Google and the link networks

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for long, and it’s being in my drafts as an unpublished entry for some days now, it’s not an easy thing to explain exactly how I feel about this.
This would not be the first link network targeted by Google. Google has penalized link networks several times over the years, most recently the link network.
But after reading what Seoroundtable published about and other entries about similar networks I though about writing my opinion about it.

Matt Cutts         @mattcutts @dannysullivan @seocom just another day at the office for me. :) Okay, gotta look at some really naughty Russian link selling software now.
9:27 PM – 13 Feb 13

Actually some people that know the market in Russia commented:

Actually we don’t care so much about Google, for Russians Yandex is the king. If Google wants to kill his Russian branch – no problem, nobody cares

It certainly bugs that there are “links marketplaces” out there that are manipulating the search results selling links. Some questions and thoughts arise:

  • Why there are caring about this specially in country where they have 30% of the market search ?
    (Yandex seems to be the search king of Russia)
  • They know this for so long but suddenly they decide to take action ?
  • I’m really surprised that professional SEO’s are still using this kind of get link marketplaces. There are valid ways to get links in an organic way to avoid doing something stupid like this that can damage your client reputation and your professionalism as SEO.

And another though that came to me after this is that Google used to be a search engine which nows looks as a giant advertising marquee of their own advertising and products. Try to search for “Hotel in Berlin” or any popular service and you will see it for yourself.
Google in 2013:

And this is how it looked a search for “Hotels New York” just a couple of months ago when they got in the hotels business:

Thanks! At least after the Google hotels finder we could see some natural results.
Now this is how we see the same search it in March 2013:

So what I don’t get is the double message of fighting so much to keep their search ranking clean but at the same time they put all their advertising marquee in front of your face almost stopping all of us to see organic results.
Why are the organic results so important if you have to scroll to see them in the first place ?

Keep the conversation coming:
Did Google Just Penalize Another Link Network? SAPE Links
SAPE Links Penalized by Google? – Sape employee blog post

Here is the reason about why we will use Internet Explorer: Google keywords ‘not provided’

Lately the SEO world has been quite a revolution. It started long time ago but it was enhanced by last 2 weeks events when Raven announced that they stopped scraping search data but it continues up to this days until everyone is realizing the following fact:

Each day we will work more blindly in the SEO World

The reason is that Google is quite forcing Secure Socket Layer (SSL or https) so this is starting to appear as traffic keywords “Not provided” in Analytics. So what are the keywords that the user typed in Google get our site in the search results:

 Only Google knows

The fact is that the (not provided) traffic will keep on growing. First, because any user that is logged with any Google device will send their encrypted searchs to the (not provided) list. And secondly, because Firefox and other navigators decided to encrypt all the searches done by Google, independently if you are logged into a Google account or not.
After the updates of 10th December in Google Chrome the browser will have the exact encryption as Firefox, hence that means that you will find a closed door when you search for keyword data in any web analytics tool.

To explain it in a simple way, that means that the (not provided) traffic source will keep on growing giving us less and less information about the search keywords that brought the users into our websites.

So what will the Search Engine Optimizations experts will do when they are forced to work almost blind ?

We will do what we’ve done through all obstacles in life: We will adapt and survive (Darwin said it very well)

There is an exception about this when the keywords are revealed: It’s when you use this keywords to do advertising in Google Adwords. Then they have to provide this information.

And there is much more in SEO than tracking search engine results. So if you are a fan of tracking all the keywords and doing all this little adjustments in your content and titles to bring more traffic I personally suggest one thing: Enjoy while it lasts because after this you will have to learn a whole new way to do it. And maybe focus more on original content or social engagement. Or maybe just combine it with SEM and make Google earn a few more bucks.

Google has been trying to tell it very clear long time ago saying “The ranking should not be used as a SEO metric” (Really ?) and now it seems that they are forcing their statement to be right. Because there is not other choice:

The first thing you have to know is that if you live  from Google, your business depends on Google and if you don’t play with Google’s rules…you are going to be expulsed from the match.

