Google Wants you to Keep your Redirects Active for A Year

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Google’s John Mueller said website owners and seo’s should keep their redirects for over a year, during Friday’s Google + Hangout. He recommended keeping the 301 redirects live and in place for at least a year before setting them up.

“I’d aim for at least a year, when it comes to keeping your 301 redirects in place.”

Mueller said it can take 6-months to a year before Google can fully recognize a site has moved. Not to mention people finding your old links and if those no longer have redirects, they may lead to a 404 page or a parked domain, which would result in a bad user experience.

Google’s John Mueller :

Theoretically, a 301 redirect is a permanent redirect, so theoretically you can keep that forever. Practically, that’s probably not that reasonable, that you can keep something like that forever…

In practice, if we recognize this is a permanent redirect, we try to keep that in mind for the future as well. So if you’ve moved your site, and we have been able to recognize that your site has moved, which might take maybe a half a year, maybe a year or so, then at some point, you can take that redirect down. The thing to keep in mind there is that if there are still links to the old version of the URL, then chance are, we might show the old URL too, if you remove the 301 redirect.

If you do make a site move, then you kind of have to follow the guide we set up, which also includes kinda of reaching out to make sure everyone is updating their links to the new version so that these old links don’t end up getting lost. Otherwise, someone might click on this old link and it isn’t redirecting anymore and they may land on a 404 page or maybe on a parked domain and that is really a bad user experience.

I’d aim for at least a year [for the 301 to be in place], if possible, I’d try to keep that longer as well, depending on what is reasonable in your situation.

Link Sellers Slapped by Yandex

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yandex-penalized-link-sellersDo you buy links from popular Yandex link sellers? Then you’ve probably been affected by the so called Yandex penalty. It’s been a popular discussion lately that Yandex has penalized a lot of link sellers to fight link spammers to manipulate their search results similar to what Google did.

As part of their AGS penalty algorithm, these so called link seller’s websites were penalized through their TIC score which is similar to Google’s Pagerank. The move affected sevral hundereds of websites including large sites.

Ashley Madison Hack – What’s in it for SEO’s?

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If you’re not aware or don’t know much about Ashley Madison, it is a site that promotes adultery. It has been a hot topic online this past couple of months since it was hacked by a group only known as “The Impact Team”. The group warned the owner to shut down the site or they will release important data on public. The owner refuses so on the 18th of August, they started releasing sensitive data of the site. Names of famous personalities, politicians, musicians and many more were released publicly as paid subscriber of the Ashley Madison. Since then, these people are scramming everywhere looking for ways to remove their names on Google search results.

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Ashley Madison Hack – What’s in it for SEO’s?

Well, SEO’s and ORM experts (Online Reputation Management) were busy getting calls from these people to help them. New business for all online promoters emerged from this hacking event. Did anyone received any calls from these people? RebuildSEO received some calls from them, I hope our friends online got some calls as well.

Are We Experiencing a Google Panda 4.2 Reverse Update?

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Webmasters are talking everywhere about a Google Panda 4.2 reverse update based on the ranking changes that their websites and clients are currently experiencing. Based on historical data from these webmasters, the positive impact that they saw during the Panda 4.2 roll out were being reversed.

A member of WebmasterWorld is saying that he is seeing a Panda 4.2 reverse and many members seems to agree with him. Others however are saying that since its a slow roll out, the changes were not final yet. I seem to agree with him since everytime there’s an update, it usually take some time before we really see the permanent change.

What about you? Are you experiencing similar results?

Recovering From A Google Penguin Penalty

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Google Penguin – What is it?

A Google Penguin Algorithm was designed by Google to penalize sites that are spamming the search engine giant. These sites were usually those doing what has been tagged as “black hat techniques” such as keyword stuffing, cloaking, getting links through spam, and other techniques outside Google’s guidelines.

The algorithm was first rolled out on April 24, 2012 and more updates came out later. Google Penguin Updates: (From Moz.com : https://moz.com/google-algorithm-change)

Penguin — April 24, 2012 – After weeks of speculation about an “Over-optimization penalty”, Google finally rolled out the “Webspam Update”, which was soon after dubbed “Penguin.” Penguin adjusted a number of spam factors, including keyword stuffing, and impacted an estimated 3.1% of English queries.

Penguin 1.1 (#2) — May 25, 2012 – Google rolled out its first targeted data update after the “Penguin” algorithm update. This confirmed that Penguin data was being processed outside of the main search index, much like Panda data.

Penguin #3 — October 5, 2012 – After suggesting the next Penguin update would be major, Google released a minor Penguin data update, impacting “0.3% of queries”. Penguin update numbering was rebooted, similar to Panda – this was the 3rd Penguin release.

Penguin 2.0 (#4) — May 22, 2013 – After months of speculation bordering on hype, the 4th Penguin update (dubbed “2.0” by Google) arrived with only moderate impact. The exact nature of the changes were unclear, but some evidence suggested that Penguin 2.0 was more finely targeted to the page level.

Penguin 2.1 (#5) — October 4, 2013 – After a 4-1/2 month gap, Google launched another Penguin update. Given the 2.1 designation, this was probably a data update (primarily) and not a major change to the Penguin algorithm. The overall impact seemed to be moderate, although some webmasters reported being hit hard.

Penguin 3.0 — October 17, 2014 – More than a year after the previous Penguin update (2.1), Google launched a Penguin refresh. This update appeared to be smaller than expected (<1% of US/English queries affected) and was probably data-only (not a new Penguin algorithm). The timing of the update was unclear, especially internationally, and Google claimed it was spread out over “weeks”.

