This hangout features discussion about back link checkers, Google Local ranking, merging domains, geo-targeting websites, Yandex Webmaster Tools and much more.
This is part 3 of the transcript from last week’s Google Hangout from +Dumb SEO Questions.
+Dumb SEO Questions is a Google+ Community that Shopsafe Media is a member of.
Dumb SEO Questions Hangout 14, Part 2
Questions Covered (Click to jump to question in transcript)
- What are some free back link checkers?
- How do you improve local listings on Google?
- How do you measure AuthorRank?
- Which makes the Title Tag longer: “and” or “&” ?’
- I have two home pages, what can I do?
- How do I increase traffic to my article submission site?
- Should I use hyphens in my domain name?
- How do I target my website to different countries?
- What is the best way to merge two sites onto one domain?
- DejanSEO’s Dan Petrovic joins the hangout
- Discussion about Yandex Webmaster Tools
- Dan Petrovic demonstrates his Link Builder web application.
Jim Munro: Andy Jobin asks ‘Does somebody know a free back-link checker? Something like Moz, so I can import it to Excel?’ Actually, that’s a much bigger question than the sentence implies. But anyway guys, I’d like to hear what you have to say.
Rob Wagner: Bing.com, I mean just, you know, that’s an option for sure. And if it’s his own site, Webmaster Tools.
Alistair Lattimore: There’s just – in terms of free, there’s really not a lot available.
Jim Munro: Sorry to interrupt Alistair, but can we define it to your own domain and that might, for argument sake, make you think of Majestic.
Rob Wagner: Yes.
Alistair Lattimore: Yes, so if you’re looking for data for your own website that you can authenticate, getting the data is not so bad. You can get backlink data out of Google Webmaster Tools, Bing Webmasters. You can get a certain amount of data out of SEOmoz for free, but it’s pretty limited. You can get a small amount of data out of I think, Blekko, though they have moved a majority of their data behind a pay wall as well, but it’s not expensive. You’ve obviously got things like, the other obvious ones like Majestic and Ahrefs, again they’re paid, but they’re not insane. I haven’t checked to see what Yandex might provide. I know they’ve got a Webmaster’s product. It may provide some insight.
There’s just not a lot, it costs whatever the business is, whoever it is, a huge amount of money to compile the index data. To crawl the web, to produce the link graph. I just can’t, if I was those businesses, I couldn’t give it away for free. It’s a sure-fire way to go out of business.
I recall Rand Fishkin saying about halfway through last year, that it costs them something like three hundred grand a month to run the Open Site Explorer or MozTech API, in terms of all the infrastructure: the hosting, crawling, processing. That is a serious amount of money to lay down every month on top of all of their staff costs and everything else. So if that’s the kind of money that it’s costing them, why would you give that away for free? You wouldn’t, you’d be an idiot to.
Jim Munro: Ok, look I’m glad we’ve got through this one because this next question is something that I’d like to know the answer to, too. Sam Naim asks ‘How do you improve local listings on Google? When you place a search for a physical business on Google, you will see two search results and a few local results. How do you improve the local results? Does it require a different technique than website SEO?
Alistair Lattimore: Yes, you’re fading out there Jim.
Jim Munro: Sorry is that better? Should I re-ask the question or not?
Alistair Lattimore: No it’s OK. In short, Sam’s asked, how does he make his Google Places listing rank better? And the short answer is, or the simple answer is, yes there’s different factors that go into ranking organic search results compared to local search results. And one of the biggest factors for the local part of the equation is where your business is located. And the number of local citation that you’ve got for your business. So a citation in this instance is your name, address and phone number that is in your local business listing.
In Google places, it needs to be identical and in essence, the citations, which doesn’t need to be a link, doesn’t need to include a link, is like a link in that it’s a vote of confidence from the website that carries your business information, for your business.
If you’re looking for more information about local ranking factors, David Mihm compiles an annual interview with SEO – well known SEOs from around the world every year. And it’s called Local Search Ranking Factors. I absolutely recommend that you give that read because he goes into maybe the top fifty factors for instance that they’re aware of that influence local related search results. And that will give you a guide as to where you need to be thinking.
Rob Wagner: Yeah, just to piggy-back on that, there’s a whole industry built on Local search and experts in that field. Beyond doing what Google is asking you to do and how to set up your pages and everything for local search and be compliant, beyond that there’s obviously ways to optimise your local listing.
That’s kinda beyond what I actually focus on. So there’s quite a few experts out there that you could probably read up on. They were added to the post in the community that I think would be valuable reading if you want to increase your ranking on Local listing.
Jim Munro: Ok, Alright. Our next question is from Brian Smith, ‘Anyone have any thoughts as to why humidor vault – ‘Actually I don’t know if we should be talking about somebody else’s domain online. You guys can read the question as I can; we’ll just answer it generically. Does anyone have any thoughts as to why this site is ranking well for head terms given the super nasty reciprocal linking in its backlink profile? Are the links just so old that Google isn’t even counting them anymore? Has anybody had a chance to look at this one?
Alistair Lattimore: No, not yet.
Rob Wagner: No
Jim Munro: Ok, well let’s move on from that one and if anyone has time while we’re talking perhaps somebody could look at it and offer to cover it later. The next one drew a huge number of comments; I haven’t got to the top of it yet. That was that one that – let’s pass on that one.
Alright, Gaurav Gupta asks ‘There has been a lot of talk about Google AuthorRank; I wanted to know if there is any tool that can help us measure AuthorRank.’
Rob Wagner: Is that actually implemented? I don’t think it is, is it?
Tim Capper: No, anything that references AuthorRank will either be hypothesis and theory or garbage.
Alistair Lattimore: Yep
Rob Wagner: So in other words, there’s a patent on this, right? Google has a patent on this? I’m not sure exactly if it’s actually being implemented just because they own a patent.
Alistair Lattimore: No, no one knows if it exists in the wild yet, but there’s rife speculation that part of the Google+ profile component for instance, and authorship tags between your Google+ profile and the sites that you write on, would form part of this AuthorRank concept. But no one knows for sure if this is actually in the wild and a best as I know, Google have never actually officially talked about this yet in any official capacity on a Blog or at a conference yet. That I know of, at least. So I would suggest, like Lyndon just said, if there’s anything around there that does do this at the moment, it would be speculative at best. Though it would be an amazing tool, if someone was interested in understanding this a little bit better, I’d recommend reading some of the posts on, from Bill Slawski on SEO by the sea. He’s covered all of the patents from Google, Bing and Yahoo and everyone for years and writes some of the most amazing blog posts ever.
His website is just a wealth of knowledge that every SEO should subscribe to if they don’t read it already. It’s amazing. But I’d definitely recommend, if someone was interested in understanding this a bit more or potentially thinking about implementing a tool, that they read through the articles that Bill Slawski’s written about it. Because it’ll give you some good insight about where Google could be going with its Authorship. How you might be able to write a tool to help understand the landscape, I suppose, and start to try and measure it.
Jim Munro: Cool, Ok, I’m going to skip the next one, it’s Ruchi Gupter. And if you’re listening, he asks ‘How can I reduce the Alexa rank of a particular website?’. One, we don’t want to know anything about how you might reduce somebody else’s website. But two, Alexa really doesn’t matter much in the general scheme of things.
Next question was from Micah Fisher-Kirshner, he said ‘I like asking these esoteric questions: Which makes the Title Tag longer: “and” or “&”?’
