Remember a few months ago when I said, Gnome Likes is “back and better than ever in 2013!” Yeah… me either 😉
In my defense, last month’s newsletter was jam packed with exciting SEO news. But you’re right: that’s not good enough, which is why I’m dusting off the cobwebs for an extra special edition of Gnome Likes!
So without further ado, let’s dive into the most interesting SEO posts/events/etc. from the past week…
Without question, the biggest industry news from last week revolved around Google’s penalty against Mozilla.
In this post, Danny Sullivan does an excellent job describing the events that transpired. Here’s a brief account of what happened (followed by a few of my thoughts about the situation):
On April 22, Chris More (the Web Production Manager at Mozilla) asked for help on the Google Webmaster forums because the Google Webmaster Tools account for www.mozilla.org received a notice that stated, “Google has detected user-generated spam on your site” and “Google has applied a manual spam action to your site.”
Eventually, Chris received additional information on the forums from John Mueller. Specifically, John gave him a “particularly bad” example of spam on one of the Mozilla domains.
John also mentioned that the manual action was “granular” and that the message “does not mean that your site on a whole is critically negatively affected in our search results.” However, he didn’t specify how much of Mozilla’s site was impacted by the penalty.
Hours later, Matt Cutts finally provided Chris with the exact URL that triggered the manual penalty. This URL was the same example John previously mentioned, but up until this point in time, Chris didn’t know the specific circumstances surrounding the penalty.
This entire situation is borderline insane for at least three reasons. First, the mozilla.org domain has tens of millions of pages, but Google’s manual spam penalty only affected one of those pages.
Second, nothing about the spam notice indicates the trivial nature of the penalty (i.e., the notice makes it seem like the entire domain has been penalized). Additionally, Mozilla had multiple interactions with Google representatives before being told that the penalty only impacted a single page.
Everything about this situation seems like a monumental waste of time and resources. If the original notice had simply listed the guilty page, Mozilla could have immediately taken action, and everyone involved in this saga could have spent their time more productively.
Third, the spam notice didn’t even specify the correct subdomain that was impacted by the penalty. The guilty page was hosted on blog.mozilla.org, but since Mozilla didn’t have that domain registered through Webmaster Tools, the notice was sent to the www.mozilla.org account (making a crazy situation even crazier).
For even more of my thoughts about how Google handles penalty reporting, check out this Google+ post: Google is as Transparent as Mud.
I also discussed the situation briefly on this week’s Max Impact (it’s around the 30 minute mark):
Finally, for a nice post-mortem about this crazy story, check out this follow-up post by Danny: Q&A With Google’s Matt Cutts On What To Do If You Get A Manual Penalty.
If you’re reading this, you probably already know about Inbound.org (the “Hacker News for Marketers”). But you might not be familiar with its brother from another mother: Shitbound.org (“The Home For The Shite That SEOs Write”).
The latter was originally announced at the end of October, and it instantly inspired the greatest Halloween costume in the history of time:
Unfortunately, after the site’s initial announcement, months quickly passed, and when the calendar flipped to 2013, Shitbound.org was still a work in progress.
But then something magical happened. On April 24, 2013, Twitter was almost completely shut down by this tweet:
Share your Shit – shitbound.org is live
— Shit Bound (@ShitBoundOrg) April 24, 2013
That’s right! After months and months of anticipation, Shitbound.org is finally live, and the Internet finally has a landfill for all the shitty content being published on a daily basis.
Google’s Penguin Update Celebrates A Birthday
April 24, 2013 was an important date because of the Shitbound.org launch, but it also marked the one year anniversary of Google’s Penguin update.
In honor of this milestone, at least two surveys were making the rounds last week in an effort to quantify the damage (and observed recoveries) associated with the update.
Here are the links to those surveys, and if your sites were impacted by Penguin, I strongly encourage you to fill them out:
And while we’re talking about Penguin, I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind you about the major Penguin update that Matt Cutts promised for 2013.
If your site has a lot of suspicious backlinks, now’s a great time to start removing them!
For many, MANY years, the SEO industry has been consumed with rank tracking. Where do I rank for this?! How do I rank for that?!?! Are my rankings going up?!?!?!
In this week’s edition of Whiteboard Friday, Rand Fishkin does an excellent job of explaining why this way of thinking is incredibly short sighted (and not at all aligned with your company’s most important business objectives). Then, he discusses the types of indicators you should be using to measure the success of your SEO and general marketing activities:
Over To You…
I hope you enjoyed this week’s SEO recap, and I want to hear from you in the comments. What were some of your favorite posts this week? What did you think about Google penalizing Mozilla? Are you actively preparing for the next big Penguin update?