Google Panda 3.4 Update

Google have again rolled out a Panda update, although strangely this time they announced it via Twitter….

Panda refresh rolling out now. Only ~1.6% of queries noticeably affected.

This looks as if it was simply a refresh of the SERP’s rather than an algorithm update. Although they say it only affected aroound 1.6% of queries, it is sure to have hit those hard.

Google Panda 3.3 Update

27th February 2012 brought another Google Panda algorithm change, this time looking at the off page elements of search engine rankings rather than the previous on page elements.

Panda, originally released in early 2011 was designed to remove poor quality websites which were still prominent in search results and replace them with higher quality relevant sites. Since then we have seen a number of updates which are tweaks to the current algorithm which have only affected a very small amount of results, around 2%.

The latest update, Panda 3.3 has primarily looked at backlinks to websites. Google released this statement:

Link evaluation.We often use characteristics of links to help us figure out the topic of a linked page. We have changed the way in which we evaluate links; in particular, we are turning off a method of link analysis that we used for several years. We often rearchitect or turn off parts of our scoring in order to keep our system maintainable, clean and understandable.

There is not much to take away from this but initial test results are showing that 2 areas of the backlink profiling have changed. The 3 areas we suspect which have been reviewed are:

Anchor text ratio – In short, Google are now looking for a greater mix of backlink anchor text.

Link age – Older links are given more power.

Another change which the update has made is to look at the over optimisation of a page. So if you have been a little too keen to get your target phrases into the page you could well feel the effect of the update.

Local search will now be influenced more from your linking profile, a Google statement reads:

Improvements to ranking for local search results.This improvement improves the triggering of Local Universal results by relying more on the ranking of our main search results as a signal.

Conclusion

Google changes are invariably part of the landscape. Chasing the algorithm is a poor tactic and will inevitably leave you with a whole load more work to do each time an update is introduced. On the flip side to this, we have seen some of our websites suffer ranking drops because of the update. This is sometimes unavoidable, but second guessing what they next change will be can often keep you ahead of the curve.

Of course, as Google is forever telling us, creating amazing content on an amazing website will ensure you are always up there with the best.

Google PageRank Update 2012

February 7th 2012 reportedly seen another Google PageRank update.

The last time we heard from Google that the toolbar had been updated was in early November, so 3 months ago. The time before this was August, so 3 month before that. That adds weight to the claim that Google are now more consistently updating the toolbar every 3 months in appose the the ‘as and when’ approach we have seen in recent years.

In truth, the Google PageRank doesn’t count for much at all these days. We used to crave for links from high PR websites to push us up the rankings whereas now all you get from the link is an increase in your own PR. Pretty pointless?

In saying this, most SEO’s will admit that if they are offered a link from a website with a high PR, it is something to think about. This is despite the fact we rant and rave it is pointless. We still hear old search marketers referring the to Google PageRank as the holy grail of SEO but we can assure you (so can Google themselves) that this is not the case.

BUT……

We know that a high PR is still nice to have, and if Google & Facebook have a PR of 9, it must be worth something right? Use our nifty little tool below to check your PageRank and see how you have got on during the recent update, that is if you even remember what your PR was before…

[gpr]

The SOPA/PIPA Protect Explained

Many of you will be aware that today, on Wednesday 18th January; many of the largest sites on the web are shutting their doors in protest to a SOPA bill which is being introduced to the U.S government.

SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) is aimed to prevent the piracy targeted at the entertainment industry. The goal is to take down the websites and users who are making piracy possible on the web. If the bill is passed, this will lead to the roll out of Protect I.P.

Below are a few question and answers regarding Protect I.P

What is the aim of Protect I.P

Protect I.P will stop the operation of large P2P and other sharing websites, where users can download and distribute copyrighted media.

The bill puts emphasis on the websites who are hosting the media, rather than the user who is uploading it.

How will they stop this kind of sharing?

The sharing of the media can be stopped in many different ways, primarily being the blacklisting of a website. The owners can also request that Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) blacklist the websites in question; meaning anyone using the ISP will not be able to access it.

The content owner will also have the ability to sue the website and persons who are deemed to be distributing the media illegally.

The payment gateway the website in question is using can be contacted to terminate the account of the site, cutting off all funding, which will ultimately bring the site down.

Which websites will this effect?

This could affect a huge proportion of websites including the biggest players such as Facebook & YouTube. As explained in a video below, the bill could stop users posting videos and other media, which contained content they have not previously got permission to use. In this case, the website in question would be liable as they are hosting the content.

What is the penalty if caught hosting illegal media?

The minimum penalty you could face in this situation would be that your website is taken down and blocked from ISP’s users.

The maximum penalty, 5 years in jail!

Will this solve online piracy?

Certainly not!

User will still be able to access all of the content that they usually could, but instead of entering the usual domain name, they would need to enter the I.P address of the website. That immediately is a problem and kind of defeats the purpose of the bill?

Also this system leaves huge holes for abuse, meaning the larger more corporate websites can take down the smaller bloggers and websites ran from bedrooms.

The fact is online piracy of media is a much bigger problem, and this bill alone does not even cover half of it.

PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.

Below are some of the websites protesting today again the bill.

Wikipedia

Wikipedia SOPA Protest

Google

Google SOPA Protest

Flickr

Flickr SOPA Protest

WordPress

Wordpress SOPA Protest

This will not be the last we hear from the SOPA bill that is for sure!

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