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Good vs. Evil SEO – Which Path To Choose?

There has always been a battle in the Marketing industry between good and evil SEO, white-hat vs. black-hat techniques, ethical vs. non-ethical etc. Google and the many Search Engines have constantly evolved their algorithms to deter people from deliberately manipulating their websites in an attempt to gain higher rankings. Following Google’s Webmaster Guidelines will help their ‘spiders’ to find, index, and rank your site.

Net Sixty Six look at some commonly known SEO tactics that are either good and therefore advised or bad/evil – those to be avoided at all costs:

Good vs Evil SEO Infpgraphic

Seven Shopping Days Till Manchester’s Christmas Markets

Highly popular Christmas Markets only a week away

Manchester Christmas Markets image, Albert Square.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, after Christmas: the iconic Manchester Christmas Markets. Image by Andrew Stawarz (Creative Commons License: Some Rights Reserved-No Derivatives).

On the 10 November, Manchester’s popular Christmas Markets will be back, and the team at Net Sixty Six SEO cannot wait! For many people, it is the curtain raiser to many a Christmas celebration. At this very moment, the market’s distinctive wooden stalls are being assembled on Brazenose Street. Read more »

Mobilegeddon 2: Attack of the Mobile Ads

January 2017 return of mobilegeddon sees blitz on intrusive mobile adverts

Mobilegeddon 2 Blog Post Image

Stand By For Action: the much-vaunted Mobilegeddon 2 will deliver an improved user experience by early-2017. Image by Vasabii (via Shutterstock).

Monday, 10 January 2017 is set to be an important date for web developers all over the world. From that day forward, Google is about to unleash its second most significant algorithm update since April 2015. April 2015’s update – dubbed as Mobilegeddon – was the first Google update to up the ante on websites that use responsive web design. Read more »

Net66 SEO: Google Taking Over the World, Not literally.

Google have widely been considered one of the largest companies on this planet for a number of years now. What started out as a humble search engine that counted the links to each site, measured their keywords and held up the one with the most of each, is now a corporate Behemoth. Ranging from a maps service to a mobile Operating system. From creating their own Web Browser to their proprietary Google Glass Software, a high tech pair of glasses that have a holographic head up display (HUD) that can display almost anything, from the weather in your local area to websites you’re browsing for that new tweed jacket.

Arguably the two most used services are the Google Web Search, which in itself have helped create the whole industry of SEO, and the Maps service. Because with Maps, you get directions and a handy Navigation App too (if you’re on Google’s Android Mobile OS platform).

Maps started out as a series of Satellite images. This progressed into a new program for Google called Google Earth. Google realised the potential of this and developed Maps even further rolling out the hugely successful “Street View” programme. I personally love this tool and use it a lot, it always helps when you’re looking at navigating somewhere and you can become unsure junction you need to turn at, but with street view you can check out the junction first.

Plus you can get a taste of life all around the world. Ever wanted to walk down the streets of Cairo? Now you can! (figuratively) Although this pales in comparison to actually visiting Cairo, it surely has to be the next best thing. Plus there’s always the chance that next time you see a Google Maps car with mounted cameras, remember where you were and check the maps later for a claim to fame. (I’ve seen a few cars but never made the final cut)

It’s unsurprising then that Google have continued this service and expanded into a grand total of 50 Countries. They’ve now added Google Street view in Hungary and Lesotho (I hadn’t heard of it either, it’s in South Africa).

Blog Post by Greg McVey

Why don’t People Like my Website?

There are so many varied and reasons as to why someone might dislike a website. It could stem from a person’s personal preference as a lot of sites that, whilst appeal to many, offend the few.

For example I quite like the colour blue. It’s calming, it’s professional, it’s the colour of the sky and the sea and everywhere in life. You can get it in all kinds of different shades, textures and more. But Jordan who sit’s across the way from me really likes the colour red. It’s passionate and driven with a real go-getter attitude. So obviously Jordan will be more inclined to like red sites where I would maybe prefer a blue site.

Because of such subjectivity a recent study decided to produce data on users browsing habits and what does and doesn’t cause them to dislike a site. Here’s the top three reasons why people would block a site from search Results:

Too Many Advertisements: People don’t like to be advertised to. Advert breaks between TV shows are quite often referred to as “Tea Breaks” with even the presenters of television programmes advising you to pop the kettle on during these ad breaks. So it follows true that if you were searching for a cheap coffee table and you found a website full of advertisements not for a coffee table from that site, but low grade, high density adverts for coffee tables from a variety of other sites, you’re not going to be impressed.

