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Google Penguin Update

Google Algorithm Update

On Wednesday April 24th, the Google’s latest algorithm update went live.  Every year Google tweaks its algorithm up to 600 times, with most of these changes are barely noticeable to searchers. However the latest change, known as the “Penguin Update,” has impacted approximately three percent of the global search results.

Why Is This Happening?

Google is constantly fine tuning its search results with the aim of improving the overall search experience for its users, rather than putting real businesses in danger of losing traffic. Unfortunately, the Penguin update has impacted a number of real businesses.

Who Is Affected?

The main sites affected are websites Google sees as being over-optimised with unnatural link profiles that only target specific keywords. A site that has all of their backlinks directed to a single page (usually the homepage) and no variation in the anchor text (clickable text in a hyperlink) fall into this category.

Here’s an example of a back link profile from one of our company owned websites that has been affected by this update:

The majority of the inbound links contain the search phrase in the anchor text, with few, if any links pointing to the internal pages of the website.  There are no inbound links with the business name, the domain name, the owner of the business or any ‘brand’ keywords.  This signifies to Google that this page has been ‘over-optimised’ for certain phrases, effectively trying to game the search results and thus is not the best website for its million of users.

Real businesses will have links not only to their homepage but also important internal pages. These links will be built slowly over time and include various anchor texts which creates a more natural link profile.

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The majority of A+ clients (33 out of 37) are largely unaffected by the new algorithm.  For those that are affected, we’ve already begun to expand the link profile to a similar profile of competing websites.  However, there are some strategies that will work faster.  These are detailed below.

How Can You Restore Your Rankings?

We need to demonstrate to Google that every optimised page of your website is for a ‘real business’.  This is done by expanding the link profile to that of similar websites in the first page of search results.  To expand the link profile of a particular page, we need to build links from a variety of sources.  We also need to increase the number of website ‘Quality Signals’ to tell Google by our actions that your websites is a high quality website.

The 12 strategies below are ranked by highest return on time/effort employed to least effective.  Even if you only focus on the top two strategies, this may be all you need to restore any decline in the rankings.  For example, with the first strategy (Supplier/Customer) links – you may only need five to ten links from genuine local suppliers to restore your rankings.

Important Point

If you are a current A+ client, we have already actioned several of these strategies for you.  For some strategies, for example, supplier links, we will need to discuss the best way to obtain these type of links.

1. Get Supplier/Customer Links

One small step in any link building process is to ensure that you have links from all appropriate businesses you have a real relationship with. They can be your partners, suppliers or customers.

How do you get these links?

A phone call is usually best.  Here at A+, we’re happy to make contact on your behalf.  Another effective technique is to offer testimonials that link back to your site.

We recommend getting at least 3 – 10 quality links like these. Links from related businesses are the most valuable and can also help generate targeted traffic.

Here’s a list of contacts you could get links from:

  • Other websites you own
  • IT Support
  • Web Design/Hosting
  • Lawyer
  • Coaching/Business Advice
  • Property Services (including landlords/tenants)
  • Public Relations
  • Advertising Suppliers
  • Software Provider(s)
  • Accountant
  • Printing/Graphic Design
  • Food/Drink/Hospitality
  • Hardware/Office Furniture/Computer Equipment Suppliers
  • Cleaning Company
  • Industry Suppliers (depending on the client's industry)
  • Conference Organisers (either for your own seminars etc. or whose conferences you attend)
  • Artwork Providers (local artists or galleries), Florists etc.

This one strategy alone may be enough to restore your rankings.

2. Link to your Inner Pages

Create links where possible to important inner pages rather than just your home-page. This will create a more natural link profile and will help increase your websites authority.  You can often do this by copying and pasting your inner page URL to the website you are creating a link from.

For example: http://homesecuritysystem.co.nz/specials/

3. Internal Links

Create internal links on your website from page to page.  Within the textual content of your home page, link to an internal page, and vice versa.  Link from one internal page to another internal page.  A great example of a website that uses this strategy is TechCruch (http://techcrunch.com/), who have a practice of choosing link text that is helpful, often telling visitors what the website is about.

This strategy is free, can be used to create tens of links and enhance the user experience of your website (which improves conversions).

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A+ will review your website and create these internal links for you.

