This rather unfortunate course of events follow another egregious victim of the quality team, the quite-celebrated-in-the-past Myblogguest.
I will not judge the decision of the quality team, which is doing its job protecting the sanctity of the link graph. Whoever try to violate the Google guidelines which are splendidly explained in this video published on a Google property (Youtube), will incur in the ire of the quality team.
How to bypass the manual penalty ?
Is it really possible ?
Of course there are ways to bypass such an action ! And of course penalized companies are entitled to resist the pressure of the Giant Conglomerate of Search: it’s democracy baby!
Fortunately the complexity of the algorithm is already beyond the collective intelligence of the Engineers who created it. It’s a point were the Artificial intelligence become more intelligent that the organic entities that created it, it’s called the singularity.
But let’s focus for now on how to bypass the penalization!
The Google (secret) index
What most people don’t know, is that there’s a secret index which is public, but mostly unused. There are more or less the same websites, but with less clutter! No pesky maps, no useless videos or ratings or pictures of ugly people… just search results!
And the best of all? ALMOST NO ADS!!!
So, pay attention, this is how you can access it.
Step 1: open google
Step 2: type in the search field the secret command: BING
Step 3: click on BING
Now you may feel a bit lost, the interface is completely different, the background is DARK and what about the little duck ?
Don’t fret, just enter the website you are looking for and press on the yellow lens!
Step 4: let’s try to search for “Postjoint”
WOAH! it’s right there! See ?
Step 4b: “this is a fluke, i don’t think it could work for MyBlogGuest!”
Ah, nice try! But it works!
Fast, clean and no ads!
See what I mean ? Make some tests for your self, you will be amazed how fast and clean the hidden index of GoogleBing is ! You won’t ever go to the old interface anymore!
In the spirit of Easter I’ll leave you with the image of a cute bunny.
This is satire. I think that Google has changed the world and could do great things in the future. But i also think, as an SEO specialist, that the current course of actions has challenged my way of doing things. While Google is trying to protect his interests, there are also people like me who are confused. If i can’t be sure of what I’m doing, how can my clients be certain of the strategies that we should implement if not sure myself? Google i think you should reflect on your ethics and clear your “collective hide mind”.
But it’s more that “just another ebook about Seo”, the final part of the ebook contains the presentation for a fictional travel agency: it’s an interesting blueprint to improve our way of communicating concepts which seems aliens to most customers.
There’s also a Linkedin group which will, no doubt about that, become an interesting magical cauldron producting mad ideas.
As some of you may have noticed, this february i’ve left Italy following my thirst for adventure. I wanted to test my Seo experience in an international scene, therefore i have moved to London in search for a new occupation.
Following this intent, i have started to promote myself using several channels: Linkedin, other Social media, Guestblogging (must increase this) and of course directly browsing on companies websites, looking for job openings.
One of the major discoveries of this new experience is a Talent acquisition service called Taleo. On the paper the idea is brilliant: create a profile inside the database of the system and use that profile to submit your candidacy to companies. Brilliant, one login to rule them all!
I was enthusiastic: i love “smart automation” and the prospect of simply logging and updating all my relevant information before submitting was simply salivating. The problem is that Taleo is not really working so well.
Yes, after compiling 4 pages of informations, i was presented with a blank page.
All the info weren’t lost: i had to
Refresh the page
Search for job from the list
Skip through the SIX pages of the application (luckily) all the previous informations were recorded)
Submit and finally receive a confirmation in email.
What is the problem
The Taleo system is usually “embedded” by companies in their websites using a subdomain or (worse) directly through an iframe. For the casual user, it seems part of the company, of course a Technical Seo see things from a different perspective.
And i may add that sometimes the system try (too much) to integrate the brand colors inside the recruiting process. I don’t know who decided it, but this is the equivalent of being stabbed in both eyes with knives.
What i would really love to see
I keep creating new Taleo profiles, even though i’ve already done the process several times. I would like to create some “templatedroles” and use them freely whenever Taleo is involved.
If you make a service called “universal profile”, would it be possible to use it in an international field ? I’m referring to you Talentexchange.
…and that’s only the tip of the iceberg, most big brands have more complex recruiting processes.
Come on Taleo, you’ve been acquired by Oracle, i’m sure you can do it! Just a little more effort (and budget) and you can really become something extraordinary.
It seems Google has been on Frenzy during the last weeks, banning and hitting link networks and companies alike.
After a few warning signals, google has penalized Myblogguest, probably the most famous guest blogging service, managed by Ann Smarty. The news has been covered on a post by search engine land, but it’s still bouncing around the internet.
what about the publishers ?
