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It used to be that Google was a secretive entity and it was all up to trial, error, and guesswork to determine what it was thinking about your website. To some extent this is still true, however Google has become somewhat more transparent about its practices in recent years. Google wants to provide its users with the best possible search results and Google understands that in order to do so, it should share what it is looking for with website owners. Links are an important part of the Google algorithm and Google pays attention not only to the quantity of links but also to the quality of links. To weed out the sites that attempt to “game the system,” Google penalizes sites that participate in shady link building practices. In some cases, website owners don’t even realize that what they are doing is wrong, so Google has begun sending out notifications to webmasters alerting them when unnatural links are detected. The notice serves as an FYI and doesn’t always mean that a penalty has occurred (yet). However, if the notification also coincides with a significant dip in traffic it’s likely that you’ve already been handed an unnatural link penalty.
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Last month, I talked about The Seven C’s of Content Quality, as a way of helping you develop higher quality content. Why is this important? Because the Google Panda algorithm rewards quality content above any other on-page signal, and the Seven C’s serve as a proxy for Panda’s content quality algorithm. Still, on-page factors are less important to Google ranking than links and social signals—how Google determines the relative importance and context of the page to other experiences on the web. That’s what we’ll cover today. Read the remainder of this entry »
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I know that every month you bounce between the “SEO is dead” posts and the “SEO is changing forever” posts. But I don’t write many of those. This time, SEO really is changing in a fundamental way, because the Panda update has changed, and is continuing to change the search ranking algorithm in the biggest way since PageRank. If you want to see how machine learning is turning SEO on its ear, check out my latest post on Search Engine Guide, “Google’s Panda ranking algorithm changes SEO forever.”