Please watch this video of Matt Cutts on how to protect your data from malware, dinosaurs and other holiday tips.

Have a question? Ask it in our Webmaster Help Forum:!forum/webmasters

Want your question to be answered on a video like this? Follow us on Twitter and look for an announcement when we take new questions:

More videos:
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Incoming Search Terms: 
Protect your computer from malware, how to protect my data, protect my account from hackers, avoid hacking tips, keeping my data safe.

Web wireframe and web design are two different terms that are almost related. However, some people are correlating the two terms mistakenly. Wireframing and web designing almost have the same approach, but there seems to be a lot of difference.

Why do most people think that web wireframes are the same with web designs? First, they assume that wireframes are final. Wireframes and web designs could undergo multiple revisions until attaining visual perfection. Second, people also realize that web designs are just a layout as well. Actually, sophisticated designs are the ones that make websites fashionable, not the layouts.

Let us define both web wireframing and web designing. Web wireframing is a way of depicting a visual guide that represents the theoretical framework of a website. Web wireframes serve as a schematic diagram on how a website would look like in the future. Web designing is a way of applying the concepts of aesthetics and actual coding to a website under construction. The goal is to maximize user experience, attain web accessibility and usability.

Web designing and web wireframing are almost independent to one another. A website would not possibly look good without using wireframes as reference. Wireframes may be optional, but it maximizes quality control of a website. Wireframing is part of web designing, while web designing is the whole process that covers many aspects of building a website.

To visualize web wireframing and web designing much easier, let us say that you have just purchased an empty home. That home is now in your hands, but you need to make it a great place to live. You fill your home with correct decorations and you put the materials according to its proper place. To make the meaning much clear, take out the term “web” from those two terms aforementioned above.


Incoming Search Terms: 
iPlotz Blog, What is Web Wireframe, What is Web Design,  Web Tips

1. Make sure your listing is complete and accurate.

  • Make sure your business location is entered correctly on the map so users can find you easily. You can drag the map marker to your exact business location.
  • List your authoritative and official business website on your Places listing, since Google uses information from your website to help improve search results.
  • Include images and videos to help your listing stand out.
  • Add information such as opening hours and payment types to help users choose among search results.
  • To learn more about helping Google crawl and index your site, take a look at the Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide.
  • Of course, be sure that your business name, physical address, and phone number(s) are correct.
  • See the Google Places quality guidelines to learn more.

2. Choose the most appropriate, specific categories for your business.

Pick a category from the list of suggestions to help Google to show your business for the right searches (although you can always enter your own category if Google Places doesn't suggest one that fits your business).
Don't be afraid to choose specific categories instead of broad ones. The important thing is that the categories are accurate and describe your business well. Google's search algorithm makes sure that users looking for "Book Stores" will see businesses in more specific categories like "Used Book Stores," "Comic Book Stores," and "Rare Book Stores" too.

3. Establish a strong, accurate presence on the web.

Google improves search results by aggregating information about your business from all over the web. Make sure information about your business on third-party sites is accurate, and try to contact the respective site directly to correct any inaccurate information.
Encourage customers to review your business by clicking Write a review on the Place Page.


Incoming Search Terms: 
Add Business to Google Map, Google Map,, SEO Tutorial, SEO Tips, Social Midia Optimization tips and tutorial, Basic SEO Tutorials, SEO Services, SEO services in cebu, SEO Services in Philippines, Seo techniques, Google Panda, Google Pengiun

Represent to your attention the largest free directories list containg only free directories with exceptionally high PR. Many free directories exist more than 5 years and are the most popular free directories from all ever created. If your website was denied on free submission because some directory from our list stop to be free directory and now offer paid submission - please let us know. Also keep in mind - submission to free directories from our list can take from 1 day to several months depending on conditions of submission of each specific web directory.

check this link to view the list.

Incoming Search Terms: 

Uk Business Directory, Online Directory, Uk free Directory, Majestic SEO, News, SEO News, SEO Tutorial, SEO Tips, Social Midia Optimization tips and tutorial, Basic SEO Tutorials, SEO Services, SEO services in cebu, SEO Services in Philippines, Seo techniques, Google Panda, Google Pengiun,  Matt Cutts SEO Blogs, Google SEO is an Australia business based in Tasmania, producing flexible insect screens from premium-grade materials and delivering them world-wide. They’ve been plagiarized and targeted by copycat competitors but have always enjoyed good rankings and resoundingly good client testimonials due to exemplary products and services. The past year has been a roller coaster ride. First they were rewarded by Google, and then they were punished.

