Blog Archives

The End of Google Search Relevancy

Google Search Size Matters not Content

At a high level meeting of senior Google business strategists in April a crucial decision was taken to change the way Google search works in order to “encourage” people to pay for placement in search results. “From now on we only want big sites to feature at the top of SERP. We will no longer list links to highly relevant content if it’s a smaller site. Owners of big sites are more likely to pay us for Google Ads and after all profit is what we are all about, not what people want”.

No I’m not a fly on the wall at Google HQ, and this hypothetical meeting probably never took place, this decision was probably never taken! YET!

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Microsofts Struggling Search Engine Bing

“For Microsoft, any limits imposed on Google might help it improve the fortunes of its struggling search engine, Bing.”

While Nick and Eric’s article is more about Google than Bing, the statement does make us think about Bing as a search engine…

Poor Indexing, Poor Search Results

For the average web searcher Bing, along with the sister Microsoft search engines Yahoo and Search MSN, provides a poor experience to internet users.

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Google Bounce Rate Value

Does Google Bounce Rate Analytic Have Any Real Value

SEO experts tell us a low bounce rate is important for site ranking in Google SERP. Bounce rate is an indicator of quality content on our blogs and websites. The lower the bounce rate, the better our sites will rank…

Google Analytics shows a bounce rate statistic for our sites. Just how accurate is this analytic statistic, how much credence should we give it?

What is Bounce Rate?

Simply put, bounce rate is the ratio between visitors arriving on our site and viewing more than one page to the number of arriving visitors who leave immediately. If we have a high percent of visitors who stay around to read more than one post we can assume they found our blog useful and interesting.

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Broken Links Bad For Website

Will Broken Links Harm Your Google Website Ranking?

The first answer to will broken links harm your Google ranking is no. The second answer is yes.

Broken Links Won’t Harm Your Website

Google says “Generally, 404 errors don’t impact your site’s ranking in Google.” Note the word ‘generally’

404s are a perfectly normal part of the web. You will likely never be able to control every link to your site, or resolve every 404 error listed in Webmaster Tools. Instead, check the top-ranking issues and fix those if possible” Read more…

This is of course only part of the story. Google’s info page doesn’t mention anything about the number of broken links. It’s perfectly normal for Google to find broken links to your website from other websites.

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Google Drops Real Estate MLS Listings

Will Google Stop Indexing Real Estate Website MLS Listings

is google dropping mls links iconIs Google going to stop indexing MLS listings on real estate websites? It’s a rumour we came across recently! Disturbingly, the source of the rumour came from an IDX service provider. (IDX service is an intermediary service between the raw data MLS feed and a realtors website)

The IDX service provider told our client there was no point in having indexable listings on his real estate website as Google was going to stop indexing these listings. The client should instead use the listings on their own domain, and use Google AdWords to drive traffic to their site

In a way this makes sense. Yet the idea raises more questions than it answers.

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Bing Banned

Bing and MSN Bots Are Banned

I have banned Bing, Yahoo and MSN search engine spiders from my sites! I’m tired of the constant rule breaking and over-crawling by Bing and MSN search bots.

Bing is a Rule Breaker

Microsoft claims Bing honours robots.txt rules. In my experience that is a blatant lie. Bingbot / msnbot simply ignore robots.txt rules and crawl whatever they want. Some of the specific rules broken include;

  • crawling system folders
  • crawling image folders (msn-media bot). Image folders and extensions jpg,  png,gif, bmp are disallowed
  • crawling RSS feeds. All RSS feeds are disallowed; rss.xml, /feed/, etc
  • crawling comment forms; DOMAIN/comment/184 – the path /comment/ is disallowed in robots.txt

The last straw was today. 2 days ago I added Bing and MSN user agent strings to disallowed bots in robots.txt across all my sites; this morning I see these bots read robot.txt then ignored it totally, and crawled the sites anyway.

Have You Seen Bad Activity by Bing?

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Msnbot – Ignorant spider

Msnbot – Ignorant spider or Deliberate Rule Breaker

Msnbot – (Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; bingbot/2.0; +http://www.bing.com/bingbot.htm) – from search.msn.com has become a pest, not only for my websites, but for many others as well.

msnbot spider iconFirst of all, Microsoft sees fit to send multiple bots at the same time; as many as 17 have been reported crawling at once. I regularly have up to 12 on-site simultaneously. This number of bots crawling at the same time is effectively a dDOS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack, possibly locking the server up and preventing normal traffic.

Secondly, the Msnbot often ignores robots.txt disallow rules and crawls prohibited folders and paths, e.g. /js/ folders and Java files (.js). The numerous iterations of msnbot don’t seem to talk to each other – one bot will GET robots.txt, while the rest don’t bother. A good bot, e.g. Googlebot reads robots.txt regularly, and obeys the directives. Good bots also share that information!

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No Loss to Penguin

Google Penguin Had Zero Impact on My Sites

google penguin iconApril 24, 2012 and Google hits out against over-optimised sites with its Penguin algorithm. Penguin penalised websites with over optimised anchor text in incoming links – backlinks in other words.

The Penguin algorithm slipped past my attention until I read a tweet from Matt Cutts. I’m nearly obsessive about watching traffic stats for the sites in my portfolio; they get checked daily for activity of all types – traffic, attacks, broken links and so on, and I hadn’t seen any unusual traffic dips on April 24 or shortly after. If anything traffic  has increased to these websites since that time.

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Cache Pre-load Impact on Performance

Cache Pre-load Improves Google Page Load

Using a cache pre-load system can improve Google crawl page load speed substantially as clearly shown in the infographic below. Google considers page load in it’s SERP algorithm as an indicator of site quality: Where two similar ranked sites exist, the site with faster load speed will usually get better SERP than a slower site. With this in mind surely it’s a good idea to make the effort to improve page load speed as much as possible.

Page load speed can be improved in a number of ways;  moving the site to a better hosting service, optimising the site technically, including getting rid of unnecessary plugins, keeping image size as small as possible, and using an effective caching system are some of the things we can do.

No matter how well all the other technical aspects are improved, caching the site, and especially pre-loading the cache, will make a big difference to page load speed.

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Latest Links to Your Site

Google Webmaster Tools Latest Links to Site

Google Webmaster Tools Latest Links to Site iconLatest Links to your site; something new from Google Webmaster Tools. It’s been a while since Google added anything new to their webmaster tools collection, but this new information tool is a “goody”. Latest Links to your site is a downloadable file, in CSV or Google Docs format, providing the site owner with a list of discovered backlinks, sorted by date and date-stamped.

Find Trackback Spam

The first practical use that comes to mind for Webmaster Tools Latest Links is to check for trackback spam. Trackback spam is a black-hat SEO technique to get you to publish trackbacks. The spammer sends a trackback to a post on your blog, hoping it will be published automatically, or approved if comments approval is required. But the black-hat doesn’t actually publish a link to the post – it’s a scam. And being friendly WordPress.com bloggers many of us see a trackback and think, “how nice, someone has given me a backlink, let me reciprocate”.

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