black hat seo

Protecting Your Marketing Investment: 5 Ways To Penguin Proof Your Website

On April 24th, Google implemented the Penguin update, a new update to the Panda algorithm. The Penguin update is an attempt to reward websites that are well-optimized and penalize sites that are over-optimized. 

Officially, Google states that Penguin affected only 3.1% of queries in English. However, the sites that were hit saw large drops in their search rankings and traffic. Within hours of the implementation, “Penguined” sites saw drops in search engine traffic in excess of 70% and those with #1 rankings for major keywords no longer registered on the top 10 pages in Google. 

Although our clients did not experience any drops due to the Penguin update, we have had several new clients sign up with Volacci following the April 24th algorithm change that did see large drops (these websites were not intentionally trying to manipulate the search engines). Through our analysis of these “Penguined” sites we found that there were several similarities between them. Before your site falls prey to the Penguin, note the following five “strategies” you should avoid to protect your Internet marketing investment:  

  1. Spikes in in-bound links. Large spikes in the number of links created in a month can indicate that you are buying links or using some ”devious” methods to automate the building of links. Avoid creating spikes in your link building by being consistent about your link building techniques. Do not purchase links!
  2. Too many site-wide interior links. As a general rule, keep the number of links on a webpage under 100. If you need more then 100 links on a page, then it’s probably best to create more then one page. 
  3. Unnatural numbers of links with the same anchor text. A natural link profile will have links with varied anchor text. This means that they will not all have the same keyword embedded in the link. Utilize varied anchor text and link text for all of your link building techniques. Include a few links directly to your domain as well to ensure that your link profile doesn’t look over-optimized.
  4. Unnatural numbers of links from only high PageRank websites. Be sure that you have links from high PR and low PR websites. Otherwise, your link profile will look unnatural. It’s okay to have links from websites that have a PR of 8 or 9 as long as you also have some links from websites that have a PR of 1 or 2. 
  5. Keyword stuffing. Keyword density is a myth. Using a keyword on a page merely to increase the number of instances looks unnatural to your visitors and to the search engine crawlers. Make sure that your content is clean, concise, and does not overuse any given keyword.

Out with the Old, In with the New

To boil it down, Google wants you to care about your link profile and your content. Old strategies that used to be effective are now being scrutinized, and penalized. 

If you were affected by Penguin or need to stay ahead of the next algorithm update, contact us at [email protected] to learn more. 

Read this article: Protecting Your Marketing Investment: 5 Ways To Penguin Proof Your Website

How to Spot a Well-Behaved SEO Firm in the Wild

Life can get crazy, especially in business. The old adage comes to mind: “It’s jungle out there.”– and, despite the “grandma-like” smell of this cliche, it’s very true. Companies can act like wild animals when they are trying to compete for new business - stopping just short of bringing raw meat to their sales pitch. When they do land you, they continue to promise you the oasis, but deliver a small pool of muddy water or, even worse, rancid, raw meat. Unfortunately, there are wild animals roaming freely in the SEO jungle.

Read this article: How to Spot a Well-Behaved SEO Firm in the Wild

How Search Engines and Shoppers Get Scammed

The internet is immense and very engaging. According to PEW Research Center for Internet & American Life Projects’ September 2009 survey of Internet User Demographics, 77 percent of total adults use the internet, and 73 percent of American adult internet users use the internet on a daily basis. It is quite baffling to think the amount of people surfing the web every day, and how many of them who are up to no good.

As of today, there are only 16 shopping days left for Christmas, and if you are ordering online, that window is much narrower. As the Internet’s popularity for holiday shopping increases, so does the risk of getting taken advantage of identity theft. Cyber criminals are growing more successful at stealing people’s identities by setting up fake websites to scam millions from unsuspecting online shoppers. Don't be one of them.

Read this article: How Search Engines and Shoppers Get Scammed

Black Hat Lies

In the world of Search Engine Optimization, just as there are in any industry, you have a wide range of morality and ethics being practiced by firms competing for your dollars. But in the world of SEO, we have terminology that encompasses this spectrum of do-gooders and evil-goers. The SEO firms that follow the rules, mind their P’s and Q’s, and will get your site ranked the legal way, are referred to as “White Hat” SEO firms. Think Gandalf, angel wings and The White Album. SEO firms that are manipulating Google with keyword stuffing, paid links, and invisible text are referred to as “Black Hat” SEO and implement practices that are highly frowned upon by the Google gods. Think Darth Vader, Worm Tongue, and the Wicked Witch of the West.

Why are black hat SEO firms still in business? They are deceptive and use lies to ensnare your budget in their death grip. Here are three lies that black hats will use to win your business.

Read this article: Black Hat Lies

Black Hat SEO Explained

When it comes to SEO practices, you want to be as ethical as possible. You also want to rank as high as you can. Sometimes referred to as “search engine spamming”, black hat SEO techniques attempt to exploit the search engine rankings with keyword stuffing, illegal link building, and spam.

Although there is no concrete definition for “black hat SEO”, it is generally understood to be anything that would be considered an unethical practice of SEO. Funny thing is, ethics can be subjective, making black hat subjective. This results in the thought that there are varying shades of “hats” that exist. It is important to always use ethical practices.

Read this article: Black Hat SEO Explained

“Black Hat” Hackers Target Google Video

black_hat.jpgInternet security company and anti-virus software provider, Trend Micro, has sent a warning to users of Google Video that up to 400,000 search queries have been poisoned with irrelevant content by hackers that leads to malware virus sites. It is commonly acknowledged that the hackers are deliberately targeting Google’s reputation as a virus-free search engine. Hackers are using ‘black hat’ SEO tactics to artificially raise the profile of certain videos on Google Video. Once the video has been clicked, the site with the targeted video then redirects the users to install a new Flash Player which is supposedly required to play the video.

Read this article: “Black Hat” Hackers Target Google Video

How to Detect a Black Hat SEO Company

detective_0.jpgSearch Engine Optimization has grown into a popular and strategically wise investment for any company looking for ROI, analytical substance and qualitative data. In fact, so many SEO companies have been popping up this last year, you would have thought some yelled ‘GOLD!’ Everyone wants a piece of this digital Gold Rush, but there are many companies who provide SEO service without the necessary research. These companies participate in “Black Hat” SEO and use methods and tricks to fulfill your problem temporarily. Sure, these companies can get you in Google in one month just like they promised, but three months down the line you may be banned. It doesn’t take long for the search engines to see through these techniques and give you the boot. Three months on the front page will not give you the ROI an honest SEO campaign can do for your business that will last the life span of your website.

Read this article: How to Detect a Black Hat SEO Company

Changing Your User Agent in Firefox

Say what? OK, this is a little advanced but it's kind of cool so I'm posting it. :-)

The user agent is the fancy name for your browser. The reason that it is important is that it tells the web server what kind of browser you're using. Some sites actually will serve different files based on what your user agent is. For example, you Mac users (like me), have you ever been to a software site that offered you the Mac version to download without you having to tell it that you're on a Mac? That's because they detected your user agent.

Read this article: Changing Your User Agent in Firefox


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