4. Diversify Your Link (Anchor) Text

When creating links to your site it’s important to vary the link text. Having every single link to your site containing your keyword isn’t natural. A good rule of thumb is having half your links containing your main keywords and the other half containing things like your business name, domain name, product name and the business owner’s name.

For example:

5. Paid Traffic

Paid ads are a simple and effective way of driving traffic to your website. Its effects are immediate and can be done for less that $1 per day using Google AdWords. This also shows the search engines you are operating a legitimate business since you are willing to invest money to bring visitors to your website.  This is another quality signal for which helps with organic search results.

Another effective strategy is buying a directory listing or an advertisement on a related industry website.  For example, if you owned a fishing charters website, you could buy a listing on the top fishing website, fishing.net.nz.

 

Within every industry there is a website that offers advertising space, for a fee.  Do this primarily for the traffic that such and ad will bring, but also remember that the link power will flow through to your website as well.

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A+ can setup and manage an AdWords account for you if easier.

6. Local Directory Links

If you want your website to rank higher within the local search results you need to list your business on local online directories. This builds local search relevancy and will also help to boost your Google Places listing.

Here’s the Top Directories to List your Business On:

  • Dmoz.org (New Zealand)
  • Finda.co.nz
  • NZS.com (“New Zealand Search”)
  • Localist.co.nz
  • Zipleaf.co.nz
  • HotFrog.co.nz
  • Zenbu.co.nz
  • NZPages.co.nz
  • NZDirectory.co.nz
  • Yalwa.co.nz
  • ZipLeaf.co.nz
  • 2cu.co.nz

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For current A+ clients, this process has already begun.

7. Google Places

A properly optimised Google Places listing is important for local businesses that want to rank highly in the search results for location searches.

Here’s a helpful article we put together on how to optimise your Google Places listing.

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For most clients, Google Places has already been setup and optimised.  If not, please contact us to review your listing

8. YouTube

Creating videos and then putting them up on YouTube is another way of generating high PR natural links to your site. You can then embed them into your site as part of the content. The more helpful and interesting the better, you never know if you’re lucky it could go viral and your brand could be in front of literally thousands of people.

For more information on this strategy, Click Here (An example of an anchor text link).

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If easier, A+ can upload and embed this content into your website.  Please email your YouTube or Google Account login.  The video file can be sent via Dropbox or Google Drive.

9. Social Media

Keep your social media accounts such as Facebook and Twitter regularly updated to keep your customers up to date and encourage traffic. This should be the bare minimum. Also adding social share functions such as the Facebook like button allow visitors to share your content with their friends.

When posting any new content from your blog, ensure you make a similar post via Facebook and Twitter.  The traffic from social websites is seen as a high quality signal to Google.  Even just setting up an account on Facebook and Twitter is worthwhile if you haven’t already.

10. Post on Related Forums/Blogs

No matter what market you’re in there’s usually numerous forums and blogs related to it. For example, if you operate a business within the travel and tourism you could register on a forum such as backpackerboard.co.nz. This is a targeted audience who is interested in what you have to offer.  Simply answer people’s questions and provide them with valuable information. You will normally be able to provide a link back to your site within your signature.

11. Blog Post Exchange

Write articles or blog posts for sites related to your business. For example if you run an online store that sells fitness equipment, you could blog on popular health sites. This is not only a great way to build authority and relevant links but can also get qualified traffic to your site.

12. Leverage Your Own Blog

Google loves fresh, interesting and unique content. Having a blog is a smart way of increasing your website value within the search engines and for your visitors. You can also use blog posts to create internal links to other pages to help increase their keyword relevancy.

Also make it easy for your visitors to subscribe to your blog and receive updates. Another upside is people will naturally link to the content if it’s helpful so make it as compelling and interesting as you can.

If you have any questions related to the Penguin Update or want to discuss any of the points covered within this update feel free to contact us.

Want First Page Rankings for Your Ecommerce Website?

If you have an online store than its vital your potential customers are finding you online. A+ SEO specialise in online marketing for ecommerce stores and have helped many related businesses get to the first page and boost their online sales. 

