This hangout features discussion about recovering from Panda, Webmaster Tools data, and creative link building
This is part 2 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)
- Should I have two sites with similar content for my business?
- Why is my Webmaster Tools data not up to date?
- Why is my website not recovering from the Panda update? (Case Study)
- What are some creative ways to build links for my business?
Jim Munro: Let’s look at this one from Gregor, if somebody could help me with the polish, it’s w d o w i k. Wedowiak? Something like that. He says ‘I have a question’. This is the one that relates to web hosts using a CNAME to supply a domain.
He says: ‘I have one question, I’ve read some basic books and articles about SEO, I’m far from being an expert. I have a website currently about two years old working under a purchased custom domain. The thing is my hosting company provides me also with a default domain. Not very attractive, at least for a human, but it’s still something. So basically I have a site under mydomainname.com and I can also access and use something like a subdomain, relatedkeyword-hostingprovidername.com. Would it be useful for SEO purposes to build something there and link back to my basic domain? Or will Google see it as almost the same site and it’s not worth bothering? Does it make any sense to invest time in the hosting domain, develop it somehow and point it to my site?
Well I’m sorry Gregor, but we’re pretty busy, no. Next one is –
Rob Wagner: That’s good, Jim, good.
Tim Capper: You should join the Google Webmaster Forum.
Jim Munro: Seriously, we better answer the man’s question, if you wouldn’t mind.
Rob Wagner: I would think you’d wanna put all your effort into your domain name, your brand name, and write great content for your main site and not worry about some throwaway site that you don’t even own. From my understanding it would be that they’re giving that to you for free, so you can’t even transfer that second name over anywhere. I wouldn’t recommend it at all. My two cents.
Lyndon Na: I pretty much concur; quite often those domains actually point to the same hosting account, and are actually a source of canonical issues and duplication more often than not. Rob’s also right on the fact of, as you don’t own that domain; you can’t do much with it. You could build a fantastic complementary site, and have tools on that, and then when you leave that host, you can’t redirect it, which means that whatever value there is gone.
Rob Wagner: Gone.
Lyndon Na: So if you’re going to build an additional site, if you’re going to have something separate: One, you gotta make sure there’s a good reason to have it. Two, you gotta make sure it actually does its job, it’s not just for SEO, it’s got to suit users, it’s got to have value. Three, put it on its own domain, don’t use third party domains because the chance of loss is just too high. There’s nothing worse than building something great and then losing it with no recourse. It will make you cry, and it will upset your users as well.
Jim Munro: OK. Can we move on with the next?
Lyndon Na: No
Jim Munro: Ok, well look, Chris Cloutier asks, ‘Hi Everyone, I have enjoyed seeing the questions and answers provided here. I have two sites; one of them has a catchy domain and the other ranks very well but gets very little traffic. My question is would it be a bad idea to link from the catchy domain, using it as a blog page in the menu? That way the blog tab just goes to the other domain that is ranked.
I’ll start off with Rob because you’ve put an answer on this one.
Rob Wagner: I would build one website. Once again, why split your efforts into two. You can argue which way you want to go there. Should you go for something like the catchy domain, or not? It’s entirely – you could argue either way on that. But you shouldn’t split your efforts into two, and you’re gonna distract yourself, and I would not recommend doing that, especially in this environment. Concentrate on one website and make that a great website.
Lyndon Na: I’d agree, this is great it’s almost like telepathy, but politer.
Alistair Lattimore: I don’t see why he would have two sites, just in general. If he’s got great content on one and great content on another, and they both cover the same topic and he’s got a way to actually merge the sites together, I would merge them. It makes no sense to me to keep them separate. Particularly going forward because all he’s really doing is splitting links between them.
Rob Wagner: Yep.
Alistair Lattimore: I would merge them together, 301 redirect one domain to the equivalent pages on the other domain and get busy making one great site, instead of worrying about having two crap sites. I shouldn’t say crap, two lesser sites; I’d have one better site.
Lyndon Na: It depends, if you’ve got separate markets, separate audiences, then have separate sites. If all you’ve got is content for one market, one audience across two domains – Merge them. Not only are you being inefficient, you’re being inefficient.
It’s not a good user experience, switching domains. They don’t want to, it’s slower. It’s more costly, more often than not. You might as well just run with one site, if that’s the case. The alternative is, if you do have other domains and you do have different audiences, then do it but make sure your content is different. Different markets does not mean use the same content.
I see this a lot with things like ecommerce: ‘Oh I’ve got an audience in one part of the country and an audience in the other’, Oh, I’ve got male and female customers, I’ll make a site in pink and a site in blue’. They aren’t different. Those are minor tweaks. The description should differ because the sales points for each customer base should be different.
If you look at cars, you go buy a car. You talk the salesman, you’re a young single male, they’ll sell it to you based on: speed, sexiness. Ego-stroke you. You go with your wife and kids and they’ll tell you how safe the car is, its track record for accidents is fantastic, brilliant brakes, it’s got TV in the back for the kids.
The sales pitch changes because the interest points change. That’s different content. If you’re not doing that, then don’t have different sites, have one. Technically you can repurpose content on the same site. Some of the most influential sites I can think of divide their audience-base straight away from the homepage and channel you off into different directions. They target education, professional and home users. That’s the alternative, and that’s all on one site so you don’t have to worry about link value and depreciation between domains and what-not.
So more often than not, a single site is the better route. But don’t try SEO gimmicks, it’s not worth it.