The situation is tense, there are rumors that the websites who benefited from the guest blogging activity may be penalized too… and some evidences have already emerged.
Considering the amount of publishers, it will probably be a carnage. I tried to use the system a few years ago, for a blog about italian cuisine which i created. I must say that the level of articles was average, but being an Seo, i insisted that at least they had to be original. I’ve not received any notification of unnatural links so far…
Keeping a cool head is paramount
The whole situation is aggravated by the lack of “diplomacy” from Ann Smarty, which is trying to defend her company… but in my opinion she is being influenced by her anger, while instead she should keep her cool and create a “sorry, let’s clean this mess” reply. I can sympathize with her but i don’t think it’s good PR to write a post like this.
The strange case of Portent interactive
The other strange fact happened this week is the penalization of Portent Interactive. As far as i can say, Ian Lurie is one of the most correct people in the Seo industry and i find it really hard to believe that his company may have bought links or participated in a link schema.
Ian has done an accurate review of their links and the actions he has done to recover the situation. As i’m writing the domain is returned on its rightful position on google.
As was told previously, Maurizio decided to download the last 100 posts for each of the 480 top accounts and used them to compare users. In retrospective this was probably not the best strategy to compare user data, but it was useful to guess how the Author rank may works.
what’s wrong with only 100 posts?
It’s difficult to do an accurate analysis when the original data is really sparse.
some people did not have 100 posts.
Five people had published the last post over 800 days before the data collection
Two of users need only two days to write 100 posts.
101 people wrote less than 100 posts
7 people never wrote a post
It’s worth nothing again that the data collected is only the public part which the users decide to share. Even the 7 users with no public data are probably publishing something to private circles. One of those for example, publish the posts, but after a day delete them!
A grand total of 42.327 posts were collected
Posts with only text: 3.667
Posts with Link: 13.952
Posts with Photo: 16.984
Posts with Album: 2.632
Posts with Video: 4.130
Posts with Hangout: 47
Posts with Audio: 34
Posts with Event: 115
Posts with Circle: 656
Posts with Community: 24
Posts with Docs: 24
Posts with Check in: 2
Posts with Maps: 6
Posts with Market: 1
Posts with Page: 17
Posts with Place: 25
Posts with Play: 1
Posts with Reviews: 10
This categorization is not available through the api and has been devised using a customized tool.
Only 93 users write on average more than 160 characters per post.
This kind of data may explain the radical changes happened during the last months on Google+, with larger images and the disappearing description from an external link.
Google+ is now an hybrid between pinterest and twitter (which is probably influencing the usage of short texts).
All the posts generated 902.000 +1, 245.000 comments and 105.000 shares. On average there are 3,5 +1 for each comment and 9 +1 for each share.
We may say that the +1 is the most used social signal: it’s quick and effortless. It’s still useful because the post which has been plussed, will be shown in the circles of the person who has given the +1. There also an accumulation of social signals (+1, comments, shares): the receiver will be shown more often inside the stream of the giver.
Digging the data we are able to see that the most successful posts are “post with photos” and “post with album”.
We can also see interesting results regarding post with circles, but the number is artificially inflated, because it’s a group of people industrializing the process and putting strict rules too. The average shares is unnatural and the level of engagement become zero after the share is completed.
We consider this activity similar to low quality link building, where the number of followers is considered important like an high pagerank. Fortunately it’s quite easier to track this activities.
According to the table, the category with the highest level of engagement is the “VIPs”: this makes sense because it’s composed of a very limited number of people with a huge number of (fanatic) followers. One in particular is Beppe Grillo, which is now a politician with hundred thousands of followers. But considering the supposed amount of followers, those numbers are not really impressive.
The categories of photography and images have good results too: the similarities with pinterest are striking. Google+ has become an image-centric social network (expecially with the ease of upload and post process due to Android smartphones). Most of the people want easily-digested contents, funny pictures to share with friends or high-quality photos.
note i’m skipping a part about post by time. Sorry Maurizio, i think it’s boring. Let’s just summarize it by saying tht people usually publish contents between 12am and 4pm and with a with another spike around 8pm. If you want to see the graph, click here
A distanza di quasi 3 anni ripropongo un sondaggio sulle retribuzioni degli specialisti del digital marketing. Originariamente si trattava di un sondaggio sulle retribuzioni Seo, ma oramai il mercato è cambiato talmente tanto che vale la pena di estenderlo il più possibile.
cosa c’e’ di nuovo?
