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How times flies – Google Panda’s Update Has Recently Turned Two

It is hard to believe it has already been two years since Google launched its Panda update, the impact of which many SEO companies are still feeling the effects of.


The first Panda algorithm update was launched in February 2011 and targeted low-quality sites with thin or very little content. Google Panda caused massive loss in traffic and revenue and sites with low-quality content suffered the most. This sparked many SEO companies to rethink their business goals as well as their way of doing business. For search engine marketing companies to continue to be economically viable, they would need to adapt.


Two years later, many have tried to follow Google’s unofficial guidelines but for the few that have been successful even more have failed. While sites did go through a massive quality clean-up in an attempt to get back in Google’s good graces (and even began expanding into other digital channels like social media), smart content providers found ways to diversify web traffic without having to rely heavily on Google.


Monthly Panda updates are becoming expected and SEO companies are learning that in order to provide their clients the best service there are no hard and fast ways of approaching search engine optimisation and that a one-size-fit-all strategy is not the way to go to achieve lasting success.


Google Panda Turns 2 | SEO | Google updates

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How Effective is Your SEO Strategy in 2013?

SEO strategy 2013

With the Panda update hot on our heels this would be a good time to reassess your SEO efforts. Over the past few years SEO strategies have been forced to make dramatic changes and move more towards optimising websites for people rather than robotic search engines. Today the huge effect that referral links have on pushing up website rankings have turned social media into the driving force for spreading links which gives ‘the people’ more power.


Monitoring the trends, it has become apparent that sticking to old SEO methods is more detrimental to a website’s rankings than beneficial. If you haven’t already made the changes, it’s time to clean up your SEO strategy.


Here are five old school SEO tactics that are no longer effective in the age of Penguin and Panda:

  1. Keyword stuffed content and domain names
    Stuffing your content and domain names with targeted keywords may have worked before but the Panda update has changed the game and now using this tactic will simply damage your SEO efforts.
  2. Content cloaking
    Cloaking is one of the oldest Blackhat SEO tricks which involves hiding keyword stuffed content intended for search engines, from the sight of visitors. Using this tactic is an invitation for Google to drop your rankings.
  3. Article directory submission
    This is a time consuming strategy aimed at building link power and traffic to the website. Today the effort is really not worth it since Google devalued a majority of article directories and the directories that still carry a lot of power utilise “nofollow” links.
  4. Buying backlinks
    Backlink buying was knocked out by the Penguin update. Besides the fact that most bought links are unrelated or have low page ranks, Google also monitors the rate at which links are accumulated. Ultimately Google penalises websites suspected of unnatural link building.
  5. Article spinning
    Article spinning was developed to avoid getting penalized for duplicate content. Today the technique no longer applies and Google is able to detect the slight changes made to original articles.


Looking at how SEO has changed over a short period of time it’s fair to conclude that change is a constant in this industry. That said one thing will remain true; no matter what changes Google makes to its algorithm it will always be to the benefit of ‘the people’.

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Is the 25th Panda Update imminent?

The previous Google Panda update happened little less than a month ago and as we reach the 30 day mark, the blogosphere is ablaze with speculation as to when the next Google Panda update will be rolled out. There has been much chatter surrounding the increase in GoogleBot crawl activity and ranking fluctuations on WebmasterWorld. This increase in Google crawl activity and SERP changes seems to be an emerging trend observed over the last few months before a data refresh.


Similar activity was seen before the Panda #24 update and it is being speculated that the next Panda update is imminent and will soon hit. Panda #24 affected 1,2% of English based queries and was pushed out at the end of January 2013. The confirmed Panda #23 impacted 1,3% of English queries and was rolled out on 21 December last year. Prior to that, the last Panda updat


e affected 0,8% of English search queries and was rolled out on 21 November. This seems to imply that Google is updating on a fairly regular basis every four weeks or so, and it is beginning to look like we can expect a Google update like clockwork every month which means the next one is imminent.


Whether (or not) the 25th installment of the Google Panda update is upon us, only Google can positively confirm. What it does however mean for SEO companies is that vigilant monitoring of their clients sites is needed. It also implies that by the very nature of search engine optimisation, SEO companies need to be quick on the ball and able to adapt to the constantly changing marketing environment.

Latest Google Panda Update | SEO companies | National Positions


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Google updates spam detection for reviews

Google’s success can be attributed to the fact that it prides itself on giving web users the most relevant and reliable results. It has worked hard to maintain its credibility and trust in the eyes of users and for this very reason, fake reviews have come under fire.


Google recently announced that it has made some improvements to its spam detection algorithm which has clamped down on fake reviews. With this announcement comes the tacit warning to businesses and SEO companies alike to be very aware that fake reviews will not be tolerated.


Reviews and testimonials by their very nature need to credible. As a marketing tactic, reviews and endorsements have often been used to convince prospective buyers or clients to buy a product or a service.