• Monthly “Visits” grew rapidly from 12,800 visits in Aug 2011 to 36,000 in Nov 2011.
• From Dec 2011 traffic declined to 17,000 visitors by May 2012.

It was the same content, basically unchanged in that time and its initial wild variations seem to predate the Panda release. In contrast, over the year, the primary copycat competitor now ranks higher than they do, despite having inferior products made from lower-grade components.
There are some peculiar aspects:
• Nov 2011 – at the peak of visitor traffic, 54% of visits were from Australia!
• By May 2012, that had dropped to 17% of visits from Australia!

The website has been hosted in Melbourne, Australia since early 2011. The site appeared in “Search: pages from Australia” so was clearly associated with the Australian dataset. The downward variation in Australian visitors was inexplicable. In June we launched into a major revision of the site, tackling each and every aspect that could conceivably be harming the site’s rankings.

Eliminating Low Quality Content
In looking at the site from a critical perspective, it appeared that the 89 glowing client references might have been an Achilles heel. These were individual posts in a Testimonials category, with a widget that selected one at random and displayed it in the page sidebar.
However, bereft of unique Titles and Descriptions, lacking headings, and with only a couple of sentences and no images, they would certainly appear of very low quality and minimal value!
By way of remedial action, these posts were inserted into a Testimonials Manager plugin, retaining the random Testimonial display in the sidebar, but with a single consolidated page instead of 89 individual posts. 301 Redirection was put in place on those posts, to the new Testimonials page.

Doorway Pages
In addition, there were a dozen or so Authorized Distributor pages, half of which contained nothing other than a State or Country variation and with a standard layout/content format. This may have appeared suspiciously like Doorway Pages, specifically referenced in Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
These were all combined into a single distributors page, with an index hyperlinked to State & Country sections, and 301 Redirection applied.

Impact of Initial Remedial Action on SERPs Results

There was a prompt response on the rankings for multiple keyword search phrases:
• flyscreen distributors – jumped up +19 places within a week to #5 on
• flyscreen distributors – jumped up +55 places within a week to #10 on
• fly screen distributors – jumped up +3 places within a week to #9 on

The consolidated Distributors page with its larger and unambiguous content definitely gained rapid traction in the SERPs! Unfortunately, since then those gains have been offset by further ranking losses across the board, but traffic volumes have remained relatively steady over the last few months.
Aside from the first round of remedial action on the posts and pages, we’ve also systematically reviewed page content to sharpen the focus, reduce vagueness, and eliminate other potential problems.
Google Says Be Careful about Links
Any external links were converted to NoFollow to prevent loss of link juice, or any suspicion of involvement in link spam activities.

Google Says Avoid Duplicate Content
Tags: all “tags” removed because these were not used correctly, and in the main applied to the 89 Testimonials posts. These tags consisted mostly of Australian state and/or international country, and the window type the reference related to. The consequence of that was dozens of almost identical Tag pages, all bereft of Titles and Descriptions.

Extraneous / Boilerplate Text
At some point not too long ago, the owners had inserted 3 lines of H2 and H3 headings into the top of EVERY page! That was what amounted to a Unique Selling Proposition and a Call to Action, but of course it severely diffused the effectiveness of the real first headings & first paragraphs across every page on the site. All iterations of extraneous text were replaced with an image on the bottom of each page, with a relevant link title & image alt text.
Further vague first paragraph content occurred in the About Us page which had been topped with some “warm fuzzy” content that had little to do with their Products / Manufacturing / Distribution. That extraneous content was displaced downward by something a little more useful.

Google Does Not Like Low Quality Pages
The informational pages needed to be there, but contributed little to defining the site’s genre, products or services. All non-important pages were set to NoIndex using the “Ultimate Noindex” WordPress plugin, including Login, Admin, Logout, Author, Search, Privacy, Terms etc.
• Gallery: this comprised three pages of various insect screen formats, but there was zero explanatory text. A picture may well be worth a thousand words in some circumstances, but not to a search engine! A preliminary paragraph of explanatory text was added, and the owners are preparing more to boost the intrinsic value of these pages.
• Headings: additional supportive sub-headings in H2 or H3 added on pages as appropriate.
• Images: all illustrative images had relevant explanatory Alt text inserted.
• Text Emphasis: A significant amount of non-relevant BOLD text was reverted to Regular to prevent emphasis confusion. As a general rule, Bold should only emphasize important page content, not entire paragraphs!
• Header Tags: All Titles, Descriptions & Keywords were revised to be within recommended length parameters, and made relevant to the specific page/s.

