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Monday, January 11th, 2010

E-mail Scams to Watch For

Remember the Nigerian scam messages way back when? Perhaps not so much way back when but quite awhile ago and still on occasion coming into my junk mail folder.

Scams are annoying, fear mongering, and down right rude. In 10 email scams to watch out for, Debra Shinder explains what you should watch out for to avoid being ‘duped’. Read more…

Over the past 12 years consulting on web marketing  I have answered countless questions but one question I receive often stands out from all; how to remove a Google penalty. The following is an example of a question I received in the past from a person named Patrick:

PLEASE HELP! For the last 8 years we were #1 for a ton of search terms but then my site got penalized by Google because we had overused some keywords. We fixed the issue months ago but my top rankings are all still over the place. Sometimes we get back into the top 10 and we all breathe a sigh of relief, then just a few hours later we are on page 5. What is going on and how can I correct this? We are beyond frustrated!

First, Some Research

In order to answer Patrick’s question I needed to find out a couple of things about his website to make my answer more accurate:

  • His site has excellent content right now and when I looked at past versions of the site I see the content was still great but definitely had keyword stuffing problems.

    Key finding: his site is really well done so I can see why it had top rankings before.

  • I took a look at competitors found in the top 10 under several keyword searches that were obviously main targets for his website. After reviewing the backlinks (definition) for each competitor’s sites I could see they were all very well entrenched but their content was not up to par with Patrick’s site. I reviewed Patrick’s backlinks and was surprised to find that he had very few.  Key finding:his competitors have a lot of backlinks than Patrick’s site does.

    An SEO Tool Note: I use Yahoo Site Explorer for cursory examination of backlinks for my clients and their competitors. For more in-depth research I use OptiLink by Winrose Software (that is an affiliate link) which provides excellent statistics that are very useful for analyzing the quality of backlinks among other things. Here are more recommended web marketing tools.

  • I checked the server headers for their home page and other key pages to make sure nothing was outwardly wrong with their server configuration; everything was fine.
  • I took some time to surf through Patrick’s website and discovered that not all of the keyword stuffing had been removed.

    Key Finding: Google may still feel his site deserves a penalty because it is not 100% clean.

Read more…

If you find that your Yahoo email account is being hit with too much spam, all that junk may be significantly cut back in the very near future.

On Jan 20th, it was announced that Yahoo will begin using the anti-spam services of Abaca to help protect Yahoo users from spam, phishing, and other email attacks.

Abaca is the only anti-spam company to guarantee a rate of 99% accuracy.

“As one of the world’s leading Internet companies, we take the security of our users very seriously,” said John Kremer, vice president of Yahoo! Mail. “Abaca offers superior e-mail security capabilities and has built a reputation for reducing unsolicited e-mail within mailboxes. We believe that by deploying Abaca’s solution with our anti-spam toolkit, we will offer Yahoo! Mail users not only added email security, but an enhanced user experience as well.”

A screenshot to Monty Python's SPAM skit available on YouTube“Spam Spam Spam Sausage and Spam!” The words from the hilarious Monty Python sketch play unbounded in my mind every time I hear the word “Spam”.

Unfortunately these days the inedible version of Spam is far from funny as it clogs our Internet and wastes our valuable time filtering through garbage email. Some of these emails just happen to be scam Spam about a “Yahoo Lottery” that claims the recipient has won the Yahoo Lottery and these emails go on to request everything from social security numbers to credit card information in order to claim said prize. Well in case you didn’t know there is no such thing as a Yahoo Lottery and Yahoo has had quite enough of hearing about it. Today Yahoo pronounced on the Yahoo Anecdotal blog that the company has decided to go after these spammers without mercy. Read more…

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

Obvious Email Spam is Still Successful

This is an off-topic post that I felt could not be missed. The Register wrote today about a type of email spam that is extremely common and rather obvious BUT surprisingly it appears some Internet users are still falling for it. The article is worth the read if you have any concerns about what emails to read or not to read.

In Short
Emails that promise free games, windows security patches or updates, nude celebrity pictures, or anything that seems out of the ordinary should be deleted immediately.

A source in the Register article “recommends PC users do not open executable files attached to email messages from addresses they do not recognise or trust and to ‘refrain from opening any message that purports to feature nude celebrities’.” Read more…

Wednesday, June 6th, 2007

How Safe is Your Search?

Roughly 4 percent of all search results display links to potentially dangerous websites, according to a report published by McAfee’s SiteAdvisor, on Monday. The report notes that Yahoo results are the riskiest with AOL leading the pack as having the safest results.

Over the past year, both organic and sponsored links have seen an increase in safety, however, the biggest change is seen within sponsored listings. On average the number of risky links declined from 8.5% in May 2006, to 6.9% in May of this year. Organic results saw a drop from 3.1% down to 2.9%. Read more…

Thursday, January 4th, 2007

StepForth’s Predictions for 2007

Another New Years has come and gone and over the past few weeks search industry professionals have been releasing their search market predictions for 2007. I have steered clear of reading them because it is time for me to write down StepForth’s predictions and the last thing I want to worry about is duplication. Without further adieu, here are the predictions my staff and I put together for 2007. Read more…

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

Search Engine SPAM Strikes Again

We were recently contacted by a client who had found a number of occurrences of search engine SPAM. What made this SPAM a problem is that they were targeting the clients business name and coming up in some of the top 10 rankings! The pages were littered with the company name, and appeared to have been created by a bot (which the majority of SPAM pages are).

The question we were presented with was: “These sites keep popping up, they are blatantly using our company name as an SEO landing page, do i have any recourse?” Read more…

Tuesday, February 28th, 2006

Florida's Effect on SEO Spam

A few years ago, in the days before the introduction of Google’s Florida Update, SEO was a quasi-Masonic vocation practiced by an expanding order of techno-monks who acted openly but held secret the minute details of their trade. As search engines and SEO techniques evolved, that old order was already dying, long before the discovery of Florida in November 2003.

I was reminded of the olden days yesterday when fielding a question over at one of the SEO Forums I spend time in. One of the new members wrote in asking about the correct range of Keyword Densities for the various search engines. That got me thinking about many of the lesser known tricks of the trade that have been used by search engine optimizers over the years and how some of these “tricks” have incorporated themselves into our SEO practice while others have been roundly rejected by SEO practitioners. Read more…

Something interesting is happening at the Googleplex. Just a week after publicly slapping BMW for using cloaking and doorway techniques, Google has confirmed a much larger penalty it applied in 2004 against what was once one of the largest SEO firms in the world, Traffic Power. When an SEO firm gets its own site banned from Google it is somewhat interesting but not terribly newsworthy. It becomes an enormous story when that firm’s client list is banned from the index.

About eighteen months ago, Google assigned a penalty against Las Vegas based Traffic Power setting off a chain of events that continue to affect the SEO community to this day. Read more…