3 Most Commonly asked questions about Ecommerce SEO

Ecommerce SEO is different. We will optimist all your pages and include recommendations for any new products as you put them up. We can also create copy and content for new pages to help them rank asap. Its is an ongoing process as you build out your store we will be there each step of the way to continually optimise new pages and products. You can also take advantage of our larger leyword packages or decide to optimise your site for more and more keyword as you go along.

Results some of our Ecommerce Clients have Had

The Gift Station Case Study

Italy Mask are a retailer that specialises in Venetian and Italian Masquerade Masks. Although they are based in New Zealand they wanted to expand into the profitable US market. After testing the viability of this plan with Google AdWords their goal was to get top 10 rankings in Google.com for the three competitive keyword phrases:

  • Masquerade Masks
  • Venetian Masks
  • Masquerade Mask

Before beginning SEO their site was ranked outside the top 300+ search results for those phrases but within four months they had achieved their first top 10 ranking and it wasn't long before all three keywords were on the first page of Google.com. It has been over a year now since Italy Mask began thier SEO program with us and their first page rankings are still stable and will continue to be for a long time to come.

Bud Florists Case Study

Provide Cars are an international car auction and import company that wanted to get their website onto the first page of Google.com after seeing the huge potential there was by using Google AdWords. They were referred to A+ SEO from one of our existing clients, The Rental Car Depot after they found out that we had got them top 10 rankings for the highly competitive keywords "Rental Car" and "Car Rental Auckland".

Within two short months the keywords "Japan Car Imports," "Japan Car Auction" and "Japan Car Auctions" were all ranking on the first page of Google.com. Since then we began to optimise the Provide Cars site for more related keywords and since working with A+ SEO have nine key

What are Provide Cars keyword rankings?

These are the current Google.com rankings for Provide Cars as of 24 February 2012:
  • Japanese Car Imports - Was 100+, now at #6
  • Japan Car Imports - Was 100+, now at #7
  • Japanese Car Auctions - Was 10, now at #6
  • Japan Car Auction - Was 35, now at #5
  • Japan Car Auctions - Was 30, now at #5
  • Japanese Car Auctions Online - Was 100+, now at #8
  • Used Japanese Car Auctions - Was 100+, now at #4
  • Japanese Used Cars Auction - Was 100+, now at #5
  • Japan Used Car Auction - Was 100+, now at #6

If you are serious about tapping into the overseas market you need a SEO Company with a proven track record who had experience with rankings clients websites internationally.

Next Step

If you operate an international business or have a local company based in New Zealand and are wanting to expand overseas there is no better and more cost effective way of doing it then with online marketing. If you are interested in this service then fill out the form below or give us a call on 09 488 1188.

How to Instantly Increase Your CTR in the Search Results

We all know that by ranking highly in the search engines we can generate more traffic to our sites by getting more people to click through to our site. However ranking highly is not the only factor that affects whether or not your page gets clicked on. To avoid low click through rates and improve traffic its important you grab the searchers attention. How exactly do you do that?

Here’s 2 proven ways of getting searchers to click on your web page over someone else's in the search engine results.

1. Write an Attention Grabbing Title

Most people tend to stuff their titles with keywords in order to improve their pages search engine rankings. This ends up looking spammy and unattractive to a searcher. While its important to include your main keywords in the title for the search engines, they also need to be written with the people searching in mind.

Here’s an example of a keyword stuffed title that isn't attention grabbing at all:

4 ways to improve your titles

  • Keep them short – No more than 70 characters or else they get truncated and begin to look messy.
  • Include your keyword at the start – This not only helps the page rank higher by giving it more relevancy for a search query but also creates a bold affect around the keyword so the title stands out.
  • Make it engaging – Include a call to action, question, or something catchy that draws attention, peaks curiosity and makes people want to find out more.
  • Include your name at the end of the title – This can be a great way of improving CTR’s if your websites brand name is known and trusted.

Here’s an example of a catchy and descriptive title we have used on one of our web pages:

2.  Write a Compelling Meta Description

Your meta description should contain the main keywords that page is targeting and some compelling information that makes the searcher want to take action or find out more. Its important to provide enough information to peak the searchers interest but not so much that they don’t need to visit your site.

Here’s what your meta description shouldn't look like:

Here’s an example of the meta description on the A+ homepage:

There are many more ways of increasing your CTR in the search engines but these are the two most important ones. Remember that the information about your pages in the search results should be attention grabbing and compel the searcher to find out more. In future articles we will delve into more ways of increasing the CTR to your web pages from the search engine results.

