Why Wikipedia is top on Google: the SEO truth no-one wants to hear

There was an interesting study published this week which looked at 1,000 search terms in Google and measured thewikipedia homepage rankings for Wikipedia.org, which posed the question does Google give too much prominence to Wikipedia?

As a quick recap, Wikipedia ranked for a huge 99% of the terms (as selected with a random noun generator).
While many people may consider this an unfair bias from Google towards Wikipedia, I’m not so sure…
There’s no denying that 99% is an extremely high volume of keywords to be ranking for and this is a very interesting study to highlight Wikipedia’s dominance.

However, I’m still not that surprised by the results. Wikipedia has seemingly become every SEOs biggest competitor, which explains why its dominance in Google creates a lot of attention. But if you look deeper into the reasons why the site is ranking. Despite so many top rankings, I honestly believe they deserve to be ranking where they are.

I certainly don’t think there’s anything non-algorthimic happening here, as some people have alluded to in the past. Read More

Believe it: Email Reputation Causes Penalties in Google Search Results

e-mail deliverability SEOA number of Web sites hit with falling search rankings in April had several things in common. These sites publish original articles, frequently in the 500+ word range, which is supposed to be a quality benchmark in the way Google values content. They are authored by writers generally considered to be among the leading experts in their field. And all of these Web sites publish email newsletters. I’m part of this group and while it sounds arrogant for me to consider myself an expert, there are a handful of topics I know more about than most other people.

When my traffic at JakeLudington.com suddenly dropped in early April, I thought I’d made some kind of change that was resulting in a technology failure. I was wrong. Everything appeared to load as it should. So why the sudden drop? I called around to a handful of friends and discovered I was not alone. Early April was the second round of Panda algorithm changes. With some additional digging, I got a tip from someone at Google who indicated Google was penalizing JakeLudington.com with some new measurements that penalize email behaviors for domains. In talking with a number of other online publishers who were also hit with a stiff penalty, including LockerGnome, it appears that one common theme is that we all have email newsletters.

At first I simply didn’t want to believe email publishing was my problem. I require confirmed subscriptions. You can’t receive a single issue of my newsletter without clicking a link in the confirmation email saying you really want a subscription. This has been true since the newsletter launched as part of LockerGnome back in January 2001. I’ve always been adamant that people who don’t want to be on my list shouldn’t be and make it just as easy to unsubscribe. I currently use Aweber to send emails, which makes it easy to identify the number of people who mark your email as spam for any given mailing and automatically eliminate them. How could I get penalized for seemingly doing what was right?

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How are SEO and paid search progressing in the travel sector?

travel searchThe travel industry believes that overall search marketing is basically going to become more complex and will require a better integration across all the disciplines, be it PR, social media, display, PPC and SEO to be truly effective.

In order to know more, EyeforTravel’s Ritesh Gupta spoke to two executives from search marketing specialist and technology firm Greenlight. This is what Adam Bunn, Director of SEO and Hannah Kimuyu, director of paid search had to say:

Which according to you has been the most striking or potentially path-breaking development in the search engine marketing, especially from the travel sector perspective, in the last six months or so?

Adam Bunn – In terms of SEO and travel specifically, (it would be) the dual algorithm updates in January (unnamed) and February (“Panda” or “Farmer”) focusing on downgrading sites with duplicate and/or low value content.

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Acquisition Marketers And The SEO ROI Dilemma

SEO ROIAfter over 12 years practicing the art of SEO, and selling SEO services to clients, I thought the industry had reached a stage of “acceptance”.

But there is still a very smart group of people out there that are doubters – The Acquisition Marketers.

SEO Personality Types

Company executives and owners have varying degrees of sophistication when it comes to understanding why SEO is important, or why it should be an important part of the marketing mix. I would break down the most common personality types as follows:

  • Me Too – My competitors are doing it, I will too.
  • The Rank Hound – I want to be #1 for my favorite keyword because I know it’s important (without any proof to back it up).
  • The Small Portfolio Ranker – I understand that there are a number of relevant keywords that appear to drive business for us, let’s attack them as a group.
  • The More, The Merrier – Capturing the long-tail is an important part of driving relevant visitors to our site, and they are more likely to be buyers.
  • Doing Great, Just Need A Bit More – Our SEO is performing well for us.  It would be nice to push it up a notch or two, what’s the latest and greatest?
  • Been There, Done That – I’ve hired consultants before, and we just haven’t see the results we needed.

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Usability and Internet Search Marketing: A More Unified Approach

website usabilityFor years there were two camps – website usability and search engine optimization. Rarely did they acknowledge each other, let alone work as a team. Each side argued they knew best how to make web pages findable in search engines.