Alistair Lattimore: Well as far as Google’s concerned, they’re a synonym for one another. And you’ll regularly see, if you do a search for a word or a phrase that includes an ampersand, you’ll regularly see that Google bolds in the search results, the word ‘and’ if it’s present, as a synonym.
So, in that regard that’s one part of the question. The other part of it is an ampersand or the word ‘and’ is in most instances, is considered a stock word. A word that doesn’t bring value to a query in most instances and I think it’s the type of word that Google would ignore in a lot of instances as well. Unless it forms part of a name of some persuasion and Google knows that obviously. So in terms of what makes it longer, the word ‘and’, if you type it out, I don’t see any reason in a title tag, why you would write the word ‘and’, if you could use the symbol ‘&’.
The other thing to keep in mind with this as well is that –
Jim Munro: In the title tag though, wouldn’t it need to be the full code.
Alistair Lattimore: It needs to be coded, but what Google displays in the actual SERPS is the ‘&’. The other thing to keep in mind is that recently, I think SEO Mofo, ran some more tests and realised that Google was optimising the Title in the SERPS based on width, not based on characters. Which until recently, people have been optimising title tags based on sixty characters or seventy characters or whatever the popular length was at the time. But recently he’s shows that it’s got nothing to do with the number of characters, and everything to do with the width of the characters.
So you could have twice as many – If you put in nonsense into your title tag, you could have one hundred and twenty letter ‘l’s for instance, or sixty letter ‘m’s. Because the letter m is twice as wide as the letter l or whatever it might be. So that’s something else to consider with the title tag, is maybe less to do with the number of characters and probably more to do with the width. In which case, the & character is obviously a good character to have in both instances. It’s a single character and it’s only as wide as say the letter ‘a’.
Jim Munro: Anybody else?
Jim Munro: OK, right. This is from Bill Savellis: ‘Hi, I need some help with SEO.’
Don’t we all.
’I hired a web developer in Pakistan to put together my website some time ago. For some reason he created 2 home pages’
And you guys can look in the chat to see what they are.
‘I have questioned him on why this was done and he responded “This is basically the direct URL of the blog post that appears on home page” I don’t know what he means and I am concerned that two identical home pages is splitting my ranking. Can someone with a bit more knowledge let me know if my concerns are warranted and what can be done to fix the problem?’
This was a big one, it tracked at forty-two comments and it was pretty cool. Who wants to start with this?
Rob Wagner: Andy?
Andy Wigglesworth: I only helped him fix the technical side of things, so I’ll leave the duplicate content to Lyndon or Alistair or Tim or you, Rob.
Lyndon Na: I don’t think I saw this one, so I don’t know what the URL is. Do you have the URL?
Alistair: Yep it’s in the chat. So he’s basically asked that – he’s got two versions of the homepage, one’s on the homepage, and because WordPress’s homepage is set using a page in WordPress. Which means that that page is being indexed as well, essentially.
And he’s asked ‘Is this bad? What can I do to fix it?’ One of the things that I ended up saying to him about this was that an easy way to fix this was to install the WordPress redirection plugin and then redirect the actual page name to his homepage with a 301 redirect, and that would fix that particular issue. He could also do it using his htaccess file and mod_rewrite, but to be honest that’s too complex for most people. And for most people, I find that the WordPress redirection plugin is manageable, it’s point and click and you could walk someone through that without a lot of effort.
Rob Wagner: I agree, he has a WordPress blog so it pretty much can take care, if you have it setup properly, it can take care of itself. And I believe that it is set up properly correct?
Andy, weren’t you working with him on something? I read the comments.
Andy Wigglesworth: I’m trying to refresh my memory; it was the titles, like it was repeating itself.
Rob Wagner: Oh that’s what it was. It was working alright; it was the title tag that was repeating.
Andy Wigglesworth: Yeah they used the old SEO plugin and didn’t replace the old code, so we got that sorted.
Alistair Lattimore: That problem that he reported is actually not a problem with ghost or whatever SEO plugin he’s using. It’s actually a problem with his theme. If his theme implements the right function into the header file, then any of the WordPress SEO plugins can override that properly, and just using the normal plugin hooks and filters. So the fact that it wasn’t working simply by installing the plugin, suggest to me that the actual theme itself, that that title tag, the way that they were rendering that into the page, wasn’t done per the guidelines.
And then what you’ve basically said by changing it, you’ve inadvertently basically said use the function as described by the guidelines. At which point the plugins work. so if you want to now, if he was using the wp_title function or whatever it is, those plugins can hook into the hooks and filters that are attached to that and override those to fix the problem.
Jim Munro: OK well look, we’re powering through these now, thank goodness.
Mohammad Useman asks what are the questions or reasons if my website is not showing in related searches. For example, my website is about how to do things and Google is not showing when we use the query related: ehow.com as it shows other sites like wikihow.com etc. Even though we’re providing the same service, like ehow.
I guess, Lyndon? Or Alistair? Maybe Andy? Anyone?
Rob Wagner: I think it’s more, related is more of a back linking interaction type thing.
Jim Munro: Yeah actually I remember this one now. He also asks a question on the Technical SEO forum, the same one. And he actually got some better answers over there.
Anyway, alright we’ll go to the next one. It’s Joseph Sabo asks ‘I’ve got a free article submission site that I have just purchased. -’
Yes, Dan say’s we’re doing a marathon and I’ll answer yes. OK, I’ll get back to the question.
‘I have a free article submission site which I’ve just purchased and would like to know how best to market the site in terms of SEO. I want to increase the organic traffic from search engines. I have a developer and so far I’ve had him add long tail keyword phrases into the site’s header, and those who submit articles also add their keywords. I’m wondering if this is enough. My knowledge of SEO is limited. -’
As demonstrated by his question
‘- And I’m looking for help and direction.’
Who wants to answer that?
Rob Wagner: Auto? (Lyndon)
Lyndon Na: Apparently nobody else wants to. I responded to this one, I believe if I’ve got the right question. The focus is, you don’t go creating a site for SEO benefit to others. That’s the type of thing Google’s trying really hard to clamp down on. The internet is filled to the brim with Article sites and Directories and god knows what else that is there just to provide backlinks to people and serves no real person on this planet at all. We’re sick of it, everyone’s sick of it. You click on a listing in the SERPs, you go a page, it doesn’t have an answer, it lists forty-two different forums that cover the same topic, and we don’t need it.
I don’t want to click on an article and read how great your damn company is when you’ve got a heading about how to fix your plumbing. You provide a site that serves the audience. That is your primary objective. Everything else is secondary.
So yeah, you can set up an article site; Google doesn’t specifically go out of its way to cripple them. It just cripples the crap ones. Make sure you’ve got a good one, you should be fine. I believe eHow and that took a kicking from Panda, they dipped, they lost traffic. They had parts of the site basically disappear from the SERPs because they had an awful lot of low quality content.
A lot of article sites disappeared over Panda; to be honest I think it was a good thing. You have to have editorial control. You have to make sure what’s being put on your site is quality. It has to be for people.
I made specific suggestions that a lot sites ought to be looking at to be honest. If you take any sort of user generated content. Don’t auto approve, moderate first. Don’t permit links straight away, they have to earn it. Either it has to be on there for a specific amount of time. It has to get a certain number of views, or a certain number of likes or plusses or votes or any form of interaction. Only once it is earned the interest and shown value, should you allow links.
