Author Archives: James

Jimmy Wales Says Wikipedia Is Losing Traffic From Google

Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia, posted that Google is sending them less and less traffic, calls this a “long-term issue.”

There have been a lot of rumors about the decline in traffic Google is sending Wikipedia’s way. There have been reports from SimilarWeb that Wikipedia has shown a “sudden” and “massive” decline in traffic from Google’s organic search results.

But Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia, said this week that this is not a sudden or drastic drop in traffic from Google, but rather a “long-term issue with decreasing traffic from Google.”

Wales added that the SimilarWeb article also misrepresents how Wikipedia needs those clicks from Google:

“It is also false that ‘Wikipedia thrives on clicks,’ at least as compared to ad-revenue driven sites… The relationship between ‘clicks’ and the things we care about: community health and encyclopedia quality is not nothing, but it’s not as direct as some think.”

Wales seems to be correct. Wikipedia is noticing a long-term and gradual decline from Google. SearchMetrics shows this in their “SEO visibility” charts, which don’t measure traffic, but measure how visible a website is in search results.

Back in the day, Wikipedia dominated Google’s search results. It was likely the most visible site in the Google search results.

The question is, why is there a decline in Wikipedia’s traffic from Google? Some have theorized it might have to do with the Google Answer box, others say the algorithm has changed. It is hard to say for sure, but overall, it’s clear that Wikipedia is noticing a steady decline in traffic from Google.

Google: The Panda 4.2 Refresh Is Rolling Out Globally

As many of you know, Google confirmed the Google Panda 4.2 refresh last week.

But one question we did not have answered from Google directly in the public was is this refresh impacting just English results or is it a global roll out?

Google’s Gary Illyes said on Twitter that this is indeed a global roll out. He said Panda 4.2 is “rolling out slowly globally.”

So we know this is the slowest roll out of Panda ever. The scores are already calculated, which are site-wide scores but haven’t been fully assigned to all the pages on a specific site or the whole index yet. Some some pages on your site may be assigned the score and some may not, so the impact of Panda (if you are impacted negatively or positively) will be realized over months, not days.

We now also know that this is a global refresh impacting all the search results worldwide, not just English results.

This is an opportune time to be looking to optimize your website while Google rolls this latest update out.

Fallout From Panda Update Already Starting to Show

This is when you really need a solid SEO company to watch your back like increasevisibility.com…

Last weekend’s Google Panda update is rolling out so slowly and sporadically that industry experts are having a hard time getting a sense of its impact on search.

Gary Illyes, Webmaster Trends analyst at Google, announced last month at the SMX Advanced conference in Seattle that the latest Panda update, which is technically more of a refresh, will roll out in the coming months. This marks Panda’s 29th update, but it’s the first one since the September 2014 update impacted many sites’ rankings.

Hallmark was one company that was hit particularly hard last time, losing 20 percent of its keywords, according to AJ Ghergich, founder of content marketing agency Ghergich & Co. When there’s a new update, Ghergich judges Panda’s rollouts based on the fluctuation of the sites that were most affected during the last update. He notes that in mid-July, before Illyes’ announcement, Hallmark went from ranking for 29,000 keywords to just 17,000.

“That’s a brutal hit,” Ghergich says. “It seems really weird to me that these sites are getting hit a little bit earlier so maybe [Google was] testing it on those sites. Google is probably not going to tell us, but there’s no doubt in my mind it’s related to this update.”
Related articles

Tracking the Evolution of Google Panda Updates – From Monthly to Tremors to Missing in Action
“Mobilegeddon” Is Coming on April 21 – Are You Ready?
Penguin – What Happens Next? 10 Data-Led Predictions
37 SEO Experts You Should Be Following on Twitter
Recover From Panda? Follow These 5 Steps to Avoid Future Panda Hits

I definitely think that we’re just going to have to monitor this over the course of a few weeks to really get the fallout and see the winners and losers,” he adds.

Google Is Hiring An SEO Manager To Improve Its Rankings In Google

Just when you thought you had seen it all..Google is hiring an SEO manager, based on a recent job posting on the Google Careers portal.

The job listing is for a “Program Manager, Search Engine Optimization.” The description of the job makes it clear that this is about marketing:

As a Program Manager for Technical SEO, you will work with cross-functional teams across Marketing, Sales, Product Development, Engineering and more to help drive organic traffic and business growth. You will take part in website development and optimization, help shape blog and social strategy, improve website code hygiene and define web architecture for international websites.

See, even Google knows the value of SEO. Jim

Google Panda Update Coming In Upcoming Weeks

Google’s Gary Illyes says webmasters can expect a Panda refresh within the upcoming weeks.