Jim Munro: Ok, no problem, we should watch what we’re doing with our – I’ve been having a little bit of conversation with our – the people that watch us on YouTube and some of them – one guy said to me that he favourited us so that he could use us to put him to sleep on nights. So I suggest to him that he downloaded the mp3 so he could play it under his pillow while he was asleep. I think what happens with our YouTube viewers is that they come on for a while, we see the number up there and they fall asleep and their computer idles out and they drop off, you see. I don’t think it’s lack of interest, I think it’s just sleep.
Lyndon Na: So tempted to shout, ‘wake up’
Jim Munro: I just wanted to add in something clever that Pelagic said on the Dumb SEO Questions community in answering this question. She said ‘Hi Chris, I might look at how you can improve the click-through-rate of the site that’s ranking very well’
Which I thought was pretty smart.
Lyndon Na: It depends what the site is ranking for. It may rank very well because it’s low volume low interest terms with bugger-all competition. You may never improve the click-through-rate because there may only be twenty people per month searching. It does vary, but it is a very valid point.
You need to double-check where you stand for which site you use. Is the domain name brandable? Which one gets the most traffic? Which one converts better? Which one has the better backlink profile? You have to weigh them all up before you make a decision on which one to use. You can’t just go ‘Oh, I’ll use this site, I prefer this domain name’
Because you may actually be using the weaker site, transferring the stronger one, which means you get depreciation. Not the most effective route.
Jim Munro: Fair enough, OK, we ready to go onto the next one?
Rob Wagner: Sure
Jim Munro: OK, that would be, Scott Harris asks – Scott Harris? Wow. ‘Tried a short experiment – ‘He doesn’t ask anything at all, he’s telling us. ‘Tried a short experiment on Webmaster Tools, pulled 100 pages from a well-trafficked site. I kept them off for forty-eight hours and put them back on. Two days after the pull, the number of indexed pages, as reported in my account, started to drop. Five days after the pull, Webmaster Tools first announced some of these pages were returning 404’s. We’re now at eight days after the pull, six days after the pages were put back’, and oh god, I just pulled the expand button, it goes on forever, ‘And Webmaster Tools is still adding to the list of 404s. One report tells me the number of indexed pages is still dropping although I put all one hundred pages back in and submitted a new sitemap six days ago accounting for everything in the site as it is today. At this point the number of indexed pages on that one report is down almost six hundred. “Fetch as Googlebot” has worked like a charm, reporting “success” every time I check a URL listed in the report as “missing.”
And he goes on, and I won’t try and read it, for another long paragraph, but I think this is just, and I do apologise, Scott. If we had a video phone you could see that I’m on my knees, but he goes on to talk about issues. And I think it’s just the representative sampling in Webmaster Tools. And the lag in the supply of data, but maybe I’m missing something. Go ahead.
Lyndon Na: No that’s pretty much the topic for that conversation. A lot of people are under the assumption that Webmaster Tools is almost, if not actually, live. And it’s not.
It can be weeks behind. It’s a lot faster than it used to be. They’ve made massive improvements to the tool over the past year as well, but it’s not immediate. You don’t remove a page and Google spot it straight away. It’s a reporting tool, Google may see it, Google may process it, but Google Webmaster Tools may not show it for days if not more than a week.
If you want immediate, up-to-date monitoring of your site –
– Hangout cuts out for over a minute
Rob Wagner: – the very next day, they’re calling and saying, why isn’t this reporting in webmaster tools? So you have to take into consideration the speed, and there’s no need to get upset and do some crazy, I mean it’s not crazy but, to do that experiment and track, that’s admirable but, what’s the endgame there? What’s the purpose of tracking that? Is it to prove or show that it’s not current?
Lyndon Na: I think he was seeing just how far behind some of it was. So that he knows when clients come to him, he can turn and say ‘It’s OK, that’s already been dealt with.
Rob Wagner: That’s fair, that’s fair.
Lyndon Na: Because I’ve had it in the past, I’ve had to go off and investigate something to only find out it was an intermittent problem resolved the week before, and I’ve just wasted twenty-five minutes researching something I’ve dealt with. Can be very frustrating. But it’s just, people don’t realise that. It’s the same as the data isn’t one hundred percent proof. Some of it is sampled.
So you can’t take all the tools at face value. One of the recent changes they made was when you go through to the keywords and you’re ranking position and click-through-rate. They used to show you the amalgamated – across all of the Google Search, which would include the web search, image search and what not. Like ‘Yay, I’m on position four!’ and you do the searches and you don’t show up at all. But you don’t realise it’s actually image search that you’re ranking higher on. Web search you’re in position forty. And it’s like mass confusion, so now I believe they’ve set it, when you go to that tool, it shows you the web search results automatically; you then have to change the filter to see the other stuff, which is fantastic. Why they didn’t do it in the first place, I haven’t got a clue. Why they didn’t do it years ago when we pointed it out, I haven’t got a clue. But they’ve done it now. And it’s made the experience better.
So it’s a good tool, it really is, but learn to use it. Learn to understand what it’s showing you and what it isn’t and how far behind it is. And you’ll save yourself a lot of aggravation.
Jim Munro: Did you notice who’s joined us?
Lyndon Na: Oh, it’s Sandra.
Jim Munro: Sandra has a website in the UK, online-caraudio.co.uk yes?
Sandra: Sorry Jim, Hi, everybody!
Alistair Lattimore: Welcome.
Sandra: Hi can you hear me OK?
Jim Munro: Clear as a bell.