And then you can stagger it, have the primary link to their main root domain. ‘Yep you got ten comments, you can have one link’ ‘Oh, you got forty comments! You can have a link to a specific page, or a link with link text. Make them earn it, make them work for it.
Don’t just doll them out, because all Google will do is look and go ‘Mm two thousand week old articles, forty thousand links… No’ and boot you. Doesn’t do you any good, doesn’t do your clients any good, and does the public no good at all.
So think of it from a user, do you really want to find a site like that online? Do you really want that content?
If you can answer yes, honestly, then you’re doing it right. As soon as you pause or hesitate, give it in, go start stacking shelves at Asda.
Alistair Lattimore: Just to follow on from that very briefly, Lyndon. I think the thing that’s probably risky for this bloke is that he’s like it or not, he’s gone and bought an article directory, when recently article directories, I mean they’ve been devalued for a long time, but as of April 2012 when Penguin was released, article directories are verging on sinful. Unless they’re absolutely top notch.
I don’t recall the last time that I actually went to an article website and went ‘wow that’s a great article’ like a truly great article. Because what’s the logic behind it. Because if you’ve got such a great article, why would you put it on an article directory website? Why wouldn’t you put it on your own website if it’s that good?
Lyndon Na: This is where we start hitting concepts like content marketing. Social media marketing. That the primary objective, and I’ve got to spell this out because so many people don’t seem to get it, is to get traffic to your site and get them phoning, emailing, buying, or whatever it is that your primary business goal is. That’s your ideal, everything else is secondary. You must have a website that is worth visiting and that boils down to content.
You can market, you can promote, Google has never said, don’t buy links. Google has said don’t buy links that past PR or intend to manipulate the SERPs. So you can buy adverts. You can buy sponsorship, you can put up advertorials and adverts and god knows what, but don’t try to cheat. You can, and this is one of my golden rules, write a fantastic range of articles on your own site. You can then adapt and adopt them and promote them elsewhere. Is there a special forum for people looking for plumbing advice? If so, go give some hints and tips. If it just happens to be a paragraph from one of your articles that suits, post it. If it happens to be a link to one of articles that covers: your plumbing’s backed up and your toilets flooding, post it. It’s permitted, just don’t spam it. Don’t overdo it. Don’t laden the link text. Do not copy your article word for word and post it on fifty crummy sites from India, Japan China and Russia. It does no good.
If you’re going to market your content, refactor it, revise it, cut it down a bit, add a new bit then promote it. And make sure people understand that there is more on your site. Put free articles on your site. Take a couple of bits out of each. Go post it on a social platform like G+. If you’ve got the audience for it, but the content has to serve the audience. It is no good blowing your trumpet saying ‘Come look at my site it’s great’ I don’t want to look at your site for the answer, I want to see it in what you’ve just posted. If you’ve earned my attention, if your content is valid enough for my interest and worth my time I may click through. That’s how it works; you earn my custom through your promotions. It’s no different than the real world with advertising. If you’ve got a naff advert, I don’t want to see it. If you’ve got a funny advert, a cool advert, an interesting advert, an informative advert, I’ll sit and watch it. I may even sit there and rewind my tele to watch it again, I’m sad like that but I’m sure I’m not the only one that does it.
See I’m not am I, who else watches the funny adverts? No, OK I may be the only one then. Did nobody see the salmon advert where there’s a bear by the river trying to get salmon and then some bloke dresses up like a bear trying to get salmon, and he ends up having to kick the bear in the groin to get the salmon? I wet myself.
Andy Wigglesworth: Yeah I remember that one.
Lyndon Na: Yeah, that’s how it works. That’s soak, that’s retention, that’s branding. That’s what your articles, when you promote them elsewhere, must do. I must be able to do a search on Google ‘Help my toilets flooding’ and then BAM; I’m on Pinterest with pictures of pictures of flooded toilets. BAM, I’m on Reddit with trolls and people telling me about flooded toilets. I get the information I need. Three months later when I need to call a plumber, it ought to be that post that makes me go ‘Oh, it was on, yep there it is, there’s the guy’s name, there’s his phone number, yes I’ll give him a call now.’
If it doesn’t work that way you’re doing it wrong. So if you are going to promote, It’s got to be worth promoting and it’s got to be put somewhere worthy of your content. That does not mean crummy article directories. Pick three or four that you would use, that you would recommend to other people that you want to be associated with. If you look and think ‘Mm, it’s a bit tacky, it’s a bit ugly, most of the articles on here are fluff’. Don’t post it there, it’s that simple. Do you really want to be recommended by Joe, the one-eyed, three-legged freak down the road? Or do you want to be recommended by Bob, the stand-up guy.
Sorry if there is any one eyed three legged people watching or listening, that’s how it works. It’s no different to real life.
Alistair Lattimore: You’ve got such a way with words, you’re like a wordsmith.
Lyndon Na: (Audio distortion.)
Tim Capper: He’s gone all Darth Vader.
Lyndon Na: Don’t use these third-party – content writers for you who go ‘Oh yeah, we’ll take your original article and reproduce it for you. Because you’ll spend four hours trying to revise it and get all the spelling errors out. You write your content because you know your subject you know your audience, nobody else does. Not unless you’re going to hire another plumber to write your content for you. Which may work out cheaper.
I’ve got woodlouse in my headphones
Jim Munro: I must say – It was the wind up clock, although I used you for my toilet break, I don’t know if you know or not –
Lyndon: Thanks a bunch. If anyone needs me, I’m in the corner sobbing.
Jim Munro: No, I’m only joking. I must chastise Alistair for introducing the Wicked Weasel, because we’ve lost all our YouTube viewers, they’ve gone elsewhere.
Alistair Lattimore: They need more commitment.
Jim Munro: OK. We have a last question. It’s Arseny Belasco, who asks ‘How would you guys go about picking a domain name for a personal website for someone who has a unique, but not easy to remember, and how to spell name? Do you put the whole name, or do you shorten and abbreviate it? Do you use hyphen or not? How would you approach it from branding and SEO?’
This question attracted eleven comments, Autocrat (Lyndon) answered as well as, no mainly Autocrat, so I guess, Autocrat, you can lead on with this. I’ve got another fifteen minute break.
Lyndon Na: There’s multiple things to be considered here. The first thing is, what is it that needs to be promoting? Is it you? Is it something that you’re doing? Is it the topic? You may have a personal site about kayaking, or you may have a personal site about you, your life, and your family, in which case that makes more sense to have your name on. If you’re doing a personal site about kayaking, you may want something to do with kayaking in the domain name. It doesn’t have to be the word ‘kayak’, you could have ridingthewhitewaters. Some people can associate.
Time and time again, I see people mention things like brand. Brand is important, but it’s not always how people conceive it. Brand is just an image that you support. That your content, your service, your conduct, refines. If it’s personal, then your brand is you and the things about you and how you do them. So in that case, pick your own name.
Hyphens, get this clear right from the start. Google does not have anything against hyphenated domain names. There is no de-ranking there is no penalty, there is no automatic classification of spam. It may look at your site a tad closer, if your domain name is keyword loaded. Because it’s a spam signal. Doesn’t mean you will be treated as spam. It just means that they will double check, which is quite sensible.