Ricordando i suggerimenti ricevuti a suo tempo, ho cercato di fare un insieme di domande che non fosse troppo lungo (siamo tutti impegnati) e desse la possibilità di inserire specialità multiple: questo l’ho fatto perchè ho ipotizzato che in una realtà frammentata come l’italia, i ruoli “puri” fossero la minoranza.
Quindi è possibile indicare che si fa Seo, Ppc e Social media.
Inoltre ho aggiunto diverse forme di inquadramento, puntando a identificare tutte le possibili figure, dallo stagista, fino al grande direttore d’agenzia (forse).
la Retribuzione è stata trasformata da netta in lorda: nel 2011 si era rivelato troppo complesso per chi è in partita iva calcolare il netto effettivo. Meglio paragonare il lordo per tutti, anche se sappiamo che il prelievo fiscale è differente, ma questo sarà possibile dettagliarlo nell’analisi dei raccolti. (40.000 euro l’anno da dipendente non sono come 40.000 euro in partita iva). Inoltre avendosi appena concluso il 2013, il calcolo del fatturato lordo per chi è in partita iva, dovrebbe essere più semplice.
fino a questo momento abbiamo raccolto circa 180 voci in due giorni!
Aiutateci a diffondere ulteriormente il sondaggio!
On the 16th of january, Maurizio Ceravolo published a huge study about the top 480 profile of Google+ in italy.
Huge is an understatement since the original article is 23000+ words long and printed on paper would probably become a Novella. I’ve been authorized by Maurizio to adapt in english his discoveries and i’ll do my best to fit the main concepts in a more digestible format.
Who is Maurizio Ceravolo ?
According to his linkedin profile, Maurizio is a web/mobile/windows developer, according to this post is a big data scientist and according to hig G+ shares is very passionate about astronomy.
Maurizio downloaded the data from the 480 most followed profiles on Google+ Italy.
This analysis had several goals:
Guessing how author rank may work
How to calculate the authorship
Who are the most engaging authors
Which strategy/action is resulting more engaging to followers.
Processing such an amount of data of course brought some unexpected discoveries and only some of them will be discussed in this first study.
An Excel file is available to download with a lot of aggregated data extracted from the raw data extrated from Google+. You may process it and obtain your own conclusions.
Tools and methods
Maurizio used the Google+ APIs developing his own code to download and store into a database the raw data. Unfortunately the APIs were not able to supply all the data needed, therefore Maurizio developed additional code to download data from the public profiles. Eventually all the data was moved into a database in order to use SQL to aggregate data properly. Excel was used as apresentation tool to show aggregated data. The node graph was rendered using Gephi. An impressive amount of brain power was poured over the whole process.
The representative sample
The starting sample was given by list of the top 400 users in Italy on Circlecount. The geographical pertinence may not be completely accurate because Circlecount read the actual data supplied by the users in their profiles: if a user did not specify “italy” in his/her profile, Circlecount cannot be aware of that. The data was collected on the 12nd of october, therefore the situation may be different in this moment (january 2014).
While analyzing the top 400, Maurizio added 80 more italian people which were followed by the top 400.
I’m listing the top20 but you can read the whole list on the original article. The number represent the amount of followers.
+Elia Locardi (1.956.689)
+Tiziano Ferro (805.975)
+Katie Parla (731.898)
+Eros Ramazzotti (391.661)
+Ninah Mars (302.966)
+Vauro Senesi (266.411)
+Andrea Bocelli (245.206)
+Daniele Devoti (196.573)
+Manu Dolcenera (168.540)
+Anna Masera (156.087)
+Beppe Grillo (152.036)
+Vasco Rossi (143.942)
+Luca De Biase (116.897)
+Vincenzo Cosenza (112.099)
+BAZ Marco Bazzoni (99.860)
+Antonio Lupetti (95.567)
+Donato Carriero (88.806)
+Claudio Gagliardini (78.430)
+federico mello (77.325)
+Gemma Costa (76.595)
What kind of data was downloaded
For each of the 480 profiles, where available, it was downloaded:
the last 100 public posts
the text of those posts
the names of the people who did +1, commented and shared
where possible he downloaded the text of each comment.
Why only 100 posts ?
There is an hard limit enforced by the APIs: you can get 100 posts from a single Api call. Maurizio knows that it’s not an huge number, but it was enough to guess the interactions and behaviours of the people involved during the conversations.
Even with those limits, 2 weeks of work were needed to download all the data and the size of the database became 1.2 GBytes! Since this amount of data was generated by the posts of 480 people, You can imagine the huge amount of storage needed by Google to handle millions of people!