Poor Quality Content: You’re looking for advise on building a shed. You run an internet search (or you Google It) and find not a website filled with the soundest advice on building a shed, but a loosely put together website mentioning “Garden”, “Shed” and “build” a lot. How annoyed would you be? Enough to block the site? Well apparently so with 60.6% of people in this study saying they would block a site with poor quality content.

Incorrect Result: “It’s good but it’s not the one”. When looking for something online, search engines are constantly trying to second guess us and produce the results we want quicker than their rivals. But in some cases there’s an argument for “More speed, less haste”. Queries can be run that do bring up the wrong results and even though it’s a similar result, it’s not the right result so unfortunately falls to a ban from 47.2% of people.

So make sure you’re correcting these mistakes before they start to affect your website’s performance in the search engines.

Posted by: Greg McVey writing for Net66

WordPress Attacked by Botnet

Own a WordPress site? Had trouble with it this last week? Well you’re not the only one. A botnet had been configured to target the default user that is created anytime a WordPress site is set up.

A botnet is a network of computers that have previously been infected with a virus. This virus gains control of the computer it has infected but doesn’t always set to work straight away. The virus infects multiple computers until it has a network of computers large enough for the users intent. The user can then control all of these computers and instruct them to do their bidding, in this case targeting WordPress sites.

The scale of this attack comes down to the basic install of a WordPress site. WordPress is a Content Management System (CMS) that utilises a username and password to enable someone to log in to the site and make any changes they want. Throughout the default install of WordPress the user name that is suggested to everyone is “admin”. This is what has been targeted and due to the large amount of WordPress sites out there (upwards of 64m) it wouldn’t be surprising if one of your websites was hit.

There are however several ways you can guard against this:

> Change your username from “Admin”. Make it personal to yourself and use a strong password, at least two capital letters, numbers and punctuation.

> Enable “Two Step Authentication”. This assigns a secret number to every user of the site and if you don’t know the secret number, you won’t be getting in.

Hopefully your site hasn’t been compromised and you can take these steps to further safeguard your website.

One of the concerns also raised after this attack is that the WordPress websites weren’t the primary target of the assault. Experts fear that this botnet was predominantly comprised of  home computers that are relatively weak machines and that they were actually targeting servers to infect with virus’. As servers are a lot more powerful than regular computers they can process much larger amounts of traffic at a time.

Which is where the real threat lies.

Have you been affected by this?

Blog Post by Greg McVey writing for Net66

How weak content can hurt your site.

badtimeYes that’s right. That perfectly, pretty, published piece of prose is going to hurt your site and maybe your rankings. Here’s why:

Content is for people, not Search Engines

Yes your content ranks well and your getting traffic. But what’s your bounce rate like? If your content reads somewhat so-so and you’ve included keywords just to rank for certain phrases and you’ve achieved this ranking then Kudos. You’re now getting a lot of traffic to your site. Unfortunately the content you’ve used to get this traffic isn’t engaging enough for your readers who quickly switch off and bounce right off your site.

As you’re getting a lot of bounces to this page Google can see that although to it’s search engine it does look like it’s relevant, humans clearly aren’t voting for this site so why should they continue to rank it there? They wont. You’ll soon start to see your rankings slip which isn’t good for traffic or sales.

Think of weak content like you would an attractive weed. When they’re first planted you do get noticed, people often stop and look at your garden and think “Ooh that’s pretty” before quickly realising that it’s a weed and moving on. The weed spreads and takes over your grass and evolves into and ugly weed until you’re left with a garden full of weeds where no one stops to look any more because it is just a weed garden.

Be a Human, not a Robot

People like to feel connections. And if they’re reading something that feels as if it’s been written for them, then there will much higher user engagement and a much much lower bounce rate. Here’s an idea on how you can improve your content writing.

Be Yourself. There’s a whole industry of content writers out there programmed to churn out text with the occasional keyword inserted into it. But of 7 billion people on the planet you and you alone are you. Unique. Let that show through when you’re writing.

Panda Updates – Google Keeping Shtum.

Google Keeping Zip on Panda Updates.It’s been like this for a while. Rumours abound that Google are going to release another update. Hogwash, some say. Another? Cry others. Then the inevitable boom in conversations “My site has dropped”, “Well my site has climbed”, “Well mine is currently somersaulting somewhere over there and I’ve given up”.