You can have a couple of hyphens, it’s not like Google goes ‘Oh, if it’s got three or more, we’ll bin it’. No, doesn’t happen, only if you’ve got a bad site does it happen.
The only down side to hyphens is some people are a bit inexperienced with domain names. I have had people go ‘How do you spell hyphen?’ and they’ve got h-y-p or h-y-f and it’s like “No, No, you have to type the character, hyphen’ and you have to explain its shift and what-not.
Doesn’t happen too often, I don’t think people are that naive nowadays. I think that they’re kind of used to the internet in the main. And it’s useful to separate your domain out at times. Sash Mayer did this years ago, he found some fantastic ones. Penisland.net, without a hyphen, reads as penis land. Yep, it is funny. People don’t realise it, they don’t double-check their domains. They don’t look for reading errors. Thechildtherapist, something like that, comes out completely different when you read it as child the -.
You need to pay attention to your domain name. You’ve got two choices, hyphenate it, or pick different words. You’ve got to use a bit of common sense here. You can use it for marketing. Apparently, I think pen island have played on it and used it for additional traffic. They’ve taken it on the chin and made it a bit of a giggle.
Artisanalcheese is another one that he found that I almost died over. If you break down the word artis anal, it does not read too well. Really confusing.
Just be careful when you pick a domain. Also, completely sub-topic here. When you pick a domain, go to a domain history check. Make sure that the domain hasn’t been passed from pillar to post. Use the wayback machine; make sure that it hasn’t shown up as spammy. Because there may be garbage attached to it.
Yeah, it’s basically, pick any domain you like that will work for what you intend, that will be memorable. And preferably, quick to write. You can also get away with a second domain that’s redirected for marketing purposes. You may have ‘Uncle Bob’s Northern Shack of Wonders’ as your main domain, you can market it with Bob’s Shack and just redirect it. It’s much easier to type, and people will appreciate it.
Is that woodlouse again? I’ve got really confused woodworm in my plastic headset. But no, I think we’ve covered all of it? Is he back from the loo yet? No he’s not.
Rob Wagner: I agree with everything you said.
Lyndon Na: Oh, thank you.
Rob Wagner: I have nothing more to add.
Lyndon Na: Damn
Jim Munro: My microphone muted.
Lyndon Na: (Audio Distortion)
Jim Munro: It might be bandwidth being squeezed. I know sometimes it really gets echoey. You there?
Lyndon Na: No that’s because I’ve got my head in a bucket.
Jim Munro: Oh OK, Alright. Our last two are: David Scriptor asks, my client from India has asked a question: Why am I getting many visitors from India, I am targeting my site for the USA, but getting traffic from India.’ What’s the record, how to get more traffic, from the USA and Canada. Later on in the question he gives the URL as www.india-cultural-tours.com.
I see Auto has answered him on the forum and said: ‘There are multiple factors for geo. Domain TLD, Hosting Location, Geo-Target in Google Webmaster Tools, and possibly things like the Address on the site and the source of backlinks.
Which I thought was a very good abbreviated answer. And I thought I might read that to save us another twenty minutes on the end of this hangout.
But does anybody have anything to add to that, you included, Auto?
Lyndon Na: I’m actually thinking that (distortion) because I believe both of them have or have dealt with sites that need to get foreign traffic. And it’s not always as obvious as it looks, so Alistair? Tim?
Alistair: One of the first things to consider with this is, where his, or if his got his website geo targeted, that’s the obvious one. So you like you said Google take in a lot of considerations but if you’ve got a geotargetable domain and you geo-target it, it’s meant to override the relevancy signals from Google that it would take into account if you haven’t geotargeted the domain. So let’s say he hosts his website in India because it’s convenient, that’s fine. But he wants to target users in the US. So he picks the domain, sets it to the US.
The theory is, that should override any other signals that Google has for geotargeting or relevancy for that domain versus a region of the world. The other thing that, in terms of why he’s getting that kind of traffic. I haven’t checked the website, but it couldn’t be content related things, for instance? If he uses languages on there, or phrases on there that are more relevant to an Indian audience than an American audience that will have an impact on where the content ranks in the world. So Google don’t look at the language specifications in Meta tags, they determine the content, the language that the page, the language of the content.
I’m looking at it at the moment, and it looks like it’s in English.
Rob Wagner: If you look at the pricing, it’s not in Dollars. If you’re targeting the US you gotta have it in Dollars. That’s another signal. I don’t think this website’s actually designed to rank in the US. From my perspective, it would definitely not, it’s not even close.
Alistair Lattimore: It doesn’t look like it, No
Rob Wagner: It’s not close, it is in English, but there’s some lack of focus here on what exactly they’re trying to accomplish with it. And I think if you’re focusing on trying to attract people in the United States that are Indian, or want to go back to India for a vacation, that’s one thing. But you would wanna put that in dollars, and I would also assume that you would wanna make it more of a US-visiting-India-type-thing. Sorry I didn’t mean to interrupt.
Alistair Lattimore: No, No you’re right. The other thing, I don’t know if the site is old or new, but you might find that the link profile for that website happens to be accruing a lot links from Indian websites. Which might suggest to Google where that domain is relevant in the world.
I’m just having a quick look inside Open Site Explorer, and the majority of the links are coming out of .com. interestingly, a lot of the domains that are in Open Site Explorer look like directory crap. Which are probably hosted in the US as well. So it’s interesting that they’ve got lots of low quality links coming from sites that probably, are US hosted. And it’s not helping. That being said, they’re also useless websites that I would want to remove the links from as well.
Rob Wagner: They want to target Canada as well. Question is, how to get much traffic from US and Canada.
Alistair Lattimore: One thing that he might do is, I could think of two things actually, one would be, he could duplicate his site, or his content I should say, into a root folder called /US, /CA. Duplicate the content, make sure each of the prices for all of those sections of the site are in the right currency. So he’s using US dollars in the US section, Canadian Dollars, or whatever Canada uses for their currency in the Canadian section of the site.
Rob Wagner: Make it available on a drop-down, US and Canada.
Alistair Lattimore: Absolutely, but the default currency. He should implement rel= alternate hreflang= tags to indicate to Google that this content is for US, this content is for Canada, as well.
He should definitely use local phone numbers, looking at the site at the moment, I could be wrong, but the bright yellow line towards the top of the site says call us on 91 90 90 55 12 12 –
Rob Wagner: It’s not US
Alistair Lattimore: So phone numbers, addresses, currencies, all of those kinds of things go into relevancy signals for Google about where in the world is this content relevant for. At the moment, he’s kind of screaming India, when he really needs to be making it very clear to Google that this section of my site is for the US, this section of my site is for Canada. And I would to that by putting in India-CulturalTours.com/US/Contenttree, India-CulturalTours.com/CA/Contenttree, and then do the things I’ve just suggested as step one.
Jim Munro: Exactly, I mean it wouldn’t be, that site is just totally Indian and unless he rebuilds from the ground up as a US focussed site, he’s got no hope has he? OK, so I think we’ve got to the last question. I think.
Digital Rain Makers asked ‘I have a site that I’m working on for a client that is basically a merging of two of his existing sites, domain A and domain B, into one single site. When the site goes live it will be going live on Domain B, the problem is that he doesn’t want to redirect Domain A pages to Domain B until he sees that the new site is working from both an SEO and marketing standpoint. Domain B will eventually contain a lot of the same content as Domain A. I’ve tried to explain to him about the duplicate content issue, but he doesn’t get it. What to do?’
