Google Does Not Use Social Media Likes as a Ranking Signal

Does Google Use Social Media Likes as a Ranking Signal? Attendees on our SEO training courses often ask if Google uses social media likes as a ranking signal. The short answer is no they don’t and here is a short snippet from a video produced by John Mueller of Google where he explains why.

Should I Respond to Customer Reviews

Here is an article by the BBC about TripAdvisor Reviews. At the end of the article, TripAdvisor state:

Research shows that customers do read what a business has to say in response to its reviews, and the tone of their replies can often have a bigger impact than the review itself. In other words, a business can often turn a negative review into a positive, just by the way it replies to that reviewer.

In summary, always leave a polite response to a negative review. Remember that your audience is your next potential customer.


Google Changes “nofollow” Links Policy

For the last 15-years links marked with the rel=”nofollow” attribute have been ignored. However, earlier this week Google announced that they were changing their “nofollow” markup policy and that now they would take the attribute as a hint rather than an instruction. They also introduced two new attributes: “sponsored” and “ugc”.

The new definitions for each term is now as follows:

rel=”sponsored”: Use the sponsored attribute to identify links on your site that were created as part of advertisements, sponsorships or other compensation agreements.

rel=”ugc”: UGC stands for User Generated Content, and the ugc attribute value is recommended for links within user generated content, such as comments and forum posts.

rel=”nofollow”: Use this attribute for cases where you want to link to a page but don’t want to imply any type of endorsement, including passing along ranking credit to another page.

For more information see: Evolving “nofollow” – new ways to identify the nature of links


What is the Google Dance?

The Google Dance is a term that’s been around for many years and it refers to site rankings jumping about all over the place. In the early days of Google is was often due to the index being at a different version at two different data centres. A visitor would search for a term and get a set of search results based on the index in Data Centre 1 and when they revisited Google and searched again they would get a different set of results because they had hit Data Centre 2 and this had a search index which had been compiled at a different date.

Recently people have been noticing a different type of Google Dance where they launch a new page and it ranks highly initially and then it disappears from the index, later it comes back again. Although this seems strange, it’s normal behavior. The reason for it is that Google is optimising its results by seeing how people interact with your new content. If the new content suffers high bounce rates, low engagement rates and receives little interest from social communities then it’s likely that its rankings will dwindle. Conversely, if it achieves high levels of engagement and scores well in terms of it’s digital footprint then it could rise.

Here’s an interesting video from Google Webmasters where they discuss this form of Google Dance.



Google Rolls Out Mobile First Indexing

Google announced on the 26th of March 2018 that they will use the mobile version of the page first for indexing and ranking. This means that if you are hiding important page assets and content on the mobile version of your website then your site might suffer a demotion in rankings and traffic. If you would like to learn more about mobile first indexing then take a look at the Google Webmasters post entitled Rolling out mobile-first indexing. You might also find the following video interesting where John Mueller discusses issues to do with the early roll-out of Mobile First Indexing.

Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines

Introducing the Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines.

The Google Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines give a really good insight into what Google wants from websites, webmasters and SEOs. The 160-page document defines exactly how Google Search Quality Raters should dissect and rate websites under review. Google uses this information to validate and improve its search engine algorithms (or recipes). Google Search Quality Raters are a worldwide team of over 10,000 staff who physically review search engine results pages and rate websites in accordance with the Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. Search Quality Raters are not able to change the search engine results. They simply test the quality of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and report their findings. An interesting point is that the document advocates the use of Google’s advanced search features to look for copied content and to ascertain the reputation of a particular website or business. See section 7.4.7 for example.


Our SEO Page Spider shows important SEO information

SEO Page Spider – Free Download

Today I would like to tell you about a free SEO tool that we’ve developed called the SEO Page Spider. You can get a copy of it from the Google Play Store. It’s quite a simple tool. It shows you the Page Title, Meta Description, First H1 Tag, First P Tag, Domain Name, Local Path and Word Count for a particular page. We developed it to save time when reverse engineering HTML pages. Click on the following link to download a free copy.

Apprenticeship Standard for Digital Marketers

Apprenticeship Standard for Digital Marketers

If you are thinking of starting a career in digital marketing and you need some guidance, then check this out. A friend recently asked me to send him a few bullet points on what his son would need to learn to become a digital marketer. As a coincidence, at the same time I was working on a small project for a company that sourced apprentices and I came across this excellent government Apprenticeship Standard for Digital Marketers and I though it would be nice to share. Happy job hunting!

How Does Google Index New Websites

How Does Google Index New Websites? Today there was a very interesting question on the English Google Webmaster Central Office-Hours Hangout about how to get a large number of URLs indexed on a new website.

SEO through guest blogging

Is Guest Blogging a Legitimate SEO Technique?

In theory guest blogging is a great way to build free content for SEO. However, spammers have recently started using it to build back-links.

Here is a real example.

I was recently forwarded an email from a client who specialises in pensions. In it the lady said that she had read a certain article on our blog and that it had really resonated with her. She went on to describe how her mum had been left destitute after retiring and that she had struggled to find a way to support her. It went on at some length and was really well written and convincing. She said that she was so passionate about the subject that she, a trained journalist, had decided to dedicate her life to spreading the message through guest blogging and that she thought our company blog would be an ideal platform. It wasn’t until you got to the end that you realised that it was from a person based in the US who was quoting US federal laws. Not something that is relevant to a UK business who is governed by the FSA.

In this article entitled A reminder about links in large-scale article campaigns, Google states that:

Lately we’ve seen an increase in spammy links contained in articles referred to as contributor posts, guest posts, partner posts, or syndicated posts. These articles are generally written by or in the name of one website, and published on a different one.

Personally, I don’t use guest authors. I find the process too difficult to manage. But, if you can be sure that their articles will be unique, and won’t be featured on any other website, then it can be a great way to build content.