Google Penguin Update: A Look at How the Algorithm Works

The Google Penguin update looks at a number of factors. But the main focus is on a site’s link profile. If you’ve been impacted by Penguin, you may want to consider who’s linking back to you.

Google’s algorithms have always looked at links as an indicator of popularity. But Penguin has added a level of sophistication to how they try to filter out links that essentially weren’t given by merit.

So although Google’s manual spam team has always trolled the search engine results pages for websites that don’t seem to warrant the top spot due to heavy manufacturing of links, Penguin was the first algorithm to attempt to automate this on a large scale.

Which I’m sure the folks at Google are just tickled pink over.

But many in the web community are pretty shaken and rightly so as Google seems to not only discount the links they don’t like, but they are even lowering a site’s rankings because of them.… Continue Reading >>

SEO Tips From the Experts: 14 Industry Experts Share Their Strategies

Are you looking for fresh ideas to improve your rankings and hone your SEO skills?

If so, this collection of SEO tips from the experts will help you.

I was fortunate enough to recently interview 14 SEO experts and put together this article with a few of their top tips. These are people who actively manage SEO campaigns for clients and large companies. All currently work in the SEO trenches on a daily basis.

Let’s get started.

Adam Grunwerg

Managing Director of Searchable Online Marketing

Thoughts on the Panda and Penguin algorithm updates:

I think almost everyone’s strategies have changed since the Panda and Penguin updates were released in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

First of all, Panda forced webmasters and SEOs to focus on publishing high quality, unique content on their websites, while digging around and removing low quality content. A lot of SEOs and agencies will now put the user experience first.… Continue Reading >>

What They Never Told You About Bounce Rate

First of all, what is bounce rate?

Bounce rate is defined as the percentage of visitors who land on a page of your site and then leave your site (not clicking on any other pages).

They only view a single page and then ‘bounce off’.

There’s even an official bounce rate equation.  I’ll spare you (and me) from that, but there are other similar terms too, for example…

What is exit rate compared to bounce rate?

Exit rate is the percentage of visitors who leave your site on a certain page compared to how many total visits that page gets. You might have a page that gets about 100 visits a month where 90 of those 100 visitors leave. If so, that page has a 90% exit rate.

The thing is everyone’s going to leave your site at some time or another. You can’t avoid it.

But at first glance you might think because a page has a high exit rate the page sucks.… Continue Reading >>

2013 Research Study: Google SEO Ranking Factors


The point of the study was to analyze the characteristics of web pages at the top of the Google search engine results pages (SERPs).

What We Did

We randomly selected 100 keyphrases, typed them into Google and collected the URL’s of the first 5 results that showed up. The Firefox browser was used for all the searches. We were not logged into any Google products during the search phase.

The 100 keyphrases ranged from 2 word phrases up to 6 word phrases.  The first 5 results in the Google search results listings were chosen, giving us a total of 500 different web pages to collect data from.

We ignored all the Google Adwords ads. We also skipped image listings, shopping site sets, and news site sets.  We only analyzed actual web pages ranking #1 through #5 in the SERPs.

Here’s what we collected from each web page:

  • Full URL
  • Title tag
  • Headline
  • Number of subheadings
  • Body copy word count
  • Number of images in the body
  • Number of videos in the body
  • Number of referring domains to the web page (data from
  • Social signals; Tweets, Facebook like, and Facebook shares (data from

We also analyzed the keyphrase the web page ranked high for in comparison with many of the factors listed above.… Continue Reading >>

5 More Questions and Answers on Content Marketing

Last week I put together an article on the top 5 questions from the Content Marketing Survey Report along with my answers. These were all pressing questions marketers had about content marketing.  In this article I’d like to cover 5 more popular questions along with their answers for you.

6. What are the most effective content methods that are currently working?

The best strategy is to create useful content for an audience and learn how to optimize it for the search engines There’s really no reason not to and in my opinion it’s a wasted opportunity if you don’t. There are a lot of searches done everyday on Google alone, something like 1 billion so you want to at least try to get your fair share of that traffic.