However, SEO companies who try to manipulate a business’s online reputation by posting overly saccharine reviews or spammy reviews littered with links will be taken down. Reviews written by company employees are also a no no.


The moral of the story here is no one likes spam. Google recommends that reviewers follow the review guidelines and encourages users to report reviews that are in violation with its policy guidelines.

Google warms SEO companies against fake reviews

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Why Google Has a Role in Your Website’s Success

SEO - Online Success

Google is always a hot topic in the online world with the majority of internet users bowing down to its’ rules and regulations. In the past few years Google algorithm updates such as Penguin and Panda have drastically affected the way people can use the internet to promote their online businesses. The latest update was the Panda #24 which took place on 22 January 2013 and affected 1.2% of English queries globally.


To maintain its footprint in the online world, Google is always reinventing itself and adding to its business offering. To date, in addition to search, it has spread its wings into PPC advertising, e-mail, software, social media, and more. Just yesterday Google acquired Channel Intelligence which is a data service that specialises in helping major ecommerce businesses push more product sales online. Channel Intelligence was one of the original launch partners for Google Shopping and this $125 million acquisition is aimed at improving the Google Shopping experience by helping both merchants and consumers save time and money online.

How relevant is Google in South Africa

Although Google is not the only search engine out there, research shows that competitors like Bing and Yahoo are in actual fact not much competition in South Africa. As a result, unless your niche market happens to use Bing and Yahoo to search on the web, optimising your website for those search engines could be considered a waste of time.


According to, an online statistics tool, between January 2012 and January 2013 Google has held the number one spot in South Africa and Africa as a whole:
Search Engine Usage in Africa

  • Google: 95.03%
  • Bing: 2.21%
  • Yahoo!: 1.63%

Search Engine Usage in South Africa

  • Google: 93.55%
  • Bing: 4%
  • Yahoo!: 1.13%

Google top search engine

This simply means that most South African use Google as a first point of reference when looking for information. As a result investing your marketing budget on having your website rank well in this search engine will do your online business a whole lot of good.

How to optimise your website for Google in 2013

The first step is to let go of all those sneaky SEO tricks used before Penguin and Panda arrived, they will do your website more harm than good. Remember quality information is what Google wants for searchers so that is what you need to provide. 2013 is all about rich and informative content. With a base of quality content other important SEO factors such as link authority and social media will all be easier to put into effect for the overall benefit of your website.


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How difficult is it to change the search habits of users?

Search engine marketers and SEO companies alike have been abuzz with the recent launch of Facebook Graph Search and what this latest development could mean for the future of search engine marketing and SEO.


One side of this debate considers the impact of how Facebook Graph levers off more than a billion Facebook users and how it opens up different optimisation possibilities.


The other side delves into whether Facebook Graph will present serious competition to Google and how it relates to user behaviour.


For Facebook Graph to present a serious challenge to Google, it will have to test already strongly established user behaviour and how the average person searches for information online.


Using Google for search has become an established norm in the mind of both Technorati and Techophobes. For Facebook Search to succeed it will have to reset deeply ingrained search behaviour patterns and brand loyalty. Essentially Facebook Graph will have to disrupt established user behaviour which has partly been responsible for Google’s staying power.


The strength of a habit, as anyone who has tried to stop smoking or lose weight can attest too lies in the effect of two interrelated variables: utility and frequency. Separately, these variables carry value independently, but when combined they reinforce each other.


Google has maximised on this and has reinforced user behaviour by being valuable to users and by being perceived as consistently adding value. Thus it has become a deeply ingrained habit and has become synonymous with search.


This said, for Facebook Graph to gain traction it will have to compete for consumer mind share by leveraging off its usability and encourage greater frequency of use. Not an easy task by any means.


Whatever the outcome, SEO companies will be well advised to pay careful attention to Facebook Graph and its potential impact on SEO and search engine marketing.

Is Facebook Graph the future of SEO and search?

Facebook Graph Search vs Google Search

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What Facebook Graph Search means for SEO

Facebook announced the launch of Facebook Graph Search Beta on 15 January 2013. As one of the most popular social media platforms boasting over a billion members, it’s easy to see how Facebook has dominated online conversation since its inception in February 2004.


So what exactly is Graph Search?


Graph Search will allow Facebook users to search for on four main areas of search:

  • people,
  • photos,
  • places
  • and interests.

It means that Facebook members who want to know their friends’ preferences before making decisions on restaurants; careers, books and so on can search for example “great fish restaurants,” and be rewarded with meaningful results.


Search engine companies and internet marketing communities have expected that eventually, Facebook would expand into search. However, this is the first tangible efforts Facebook has made to compete for Google’s share of the search market.


What will Graph Search mean for Google search?


