Search Console Hacked Site Manual Action Review Still NOT Automated
Oct17

Search Console Hacked Site Manual Action Review Still NOT Automated

18SHARESFacebookTwitter Update – 20/10/2015 – Google have now removed the hacked content notification from Search Console after 3 days. It didn’t take too long and in the message, all I put was that the sub-domain hosting the so called ‘hacked content’ had been suspended, and that my web host was looking into the reasons why this had been an issue in the first place. So, I was surprised to find out today that my site has been hacked or more so Google had detected ‘hacked content’ on this very website. Google recently stated that for 2015, the number of hacked sites had increased by 180% and a 300% increase in ‘hacked reconsideration requests’. They’ve been trying to make the process of getting any partial penalties removed easier by automating it, but it seems in my situation I’m still going to have to have my site manually reviewed as they’ve not gone as far as rolling out the automated review yet to everyone and have limited it to beta testing (as of the GWC post I’ve linked to above). Thanks to Google for spotting this, as I would not have noticed this. I wouldn’t say my site has been compromised, but more the fact that another customer (with my web hosting company) on the same shared server on this website simply created a sub-domain and put up a really spammy website that linked out to pornographic websites. Not what I wanted to hear on a Saturday evening. Right now my home page is coming up with the ‘This site may be hacked.’ messaging just above my meta description. I simply contacted my web host to find out what was going on and they’ve now suspended the sub-domain ‘wap.vlexo.net’. I’m also trying to figure out how this even happened and if whether it’s a security flaw on my web hosts side of things. I’ve submitted a reconsideration request through Google Search Console, so I just need to wait now I suppose: I explained the situation to Google and exactly what had happened. The is the message that appears once you hit the submit button for the review of your site by someone on Google’s end. It’s a shame that the process is not automated because I’m betting the process that found that bit of apparent ‘hacked’ content is very likely automated. Google’s message, as you can see below, clearly states that ‘This process may take some time’, which clearly isn’t good enough. I mean, imagine if this was large website or a bank that had been hacked — they’d literally have to wait for Google to remove ‘This site has been hacked.’ from...

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Best SEO Tools & Resources for 2015
Jul08

Best SEO Tools & Resources for 2015

20SHARESFacebookTwitter 2014 was so last year, so I thought I’d create a new post on tools to use in 2015. Of course, preferred tools change all the time and tools that I used last year, I may no longer use anymore. Last year, I created a list of 14 of the best SEO tools to use in 2014 and now I look back at some of them, and think, are they still relevant or as important as they were last year? I’ve also changed jobs and have gone from agency to in-house, so the dynamic has changed in that respect. I’ve gone from doing ‘agency SEO’ to ‘in-house SEO’, which are vastly different in my opinion, but that’s another subject for another time. Introducing a twist to this article: I’ve included real life examples/scenarios of where I’ve used each of these tools. Click on the drop down bars below each section to view more information. Now, let’s get on with the list of the best SEO tools so far in 2015: 1. URL Profiler Website: URL Profiler URL Profiler is by far one of the most useful tools that I’ve come across in 2015. Its features are almost similar to another tool called Netpeak (free). I was introduced to that tool back in 2014, and was impressed with Netpeak, but I’m even more impressed with URL Profiler. It does come with a cost, but it’s well worth the cost with regard to the technical abilities you gain out of using this tool. This is a definite MUST for agencies and anyone working in-house. Its useful for analysing websites you work on and competitor websites. At £9.95 per month for a solo license, this tool is affordable for anyone doing serious SEO work on a website. The next biggest packages come at a cost of £12.95, £19.95, and £29.95. The various packages allow you to use the software on more than one machine, increased connections speeds, and allow for larger URL imports. More info on this tool (click to expand) Real Life Scenario with Using this Tool I used URL Profiler to do competitor analysis on Compare The Market and their new ‘2 for 1 cinema deals.’ I basically wanted to find out, as a result of their new marketing giveaway, how many websites and what websites were linking to CTM. Ahrefs & Majestic were only showing 21 referring domains to a certain section of their site where the 2 for 1 deal exists as a landing page. However, I knew that they’d seen far greater exposure. So I used a Chrome Plugin called OS Scraper to scrape relevant search results about...

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Free SEO tool: Branded Unlinked Mentions Finder
Aug24