At SMX Advanced, Google’s Gary Illyes announced that the next Panda update will happen in the upcoming weeks. He said he expects it in the next two to four weeks.

Illyes referred to it multiple times as a data refresh, not an algorithmic change. So sites that have been suffering from this algorithm may see a recovery in the near future. However, not all sites will see a recovery: Some may not recover, and new sites may also be hit by this data refresh.

When the data refresh is updated, we will make sure to notify you right here.

Illyes also explained that it is in Google’s best interest to keep this data fresh, so the they want to keep it updated as frequently as possible. But they do require manual updates and will currently not run by itself like some of their other algorithms.

Has Google Turned up Social Signals as a Ranking Factor?

Google doesn’t do announcements on search updates very often, so when they do the world and his dog sits up and takes notice.

When search marketers started noticing significant movement in early May the industry fully expected it to go unexplained as just another of the search giant’s algorithm tweaks.

Then Google came out and admitted that there had been a change to the core algorithm relating to how ‘quality signals’ work when measuring content quality.

This is a big deal for several reasons but the one eye-opening admission is that the update is not a Panda-related change. Traditionally, any content quality measurement had been performed through the infamous algorithm patent so understanding what that covers goes some way to telling us what this is therefore looking at.


Panda was first released in February 2011 and affected more than 10% of queries and focused on a number of factors to understand content quality.

Those factors, as far as the patent explains, looked at everything from how well content is written on page, how well the page fits navigationally within the query and even the relevance and quality of the links pointing out of, and into, that content.

Other factors

So far then we know that this latest update is not Panda, so what is it? Google has told us very little in real terms but has admitted that it is part of the core algorithm. That tells us that whatever it is that has changed updates in real time and that leads us onto two specific areas of interest from a ranking perspective.

Ranking signals is something we track as a Group through our Roadmap tool and below I can share some of the initial findings from the latest data refresh.

Before we dive into what that data is telling us it is worth caveating by saying that the tool updates monthly and the next update is due within the next week or so, so we will know much more then.

For now, however, there are already points of interest worth discussing in the context of the latest update.

What does this mean?

Does this change anything? That really depends on your current strategy. Clearly investment in quality content becomes even more important as sites now have both carrot and stick incentives to produce it.

On the one hand Panda looks to seek out and negatively impact poor quality output, while this latest iteration to the core algorithm looks to be rewarding the best of it with better visibility.

Great content improves time on site and promotes social sharing.

The good news, of course, is that the search engine will be looking at this by vertical and even by page so don’t worry if you are in a niche where social sharing never happens. As always measurement will be relative but by being the best of your peer group will put you in the best possible position.

The answer is an audience focused content strategy and this free download will help you build up such a plan.

It’s early days but what is clear is that the reward for creating quality content just got greater.

Google Japan Ordered To Remove Negative Reviews Based On Thin Evidence

Ruling appears to be based largely on affidavit signed by the doctor in question.

Late last week a Japanese court ordered Google to remove two reviews from Google Maps that were critical of a local medical clinic. An unnamed doctor who operated or worked at the clinic and allegedly treated the reviewer-patients signed an affidavit swearing that the reviews were false (and allegedly defamatory).

According to TechCrunch, which first reported the decision, the clinic sued the individuals for defamation. The Japanese District Court is now requiring Google to not only remove the reviews from Google Japan but also from its global results. (As with the Right to Be Forgotten in Europe, this is another example of a local jurisdiction trying to exercise control over Google’s global index.)

The company faces a modest potential fine of roughly ($2,500) if it fails to do so. The fine is obviously not the issue. The larger question and concern is the potential precedent this might set both in Japan and potentially other countries without strong free speech laws. In many countries privacy, religious orthodoxy, “sedition” and other types of values often trump speech.

According to the TechCrunch article, “neither review violates the policies that Google has in place for user generated content within the Maps service.” Google has said it may appeal.

Little has been reported about the underlying facts or evidence presented in the case. If the case involved the clear presentation of evidence that the reviews were fabricated and defamatory then the removals are not anything to necessarily worry about.

It appears, however, that the doctor-plaintiff simply issued a formal denial and that was enough to support the court’s decision. If that is indeed the case then this decision has potentially broad and very negative implications. Any disgruntled professional or business owner in Japan, confronted with critical reviews, could potentially invoke the decision and follow a similar procedure to get the reviews removed.

Business-friendly courts and the threat of litigation could then be used to broadly intimidate those who might be inclined to write critical reviews of services they receive.

