Category Archives: Search Engine Optimisation

Major Google Ranking Drops for Ripoff Reports

Search Engine Result Page

Ripoff Reports has been experiencing a major rank drop in Google since November 2018.

Ripoff is a complaint website where anyone over the age of 14 can write a negative report about a person, business or website anonymously.

This allows for genuine consumer complaints and business defamation by competitors.

The site does not guarantee that all reports are accurate and truthful. Some people claim that they accept complaints without verification or proof.

Ripoff has a ‘no removal’ policy.

They don’t remove a negative report, even when it was posted by mistake. A counter complaint, rebuttal or sending a message to the company won’t help. The author of the complaint can’t remove it either.

They, however, accept payment ranging from $5,000 to $100,000 for investigation of complaints and reports, and to remove negative statements from reports. The process is called VIP arbitration.

Ripoff was founded in 1998 and has been known for its good SEO. It always obtains a good position in the Search Engine Result Page (SERP).

Unfortunately, once a person complains about your company on Ripoff, it appears at the top ten search results on Google for the brand.

This has become a huge pain for most businesses. Many have lost millions of potential deals as a result.

The site has been known to not adhere to court removal orders, or search engines removing its URL from the SERP.

It simply creates another URL with the same content months later, and the content will reappear on Google or Bing.

Since November 2018, however, Ripoff and some other complaint sites like Pissed Consumer, Consumer Affairs and Complaints Board have lost their visibility on Google.

Organic searches for company names do not show a Ripoff report at the top ten results.

Pierre Zarokian, who first discovered the Google ranking drop, says it might be caused by an algorithm update.

He called it the ORM update because he was searching for keywords related to Online Reputation Management when he noticed that Ripoff was no longer ranking among the top ten in Google.

He investigated by trying out several keywords and checking out other complaint sites. He went on social media to research the ranking drop. He asked his colleagues and they confirmed it.

He suggested that the ‘SERP punishment’ might be because Ripoff does n’t honor court-ordered removals.

Google hardly targets websites individually or remove them from its SERP anymore.

It tweaks its algorithms to disfavor certain actions. This reduces the rankings of the sites.

It seems Google has received a lot of reports about these complaint sites and is targeting them.

Nevertheless, Ripoff has been known to bounce back on its feet.

It has seen similar ranking drops and came back to the top of the SERPs weeks later.

If this is truly an algo update, will the complaint site bounce back this time around? Or will several businesses and people be happy that their Ripoff review will no longer be number 3 when their name is Googled?

Study Shows Web Security Directly Affects SEO

Search Engine Optimisation

Most internet users rely on Google search to provide them with the results they need; which is why over 93% of internet users conduct their searches on Google. In return, they trust that Google will not only provide the results they need for their queries, but that they would be satisfactory. This means web owners have to focus on creating quality content, optimise their site’s responsiveness to all device types including mobile; generally all the things we have come to understand as basic SEO best practices.

However, most people haven’t really considered site security as one of the factors that affect search engine optimisation. It is clear why web security can directly affect SEO since Google’s main goal is providing users with access to quality content in a safe environment. Studies have shown that web security is no longer an indirect factor that affects SEO (since say a hacked site can’t easily be accessed by Googlebot), but a necessity.

A Godaddy report shows that 73.9% of all web hackings are done for SEO proposes; which means the hackers go as far as adding links to sites or an entire webpage whose content might cause your site to get blacklisted. What is more, some of them even show a different website to Googlebot, which leads to a significant decline in your search ranking.

Once this occurs, the effects are crippling so that the only available option is to be proactive and monitor your website’s security. See the exercise as one of the critical SEO efforts for your site. While protecting yourself, also protect the interest of your visitors. If they find that their devices are often infested with viruses after visiting your site, they won’t come back.

The same applies to your use of WordPress plugins. Ensure you conduct a thorough check on every plugin and script you intend using on your site. Run background checks on the companies you buy from through Google and find if the plugins are frequently hacked. It is common to find businesses who purchase plugins from their authors, then add hidden links in them which will serve their own purposes against the interest of the new owner.

In most cases, finding out that a site has been compromised is impossible for most owners. Some of them rely on Google’s ban notification to know if their security has been breached. Such practice is not recommended. Not only does it show you are not proactive, but only a few hacked sites get banned. In fact, study shows that only 10% of compromised sites get banned and consequently notified. The rest will have to figure this out themselves and put appropriate measures in place.

