Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Matt Cutts Gave Specific Details On Your Google Link Penalty

What would you pay to get specific actionable advice from Google on how to remove your unnatural link penalty?


Russ Ruggles got incredibly lucky yesterday after asking Google's Matt Cutts on Twitter about his penalty. He tweeted:
Matt said he won't be doing external emails in March, so there is no way to ask him for one-on-one advice. That is unless you get lucky and tweet him and he has a minute to look.
Matt Cutts responded that it has to do with when he purchased links from backlinks.com, which happened to be penalized in December 2013. Matt tweeted:
Not only did Matt Cutts give Russ specific actionable advice on what he needs to do to remove the penalty. He said he has emailed his team to follow up and potentially remove the penalty. Matt tweeted:
How can you get this lucky? No clue, it is about timing and timing.

Google's Matt Cutts On What Is A Paid Link

Yesterday, Google's Matt Cutts posted a detailed video trying to define how Google's manual spam fighters determines what is a paid link versus what is not.


Now, 99% of the time, Matt Cutts said it is clear if a link is paid or not. It is a clear transaction that the link on a site was paid $X for. But sometimes it is not clear. Matt summarized it on Google+ these are the other criteria Google uses to determine if a link is considered paid or not. Google asks these questions when looking at a suspicious link:
  • What is the value of the gift, product, or service?
  • How close is the gift, product, or service to actual money?
  • Is it an outright gift or a loan?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the intent of the gift to get links?
  • Would the gift be a surprise to third party?
Here is the video:

Got A Google Penalty? Should You Start A New Site?

As more and more Google penalties become more transparent, recovering from them seems to get harder. Even when you do recover, the rankings don't always return.


In a recent column by Eric Ward named When The Best SEO Move Is To Kill The Site where he concluded that "in almost two-thirds of the cases I advised that the best move was to kill the site." This is when it comes to unnatural link penalties or Penguin related issues.
The question is, is that true? Is it often easier to kill off the site?
Matt Cutts has said time and time again that digging yourself out of a spam hole is often harder then starting fresh.
Also, now that we know penalties may follow you to your new domain, if you don't start a fresh new web site, then making the decision to kill off a site is even more costly and timely.
If it was as simple as copying your site to a new domain name, switching might make sense more of the time. But if you need to rewrite your content, redo your CMS and design, then it can take a long long time.
Google's John Mueller posted on Google+ a comment about Eric Ward's article saying:
It's never a decision to make lightly, but there can be situations where a website has built up so many problems, that it may appear easier or faster to start over with a fresh & new website, rather than to try to fix all of those problems individually. This isn't an easy way to get past problems that have been built up over the years, it's a lot of work to create a new website, even if you already know the business area.
If you feel you're in this situation, make sure to get advice from friends & other people that you trust (including webmaster communities where you trust their opinions) before doing anything drastic!
In a Google Webmaster Help thread, John Mueller gave advice to someone in a hole that if he will go the new site route, he should start fresh. John wrote:
If you're creating a new website, and don't want to be associated with the old one, I'd strongly recommend really making a *new* website and not just moving the content to a different domain. You don't need to wait for anything in a case like this -- it's fine to remove (or block) the old website, and to create a really new one elsewhere at the same time.
So making the decision to start new is not easy. If it was me, I'd go in this order:
(1) Try removing the bad links (2) Submit a reconsideration request (3) Repeat this a few times until it is successful (4) Wait two months for traffic to change (5) If no traffic change then start a new site
Of course, it is not always this black and white and the specific situation might change the solution. Like if you put a ton of money into your brand name and you can't go elsewhere. Or if there are investors you need to worry about. Or if you simply can't make a new site.
It is a shame to have to deal with this stuff.

How to Use 301 Redirect Correctly?

Redirect 301 or the 301 Permanent Redirect is used in several cases: when we need to change the domain name, move the web page or use site URL with/without “www”. 301 redirect is highly important for the Page Rank (PR) and search traffic.


