Here at Artemis we have always focused on helping clients acquire the highest quality and most relevant links to their websites. Links are still a very critical component for successful rankings, particularly in competitive industries.
Ever since Google became the dominant search engine with its links-based algorithm, people have tried to fool Google into ranking their websites using spam driven link building methods. Over the years, Google has become exceptional at recognising spam backlinks and demoting websites that don’t deserve to rank because of their spam link profiles.
As Google now understands what constitutes a spam backlink, the attention has very much shifted towards rewarding “earned” links. Links cannot be bought, bartered or acquired in an unnatural way that contravenes Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
Getting links to a website today is much more time consuming and complicated than ever before. The standards required for links to have a positive effect are now so high that many agencies no longer offer link building services.
In 2018, a link is no longer a link; a link has to be earned and the website receiving the benefit of that link must be deserving of it. Link building, on-page optimisation and content cannot be looked at in isolation.
When Google finds a new link to a website, it will calculate both the value of the link where it is and the value of the page that it’s linking to. From this it will then determine what value, if any, to pass through the link from one site to the other.
A link on an irrelevant website, or in an unrelated context, or in a badly written article or where it appears that it may have been placed there for SEO purposes, this type of link will just be ignored by Google.
However, should the link appear on a good website, in context, in a good article and not appear to be for SEO purposes only, then Google will look to see if the receiving page for that link deserves to benefit from that link.
The receiving page needs to:
• Be of a high value
• Have relevant and useful content
• Have unique content
• Have fresh content
In other words, why should the receiving page merit the benefit of the link? There has to be a reason. Freshness signals are particularly important. In many cases, static, often outdated content, should not be worthy of a fresh new link.
Links cannot be looked at in isolation. Links must be earned and that means that pages that links are pointing to need to be regularly refreshed with new, up-to-date content. Alternatively, creating new pages with new content that is “link worthy” is a natural way to build fresh links to a website.
Websites never get penalised for having too much great content! Great content deserves new links.
Here are at Artemis we are constantly working with clients to ensure the continuous generation of quality content for their websites to complement the high-quality links that their websites are earning.
In the future we’ll look back on 2017 as the year when the transition from a “mobile first world” to an “AI (artificial intelligence) world” truly began. In terms of SEO news and significant algorithm updates it was a very quiet year; but in the background the influence of AI was really starting to be felt.
This is the most significant change to organic search results since Google first appeared on the scene in 1998, with its link based “PageRank” algorithm, which changed the face of online search and the Internet practically overnight.
Just a couple of years after Google started, we were building our own websites and ranking them successfully based on Google’s algorithm. The focus back then was always on having great content and great backlinks.
Even today, great content and great links are the fundamentals of good SEO and at Artemis we do this incredibly well. However, there is now so much more to ranking a website and in generating traffic to it.
Looking back just 2 or 3 years ago we didn’t have to worry much (or as much) about other ranking and SEO factors such as:
• Mobile indexing
• Secure websites
• Artificial intelligence
• Structured markup
• Featured snippets
• Click-through-rates from search
• Time on page
• Fast loading pages
• Mobile search behaviour
• High value pages
• Local listings
• Knowledge boxes
• Increased number of ads in results
It is no longer enough in SEO to just optimise a title tag and a meta description, add some keywords to a page and leave it at that.
SEO, historically, has been about the manipulation of the search results, particularly through targeted backlinks. Today, this is much, much harder to do. Results can be “manipulated” to a degree, in the sense that if you optimise a page perfectly it should outrank a competitor page of similar ranking value.
However, as we’ve seen several times now, if the page isn’t actually “good enough” it will quickly get demoted again by Google as it learns that users aren’t finding the page helpful.
The manipulation of the search results is now firmly in Google’s hands with their ever more powerful Artificial Intelligence (AI).
The impact of AI on search is huge and it’s going to get stronger and more powerful by the day.
What does it mean for SEO in 2018?
Google’s AI is learning and understanding what is good, what is popular and what truly deserves to be featured in those 10 key results on page 1 for any given search result.
Every page on every website needs to be worthy of a top ranking for a given search term. The ranking success of a page is based on getting the right:
1 – Relevant content
2 – High quality backlinks
3 – User intent
4 – User behaviour
Points 3 and 4 were never ranking factors before AI became a part of Google’s ranking algorithm, but today they are hugely important. Coupled with this, Google’s move to a “mobile first” index, which is already rolling out, means that 2018 may see some of the biggest changes to search results that we’ve seen for some time.