However, what cannot be overlooked is the significant negative impact security breaches have on your site. Most web owners would rather redesign their sites and rework their content than pay attention to the security needs of their site. Today, web security has come to be a crucial SEO necessity which has to be incorporated in your website for optimal performance.

4 Ways of Optimising Websites for Multiple Keywords

search engine optimization

Ranking high on search engine listings is the sole aim of most search engine optimisation companies today and how to effectively optimised keywords relevant to their websites is a question often asked. How exactly does a website get optimised? Context is more important than keywords in today’s search engine optimisation, because you can adequately evaluate the success of a websites ranking based on the particular phrases and terms a user searches that is available on the website. Getting good traffic to a website is carried out best using search engines, but how exactly does it work, the following methods will show you just how.

Selecting a Relevant Keyword and Linking That Key Word to Your Site

Do not make the mistake of squeesing too many keywords at a time on the pages of your website; rather concentrate on picking a particular keyword for each page. The goal is to make sure that the relevant keyword is captured by the page without any distractions. Search engines especially Google take notice of the title tag that contains the link to your site, therefore pay attention to your title tag and make it relevant to your website!

Make the First Hundred Words of Any Age Count!

The first hundred words of your page must be loaded with keywords to achieve optimisation. Search engines come up with various algorithms to rank websites and when these key words are searched by a user it has to come within the first hundred pages. It is therefore wise to make the left column of your website keyword rich or make your title, website description and web copy visible within the first hundred words of your website.

Keywords Must Be In the Description and Title Tag

Meta tags also known as headers tag is a feature a search engine uses to better understand the content of its page. These Meta tags are usually in the source code of the page. Tweaking the source code of the page ensures full optimisation of the website; this is achieved by inserting the keyword in the title tag (Google shows the result when your website is listed). A catchy description containing the relevant keyword(s) is important because the Meta tag description contains information that is listed immediately after the title tags when using a search engine. A catchy description (keyword embedded) makes your website have an edge over other listings.

Keyword(s)-Embedded Web Copy Like No Other!

An essential aspect of optimising websites for multiple keywords is to create a keyword(s) embedded web copy.  Make use of the hour glass template; which is including majority of the keywords at the top and bottom of the page and adding just a few keywords in the middle. The total make up of your web copy page should be between 400 words to 600 words, with the keywords making up about 6-14% of the entire words of the web copy page.

Follow these four steps and notice an upgrade in your keywords ranking on search engines.

Google Rich Results Testing Tool Adds Support for Events, Movies, and TV Shows

Firstclick Digital

Aaron Bradley of Semantic Search Marketing posted on Google+ that Google rich result testing tool now supports testing of structured data markup for movies, TV shows and events. He went further to state that he has conducted tests to confirm that the tool is able to validate TV, movie and event code and did provide a preview. So in addition to supporting job postings, recipes and course, it now also supports these three new additions.

The list now covers:

  • Job posting
  • Recipe
  • Course
  • TV and Movie
  • Event

What are Google rich results?

There are different ways web pages can be used and even more ways to structure and code it. This can make it difficult for search engine crawlers to identify and understand what each web page is about. What rich results do is to highlight important information contained on a web page which will help search engines better understand the purpose of the page and so index it appropriately. This reduces the guesswork for Google bots and makes it easier for users to get the most relevant results.

Google rich results typically appear at the top of the search engine results page, in what is known as ‘position zero’ above the regular search results.

So what’s new?

Google rich results contain results that are different from the usual blue text links and this includes content such as images, carousels and other non text elements.

For example, if you make a search for “open mic night weekend”, you will get a result of related events happening close to your location as indicated by your device. Google is able to present the results you will see by reading the structured data markup of the relevant event pages. At your end, if you are hosting such an event, you will need to use the markup for your event to appear on Google’s rich results page.

What Google rich result testing tool does is to help website owners check that their structured data is correctly implemented so that their content can be featured in rich results for relevant search. Presently, Google rich result testing tool does not support every rich result markup, but additions are made on a regular basis. Using Google rich result testing tool to validate your markup data is the one sure way to tell if Google can read your markup.

Google’s structured data guidelines shows the different types of rich results and the best way to markup your content.

Fact Checking Google’s Reintroduction to Featured Snippets

Sometimes, on search results page, you will find a short description at the top of the result. This short description is known as Google featured snippet. Snippets help searchers decide if a particular result is relevant to the search they are making.

