SEO Contests are Going Out of Fashion

SEO contests  are going out of fashion.

Contests used to be a way to show off your SEO skills. They were also associated with the latest tricks and techniques to make Google rank you high. Read more

March 21, 2018 Google Doogle: Guillermo Haro’s 105th Birthday

Today’s Google Doodle is dedicated to Guillermo Haro’s 105th birthday. He was a mexican astronomer, the first who got elected to the Royal Astronomical Society. Mexican writer Alfonso Reyes dubbed Haro “the priest of the telescope.”

Google Core Update Rewarding “Under-Rewarded” Sites

We have some reports about a Google Algorithm update and also about an AMA on SMX West. For the last year or so I have spotted regular updates made by Google. It happens every two to four weeks.

Initially I was suspecting it was some form of Panda, maybe an extension of it.

One of my biggest affiliate sites (the one I spend the most time improving) is seeing a constant improvement with every update. I have a pretty good idea what this update is about. The bad news is, I am not going to tell it to you. This knowledge is directly responsible for putting $100,000 additional in my pocket. So you see, you probably cannot pay for this information.

If you have been negatively affected by this update, I am happy to review your site and give you SOME pointers. Contact me here.


Open Pagerank Brings Back Google’s Link Metric

I have spotted an article about Domcop bringing back Pagerank.

Pagerank is the original metric that was used by Google to rank websites based on inbound links. The metric became inconvenient to Google when people started to buy links based on the level of PR a domain had.

Domcop is running a paid domain database with dropped, auction etc. domains and with third-party metrics, like Moz and Majestic.

They have used data from Common Crawl and Common Search to create what they call Open Pagerank. In their statement, they admit that their database is smaller than those of the big link data providers, but their API is completely free.

This alone is not a major game changer for domainers, but it’s certainly an additional metric to pay attention to.

Here is what I think about it:

  • If a domain has a high Open Pagerank, it’s likely a high Google PR domain.
  • If the domain has low or zero Open Pagerank, check other metrics to verify, because it may simply mean that Common Crawl didn’t crawl the linking pages.

You can check up to 1000 domains here.

What do you think? Are you going to use it?


Early Signs of a Google Update

It’s happening again, guys.

I am seeing major flux on some of the sites I am tracking. It’s very early, and results change every time I check (due to the update not being rolled out in some data centers).


I am seeing mostly positive movements so it’s difficult to say what kind of update is it.

It can be:

If you don’t already know, Fred is a “Phantom” update by Google. They have pushed it out but they don’t say what is it targeting.

Without going into much detail, I can say that it’s targeting onsite quality. In fact, it might have been an addition to Panda (or it will be).

Penguin is targeting anchor text over optimization. Basically, if you use too many exact match money keywords, you might get penalized. As usual, bigger sites get away with a lot more than average sites. That in my view is a very bad direction by Google. Both this and Fred are a step towards a less colorful internet.

Based on the negative movement, I lean towards a Penguin refresh. I don’t think we will see any comment by Google. Berry Schwartz has not yet written an article about this. He is usually late a couple days until he sees the chatter in the SEO industry.

No chatter yet on either BHW or Webmasterworld.





Google’s Gary Illyes Hints Phantom Updates Are Core Algorithm Update

Here is a tweet from today by Gary Illyes:

The February 8th Phantom Update and the March 7th Fred update might be core algorithm updates.

Does that really mean anything though? We know that Panda is now part of the core algorithm, and Penguin is real time too. We can speculate it’s also part of the core algo now.

So, based on that, Phantom and Fred can be related to any of those, be it Penguin, Panda or something else/new.

Forums are still active about Google’s Fred update every since it was launched two weeks ago.

Seroundtable’s Barry Schwartz concluded it’s an update targeting ad-heavy websites. There are others (like Charles Floate) who thinks it’s a link related update, putting more emphasis on the topical relevancy of linking pages to linked pages.

Google has received a lot of criticism after this controversial update, and the fact that they refuse to tell webmasters what should be fixed to make Google love their sites again.

Have you been hit by either the Phantom or Fred Update? Do you see a recovery yet?

Google Search App Adds Shortcuts

Google has done a major update to it’s search app. They have added shortcuts to often used queries.

Most people search for the same thing a lot of times, like looking for restaurants nearby, or checking how the weather will be.

It doesn’t really have an impact on Search Engine Optimization or Adwords. It’s rather a convenience update aimed at reducing the number of taps a user has to make to find things he or she is commonly looking for.

This is a fundamental change in how the Google app works, but I think it has a very limited effect.

For starters, a lot of people don’t use the Search App. I, for example, would rather go in my UC browser and search there from the address bar. This new feature is not ground-breaking enough to change my mind on that.

It’s a nice usability feature none-the-less for the people who use the Google Search App for searching on the go.

February Google Update Still Brewing

There are numerous reports about a possible Google update since the 2nd of February. Today I am seeing another spike on Algoroo.

Google Update February

There is talk about a possible update targeting PBNs (Private Blog Networks). It’s also possible that it’s some kind of Penguin or Panda refresh.

As always, Google is not commenting on the update.

Are you affected by this flux?


Moz: Google Search Console Is Not Reliable

Russ Jones at MOZ has written a piece called Google Search Console Reliability: Webmaster Tools on Trial. His findings were more than surprizing: you should be sceptical about the Search Console data.

He tested the following functions of the Search Console:

  • HTML Improvements
  • Index Status
  • Internal Links
  • Links to Your Site
  • Search Analytics

The biggest discovery was that the Search Analytics data is very inaccurate.

Moz Experimental Results

Method Delivered GSC Impressions GSC Clicks
Logged In Chrome 11 0 0
Incognito 11 0 0
Mobile 11 0 0
Logged Out Firefox 11 0 0
5 Searches Each 40 2 0


The above table shows the results. Only a very small portion of the impressions were tracked or shown by the Search Console.

Google’s Gary Illyies reacted on Twitter:

He probably doesn’t know from the top of his head what the reason is for this kind of difference.

It may be a bug or it may be an intentional difference in counting. They may underestimate search counts because of the huge number of bots crawling Google every they.

Moz is a company famous about their tools with similar functionality as what Google is providing. Google has all the data but they are not giving it all to the webmasters. Moz doesn’t have all the data, but they give it all out (for a fee).

The bottom line is not to trust only one tool, even if it’s coming from Google itself.

Further discussion on Twitter.

Beware of Widget Links – Says Google

Last week Google reminded the webmaster community not to utilize widgets as a means to link building. Here is what they said:

Google has long taken a strong stanceagainst linksthat manipulate a site’s PageRank. Today we would like to reiterate our policy on the creation of keyword-rich, hidden or low-quality links embedded in widgets that are distributed across various sites.

Read more