Weekly SEO news: 18 March 2014
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

Many businesses try to cut costs by hiring cheap SEO service providers. Do these SEO companies really offer search engine optimization and does it make sense to use these services?

In the news: Google penalized link networks in many countries, Google places its own properties at the top of the search results, Google introduces a new result page design, websites with a long spam history dig deep holes, and more.

Table of contents:

We hope that you enjoy this newsletter and that it helps you to get more out of your website. Please pass this newsletter on to your friends.

Best regards,
Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

1. Three popular cheap SEO services and their risks

Many businesses try to cut costs by hiring cheap SEO service providers. Do these SEO companies really offer search engine optimization and does it make sense to use these services?

cheap seo

Three popular cheap SEO services

There are many ways to get search engine optimization services for a low price. Here are the most popular:

1. The hosting company and the CMS vendor

Some hosting companies and content management system vendors include 'SEO' services in their packages.

These offers usually include automated tools that insert keywords and other code on your web pages and then they submit your site to Google and other search engines.

2. The son/cousin/nephew of someone who is great with computers

Maybe you know someone who knows someone who is really great with computers. They can 'fix the SEO' on your website and you will save a lot of money because they do not charge much.

3. The offshore company that will do everything for a low price

These companies often send unsolicited emails with great offers. They promise to build backlinks, optimize your web pages and a lot more for a low monthly fee. You just have to sit back while they do the work.

These offers don't look too bad and it might be tempting to use them.

Why you shouldn't use these cheap services

When it comes to search engine optimization, it does not make sense to cut costs at the expense of lost sales and revenue. All of the services above have in common that it can be risky to use them. For example:
  • The fully automated solutions offered by many hosting companies and CMS vendors are usually outdated methods that did work in the early 2000's. Nowadays, these methods don't work anymore. Some automated methods are considered spam and your website might get penalized if you use them. SEO isn't point-and-click anymore.

  • Your nephew might know how to code an HTML web page but that doesn't mean the he has any SEO knowledge. If your nephew is good with numbers, it still doesn't make sense to let him do your accounting (if you don't want to get in trouble with the tax office).

  • Many of the offshore companies use automated spam tools to 'promote' your website. Hiring these companies is often a sure way to get your website banned from Google in the long run. Some of these services even tweak the meta keywords tag of your web pages, which is a sure sign that they do not know what they're doing.
Search engine optimization is more than point-and-click

SEO is more than building a few links, adding a few keywords to your web pages. There's nothing that you can 'install' on your website and that's it.

The right visitors from search engines are crucial to the success of any website. It's important to understand that search engine optimization is not a one-off project. If you focus on short-lived optimization tactics, you will get short-lived results.

It's much better to develop a long-term search engine optimization strategy. Tools and services that look expensive can save you money in the long run because you will get much better results.

If you use the right tools, you can get things done as efficiently as possible. You still have to do some work but tools like SEOprofiler will guide you through the process and they will help you save time by automating things like regular SEO audits:

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week
Google penalizes Italian, Spanish and German link networks
"As announced, Google has penalized several Italian, Spanish and German link networks. The changes were announced in Italian and Spanish on Twitter by Google employees."

GoogleGoogle pushing down navigational search for own Google properties
"Google pushing some brand organic listings down the page with their own compare block. [...] I guess it is now only a matter of time before they start doing this for brand hotel searches as well."

Google introduces new results page design

"You may have noticed that Google Search on desktop looks a little different today. [...]

We’ve increased the size of result titles, removed the underlines, and evened out all the line heights. This improves readability and creates an overall cleaner look. We’ve also brought over our new ad labels from mobile, making the multi-device experience more consistent."

Matt CuttsGoogle’s Matt Cutts: long-standing, mass, duplicate spam isn’t that good ;-)

"In an online forum, a webmaster asked why it was so difficult to get the penalty of a particular client lifted [...]

It turned out that the client did not give all the details to the SEO company that tried to lift the penalty. [The company should]  have a clear-eyed view of the hole they dug for themselves over the years."

How to find easy link targets with the new hub finder tool

"Hub pages are pages that link to several of your competitors. Getting links from hub pages is important because these links show search engines that your website is related to a particular topic. [...]

The hub finder tool finds websites that are very likely to link to your site, it makes sure that your website is in the correct co-citation context and it improves the search engine rankings of your site."

Search engine newslets

  • Confirmed: your website does not get problems when someone includes it in a disavow links file.
  • Yandex begins purging links from its rankings for some Moscow verticals.
  • Bing introduces new image match search option.
  • Google adds concert tour dates to the Knowledge Graph.
  • Google tests shopping ads in the top position.
  • Matt Cutts: author rank is used for in-depth articles.
  • Visit to the Yandex headquarters in St. Petersburg.
  • Yelp’s reviews and ratings are now on Yahoo Search.
  • Google tests Knowledge Graph ads with 3D view.
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3. Recommended resources

Link disinfection: how to deal with bad links that point to your site

Hear what Matt Cutts says about bad links that point to your website:

link disinfection

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4. Previous articles
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