No Metadata Required for Good SEO

head spinningWordPress.com is a multiuser blogging platform. Our blogs share a common architecture and we bloggers cannot access metadata. This is no barrier to site discover-ability, indexing or search engine optimization. However, when answering support forum questions posed by bloggers with metadata madness sharing our reality with them can cause a head spin. Continue reading

Keyword Metatags

google magnifying glass

The keywords metatag was a critical element for early search engines but hasn’t been used in search engine ranking since 2002. There is no such thing as setting a meta keyword tag for a WordPress.com blog. However, from time to time new bloggers post to the WordPress.com support forums asking for instructions for setting a meta keyword tag for their blog.   Continue reading

WordPress.com: Heading Tags from h1 – h6

Heading tags are an important part of any HTML document and blogs are HTML documents.  Search engine spiders read HTML and understand the relevance of heading tags, so when heading tags are used appropriately search engines give more weight to text that is inside a heading tag. That’s why it’s important for WordPress.com bloggers to learn what HTML heading tags are and how to use them properly. Continue reading

Top 5 Site Title Tag Tips

title tag Are you blogging and thinking ‘build it and they will come’? If you are, then put on your thinking cap and think again. We all want our blogs to receive search engine attention so they attract incoming targeted readers. It’s site title tags that tell search engines and their users you have the welcome mat out. Continue reading

Panda and Penguin algorithm updates

Every blogger should read Google’s quality guidelines.  There have been at least nine major updates to Google’s “Panda” algorithms since they were introduced February 2011 to purge search results of  duplicate content and low quality content. Google’s Penguin Update launched on April 24, 2012 was a change to Google’s search results designed to punish pages that have been spamming Google.  Continue reading

Reposting content from other sites

In one ear we hear that to increase reach cross-posting a blog post or update on a number of other sites and social media platforms will lead to success. In the other we hear cross-posting too many automated links will class us as spammers. In this post you can view Matt Cutts of Google in a video where he answers a cross-posting question. Continue reading

Revisiting Keywords and Tags

google magnifying glass Search engines detect and use keywords when indexing your posts and each tag has a unique descriptive keyword term – permalink. Theoretically assigning relevent Tags/Categories to posts helps potential readers locate relevant content in search results, and increases the odds your content will be found by new readers. Continue reading

Can Google detect which content is original?

Has your blog content every been stolen? Have you ever used Google search and been incensed to discover the stolen version ie. duplicate content is appearing in higher positioning in SERPS (Search engine page results) than your original article appears?

Duplicate content is content that can be accessed on more than one URL. “Duplicate content generally refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar. If search engine spiders can’t tell which version of a web page or document is the original or canonical version, then the consequences will be less search visibility.

Duplicate content within a domain

Duplicate content within a domain is a common problem on blogs where multiple URLs can refer to the same content, for example, if you have full posts displaying in Archives, Categories pages and Tag pages. On self-hosted wordpress.org installs the no-index, follow tag can be used to instruct Google and the other search engines to crawl the page and follow the links but not add the page to its index. This cannot be done on free hosted blogs on wordpress.com, as it’s a multi-user blogging platform where users cannot access and edit themes or templates. With Panda rolling out globally and Google giving advice to remove duplicate content and non-original content, what is one to do?

To reduce duplicate content within my domain I have taken these steps:

  1. I have  set my RSS Feeds > Settings > Reading to “Summary” rather than “Full” to  reduce content theft.
  2. I have a Copyright page and copyright notices also to reduce content theft.
  3. I do not use a theme that displays full posts in Archive pages, Categories pages and Tags pages.  Instead I use the Inuit Types theme as it is a theme that automatically provides excerpts of post content on the Front page,  Archives, Categories and Tags pages.
  4. I copy and paste a sentence from my latest post into Google search a few hours after publication to search for duplicates.
  5. I use Copyspace to search for duplicates.
  6. I also use plagium (beta)  to track plagiarism.
  7. I have set up Google Alerts for my domain names.
  8. I act immediately when I discover my content has been stolen and file a DMCA take down notice when required.

Duplicate content across domains

Though it isn’t the only cause,  the most obvious cause of duplicate content is when people intentionally lift content from other sites for their own use.  Many content thieves are using Blogspot free hosting and Adsense (Google owns both) to make money from stolen blog content. In March Google decided to change the search algorithm  by means of the “Panda update.” It was aimed at rooting out duplicate content from content farms thereby delivering relevant results and enriching users search experience.  The bad news is  Google’s new “Panda” algorithm is ranking some  stolen content higher than the original versions.

