quality links – There is no denying of the fact that links are here to stay. We build links from highly relevant sources which include guest b
  • logs, videos, infographics, local business directories, coupons, etc. making it a diversified backlink profile. We also make sure to diversify the anchor text by lowering the percentage of exact match anchor texts and getting more links for naked URLs, branded terms and variations.

  • We improve your On-site SEO – With the decrease in off page SEO factors, importance of on page SEO has increased. We continue to focus on more on-site optimization techniques which include correcting all possible 404 errors, fix duplicate (thin) content on the site, implementing rich snippets, etc.
  • We write good quality content for your site – We understand that having relevant content on the site is vital for its success. We get the content written by professional content writers who writer as per the search engine standards. Apart from this we feature informative content on blog posts (added on the website blog) to cope up with the Hummingbird update as well.
  • We recommend implementing Google Authorship – Since Google has given clear indication that Authorship will be used as a ranking factor in near future, its better we implement it right away and take advantage of it. It also helps to improve click through rates as well as protects your content.
  • We improve social signals – Instead of doing social bookmarking of the article URLs, we get social signals to those articles which will include (either of) Facebook likes, Tweets or Google+ Votes. Client participation is encouraged. We have also included Social Profiles creation as part of our deliverables.
  • We recommend getting reviews on your Google+ local page – We believe this has been mentioned many times earlier but customer reviews are of utmost importance to rank a local website higher. We always recommend getting genuine reviews from your customers.

2. GOOGLE YET AGAIN DIRECTLY RECOMMENDS HAVING A RESPONSIVE DESIGN

We have repeated this numerous times and here it is again. Choosing a Responsive Web design over a Mobile-only design is a sensible choice. This time, we have decided to share the latest video from Google’s, Matt Cutts himself – just in case.

Matt explains that a Responsive design is nothing but good for your website in the eyes of Google. We believe responsive websites are given more preference in the SERPs. And unlike a Mobile-only template, Responsive designs are not as prone to technical errors and they allow you to keep all of your domain’s authority factors (link juice, URL structure, on-site SEO implementations and content) in one place. This also helps to better optimize the mobile website as you will have to SEO only one site instead of focusing on two different websites.

Simply said, Responsive web design is the BEST choice you can opt for from a long term perspective.

As far as our strategy is concerned, we have already started implementing mobile websites for our existing projects. If you have missed out, you can directly contact your project manager to get started with the implementation.
Alternatively, if you require this service separately, you can contact our Sales team directly.

3. BE AWARE IF YOU ARE IMPLEMENTING BLOG COMMENTS AS YOUR LINK BUILDING STRATEGY

If you are still using Blog Commenting as your primary source for link building post the Penguin era – Beware!

Matt Cutts released a video giving his advice in regards to using blog comments as a link building strategy.

Make sure you –

  • Do – Use your real name, instead of your business name; be sure your comments along with the links you’re including are relevant to each other.
  • Don’t – Use blog commenting as your PRIMARY link building strategy.

Our Take: If you plan to leverage this technique just be smart about it. However, if this is one of your main link building strategies then you’re setting yourself up for failure. As far as our strategy is concerned, we never did blog commenting for our clients and have always advised our clients to stay away from such techniques.

Apart from blog commenting, we have come up with our own research about – what can be considered definitely as a bad link or a link that should be “disavowed”.

  • Site wide footer links / multiple links from same domain
  • Blogroll link
  • Forum posting / profile link
  • Free directory links
  • Links from same class C IPs
  • Links from spun content
  • Links to different industry websites from the same article / content
  • Links from link-farm directories / pages
  • Links from non-English sites (for example – .ru, .jp, .cn, etc.)

If you have fallen prey to this techniques earlier by some unethical vendors who claim to be experts, it is always advisable to get rid of such links either manually or disavowing the links via Google Webmaster Tools.

However, disavow should be done with care as there is a change that Amateurs might disavow the good links which could cause more harm in the long run and can negatively affect your positioning . As always, if you need any help in getting this done by professionals, you can contact our Sales rep directly.

Google announced that Google Places for Business has added a new section for business owners to manage and respond to reviews left on their Google Maps business listings.

According to the post –

“Today, we’re introducing Reviews in Google Places for Business. Now you can learn what your customers are saying about your business on Google and across the web, in one place. If you have a verified business listing, you will now see your customer ratings and reviews in the easy-to-use review inbox.”

To get started, go to the dashboard you use to manage your business information, click the listing you’d like to manage, and choose Reviews from the left hand navigation menu.