Who are the top 480 accounts
Officially we have 276 men, 180 women, 20 people who left the sex unspecified and 4 that specified “other”. Five of those don’t have a true name, but are using a brand name, for example the Napoli Soccer team (it seems official too!). This is weird because it’s explicity forbidden by Google guidelines and therefore the team should use a Business Page. It’s even weirder because the account is one of the profiles suggested by Google+ on the Sport category!
The plot thickens
A profile +Cesare Riccardo has a doppelganger called +Riccardo Lemons, which has the same avatar, the same profile image and publish the same contents. Why ? He is probably trying to bypass the limit of 5000 people who a profile may follow at the same time. That’s probably a way to involve more people in the activity of circle sharing.
In the list is listed a departed friend, Marco Zamperini, who sadly passed away just a few days after collecting the data.
If you read the whole list, you will notice some names which does not seem italians. They are listed because they were listed as in italy at the time of collection and on average they interact quite a lot with the italian audience.
Comparing the top people on twitter, where the majority of dominant accounts are VIPs, on Google+ there a fair share of common people and the true VIPs are only 10.
All the account collected have been manually and categorized and in some cases re-categorized during the manual review of the data. There’s an amount of human interpretation because it’s impossible to categorize objectively the accounts.
The aggregated categories are:
Circlers: People who try to increase their followers, ignoring the quality of contents. They usually employ shared circles, exchanging visibility by sharing their sharers in a new share circles. It’s confusing but it’s similar to link exchange and it’s probably a form for author rank spam. They often use tags like #circleshare or #sharedcircle.
Commercial intent: fake page or sell page
Culture: including arts, architecture, law, science, writing
VIPs: musicians, politicians, showbusiness, vips in general.
Photography: real photographers. There is quite a bunch of such people and one of those is the most top account of Google+ italy!
Images: Generic images, facebook-like content, motivationals, love, quotes, etc.
Informations: news and journalism
Other: for the deviant content that you can’t classify in other categories.
Politics: because somebody has to tell his opinion on how to run things
Entertainment : an aggregated category including : adult, animals, cooking, exoterism, fashion, music, sport)
Web, Social, tech: including also contents from Google and Google employees
Weirdly enough for the italian market, soccer is almost absent on the top accounts: only two people talk about sport and they are almost ignored by their followers. (translator’s note: there’s facebook for rabid soccer fans).
Of the 480 profiles:
89 won’t allow to see the list of the followers
17 follow less than 100 people
67 follow 100-500 people
40 follow 500-1000 people
50 follow 1000-2000 people
46 follow 2000-3000 people
46 follow 3000-4000 people
125 follow 4000-5000 people (which is the maximum amount of people to follow)
There is no limit of on the number of followers.
Those 480 people are following 800.000 people, with a unique number of accounts numbering around 300.000. Definitely not a private club!
Note that the list of following may be incomplete: it’s possible to publish only a part of it, showing publicly only some circles.
The node graph of the relations
Downloading from each account the list of the followed account, is it possible to draw a graph of the relations beetween profiles.
The high resolution (4000×5000 px) graph is available here.
If you want to try an interactive version, click here.
is it possible to view the interactive version of the graph, but due to the sheer amount of data, you may have to wait even 30 seconds (depending on the connection speed). Definitely not recommended on a smartphone. Where it’s ready, you can click on a node to see the connections to other profiles.
The circle attached to each node has a color (representing the category) and an area size representing the followers amount.
As you can see there are 3 dominant colors: Red (Web, social, tech), light green (images), blue (photography). Those are the most popular categories between the top accounts. Observing the graph, it seems that everybody is well connected , except a couple of outsiders which have no connection.
The Graph was calculated using the algorithm “Force Atlas” between the circles. This algorithm balance the nodes distance according to the number of links between them. The final result is that similar circles have more connections and therefore they are moved close: it make sense because people to tend follow other people with similar interests.
Photographers have created an “enclave” and don’t connect with other groups.
Images group has lot of interaction with other groups
Web-social-tech group is very connected, probably because we feel the need to relate to each other, but it’s also followed a lot by other groups.
Circles are mainly leeching the photographers.
Other groups are in the middle.
One of the strange cases inside the VIPs groups is the account belonging to the artist Andrea Bocelli, which is almost neglected by the other top accounts. The account, which is the 7th most followed in italy, is following only 9 accounts.
The most well connected account in our category (tech-web) is Claudio Gagliardini, that being an expert in social media, was able to connect 157 followers from the top 480! Luca Sanarica is the account following the largest amount of Top account, with 328 out of 480.