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See you at the top!

The Team at A+

How to Get More Traffic from the Search Engine Results... 

If you have a burning SEO question or want to know more about the strategies we use to propel businesses to the top of the search results, call A+ SEO on 0800 SEO PRO, or email us and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours.

Are Multiple Domains Really Bad for SEO?

Multiple domain names are often used by businesses to target different countries and keywords. This strategy can seriously impact your sites rankings if you don't fully understand how they are treated by the search engines.

Discover why having multiple domains isn't as smart as you might think and the best way to deal with the problems it creates.

5 Reasons Multiple Domain Names are Bad for SEO

  • Duplicate Content Issues – Google’s objective is to provide quality, unique content for their searchers. If they come across two or more pages with the same content instead of ranking them all they pick the one they think is the original or most relevant and display that while devaluing the rest. This means the other pages won’t rank as well and are often not even shown in the search results. This is known as a “Duplicate Content Penalty.”
  • Managing Multiple Content – To avoid this duplicate content penalty and make sure all the pages from the multiple domains are displayed in the search results, the only option is to create unique content for each site. This means you will have to spend more time and energy managing each site.
  • Additional Costs – The additional cost of buying and hosting multiple domains as well as any SEO costs across multiple domains is better spent on marketing for your main website. In the end any small benefits of having multiple domains to try and saturate your market will be outweighed by the authority and brand you will have created through having one main site.
  • Customer Confusion – If your customers are finding your business from a variety of different domains this creates confusion about your businesses identity. This can harm your trust and credibility and doesn't to build your brand.
  • Ranking Power (Link Juice) – If you have multiple domains appearing in the search results, each domain may start to build their own backlinks from other web pages. This dilutes the overall benefit of these links as they are spread across many different domains instead of pointing to your main website.

How do you Fix This?

The best solution to this is to forward the other domain URLs to your main website by using a 301 redirect. This simply tells the search engines that the other domains have been permanently moved to your main website address. This is exactly the same process you would use if you wanted to transfer your site to a new domain name because you had changed your company name for example.

The benefit of the 301 redirect is that the majority of link juice (90-99%) from the other domains still gets passed on which will help to improve the rankings of your main website.

Thankfully forwarding URLs this as complicated as it sounds and your hosting provider will be able to help you with this. 

Our Experiences with Multiple Domain Names...

We have come across this issue multiple times with clients who decide to buy multiple domain names using their targeted keywords and then setup duplicate sites across them all. The idea behind  this is to try and get each keyword domain ranking for that keyword, or to dominate the first page results with multiple keyword sites that you own in order to get the lions share of the traffic.

As you have learned this is not a recommended SEO strategy and can negatively impact your results and business branding. The extra time and money that goes into creating original content and optimising each domain is better spent on marketing your main site.

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See you at the top!

The Team at A+

Need Help Understanding Multiple Domain Names? 

Do you own multiple domain names or are thinking about transferring your website to a new domain? If you're in this situation and are worried about the effects this may have on your websites rankings, call A+ SEO on 09 448 1188 or 0800 SEO PRO and we will be more than happy to answer any questions you have.

Are Your Clients Asking You About SEO?

Do you want to help your clients meet their SEO needs but are too busy to provide this service yourself? Maybe you've even considered working with an SEO company but don't know who to trust?

What if you were able to provide this service without having to learn SEO or worry about the cost of hiring more staff?

Let's Look at it from your Clients Point of View...

A web design company who can offer SEO themselves, or works with a trusted SEO company is much more attractive to me as a business owner.


Web Design Companies A+ SEO Work With

Z1   EazyShop   Datadog   Eternity

7 Most FAQs Web Designers Have About SEO

1. How do you increase a websites rankings in the search engines?

We only use proven SEO strategies that comply with strict search engine guidelines. These are the very same techniques we use and test on our own websites. Here's an overview of our process:

  • Keyword Research - We discover high traffic, high value keywords that are relevant to the website.
  • Competition Analysis - We analyse the top competitors websites and linking structures. This helps to determine how difficult it will be to rank for each keyword and the best SEO strategy to adopt.
  • Site Review & Recommendations - We comprehensively review the website and offer detailed on page recommendations. This creates more relevancy for the chosen keywords within the search engines, improving the rankings.
  • Off Page Optimisation - This is the most important ranking factor. We create links to the website from other high quality and relevant sites. We build these gradually so it appears natural to the search engines. This helps the site to rank faster and maintain a stable long term ranking. 