Here at Artemis, we have already been implementing strategies in 2017 for our clients to benefit from the changes to an AI focused mobile internet and we will be continuing and adapting these strategies during 2018 to maximise rankings and traffic to our clients’ websites.
Our continuous testing and foresight enables us to stay ahead of the game, ensuring that our clients benefit from this during the most significant change to the face of organic search in years.
We are excited about this new era of SEO and look forward to helping you succeed online in this new AI mobile world in 2018!
Traditionally major updates such as Panda and Penguin have been run in isolation, separate to Google’s main algorithm, often resulting in quite significant impacts on the search results. Websites affected by these algorithms would remain supressed in the search results until they were refreshed and the sites found to now adhere to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
Last year Panda was integrated into the main algorithm and now Penguin has been too, meaning it runs in real-time. The main benefit of this is that a website affected by Penguin will not need to wait another two years before it can recover; it can recover as soon as the spam is fixed and Google detects that that is the case during its normal crawl cycle.
But, by far the biggest change to Penguin is on its actual impact on a website.
With previous iterations, a website flagged by Penguin as having a spam backlink profile would cause the entire website to lose rankings, even if the links were all pointing to one page or were all focused on a specific key phrase.
Today, Penguin appears to be more granular. This is how Google expressed it in their blog post:
Penguin is now more granular. Penguin now devalues spam by adjusting ranking based on spam signals, rather than affecting ranking of the whole site.
That sentence could actually be interpreted in several ways but if they’ve listened to webmasters over the last two years then we can interpret it as follows:
A specific page is devalued if it’s deemed to have too many negative spam signals, such as keyword heavy inbound links, links from low quality sites (bookmarking, forum profiles, etc) or links from known private networks. The page may be penalised if it’s deemed that the spam was created intentionally and cannot be recovered until the links are removed or disavowed completely
A specific page is devalued by ignoring the links Google deems should not be passing pagerank to it, especially from low quality sites. The page is not penalised as it could have been subjected to a spam attack and can be recovered with new fresh, good quality links
The entire website is devalued if a significant portion of the backlinks are spam and are all pointing to the home page. The whole website loses value because the home page is generally the strongest and passes the weighting down throughout the website. Removing bad backlinks and disavowing them can go some way to aid recovery
The severity of Penguin is now greatly reduced and quicker to recover from. This is of particular importance to any business that has suffered from negative SEO or whose SEO company has used underhand ranking techniques
Over the last three weeks there have been some significant movements in the search results; no doubt this was Google testing out the new Penguin algorithm. At least it now means that the fluctuations should settle down and that those businesses that were impacted severely two years ago may now be in a position to rebuild their trust in Google and regain their rankings and traffic again.
A real-time Penguin is a friendly Penguin….finally!
“I don’t understand why my website doesn’t rank for my main terms, it’s so much better than all those other rubbish websites that Google is ranking instead.” Of course, everyone believes that their website is the best but far too often we come across websites that just can’t seem to rank at all, no matter what you do to them or how good their content may be.
One of the toughest parts of the role of an SEO is not to get a website ranking but having to try to explain to a client why his/her website isn’t ranking and is unlikely to; the worst part being that sometimes we just don’t really know the exact reason.
Google uses over 200 different signals to evaluate where pages should rank for a given search term. Additionally it frequently rolls out additional algorithms, such as Panda, Penguin, PayDay Loans to target particular spam or search quality issues. There are so many factors that come into play to make a page rank that sometimes it’s not easy to tell exactly why one page ranks better than another.
What we often tend to find is that some domains are untrusted and these are unlikely to be able to rank highly in Google search results in the short-term, no matter what you do. Manual and algorithmic penalties are supposed to have an expiry date but it could be years from now and most businesses can’t wait months let alone years to enjoy the benefits of good Google rankings.
We still have test websites that were penalised 4 years ago and today they are still not ranking.
Trust me, I’m not a link spammer
By far the biggest cause of lack of trust in a domain is if it has a very low quality backlink profile. This can take the form of hundreds of bookmarking links, links from low quality directories, links from other untrusted sites or a very keyword heavy anchor text profile to cite just a few examples.