Ok well my personal opinion is that it’s not as serious as he might think. But I’ll listen to what you guys have to say.
Alistair Lattimore: Well I think he’s in a difficult position because his boss wants him to show that everything works without redirecting the other domain. But unfortunately for him if Domain B is new, or the Domain A, his original site is particularly strong, and Domain B is particularly weak, he’s not going to see that everything is going to work perfectly as expected until he redirects and merges the two domains, and they get one domain that’s got the equivalent strength of both domains.
This is kind of one of those scenarios where his boss or client is going to need to heed his advice and trust that Digital Rain Makers will implement the 301 redirects cleanly across the entire site. That they’re going to do page level redirects, for instance, and not all pages on Domain A to the homepage of Domain B. That would be a catastrophe. And that they actually merge and migrate the two sites the right way, as described by Google in their help documents about moving a site.
If they do that, I’m confident that they’ll run into no problems as part of the migration process itself. Across the last five years, I can’t count the number of times I’ve moved domains for various reasons, and I haven’t yet come into a problem. That said, I’ve been vigilant about the migration process each time and each time I’ve come out the other side squeaky clean. So far, fingers crossed, knock wood, all of those things. So I think if he does it right, he needs to trust that Digital Rain Makers will do it right. And his client is just going to have to rely on their search knowledge and wisdom and that they’re going to do it right.
Jim Munro: Yep, somehow I can’t imagine Alistair ever doing anything wrong. What about you, Rob?
Rob Wagner: I don’t think so, I agree with him on everything he said. I would probably do some research and find some videos that Matt Coutts is talking about and show Digital Rain Maker’s clients the videos and give a packet that you can send, this article and that article and so on and so forth, to to client. And I think that’s where the problem lies; Digital Rain Maker knows that really what needs to be done is to move it over. And I won’t go into the details Alistair did a good job. That’s what I would do, I would try to focus on gathering information from Webmaster Central and sending it to the client, that’s what I would do.
Jim Munro: Cool, Ok well here we are. I have no more questions left. Rob, what exciting things have been happening in the US this week?
Rob Wagner: Political exciting things?
Jim Munro: No, in your business world?
Rob Wagner: I wouldn’t say a lot of exciting things, but I’m finding more and more people that are coming to me with issues with, they’re having difficulty trying to recover from penguin. And I have, believe it or not, a lot of people this week that are not getting their websites index and it’s all because they’re not handling the robots.txt file properly.
It’s very simple basic things and it seems like I get from one end to the other, I get the simple things like no index, and it’s like ‘Why is my website not being indexed?’, and I get the complete opposite of websites that have been around for fifteen years and have been hit by Penguin and they’re really struggling to deal with that issue.
Jim Munro: Yep.
Rob Wagner: How about you guys down under?
Jim Munro: Actually I’m not sure of when I last did some work. These hangouts, and then the next day after the hangout I have to do typing and stuff. I really haven’t been doing much work at all.
Tim Capper: No time for work now, hey? The UK for me, I don’t know if there is a correlation between the two, but there’s been a lot of media about large companies etc., etc., really battling on the high street and moving large percentages of their business only. Now this might correlate with the amount of inquiries I’ve had in the last two weeks. But I’ve never been potentially busier. So, yeah, all good in the UK.
Jim Munro: I jumped in when Rob said Australia, Alistair, but I should have deferred to you.
Tim Capper: You guys are nowhere near the fires? That’s in the media.
Alistair Lattimore: No, thank god. They’re in New South Wales at the moment, I’m on the Gold Coast, so on the border basically between, Jim and I basically live on the border between Queensland and NSW, that neck of the woods.
But the fires are further south of our location in NSW, so that’s good. But the weather has been scorching hot. NSW has registered some of the hottest temperatures ever. Forty-five degree temperatures. It’s been unbelievable. And at the moment we’ve got our summer of tennis is running here in Australia with the lead up into the Australia Open. So their being played in Sydney and Melbourne so the temperatures obviously are off the charts.
Yesterday or the day before it was like fifty-five degrees on court.
Tim Capper: Jeez
Alistair Lattimore: It’s insane
Tim Capper: Yeah, yeah.
Alistair Lattimore: As for work-related stuff, sorry real briefly, we’re organising new website designs for our brand websites at the moment. Which are going to address a lot of usability issues
Tim Capper: That’s going to be a big job, you’ve got hundreds
Alistair Lattimore: Well these are for our main brand websites.
Tim Capper: Oh, right, right
Alistair Lattimore: This is for the main brand websites for two hotel chains. But they’re big sites; they’ve got sort of five hundred and seven-hundred-and-fifty pages each of hotel information. So they’re quite big, so it will be a pretty large job to migrate, or I shouldn’t say migrate, but to move our site into this new design.
We’ve got some subtle changes happening to our booking engine at the same time. And then a huge amount of back-end infrastructure work is taking place to take us to our next iteration of our websites, which is completely different.
We’re doing away with the booking engine that we’ve got today and really changing things up. I’m kind of excited, but it won’t be for six or twelve months before that will come to fruition.
Jim Munro: How’s things in Doncaster near Sheffield, Andy?
Andy Wigglesworth: Yeah, they could be better. I don’t think the good business has reached up north compared to Tim, but we’re getting there.
Tim: No no, it’s coming your way mate. It’s coming your way.
Andy Wigglesworth: It needs to. I don’t know, but it’s alright. I can’t complain, we’re alright.
Jim Munro: Either way, thanks very much for joining into that clip last night that we recorded on ‘businesses on G+’. I’ve asked Mr Petrovic to send us to bed; I can’t stop you blokes talking.
Dan Petrovic joins the Hangout
Jim Munro: What are you doing up at this hour, Dan?
Dan Petrovic: Has it been three hours now?
Jim Munro: I think it must be closer to four.
Alistair Lattimore: Maybe three-and-a-half
Dan Petrovic: I think this is definitely a marathon session. You should rename it.
Jim Munro: Yeah, actually I think we’ve had three so far that have actually hit the Google limit. It goes to four hours and about forty seconds and just chops you off.
Dan Petrovic: Oh, I didn’t know that. Were you the first man on earth to test that?
Jim Munro: I think so.
Dan Petrovic: Well done, Jim, historical record.
Rob Wagner: Well the funny thing is, it turns you back on after five hours. If you stay on for over five hours it turns you back on.
Jim Munro: Does it really?
Rob Wagner: I don’t know, I’m just –
Tim Capper: Jim was up for that one; he was like ‘Let’s go’
Rob Wagner: Sorry, couldn’t resist.
Dan Petrovic: Actually if I go to the live stream I’ll be able to see how long this has been going for. I’ll just have to mute it because I’ll be able to double hear everything.
It says three hours ago, so it has to be more than that now. Yeah. Interestingly, before it was showing me time and now it doesn’t, that’s weird. It’s got a bit of a delay as well. A few seconds.
Have you guys noticed the real time comments on the YouTube as you run the hangout?
Jim Munro: No, are there any there?
Dan Petrovic: No, I added a few as a test and I deleted them. But it’s placed beside the video and you can enter things in real-time so that’s one spot that I never check. If there’s audience on YouTube itself, I usually embed it on a page so people watch it on the page, but if somebody’s on YouTube watching live, they can ask questions and interact. But that’s not connecting really to this hangout here.