They’re both right.

The website usability house is focused on human behavior. They follow along as people, or “users” as they’re referred to, use websites. User experience and user interface design offers challenges because our needs constantly change as we adapt to living and using the Internet to get information.

Search engines want user interaction information and data so they can continue to deliver what people want and how they want it presented.

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3 Content Marketing Principles

B2B Content Marketing Tactics

After attending search conferences for a few years now, it seems only right that content is getting some time in the spotlight. This week at Search Engine Strategies (SES) New York, I had the great pleasure of presenting on the topic of content marketing.

For so long talk has been about how to optimize and then how to promote – but we’re circling back around to meat and potatoes of online marketing which is the content.

Without it, what are we optimizing and promoting? Oh no, please don’t say it’s your static product pages… Well, if it is (and we’ve all been there), it is most definitely time to look at content marketing and what it can do to take your brand to new levels of customer engagement and acquisition.

The 3 principles to content marketing to keep in mind are:

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SEO is dead

seo is deadSEO may not be dead, but according to entrepreneur and angel investor Chris Dixon, it might as well be to startups.

According to Dixon, “SEO is no longer a viable marketing strategy for startups.” Period. End of discussion.

In a blog post this weekend, he wrote:

Google keeps its ranking algorithms secret, but it is widely believed that inbound links are the preeminent ranking factor. This ends up rewarding sites that are 1) older and have built up years of inbound links 2) willing to engage in aggressive link building, or what is known as black-hat SEO.

Citing an “ad-riddled TripAdvisor page” that ranks far better than “a cleaner and more informative page” from a site called Oyster, he concludes:

…there are many billions of dollars and tens of thousands of people working to game SEO. And for now, at least, high-quality content seems to be losing. Until that changes, startups – who generally have small teams, small budgets, and the scruples to avoid black-hat tactics – should no longer consider SEO a viable marketing strategy.

To be sure, SEO is competitive. In any given market, there are lots of companies that would love to have top SERPs for the most desirable search queries but obviously, there’s only room for a few winners with each query.

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Organizing a SEO-Driven Social Media Strategy for Large Enterprises

social media SEOAs mentioned in my previous column, “SEO and Integration With Social Media,” B2B and B2C companies across the globe are beginning to trust social media as a viable strategy and are jumping in head first. There is no doubt that social media has become a global phenomenon. However, in order to achieve its true value within the SEO context, as well as to not outdo yourself in the early stages, there are a number of organizational strategies that should be incorporated early on in the process. The two strategies outlined below will yield a higher ROI sooner rather than later when starting out and may help you avoid scratching your head asking “Why am I not ranking for this keyword?” “Why is there no scrolling window of tweets in the SERPs about the keyword?” or “Does it have anything to do with the fact that my efforts are fragmented across too many channels?”

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SEO Remains A Viable Marketing Strategy For Anyone

Ah, another SEO is dead post from a non-SEO to get the blood rushing on an otherwise calm weekend. I’ve been ignoring these more and more lately, but in the wake of Google’s Farmer Update, it looks like everyone could use some history lessons. Don’t depend solely on SEO, but don’t neglect it, either.

SEO Is Not The Only Way

Let me quote someone I know really well, some sage words about SEO, from 1996. That’s 15 years ago, from before anyone was even saying “search engine optimization” widely.

This person had written one of the first guides on how webmasters and site owners should ensure their content was friendly to both search engines and human beings:

Search engines are a primary way people look for web sites, but they are not the only way.

People also find sites through word-of-mouth, traditional advertising, the traditional media, newsgroup postings, web directories and links from other sites. Many times, these alternative forms are far more effective draws than are search engines. The audience you want may be visiting to a site that you can partner with, or reading a magazine that you’ve never informed of your site.

Do the simple things to best make your site relevant to search engines, then concentrate on the other areas.
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Mass hysteria? Finally proven: social media and SEO massively undervalued

Now that TagMan has been tracking all the activity of some very big clients for a substantial period of time, we can provide some pretty definitive answers about how different campaigns appear in, and contribute to, the path to conversion.

From this data, we have proof that natural search and social media channels are vastly undervalued, while the effect of paid search is overstated…

There were many points to TagMan but one of the big ones was to enable clients to measure,at long last, the real role of individual digital channels in the complete path to conversion.

By housing all the tags from all your channels in one place, clients would be able to see actually where and how different campaigns appeared in and contributed to the path to conversion.

Then, they’d know the answers to some really important, but very difficult, questions.Here’s two of the biggest:
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