Sandra: How are you, Jim? I haven’t spoken to you for ages.
Jim Munro: You’ve been lucky, Sandra, other people have been a lot less fortunate.
Sandra: I don’t believe that for a second, how are you, are you OK?
Jim Munro: Yeah, yeah we’re good.
Sandra: No, I wasn’t joining you for that, I was just flicking about before I go to get Abby from college, and I thought I’d see what was going on. No, it hasn’t recovered at all, Jim, to be honest. What I will do later on is I’m going to send some screenshots of my Webmaster Tools. It is absolutely bombed, there is no recovery whatsoever. I’ve done everything that I can. I’ve done reconsideration requests. I’ve emailed Jonathan Simon, I’ve done everything. And to no avail whatsoever
What can I say, I’m stuck, there’s more I can do. The last thing I did the other day was – do you remember some of the pages that John said were really weak? The pioneer interfaces and stuff? I wiped the whole lot out; I cleared out about two-hundred-and-fifty pages. That really is it, there’s nothing else I can do.
Alistair Lattimore: What’s your website, Sandra?
Sandra: Oh, OK, Andy’s just put it in there.
Tim Capper: Was this an unnatural link warning?
Sandra: No this was –
Tim Capper: It just disappeared?
Sandra: No, what happened was it disappeared at the end of April. And traffic was down and listings were disappearing, so I spoke to Lyndon and he said, Ok, we’ll do hangouts with Jonathan Simon. And we did that. Jonathan himself was really stumped. He said ‘It’s a really good website’, he said ‘In fact, I would buy something from it; I can’t understand why it’s not performing’.
So this went backwards and forwards for a few weeks, and then finally Jonathan came back and he said ‘Look, I’ve found out what’s happened. You’ve been hit by Panda by mistake. What I’m going to do, I’m going to speak to the engineers, I’m going to get this fixed because you shouldn’t have been hit. This went backwards and forwards -’
Jim Munro: Actually I was there, I’m not sure if he was quite as specific as that, but you were there too Auto? (Lyndon)
Sandra: Oh where’s he gone?
Jim Munro: One thing we have to be careful of, Sandra, and we’re all here and we’ll do what we can to help. We have to be cognizant of the fact that people are working for other companies, and we’ve got to be very accurate about what we say. And I do remember that conversation, I don’t think he was specific as that.
Sandra: He emailed me afterwards and just said that he was going to re-ping and pile on some escalations. I know that he was really, really good, and I’m not trying to drop him in it.
Jim Munro: Oh no, he was really good there’s no doubt about that.
Sandra: He was fantastic, he’s a lovely person. All I’m saying is nothing has happened. The traffic is still where it was, there is no recovery whatsoever.
Lyndon Na: It has been an ongoing battle, and the crying shame is that everyone that’s looked. And we’ve had people like Bill Slawski have a look. A whole bunch of SEO’s and TC’s, nobody has found anything specifically wrong with the site. When you compare it to some of the competitors that were ranking above and below, her site is clean. She’s never really optimised; she’s never built back-links. You look at some of the competitors and they’ve got a thousand backlinks from five different article directories, all with the same link text. None of them got hit.
So not only is it injury, but the salt is being rubbed in as well. John Mueller also had a look at the site, bless him, and he turned around and said ‘You have been hit by Panda’. But nobody has been able to point out which parts of the site.
So Sandra’s gone through, she’s made improvements, she’s made enhancements, she’s adjusted content. She’s spent hours doing DMCA’s because not only did certain competitors steal her content, we even had some large companies like a rather large national car chain in the UK, stole a radio description.
Sandra: And an online DVD company perhaps.
Lyndon Na: Yep, and a very large, and I do mean huge, company that does e-sales online, for various things in America and the UK and what-not, also had some of her descriptions. So you fire off a bunch of DMCAs for product text and they all come back ‘Yes, we’ve approved. That is your content’ you send off the next couple for the same product and they come back and say ‘Not approved, you stole their content.’
Dude, how can you say that they stole my content, and then I’ve stolen it off that company over there? It’s the other way.
Sandra: But we did get them approved in the end didn’t we, and we actually got a large company, an email from their legal department.
Lyndon Na: Actually, I’m going to mention Halfords, because they were fantastic. I never got told how the content appeared on their site, because almost all of their stuff is original or manufacturer. But I rang them, they had a look, they put me through to someone, he dealt with it then and there.
The very next day the content had gone, instant. Within 48 hours we could see the changes. I’ve got the emails, I can’t remember the chap’s name, but he was an absolute saint, he didn’t even question it. He just said, ‘I’ll go look, yep, Ok I’ll deal with that now’ and done.
So it is worth contacting some people, not all of them scrape intentionally, sometimes it may be an employee. I think there was mention of a trainee. So it’s been horrendous for her, the amount of time and effort invested is stupendous. And all to no avail.
Sandra: But I think the point we’re making here is that some people have said that my content is weak. And our argument is that it can’t be because Google wouldn’t be choosing to rank these larger companies for it, so there was clearly nothing wrong with my content. They just didn’t want to rank me for it, they would rather rank Halfords. Which obviously does smart a bit because I’ve sat there, I’ve taken the time to write my own descriptions.
Jim Munro: To be fair though, can I say, and I said all of these things during a conversation with Pelagic one night and she sent me back and email with a whole list of searches. On some searches, you were host domain crowding the searches, you had about fifteen entries.
