Article Archive by Michael Bergbauer

July 19 2011

Farewell to Yahoo Site Explorer

by Michael Bergbauer

Earlier this month, Yahoo announced that it will discontinue Yahoo Site Explorer, which comes as a blow to many professionals in the SEO industry.

Despite the steadily diminishing influence of Yahoo on search engine optimization, many SEO professionals still value the Site Explorer as acomprehensive and reliable tool for running link competitive analysis. For example, if you are beginning a link-building campaign for your website, you can go to Yahoo Site Explorer and enter the URLs for your competitors. Site Explorer will tell you what other websites are linking to those competitors — effectively giving you a list of relevant sites to request links from. You can also view pages of your own site to see what audiences are really interested in your content.

Yahoo Site Explorer is also an easy and useful tool to check if a site is involved in any unscrupulous link farming. A few months ago, entering the URL for JC Penny’s website clearly revealed such tactics, which lead to its penalization from Google.

Yahoo claims that, because it will be merging its organic search results with Bing, having two webmaster portals (Site Explorer and Bing Webmaster Tools) is unnecessary. No official date has been set by Yahoo, but Site Explorer is expected be offline later this year.

Yahoo recommends users transition to Bing Webmaster Tools instead, but many SEO professionals are concerned that the same level of detailed link data will simply not be provided. Because Bing has not yet announced any new features to match the functionality of Yahoo Site Explorer, there could be a chance for competitors to arise and fill the gap. New site, Ahrefs looks to be the next best thing, if not better than, Yahoo Site Explorer. Still others may fall on more established pay-sites like SEOmoz or Ontolo. Only time will tell.

July 11 2011

What is Google Panda?

by Michael Bergbauer

Those who have been following news from Google are well aware of the impact (or panic, depending on who you ask) the Panda update has had on search results. But just how is Panda changing the way Google views your website?

Panda was often referred to as an update to Google’s ranking algorithm. However, Search Engine Land has since pointed out that it’s really more like another ranking factor similar to page rank, but with more importance.

Whenever Google runs a Panda update (which appears to be shaping into a monthly schedule) Panda looks at your website to determine if it contains quality content. Pages on your site that contain low-quality content — such as spammy text; unoriginal, plagiarized, or duplicate content; irrelevant text; too much unmanaged user submitted content; etc. — get penalized (or “pandalized” in some circles) and suffer on the SERPs.

If you notice a drop off in your analytics that coincides with a Panda update, there is a good chance you may have a content quality issue with your website. Reevaluate the text on affected pages and look for ways to increase quality and relevancy. Unfortunately, you may not see a recovery in your analytics until Panda checks your site again.

Please keep in mind that, if your site is providing relevant, useful content to searchers, then Panda is nothing for you to worry about. Simply stay on the right track, and watch your website grow.

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