Study: Growing “Mobile Fanatics” Segment Search More, Increasingly Shun PCs

New consumer survey data from Thrive Analytics (for the Local Search Association) reflect the emergence of a large and growing mobile user segment dubbed “mobile fanatics.” Just over 40 percent of the U.S. smartphone population, these mobile users search more and rely more on their mobile devices than conventional smartphone users.

The segment is defined as mobile users who “conduct at least 10 searches per week on at least two devices from multiple locations.” According to comScore data, internet users in the U.S. conduct an average of about 17.5 searches a week. While the report doesn’t identify mobile search query volumes at the high end, it’s clear that PC and mobile search queries are approaching parity.

Last year, Google representatives projected that mobile queries would overtake PC volumes this year — though there’s been no formal confirmation of this to date.

One of the more provocative findings from the survey is that mobile devices are now used more often for local search and to find local information than PCs. Accordingly, 60 percent of U.S. adults now typically choose smartphones or tablets over PCs to find information before buying products and services offline. Google and Microsoft previously reported that half or nearly half of mobile search query volume carries a “local intent.”

The implications of these findings for retailers, QSR, local services (really anyone that sells products or services offline) are immediate and fairly obvious. If you’re not making a full mobile push you’re potentially losing sales to competitors.

5 Techniques To Safely Get Links In 2015


Any trustworthy SEO knows that “link building,” while necessary, can be potentially dangerous.

In the minds of many, “link building” is synonymous with the spammy, black hat SEO techniques of years past; yet, high-quality links remain the single largest off-site ranking factors used by the search engines.

Google has evolved to the point where it’s simply not possible to indiscriminately build links to a site and expect ranking. Try that, and you’ll get a penalty.

So, how can you safely build links in 2015? There remain several legitimate and appropriate ways. Following are the five that I use most often.

1. Guest Blog & Get Others To Do It, Too

As with any technique, you have to be careful with guest blogging. The declaration from Google head of webspam Matt Cutts that “guest blogging is done” is only partially true. Google took down several major blog networks, indicating that they were really serious about penalizing spammy guest blogging. It is likely that Google will continue to refine their algorithm to weed out even more of these less-than-trustworthy forms of guest blogging.

But there remains and will remain a strong and authentic side to guest blogging. That is what I’m referring to.

Guest blogging is not in itself a method of gaining guest blogs. If a website owner or editor trusts you to create high-quality content, they are not giving you permission to start aiming backlinks at your website. They are instead trusting you to produce excellent content that their readers will love.

If you have a byline or an occasion to mention some other articles you’ve written, then you may be entitled to a link.

Let me be very clear about guest blogging and its relationship to backlinks. The purpose of guest blogging is not backlinks. The minute you start doing that, websites and editors will know what’s going on. You’ll get voted off the island.

If, however, the context, content, and subject of your guest post require it, then you can link to your own material. The goal is to be as helpful, clear, and informative as possible.

Keep in mind that guest blogging is a scalable way to earn great backlinks. If you have other influencers in your company who are skilled and willing to write, then encourage them to get into guest blogging, too. Guest blogging is a powerful method for growing one’s personal brand, and it benefits the company as a whole.

2. Make Infographics

Are infographics still a viable method for building links? Drew Hendricks of AudienceBloom recentlyasked this question in his article, and his answer was clear:

“Infographics are still effective for link building.”

He’s right, but he gives some necessary disclaimers. To be clear, infographics aren’t as effective as they used to be. Today, infographics are mass produced by any business that possesses an ounce of strategy and a marketing budget.

I’ve seen the decline in infographic popularity and link building potential. Up until 2012, my infographics earned about 876 backlinks each. Since 2012, my infographics generate 371 backlinks each. That’s a decline of 57%.

In spite of the sag, I still use infographic marketing because it’s helpful for my audience. Plus, 371 links is still a lot of links.

3. Get Active On Social

Creating content is only half of content marketing. The other half is promoting your content. In 2015, the best way to promote your content is on social media. If you promote your content, you’ll start to earn links to it.

In my 2015 predictions, I wrote that “social media will become the cornerstone of blogging.” I can safely make that prediction because it’s already happening. I’ve seen it on my own sites.

When I get active in social media, my articles are shared, distributed, tweeted, mentioned, retweeted, talked about. As a result of this social buzz, I get links.