Lyndon Na: That’s actually an interesting point. Sandra seemed to be primarily hit on .co.uk searches. When we did product searches in Google.com, she out-performed almost everybody.
It was a really weird thing because I hadn’t seen it with anybody else on Panda. Panda seemed to be a global effect. For Sandra it was a localised effect, geo-specific. You do a search for product text on Google.com, she showed up third. Do the same search on Google.co.uk, you had to go down to page five or beyond to see her. And sometimes it would list the category page, not the product.
It was really perverse, because it didn’t fit the pattern. We didn’t think it was Panda to begin with, it just didn’t fit.
So it was one of the indicators I got that Panda was multi-tiered. It’s not a straightforward algorithm.
Alistair Lattimore: I know you said John or someone confirmed, or suggested that you were hit by Panda. Does the date in your analytics actually align with that?
Alistair Lattimore: Because it’s not a round-about, it actually hits a Panda roll out?
Sandra: Yes, I think it’s about April the twenty-seventh it hit, and then traffic drops and then it never ever recovers.
Alistair Lattimore: April, so a good twelve months.
Rob Wagner: Panda was, I think the twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth and then they rolled out, Penguin was the twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth right? And Panda was right after that.
Lyndon Na: There were three things, they released Panda, they released Penguin and then they made a whole bunch of threshold changes as well. Which a lot of the SEO community missed. But we actually had it confirmed by a Googler. And it’s like ‘Jeez, no wonder some people are getting confused by the signals.’
Rob Wagner: Yeah, it’s all within a very short period of time. So a lot of people were not following.
Lyndon Na: Within a week.
Rob Wagner: Yeah, within a week.
Lyndon Na: You had a major update – (Audio Distortion) – Plus two algorithms. For further background, Sandra also was hit by the Mayday update years ago and struggled for ages. And again it became apparent that really she shouldn’t have been hit that hard.
So twice now hers has been hit, twice now we’ve been told ‘We can’t see why, really.’ There is something against the domain, is the only conclusion some people could draw. We’ve had to resort to basically annexing chunks of the site now. Content that is manufacturer-based, even though there’s at least fifty other sites out there with exactly the same content ranking perfectly fine. Sandra’s now pushed to the point where she’s got to chop it. It’s now triage.
Tim Capper: I know what you mean; some of it doesn’t make sense. I’ve just been looking at iPod adapters. The only iPod adapters which are the actual product are either position 3, position 4. For some reason, and we’re not blaming Italy here, but it hates – none of the other iPod adapters are ranking. Yeah there’s
Sandra: You can’t make sense of it, there’s no pattern to it at all. Some products are page one, some are in position one, some of them are nowhere to be seen whatsoever. We just can’t understand it.
Tim Capper: Yeah, I’m looking at the BMW iPod interface. You’ve actually got two listings position two and three. But for some reason the Alfa Romeo, which you would think there’s probably not that many of, I just can’t seem to find it, it’s bizarre.
Sandra: We’ve been battling with this since April, haven’t we?
Lyndon Na: We did spot one potential pattern. Yeah it wasn’t one hundred percent consistent but the main pages that got hit, were the high traffic, high conversion ones. The ones that made the money.
Rob Wagner: The commercial keywords.
Lyndon Na: All the low end, no real interest, no real earn. So well this is it, we’ve done the link check. She hasn’t actually got that many links, most of them, she’s got links – an actual supplier, a manufacturer links to her. She is the only front panel supplier?
Sandra: For JVC, we do all of their spares for the entire country. So we’ve got a link from the JVC website so that people can contact us for spares and front panels and stuff. And this was pointed out to Google that we must be a trustworthy site. That’s a good strong link. There’s other things I did on the site. I’ve put on there that we’ve got a shop; I’ve put some fitting advice. I’ve put some custom installations, just to get some extra stuff on there.
They’re just extra things that my competitors don’t have. I’ve downloaded some PDFs for instruction manuals to help people. It just seems that the more I do, that I get nowhere.
Tim Capper: Yeah
Sandra: You’re shaking your head as well. We’ve been doing it for months.
Tim Capper: Totally off-topic, I think online-caraudio.co.uk could definitely do with a Google+ page.
Sandra: It has one.
Tim Capper: I can’t find the button on your site
Sandra: No, we did do one, didn’t we Lyndon, ages ago?
Tim Capper: Oh Lyndon, obviously in your footer, where it says online-caraudio.co.uk I think that’s perfect there for your relative-publisher tag, Lyndon?
Alistair Lattimore: You’re going to get smacked in a second.
Tim Capper: No, but I’m sorry, I don’t know.
Sandra: If I just show you this page, for instance, which I thought was, hold on, where have you gone? Let me get that back again. This page which was something that we just kind of added, just as something a bit different which nobody else has got. It’s kind of inviting customers and engaging customers to send their stuff in, it’s actually quite popular.
Rob Wagner: I saw that. Actually I was just going to mention that somebody took a photo of that. That’s an image that’s original, and you can tell that. And that’s a popular page, is it ranking for any of the target keywords or no?
Sandra: To be honest I don’t know, let me – Yeah it is actually because I can tell that on Analytics, sometimes people put ‘installation in campervan’ or ‘installation in VW’, and it does show up. When we emailed people, we said to people we don’t want professional shots, if you’ve got a camera phone or an iPhone that’s fine. It’s for a bit of fun for people to send it in and say that’s their car, I can do that too. If we started doing fancy ones, it doesn’t have quite the same feel to it does it?
Rob Wagner: I agree.