When a new client comes to us with a website which has this type of link profile, which is far more common than it should be, we have to make a decision as to whether we think the website has been flagged as “untrusted” and whether it would be best to start again with a new domain.
You can run some simple tests such as optimising pages in a certain way and seeing if the corresponding change in the rankings matches expectations, but ultimately the domain may be flagged as untrusted by Google and therefore the effort to get it to rank well may far outweigh the effort required to achieve good results with a new domain.
All is not lost with a new domain
There is always a lot of resistance from businesses when it comes to changing a domain name, for various reasons, but from a search rankings point of view you can start with a new domain but you aren’t necessarily starting from scratch.
You can’t just redirect an old, untrusted domain to the new one as you will just pass across the low trust signals to the new domain. There are ways around this and it’s important to ensure that the new domain remains completely clean and independent of the old one. Changing signals that tell Google what your new website address is such as Google+, local directories, business listings, etc., will help to accelerate the ranking of the new domain.
The clean-up operation
Over the years I’ve spent huge amounts of time cleaning-up websites to get them ranking again. Cleaning up bad backlinks is very tough and although you can disavow links with Google, the process is far from guaranteed and Google can choose to accept or ignore what you put in your disavow file. The Penguin algorithm flags websites as untrusted if they have spam backlinks. The only way to recover from this is to clean up the bad backlinks and wait for Penguin to run again. Seeing as it hasn’t run for over a year that’s a huge amount of time for any business to be struggling in Google search results.
If the issue is poor quality content or too many cookie-cutter pages (this is pure Panda fodder) this can also take a long time to correct and the efforts can take even longer to realise in search results.
Time is money and going through a clean-up process is generally very time-consuming and with no guaranteed outcome.
Sometimes it’s just best to bite the bullet and start afresh…a solution also stated by John Mueller (Google engineer) in this Google+ post:
There could well be an extra gift under our Christmas tree this winter from a certain major search engine, with the next Google Penguin Update likely to arrive within the next two months. The new real-time Penguin algorithm version 4.0 is due for release at the end of this year. We’ve been expecting it and we’re going by news from Gary Illyes, the Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, who said it would be released in 2015.
What we are expecting of the next algorithm update is that it will be a real-time version, which means that the algorithm will update continuously in real time. The upcoming release is Penguin 4.0 and we’ve been told about these updates on many occasions in the past but until now we haven’t had a continuous update that won’t include any specific release dates. Instead of this, any detections of spammy links detected will be acted upon by Penguin.
When spammy links are removed once they are detected and the Google indexer is aware of this, the sites will stop being impacted by Penguin. The news on Penguin 4.0 is very brief at this stage but it’s intriguing to discover that it will indeed arrive before the end of 2015. So what is Real-time Penguin all about?
There’s not much information on the real-time algorithm update just yet but what we do know is that as soon as Google discovers that a link has been removed, the Penguin algorithm will do exactly what it says on the tin – process this in real time. You would therefore be able to recover from any penalty issued by Penguin pretty quickly, although you could also end up with a penalty just as quickly.
Get in Touch
Here at Artemis we stay up-to-date with all the latest happenings at Google to ensure our clients’ websites benefit and traffic continues to increase. Get in touch with us today to find out more.
An effective SEO strategy that is solid and reliable is absolutely essential if any e-commerce site is to be successful in the long term. Whether your company is a miniature start-up or a global firm, SEO is what maximises the profitability of an e-commerce website.
The following reasons for SEO’s importance I the world of e-commerce come from a background of hard data rather than intuition, so you should take note of them when preparing your future SEO strategies…
Cost-Effectively Growing Your Bottom Line
Your efforts will always be more cost-effective when you are marketing strategy and sales are based around market and competition, thorough analysis of your situation and a tailored plan that complies with available resources and strengths.
The most competitive industries you may be forced to buy costly banner ads but with effective SEO you are less dependent on this traffic. While you still have the option of buying ads, effective SEO is a reliable way of ensuring your sales and profit continue to run smoothly. Traffic from organic search is free and that’s why SEO is so popular these days.
The successful e-commerce sites of this world take advantage of SEO and combine it with stuff like content marketing and social media marketing and various other marketing activities. Ultimately, you’ll achieve more by spending a lot less.