The Google Rollercoaster
Those who have engaged in close-quarter combat with Google’s relentless algorithms will understand that during the past 6 months ranking charts look like an 8.5 earthquake graph. Between Google’s tweaking, and our own remedial efforts, it was sometimes hard to ascertain if what we were doing with the website was making things better or worse! However, with the objective of “good content” firmly grasped, we persevered.
By and large, the efforts that were taken resulted in significant ranking improvements, sustained as Google’s algorithms have stabilized.
Local vs Global Search

For US-based readers, this is an issue that many SEO’s won’t encounter. However, if you are located elsewhere on the planet, it seems Google has drastically altered the way in which it rewards websites within their local market, at the cost of their global prominence.

Referring back to the “visitors from Australia” issue mentioned previously – as things have settled out, Google HQ, rankings across have improved to 2011 levels. The volume and percentage of visitors from Australia has increased back to ‘normal’ levels. Sadly, as global rankings have declined, the diversity of international visitors has faded.

Prior to 2012, Flexiscreens drew many of their clients from around the world due to good global rankings. In the past year, monthly visitor traffic (Webaliser stats) has declined from the 2011 high of 36,000 to a low of 8,700. October 2012 shows a modest improvement to 10,600 visitors.
In all other respects, rankings have clearly responded to ministrations on the website aimed at meeting Google’s Quality Guidelines. This is a family business, totally dependent on remaining prominent in global SERPs, and its fall from grace has been sudden, and painfully expensive. Recently, the company decided there was no option but to resort to Google AdWords to gain some additional exposure in targeted international markets.

The most striking aspects in the year of Panda and Penguin have been:
• the inexplicable downturn to 17% of visitors from Australia by June
• the equally inexplicable upturn in Australian visits thereafter, to 54% by October
• the total loss of international rankings
The more cynical amongst us might consider this is a Google “carrot and stick” strategy, giving local business better results in local markets, but beating those who need international exposure into the AdWords corral.

The New Normal
There does seem to be an across-the-board improvement in search relevancy. Google seems to have worked hard on ensuring that the search engine results pages give prominence to the source site of a business name or brand. As an example, a search for a Bed & Breakfast or hotel by name is now far more likely to show the specified business in first place. Previously, it would have been buried under a pile of B&B and hotel booking sites, all creaming commissions off the legitimate business owner / operator.
For that we can be grateful and I guess we can accept that we are now living in the ‘new normal.’ It’s not perfect but overall, it’s getting better!

The Bottom Line
If your business website was badly affected by Google’s Panda and Penguin updates, it is possible to recover fully from the impact. In fact, it’s usually a straightforward process of improving the website’s content, structure and functionality. Results of such improvements are invariably positive, rapid and enduring.


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What is Business Directory?

"A Business directory or business directory is a website or printed listing of information which lists all businesses within some category. Businesses can be categorized by business, location, activity, or size. Business may be compiled either manually or through an automated online search software. Online yellow pages are a type of business directory, as is the traditional phone book." -

Below is the list of Best Free UK Business Directory List, a great starting point before searching out more Google Places citations. Google often scrape reviews from the directories listed below and I have seen a positive increase in Local Places rankings on after submitting or completing the following directory listings.

These directories are free, however they will offer paid options. 

UK Business Directories For Google Places Citations - suggested by carlos

If you know of any other quality UK Business directories shout us on Twitter @phseowebdesign

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This week. Majestic SEO are in Chicago for two conferences. SES Chicago at the Hyatt Regency and a Big Data Innovation conference at the “W”. We have Mel Carson talking this morning on “beyond engagement, Harnessing the power of Social Media). I will also be presentaing some of the new functionality that Majestic has launched in 2012.

On Friday morning (frighteningly early, if you ask me) I will be at the “W”, talking about how links on the Internet can make unexpected predictions about the future.


Will Google interpret links to URLs ending with a campaign tag like ?hl=en ( as a link to or to a completely different page? What about the SEO effect of inbound links?
Per-Erik Skramstad

Hey Dudes, 

Free weekly backlinks packets. Sign up page below,


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Stop Online Piracy Act
Here's a list of SOPA supporters (people you shouldn't vote for if you like the internet):


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Keywords are a crucial part of your website’s SEO. People use keywords to search for sites and, if you are not using these words properly, your site will not be found. Thus, you will lose sales and money.
If keywords are done correctly it could mean substantial traffic and sales for your online business. However, the process of finding and using keywords is much more involved than you might think.
Read the following to see if you are making any of these mistakes with your keyword research and usage:

1. Not Researching Your Keywords – To find the most successful and relevant keywords for your site, you must do some research. Find out what keywords are used the most and what people are searching for. Do not only take search numbers into consideration. Use the most relevant keywords for your site. You can find lots of free keyword research tools online.