Once all the humdrum finally calms down and people’s rationale is somewhere near level, Google come out with a message that stirs it all up again. “Oh yes, we did release an update, sorry about all the bother”. This usually leaves a lot of people wallowing in indignation occasionally muttering “not fair” and aiming kicks at the odd inanimate object.

However, this is all about to change. Recently Google (or more specifically Matt Cutts) have announced that they’re about to integrate Panda into their Algorithm. This in effect ends the manual refreshes of Panda which is also now leading to Google (or again, Matt Cutts) refusing to confirm Panda Updates as they have done in the past.

There have been 25 confirmed Panda Updates so far. Last week Matt Cutts inferred that Google were about to release another Panda update, but then later added that there would be no more instant impact of the update due to the incorporation of the updates into the algorithm. Due to the now muted impact of these new updates the decision to confirm updates has been reversed and Google will now be keeping quiet when face with questions on updates. A direct quote from Matt Cutts states:

“I don’t expect us to tweet about or confirm current or future Panda updates because they’ll be incorporated into our indexing process and thus be more gradual.”

So that’s it. The next time the Google update rumour mill starts churning, expect no confirmation from Google and try to get off the mill before you get too dizzy.

Posted by Greg McVey

Interflora – Blossoming once more.

Last week I reported that Interflora’s SEO got them penalised by Google. It seems now that whatever it was that Interflora was doing or had done, they’ve stopped doing or removed.

It was alledged that Interflora were penalised for buying links, which is of course against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. They did this by “Rewarding” influential Bloggers in the floristry industry for including links to their website in their blog posts. It was reported by a few of these Bloggers on Twitter that Interflora contacted them requesting the link to their site on the blog post to be removed.

This seems to have done the trick. Interflora at first was not even showing for the search term “Interflora”. A sign of a heavy penalisation by Google, but also a manual penalisation.

Things like this are sometimes detected by Google’s algorithm, where Google’s spider will crawl your website, find something it doesn’t like and then lower your rankings in accordance with how much it didn’t like what you’ve done. Naughty naughty.

But in the more severe cases, Google will manually apply a penalisation against you. As in Interflora’s case where they were removed from appearing in Google, they fixed the offending issue, and were placed back into the Google listings just as before (albeit with a slight drop in rankings).

What does seem to be strange is that it took just 11 days after the initial drop for Interflora to regain it’s place in the SERPs. Google estimates a time period of weeks for a reconsideration request, so how did Interflora get placed back on Google in such quick time?

Are Google currently experiencing a dip in reconsideration requests? Did Interflora’s high profile shoot them ahead of others in the queue?

Or, was it actually something they’ve done onsite and the whole reward for links think was a distraction? Google’s crawler could have found something it didn’t like on the site, and issued and alert to Google’s webspam team who then applied the penalisation. Then, when crawling the site again after having the offending something removed, would Google’s crawler issue another alert to say that the offensive something had been removed?

What do you think?

Google Pulling no Punches – Interflora UK Seemingly Penalised by Google.

Reading around the SEO blogs today there seems to be one topic that continues to sprout up. This is the case of Interflora.

Interflora are quite a large brand in the UK and manage the delivery of flowers nationwide. At the height of their powers they were ranking for a range of high traffic keywords including [flowers] and [flower delivery] along with, naturally, their company name. Their off site presence is huge too as I’ve personally seen their logo in a few florists around my local area and have worked with Interflora resellers in the past.

Now, they don’t even rank for their own brand name and have had to invest in what I can only assume is a costly Adwords campaign.

There is widespread speculation on the matter and nothing has been confirmed at all. Interflora have refused to comment with Google stating they generally don’t comment on individual webspam rulings. However one continuous theme seems to be that Interflora were “Rewarding” active and popular bloggers that included a link to their site in a few blog posts.

If this is the case then it looks like Google saw this, not as Interflora rewarding bloggers for good work, but as Interflora actively Paying for links from these bloggers. As we all know Paid links are BAD for SEO. It’s against Google’s terms and conditions and can lead to penalisation.

But before we announce ourselves Judge and Jury making conclusions and accusations, we have to bear in mind that this is all speculation and we actually have no idea why Interflora have been penalised.

We have noticed that active bloggers on Twitter at the minute are reporting that Interflora themselves have requested the links to be removed from the relevant blogs.

A sound strategy you would think, but is this just Interflora introducing this strategy to cover up the real reason why they were penalised by Google? Is there something more sinister at work by the Flower Giants? Odds on we’re never going to know, but it does make for an interesting case, especially for this SEO Company.