5 Tips to Avoid Being Harvested by Google’s Farmer Update

By now you’ve probably heard of the Farmer Update that Google released in February for it’s algorithm. The update was primarily focused on cleaning up Google’s result pages by removing content farms. Content farms are sites that simply publish large amounts of content of little value in order to gain a high ranking with the search engines.

Supposedly only about 12 percent of Google search queries in the U.S. were affected. Now, you may think your site is pristine and won’t be affected by the update, but here are five tips make sure you are right.

  1. Be Original: Make sure what you are posting is unique in some way. If you want to use something you found elsewhere on the web.  A video, a survey, a chart, etc., make sure you add value.
  2. High Quality: Avoid simple mistakes such as misspellings, old information and get the facts right.
  3. Be an Authority: Have expertise in a certain subject? Write about it. Don’t just spit out something you know nothing about.
  4. Great Presentation: Break your content in to easily consumed chunks. Make it easy to read and engaging for visitors.
  5. Be Sure to Bring Value: If you follow the first four tips you should be on the right track to adding value. Plus, this doesn’t just help in the eyes of Google, but real people too!

    Developing a Search Friendly Site (video)

    Yesterday I posted about Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide. If you learn better by reading check out the guide. If you learn better with videos check out this video to learn the basics of search friendly development beginning to end, including:

    • Using Flash and JavaScript
    • Headings and adding content
    • Using Robot.txt files and sitemaps
    • Engaging the community
    • Plus more!

    Learn the basics of Search Engine Optimization from Maile Ohye. The video is from last year but still very relevant.

    SEO for Beginers by Google (Google’s SEO Started Guide)

    Google Bot

    The true identity of the Google Bot.

    Are you just getting started in SEO? Are you a professional that wants a refresh on the basics? Guess what, Google has you covered.
    Google recently updated their Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide(pdf). The new version includes

    • More and clearer examples to help you understand.
    • Definitions of terms through out the guide.
    • Tips for optimizing for mobile devices.
    • How to effectively deal with Google bots.
    • Tips for successful promotion of your site.
    • Links to more search optimization tools and information

    The guide has also been translated into 40 languages.

    SEO Tip: Always Use Unique Titles for Each Page on Your Website

    So often I come across websites that use the same page title for all their pages. This is usually either the fault of a lazy designer or someone that just doesn’t understand the importance of unique page titles.

    Without unique titles the search engine spiders that crawl your website will have less of a chance of understanding what the page is about as well as how to distinguish it from the rest of your site. Therefor your listing in search engine results pages (SERPS) will suffer.

    In fact it’s more than just an SEO tip. When using sharing a link on many social media platforms the show the title of the page that the link goes to. If the title has nothing to do with what’s on the page, people will not know what the page is about and will be less likely to click on your link. Another example is for pay per click advertising. If you use Google Adwords Google may penalize you because it thinks your page doesn’t match the keywords you’ve selected and as a result your bids will be artificially increased.

    So, Always use unique titles for each page on your website. It’s not just an SEO tip it’s a basic usability tip.

    Web Analytics – It’s all About the Context

    When you are analyzing the data you get from your website analytics software it really is all about the context. If you look at any number by itself that gets spit out, you have no way of knowing if it is good or bad. All too often clients ask me questions about the data that without context, and any answer I give them would just be speculation. So, make sure you analyze your web analytics in context. What does that mean? Well, this week I’ve been watching a lot of webinars and videos, so watch the included video where Avinash Kaushik (one of the greatest minds in website analytics) explains the necessity of context in your analysis of analytics.

    Learn more about more about our Web Analytics Consulting.

    Official Release of WordPress 3.0 “Thelonsious” (Video)

    As they said over on wordpress.org “Arm your vuvuzelas” because the new WordPress 3.0 release came out today! The new version is a combination of WordPress and WordPress Multi-User (WPmµ). Bringing the best of blogging and multiple blog platforms together. I know who cares what I have to say. Just watch the video…

    New Website Goes Live Today! – Blackbird e-Solutions

    Blackbird e-SolutionsWe are officially launching our new site today. BlackbirdeSolutions.com Thanks to everyone for the tips and pointers for making it better. We’ve already added some of the changes and we’ll be going through the rest of the suggestions in the next couple of weeks.

    The new site is much cleaner and more functional than our previous site. We’ve also added more social media functionality including aspects of the new Facebook’s Open Graph. If you’re a regular reader of our blog you probably noticed the change to the look of the blog itself, some time ago. Much of the branding and style from our blog now flows into the rest of the site. Actually, the new logo design comes from our business cards that we developed last fall.

    There are a few things in particular to take look at:
    Of course the home page Interactive Marketing | Social Media | SEO | Localization
    Our Social Media Flowchart
    Our Projects and Resources page
    The Search Engine Optimization solutions page
    And of course our blog: e-Life

    I hope you enjoy the new site and feel free to leave your comments here or send me an email with your thoughts.

    The next step will be to update the Localization / Translation Services portion of our site.

    WordPress MU – BuddyPress and Events Manager *Bug Fix*

    I’m working on an install of WordPress Multi-User including BuddyPress for a client. I know, I know. We’ve been trying to hold on until WP 3 comes out, but we can’t wait any longer. For those of you that don’t know BuddyPress is a plugin for WordPress that adds social networking functionality to WordPress.

    Anyway, I have been trying to install the plugin Events Manager, but unfortunately it has been causing some problems. I finally figured it out so I wanted to post it here. It’s not actually a fix, but more like a work around. Hopefully it will save others a bit of frustration. I also posted this on the forum for the plugin. Events Manager Forum.

    I’m running a test version on another domain so I can make changes before the live version. I after seeing a post asking why there was no change log to the new version of the plugin, I realized I upgraded it when WP said there was a new version available and didn’t think about it much. So, in my test version I uninstalled version 2.2.2 and reinstalled 2.1. Guess what it worked again. So, I went over to the settings page and all the defaults were there. For some reason when you install/upgrade to 2.2.2 it dumps out all the defaults including the page title. I then copied and pasted the setting from 2.1 into 2.2.2 and it works fine now. Follow the link below for a pdf that shows the default settings.

    Events Manager 2.1 default settings.

    Pssst.. There’s Something Brewing at BlackbirdeSolutions.com

    Can you keep a secret? There’s something exciting brewing at BlackbirdeSolutions.com…

    We’re completely revamping our site to bring it up to date. We’re adding more social media integration, we’re changing the look and much more. We’re still in the very early stages, but here’s a little preview of what’s to come:

    Screenshot of the top of our new site.

    Preview of the bottom of our new index page.