SEO Determines How Many Customers Find You
If you look at your analytics tool and identify where most of your traffic, sales and conversions come from, you’ll find that organic search is usually a top source of revenue. Profit-producing traffic is primarily driven by Google and if this isn’t the case for you, you are almost certainly making some mistakes down the line.
Nearly 90% of consumers now rely on search engines to clarify their purchase choices and if you don’t have an effective SEO strategy at your disposal, you’re probably invisible to a plethora of potential buyers.
It’s tempting to sit pretty on the organic search you get from Google but e-commerce sites can go so much further with a top quality SEO strategy that expands sales and revenue tenfold.
The Effects of SEO Last for a Long Time
SEO is the main provider of results that are cost-effective, targeted and measureable, as well as long-lasting. You can’t stop SEO in its tracks – it doesn’t quite work like that.
Paid advertising may give you the idea that pulling the plug results in a dramatic drop in traffic. SEO on the other hand just keeps on rolling. An effective SEO strategy improves itself year on year, so there’s no clean slate and starting from scratch.
You can use what you did last year to improve consistently and ultimately dominate or even own your particular niche.
Artemis Marketing has over 10 years experience delivering unrivalled SEO results for clients that include global e-commerce sites through to local campaigns for small businesses.
Get in touch today to find out how we can help your e-commerce site take the next step to achieving more revenue.
A technical puzzle posed by a client had me scratching my head for a while. It went a little something like this
Client: “We would like to show data from our Google Analytics live within the site”
Custom Reporting Dashboards
Monthly reporting to one side there are a number of ways we can create custom reports within Google Analytics or using third party tools such as Cyfe (I love Cyfe), trouble is this either involves providing a public URL, scheduling reports to run periodically and emailing them on set days/dates or stakeholders logging into Google Analytics and finding the reports you have created.
All very useful yes, but I know very few clients that can actually wrap their heads around Google Analytics never mind dig for data to help them make decisions. So why not create custom dashboards that are part of an internal system, or even nearly live data dashboards that can be accessed at any time?
Then it quickly dawned on me, if it was that hard for me, how hard would it be to try and translate what I have learned to someone else?
Turns out Google had already thought about this and offered the solution to my puzzle at the same time. So enter the “Google Analytics Spreadsheet Add-on”, once you get your head around some of the terminology & you are in the swing of configuring the custom reports you can have a live interactive graph of your data setup within 15 minutes.
Setting up the Google Analytics Spreadsheet Add-on
1 – Login to Google Drive using the same username and password that you use for Google Analytics
2 – Click on New > Google Sheets from the left hand navigation
4 – Search for “Google” in the search box and select Google Analytics by clicking the “Free” button
Using the Google Analytics API within Google Sheets
Now that we have the API hooked up to our Google Sheets, we want to start polling the API, there is an extensive list of Dimensions and Metrics we can pull from the API all available here, but for the purposes of this walkthrough we are goiing to pull some basic stats..
1 – Click on “Add-Ons” & select “Google Analytics & then “Create New Report”
2 – On the right hand side of the sheet a 3 step form will appear with various input options
3 – Give the report a name, select the GA account, property and view you want to pull data from, then select the metric and dimension you want to poll. Clicking within the input fields will reveal option lists to make life a little easier
4 – I have chosen a simple report for Sessions by Source/Medium for this example, click create report when you are ready
5 – You will notice that a new sheet has been created which contains the configuration that you just requested. I have also added in “-ga:sessions” and max results of 3, (top 3 sorted by highest to lowest)
Running Reports Using the Google Analytics Add-On
So far so good, pretty pain free eh? It gets easier again! I am not going to go into too much detail about start and end dates or “Last N Days” here as I wanted to keep it simple, but when you are ready to go again.
How easy was that! An alert box appears once more to inform of the status of the report you have just ran & in the background the eagle eyed will have noticed metrics magically appearing
Sharing the Report
Now that our data has been generated, next we need to present it in a much more readable format and share it, as ever the inbuilt capabilities of Google Sheets not only makes this easy but the permission based access also makes it shareable only with the eyes that need to see it. In my case though I wanted to make my data publicly available. As with any data in spreadsheets we look to present it through graphs and charts.