Alistair Lattimore: Just the fact that you really need to look at those photos against the product pages that their associated to. The product offering that you have got. You’ve got a photo there of – the top photo. Pioneer AVH 8400 BT Multimedia Head unit, that photo really needs to be on the product page for that head unit. You don’t want to tuck it away in this page as an example. You really want that to be in the head unit page because this the perfect way for you to show your customers when they land on the Pioneer page, this is what the head unit will look like in my car
Sandra: the reason we didn’t do that, and the reason I put it on this page is because the AVH 8400 BT is actually discontinued now, that was last year’s model. The reason I’ve put it on this page is that this will still remain even though the AVH 8400BT is removed from the site which it will be now any day. So that was my reasoning for that.
Alistair Lattimore: But you’re going to continue to get photos like that for current stock you do sell. In those scenarios where they are current, I would definitely recommend that you put those photos –
Sandra: Yep I can do that, it would take me two ticks, that’s not a problem; it’s a really good suggestion. I can do that.
Alistair Lattimore: The other thing that’s interesting about the Panda, and we don’t know what the implications of this are yet, but your product pages use tabbed navigation
Sandra: That’s quite a new thing that was only done a while ago, prior to that it wasn’t tabbed. And what I’ve done is the default tab is always the unique content that I wrote, because I thought that should be the most important tab.
Alistair Lattimore: Yeah, you may not have seen this or not, but in a hangout not so long ago we discussed tabbed interfaces with John Mueller
Sandra: Yeah, I did see it because Pelagic actually emailed it to me
Alistair Lattimore: So Dan Petrovic has run a test with this and there’s no outcome that we can see from it yet. But nonetheless John has said that in essence, content sitting behind the other tabs might not be indexed against this page, or it could be devalued in some way. We don’t know what they’re doing, but he definitely said that tabbed interfaces like you’re using there could be detrimental to the rankings of the page.
Sandra: I’ll put it back, it doesn’t matter. It would be a bit of work to do it. I can change it back, I’ll try anything.
Alistair Lattimore: You obviously were penalised before you implemented this right?
Sandra: Yes, very much so.
Alistair Lattimore: In that regard, this is not the reason for you being penalised. But let’s just say that all of the other changes you’ve made over the last five months or six months, or however long, have been inching you closer and closer to recovery, and you don’t know it yet. This for instance could be something that could set you back.
Alistair Lattimore: Because hypothetically and again we don’t know to what degree Google are doing this, but let’s just say the content behind tabs two-three, two through five are in some way devalued or not indexed as all. As a result of that you’ve only got two or three sentences of content on a product page that’s indexed by Google. You’ve got a photo; you’ve got your product name. You’ve got a few icons to tell you that it’s got USB connection and front panels, but it’s not content necessarily.
And then you’ve got your unique description, and it’s amazing that you’ve been able to do that for that many products, but it’s only a couple of sentences. If you imagine for a moment that the other tabs that you’ve got don’t exist. Worst case scenario. That’s a thin content page.
If you look at it like that, and take it worst case scenario, what John Mueller has said that they’re devalued or not indexed, who knows? But worst case scenario they look at that and go ‘We know you’re using a tabbed interface, the only content that a user can see by default is the first tab, we’re simply not going to index the content on the tabs two through x.
If you take that as the harshest way, then what you’re left with could be a thin content page.
Sandra: For every page.
Alistair Lattimore: Yep and this is the exact thing that Panda is going to crawl all over and smash into the ground every single time.
Alistair Lattimore: So as an example, another thing that I would look to do is I would try and pull more of your content up. I know that that’s seemingly very simple. But if you look at the product layout page of your page compared to other e-commerce pages that have similar products to this. Layout of your image versus your product panel with your ‘Add to Basket’ and your price, particularly your price panel, it’s quite small.
Sandra: It’s quite what sorry?
Alistair Lattimore: Quite small. I had to actually go looking to find out that the Head Unit that I’m looking at, at the moment is worth seventy pounds.
Alistair Lattimore: Yes
Sandra: Oh, Ok.
Alistair Lattimore: And then what I would consider doing would be emailing customers asking them for reviews of the head units that they’ve bought. Or the amplifiers that they’ve bought.
You want to be driving fresh content into your site from your customers that separates your otherwise unique content from your competitors. So your competitors are going to have the same technical specs because it comes from the manufacturer. It could even be in the same format that you use, i.e. grouped the same way, ie. Three different groups of ten points as an example. It could be literally bang on identical. So you definitely want to be pursuing your customers for reviews. I’d consider looking at a way to change your layout maybe to bring your icons that you’ve got underneath the primary product photo?
To bring the product further up.
Sandra: Yep, again I don’t think that would be difficult to do. That’s fine.
Alistair Lattimore: Again this is not necessarily something that’s going to affect Panda. Panda is looking for thin, duplicate content or not enough content. And doing those things is not necessarily going to fix that but making the payment panel bigger or clearer, that could lift your conversion rate by ten percent as an example. So whatever traffic you’re getting today after you’ve been penalised, you just get ten percent more awesome.
Sandra: Sounds good to me, I could go with that.
Tim Capper: Talking about the reviews. I read somewhere that a reviewed product increases conversion by up to twenty-eight percent.
Alistair Lattimore: It’s very high.
Sandra: The trouble is getting people to review them. The problem is people love to moan don’t they? But they’re not so quick to give you anything – I think it’s a British thing – But they’re not so quick to give you anything positive are they? I mean I’ve sent out loads of emails to people, they don’t respond.
