Google has recently launched its biggest algorithm update since the Panda update from last year. It’s called Penguin and it’s another way Google is actively fighting search spam.
While Panda primarily targeted shallow content, Penguin is specifically an anti-spam update that is punishing sites for techniques like keyword stuffing (using the exact same keyword an excessive amount of times on a page) and cloaking (showing a version of a webpage to a crawler that is different from what a human user sees). It’s easy to see if your site has been affected by Penguin. Just look at your Google Analytics page. Watch the data for April 24, when Penguin went live. Affected sites will see a sharp, immediate drop in traffic — indicating a Penguin penalization.
There has been some buzz about Google launching an update to penalize sites that have been “over-optimized.” Penguin looks to be just that, however the term “over-optimization” is a bit of misnomer. Sites that have followed a balanced, white-hat SEO plan will be negatively affected by Penguin. Sites that have excessively optimized via keyword stuffing need to watch out for Penguin.
It is possible you may have been keyword stuffing by accident with no intent to spam or otherwise game the system. Take the following URL as an example:
www.example.com/widgets product page/blue widgets/size10widgets.aspx
It seems like a perfectly normal e-commerce site ticking off product category progression, right? However, Penguin may see it as stuffed with the keyword “widget.” A preferable URL would be:
www.example.com/widgets product page/blue/size10.aspx
Another stuffing technique Penguin is looking for is internal links on your site that point to the same webpage using the same anchor text every time. When writing the copy for you pages, you’ll want to use synonyms for your primary keywords for the best optimization. This not only helps people using different search terms find your content, but it helps you avoid keyword stuffing as well. By balancing your SEO plan and producing quality content, you will be able to rank higher and avoid any Penguin penalties.
The growth of mobile internet usage is without precedent right now. More people are using their smartphones to access the internet and engage with downloaded applications than ever before. Thanks to the advancement of mobile devices, smartphones and tablets specifically, marketers have completely new channels in which to develop their promotional strategies. In today’s business climate, there’s a great opportunity for marketers to take advantage of this shift in user behavior, as more people conduct business and use their mobile devices for personal use.
I recently read an excellent whitepaper on Permission and Privacy within the mobile marketing space and thought it was worth noting the 6 C’s as outlined in the whitepaper:
These 6 C’s, or guidelines, offer thoughts on Best Practices of how to effectively manage a mobile marketing strategy. Unfortunately, in the land of “spam” too many unscrupulous marketers, and I use the term marketers loosely, choose the easy path of ignoring these important steps looking to simply play the percentages. Typically, spammers ignore all measure of ethics and simply cast as wide a net as possible ignoring Best Practices. No matter how irrelevant the marketing message may be, given the sheer volume of spam that is sent, spammers believe if they can get even .05% to convert, the “spam” campaign is profitable. But for real businesses, who want to protect their reputation and brand, these 6 C’s should be referenced whenever new mobile campaigns are considered. Customers will take notice of the extra effort and in the long run it will increase your reputation and the effectiveness of your mobile marketing strategies.
In my last few posts I have covered the different types of metadata and how to use each effectively. In this post you will learn about the “alt attribute” or more commonly called the alt tag. The alt tag is html code we use to label images found on websites.
If you view a site’s source code and look for an image, you will most likely see the name of the image in gif format and next to it will be the alt= tag. This is where you can label your image. Example: Alt Attribute example:
You might be asking yourself “What is the importance of the alt tag?” Good question! The alt tag is important for three distinct reasons:
1. Some searchers turn graphic functionality off so a page will load faster if they have a slower connection speed. When this is the case, the image will not appear, but rather the image’s alt tag will be viewable.
2. It’s used for blind and visually impaired readers who access a page using audio-based browsers, or screen readers. — These devices read the page aloud so the user can hear the content on the page. If there is no alt tag, the images will be skipped and important information could be lost.
3. Universal Search — This has been around for about a year, and is still evolving. Universal search uses alt tags and other information to display the images of your website in the “blended results”. These blended results feature images, video, news and regular listings in the search results. The search engines’ algorithm takes alt tags into account when displaying these mixed results.
Alt Tag Tips
While it is important to realize that the alt tag should be used for all of the images on your site, you should not over use this tool. Abusing this tag can have serious consequences when it comes to the search results. Below are some do’s and don’ts to creating effective alt tags.
– Use on every image on your site
– Describe what the image represents
– Use keywords where applicable
– Make sure each image has a unique alt tag
– Don’t stuff all of your keywords into the tag to “game” the search engine — This is called alt spam
– Don’t add alt tags for things like buttons and images smaller than 10 x 10 pixels. These items are not necessarily important to search, so you don’t have to label them.
As always, alt tags are not the “SEO Golden Ticket” but rather a piece of the bigger picture. Work on Metadata and alt tags, and you will be one step closer to having an optimized website.