Google featured snippets have gone through several evolutions over the years and will continue to do so, as it significantly affects search engine optimisation for websites all over. This helpful ‘zero position’ search result was reintroduced by Danny Sullivan in his very first blog post as Google’s new public liaison for search. He gave a lot of insight into how the feature has been developed and the improvements it provides to users.

Here are a few facts about the Google’s Reintroduced Featured Snippets

Featured snippet useful for mobile and voice search

In today’s digital society, a large percentage of search queries are done on mobile devices. Featured snippets make it possible for search users to get relevant answers fast. When you make a query using your Smartphone’s Google assistant, you will typically get a featured snippet reply and source quote.

A lot of improvement went into this section as Google included update to the Search Quality Rater Guidelines that provides more information on websites so as to avoid featuring misleading information and unsupported theories. These guidelines updates will ensure that the results that appear in Google featured snippets are authentic and trustworthy.

Video snippets introduced

Google featured snippets are not just for written content. Google recently introduced featured video snippets which features suggested videos that match a particular search query. Users now have the option of seeing a video that answers the questions they are asking rather reading the plain old boring texts. For example, a suggested video clip for “how to braid hair” will come in handy for users searching for information on how to braid hair. This visual demonstration will definitely be more useful than a regular step by step demonstration.

Multiple featured snippets

Another new improvement to Google’s featured snippets is the introduction of multiple featured snippets. This allows users to select location based featured snippets or results answering the same question but from a different perspective. Showing up more than one snippet per search can be helpful when users want to get answers on the same query but in different ways, they can then choose the answer that best fits what they want without having to leave the search results page.

What Google featured snippets mean for brands

Google is working seriously hard to provide a better search engine experience for users, and the featured snippets are just one of the methods to make this happen. As this feature becomes more prominent in Google SERP, the conventional single results system may become ineffective. Brands need to revisit their SEO strategies in order to create content that allow for featured snippets. This is not just useful in providing relevant results to users; it also helps in pushing traffic to the publishers and brands.

Top Technical SEO Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has become the basis for which many websites are updated today. This is because before a prospective customer buys a particular product or gets a service, they tend to search on Google to find information about it. As a web operator, you wouldn’t want to spend hours or days producing massive content for your site, only for it not to rank high or not be found at all by internet users.

In the course of optimising your web page, is it possible that you have made some errors with or without knowing and it has caused more harm than good to your SEO? Are there ways one can prevent them and not get penalised by search engines like Google? To help answer your questions, here are the top technical SEO mistakes and how you can avoid them.

Not using Analytics properly

When you create the best content and the design of your page allows for responsiveness, readability and provides relevant information, traffic will definitely grow on the site. However, the influx of internet users on your page isn’t all you should focus on. You need to make use of analytics to know what converts. In fact, you get more converts whilwni the traffic is lower because the prospects are carefully going through your content and navigating with smoothly. Therefore, use the analytics of your site or any other relevant metrics in measuring the success of your digital marketing campaign. It helps you to strategize better.

When you don’t use ALT-Tags for images

In a research, it was stated that the likelihood of a person reading a particular post or article is increased by an 80% when the visuals are colourful. These days, the use of images to boost user experience has become important in improving SEO. It makes your site more aesthetically pleasing and keeps the reader engaged. Therefore, when uploading images on your page, use alternative text tags to make it easy for users to find the information they seek. An image with no link should have these ALT tags so that web crawlers and internet users can access any information they seek about the image. The tags also make your site rank high in search engine results, boosts SEO and makes it for people to access the website in general.

Getting the right links

Getting links to your page from other sites is really a good way of making you an authority. However, Google and other search engines focus more on how relevant, less spam-looking and trustworthy the contents are. It’s wrong for you to buy a link, as you can get severely penalised. Also note that it’s better to have your site naturally linked within content than it lying beneath or beside a site. But there are ways to avoid all these. Build links via social media. Ensure that your content can be shared on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest. This generates leads, drives traffic to your site and further boosts your online presence.

Broken links that lead to a 404 error can also be a problem. Just endeavour to audit your website and keep it up to date.

These Two New Bing Updates Will Make Your Work Easier

With a constant inflow of demand for services, getting an easy way out can be a lifesaver. I am sure you also want to find an easy yet effective way to getting results. Earlier this month, Bing introduced few updates on its blog post that enhances their SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) for slicker and more fun entertainment search. However, two additional updates were also launched for easier workflow.