When I say “get active on social,” I don’t simply mean to dink around on Twitter for a few minutes each day. Here’s what you should be doing:

  • Post links to your article on every social network of which you are a member.
  • Post your link to relevant LinkedIn groups that you’re a member of.
  • Submit your posts to Reddit.
  • Submit your posts to StumbleUpon.
  • Submit your posts to GrowthHackers.com
  • Send DMs to people whom you mention or link to in your post (see the “ask” section below for more details on this technique)

This is an indirect way of gaining links. Social signals are not links, and they do not possess the same ranking impact as links. However, as you share your content, other people will read it, notice it, and start linking to it, too.

That’s where the links come in.

4. Grow Your Personal Brand

You can’t create links instantly. Growing your personal brand is one of those slow-and-steady-wins-the-race techniques.

You can build your personal brand by outreach, helping people, speaking at conferences, getting press coverage, connecting with mentors, guest blogging, and other techniques. It’s not easy, and it definitely takes some time.

But the payoff is incredible! As my personal brand has grown through toil and hard work, my marketing efforts are now much easier. I can essentially generate new business growth simply by force of my personal brand.

And backlinks? They come naturally. Like other forms of creating links, this technique takes time. It’s hard to track backlink quantities directly to the power of your personal brand. However, as your name and brand begin to trend higher, you’ll notice a correlating rise in the number of backlinks to your personal or business website.


2015 marks a new era in link building. Even though earning links is far more labor intensive, it is still important. You simply cannot have a top-ranking site without generating top-quality links.

If you follow these five techniques, you’ll be able to increase your site rankings higher than you ever thought possible.

Google Sending Mobile Usability Warnings To Huge Number Of Webmasters

Google sending notifications to webmasters with sites that are not mobile friendly. Is this a sign of a new mobile algorithm coming soon?

Google is sending mass notifications to webmasters who has websites that are not mobile-friendly. These notifications contain the subject “fix mobile usability issues found on…” It then goes on to explain that these sites have critical mobile usability errors on 100% of the pages on the site and thus the pages will be “displayed and ranked appropriately for smartphone users.”

These notifications are being sent via Google Webmaster Tools and via email. It is also being sent to sites that are simply not mobile friendly at all and typically, the webmasters know their sites are not mobile friendly. What we have here is Google reminding these webmasters their sites are not mobile-friendly and issuing a warning that the pages won’t rank well in mobile search.

There are clear signs that a new mobile ranking algorithm is about to launch at Google. Google told us they are experimenting with it since November. They also launched a mobile friendly testing tool, mobile usability reports in Google Webmaster Tools, and mobile-friendly labels in the search results.

This seems to go beyond the broken mobile site penalty Google had in 2013. It also seems to go beyond having problems with your mobile-friendly site – where it is targeting this communication to sites that are knowingly not mobile-friendly.

Typically, these are all signs of something big to come on the algorithm side. But we have not been able to get a confirmation from Google on this as of yet, working on it. Will keep you posted.

Jim Lisi

How to Have a Successful Local SEO Campaign in 2015

Another year in search has passed. It’s now 2015 and we have seen some major changes in local ranking factors since 2014, which I also expect to change greatly throughout 2015. For some a new year means a fresh starting point and yet for others it’s a time of reflection to analyze how successful your campaign has been. Whatever boat you’re in, make sure to give increasevisibility.com  a call to discuss strategy.

In this guide we will cover how you can have a successful local SEO campaign in 2015 starting with the basics and getting down to five action items you should focus on now. This is not limited to Google My Business and also includes localized organic results.

Now the question is where do you start?

Since Pigeon has now rolled out to the US, UK, Australia, and Canada it’s important to make sure your strategies are in line with this no matter what part of the world you’re in. A successful local SEO Campaign in 2015 will be much more successful if you put more work into it. Don’t be fooled though. More work by itself isn’t going to get you where you need to be. You need to work smarter towards the goals which are going to fuel your conversions.

For some industries that might mean more localized content, for others it may mean more social interaction in your local area. Whatever it ends up being, the root of it should be the same for most. You need to get more conversions for your website or your client’s website. So with this in mind let’s make sure we’re on the same page as far as our goals are concerned, increasevisibility.com looks forward to speaking with you to get 2015 off with a bang.

Google To Continuously “Optimize” The Penguin Algorithm As It Goes

A Google spokesperson has told us that they will now be updating the Penguin algorithm continuously, by optimizing it as they go. A Google spokesperson sent us the following statement around our recent questions about the holiday Penguin updates.

That last big update is still rolling out — though really there won’t be a particularly distinct end-point to the activity, since Penguin is shifting to more continuous updates. The idea is to keep optimizing as we go now.

That definitely explains all the reports of Penguin changes we’ve been recently been seeing. Which also means that we will likely be covering these updates, even if they are not confirmed by Google, when we feel the change is significant enough to warrant so. If we feel one of these “continuous updates” has resulted in enough of a significant spike in the search results, we will label it as a Penguin update within the 3.x category.