Kunal Pradhan, Ahmedabad, India posed this question to Matt Cutts of Google:

“Google crawls site A every hour and site B once in a day. Site B writes an article, site A copies it changing time stamp. Site A gets crawled first by Googlebot. Whose content is original in Google’s eyes and rank highly? If it’s A, then how does that do justice to site B?”

How can I make sure that Google knows my content is original?

Updated June 21st, 2011

Will showing recent posts on my homepage cause a duplicate content issue?

Further reading on the Google Panda Algorithm update:
Why you should offer partial feeds after Google Panda Update
The Panda that hates farms (Matt Cutts and Amit Singhal Wired interview)

Is Google penalizing no-follow sites?

Five years ago no-follow links were introduced to combat comment spam. In the beginning all links were do-follow.   It didn’t take long before blogs were being inundated by those who left insincere comments that added nothing to the discussion just so they could get a backlink, so no-follow links were introduced.

Today many blogs and content management systems, including WordPress, Blogger (Blogspot blogs), Typepad and most of the main blogging platforms have no-follow links enabled by default on comments and to change the links to do-follow links that pass PageRank action must be taken.

Meanwhile we hear the drama lamas who blog for money projecting the silly notion that the internet is full of no-follow blogs. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

Matt Cutts answers todays’ webmaster video: Will Google penalize sites which only link using the nofollow attribute?

Related posts found in this blog:
Links: No-Follow and Do-Follow
More from Matt Cutts on no-follow no sculpting

More from Matt Cutts on no-follow no sculpting

Matt Cutts via Buzz:

Let’s do another pass at the question “How does Google treat sites where all external links are no-follow?”

The short answer is that we don’t treat those sites any differently in our rankings, but it’s still not a good idea to do that, in my opinion. Here’s why. When Google sees a nofollow link we drop that link from the link graph we use in our web crawl: we don’t use that link to discover new web pages, and we don’t use the anchor text from that link in our scoring. … We changed the math several years ago so that if a link is nofollowed, that PageRank doesn’t go out on the other links instead [no sculpting]. — Read more

Related post found in this blog:
Links: No-Follow and Do-Follow

Matt Cutts tells SEOs ‘no more’ sculpting via nofollow
Say NO to Black Hat SEO

Links: No-Follow and Do-Follow

pagerank imageIn the beginning all links were do-follow.  However, it didn’t take long before blogs were being inundated by those who left insincere comments lacking in value just so they could get a backlink, so the original reason for the introduction of no-follow links was spam.

Do-follow comment links do pass on PageRank. No-follow comment links do NOT pass on PageRank. If you need more information on link juice and  how it is passed please read The rel=nofollow debate: Let’s Try and Get To Grips With It

Today many blogs and content management systems, including WordPress,  Blogger (Blogspot blogs), Typepad and most of the main blogging platforms have no-follow links enabled by default on comments and to change the links to do-follow links that pass PageRank action must be taken. On WordPress installs  a plugin must be installed. On  Blogger (Blogspot blogs) you have to download your blog template’s HTML source code and remove the rel=”nofollow” in the comments area.

How different search engines treat do-follow and no-follow links

Different search engines interpret and treat no-follow and do-follow links in different ways.
  • Google follows no-follow links but does not pass on PageRank  to outbound links.
  • Yahoo follows no-follow links but excludes the link from all ranking calculations.
  • Bing may or may not follow a no-follow link,s but it does exclude it from ranking calculations.
  • Ask.com does not adhere to no-follow.

If you use Firefox browser a quick and easy way to find out if blogs have do-follow links is or not is to  use the SearchStatus addon that will highlight all “no-follow” links on a page.  It will also display Google PageRank, Alexa rank, Compete ranking and SEOmoz Linkscape mozRank anywhere in your browser, along with fast keyword density analyser, keyword highlighting, backward/related links, Alexa info and more.

Expert advice on no-follow and do-follow

Matt Cutts of Google has provided advice about PageRank and the no-follow attribute. If you are considering changing your links from no-follow to do-follow, then you may find the video below to be helpful.

Brett from Michigan asks Matt Cutts of Google:
“Are there negative SEO implications to having a blog with do-follow comments?
What about commenting on do-follow blogs?”