1 – Highlight your data
2 – Within the sheets menu click “insert” & “Chart” and select the chart type you want to use to present your data
3 – click insert
4 – change the chart title to make sense of your data (click on the title to edit)
5 – Click anywhere on the chart and notice the small drop down arrow, select it and click on “Publish Chart”
6 – From the alert that appears select “Embed” and click publish
Updating the data
There are 2 ways to handle updating the data within the reports you have configured, either manually run the report again and your chart will change, or, and this is the beautiful part, you can schedule the data to automatically update!
Scheduling Updates for Your Interactive Charts
1 – Click “Add-ons” within the sheets menu & select “Google Analytics” & then “Schedule Reports”
2 – Select the checkbox for “Enable reports to run automatically”
3 – Select when you want your reports to run
4 – Click save
This scheduling flexibility to automatically update our Google Analytics data saves a tonne of time.
So now we have a free way to create custom reporting dashboards from our Google Analytics data where all we need to do is configure them once and schedule to automatically update. Other than an iframe snippet there is no scripting involved, no oauth to worry about and the inbuilt permissions of Google Sheets takes care of the data integrity.
The following videos are more in depth guides to my simplistic guide, what they do offer though are introductions to working with more dimensions and metrics and custom date ranges and much much more.
There has been plenty of speculation about a potential Panda algorithm update in the works and we’re expecting news on this in the coming weeks. However, an algorithm update did take place yesterday which Google confirmed as a core search algorithm update. Google released a statement sent to SearchEngineLand which said that core search algorithm updates are likely to become more commonplace in future as they focus on improving search quality.
“This is not a Panda update. As you know, we’re always making improvements to our search algorithms and the web is constantly evolving. We’re going to continue to work on improvements across the board.”
The SEO community noticed ripples of change yesterday after the latest core search update and it’s highly likely that these were adjustments to the first core search algorithm we spotted back in early May, coined the Google Quality Update by SearchEngineLand.
Google tend not to give too much away in the event of a core search algorithm update, so we can be pretty certain it has nothing to do with Panda, Penguin or HTTPS. Mozcast was one of many automated tracking tools that displayed spikes in Google search results yesterday, with Dr Pete Meyers initially linking the events to a HTTPS algorithm change. Google’s Gary Illyes ruled this out on his Twitter account. One of the likely reasons for spikes is Wikipedia changing all its URLs to HTTPS this week.
So we continue to wait patiently for any changes to Panda, with yesterday’s events proving to be a false alarm. Google updates core search throughout the year, so we can expect to see them being reported more often from now on.
Contact Artemis today and find out how we can deliver unrivalled SEO results for your website.
Last Sunday, in what proved to be rather unfortunate weather conditions, we took to our road bikes and competed in the annual Greater Haywards Heath Bike Ride in aid of Kangaroos, a non-profit organisation that provides a wide range of recreational and leisure activities for children and young adults with severe learning disabilities.
The Greater Haywards Heath Bike Ride is the largest cycling event in Sussex and we all thoroughly enjoyed taking part.
We were overwhelmed by the support we received and are absolutely delighted to announce that we managed to raise considerably more for Kangaroos than our original target. The £1,468.42 we raised will certainly do a great deal for what is an incredibly positive, hard-working and inspirational organisation.
We would like to thank everyone who supported our effort through their contributions and wish Kangaroos all the best as they continue to provide a wonderful service to disabled children and young adults in Mid Sussex.
To find out how we can transform your website through expert SEO services and techniques to generate more for your business, contact Artemis Marketing today.
Artemis Marketing are delighted to announce that we are now ranked 1st out of over 2000 UK Search Engine Optimisation companies in the UK. We are thrilled to have achieved such recognition from the UK’s most comprehensive local business review site FreeIndex.
Over the last three years we have worked with many different clients and received numerous positive reviews for our services in return. We have used our extensive knowledge of SEO to enhance our clients’ online presence and significantly increase traffic to their websites.
We make the most of a thoroughly professional and transparent approach to ensure our clients achieve truly outstanding results through their online business.
We received yet another positive review this week from one of our clients:
“After nearly 2 years of disappointment and a lot of expense wasted on so called SEO companies, Artemis had a difficult task ahead of them to put things right. Back in 2013 Mike and his team offered a realistic plan of action to get us back on track. Today, over a year in we couldn’t be happier with the results.
Great communication and professionalism from all the staff and a sound investment for any company.”
Kirsty Kerley, Lee Whiting – Resin Flooring Ltd – 21 May 2015
Get in touch with us today to find out more about how our expert SEO services can benefit your website.