Articles in the Algorithm Updates & News Category

If you depend on Organic website traffic for new and returning business, it’s important to understand the effects that search engine algorithm updates can have on your web traffic. Usually run to prevent search spam and improve the SERPs, search engine algorithm updates can be confusing for web masters and interactive marketers. Learn about the latest algorithm updates and what they mean for your website.

May 21 2013

Best Practices for Image Optimization

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When it comes to website optimization, images are sometimes an afterthought. Copy, design, and coding all play important roles in an optimized website, but images can also increase your visibility in image based searches. Optimizing images is easy do if you follow these best practice guidelines:

Utilize image compression and file type: Maintaining fast load times is important for an optimized website. If your site is using lots of image data, you’ll need to compress the images to keep them from affecting your site’s performance. You should also consider which file extension your images use. For example, a .png file can show more colors than a .jpg file, but it’s larger and will take longer to load.

Create an image sitemap: To increase the chances that search engines will index the images on your website, create an image sitemap.

Don’t forget social sharing buttons: The advent of image sharing sites like Pinterest has only increased the importance of sharing buttons, especially for images. By adding social sharing buttons, you’ll increase the chance that web pages and images reach a wider audience.

Optimize image metadata: Most importantly, you should optimize the file name and alt tag. For both, use five to seven words to describe what the image is. If possible, use keywords that you’d like to target. If the image contains text, include this text in the alt data as well.

May 17 2013

Natural vs. Aggressive SEO Strategies: Part 1

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As the saying goes, “good things come to those who wait.” In certain aspects of quality SEO programs, there’s a lot of truth to that statement. Time and time again, we explain to clients that results from an SEO program are not quantifiable overnight. SEO efforts are most effective when they follow a natural philosophy.

“Natural” here refers to the actions your SEO strategy takes in light of guidelines set by search engines. All over the Internet, there are SEO blogs showcasing the latest and greatest aggressive SEO strategies. These are usually tweaks and implementations that are not out-rightly against guidelines. Essentially, an aggressive strategy searches for ways to bend the system to gain an advantage. Aggressive strategies aren’t necessary for SEO success, but they may get results faster.

An advantage that doesn’t actually break any rules sounds great! But, the advantage tends to fall apart over the long-term — resulting in wasted effort. In fact, many of the strategies that are now banned by current search engine guidelines were aggressive strategies that gained widespread use, to the detriment of users.

Take blog networks as an example. Until last year, it was ordinary for websites to join up with a blog network for quick promotion and increased rankings. It was similar to a link farm, but it wasn’t expressly forbidden. In March 2012, Google finally took action and de-indexed hundreds of blog networking web pages. The aggressive strategy of signing up with blog networks and catering to their requirements garnered good results for a while. But, any sites that worked with blog networks essentially had all of that time and effort thrown out the window once Google adjusted its guidelines. Had these sites promoted their blogs via natural linking efforts, they wouldn’t have suffered such a penalization.

That’s just one of many examples of a successful “aggressive” strategy completely backfiring. In a future post, we’ll go over why “natural” style strategies are more effective in the long run.

February 27 2013

MoreVisibility Update: Do 301 Redirects Pass PageRank?

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Matt Cutts, Distinguished Engineer from Google posted a video update on Tuesday (2/25/13) on the topic of “What Percentage of PageRank is Lost Through a 301 Redirect?”

What Matt Cutts clarified yesterday is that no extra PageRank is lost when using a single 301 redirect.

In the video he says “the amount of PageRank that dissipates through a 301 is currently identical to the amount of PageRank that dissipates through a link.” It has been common knowledge for a long time that when web page A links to web page B, although minimal, some amount of PageRank is lost. However, it was believed that more PageRank would be lost if a 301 redirect is used.

With a 301 redirect, web page A is linking to web page B that 301 redirects to web page C. Due to past comments by Google; it was believed that a slight amount more of PageRank was lost when a 301 redirect was used to connect web page A to web page C when compared to a direct link. This is certainly not the case. According to Google, a single 301 redirect does not pass any less PageRank to the destination page when compared to a direct link.

However; it is also important to note that he says:

  • “use whatever is best for your purposes”
  • “we don’t promise that it will be that way for all time and eternity”

As always, it is important to be cautious and look at all of the factors before implementing any 301 redirects, such as:

  • While the amount of inbound link value may be equal; that may not be the most important factor when considering the use of a 301 redirect.
  • 301 redirects are intended to be used as a permanent signal that the old page will not be returning.
  • 301 redirects are intended to be used to deliver the user to a new and equally relevant page: 301 redirecting a lot of pages to non-relevant pages is not a best practice.
  • Using a 301 redirect can, and often does have an impact on how the new and old pages are indexed; such as the amount of time it takes for search engines to reflect the change in their search engine results pages.
  • If not done properly, using 301 redirects can have a negative affect.
  • If you chain multiple 301 redirects together, the PageRank and overall link value may dissipate more rapidly, and search engines may eventually stop following the redirects.

It is important to ensure that you take an in-depth look at the reasons to and possible outcomes of implementing redirects. You can find the video from Matt Cutts here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Filv4pP-1nw

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