Google’s Matt Cutts On Organic Versus Reciprocal Links

 

Matt Cutts talks about getting successful back links and how they should be based upon the merit of your content: the summarized answer to the question he answers is, ‘attract as many back links as you can, but do it organically based upon quality. Don’t do reciprocated or purchased back links based upon an  ulterior motive.’

The subtle hint is, if humans wouldn’t appreciate the link assume Google’s algorithm might not either.

 

 

And remember, core organic SEO [without gaming] is based upon:

1) focused, well formed & consistent content,

2) a measurable reaction from humans to that content [back links, SERP activity, bookmarks, subscriptions, feed connections to other sites, time on page, etc., etc.] and also

3) well configured / easily spider crawled sites.

 

Beware Of What Is Sold As SEO!

 

Beware of What Is Sold As SEO!

Yesterday, while doing some research on a [paid] real estate plugin for WordPress, I had an experience that concerned me. The company who created the plugin told me their solution was the key to better SEO. And they are wrong!

Now the salesperson certainly didn’t know I had experience with the subject. I also believe their ‘vaunted plugin’ offers value, but no one should ever believe there is an ‘SEO silver bullet’ like I was told… like so many busy ‘uninformed’ business people are likely told. Worse, they are also sold this misinformation!

Frankly, the idea that someone is outsmarting Google or that you can just buy SEO off the shelf is ridiculous! The dynamic nature of a networked web; the constant re- weighting of search engine (algorithmic) signals and the random activity of ‘subject competitors’ makes placement in an organic search result… unpredictable. The results change every day! If anyone guarantees SEO or top search results then ask them what proprietary information they have on the daily adjustments made to Google’s (ranking) search algorithm. Ask them what exactly they know about ALL ‘the subject similar competition’. Ask them about their day to day effort.

There are pros on the leading edge of research like Aaron Wall and Rand Fishkin and they would both say organic search results are never standing still!

Getting back to the company with the plugin, I asked why it was so good for SEO. The first argument presented was, “… with our plugin clients normally outperform Realtor.com & Zillow.com.” I thought, “Depending on what keywords we’re discussing (and he wasn’t specific so let’s assume the Long Tail),  do a little searching and find that several of our clients do so without this vaunted plugin!” Realtor.com, Zillow.com and Trulia.com certainly have a lot of content and they may be doing their SEO right, but no one should ever believe that even they can game Google for top search results. Not when over 200 hundred signals are used to compare one page to all the others with the same keywords. Think of it this way: if every time you searched real estate in a local area the Google search results served up Realtor.com, why would you need Google? We could just go to Realtor.com and that would be awfully limiting. The gentleman then asked I go to a particular client’s website to see his performance in Google. It just so happens I knew of the person: one of the more well documented, back linked and organically optimized real estate websites in North America. A site I later discovered had only added the plugin a month or two ago. Regardless, I couldn’t help but wonder “Is this what everyone hears when they speak with this company?”

Folks, I apologize for the rant and we’ve certainly heard other claims for ‘the silver bullet of SEO.’ The point here is: ‘discern what is being sold to you as SEO’! Understand that SEO is based upon 1) useful & consistent content, 2) a measurable reaction to that content [back links, SERP activity, bookmarks, subscriptions, social shares, time on page, etc.], 3) an easily crawled site and the 4) competition. The fact is, there is no silver bullet… truly sustainable SEO requires time and effort!

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Are There Consequences For Duplicate Content?

ghost writing | kinetic knowledge

 

Duplicate Content

  We get the question, “may I copy content I believe will be valuable to my audience?” quite often.

  Our answer is always,

“Duplicating someones content is never a good practice. Plagiarism can, in some cases, involve liability for copyright infringement. And while Google isn’t interested in policing it, in certain circumstances plagiarism will get a site tossed from search indexes; however, there is a safe practice. If the content is truly valuable to an audience then excerpt it, block quote it and credit the author with a live link.” 

  Google defines duplicate content as,

“… substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar.” They also say, “Most of the time when we see this, it’s unintentional or at least not malicious in origin… In some cases, content is duplicated across domains in an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings or garner more traffic via popular or long-tail queries.” 

They go on to add you should not concern yourself with occasional snippets or quotes being identified as duplicate content, but in the event you are removed from the search results you must review webmaster guidelines. Once you’ve corrected the problem based upon those guidelines and the site is in order you can submit it for reconsideration.  

What Does Google Say About Their Duplicate Content Practices?

  Apparently, during spider crawling and then the serving up of search results, Google trusts their algorithms to rank similar pages correctly. The say, “When filters identify an intent to manipulate rankings or to deceive searchers, the appropriate ranking adjustments are made.” *And Google readily admits they’d rather rely on their filters than on making manual rank adjustments.* Because they don’t define a threshold for “adjustments” logic might place the range of adjustment anywhere between a lesser rank and removal. Your logic is as good as ours, but no one’s time, effort, money and / or future business is worth the risk that comes with duplicating content irresponsibly.

  According to SEOMoz.org’s Eric Enge in his post ‘When Duplicate content really hurts’,

“Conventional wisdom among experienced SEOs is that there is no such thing as a duplicate content penalty. There are exceptions to this rule. Search engines implement a filter… there is apparently a duplicate content threshold where Google’s filter will identify and actually penalize a site.” He says, “I write this based upon a combination of hearsay and also some experience we’ve had we could only speculate about.” Enge also warns that Search Engine spiders only visit with so much crawl bandwidth or what he refers to as budget. If you waste those crawls on content that won’t be indexed successfully, you are sacrificing other useful content that could have been indexed.

  In a similar instance we saw a client copy all the lead stories from their local newspaper, despite our warnings against such practices. One day they disappeared from the search engine results pages [SERPs] eliminating any potential visibility. And let’s face it, consumers are researching your service for it’s value & accountability. The risk of their disapproval should be a concern.

 

Duplicate Content Summarized

  Regardless of what one can and cannot get away with, demonstrating a trustworthy, knowledgeable presence on the web is what appeals to most people. If the search engines don’t penalize you for cheating, the humans most certainly will!