After the first roll out of the Penguin Update, a lot of websites received link warnings and eventually received a penalty email from Google. Some were lucky, by just getting partial penalty but for many, they received a sitewide penalty which removed their entire site from Google’s search results. Many webmasters up until now have not recovered from such penalty after months of hardwork on links removal. Most of the time, the reason why the penalty still exist is that they are doing it wrong or doesnt want to remove links that they think are high quality.

One thing that a website owner should consider if they really wanted the penalty to be removed is to do a thorough review and removal of the links. There are a lot of list online that can be used as a guide for google penguin penalty initial assessment. You can also consider getting help from experts.

You can initially remove links that you think you can without reaching out to webmasters and just disavow those remaining ones.

After disavowing those links, you should also consider getting high quality links that are acceptable to Google. There are many strategies you can find online that you use. These links will help you recover and get back those precious rankings.

Google’s John Mueller on Spaces in URL’s

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John Mueller recently discussed on Google + about having spaces in your URL’s. This usually happens when we create blog posts and did not check on the URL’s created by our favorite CMS. Most of the time, we see something like %20 within the URL’s.

According to John:

(the answer is not “no” :-)) I run into this question every now and then, maybe this will help someone get it right too :).
TL;DR: use “+” or “%20” in the query-string, use “%20” within the rest of the URL.

His answer as usual is a bit confusing but just to be safe, lets just make sure we review our URL’s and make sure there were no spaces and just use hyphens.

Say Goodbye to Google Adsense Direct

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Google began sending messages to their publishers informing them that Google Adsense Direct will be discontinued on November 25, 2014. As many of us recall, Google launched Adsense Direct 9 months ago as a quick and easy solution for publishers to do direct ad sales within Google AdSense.

Many publishers loved the idea as it offers a simplier way to do direct ad sales compared to Google’s DoubleClick for publishers and other ad systems. But Google might seen this the other way around since they plan to discontinue this solution in November.

Here’s the email sent by Google:

Dear Publisher,

Thank you for participating in the early trial program for the AdSense Direct link. After analyzing the results of the initial testing period, we’ve decided not to move forward with this beta feature. We want to thank you for trying it out and giving us your valuable feedback throughout the process.

We recommend that you remove the URL for the AdSense Direct link from your site or sites by November 25, 2014. Advertisers will no longer be able to book campaigns through the AdSense Direct link after this date.

We are constantly working to improve the AdSense product to provide you with the best experience possible. Stay tuned for new trial opportunities!

Sincerely, The Google AdSense Team

Google Penguin 3.0 Released

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Confirmed reports of a Google penguin 3.0 released has been circulating since late Friday. Google confirmed the report on Sunday afternoon saying that they have done an update. Several webmasters are also complaining that they have been hit by the latest roll-out.

Google Penguin was last updated over a year ago and this roll-out may help those penalized last year. Though Google confirmed the released, it is still unclear if it is just a refresh or an update.

I hope most of you did recover from last year.

HTTPS helps you rank better – Google

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Google says HTTPS helps you rank better but many webmasters who had moved to HTTPS says otherwise.Google’s Gary Illyes said during the SMX east that 30% of first page results contain one or more HTTPS results. He also noted that only 10% of web pages are on HTTPS.

One question that always pops up whenever HTTPS migration is the topic of discussion is “How to migrate to HTTPS properly?” What are the things needed and how to do it hassle free. Well, lucky for you since MOZ posted a really helpful guide on switching to the secure site.

Moving to HTTPS – SEO checklist to preserve your rankings

  • Make sure every element of your website uses HTTPS, including widgets, java script, CSS files, images and your content delivery network.
  • Use 301 redirects to point all HTTP URLs to HTTPS. This is a no-brainer to most SEOs, but you’d be surprised how often a 302 (temporary) redirect finds its way to the homepage by accident.
  • Make sure all canonical tags point to the HTTPS version of the URL.
  • Use relative URLs whenever possible.
  • Rewrite hard-coded internal links (as many as is possible) to point to HTTPS. This is superior to pointing to the HTTP version and relying on 301 redirects.
  • Register the HTTPS version in both Google and Bing Webmaster Tools.
  • Use the Fetch and Render function in Webmaster Tools to ensure Google can properly crawl and render your site.
  • Update your sitemaps to reflect the new URLs. Submit the new sitemaps to Webmaster Tools. Leave your old (HTTP) sitemaps in place for 30 days so search engines can crawl and “process” your 301 redirects.
  • Update your robots.txt file. Add your new sitemaps to the file. Make sure your robots.txt doesn’t block any important pages.
  • If necessary, update your analytics tracking code. Most modern Google Analytics tracking snippets already handle HTTPS, but older code may need a second look.
  • Implement HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS). This response header tells user agents to only access HTTPS pages even when directed to an HTTP page. This eliminates redirects, speeds up response time, and provides extra security.
  • If you have a disavow file, be sure to transfer over any disavowed URLs into a duplicate file in your new Webmaster Tools profile.

Well, that’s it for HTTPS migration. Goodluck!

New Penguin Update Next Week?

google-penguin-30Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst and Search Quality Engineer, Gary Illyes announced at Search Marketing Expo East that a new Penguin update may occur next week.He said that this not a simple refresh but rather a large re-write of the algorithm that took Google almost a full year to release.

Though he didnt say if the update or refresh will surely happen next week, there’s big chance that it will. Google’s new Penguin update will make webmasters life “easier a bit” and for most people it will make it a “delight” according to Gary. He also noted that if you disavow your bad links now or about two weeks ago, it will likely be too late for this next Penguin refresh. But he added that the Penguin refreshes will be more frequent because of the new algorithm in place.

So expect some sites gaining back their ranking and those who likely to be hit.