Category Archives: General

Backlinks Are Important…Right?


Over Time Backlinks Will Become Less Important – No Kidding

Google’s head of search spam, Matt Cutts, said in a video that backlinks, over time, will become a little less important. Matt did say that backlinks in the Google ranking algorithm still have many years left in them.

Matt explained that Google is focusing a lot now on working on ways to determine if a web page is meets the expectations of an expert user. They do this currently by looking at the links to the page, the reputation of the site and pages and the quality of the content on that particular page.

Matt Cutts added that for the “next few years” links aren’t going anyway and will still be used for determining reputation. But overtime, Google will rely a little bit less on links for reputation purposes. Over Time Backlinks Will Become Less Important

So – hopefully this isn’t breaking news to anyone that reads this. However, it does serve an important notice for those working right now and who constantly hear things like “link building is dead” or “building links is a waste of time”. No it isn’t – this is basically exactly what this message tells us. The other side of this is that building authority and moving away from possibly penalizing ranking maneuvers will pay off in the long term as, of course, Google and others will work to provide the best content for the consumer…if possible.

Over Time Backlinks Will Become Less Important

Video Views By Social Network

Speaking of social engagement and the importance of various social networks – I can across this article at reelSEO that had a great graphic:


So – that’s a pretty hefty amount of views originating at Tumblr!

When Adobe released their Q4 2013 Video Benchmark report there was one golden nugget of information that went largely unnoticed. Social network Tumblr is responsible for referring more average video starts than YouTube, Twitter and Reddit.  Additionally, Tumblr is producing nearly identical video view rates as Facebook, with over 1/3rd of referred visits producing a video start.

Furthermore, more than half of visits referred from Tumblr to sports-related Websites, resulted in a video view. 56% – that’s an incredibly high conversion rate in anyone’s book and if any brands and marketers have shunned Tumblr as part of their online video marketing strategy, they need to sit up and pay attention to the new data.

If you’re leaving out Tumblr from your network, especially if you’re looking to drive videos then you’re doing it wrong…

See the full article at

social signals and seo

Google, Identities, And Social Signals

I was doing my morning reading and came across this short article in Search Engine Land:

I am of course interested in the details of search engine related news, but the first sentence of the sixth paragraph was a beauty:

However, Matt does add that he does see Google crawling, indexing and understanding more about identities on the web in the long term.

Yup, I also think that Google might be interested in identities more and more as time goes on! A little bit of an understatement.

I choose to read “identities” as “entities” – people, businesses, places, things.

Nothing terribly surprising here, but the other side of the article is that Google is saying that the signals from Twitter and Facebook aren’t used in the ranking algo. So – that leaves a bit of area for interpretation – social media is important for nearly and optimization campaign, ignore it at your own peril, but Google does not have access to the trusted data set of each respective company.

What else could they be using from these large communities to help their own ends? Co-occurrence? Speed/size of meme/story spreading?

Interesting state of affairs

As I was researching some local results for SEO services in the upstate area, I came across a wide range of services and quality. It was a little scary to think of a business owner wading into this, although my instinct is that most people would go with a service recommended by an associate or business partner.

For some of the smaller areas in upstate NY I came across SEO “firms” on the first page of results that were offering package directory submissions for hundreds of dollars per month – not a bad gig if you can land it, but certainly not a way to make your client rank! I’m fairly sure that some of these firms are just sites that no longer do much work – anyone still submitting massive directory blasts for a client will have some real issues – and fast.

Anyways, this made me think of how to educate clients and business owners. This is always a double edged sword – you can make someone dangerous with knowledge, but the lack of understanding can be just as bad. All things being equal I would rather my clients understand the basics and the current landscape – after all, it’s a function of marketing and they have a vested interest in being on top of what is going on in that segment of their industry (and in general).

As far as SEO and other forms of online optimization go, I usually see Moz referred to as a good place to start. I haven’t looked over their beginner’s guide in a couple of years, but I suppose that it isn’t the worst place to begin. I have this feeling that someone (but, who?!?) could put together a decent guide for business owners as a guide to online visibility. I use that word, visibility, since it isn’t always search engine visibility – if you can find quality traffic from a forum, social media, or other outlet, then great – go for it!

Something that would encapsulate perhaps the top 10-ish ways to gain visibility – onsite and offsite SEO being 2 of those. Off the top of my head I would think that several other topics would be:

  • Email collection / targeting (build a list)
  • Semantic markup (
  • Local directories
  • National directories
  • Content generation

That’s the short list off the top of my head – from there it’s a matter of coming up with what might be the most important. I think I’ll end up taking the list of what matters the most to my clients and write it up into a short PDF for use as a freebie incentive on my services website. Couldn’t hurt, and it would be so much better for them than coming across one of these relic SEO firms that will submit their site to search engine Hades…

duplicate content stamp

Duplicate Content Is Not Spam

I’m glad I came across this article in Search Engine Land today – I’ve seen tons of forum posts, articles, and heated debates about whether or not duplicate content will negatively affect your site or rankings.

The actual value (25 to 30 percent) seemed high to me, but is not really surprising when you take into account summaries or curation (what the next part of this article is!), product descriptions, and general distribution of information.

Here is the relevant part of the article on duplicate content:

Matt [Cutts] said that somewhere between 25% to 30% of the content on the web is duplicative. Of all the web pages and content across the internet, over one-quarter of it is repetitive or duplicative.

But Cutts says you don’t have to worry about it. Google doesn’t treat duplicate content as spam. It is true that Google only wants to show one of those pages in their search results, which may feel like a penalty if your content is not chosen — but it is not.

That is pretty unambiguous – and makes a lot of sense when you think about it. Why would Google be penalizing the distribution of information? However, that is not to say that blatant copying is ignored:

Matt Cutts did say Google does reserve the right to penalize a site that is excessively duplicating content, in a manipulative manner. But overall, duplicate content is normal and not spam.

From my point of view, this isn’t groundbreaking, but it is good to see it clearly laid out. Many people fret about their information appearing in many sources – but if you have information to share then that’s exactly what you want to be doing. Keep in mind this does NOT refer to having duplicate content on your own site.

Video On Duplicate Content

If you’d like to hear it from the horse’s mouth – here’s a video of Matt talking about the issue:

Overuse Of Schema Markup

There is an interesting question that I have seen asked in several locations without a clear answer – what is considered overuse of markup? For example, would a local business owner be in trouble with search engines if their NAP was marked up in the footer of every page of their site?

 Initial Reaction

My initial reaction is that this is ridiculous. It’s common, and sensible, for business owners to have their contact andschema markup for smaller businesses location information on their pages.

So, at the very least you wouldn’t want to endanger converting actual customers to appease search gods – right?

What To Do? Continue reading