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CONNECTED CULTURE Blog by Jerry Allocca

Now, more than ever, we're all connected. What does it mean to be part of the Connected Culture? Share your thoughts and ideas here!
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Insights from Google’s Penguin Update

Google Penguin After a two-year wait, Google’s Penguin algorithm update has finally been launched. In its simplest terms, Penguin is a filter created to catch sites that are spamming Google’s search results to increase their rankings. First introduced in 2012, Penguin was designed to find sites that violated Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and penalize them. Even if the sites were improved, they would stay penalized until the next time the Penguin filter ran. This often took months. In 2014, Penguin 3.0 was introduced, cracking down even harder on spammy sites. The penalty went from a couple of months to two years.

With the new Penguin 4.0, these delays are now gone, according to Google. The filter is now real-time. This means that as Google crawls and indexes, pages will be constantly assessed by the Penguin filter. Pages will be caught or freed by Penguin on an ongoing basis.

The algorithm is also more granular. According to Google, “Penguin now devalues spam by adjusting ranking based on spam signals, rather than affecting ranking of the whole site.” While Penguin used to be a site-wide penalty, it’s now more specific to affected pages.

What This Means for Your Website
With the rollout of Penguin 4.0, search engine result pages have been more volatile than usual. This highlights the importance of having specific and relevant content on your website. Google values the quantity and diversity of content and will catch pages that have similar content that is repeated specifically to get back links.

What else can you do? If you’re using anchor text for PageRank shortcuts, you’re likely to get penalized. Excessive blog commenting on a similar website or reciprocal link exchange are also red flags in the eyes of Google. While there are tools to evaluate back links, it’s wise to manually audit and remove bad links from directories, PR sites, paid links and link farms to avoid being penalized.

Yes, the update will mean more work to consistently retain a high ranking on SERPs. For those who continuously work to build quality websites, Penguin 4.0 should ultimately be a benefit by swiftly and consistently penalizing low quality sites and ensuring they don’t rank well in search results.

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How Does Your SEO Hold Up Internationally?

online-communityWhether you’re a company that offers services to business all over the world or you’re selling your products to an international audience, if you’ve got visitors to your website from all across the globe, you should be thinking about how your SEO holds up internationally. Local SEO can be confusion enough, right? Fortunately there are some very obviously things that you should be paying attention to in order to ensure that your SEO is just as effective internationally as it is locally.

Here are somethings that you should consider for complete international optimization:

  1. Localized and Appropriate Content: If a large portion of your consumer demographic lives in Paris, France, be sure to utilize details that those in Paris, France would most relate to. Include appropriate currency and time zone to make your site most effective. You should also consider cultural norms between societies. For instance, what citizens in the United States may find humorous, another culture may find offensive.
  2. Language Differences: When targeting one specific region, you should make sure that all of your content is in that common language.  If you’re targeting multiple countries with different languages, consider having separate websites or subdomains for each region.
  3. Geotarget: Use geotargeting tools found with search engine tool such as Google Search Console to ensure that your website is targeting those which you are trying to reach.
  4. Link Earning: With international SEO comes the need for international link earning (formally known as link building). Consider whether or not international websites are linking back to you. Are international bloggers writing about your services or products? International links means better international SEO!
  5. Go Beyond Google and Bing. Sure, Google, Bing, and Yahoo! are the big names in the United States, but individuals across the seas utilize a variety of search engines that you may not be totally familiar with. Register your website (or international websites) with international equivalents, such as Yandex, Naver, and Seznam.
  6. Consider a Local IP Address: If you can, consider hosting your website, or its international counterpart, on an IP address that is local to the region which you are targeting. This will help your site to receive more relevant traffic  from those who exist internationally.

Ensuring that your SEO holds up internationally can be confusing, but when you consider these fundamental elements, you’ll be on your way to creating a well-rounded international audience!

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How to Use Analytic Data to Create Quality Content

SEO Analytic DataAnalytic data shows you the behavior of users who visit your website, making it a valuable tool that many companies don’t harness. Many people know that analytics show how potential customers find your site, but that’s just the beginning of how you can improve your SEO using analytic data. By collecting information about user behavior on each site, you can tailor your site and your SEO to match their needs.

It’s widely known amongst SEO professionals and savvy webmasters that you can see what keyword searches lead people to your site using analytics. You can also see their activity on each individual page, but analytics data can provide you with other important information.

Start by considering your bounce rate. This shows how many people navigate away from your page quickly. If this number is high, it indicates that users are not finding what they were looking for on your site. Search engines can factor this activity toward your ranking position.

How can you improve this? Give the people and the search engines what they want! Adjust, improve, and enhance your content. This will better inform search engines about where to put you and keep visitors on your site. You can also use this to think about a site redesign—remember that user experience is one of the top factors when it comes to SEO.

Don’t forget your meta data! While meta keywords are marginal in today’s search results, the meta title and meta description are vital to you in another way—they are what users see in search results. If these aren’t enticing enough for users, they may click on another result and end up on a competitor’s site. Don’t let that happen.

For more information on how to use your data effectively, contact our SEO experts today.

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