Redirect 301 is a very popular theme on most SEO forums. Each search engine provides its own tips on how to use this function correctly. In this blog post we’ve united most popular and efficient ways of using Redirect 301.
301 redirect is the best way to preserve your PR in search engines if you are moving your website or a single web page. 301 code is interpreted as the page is being “moved permanently”.
301 Redirect Tips, Tricks and Info
  • 301 redirects are instant, because the .htaccess file is read before the page loads;
  • no need to set up a 301 redirect to pages that have no backlinks, unless they have good PR;
  • when you’ve done a 301 redirect, check all pages involved: if you’ve redirected a main page, check both that page and several of its sub-pages to make sure they are behaving the way you wanted them to;
  • 301 redirects pass all page rank and SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages rankings) – making them a vital part of a SEO roadmap for a changing site.
Benefits of the Redirect
A web page may be redirected for several reasons:
  • A web site might need to change its domain name;
  • An author might move his or her pages to a new domain;
  • Two web sites might merge.
With URL redirects, incoming links to an outdated URL can be sent to the correct location. These links might be from other sites that have not realized that there is a change or from bookmarks/favorites that users have saved in their browsers.
***
1. Simple Redirect in .htaccess or httpd.conf for Apache
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Redirect 301 / http://www.you.com/new.htm
Here Redirect 301 is an instruction saying that the page is moved, / – Means that all top-level sites including all sub-directories, will be forwarded, http://www.you.com/new.htm is a new page or website (do not forget to put the last / if forwarding is on the site).
To save the PR when redirecting the page use the following command:
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Redirect 301 /old/old.htm http://www.you.com/new.htm
Here /old/old.htm is a address and name of an old page.
Similar syntax is used to redirect the website:
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RedirectPermanent / http://www.you.com/
Example of catalogue forwarding:
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RedirectPermanent /old-directory http://www.domain.com/new-directory/
For example, users who come entered the test will be redirected to www.test.com, others to enter.test.com (the order of the records is highly important):
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Redirect permanent /test    http://www.test.com/
Redirect permanent /        http://enter.test.com/
***
2. Using mod_rewrite is written through the .htacess file
The classical problem of using site URL with or without www can be solved in the following way:
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Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^yoursite\.com
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.yoursite.com/$1 [R=permanent,L] .
Or an alternative syntax:
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Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^domain\.com$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.domain.com/$1 [R=301,L]
[R=301,L] L means the last rewrite rule and stops looping and/or conflicts.
Redirecting form an old domain name to the new one:
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Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine on
RewriteRule (.*) http://www.newdomain.com/$1 [R=301,L]
For example is you need to load rewrite.html instead of rewrite.htm add to the .htacess file following command:
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RewriteEngine   on
RewriteBase     /
RewriteRule     ^rewrite\.htm$  rewrite.html [R=permanent]
To replace all .htm files with .html ones:
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RewriteEngine  on
RewriteBase     /
RewriteRule     ^(.*)\.htm$  $1.html [R=permanent]
***
3. How to make redirect using PHP:
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<!--?php 
header("HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently");
header("Location: http://www.newdomain.ru/newdir/newpage.htm");
exit();
?-->
It will be better to specify HTTP/1.1, as the older versions do not support virtual hosting. Do not forget that before addressing the header, any command should be displayed (for example, echo or print). Therefore, this code is better to be put the top of the php-script. A more complete version of php redirect with preservation of the transmitted page and call options:
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&lt;?
$ref=$_SERVER['QUERY_STRING'];
if ($ref!='') $ref='?'.$ref;
header('HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently');
header('Location: http://newdomain.com/'.$ref);
exit();
?&gt;
***
4. Using ASP redirect:
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&lt;%@ Language=VBScript %&gt;
&lt;% 
Response.Status="301 Moved Permanently"
Response.AddHeader "Location", "http://www.new-url.com"
response.end
%&gt;
***
5. Using ASP.NET redirect:
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<script type="text/javascript">// <![CDATA[
private void Page_Load(object sender, System.EventArgs e)
{
Response.Status = "301 Moved Permanently";
Response.AddHeader("Location","http://www.new-url.com");
}
// ]]></script>
***
6. Using ColdFusion redirect:
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***
7. Using meta refresh redirect:
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<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="0; url=http://newdomain.com" />
Here “0” is a forward delay in seconds, newdomain.com – is a page, which followed to. Some older browsers do not support meta refresh with a value of 0 for compatibility, you can set a non-zero value.
This redirect will not connect your websites and pass the PR as it is ignored by the search engines. It returns a 200: OK, which corresponds to a regular page. This technique is popular with spammers, so it should be used only for pages that are not to be indexed.
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8. Using JavaScript redirect
JavaScript redirects allow for a lot of flexibility when it comes to redirects. For example, it is easy to implement a timed delay redirect that forwards visitors to a new web page after a set time. With JavaScript, you can redirect all your visitors to a new URL using the script below:
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<script type="“text/javascript”">// <![CDATA[
<!—
Window.location = http://www.developerdrive.com/
//->
// ]]></script>
To implement a timed delay redirect using JavaScript, use the code below:
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<script type="“text/javascript”">// <![CDATA[
<!Function delayer() {
 Window.location =../javascriptredirect.php”
}
//- - >
// ]]></script>

Redirection in 5 Seconds!

Please update your bookmarks to reflect our new website!
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9. CGI PERL Redirect
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$q = new CGI;
print $q-&gt;redirect("http://www.newdomain.com/");
***
10. Ruby on Rails Redirect
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def old_action
headers["Status"] = "301 Moved Permanently"
redirect_to "http://www.newdomain.com/"
end
***
11. HTML Redirect (Meta Redirect)
To send someone to a new web page or site put this in the head section of your document:
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<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="5" />
Here content=”5″ means the time (e.g. 5) in second the browser should wait before redirecting to new location.
Online Tools
Some online SEO resources can check automatically if your redirects can be crawled correctly and that the redirect was set up right. Once you make a redirection, use these tools (e.g. webconfs.com) to ensure that they are Search Engine friendly.