Penguin algorithm updates have historically been processed offline and pushed at a specific point in time. Google would process all the Penguin data offline and then pushed the data live, which would produced change in the search results. Now, Google seems to be saying they will change the algorithm within their live ranking processes.

Live changes to the Penguin algorithm seems to imply no more large data pushes for Penguin.

We will continue to document what we feel are changes to the live Penguin algorithm.

But what this means for sites who were impacted by any of these live changes is unclear. Do their link removal or disavow efforts get processed between each live algorithm change or would that not happen until Penguin 4.0? Again, we are working on getting clearer information from Google around these changes.

Also, why Google feels okay with changing these things now, during the holiday season, is still a bit worrisome for many. On the other hand, we wanted Google to update the Penguin algorithm faster, and it seems like Google is now.

Just to keep you all up to date, we have not seen any changes in Penguin since this Saturday, December 6, 2014:

  • Penguin 1.0 on April 24, 2012 (impacting ~3.1% of queries)
  • Penguin 1.1 on May 26, 2012 (impacting less than 0.1%)
  • Penguin 1.2 on October 5, 2012 (impacting ~0.3% of queries)
  • Penguin 2.0 on May 22, 2013 (impacting 2.3% of queries)
  • Penguin 2.1 on Oct. 4, 2013 (impacting around 1% of queries)
  • Penguin 3.0 on October 17, 2014 (impacting around 1% of queries)
  • Penguin 3.1 on November 27, 2014 (confirmed by Google, no impact given, Google considers part of Penguin 3.0)
  • Penguin 3.2 on December 2, 2014 (not confirmed by Google but based on publisher reports)
  • Penguin 3.3 on December 5, 2014 (not confirmed by Google but based on publisher reports)
  • Penguin 3.4 on December 6, 2014 (not confirmed by Google but based on publisher reports)

The Danger of Crossing Algorithms: Uncovering The Cloaked Panda Update During Penguin 3.0

Penguin 3.0 was one of the most anticipated algorithm updates in recent years when it rolled out on October 17, 2014. Penguin hadn’t run for over a year at that point, and there were many webmasters sitting in Penguin limbo waiting for recovery. They had cleaned up their link profiles, disavowed what they could, and were simply waiting for the next update or refresh. Unfortunately, Google was wrestling with the algo internally and over twelve months passed without an update.

So when Pierre Far finally announced Penguin 3.0 a few days later on October 21, a few things stood out. First, this was not a new algorithm like Gary Illyes had explained it would be at SMX East. It was a refresh and underscored the potential problems Google was battling with Penguin (cough, negative SEO).

Second, we were not seeing the impact that we expected. The rollout seemed to begin with a heavier international focus and the overall U.S impact has been underwhelming to say the least. There were definitely many fresh hits globally, but there were a number of websites that should have recovered but didn’t for some reason. And many are still waiting for recovery today.

Third, the rollout would be slow and steady and could take weeks to fully complete. That’s unusual, but makes sense given the microscope Penguin 3.0 was under. And this third point (the extended rollout) is even more important than most people think. Many webmasters are already confused when they get hit during an acute algorithm update (for example, when an algo update rolls out on one day). But the confusion gets exponentially worse when there is an extended rollout.

The more time that goes by between the initial launch and the impact a website experiences, the more questions pop up. Was it Penguin 3.0 or was it something else? Since I work heavily with algorithm updates, I’ve heard similar questions many times over the past several years. And the extended Penguin 3.0 rollout is a great example of why confusion can set in. That’s my focus today.

Confirmed: Google Penguin 3.0 Released Late Friday Night

I am working on getting confirmation from Google but I have never seen the forums light up as much as they are now.

Update & Confirmed: Google Sunday afternoon has confirmed they have done a Penguin update. I am trying to get more details at this moment.

Early reports came from webmasters and SEOs in various online forums and social media. The SEO industry chatter is at an all time high and it all leads to Penguin 3.0 being released.

The Google Penguin algorithm, which has not been updated in over a year, since PenguinWebmasterWorld, Google Webmaster Help, DigitalPoint Forums, Threadwatch andBlackHat World. Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other social networks are on fire now with Penguin chatter.

It is unclear if this is a refresh to the Penguin algorithm or a revised algorithm update. Again, I am waiting to get more details from Google on this.

But it seems like 90%+ of SEOs are in agreement that Google refreshed Penguin over the weekend. Will they reverse it? Was it a test? Will it stick? That is the big question.


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