Ever since Google stopped showing accurate backlink (aka incoming link) counts to websites webmasters and SEOs have been forced to turn to other, more accurate tools like Yahoo. This hasn’t really been all that bad in my opinion but it is refreshing to hear that Google has finally launched a new backlinks analysis tool within Google Webmaster Central.

I have to say, it rocks! The system allows you to navigate a Google-generated sitemap of your website where at the right side of each page a number appears which denotes the number of backlinks to that page. Then, if you want more information on those backlinks you have only to click on it and a comprehensive list appears; very slick indeed. The list is even downloadable in .csv format.

For more information here is Google’s blog post regarding this update. I hope you enjoy this tool as much as I will. Just keep in mind that Matt Cutts noted the tool is not quite 100% accurate.

It is my pleasure to introduce to you Scott Smith, partner at CopyWriting.Net and copy writing guru. Before you read any further, however, I want to give you a heads up that this is not a normal article from StepForth. This is an unedited interview written in a very personal style. In other words, this is not the normal condensed knowledge that my staff and I try to put out every week. That said, I really wanted to introduce you to Scott because I feel his copywriting skills are top of the line and either his services or his tips may help you shore up your bottom line. If you want to get in touch with Scott Smith he is best contacted by email. Read more…

An interesting, albeit controversial, set of statistics was provided by Compete.com last week outlining the top 20 online properties that a pool of 2,000,000 people spent the most time on in December 2006.

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Hello all, I wanted to clear up a significant issue with my recent article “The Most Common Reason for Dropped Rankings: Duplication“. It was edited closely but apparently not quite close enough. Please note the following change in a question within the article: Read more…

Yesterday Google’s official webmaster blog announced that Googlebombing will be soon a way of the past thanks to some targeted attention from the search results team. Here is the gist of the posting:

We wanted to give a quick update about “Googlebombs.” By improving our analysis of the link structure of the web, Google has begun minimizing the impact of many Googlebombs. Now we will typically return commentary, discussions, and articles about the Googlebombs instead. The actual scale of this change is pretty small (there are under a hundred well-known Googlebombs), but if you’d like to get more details about this topic, read on.

Ultimately they admit these algorithm changes will not catch every Googlebomb but they expect the changes will clear out the majority.

What is a Google Bomb?

Repeatedly my sales and consulting staff find themselves explaining that using duplicate content can and will negatively affect search engine rankings and it is heartbreaking to see clients having to rebuild rankings due to such a simple mistake. As a result, I felt it was time to write this article and hopefully dispel many misled website owners.

Why write an entire article on something as simple as duplicate content? Well probably because it is not as simple as it sounds and many website owners find themselves in the grey area of duplication; where they don’t know for sure whether they are risking rankings or not. Read more…

On the 16th of January Wired Magazine published an article called “How Yahoo Blew It” which was a scathing review of the company’s drop in popularity and profitability. The article makes a strong case that “Yahoo fumbled, bungled, and mishandled its execution at every step” while trying to compete with Google.

The Wired article is an excellent essay on the trials and tribulations of Yahoo!’s growth and the potential reasons for its fall from grace; essentially concluding that there was not enough technological leadership. I highly recommend the 5 page read but do not forget Yahoo!’s rebuttal which tends to look positively on its situation: Read more…

“If at first you do not succeed, try and buy your market share.” Okay, admittedly this is a bad example of the mantra I am trying to get across but it does fairly represent the enticements a couple of search engines are using to attract users; Blingo and AGLOCO. Read more…

QUESTION: My client originally promoted a single .co.uk domain that he owned. Recently he purchased a .com and pointed that domain to his current website. Since this change we have noticed his “pages from the UK” content has been dropped from Google UK but the .com is performing well on Google.com under the client’s target keywords. What is going on? – G.S.V.

ANSWER: I see no sure answer why this has happened without more information. First things first, the .com website will get attention from Google.com simply because non-regional TLD’s are favoured at Google.com. Also, the fact that your client’s site got excellent rankings is a testament to the quality optimization of the site (even if you do not want these rankings); so kudos to you if you were the one who optimized the site.

Understanding why the .co.uk dropped in the UK regional rankings seems the tough question. Here are some things to check on:

  1. Was the .com 301 redirected to the .co.uk? A 301 redirect effectively tells the search engines that they should pay attention to the destination domain (.co.uk) versus the domain the spider originally entered at (.com). If you were to enable a 301 redirect now you might save yourself a lot of confusion and potentially pain in the future; since this technique undeniably states which domain represents the flagship website and will limit duplicate content penalties.
  2. Did the .com have a prior history? Perhaps it was bought the .com had a significant number of backlinks or history that outweighed the .co.uk domain. You see, I expect when Google is presented with two domains pointing at the same content it will choose to rank the domain with the most positive history. That is of course, if no other directives have been stated (i.e. 301’s). A way to see if the domain had a history before it was bought is to use the Wayback Machine and see if a prior site existed. Next you should do a backlink check for the domain to see if there are any links that came with the ‘new’ domain.
  3. Is the website hosted in the USA or the UK? If the .co.uk and the .com are both hosted on an American server then achieving a ranking on google.com will be significantly easier than google.co.uk and vice versa. In other words, host in the UK and use a .co.uk domain if you want to be sure to have regional UK rankings.

At the moment these are the most prominent possibilities that come to mind but there are likely more. The fact is, if all else fails and it appears everything is normal I find issues like oddly missing rankings fix themselves over time. I hope your outcome is extremely positive and I do hope you keep me up to date.

If anyone else has experienced this issue or has some educated feedback please post a comment within this posting on The SEO Blog.

PS. Here is a great forum thread at Search Engine Watch discussing Google.com vs. Google.co.uk rankings.

QUESTION: How do I edit my website description on Google? Please direct me to the correct place. – Barb C.

ANSWER: There are three ways your website description might have been created by Google and fortunately each method has a solution which I have outlined below: Read more…