2. High Keyword Density – The general rule for effective keyword density is no higher than five percent. This means the keyword should not make up more than five percent of the total amount of words in your content. So, if your website page has 100 words, your keyword should be mentioned no more than five times. More than this could be considered spamming and could lower your rankings.

3. Not Placing Properly – Keywords need to be placed in certain areas for maximum effectiveness. This includes your page title, headings and subheadings, and first and last paragraphs. Gently and naturally use your keywords throughout the content.

4. Not Reviewing Periodically – Many of us first make the mistake of thinking that once we get the proper keywords placed and in use, we never have to do it again. Do not make this mistake. You want to review and revamp your keywords about every few months or so. Search patterns change, SEO methods change and you need to make sure your keywords are still effective.

5. Not Being Target Specific – Using generic keywords can bring you more traffic, but you want targeted traffic that will actually bring about a purchase. For example: If you sell golf equipment, do not use the generic “golf” as a keyword. Use more targeted keywords such as titanium golf clubs and other specific phrases. This will bring in fewer people, but these people will find what they are looking for and, probably, be ready to purchase.

6. Not Considering Your Competition – When choosing your keywords, you need to take into consideration the competition. Check what websites have top ranking for your keywords. Do you have a chance at beating these competitors or are they monster sites that will easily stay on top? If there is no way you can beat your competition with those specific keywords, using them would be a waste of time. Using longer keyword phrases with less competition might make you more money.

7. Using Plural Keywords – This is a simple fix. Most people, when searching for something, will use the singular, but be sure to check it out and make sure. There are some words that are normally used as plural, such as shoes, so it would get more searches. But, in general, the singular form might bring you more results.

8. Using Single Keywords – Using a single word will not necessarily bring the people you need to your site. Plus, the competition is probably way too high for single words. If you sell cars, using the word cars is much too broad. You need to use phrases such as gas-efficient Ford compact or other very specific phrases.

9. Obsessing with One Keyword or Phrase – Do not just use one word or phrase over and over. Choose several targeted and relevant phrases to sprinkle about your site. Try to create a balance between target-specific and traffic-drawing keywords.

10. Giving Up Proper Grammar for Keywords – Never, ever add so many keywords to your content that the copy becomes grammatically incorrect or makes no sense. Your copy has to be readable and professional. The search engines are pretty good at passing over sites that do not use proper grammar. Make sure you are not one of them.

Keyword research and usage is not something to take lightly. Learn all you can to find and properly use the most effective keywords for your business. The rewards could be substantial.

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If you're looking to keep your white hat on, then there are definitely some techniques to avoid in SEO efforts (whether done by yourself or others).
1) Cloaking
2) Duplicate Content
3) Automatic Content Creation
4) Keywords Meta
5) Automated Submissions
6) Doorway or Gateway Pages
7) Distributing Malware
8) Title Stacking
9) Hidden Text
10) Link Exchanges / Bad Neighborhoods

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Search Engine Optimization is a bugaboo, full of misinformation put out to prey on the fear and anxiety business owners have about wanting to rank high in a particular niche.  If you could do just one thing that would help a lot would you do it?  Yes you would of course. So I am going to   give you 10 pieces of advice to take the edge off and will make a difference in your site’s visibility.

  1. Have a WordPress website. Even a simple one can be a search engine magnet and they are also good because it is easier to do the following steps than if you have a static html site.
  2. Regularly add high quality content to your website so that people visit and link to your site. Write blog posts and articles that your readers are interested in and you will begin to build traffic. Traffic is good and links to your content are good for SEO.
  3. If you have a poorly designed website and are not creating fresh content by blogging, you probably will not rank well in searches. Do not be lured in by shysters selling SEO services to people who don’t know it is not okay to stuff your writing with keywords or buy and sell links. A reputable SEO person is going to be all about the content and know that a site must be good enough to convert the visitors into taking action once they are there.
  4. Install the All In One SEO plugin and learn to use it to make the titles and descriptions of your website pages and posts more search engine friendly so that your titles and first 160 characters of your posts can be more reader friendly and your posts and page content does not have to sound spammy to your readers. Don’t just copy your title and first part of your post into the plugin. That defeats the purpose.
  5. Use one main keyword or keyword phrase per post and make sure that word or phrase is in your text, titles and excerpts. Google can slap you down for having too many keywords and for using all the same keywords on each page and post.
  6. Make sure your site’s performing well. You will get dinged for sites that load slow. Optimize your photos and watch the number and types of plugins that you use. They can slow you site down.
  7. Be smart about choosing your keywords for your site. You will never come up for extremely competitive terms like, for example, “Shoes” (1,800,000,000 search results). But you could work on coming up for “Handmade Tango Shoes Buenos Aires” ( 23,200 search results). These are called long-tail terms and are much easier to rank for.
  8. You can learn to write optimized content with a plugin called Scribe which is used after you fill in the All in One SEO plugin. It will give you a score then tell you what to do to improve it.
  9. When you add new content,  post a link to it on Twitter and Google + and it will be indexed by the search engines much faster.Install the Google XML Sitemap Plugin to your WordPress website. This plugin works in the background of your site, giving search engines a map to index your site by. It refreshes itself with the addition of new content and automatically sends the map to Google Yahoo and Bing.
  10. Claim your business on Yelp and on Google places which has recently changed to Google + Business Pages. You will come to the top of a search page because of that especially if you get a lot of reviews.