You’ll see a Reviews inbox listing any reviews Google users have left for your business as well as snippets of reviews written about your business on other websites. The Reviews analytics tab includes information detailing where users have evaluated your business, and the average score of reviews of your business.

5. SPONTANEOUS CHANGES TO LOCAL SEARCH RESULTS CONTINUE

To start with, “Google Mapmaker” has been revamped to become the database that rules them all. Prior to this update, all the different Google services (Map Maker, Maps, Google+, and the Dashboard) all ran different databases and were required to sync up regularly via bots. This led to plenty of data and technical issues over time as we all know. Now that Google has just merged all of these databases into one and all of that data is now held within Google Mapmaker which could significantly clean up a lot of issues. Most of the changes that have taken place are behind the scenes as mentioned by Mike Blumenthal in his blog.

Some of the changes, like no more authorship photos in the Local Pack, are just in the look of things. However, the reversion to pure Maps Local Pack listings and ranking via the Maps algorithm takes away the huge advantage big brands with powerful websites had in getting their locations into the packs which helps to achieve better balance between big brands and small business which in our opinion is always welcomed.

It shouldn’t be effecting the rankings too much, though. As an SEO company, we have to satisfy both the Maps and Organic algorithms which sometimes results in getting the same site listed in both the organic and the Local pack results. Here is an example for the term “vein treatment san jose”.

6. NEW OPPORTUNITIES TAB: MORE WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR ADWORDS PERFORMANCE

Google launched the Opportunities tab in 2009 as a personal AdWords assistant, surfacing insights to help you improve your performance in AdWords. Google recently announced the new Opportunities tab wherein they have added several new opportunity types and made each easier to understand. Now the Opportunities tab is even better at answering the question, “What else can I do to improve my performance in AdWords?”

Google has added several new opportunity types for more ways to improve your performance.

  • Convert more customers in your best locations: If your conversion rate differs across locations, you might see opportunities to increase your location bid adjustment where your conversion rate is high, or decrease your location bid adjustments where your conversion rate is low.
  • Get more out of your existing budget: If you’re maxing out your budget, you might see opportunities to lower your bids to capture more clicks.
  • Be there more often than competitors: If your ads are being seen less frequently than other advertisers competing for the same traffic, you might see opportunities to be seen more frequently with bids to show more often than advertisers like you.
  • Show ads that are more relevant: If we spot an ad group with keywords related to lots of different themes, it’s harder for you to show a highly relevant ad, so you might see opportunities to create new ad groups from existing keywords.
  • Reach more customers on closely related searches: If you’re missing clicks on searches that are very similar to your existing keywords, you might see opportunities to broaden your keyword match types.
  • Be seen on the first page: If your ads are showing below the first page when users search on high-quality keywords, you might see opportunities to raise your bids to show ads on the first page.

A totally new design makes it easier to decide which opportunities to implement. For each opportunity, you’ll see a short summary under “What you can do” and the possible impact under “What you might get each week.” The opportunities you’ll see are tailored to your account and selected based on their possible impact to your performance.

Check the Opportunities tab often. Whether you optimize your campaign once a day or once a month, it’s constantly working in the background to spot opportunities for you to improve. And Google will be adding even more opportunity types over time.

7. A QUICK GLANCE AT INSTAGRAM ADS

Are you living in the United States? Do you see a photo or video marked shown below? If the answer to both these questions is yes, then you are already getting a glance of a sponsored story on the most popular photo-sharing social network – Instagram.

Just as Facebook acquired Instagram, it was evident that an advertising section would be next in the pipeline.

Instagram ads will still be available in beta phase only to a certain set of brands that have made it big in the Instagram community. You’ll be noticing an update from lot of brands that you don’t follow but it also allows you to control the ads that show up in your feed. Hide a photo or video just by clicking on this icon at the bottom.

This will provide feedback to Instagram to stop showing less interesting ads in your feed. It also promises to show more creative & engaging ads so that users around the globe get inspired & be connected. However, this won’t change the fact that you own your account & hence you will still see the updates from the users whom you follow. This remains constant irrespective of the change that is about to come.

With this in news, the brands related to Fashion industry, Cars, Fast Food, Soft drinks, Travel will leverage the most as users are always eager to have a visual treat. For greater engagement, photos or videos need to be appealing to all the users. It will be more important to keep a track on the engagement strategy of a brand.

Is Instagram the next twin of Facebook? A question that still needs to be answered.