Let’s jump into these workflow updates, shall we?

Bing Ads Overview Tab

If you are an online marketer making decisions all day on campaign ads or an on-the-go marketer going through search campaigns at intervals, taking a step backward to see a big pictorial view of the performance of your account can be handy. Imagine having this handy tool and being able to tweak and customise the tab to display solely the campaign elements that interest you.

This Overview tab is found on the main campaign page. According to Haily De La Cruz, a Program Manager at Microsoft and Bing Ads, the overview tab gives you a “bird’s eye view of performance”. This implies that you get a wholesome, high-level and detailed view of your account performance. Cool right?

The layout and design interface is completely user-friendly, giving users the ability to remove, resise or hide any tile from the three-dotted icon at the top right-hand corner. A simple drag and drop will do the trick. It also features user’s ability to apply metrics and campaign filtering to the overview page.

This means that instead of going in and out of workspace or search results, you now have everything on one page hence saving you the precious time of looking for a page or result because you know exactly where to find it.

Connecting Accounts with Bing’s Multi-Linking

Whether managing multiple accounts in Bing Ads as an advertiser or assisting a wealth of clients as an agency, Elizabeth Johnson (a Programme Manager on Bing Ads Platform) says that the Multi-linking update makes linking and managing accounts easier and more efficient. She further explained that in Bing Ads multi-account capabilities, Multi-linking is in its first phase, hence other updates will be released for better and optimal results.

Multi-Linking Will Let You:

  1. Take Over-Billing anytime: customers linked to any account don’t have to pause their accounts anymore before taking the responsibility of over-billing.
  2. Link Accounts to Any Customer: the ‘becomes an agency’ button is now irrelevant. This means you can simply link any client to an account hence saving time and energy.
  3. Control Amount of Customers Linked to Your Account: you can both link and unlink up to five managing accounts from yours.

As amazing as this sounds there are other ways in which you can take advantage of this feature:

  • Transition clients between Agencies
  • Reports run across managed accounts
  • One customer shell billing information management.

Brix Saxman, a production specialist at PPCHero informs us that Multi-linking doesn’t permit account unlinking by originating account from the entity.

Although Multi-linking is in its first phase, more than enough new features have been introduced to get you started on easy ads workflow and with the announcements being released earlier this month, hopefully, we should be up and running with these updates released in few weeks or days.

How to Use Facebook Page Insights like an Expert

Knowing the profile of your target audience as a business owner is crucial to the success of your online marketing activities. Facebook insights are a powerful tool for marketers who want to track and analyze user interaction on their Facebook Fan Page.

With Facebook Insights, you’ll know the best day of the week to post, the best time of the day and the type of content popular with your target audience. The tool is constantly updated to show patterns and developments as they form so you must constantly check them to stay in the loop.

Here a step by guide to help you use Facebook Page Insights like a pro.

How to access Facebook Insight

Once you’ve reached 30 followers on your Facebook page, you can access your analytics. Go to your business page, on the top left corner, you’ll see the icon “insights”, click it to view information such as page views, post engagement, reach, actions on page, number of friends of fans and total number of likes.

Features of Facebook Insights you should use

The first thing you’ll see when you open Facebook Insights analytics tool is the Overview dashboard. There are many areas of interest on the left side such as posts, promotions, people, events, messages and likes among others.

  • Promotions

You can boost post that are performing well to get more exposure for them and pick a budget for your boost, choose your target audience and set the length of time for the boost to run.

  • Likes

On the likes section, you see important data about your fans such as location, age group and location. If you have more female fans situated in a particular town, you can create ads and content according to those specific demographics. It also helps you build personas for your target audience, which is essential for highly converting landing pages.

  • Videos

The Facebook Video Analytics shows your total video views and lists them in order of top views and videos people watched for 10 secs or more.

  • Reach

Your content isn’t successful if it’s not reaching your fans. This section helps you identify how much of your content reaches your fans if people are sharing your page or talking about your page.

  • Page Views

This is where you know the number of people visiting your page and the areas they viewed such as posts, photos, the about area or another part of your page. It helps you determine the success of your SEO and digital marketing strategies. Data from this page should guide your boosted posts and the target audience you choose.

Conclusion

Facebook Insights helps you understand your Facebook Page unique metrics for a better online marketing campaign. You can use it to maximize promotion for your next event, pick the best time to post when it will be most viewed by your target audience and learn how to make your content better for your fans.