Remember the best thing you can do is to build your site and reputation by creating content your readers, customers, clients need and want.  Every page and post can come up as a separate item in a search and they will continue to come up in searches for years which gives you geometric growth in traffic. A steady input of good product, good customer service and fresh content on your website, will insure that your traffic and your business will grow organically.

If down the road, you are doing all of the things above and want to tweak your search performance, by all means hire a reputable SEO firm to help you. But remember,  as much as we wish it were true, there is no cream to make our thighs smaller and there is not an SEO magic pill solution that will make you rank number one in a Google search, without the work.

Do you have any other tips that have worked well for you when you were first starting out?

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Below is the blog post by Matt Cutts about "Why did our PageRank go down?"

Recently a newspaper contacted me. Their PageRank had dropped from 7 to 3, and they wanted to know why. They genuinely didn’t seem know what the issue was, so I took some time to write them an in-depth reply. Part of the motivation for my blog is to provide information in more scalable ways, so I figured I’d strip any identifying information from my email and post it. Here’s what I wrote:

Hi, the usual reason why a site’s PageRank drops by 30-50% like this is because the site violates our quality guidelines by selling links that pass PageRank. Here’s our documentation on that: and here’s a video I made about this common case: (it’s about 1:30 into the video). is a good recent article about paid reviews. In Google’s world, we take paid links that pass PageRank as seriously as Amazon would take paid reviews without disclosure or as your newspaper would treat a reporter who was paid to link to a website in an article without disclosing the payment.
In particular, earlier this year on [website] we saw links labeled as sponsored that passed PageRank, such as a link like [example link]. That’s a clear violation of Google’s quality guidelines, and it’s the reason that [website]‘s PageRank as well as our trust in the website has declined.
In fact, we received a outside spam report about your site. The spam report passed on an email from a link seller offering to sell links on multiple pages on [website] based on their PageRank. Some pages mentioned in that email continue to have unusual links to this day. For example [example url] has a section labeled “PARTNER LINKS” which links to [linkbuyer].
So my advice would be to investigate how paid links that pass PageRank ended up on [website]: who put them there, are any still up, and to investigate whether someone at the [newspaper] received money to post paid links that pass PageRank without disclosing that payment, e.g. using ambiguous labeling such as “Partner links.” That’s definitely where I would dig.
After that investigation is complete and any paid links that pass PageRank are removed, the site’s webmaster can do a reconsideration request using Google’s free webmaster tools console at I would include as much detail as you can about what you found out about the paid links. That will help us assess how things look going forward.

That’s about it. This case was interesting because we also had an external spam report about the newspaper selling links. 

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There are many SEO tips and tricks that help in optimizing a site but one of those, the importance of which is sometimes underestimated is sitemaps. Sitemaps, as the name implies, are just a map of your site - i.e. on one single page you show the structure of your site, its sections, the links between them, etc. Sitemaps make navigating your site easier and having an updated sitemap on your site is good both for your users and for search engines. Sitemaps are an important way of communication with search engines. While in robots.txt you tell search engines which parts of your site to exclude from indexing, in your site map you tell search engines where you'd like them to go.

Sitemaps are not a novelty. They have always been part of best Web design practices but with the adoption of sitemaps by search engines, now they become even more important. However, it is necessary to make a clarification that if you are interested in sitemaps mainly from a SEO point of view, you can't go on with the conventional sitemap only (though currently Yahoo! and MSN still keep to the standard html format). For instance, Google Sitemaps uses a special (XML) format that is different from the ordinary html sitemap for human visitors.

One might ask why two sitemaps are necessary. The answer is obvious - one is for humans, the other is for spiders (for now mainly Googlebot but it is reasonable to expect that other crawlers will join the club shortly). In that relation it is necessary to clarify that having two sitemaps is not regarded as duplicate content. In 'Introduction to Sitemaps', Google explicitly states that using a sitemap will never lead to penalty for your site.