Outside the TOP but still interesting
There is a list of people who is followed by our Top 480, the top 10 list include: (the number represents how many people from the top is following them)
+Robert SKREINER (205)
+Larry Page (164)
+Marco Scud (130)
+Robert Scoble (129)
+Sergey Brin (129)
+Thomas Hawk (120)
+Google Italia (118)
+Pete Cashmore (117)
+Trey Ratcliff (116)
+Alessio Jacona (114)
The most followed by the top is a photographer Robert Skreiner which is surpassing even Larry page. Inside this list we may see two italians Marco Scud and Alessio Jacona which are out of the top 480, demonstrating that it’s not necessary to have lots of followers to get noticed by top players.
Most of the accounts have circled more thatn 1000 people, according to the public data. Some of them even more than 4000. Are those people really that interesting ? Maurizio don’t think so. He is following around 500 people and it’s complicated to read each of those posts. One possible hypothesis is that lots of people are dismissed into minimum-level circles which do not publish content on the main stream.
Because people have an inherent need of followers as a currency, a legacy behaviour coming from the times of myspace. They follow new people constantly hoping for a reciprocation. Circling a person generates a notification therefore some people decide di circle back.
It seems unrealistic to use the number of followers as a measure of success and interest about a profile. There’s also a market, like facebook and twitter, to buy followers and increase the magic number. Could it be that the author rank, the mythical beast of Mountain view, is influenced by such number? Hardly so!
Let’s add another level of complexity
Few days ago the “private results” have arrived in italy too. How will it influence our results ? Are we going to see the results suggested by the people we are following or are we going to see the results of the people who have interacted with us ?
Since google has collected interactions throught the +1 button, It would be strange to use only the relations and not the interactions.
That’s the reason why Maurizio has collected the available contents beside the relations…and that’s why you should stay tuned for part TWO !
Dejan Seo is hosting an hangout on air on 30th of january with the author of the study and some other italian SEOs (including me).
Per rispondere a quelli che chiedono “quanto ci vuole a recuperare da una penalità manuale” di Google, la risposta è “almeno 10 giorni”.
Questo è infatti il tempo che è stato necessario a Rapgenius per recuperare dalla penalità di natale.
Come hanno fatto ?
Se avete seguito il workshop di Fullplan relativo al recupero delle penalizzazioni durante il convegnoGT lo dovreste sapere 😀
per gli altri, in breve
Hanno scaricato un grosso elenco di link
hanno esaminato i link e hanno cercato di intercettare quelli che erano troppo spammosi
hanno scritto ai webmaster chiedendo di metterli in nofollow
hanno fatto un file di disavow per gli altri
richiesta di riconsiderazione
Tools and details
Per arrivare a questo risultato, il team di rapgenius ha scritto del codice di ruby per analizzare 170.000 urls… in 15 minuti. Il risultato è particolarmente eclatante, ma dimostra come una dose di preparazione tecnica sia importante per risolvere agilmente problemi di questa portata.
Vi siete ripresi dalle libagioni natalizie ? Io mentre sonnecchiavo durante la digestione ho visto passare su Pulse una notizia che ho prontamente condiviso, ovvero che “Rap genius era stato penalizzato dallo spam team di google”.
ma che è rap genius ?
Per semplificare è un portale di testi di canzoni rap, che però offre anche versioni annotate dei video, fa analisi semantiche basate sui testi rap, eccetera.
Ed è anche una macchina sforna soldi, infatti è stato oggetto di un investimento di 15 milioni di dollari nel 2012! Link a Forbes
ecco un esempio di mail inviata da rap genius un cui si indicava “lo scambio”:
In termini più semplici
Posso solo fare delle ipotesi, perchè la notizia è fresca di ieri, quindi non c’e’ ancora molto che si possa dire di sicuro, ma i problemi qua sono legati al fatto che i link richiesti
Avevano una anchor text esatta e specifica
Non erano spontanei, insomma c’era di mezzo una transazione, anche se non c’era uno scambio di denaro.
Insomma era uno schema di link per migliorare i posizionamenti.
Non parlo da un pulpito, qualsiasi Seo cerca di fare queste attività perchè sono nell’ottica del miglioramento del business (senza correre rischi inutili).
Una cosa è certa: qualcuno ha spifferato la cosa al team della qualità di Google, visto che il processo avveniva in email. Quindi possiamo inserire la delazione tra i metodi di negative SEO per sbarazzarsi dei concorrenti Seo che ricorrono a metodi “borderline”.
Sparta or Business ?
Immagino che per il 2014 potremo mettere a listino un nuovo servizio a valore aggiunto: l’analisi dei competitors, per capire se usano schemi di link.
E in quel caso basterà solo proporsi con un blog qualsiasi chiedendo uno scambio link per ottenere una prova…