2. I noticed you work with some of my competitors, is that a problem?

We know your reputation is important to both you and your clients. So is ours! In fact that's why we only work with the best web design companies in New Zealand. Our aim is to help them provide the best SEO services possible to their clients. By working with a trusted SEO company like A+ SEO you can feel confident about meeting your clients SEO needs and offering them more value.

3. We are already working with an SEO company what makes you different?

There are many SEO companies out there and it's hard to know who to trust. We advise potential clients to shop around and make sure they find a professional SEO company they are comfortable with. These are three things a reputable SEO company should have:

1. Guarantees - We guarantee to get top 10 rankings for all your clients chosen keywords within six months, or we will continue to work on the website for free until we do. A guarantee like this makes sure your clients get those top rankings and have nothing to lose.

2. Proven Track Record - Don't trust an SEO company who isn't already ranking highly in the search engines for keywords related to SEO. A+ SEO have top three and higher rankings on Google for most SEO related search terms. Apart from referrals this is how potential clients find us. We have also helped more than 105 clients get their websites onto the first page of Google. We also have a top ranking website in almost every market so we know exactly how to get results for your clients.

For more details take a look at our client case studies >>

3. Client Feedback - This is so important when you're trying to find an SEO company you can trust. Having positive feedback from their clients is proof they know what they're doing and can deliver on their promises.

Here's a testimonial from one of the web design companies we work with:

 
A+ have optimised more than 10 Zeald websites for first page rankings and higher in Google.

4. Our websites are already SEO friendly so why do we need you?

Its great that you're providing your clients with search engine friendly websites, this makes it much easier for the search engines to crawl and index them. However ranking highly in the search engines takes much more than just basic on page optimisation, especially in highly competitive industries. Achieving first page rankings requires a combination of both specific on page and off page optimisation.

Being SEO specialists this is all we do and we love it. Since SEO is an ongoing process it takes up a lot of time managing clients expectations, offering regular SEO updates, recommendations, answering those tricky technical questions and building links to their site. We know how busy you are focusing on your core business which is why we want to work with you to take care of all the SEO stuff.

5. We love creating flash sites but you guys say they are bad for SEO?

While flash websites may look good they can really hurt a websites SEO chances. Here's some reasons why:

  • Alot of flash isn't even crawlable so what your visitors see and the search engines can crawl are two completely different things.
  • Flash sites don't usually provide unique URLS for specific pages which is important for link building, web analytics and tracking.
  • Flash sites are also a lot slower to load and many of your visitors might not even have flash installed.
  • Important html tags which help the search engines to crawl and index a site are often missing.

6. Is SEO really that important?

It is for anyone who wants their business to be easily found online by potential customers. SEO isn't just about getting more traffic to your site, its about getting more targeted traffic. These are people who are actually interested in your business or products. With more and more people searching online for the things they need SEO just makes sense.

7. What are the benefits of working with an SEO company like A+ SEO?

  • You can provide more value to your clients by offering an SEO service.
  • We can provide confidential and comprehensive SEO services for your clients under your own name.
  • Working with a reputable SEO company means you don't have to start up your own SEO division.
  • We can help you answer all the tricky SEO questions your clients have.
  • We can be your resource for everything SEO related.
  • You don't have to worry about your clients SEO results because you're working with a company you can trust.

We Guarantee Confidentiality

If you are looking for a "behind the scenes" Search Engine Optimisation provider, A+ SEO understands the need to maintain strict confidentiality. We will never tell your clients who we are or contact them directly. We offer you this confidential service so that you can resell it to your clients under your own name.


What's the Next Step?

If you're serious about meeting your clients SEO needs, fill in the form below and we will arrange a time to talk more about how working with A+ SEO can benefit you and your clients:

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"Imagine being able to help your clients generate more sales by getting their websites onto the first page of Google..."

P.S. Working with A+ SEO will allow you to provide a valuable SEO service for your clients, without taking the focus away from your core business.