Question: Can having do-follow comments on my blog affect its reputation?
Short answer: Yes.
Question: Are there negative implications to having a blog with do-follow comments?
Short Answer: Yes.
For full answers please watch the video.

Can having dofollow comments on my blog affect its reputation?

Last year Matt Cutts also announced that page rank sculpting (the manipulation of no-followed and do-followed links) is no longer effective. Previous to that no-following comments directed more link juice to your other links but that no longer applies. Google has already done the math and has devised a way to stop manipulation.

The old practice was …
You have a PR 5 page
You have  5 links on that page
Each link gets 1 a bit of PR
You apply rel=”nofollow” to 4 links
1 page gets PR 5,  the other 4 get nothing.

The new practice is …
You have a PR5 page
You have 5 links on that page
Google knows there are 5 links
If you apply rel=”nofollow” to 4 of those links
the 1 remaining normal link gets PR of 1

spam canAdvice when changing from changing from no-follow to do-follow

Changing your  blog from no-follow to do-follow means you must become more vigilant about the kind of comments you approve and  post. These days there are not only bots leaving comments, there are also humans who are paid to leave bogus comments. That means that you will have to exercise discretion, moderate all comments, and be very careful about screening them. Hence it pays to run a bad neighborhood checks on any links that give you a “hinky” feeling.  The rule of thumb is it looks link a spam comment, it probably is so don’t post it.

Also keep in mind the reason that no-follow links were introduced. It’s not always a good idea to brag about your blog being do-follow and to promote it as a do-follow blog. Hanging up a “this is a do-follow” blog sign will definitely result in some people making opportunistic comments just so they can get a “juicy” link.  If you are considering changing your links from no-follow to do-follow you may find this article to be helpful: Do You DoFollow?

Linking ReCap

  1. Write high quality articles that others in your niche will want to backlink to and discuss.
  2. Avoid linking to unrelated sites.
  3. Avoid entering reciprocal link exchanges with unrelated sites.
  4. Link only to related sites in your niche.
  5. Avoid creating “blogrolls” or long lists of links.
  6. Exercise discretion by moderating all comments, trackbacks and pingbacks, and be very careful about screening.
  7. Build authority by leaving quality comments on related blogs.
  8. When it comes to commenting on do-follow blogs, remember do-follow passes PageRank from the linking site to all the other links  so (a) your PageRank 0 blog doesn’t really benefit, and (b) the more (spam/real) comments you get on a blog the less Page Rank there there  is to allocate among the links out anyway.

Related posts found in this blog:
Understanding Backlinks
Understanding Reciprocal and Non-Reciprocal Links
Natural Linking Strategy for Bloggers
Getting the Perfect Link
SEO Basics for on Page Optimization
Link building strategy: Locating similar sites
Links: No-Follow and Do-Follow

Matt Cutts on How Google Search Works

The life span of a Google query is less then 1/2 second, and involves quite a few steps before you see the most relevant results. Here’s how it all works.

How Google Search Works

Updated: How Google Social Search works

Related posts found in this blog:
Blogging Resources: Search Engines
Blogging Tips: Tag to Increase Traffic
YouTube and Google Tips from Matt Cutts
What factors influence video results in Universal Search?

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

YouTube and Google Tips from Matt Cutts

red star iconHave you noticed the stars? The stars sync with Google Bookmarks, so you can get access to them wherever you go. Once you star something, it shows up above the search results.  Stars make search more personal

If you want to link to a specific part of a video on YouTube, you can and Matt tells you how. Link to a specific part of a YouTube video.

Video captions  allow you to subtitle a video in the same language as the video, you can help people with low literacy improve their reading skills. Show and Translate YouTube Captions

Google has been working on some new algorithms and tools to tackle linkspam and is asking for linkspam reports from you. Calling for link spam reports

Add to: Facebook | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Yahoo Buzz | Newsvine

Blogging Tips: Tag to Increase Traffic

Updated March 2013
Blogs are all about posts. Posts can have categories and tags assigned to them; static Pages can’t. Every post ought to be assigned to relevant broad Categories and should have very specific Tags. Each Category and Tag is a one or two word key word descriptor of the content in your post.  Categories and Tags provide a means for your posts to be sorted and made available to visitors to your on site (clouds, widget displays, lists), and also make them available to those who have yet to visit. Continue reading