Google’s Devaluation of Link Programs

I follow a number of blogs and newsletters focused on search engine optimization techniques. It continues to amaze me when supposed experts talk about link programs and their value in getting placement on Google. If they had read Google’s patent disclosure from last year they would know that they need to be rethinking link campaigns.

Right now I am watching a client and analyzing the techniques that we are using for organic improvement on Google. The days of using link software are gone, as Google will ding you for linking to poor quality sites. In fact before you link to anyone, you should evaluate their site for how it works with your content, their pagerank, and the actual placement of your link. Getting a link for the sake of just a link is actually now a very bad strategy to take when you are focused on Google placement.

We know that linking from blogs doesn’t work anymore as all the main platforms now insert a no follow tag in the link, some forums still have a follow property in their links, and so some forums can still be good for you to post and link back to your website and blog, but not all.

We are also evaluating feature article writing as a way to get quality inbound links, and so far have found that although this tactic generates an abundance of links, but that Google is smart enough to net them out when determining organic ranking. There is some buzz in the marketplace that  it may take 90 days for Google to add the links to the site’s organic ranking, but to me from what I have seen so far this sounds like an apology for non-performance. I am watching two situations very carefully using feature articles for link generation and as soon as I can ascertain if this is a workable strategy I’ll let you know.

In the meantime, be very suspicious of webmasters and SEO firms that try to rope you in with link building programs, you may be paying for a strategy that Google has devalued.


Will Changing My Domain Name Help Search Placement

Clients have asked this question “will changing my domain name improve my organic placement on search engines?” The answer is no. It is the content and links to a website that affect organic position not the name of the site. In fact changing the name of an existing website may actually do more damage than good.

Google specifically looks at many factors for organic search position, in fact nearly 150 of them. One of them is the length you have held your domain name. I do not recommend changing the domain name of an existing website, but for new sites I do recommend careful consideration of domains that are memorable or contain keywords.

Recently I had a client who does work for HUD under a large contract ask for help in deciding a new domain name as they had no traffic on their website. The marketing team felt that changing the name would make the site more popular with search engines. A name change will simply not bring the results that a work-over of content and what is on the home page will bring in conjunction with a link and content creation strategy.

So if you are thinking that you need to change your domain name to get more traffic, instead look very carefully at your content and when was the last time you updated your website before you make a change to your domain name.


Why Duplicate Hurts You with Google

Google is all about making the Web experience great for readers. That is why their search market share has grown and is what the Google algorithm is all about – finding and rewarding websites that provide a great reader experience with unique informational content.

This past year we saw Google patent technology to identify specific authors of content. In part, I feel, down the pike Google will allow website owners and authors to tag their content with unique IDs. Google has not said anything about this, but in their patent disclosure it appeared that this was a possible future direction.

Google likes unique and in-depth informational content. Websites that offer a rich informational experience for their readers will place higher organically than website that are simply “web brochures”, branded affiliate websites that repeat parent site content, or those that show content that is widely syndicated in an industry. There is simply no fooling Google on these issues. When Google indexes billions and billions of web pages and has the technology to weigh content, keyword density, and assign an organic placement score, don’t think that they don’t know that you and 2,000 people share the same content! Google is very smart.

Problems with shared content are important issue for lawyers, real estate agents, and affiliates to consider before purchase. Google has recently aggressively target affiliate websites as these are typically websites that share the same content with many other affiliates on the Web. Real estate agents and lawyers sometimes buy syndicated content that is widely shared by others as well. The content that they buy for their website will not help them with Google placement and overtime, Google may actually remove any pages from their index that shows this content. Google does not like to show duplicate content in their index; it affects the user’s experience and as a result hurts the Google reputation for quality search returns. If you as a website owner understand this before purchase, that’s good, but if you don’t and think that this syndicated content will help you with organic placement, think again!

When it comes to Web content, the best rule of thumb is to invest in your own. Make it unique, make it informational and you will overtime improve your organic search placement, end up with more links to your website, and develop the Web Authority with readers that you really have been seeking in the first place.



Is It To Be GoogleY! or Yoogle!

Google is testing running AdWords ads on Yahoo! of all places!

In this limited test; on 3% of Yahoo searches for a three week period, Google will be showing Google AdWords ads on Yahoo. Yahoo will receive a percentage of fees in an effort to fight off the pending hostile takeover from Microsoft.

You need to read my post at Blog-World Watch on this important test that does not bode well for advertising on the Web in general


PPC Yahoo Google Test

I read this in the Washington Post this morning; that Yahoo, in a three week test, will be showing Google AdWords ads in about 3% of their searches. This is big news, but is it good news or bad news?

I have to say I think that it is bad news. Google owns such as large portion of the search engine marketing market that to expand their holdings onto Yahoo, which really had a good new program, means to the average business that you will simply pay more per click.

Competition is good in a marketplace; offers alternatives, typically keeps prices lower, and keep competitors sharper as they work to garner market support. Moving AdWords onto the Yahoo platform can only mean that you as an advertiser will now pay more money for Yahoo clicks.

Yahoo had an excellent pay per click product and different search demographics which gave advertisers real differences and an alternative to AdWords. Now, when you advertise on Yahoo, you get Yahoo AdWords! I do say this tongue in cheek now, because remember this is a limited test, and it is not a done deal, but it does not bode well for people who are currently advertising on Yahoo.

What it does appear to me however is that with Yahoo and Google cozying up, a merger there may be in order creating GoogleY! Wouldn’t that just smack Microsoft in the face? First Microsoft bids too low to move their advertising onto AOL – which really killed their fledgling pay per click program several years ago and now they are letting Yahoo slip through their fingers. A better plan would be to up the ante for Yahoo and then become a real contender to Google searches and advertising.