Tim Capper: Just to get a quick idea, they obviously buy online?
Tim Capper: And they get their product, so could you automate a follow-up email after they’ve received it and just with a link in the page saying ‘We would really appreciate a review for your product’ and then of course it would be click here. The click here would take them to the actual product review page.
Sandra: Yeah that’s what I’ve been doing, and I’ve had a few, and sometimes actually some people have emailed me, not from the reviews that I’ve sent, but they’ve emailed me to say that ‘I’ve had this unit, it sounds fantastic’. So I’m not sure they meant it to be a review, but for me that is a review, So I would put it on there anyway. I mean it’s difficult.
Tim Capper: I saw a great one, it was from – who did I get my bloody (?) from? I think it was DFS in September. About a week after it had been delivered they sent me an email asking for a review. And it was quite nice, logo’d up. For every review that you complete, they donated a pound to Help for Heroes. And it was quite big and bold and you almost felt compelled ‘Oh, great if I spend five minutes doing this review, Help for Heroes gets a pound.’
You know, it’s a thought, it’s a thought.
Sandra: For 2008, that entire year, every time we sold something, we used to make a donation to the NSPCC. And I think in that year, I think we gave them, I think it was about five thousand pounds or something. But obviously that was 2008 before things, went not so good now are they? So I’m not sure we’d ever be really able to do that again, but I think people did like that and sometimes people would say, ‘Oh, this product, you were given two quid, could you charge my card another couple of pounds because I want to donate more to the NSPCC’ and that was really nice.
Tim Capper: How about, because on your product reviews, how about installing a star system? So for example, you send out the email to them. It can either take them straight to the thing and you just give them a star system, great, or maybe three tick boxes.
Of course you can also use schema mark-up on your stars for your reviews as such. So if there was a way where they could actually, in the email just select ‘Great Service Arrived on Time’ pick three things where they can just click, click, click and then they just send. And it kind of sends the review back to you so they’re not actually writing anything, they’re just tick, tick, tick and then they resend the email back to you. Does that make sense?
Sandra: Yep that absolutely does make sense.
Tim Capper: That could be a way of getting reviews. Tick, tick, tick. Without having them physically having to think ‘Oh god I have to spend five minutes writing something.
Sandra: Right, yeah, anyway I have to go pick my daughter up from College. Thank you all so much for your time and I’m sorry I’ve taken over your hangout Jim.
Jim Munro: No, you’re more than welcome Sandra, more than welcome. And look, maybe we should adopt you.
Sandra: I’m open to that, that’s absolutely fine, I don’t mind being adopted.
Jim Munro: I’m sure Alistair would like to adopt you.
Sandra: What I would like to do, if I may, is I’d like to send over my screenshots of Webmaster tools to anybody who would be willing to have a look at them, just to see if this would give anybody any clue. They’re both so, so different. And I just think if you had a look at that, then you might be able to see if there was anything that smacked you in the face, if you see what I mean.
Jim Munro: Well, you could send us your webmaster tools password and your ATM PIN number.
Sandra: Could I do that, would you really? You’re such a love, Jim
Sandra: Or I could just send you my screenshots of Webmaster Tools couldn’t I? Would that be OK?
Jim Munro: Yep, sure.
Sandra: What is the best way to do it so everybody sees it? Because I don’t want to make it public on G+
Jim Munro: Send it to me and I’ll send it to the guys
Sandra: What I’ll do Jim, I’ll email it to you as an attachment and then if you could just send it on. I’ll speak to you soon. Thank you for your help, Bye.
Tim Capper: That makes a nice change, a female voice.
Jim Munro: Look Sandra’s lovely and this has been going on now for 18 months and look the only reason I’ve jumped in there was because Jonathan was genuinely concerned about Sandra, but I think care needs to be taken not to make Jonathan responsible for Sandra’s issue. That was the only reason I jumped in and sounded critical. But yeah, look I think yeah, let’s adopt Sandra.
My plan I put in the comments in the chat, does anyone have any comments on the plan that I offered?
Rob Wagner: I really wanna see how much traffic she’s actually lost and how dramatic it really is. And what she’s actually getting right now, before I want to make a decision. This is a really good site and yeah it has some flaws, it’s a little bit light on content, you could address some of the things to make it a little bit better, however just where does she stand right now? And before we recommend doing what you were talking about, I would like to see that before I make final determination on that. Because it could be just commercially intent keywords that she’s losing traffic on and that might be an option.
Jim Munro: Fair enough.
Alistair Lattimore: Another thing that I think, and I don’t know if she can do this or not, with an e-commerce platform, but I’d want to be putting her products into Google Shopping. And you know how you see the page shopping results in the side bar of Google, that include a little screenshot image of the product that you’re buying and prices and things like that.
I want to be all over that if I was her as well. I assume there’s UK shopping comparison sites. I assume, there is in Australia
Tim Capper: Yeah, there are.
Alistair Lattimore: If there are, if she’s not already she should make sure she’s got her products inside those as well. There are a couple in Australia here and I use them all the time. They’re so good. I know Google might hate them but they’re just the best thing ever. Because you can go and find – they go and crawl through, or people submit their products to them. Hundreds of e-commerce sites, and I can go and find the cheapest product x in two minutes, from websites that I’ve never even heard of. That are all domestic retailers. It’s fantastic. They could really drive her a lot of traffic while she’s being affected by Panda. A couple of those sorts of things could really help with her traffic.