Related posts that where an inspiration to write this one:
Google Chrome not provided

The power of Google

The post was written in spanish by Miguel from marketing online valencia. My personal comments are added in gray without affecting the original content from Miguel.

This weekend (And yes, SEOs work 24/7/365) I’ve read some articles about the decision that had to take Raven Tools, after a change in Google Adwords policy and if we sum up another things that happened in the Web Analytics and SEO, the thing looks bad.

Or AdWords or out

The first thing you have to know is that if you live  from Google, your business depends on Google and if you don’t play with Google’s rules…you are going to be expulsed from the match. Said that, we enter in subject.

The scenerio is that Raven Tools, a company with online marketing tools, very useful for SEO competitive analysis has to make a decision at the time to renovate their Adwords API License. The Google team has told them that if they wanted to keep on accesing the API they have to stop using data of third party companies and cross them with the Search Engine Results, something known as SERPs monitor. Something that a very basic level could be “Free Monitor for Google“, but at a professional level you have to use Raven or Seo Guardian, Open site explorer or similar tools.

The problem is that Google does not like that some companies scrap their results to obtain rankings per keyword, and they don’t have a way to avoid it, because it’s not technically posible. So they have used AdWords access and their rules, that were already in place for long to apply the line that reads:

‘You won’t be able to access the API of AdWords […] if you use third party data that use information extracted from the search engine without Google authorization’

Hence, if your tool offers data from AdWords and search engine positioning at the same time, and those are not from Google’s (As is usual), you will have to select between having a system or the other, but not both.

In January 2012, Marketing Samurai, another tool that crossed data from both systems  decided to switch Google for Bing in their SEO monitor and they lost clients.

¿And now what?

So now you have to invest in 2 tools to do the same that you did before with only one. Oh wait, but SEMrush offers data from both sides. In the Congreso SEM of 12 Enero Fernando Angulo, of semrush, will tell us what they are going to do and how they are going to solve this, since they will also have to take a decision.

Open Site Explorer of SEOmoz has already dropped the AdWords issue, so it’s limited to monitor the ranking the same as MajesticSEO that only gives positioning and links.

So at the end is clear that if  you only do SEO you can go with one of this tools, but if you do online marketing then you will have to raise your budget for other analysis tools.

Well, but is that much… ¿ Are you sure ?

Google has the power

The percentaje of visits per keyword (not provided) goes in some websites from 25% till the overhelming 45%, facing the Google estimation that will not surpass 10%. My ass!!! For any analytics guy that knows maths, extrapolating or doing statistical inference (Like  @mlkubrick does in Forms to assign keywords *not provided*) when you have this margin of error you can fail bigtime, and I’ve already spoke about this with Lakil, Felipe and another SEOs.

– But fuck, it’s not to get like this, ¿Right?
– Is that you don’t know the best part

Now arrives Saint Google and is goint to do an update in the analytics, not in Analytics (that they are also going to do) but in the way to do analysis. So out of the blue they took a new tracking module (Analytics.js) that is going to replace the ga.js, but that is also going to bring I-don’t-know-how many functionalities.

One of them is to  ‘Raise the privacy for the users navigating the website’ (Really ?) and the tracking with Analytics will be by cookies (another cookies, not the ones that are in place now) that can, or not, pass the search information that is done in Google Search to arrive to the web page.

– Fuck, ¿ But are you sure ?
– No, but when we discuss this in #sempro I will see if the deepness of the thing

Hence, with this system they  will guarante the visit’s tracking , at the time that can kill the tracking of Keywords in the Search engine. So they will put the *not provided* to  100%, using the sampling of data, the infamous cookie or the best excuse. And then is when my malicious mind thinks, ahhh but they only need to press a button in the cookie to recolect this data and give it to Analytics, ¿ Right ?

And another minds shout: Google Analytics Premium !!! That it will be 100.000 € !!!

So now that Google has said that the ranking should not be used as a SEO metric, that is a mistake, that the good SEOs don’t have to look at that, that is all about generating good content, now goes and paints this nice landscape.