Free SEO tool: Branded Unlinked Mentions Finder

16SHARESFacebookTwitter Turning brand mentions into links is a link building method that still works today and is in my opinion one of the safest methods of link building around for brands that are frequently mentioned on the internet. So that’s why when I came across a tool called the “Branded Unlinked Mentions Finder” — I got all excited about the potential uses that this would give to the team that I work with. This tool is so good that I’m even thinking of placing it in my list of  ‘best SEO tools‘. For example, before I’d be seeking out these brand mentions and contacting the sites that it would make sense for them to link back (i.e. if they’ve mentioned my brand’s survey, or infographic etc). I’d just be scouring the web for opportunities, and that works to an extent but is also very tedious and time consuming. It’s also very easy to miss opportunities if all you’re doing is going through the search results pages. What this tool does is that it checks the search results for brand mentions and utilises Google Docs to parse this information. The developer of the tool mentioned on reddit how he had devised the tool, saying that he had made use of several Google Doc functions such as the importxml function that makes use of XPath to grab data on the page that it checks. It’s something that I’ve been looking for and would likely have been something that I would like to have developed. Hopefully I’ll be able to show off its usefulness below. Example of its usefulness If we take NatWest’s Student Living Index, a recently released survey on student expenditure by city/town, you’ll see that past indexes have been frequently mentioned by university sites, news websites, student websites and generally the sort of websites that you would want your site to be associated with. But those sites aren’t linking to the source of the information that they’ve referenced: Only University College London is linking to the survey page, but look at all those other sites that aren’t! It would be perfectly natural to contact these sites and ask them to actually link to the source of the information they are referencing — to provide readers with access to claims that they are stating through the survey (a valid way of stating why they should be linking to the source). You can also do this for purely branded terms (it doesn’t have to be a survey or infographic) and you can simply enter the brand term to identify those that are mentioning your brand and to see if they are linking to you, but obviously if...

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6 Big Brands Penalised by Google
Jul20

6 Big Brands Penalised by Google

11SHARESFacebookTwitter I thought that I’d put together an example of big brand websites that have been penalised by Google. This is partly inspired by the recent Rap Genius penalisation debacle. Plus, it’s good for SEOs out there who work on large brands to avoid the sorts of tactics that got the following websites banished from the search results by the all-powerful Google. 1. Interflora.co.uk 22 Feb 2013: If you’ve not heard about the Interflora penalisation case then you haven’t been paying too much attention to SEO this year. The popular flower service saw 95% of its top pages for high traffic keywords such as “flower” and “roses” removed from the search engine result pages. 11 days after it was penalised it was allowed back and ranked for many of the high driving keywords that it ranked for prior to its penalisation. In 2011, JCPenny was penalised for engaging in paid link schemes, which saw them out of Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) for around 90 days. Quite the contrast in comparison to Interflora’s 11 days, but this could be due to the amount of paid-for links that JCPenny accrued over the years. What did they do to recover from this? According to Search Engine Land, they contacted many of the bloggers that they may have incentivised  (possibly with free flowers) to remove any links that may have looked unnatural. What’s also curious about this case is that their website may have been penalised with excessive use of advertorials on major newspaper websites, which I’ll come onto in the next bit. There was likely quite a bit of disavowing going on in the background, which only Interflora and Google would know about, but this may have expedited the status that Google placed on their website from penalised to “normal” — or whatever Google calls a website that is no longer in the penalised stage. 2. 600+ Regional Newspapers Punished Due to Advertorials  22 Feb 2013: Although this wouldn’t be considered a manual penalty by Google, this is still in part related to the penalisation of Interflora, so is very relevant and would be something to take note of for many SEOs out there. First spotted by Anthony Shapley, he noticed that a lot of regional newspaper websites had their toolbar PageRank decrease from the highest case, PageRank 7 to PageRank 0. It can almost be blamed in part for advertorials that they were selling (without including the rel=”nofollow” attribute) and as a result they suffered a blow to their toolbar PageRank. Advertorials offer SEOs an opportunity to increase rankings if they insert keyword phrases along with relevant copy. However, this didn’t...

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How to Create a Mobile Version of Your WordPress Site
Jun23

How to Create a Mobile Version of Your WordPress Site

23SHARESFacebookTwitter Contrary to popular belief, there is no point in producing a separate version of your website – from scratch – just for mobile, because you can simply incorporate a responsive design instead. What is a responsive design exactly? It’s a web design technique that scales the site, layout and content appropriately to match the screen resolution of the device users are browsing on. This means that it doesn’t matter whether visitors are looking at your site with a desktop, mobile or tablet – the site will automatically scale to fit. For example, you can see that this blog has responsive design enabled because, if you adjust your browser window to a smaller size, everything in the blog resizes to fit the new window. Note the lack of a horizontal scroll bar at the bottom of the window – that means that everything on the blog has been reformatted to fit the window perfectly. So, how can you create a responsive, mobile WordPress site? For the most part, any web designer can implement a responsive design but it does take a bit of extra time and effort. That’s one reason why WordPress is so fantastic. All of that extra work can be eliminated – and additional functionality can be unlocked – by installing a responsive theme or plugin. If you’re looking to improve your WordPress-powered mobile website then plugins offer the easiest way to do that. Sorting through the massive catalog of plugins for WordPress can be daunting, to say the least. Not to mention the fact that there are usually several variants of the same plugin type, just adding to the general confusion. To make things easier, I’ve compiled a list of plugins that will help you achieve that excellent mobile site you’ve been wanting. 1. Duda Mobile Website Builder With Duda Mobile Website Builder, you can have a mobile version of your site up and running in no time. It works like a visual editor, allowing you to edit the layout of your mobile site with drag-and-drop mechanics. It’s easy to use, and it does a pretty good job of converting your regular site into a mobile one for you automatically. That being said, you can further customize aspects of the site so that they are to your liking. Of course, the plugin also makes the following features available for your mobile site: Click-to-Call Mobile Maps Business Hours Yelp Reviews Image Slider Photo Gallery Embed Videos Facebook Like Button Social Icons It’s worth noting that you don’t have to incorporate or use all of the features listed, but they are available if you decide you need them....

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