It is still uncertain whether or not Graph Search has the potential to evolve into something that will ‘kill Google’. Having said this however, Graph Search doesn’t have to take on the megalith of search engines and win.


The reality is if Facebook Graph Search can establish itself as an invaluable tool to users, it translates to more time spent using Facebook for search rather than Google. And with Facebook’s over 1 billion users, the maths is simple…


What does this mean for SEO?


One of the first things Mark Zuckerberg was quick to point out about Search Graph was that it is not web search. And this move away from traditional web search opens up exciting avenues for businesses and SEO companies. With Graph Search there will be a whole new area of search optimisation.


Whereas SEO companies will optimise a site relatively similarly for various search engines, Graph Search is not about optimising a website.


Search Graph is based on results returned which are based on factors that include information which has been shared by your business and the connections of the person searching.


The challenge ahead for search engine optimisation companies is for them to be flexible enough to adapt to this new type of search. Time will tell if Graph Search heralds a new era for search optimisation.


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Panda Update from Google – 24th Tweak

Google first announced the Panda algorithm addition nearly 2 years ago and on Jan 24th they finally, after much pushing and queries, announced that the 24th tweak to Panda was released last week.

Unrelated to the strong signs of an update many sites seemed to experience around January 17th , this Panda refresh was officially announced on Twitter yesterday, though there’s hardly been as much buzz on the forums surrounding this update as there was about the changes earlier this month that Google still claims to have been nothing.

Much like the last Panda update, which was pushed out right in the middle of the holiday season and affected 1.3% of English queries, this data refresh is said to affect a similar number of searches—about 1.2% of English queries.

To learn more about these Panda updates or for guidance on building high-quality sites, Google’s Webmasters have some good advice that might help.

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National Positions USA Named the 50th Fastest Growing company in Los Angeles

For the third year in a row National Positions has been named the 50th fastest growing company in LA by the Business Journal.  Having recently been named by Inc. Magazine, one of the fastest growing private companies in the USA, we are truly humbled and honoured by the recognition.


Bernard May, President of National Positions USA said “I’d like to thank the Los Angeles Business Journal for honouring us once again with this award. Our continued rapid growth can be attributed to many things but the most important is our innovative team’s passion for our clients’ success,”


This year National Positions has not only increased in size but our product offering has also improved to give our clients comprehensive online marketing strategies that improve online presence and branding.


Clients always come first! – Special thanks go out to all our clients who have trusted us with the growth of their businesses on the internet through increased visibility and lead generation. It has always been our goal to help online businesses reach their full potential and to date National Positions has increased website traffic and online business for over 1,000 companies around the world.


Thank you also to the dedicated team of website developers and designers, PPC marketers, copywriters and SEO professionals behind National Positions who go out of their way to provide innovative solutions for individual clients.


The internet has and continues to make an impact on how traditional business takes place and we are excited to be part of this online revolution. From social media marketing, to PPC campaigns and Organic SEO we are constantly pursuing value based online marketing solutions for each client in order to deliver measurable results that work together for the growth and prosperity of your business.


Article Source:
National Positions USA
Pr Web

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National Positions USA Named One of Fastest Growing Private Companies in US!

Exciting news here at National Positions! We’ve been named by Inc. Magazine one of the fastest growing private companies in the country. This marks the fourth straight year we’ve made the Inc. list. In this year’s ranking, we are listed 1,360 out of the top 5,000 companies.

This is a great honor for all of us at National Positions. Making the list once is quite an accomplishment, but to make it four straight years is truly overwhelming!

Thank you so much to our clients. We owe our success to you. You’ve trusted us and worked with us as your partners, and we take that responsibility very seriously. We promise that we’re going to work hard than ever to keep improving your campaigns so that you reach new levels of success. While we’re happy about our own growth, we’re most proud of our track record: helping over 1,000 companies use the Internet to grow their business.

And a very special thank you to our National Positions team! It may sound corny to say it, but we truly believe that we have the best staff in the country! Internet marketing is constantly changing, and online success requires a commitment to innovation, creativity and hard work. We’re lucky to have such a terrific group of web developers, designers, writers, social media marketers and SEO experts.

We’re fortunate to be in the middle of an exciting industry that is growing rapidly. We’re especially excited about the new developments happening everywhere we look: the Panda and Penguin Updates, the rise of new social networks such as Pinterest and Foursquare, the explosion of mobile and local search, and the opportunities found in comparison shopping engines. Internet marketing is maturing and becoming a vital component of every company’s marketing plan. We’re happy to help so many businesses create new opportunities in this amazing new landscape.

National Positions has always been focused on traffic, leads, sales and measurable results that create profit for our clients. We strive to understand the big picture of our clients’ businesses—their products and services, their goals, and what they want to communicate. Then we build a marketing strategy to meet their specific needs.
As Internet marketing continues to evolve, it is this commitment to Value Based Marketing that will guide us and our clients.

Originally posted :

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