Entries Tagged 'Google' ↓

ISBA’s Reaction to Google’s Online Piracy Crackdown

According to a recent article in The Drum Google is stepping up its efforts to cut out online piracy.

It has made changes to its algorithm to make sure some of the most notorious piracy sites are less likely to appear high in the results when someone searches for music, films or other copyrighted content. The idea is that Google will make sure legal sites appear at top of the pile albeit in the form of adverts – yes, that’s right, content providers will have to pay to appear there.

It is that last bit that’s got the ISBA riled.

The ISBA’s director of media and advertising, Bob Wootton commented:

“This is a step in the right direction, but with Google seeking to profit directly by ‘being part of the solution’ spoils the sentiment and leaves a bitter after-taste.

“The search engine’s solution clearly disadvantages legal sites. The fight against online piracy is of course welcomed by ISBA, but trying to make a profit out of it is surely not the way to go.”

You can read Google’s full about the measures taken here.

Is this a good thing?

You can’t deny that Google’s moving in  the right direction, but is their solution really the best?

Certainly for their bottom line it is, but what about the consumer?

Will this levy have a knock on effect to the end consumer, effectively driving more people to the piracy sites therefore compounding the problem?

What are your thoughts on this issue? Leave a comment below to have your say.




Google Removes Profile Pictures from Search Results That Include G+


There is only one thing that’s certain in internet marketing – that Google will constantly evolve.

Its latest change involves the removal of profile pictures and circle count from search results that include Google+ authorship.

The official line is that it leads to a “less cluttered” design, but many SEOs believe the move has been made by Google to protect its ad revenue.

How does that work?

Well, the addition of a profile image next to the natural listings makes them more noticeable than the paid results.

Once upon a time, the sponsored links (paid for advertising) were highlighted at the top of your search results page. Now they just have a yellow “Ad” next to them making them blend in with the other results.

The images that appeared with the organic results made them stand out too much, diverting attention from the sponsored links.

Is authorship still worth having?

I would say yes.

Granted, the addition of the profile picture against search results was definitely bonus, but I still want Google to know the sites that I write for on a regular basis.

I opened this blog by saying that the only thing certain about internet marketing was that Google’s always evolving. Well, there’s a chance that Google might bring in a future update that makes use of the authorship facility once more and I want to make sure I’m there when it happens.

The upshot of this latest update will probably be that fewer people sign up for authorship because the prominent visual incentive has been taken away.

But no one knows what’s going to happen in the future so I’m going to sit tight for now.

What are your thoughts?

Did you sign up for authorship?

Has it made a noticeable difference to you?

What do you make of this latest change?

Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts.






Bad Link Building: Google vs Halifax

Google is getting tough. Unnatural links are being penalised, but it’s not just the small businesses that are being hit, there’s been a few bigger scalps recently.

The one I want to draw your attention to is the UK banking chain, Halifax.

According to a recent article in CognitiveSEO, the UK’s largest provider of residential mortgages and savings accounts has felt Google’s wrath. Its link building strategy has been deemed as not being very Google friendly and is now facing a major online upheaval.

The article shows that the Halifax experienced a significant SEO drop at the beginning of February.

It would appear as though in December of last year, Halifax received a huge increase in new links – over 400,000, but only from 190 referring domains. Then, at the end of January, its number of lost links suddenly spiked. This was probably in reaction to Google’s penalty.

Unnatural links will cause Google to take a closer look at your website and if you have over 20% unnatural links you’ll be classed as high risk and will be flagged by the Google algorithm.

What happened?

After a bit of digging, CognitiveSEO identified 3 dodgy link building strategies used by the banking giant.

  1. 1.     Web directory links
  2. 2.     Easily pattern-able links
  3. 3.     Advertorials (paid posts)

You can read the full story here.

So as this case study has shown, no one is exempt from Google’s penalties and that’s why it’s essential you adopt good link building techniques.


Writing For The Web – Keeping Up With The Changes

web writing

OMG – have you heard the latest?

The way you write for the web is changing so fast. There are Google’s perpetually changing algorithms, new social media platforms springing up, +1s, shares, tweets, status updates…

How on earth are you supposed to know how to write your web copy when the goal posts keep moving?


Hang on there.

Who’s moving the goal posts?

Sure, with every new tweak Google makes, or when a social media platform becomes flavour of the month, there are a shed load of blog posts published that claim to have unearthed the one secret you need to know to get Google to love your content.


The only thing they’re doing is driving traffic to their blogs. Day after day, thousands of salivating web writers and business owners pour over their words like hungry caterpillars (I loved that book) looking for the trick that is going to propel them to the top of the search pile.

Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but there is no magic secret.

Sure, there are things, such as Google Authorship, that will help, but the only thing that will help you get and retain (that’s the hard bit) good rankings is high quality content.

High quality content is the answer

I know you’re probably fed up reading that the only way to impress Google is through high quality content – but there’s a reason you keep reading it – because it’s true.

Forget about writing for the search engines, keywords and all those other fads you read about. There is and always will be, only one thing that works and that is creating content that is:

  • Well written
  • High in quality
  • Interesting
  • Relevant to your reader
  • Full of benefits
  • Full of useful information
  • Not full of you and your business
  • Written naturally
  • Not stuffed with keywords

Yes, it’s a boring answer, but it is the right one.

There are no tricks or short cuts, just good old fashioned, high quality writing.

Sorry to ruin your day, but the truth needed to be told.


By Sally Ormond

Image courtesy of pixtawan/FreeDigitalPhoto

What Webmaster Tools Do You Want in 2014?

As a website owner, you’ll have your own views about what sort of webmaster tools you want.

In an ideal world you would be able to pick up the phone to Google and say, “hey guys, you know what would be really cool…?” and proceed to rattle off your wish list.

Well, I don’t have a phone number for you, but here’s the next best thing.

Matt Cutts recently posted on his personal blog that he wants to know what you would like to see from Webmaster Tools in 2014.

How cool is that?

He asked the same question back in 2007 and, since then, has delivered on a lot of peoples’ requests.

Just to get your little grey cells working, here are a few suggestions he makes:

  • Making it easier or faster to claim authorship or do authorship markup
  • Improving the reporting of spam, bugs, errors or issues
  • Having the option to download the web pages that Google has seen from your site, in case of a disaster
  • Checklists to help new business
  • Better tools for detecting or reporting duplicate content or scrapers
  • Show the source pages that link to your 404 pages, so you can contact other sites and ask if they want to fix their broken links
  • Better bulk url removal
  • Ways for site owners to tell Google more about their site

You can see a full list here.

Of course, there’s no promise that every request will be actions, but at least it means that Google wants to hear from you, so why not make the most of the opportunity?

Author: Sally Ormond, Copywriter and MD at Briar Copywriting Ltd. Follow her on Twitter and Google+