Tim Capper: And Google Shopping, submitting to that is relatively easy. You’ve just got to create a product sheet. Yeah, Yeah. But you need to manage that because I know I remember seeing a – well Google does send you warnings on product feeds that you haven’t updated, and they do warn you. So you do need to keep on top of it, but she sounds extremely capable.
Rob Wagner: Just read the guidelines. I think they will actually delete the feed if you don’t update it after a period of time. You just have to keep an eye on it; it’s really not that difficult.
Alistair Lattimore: One think of is that she’s obviously not going to be submitting this manually, it’s going to be coming out of an ecommerce platform. It should be constantly up to date. She can submit the feed to Google every hour, if she wanted to, or every six hours. Whatever she thinks is reasonable for her site, to make sure that it’s always up to date. Shouldn’t be a problem
Jim Munro: OK, alright we have a question – well actually I’m not sure if we should cover this question. It’s regarding the keyword Bangkok escorts, I’m not sure if you blokes can handle this.
Andy Wigglesworth: We’ve had pole dancing so why not
Tim Capper: OK, well I’m going to search for, what Bangkok escort am I looking for?
Jim Munro: Ok well I’ll read the question. Sean Clarke has asked. ‘OK well this may just be a dumb question but here goes. Recently my traffic has gone from three hundred visits in a day to sixty and I cannot think of how to get it back up. How do I keep my site interesting to Google if a: my content never changes and there is no new content I can add, b: my site is not something that people want to link to. c: there are more and more competitors in my industry. There is a limit to what written content I can put online about my product and it’s the same for almost every product I have. The only difference being the name of the product.
To use social, I need create a secondary identity because I don’t want everyone in my social life to know I’m involved in the industry, the adult industry, which means constantly logging in and out of multiple accounts. Add to the problem d: the fact that I have to do this for multiple websites in this industry, but don’t want potential customers to know that all the sites are run by the same company.
Which means I can’t use the same Facebook profile, for example, to promote the sites. I have to use one Facebook account for each site. Same goes for twitter G+ etc., etc.
And in case it matters I’m talking about the escort agency websites based in Bangkok. I’m really struggling to find ways to get well ranked. When the only term anyone really uses to search is Bangkok Escorts and every one of my competitors is of course optimising like me for that keyword.’
I have to confess in the name of research, I did look at his site and it had words and phrases on there that I have no idea what they mean. Anyway, I’ll leave it up to one of you guys to answer.
Alistair Lattimore: Well I gave him a long answer in the community. First and foremost the issue that he’s got where he’s saying I’ve got to change accounts and I don’t want people to know that I’m personally involved in that industry’. Or he’s got multiple websites and multiple Facebook profiles etc. I’ve no sympathy for that; boo hoo, that’s part of business, next.
His employer or he personally chooses to have several websites, several Facebook profiles, several everything and not merge them into one higher quality product. And that could be for very good reasons. I don’t care why, but they’re choosing to do that. That choice has an outcome or a repercussion of more work. So suck it up and get on with it.
As for all of the other points, he needs to, let’s say, b: he says ‘my site’s not something that people want to link to’.
Well there’s two points about that, I said even adult industries can build links, they just need to be creative. His business, if they’re a good reputable business, an escort business is not illegal, it’s not like he’s selling drugs. I don’t know if it’s illegal in Bangkok, I assume it’s not because there’s a lot of them. Assuming that it’s legal, than if he’s a reputable business, then getting reasonable quality links shouldn’t be so hard. He just needs to think laterally about ‘Why would someone want to link to his website. For instance, he could use link bait tactics and try and get his websites into the news in some way.
Hypothetically, he might only take two or three or five links from various news sites in that area of the world to really influence the rankings of his site over his competitors. Or there could be industry websites for instance that he’s not part of. Or there could be local government bodies like chambers of commerce. I know that might seem like a really strange thing for him to be part of.
Or what about things to do with work conditions? If work conditions for the escort industry is something that is highly contested, for instance, in that part of the world, and his business goes above and beyond to make sure the working conditions for his escorts are really great and as good as he can reasonably expect them to be, well above his competitors, there has to be ways for him to turn that into a link opportunity.
But the point I’m trying to make is that every business can build links, it’s just some businesses are harder than others, and some businesses need to think more creatively than others about how to go about building links. The low hanging fruit that might work for a local plumber isn’t going to work for him. So that’s the first thing.
The other one that I thought was probably worth covering he says that d: there’s a limit to the amount of content that I can put online about my product. Now, I assume he’s talking about the escorts themselves. That’s his product essentially.
Tim Capper: There’s quite a lot of product. There’s a lot you can put on, I’m looking at one site which does product information about ‘Lee, age, height, weight, stats, skin tone, services’. There is, you can do a lot of product information.
Alistair Lattimore: Yeah, I thought that was product too. I don’t think that it’s reasonable for him to say ‘Oh there’s not much I can put online’ because I think that there’s a lot of information that he could put online. But then there will be stuff that he can put online that maybe his competitors aren’t doing. Again, think creatively. Here’s an idea, something simple: It’s conceivable that maybe the people viewing his site might be into erotica, like stories, related stuff, as opposed to be the pure product themselves. He might be able to come up and go and hire someone to produce really awesome erotic stories for his customers and then weave his escorts into those stories somehow to tie them together or something like that. There’s lots of facets to the adult industry. I’m sure just like there is to every other industry.