Once you’ve got your content created and optimized for keyphrases people search for, promote it by letting other sites know about it. If you’re successful at this you’ll gain some links that bring in direct traffic and give your rankings a boost in the search engines.… Continue Reading >>

Top 5 Questions and Answers on Content Marketing Revealed

I asked my subscribers to take part in a Content Marketing Survey about a month ago and put together a full report on the results.  One of the things asked in the survey was “what were your top content marketing questions?”.

There were a ton of replies to that open-ended question and since so many people were nice enough to take part in the survey I’m offering up my answers to their questions.

I’ve been using content marketing successfully since 2001 so I have a lot of experience creating, publishing, and promoting content online. However, I’m sure other experienced marketers have opinions that differ from mine. If you’ve got any advice or further questions on content marketing just leave a comment at the end of the article so everyone can benefit from further discussion.

Here are the top 5 questions marketers had about content marketing along with detailed answers based on my experience.… Continue Reading >>

Why Magnetic Content is an Inevitable Part of Your Content Strategy

You already know content is at the heart of your SEO strategy.

In the past, due to many SEO loopholes, it was commonplace to optimize a page with very low quality, filler content and still manage to get it ranking high.

I think everyone will agree with me it’s harder to do that now.

Here are a few facts regarding SEO that are cause for concern:

1. Google owns a monopoly on search (some say as much as 90% of all searches are done through Google). So if you put all your eggs in the SEO basket, you’re basically putting ALL of them in the Google basket. One company controls all your traffic and that one company can take it away.

2. Google is aggressively penalizing sites for link building practices that manipulate their algorithm (which is most all link building just for the sake of building links). So if you manufacture the majority of the links coming to your site expect to see your rankings drop as they get more sophisticated at figuring this out.… Continue Reading >>

Google Manual Penalty Guide

Google definitely gives out manual penalties. This is not something new.

It sounds a little crazy with all the billions of sites on the internet that Google would ever manually look at any of them, but they do.

The thing is, they only do a manual review on the sites listed at the top of the search engines for fairly competitive keyphrases. So a site in one of the top 3 spots for ‘car insurance’ has a really good chance of getting manually reviewed. So this set of search engine results listings is probably manually reviewed:

A site at the top for ‘my favorite car insurance and why’ will probably never catch anyone’s attention.

And there’s all the stuff in between that may or may not ever be reviewed by someone on Google’s webspam team.

So there’s a limited number of sites that are ever manually reviewed.

Unless you’re actually good at SEO and go after phrases with some competition, you never need to worry about this (and may still not).… Continue Reading >>

Link Building Tips

We’ve discussed on-site search engine optimization in great depth – including some of the different adjustments you can make to your webpages to make them more appealing to search engines – but these techniques are only half the battle.

Off-site optimization is just as important in getting your site ranked well in the search engines results. Off-site SEO techniques revolve around the links that point to your site from other webpages. These links back to your site are commonly called backlinks (or external links).

The thing is, if your site has no links pointing back to it from other sites, then it doesn’t look very popular.  Google wants the best sites ranking high. They believe very strongly that there’s a direct correlation between popularity and the best sites.

In fact, Google’s entire early algorithm was based on the idea of popularity (which was known as PageRank). Currently, PageRank is only one of many factors incorporated into their algorithm, but it’s still important.… Continue Reading >>

On-Site Optimization Tips

As mentioned previously, on-site Search Engine Optimization (SEO) refers to the actions you take on your website to make your site appeal to the search engines. These include actions like the words you choose to use in the navigation links, meta tags, and the words within your content.

Here’s a screenshot that shows a thoughtful use of the keyphrase dog training. It’s in the headline, the content (even used as a hyperlink) and over on the navigation menu. This site was ranking very high for the phrase ‘dog training’ (which is competitive). So that shows they’re doing something right.

Meta tags are snippets of code you can include on your website to give the search engines more information on what your site is about. Visitors to your webpage won’t be able to see this information, but the search engine crawlers that scour your site will appreciate the tip off. Here’s an example of what this meta code looks like:

Alternatively, you don’t want to frustrate the search engine crawlers by bogging down your site with loads of pictures and flash animations.… Continue Reading >>

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