Why Use a Sitemap

Using sitemaps has many benefits, not only easier navigation and better visibility by search engines. Sitemaps offer the opportunity to inform search engines immediately about any changes on your site. Of course, you cannot expect that search engines will rush right away to index your changed pages but certainly the changes will be indexed faster, compared to when you don't have a sitemap.

Also, when you have a sitemap and submit it to the search engines, you rely less on external links that will bring search engines to your site. Sitemaps can even help with messy internal links - for instance if you by accident have broken internal links or orphaned pages that cannot be reached in other way (though there is no doubt that it is much better to fix your errors than rely on a sitemap).

If your site is new, or if you have a significant number of new (or recently updated pages), then using a sitemap can be vital to your success. Although you can still go without a sitemap, it is likely that soon sitemaps will become the standard way of submitting a site to search engines. Though it is certain that spiders will continue to index the Web and sitemaps will not make the standard crawling procedures obsolete, it is logical to say that the importance of sitemaps will continue to increase.

Sitemaps also help in classifying your site content, though search engines are by no means obliged to classify a page as belonging to a particular category or as matching a particular keyword only because you have told them so.

Having in mind that the sitemap programs of major search engines (and especially Google) are still in beta, using a sitemap might not generate huge advantages right away but as search engines improve their sitemap indexing algorithms, it is expected that more and more sites will be indexed fast via sitemaps.

Generating and Submitting the Sitemap

The steps you need to perform in order to have a sitemap for your site are simple. First, you need to generate it, then you upload it to your site, and finally you notify Google about it.

Depending on your technical skills, there are two ways to generate a sitemap - to download and install a sitemap generator or to use an online sitemap generation tool. The first is more difficult but you have more control over the output. You can download the Google sitemap generator from here. After you download the package, follow the installation and configuration instructions in it. This generator is a Python script, so your Web server must have Python 2.2 or later installed, in order to run it.

The second way to generate a sitemap is easier. There are many free online tools that can do the job for you. For instance, have a look at this collection of Third-party Sitemap tools. Although Google says explicitly that it has neither tested, nor verified them, this list will be useful because it includes links to online generators, downloadable sitemap generators, sitemap plugins for popular content-management systems, etc., so you will be able to find exactly what you need.

After you have created the sitemap, you need to upload it to your site (if it is not already there) and notify Google about its existence. Notifying Google includes adding the site to your Google Sitemaps account, so if you do not have an account with Google, it is high time to open one. Another detail that is useful to know in advance is that in order to add the sitemap to your account, you need to verify that you are the legitimate owner of the site.

Currently Yahoo! and MSN do not support sitemaps, or at least not in the XML format, used by Google. Yahoo! allows webmasters to submit “a text file with a list of URLs” (which can actually be a stripped-down version of a site map), while MSN does not offer even that but there are rumors that it is indexing sitemaps when they are available onsite. Most likely this situation will change in the near future and both Yahoo! and MSN will catch with Google because user-submitted site maps are just a too powerful SEO tool and cannot be ignored.

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The below data is measured against global website traffic reported by Compete, Nielsen-Net, Alexa, seoMoz, StatsCounter - GlobalStats, and Karma Snack's Snackfolio traffic analytics. The data is monitored and updated twice a month.

October 2012

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As much as link building has been shaken up over the past year, many things have remained the same, and they're the same ideas and tactics that also worked years ago. I suspect they'll continue to work, and continue to be argued about.

We all say that content is what builds links, and while it can and does, it isn't always that simplistic a concept. Great content will naturally attract links, and depending upon the strength and visibility of the site where this content is listed, very little promotional effort may be necessary.

But with all the unnatural link warnings, crackdowns on link networks, and Google Penguin targeting link spam, many marketers are a bit lost about what still works. Well, these seven "golden rules" of link building are designed to help you get back to basics about appropriate linking.

Rule 1: Great content on a great site will attract attention, whether it's from actual links, social shares, people talking about it on outside sites or forums, etc.

Honestly, if you have a great site, you can sometimes get away with content that doesn't rock the house. We've all read posts on popular sites where things are usually top notch, yet there's a post that is utter crap, but it still gets attention and may even generate loads of links.

I remember a few times in college where I made zero effort on a paper yet still received a good grade on it, and I'm convinced that it was because I usually got good grades. I had friends who thought that this happened to them as well.

I just recently read a novel called "White Teeth" by Zadie Smith, widely hailed as a brilliant novel, and I loved it. I loved it so much that I bought her newest book. But you know what? Had I not read "White Teeth" and thought she was so amazing, I would've stopped reading the new one early because it wasn't all that good.