Jim Munro: Yep, I was thinking earlier on tonight how good it would be if the chat on the right hand side had two facets. A public and a private. You do need the private, but it would be so good for inside the hangout panel to have a chat and maybe display it publicly on the YouTube panel, but even better in Google+
Dan Petrovic: Sounds like a good plugin to create for hangouts, something that overlays on top of, on the side of the screen as the video gets recorded. That would be really handy. So I’ve tuned out the last part, have you actually churned through all of your questions, I think we were at the second last.
Dan Petrovic: No
Jim Munro: No
Alistair Lattimore: You should, their webmaster tools is pretty cool.
Dan Petrovic: Oh, alright. I’m going to do it now.
Alistair Lattimore: Yeah it’s really quite good; I’ve just created an account which verified my site.
Dan Petrovic: I don’t understand any of this.
Andy Wigglesworth: Where are we verifying it sorry? Which site?
Alistair Lattimore: Yandex, the Russian search engine. So y-a-n-d-e-x.com
Dan Petrovic: So there’s a webmaster version in English right?
Alistair Lattimore: Yep
Dan Petrovic: Cool, how is it different, what are the highlights?
Alistair Lattimore: Well they’ve got suite structure stuff. You can change the casing of the URLS. So let’s say you wanted to have dejanseo, and have the D and the D, or the D, S, E and O in capitals in the search results, you can do that. Do you know what I mean? You can choose how you want your URL to be formatted, it’s not always lowercase.
Dan Petrovic: I’m actually creating an account as we speak. As you’re saying, I’m trying to work out: where do I specify the upper case?
Alistair Lattimore: It’s under appearance in search results.
Dan Petrovic: So that’s once you create an account?
Alistair Lattimore: Yep, I verified my email address. So I created an account which produced me a Yandex email, because they’ve got Yandex mail, then I added my Gmail, and verified that. I also added my phone number, my mobile and they sent me an SMS, I verified that with a PIN and what not. So that’s kind of cool, it all just works.
They’ve got history for your site, like how Yandex sees your site. Like indexing history. It will show you, for instance, the number of robot requests per day, week, whatever with sliding scales.
DNS errors, connection errors, same sort of problems – debugging information – that Google displays. Status code checks, robots analysis, sitemap files, popular queries, history. You can associate your site to different regions in the world. Statistics for searches and settings, geography related stuff.
Dan Petrovic: So tell me one thing, one day you just thought, ‘I’m going to sign up to Yandex webmaster tools just out of curiosity’.
Alistair Lattimore: Yep, in fact it happened right then. Ten minutes ago we were discussing link graphs and where to get data from right?
Tim Capper: And you thought I’m going to go to Russia.
Alistair Lattimore: Well, we thought Bing provides competitor link data, but it’s not just for your own site. And I’ve never verified my site in Yandex, but I know that recently I read that Yandex were about to start moving into other territories in the world, not just Russia. For instance, Yandex is now yandex.com, it used to be yandex.ru, I think.
The webmaster tools aren’t just in Russian, they’re in English. My blog, my tiny little blog that I run in Australia for my kids, is indexed. And it tells me how many pages they’ve got indexed, how many pages are not included because they’re robotted out. They give me a site hierarchy for how many pages by year, month, day, category, tag. Those kinds of things, so you can see how your site is structured within Yandex.
Tim Capper: So if you create one account, and then you can add, obviously, different URLS to that, different sites to it, yeah?
Alistair Lattimore: Yeah.
Dan Petrovic: Cool, got my confirmation code, entered it in, and now I’m a verified Russian webmaster now.
I have an appropriate surname
Alistair Lattimore: Yes you do, you’d be right at home. For some reason I was just assuming, I didn’t have a lot of expectations about what this might be like. It’s not Google, it’s not Bing. They’re the biggest in the world, you don’t expect what would otherwise be a small business by comparison to have quite a comprehensive webmaster’s product, but they do.
Dan Petrovic: is there a search thing as Baidu? A webmaster tools?
Alistair Lattimore: Baidu is China right?
Dan Petrovic: Yep, what’s the Korean search engine?
Alistair Lattimore: Naver?
Dan Petrovic: Naver, yep that’s the one.
Jim Munro: Tell me something Alistair; is there anything you don’t know?
Alistair Lattimore: There’s heaps of stuff. I’ve got no knowledge at all about wines.
Jim Munro: I can help you there
Dan Petrovic: Did you want to teach us a few things; I also don’t know anything about wines.
Jim Munro: Well look I don’t know a lot about –
Tim Capper: Jim can teach you how to drink it –
Jim Munro: I don’t know much about it at all really.
Alistair Lattimore: All this time I thought you’ve been drinking coke out of your tumbler, it turns out that it’s not coke, its red wine.
Jim Munro: We’ll look, tonight it was and you caught me, but usually it’s coffee. I usually have a plunger of coffee beside me and I drink it all night. But tonight Angie put a bottle of red beside me and I managed to consume a glass it wasn’t bad. I actually, –
Tim Capper: A glass?
Jim Munro: The bottles still half full, there’s only five in a glass, sorry only five in a bottle. I confess there was one hangout where I did get a smack and that was the third or the fourth episode where, see I wasn’t ready because it was the first time we went on for four hours anyway, I wasn’t ready.
Dan Petrovic: Is that the one where you said ’Dan, say something I don’t know what to say.’
Jim Munro: No, I think I’ve always said that. You’ve been bailing me out since we started.
Alistair Lattimore: Here’s something that’s unique about the Yandex one, Dan that you might like. This is kind of up your Alley. You know when you go onto Google Scholar, at the top of a profile for a particular person; it’ll show you the statistics about how many citations and references that that person has had for their various articles or research papers around the world. So it turns out that Yandex produces a similar measure of quality for your site. And they’ve got two of them. One’s a citation index, and the other one is a semantic citation index, and they give you a breakdown of what those are.
Also, when that page loads, if you look in the left hand nav it’ll say how it’s calculated. But it actually gives you some practical information about how relevant, or how strong I suppose, your website might be to the topic that you write about.
Dan Petrovic: That’s really interesting, you could use that.
Alistair Lattimore: Yeah, absolutely. If you’ve got a niche site, about anything I guess, it doesn’t really matter. But you actually had a topic that you were writing about, that’s a really practical way to measure the importance of your site by quality and similarity against other places.
Dan Petrovic: Where is the actual, is there an example of a page?
Alistair Lattimore: of what?
Dan Petrovic: Like an author page for Yandex. Did you say there was actually an equivalent?
Alistair Lattimore: An equivalent what?
Dan Petrovic: Equivalent page on Yandex to the one on Google Scholar.
Alistair Lattimore: No I was giving an example of the fact that Google’s –
Dan Petrovic: Oh, right, right. Yep, and are you saying that that information is actually showing in the Yandex Webmaster Tools?
Alistair Lattimore: Yeah
Dan Petrovic: OK, I’m verifying my domain now, so I’ll go and snoop around and see where it is.
Alistair Lattimore: So as an example, the thematic index, for my blog, my personal blog is ten, right? I’m writing about my kids and not much else these days. But for instance, dejanSEO could be fifty because your site’s completely themed around SEO.
Dan Petrovic: Oh, I was just kicked out.
Rob Wagner: I got kicked out, did you get kicked out?