I think he just needs to think creatively. At least he’s not selling bricks or ball bearings. If he thinks that the adult industries hard, at least he’s got engaging pictures. You go and take photos of fifty different types of ball bearings that range from six different types of steel from one millimetre to seven millimetres and they all look silver and shiny but the density of the steel is different. Well, there’s a challenge. At least he’s got good looking beautiful women as a product right.
Tim Capper: His product pages need some images obviously, description, customer reviews,
Alistair Lattimore: Reviews see that’s awesome
Tim Capper: Reviews, a five minute YouTube interview with the product in question. That can all be linked to a main YouTube Channel. Pinterest, there’s plenty of pin boards out there. Even on Google+. There’s quite a lot of girls pictures sites.
Jim Munro: Not that I’ve seen any Tim, but perhaps you can enlighten us
Tim Capper: Well there’s one site, see now I’m giving him free followers here. There’s one site which I do follow, just for obviously
Jim Munro: Research?
Tim Capper: Just for research, let me get the URL here, the G+ URL. It’s nice they don’t update too often, and every now and again during the day I might get a nice picture just to cheer me on. There’s plenty of places out there that they can add their stuff.
Alistair Lattimore: What about something a bit different? What if he could find a boutique fashion-related product in Thailand? Let’s say there’s someone that makes beautiful handmade lingerie out of who knows what. He could offer the manufacturer, somehow to do some sort of collaboration where he’s got his escorts wearing their lingerie as the example, as a way to produce amazing content. That amazing content could spread, could be posted on their site and they could get links to because it’s his models. The escorts are the models. Those photos could end up on places like Pinterest or Google+ being shared. He could produce galleries of photos to do with that piece of lingerie.
Here’s a practical example, there’s a bikini manufacturer in Byron Bay here in Australia called Wicked Weasel. And they run competitions for their members, or their clients, to send photos of them in their bikinis, right? The net result of that is that they end up with galleries on galleries on galleries of everyday girls and women around the world, wearing their bikinis. And they get submitted into a bikini competition and every three months or six months or something they draw a price.
They could apply the same kind of logic where with the Lingerie designer; they could be producing a gallery of fifteen or twenty photos with one model wearing a particular piece of lingerie.
If you go into –
Tim Capper: I’m looking for the Micro Mini; I didn’t even know these things existed.
Jim Munro: You don’t have to look far Tim.
Alistair Lattimore: You’re living in the wrong part of the world my friend.
Tim Capper: See when I was, the thing is, when I lived in South Africa, I was on the beach but I never saw s*** like this.
Rob Wagner: Wrong beach.
Tim Capper: Yeah, see we were a bit backwards. Bloody hell, are those things legal?
Alistair Lattimore: So the link I’ve just posted is an example where this person, Alana, she’s wearing a particular swimsuit from this business and she’s taken six or eight photos of herself somewhere in the world wearing their bikinis.
Jim Munro: Almost wearing their bikinis
Alistair Lattimore: Sorry?
Jim Munro: Well you’re saying she’s wearing the bikini, I’m saying she’s almost wearing their bikinis.
Tim Capper: I think I might just have to post a compliment.
Tim Capper: It’s asking me for a compliment; it’s asking me for a review.
Rob Wagner: And that’s exactly what they should do on that site. Engagement more on the site, on the site that we’re actually talking about, not the bikini site.
Alistair Lattimore: In any case, my point being, there’s lots of different ways for us to think about their product. Looking to use something to do with fashion because presumably this person’s escorts are beautiful women. What do beautiful women do or like? Beautiful women look amazing in lingerie and that will appeal to this audience for this clientele. Beautiful women will look amazing in beautiful makeup, which makes his models or escorts look more amazing. There’s lots of different ways for him to think about his product that’s not strictly: It’s the escort business and that’s what it is. He needs to think laterally about it.
Tim Capper: Also this bikini one that you’ve mentioned, I can see that they’ve got wallpapers. Brilliant linking opportunity. Calendars, there’s some fantastic ideas and opportunities for them to get their product out there.
Alistair Lattimore: and you can see for instance, for this particular business, the bikini business, they don’t have a lot of content in the traditional sense, because they’re selling something that’s visual. It’s not like they can write five hundred words of copy for a bikini, they can’t.
Rob Wagner: No, but your visitors can interact with that.
Alistair Lattimore: That’s right, but they have to attack the problem from a different direction because their product, their problem isn’t about being able to write five hundred words of copy. Their product is about selling beautiful bikinis. Or if it was handbags and you were Prada or Gucci, they should be image heavy because you are appealing to somebody’s personal likes or desires for purchasing.
You need to be appealing to that psychological component of what makes someone by a Google product that could be expensive. How do you convince someone to buy a five thousand dollar handbag? Or whatever those amazing top-line brands of handbag might be worth. You need to sell it, and I think in this example, this is a perfect example of someone that doesn’t have an opportunity to use a lot of word content. And they’re supplementing that through lots of different techniques and I think that they’re doing a really clever job of it.
Jim Munro: Yeah, well you’ve certainly given us some links tonight Alistair.
Rob Wagner: He’s done his research
Jim Munro: He’s certainly done his research
Rob Wagner: Good job, very thorough.
Alistair Lattimore: So the rest of this hangout is going to be completely useless is that what I’m hearing.
Jim Munro: Ok, so we’ve covered this one. Sean Clarke I hope your listening but yeah have we covered it or not.
Alistair Lattimore: Yep
Tim Capper: Yep
This is the end part two of the Google Hangout on the 10/01/13