Rule 2. Great content on a not-so-great site that no one sees will need help in order to generate buzz.

While I hesitate to call my agency blog "crap" it certainly doesn't have the readership of a site like SEW. I did a crowdsourced piece that included very well-respected participants.

I thought about publishing the post on a site that got more visibility than we do. However, I put it on our site, promoted it, had the benefit of the participants' promoting it, and it did OK, but it didn't do well enough for the effort and names involved.

I think that if I'd written it for a site with much more visibility and credibility, it would have done 10 times better than it did, if not more. If the SEOs mentioned in this piece hadn't helped me promote it, there's no way I could have gotten eyes on it without going overboard to promote it myself.

3. If you're actively going after a link (whether you're asking for it, hinting that you'd like it, sending the webmaster a fat Amazon gift card, or outright giving a webmaster cash), you should make sure that the link is worth your time and effort.

I won't lie and say that every link we build fits this ideal, but it's how we approach a potential link. Will this link be beneficial to the target site? Will someone click on it and thus turn into converted traffic? If so, that's an awesome link.

4. If your only online marketing strategy is link building (or any other single tactic), you're setting yourself up to fail.

It's fine if you have $15,000 a month to use to buy links because it's easier to throw that money at someone and not have to worry about optimizing the site itself or building a community or, at the very least, trying to get some social love for your site.

However, as we've seen from the algorithm updates and crackdowns of the past few years, what works well can easily and suddenly stop working. If all you do is guest post, what happens when guest posts are the latest victim of Google's decision to lessen their power?

5. If you're using link building tactics that are short-sighted and dangerous, you should have a backup plan for when you get caught and penalized.

OK, I'm not juding anyone here. Honestly, I do use risky tactics for certain campaigns, with the sign off of the client who's been heavily warned about the reality of what could happen. 

That said, if you're putting all your eggs into one basket and those eggs are from one farm that's about to be shut down for health violations, you may want to, um, get some eggs from different places. Just sayin'.

If you're buying links, for example, make sure you can still get relevant traffic from other places if Google penalizes or deindexes you. Remember the outcry when networks were cracked down on in the spring, and loads of small businesses failed because they'd built their entire online presence on top of those?

6. However, there is a reality that some people have faced, and that is that with many updates, there is collateral damage and you can't plan for when you're accidentally victimized by the latest change.

How many crap exact match domains (EMDs) are still ranking, and ranking better, after the latest EMD crackdown? Loads. I've actually seen some rise into the top 10 when I've never seen them before.

My own site has been deindexed in Google before. Although it was only for about 48 hours, it made me think about the people whose businesses rely so much on being found on Google. My site doesn't at the moment, so I'm lucky. But the frustration of being out of the index when I did nothing to warrant it really made me think about making sure that if it does happen again and it's permanent (or at least longer than two days) I have other ways of moving forward and continuing to keep the doors open.

I also work with a site where they do all the right things, and I mean really, more than anyone I deal with, they do all the right things. Every time there's an update, their rankings fall off.

I see no reason for it as they don't do whatever it is that the latest updates target. Are they just sensitive to algorithmic changes? Maybe, but if a site doing everything right is that sensitive, what about the ones who, for whatever reason, have something not so wonderful in their history or profile?

7. Like it or not, some sites will most likely have to rely on techniques that are frowned upon.

Sometimes you need to just make your own calls and do what you think you have to do. Judge that if you want to, but think about what you'd do if you relied on ranking well in an industry where everyone was buying links, for example. If that was your livelihood and taking a stand against link buying would mean you'd start moving down in the rankings until you lost everything, what would you do?

If you use article syndication and press releases, two tactics that are occasionally trashed yet remain popular and successful methods that aren't a violation of Google's guidelines like buying links is, what will you think when Google does add those to its ever-growing list of "things we don't really like anymore"?

If you're an affiliate who has done well without having to have loads of content and you've never done anything to violate Google's guidelines, what are your thoughts on their new issue with "thin affiliate" sites? Will you automatically bulk up your sites with content bloat, or switch gears even though you're doing just fine?


I suppose that I'm glad to work in an industry where things do change a lot, as it's never boring. It's often frustrating to see the fallout though, and all I can do is try my best to minimize it for the sites I work with.

It can be quite challenging trying to do things the right way, especially since the right way keeps getting adjusted. Links still get blamed when a site tanks though, and it'd be nice if people looked elsewhere and not immediately assume bad links are the cause of nearly every problem, as many times search ranking changes have nothing to do with bad links.