Dan Petrovic: Yeah, I got kicked out.
Rob Wagner: Yeah, me too.
Dan Petrovic: I suppose they’re figuring it out we’re from Australia, and where are you from Rob?
Rob Wagner: I’m from the US
Dan Petrovic: Yep, they don’t want us there.
Rob Wagner: Did you have an ‘Unfortunately it looks like your requests sent from your IP address are automated?’ Is that what you got? I got that.
Dan Petrovic: I’ll actually verify, what happened is, I uploaded the HTML file into the www folder and I was hitting the verify button and it was just going for a little bit too long and it just kicked me out. I’m back in, I’ve logged in and it’s there. Pages searched by Robot, pages available on search, so I guess that’s showing a little bit about the index. Wow this is fun, thanks for Alistair. Completely lost that off my radar, except it keeps logging me out, I’m logged out again. I don’t know why it does that.
Rob Wagner: I don’t know something’s funny about that. I did one search on their search engine and it came up that I guess I’m a spammer.
Tim Capper: I think I was watching a hangout Jim, because my verification image was ‘sex’
Not that we were discussing sex, but I’m just saying it had the pole dancing and Bangkok escorts, etc. etc.
Lyndon Na: Some of the captures you get are fantastic, one of the (distortion) and it’s like I can’t type that in I’m too busy laughing. So we’ve covered Yandex, what about Blekko, has anyone used it since the pay wall?
Alistair Lattimore: No, but it had some beautiful data in it before they put that up.
Dan Petrovic: I lost interest in it.
Lyndon Na: It was nice and easy to assimilate.
Jim Munro: What made you lose interest in it, Dan?
Dan Petrovic: Just realised this is an alternative way to get links. Sorry?
Jim Munro: What made you lose interest in Blekko?
Dan Petrovic: Too many things, too many things. That’s why I’m not using Ahrefs; I pretty much stick to Google Webmaster Tools, occasionally Open Site Explorer for slicing and dicing the anchor text. Majestic mainly through API and for the rest I just build my own stuff that really does what I want. Because most of these other tools ever did anything exciting. But I think something as solid as a search engine, like Yandex, that I’m just looking at my links now, and it’s very exciting looking at these links. Because it’s showing my something that I think is pretty authoritative at the top. So you know how Google Webmaster Tools just spits out a random bunch of links, this is actually giving it to me in a certain order that I can go ‘Yeah I can see why they’ve put that at the top, that makes sense’. Not all of them, there’s some rubbish in there. But yeah, really, really interesting. It’s kind of like an alternative search of getting link data.
Jim Munro: Your fresh link finder is coming on. I see you have, Carroll has his own language.
Dan Petrovic: Carroll doesn’t have his own language, he uses Polish
Jim Munro: What I’m saying is that, you’ve actually adapted it so that it’s got another language.
Dan Petrovic: Oh yeah, he’s going to test it out on a smaller market: Poland. Before we start going worldwide, so it’s going be like a little beta test as far as markets go. I have to say I use the tool on a daily basis and it’s pretty exciting. It’s going towards white-hat SEO, and I know how everyone’s, well not everyone, but most people – serious players in the industry – they all go grey. They all go grey at some point.
So 2013 is the year of me building a lot tools around Google’s own data. You’ve seen what happened to Raven, you’ve seen what’s happening to all these software pieces that are scraping Google. The message is ‘Stop bloody scraping Google’ There’s no way around it, just build intelligence tools around Google’s own data and you’ll be safe forever.
I know perhaps Lyndon’s going to jump in and say ‘Oh, man’ but we have no choice. What I’ve decided to do is, build intelligence tools, that process data that Google makes available to us, plus whatever we can safely collect. And fresh link finder collects your own log files, builds a database of links and alerts you when there’s a new link for the first time.
You can contact the webmaster, get them to update the text, give them more material, change the link anchor text and build the relationship further, it’s a goldmine. Your own links identified, so we’ll be putting in Google alerts in there as a source of links. We’ll be putting in Google Analytics and a variety of other data sources. So we’re using Majestic’s API to use their flow metrics to come up with some sort of sorting criteria so you can determine what’s worth chasing and what’s not.
And then, I guess later this year I’ll build, I think I’m calling it Google webmaster dashboard. Basically a tool that sucks in all the data that Google will ever give you by API and then get some data by – you may remember how they built that python script that allows you to rip data out of Google Webmaster Tools without an API?
Rob Wagner: Yeah, Mhm.
Dan Petrovic: Yep so something like that, that basically authenticates and goes into your account. I guess it technically is scraping, but you’re not scraping results, you’re just scraping the data, you’re like downloading the data out of your own Webmaster Tools.
Alistair Lattimore: I think at some point where Google will provide more of that data through the G Data API in due course. They have been increasing that over the years. And I think this year we will probably see a few more bits and pieces come in through that like link data or queries to your website. I think 2013 is going to see enormous pressure on Google around not providing keywords. Because they’ve got the data, they’re just choosing not to give it to advertisers. And their issue is that they don’t want – they’re saying it’s for privacy reasons – fair enough.
They’ve got a way, for instance, they’ve recently announced the data component in Analytics, for them to take the data out of search and anonymise it to a certain degree, and then for you to collect analytics and webmasters and then suck the query data in from search, but large scale, not just the dribble of crap that you get now. But large scale that you would get in analytics, back into analytics, but remove the ability for you to actually isolate an individual user through cookies. But while preserving the ability for you to be able to say ‘User that came in on these keywords or from this area of the world or wherever else have got these performance metrics or goal conversion metrics or whatever inside analytics.
This year I think they have to do that because, by the end of this year, I’m thinking most websites around the world will be seeing fifty or more percent of their data gone through ‘not provided’. And that’s a killer for a normal business because: content development, it’s gone. Being able to find out where the holes are in your content to genuinely build better results for your customers, it’s gone. You can’t find out anything, it’s like they arrived to my website from Google, they landed on page x, ok, then what? No that’s it.
You don’t know if it’s a brand modifier, you don’t know if it’s a product thing. You don’t know if they’re coming in looking for detailed information about a particular component or facet of your business. You’ve got nothing
It’s bad enough for us as a hotel chain. Imagine if you’re a large ecommerce retailer where you’ve got two thousand products. You’ve got nothing. And saying ‘Oh well, Gee, you’ve still got twenty five percent of your data’, I just don’t accept that. That’s just not good enough. because for all of the keywords that have got low volume, you end up effectively losing all of that data because collectively they get lumped into not provided because there’s not enough of them to give you keyword coverage for people that aren’t logged in.
Dan Petrovic: Yeah, we need actionable data to be able to make decisions to do stuff and we need it regularly. One thing that bothers me specifically about the whole ‘Google providing minimal data’ is the expiry of Google Webmasters Tools data, particularly search queries, and it really annoys me. So what I’ve got, and that’s going to be part of this dashboard, is a little script that logs in as you and then once a month downloads everything. Your links, latest links, all links, downloads search queries, warning notes, messages, crawl errors. Basically everything that it can get access to, it downloads it. And I can do anything with it.
But I know that I’ve got like six months of that data now and other people don’t. So I can for whatever reason, come back to it and ‘Oh, I wish I had that data’ and I’m doing one more thing, I’m starting to download the Dejan queries, the links on a daily basis.