Google: How the use of Canonical tags can save you from SEO troubles


Sometimes, webmasters encounter basic SEO situations they need to clarify. In this case, it is about canonicalization. It can be tricky if it is not considered separately.

Recently, somebody by the Twitter handle @aasimmugal asked Google’s John Mueller an interesting question. He wanted to know if a link from http://abc.go.com/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=offer, would still be considered as a link from abc.com.

John answered by saying he should use the rel=canonical and other types of canonicalization if he was concerned about it. The he added later, that it was technically a separate URL, despite how Google might consider it.

Interestingly, the link points to ABC’s (the TV network) homepage, so it is true. After all, the source code on the linkin question has a canonical tag at the top that indicates the link really points to http://abc.go.com/. Therefore, the link is specifically for abc.go.com and not abc.com.

The subject of canonicalization can be confusing at times, so we will be discussing it a bit further.

What is a canonical tag?

A canonical tag, also referred to as “rel canonical”, is one way of instructing search engines to recognise a specific URL as a master copy of a page. It is used to prevent issues caused by “duplicate” or identical content that exist on multiple URLs. Simply put, the canonical tag point’s search engines to the version of a URL should show up on a SERP query.

Why is canonicalization important?

When it comes to the subject of duplicate content, SEO analysts understand how complicated it can be. Normally, when search engines crawl several URLs that appear to have identical content, it can lead to SEO issues. First, when search crawlers go through too many identical content, some of the original content may be missed.

Secondly, a significant amount of duplicate content can reduce the capacity of a website to rank well. Finally, even when the content ranks well, the search engine may present the wrong URL as the original one. Therefore, by using a rel canonical tag, you can indicate which URL has priority over others.

The thing with URLs

It is easy to wonder how or why anybody would duplicate a page. If you do not allow for this possibility, you wouldn’t bother about canonicalization and this could hurt your SEO. Search engines see pages differently from the way humans do. While we look at a homepage as a concept, search engines see every single URL as a separate page.

In the link given above, search engines might access the ABC TV network through the following ways:

  • http://www.abc.go.com
  • https://www.abc.go.com
  • http://abc.go.com
  • http://www.abc.com
  • http://abc.com

Incidentally, ABC has used the 301 redirect to point all abc.com searches to abc.go.com. It is therefore important to designate a ‘main’ page by using a canonical tag. It saves the site owner a lot of SEO hassle in future.

Google: URL Structure Not So Important For SEO

Several guides exist on the internet teaching you how to optimize your URL for Search Engine Optimization. These guides contain several tips about what to include, what not to include, what the search engine looks for, what kinds of domain and subdomains are best. Most times we dive into these guides and begin to do everything they say even before we ask ourselves the most important question: When Search Engine Optimization is the goal, does the URL structure really matter? Does your URL structure increase your overall traffic or affect your ranking significantly?

Recently, one of Google’s own, John Mueller put out on twitter that URL structure is “not so much important”. This was in reply to someone asking “How important is URL structure flat? This was a surprising answer especially with all the guides that exist targeting the use of URL structure as a Search Engine Optimization tool. A memorable quote from Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable is “The main thing is not how long or deep your URLs appear to be but how quickly GoogleBot can discover those URLs and who is linking to them.”

This may seem like news, but it’s not so surprising if you look at existing data. As far back as 2014, Search Metrics published some very intriguing data. Based on their analysis, having a keyword within a domain name and /or URL is no longer as important as it used to be in search engine rankings. Google had started placing more importance on other search factors.

Google’s nine major ranking factors as published by Link-Assistant contained not even a passing reference to URL structure as a major ranking factor. This gives you a good indication of just how much energy should go into making your URL SEO friendly. It is important to note that your URL acts as a UI for your visitors and certain tricks that make it more search friendly should not be totally ignored. However, the general consensus is that it is definitely smarter to focus more on other ranking factors, just like Google does.

Search Engine Optimization is an industry that is constantly changing. Currently, Google seems to be pushing for richer content, better quality of backlinks, a better mobile experience on websites, and a host of other technical factors such as the use of https encryption, anchor texts, and so on. It is definitely a good idea to optimize your URLs—by making use of the best practices guides floating around the internet, especially as it definitely won’t hurt your rankings.

However, focusing too much of your marketing efforts on URL structure to the detriment of other SEO factors can and will hurt. This is because factors such as content quality, backlinks, mobile usability, and so on will have a greater impact on your rankings than a bad URL structure.