Link builders need to step up and learn more about online marketing and SEO. We used to be generalists, and then many of us moved into specialty niches within the industry. Is it time we branch out into generalism again?

By: Julie Joyce, October 23, 2012

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Writing by Nick Stamoulis in Search Engines

The SEO community has been a buzz this past week with the latest update from Google, named Penguin. Penguin came down the pipeline last week, right on the tail of the latest Panda update. Since most of the big updates in the past year have been focused on Panda, many site owners are left wondering what the real differences between Panda and Penguin are. Here is a breakdown:

Google Panda Update Overview:

According to Google’s official blog post when Panda launched,

This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites—sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.

Basically, Panda updates are designed to target pages that aren’t necessarily spam but aren’t great quality. This was the first ever penalty that went after “thin content,” and the sites that were hit hardest by the first Panda update were content farms (hence why it was originally called the Farmer update), where users could publish dozens of low-quality, keyword stuffed articles that offered little to no real value for the reader. Many publishers would submit the same article to a bunch of these content farms just to get extra links.

Panda is a site wide penalty, which means that if “enough” (no specific number) pages of your site were flagged for having thin content, your entire site could be penalized. Panda was also intended to stop scrappers (sites that would republish other company’s content) from outranking the original author’s content.

Here is a breakdown of all the Panda updates and their release dates. If your site’s traffic took a major hit around one of these times there is a good chance it was flagged by Panda

1. Panda 1.0 (aka the Farmer Update) on February 24th 2011
2. Panda 2.0 on April 11th 2011. (Panda impacts all English speaking countries)
3. Panda 2.1 on May 9th 2011 or so
4. Panda 2.2 on June 18th 2011 or so.
5. Panda 2.3 on around July 22nd 2011.
6. Panda 2.4 in August 2011(Panda goes international)
7. Panda 2.5 on September 28th 2011
8. Panda 2.5.1 on October 9th 2011
9. Panda 2.5.2 on October 13th 2011
10. Panda 2.5.3 on October 19/20th 2011
11. Panda 3.1 on November 18th 2011
12. Panda 3.2 on about January 15th 2012
13. Panda 3.3 on about February 26th 2012
14. Panda 3.4 on March 23rd 2012
15. Panda 3.5 on April 19th 2012

Search Engine Land recently created this great Google Panda update infographic to help walk site owners through the many versions of the Google Panda updates.

Many site owners complained that even after they made changes to their sites in order to be more “Panda friendly,” their sites didn’t automatically recover. Panda updates do not happen at regular intervals, and Google doesn’t re-index every site each time, so some site owners were forced to deal with low traffic for several months until Google got around to re-crawling their website and taking note of any positive changes.

Google Penguin Update Overview:

The Google Penguin Update launched on April 24. According to the Google blog, Penguin is an “important algorithm change targeted at webspam. The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s existing quality guidelines.” Google mentions that typical black hat SEO tactics like keyword stuffing (long considered webspam) would get a site in trouble, but less obvious tactics (link incorporating irrelevant outgoing links into a page of content) would also cause Penguin to flag your site. Says Google,

Sites affected by this change might not be easily recognizable as spamming without deep analysis or expertise, but the common thread is that these sites are doing much more than white hat SEO; we believe they are engaging in webspam tactics to manipulate search engine rankings.

Site owners should be sure to check their Google Webmaster accounts for any messages from Google warning about your past spam activity and a potential penalty. Google says that Penguin has impacted about 3.1% of queries (compared to Panda 1.0’s 12%). If you saw major traffic losses between April 24th and April 25th, chances are Penguin is the culprit, even though Panda 3.5 came out around the same time.

Unfortunately, Google has yet to outline exactly what signals Penguin is picking up on, so many site owners that were negatively impacted are in the dark as to where they want wrong with their onsite SEO. Many in the SEO community have speculated that some contributing factors to Penguin might be things like:

1. Aggressive exact-match anchor text
2. Overuse of exact-match domains
3. Low-quality article marketing & blog spam
4. Keyword stuffing in internal/outbound links

It’s important to remember that Panda is an algorithm update, not a manual penalty. A reconsideration request to Google won’t make much a difference–you’ll have to repair your site and wait for a refresh before your site will recover.  As always do not panic if you are seeing a down turn in traffic, in the past when there is a major Google update like this things often rebound.  If you do think you have some sort of SEO penalty as a result of either the Google Panda or Google Penguin updates, please contact your SEO service provider to help or start trouble shooting.

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If I haven't bought links, participated in any linkwheels or schemes, or spammed links, should I spend time analyzing my links and trying to remove ones I didn't create that look spammy?
Ryan, Michigan

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