So I’m going to figure out exactly what the frequency of Google’s updates of the links are in Google Webmaster Tools. By the looks of it it’s once a month or twice a month it’s updated. But nobody’s actually done a proper study to see how frequently it goes in. Or if it’s related to the frequency, or the size of the website or if it’s just a manual page rank push that goes in waves for all webmasters.
So I’ve got a dashboard here, I’ll share my screen and hopefully it doesn’t chuck me out like it does always. This is what I’ve done. I don’t know if you can see it or if Jim needs to zoom in on the screen or whatever needs to happen.
Jim Munro: How about that, is that working?
Dan Petrovic: I think whatever you click on, is what we will see.
Jim Munro: I’ve clicked on your page but I see your profile photo, not the desktop
Oh, so you’re not seeing the desktop.
Rob Wagner: I can see it.
Jim Munro: Oh you’re seeing it
Alistair Lattimore: Yeah it’s not very clear, can you zoom in?
Dan Petrovic: I can try.
Rob Wagner: Is this the desktop program?
Dan Petrovic: No it’s my online application. We have a few test users already. They’re having it for free and finding all the bugs and stuff. So there’s a graph of three of my sites. New links yesterday, total .gov links, total .edu links. Sorry the formatting is a little bit funny when you zoom out like that. So I pick a site and I click on how many, so sixty five new links were identified today. The zooming works a little bit better on this level.
OK, so here I can see all the links generated, all the new links popped in for the first time today. I can see image or redirect flags and I can sort by follow. So on this website I’ve got a new link from this guy and some other websites, these are the follow and the rest are the nofollow. I can see Alexa going through backlinks for the page. And citation flows, ac rank, and I can see what target page they’re linking to.
So if I check this website here, I can go and have a look, great, so this guy, website PageRank four, looks like a legitimate blog about science, I’m pretty happy with that. Links to what page – links to this page here. So that was detected today among a bunch of other links. I’m looking at these, they’re not very exciting, there’s Bing, Incredibuy, AVG, Yahoo, Yandex, whatever. And every now and then you’ll find something you can work with. You can flag an edu link perhaps and it shows a little green mark in there. And if it’s a nofollow, you can go to them and perhaps they didn’t have to have a reason to put a nofollow, it just is. So you can go ‘Hey, can you fix that up?’ or go, ‘Why nofollow?’ and they go ‘I don’t know.’
I’ve had those cases happen before
Alistair Lattimore: What’s the target column?
Dan Petrovic: Target, that’s supposed to link you to the exact page.
Alistair Lattimore: The page they’re linking to?
Dan Petrovic: Yeah, the page that this website is linking to.
Alistair Lattimore: Something that you could do that could really push this up another notch as well for the future. You should contact Eppie Vojt, do you know his detective product?
Dan Petrovic: And has it got an API?
Alistair Lattimore: If he doesn’t, I’m sure he will.
Dan Petrovic: Yeah, definitely, definitely, I’ll add that to my-
Alistair Lattimore: You know that’s a – If he does have an API that you can hook into, being able to parse those links, those pages, back to link detective to have him extract out whether the comment or the link is in the sidebar or the footer, headers, that might be another way –
Dan Petrovic: I have tools that do that, I have tools that determine the spamminess of the link. I have tools – I have lots of things. We keep things fairly simple because we found that people can’t even use it at this level. So I think we might even create a basic, intermediate and pro level, and give people more functionality. If they’re on a basic level, we’re not going to give floor metrics; it’s just going to be stripped out. Particularly because it’s very costly to run that. So here we’ve got a few additional things.
You can search through your links, well basically what this does; this actually builds a link database for you. It’ll collect all your links ever generated for you, and it generates that through raw log files. It parses your log files. In addition to that it can import Google Webmaster tools links and in addition to that it can import data from Majestic and Open Site Explorer. Basically whatever feed of data that you give it, it’s going to store all these links for you in a little treasure chest.
So there’s the import function, GWT majestic and it even has a little rank tracker feature, but I don’t think that that’s – oh I actually have set it up here. So basically, what it does with the rank tracker, it parses search queries and it figures out, using the CD variable, it figures out what position the term was and it basically tells you the position. I have to be honest I haven’t played with this part too much. I mainly use it just for links, so you can filter the links. You can search for a specific anchor text. You can look for a keyword inside the URL.
You can say ‘Show me all the .govs, show me the edu stuff, show me nofollow, only text links, only images, show me redirects. And you can limit it by date ranges, so you can do that. You can also exclude domains because each new link you get from Twitter, that’s not very exciting because they happen all the time. So I just go, exclude a few of those domains.
So that’s the basic overview, but what I’m mostly excited about is the ability to show you totals of your links. You click on it and it tells you all the links ever generated and you can sort them by qualitative parameters. You can click on ‘how many edu links did this site get?’. That’s not bad. But academia.edu that’s not that exciting, but this looks pretty cool, I didn’t even know about that.
I’m pretty happy about this. So yeah, what I’m saying I guess, it that building your tools and relying on Google’s own data. That’s the way to go, rather than doing things outside the guidelines because eventually, sooner or later, you’re going to be stopped in your tracks. Does anyone know what’s happening with Raven at the moment? Are they out of business?
Alistair Lattimore: Why would they be out of business?
Dan Petrovic: Tracking, server tracking.
Tim Capper: They’ve stopped doing it ‘cause they’ve said it’s against the Terms and Conditions for Google.
Rob Wagner: What are we talking about, Raven?
Dan Petrovic: What do they do? What is the value of Raven now?
Rob Wagner: The value of Raven would be to – not much. They’re pulling in some – I’m sorry, but I don’t use raven tools but they pull in data from Analytics, and they have the keyword research tool that you have in Adwords. Basically, they’re just pulling in some data from those two parts, I don’t know if they actually do anything with Webmaster Tools. I don’t think they do. You can order content from their tool, so if you find a keyword you want, you can order content through a text broker. And I think you can keep track of your backlinks, you might be able to upload your backlinks as well.
Dan Petrovic: Yeah we have separate from this – this tool is generated for people who are not link building, people who are writing content, working on their sites, and they just want to keep track of their links, whether for quality purposes or maybe adjust a few here and there. But we do have a fairly elaborate tool designed for link building things.
Rob Wagner: So do I
Dan Petrovic: I have a fairly large link building thing; there are thirty people in it. We have had issues of people double contacting people, asking the same question, embarrassing situations. Perhaps there’s a cranky blogger, you should never contact that guy because ‘Ahah, you’re a link builder I know what you’re up to!’ Yeah, we’ve had that. Not just once.
So what we have, we have a little toolbar and once you’re on a page it says there’s interaction on this page, you can click on it and see the notes and all sorts of stuff. So that’s where we keep – What is this site? Is it a blog? Is it a commercial site, is it a social profile or whatever it is, so it categorises, it does the search and all that sort of stuff and I think a fair few companies have built their own systems, perhaps because they didn’t want to rely on third parties.
Rob Wagner: Basically what my application does is, well part of it does that, it kinda keeps track of exactly what you’re talking about, where you know what the other person is doing, so if you have thirty – forty link builders on your team, that becomes very, very complicated and if you don’t have a tool to keep track of that, it’s going to cause you problems. That’s absolutely true, and I added a project management system, so my actual tool is more geared to project management. But it’s not launched yet.
This is the end of the Hangout as it appears on YouTube.