Want to be ignored by Google?

Not a request I get often but there can be many reasons why you might want Google to ignore a website. One reason can be that a site is in a development stage and you may not want the content indexed by Google so it does not show up in a Google (or other search engine) search.

There is a file called robots.txt on everyones web server that can contain instructions to tell search engines to ignore your site but this can be difficult to access unless you are techie. For WordPress users there is a much simpler solution as there is a setting available to tell search engines to ignore your site.

The position of this setting has changed over the versions but in the latest version, WordPress 4.0, you can find the setting in Settings>> Reading >> Search engine visibilty (see screenshot below)


Once you untick this setting then normal, search engine service, will resume.

Article Marketing, Duplicate Content and SEO on Google

Article Marketing

Article Marketing

It has been popular in the last few years to post articles and blogs to article sites to get good content out there that could both:

a. Be found in a Google and other search engines
b. Create backlinks to where you would really like visitors to go (e.g. you own website)

There are many articles sites but ezinearticles and hubpages were, and still are, very popular but this year we have already seen significant changes in the Google algorithm (which determines how high up your site is on Google) that means this strategy may not be as successful.

The first significant change was the clarification of the effect of ‘Duplicate Content‘. Content which is used more than once and copied across the web from blog to article sites has often created discussion on how effective this strategy is. Google have a clear aim to ‘find relevant content’. Finding the same content 20 times is not what Google wants and is also not helpful to the person doing the search. So Google’s approach has to be to try and find the one piece of content that is the most ‘official’ generator of that content and effectively ignore the rest.

Matt Cutts (unofficial spokesman for Google) gave the following pieces of advice which he published on his blog:

1) to avoid over-syndicating the articles that you write, and
2) if you do syndicate content, make sure that you include a link to the original content.

OK so we can probably deal with the duplicate content issue above by linking to our original content or even posting only original content to the article sites (e.g write an article specifically for ezinearticles and do not copy it elsewhere) but what we have now seen in the last couple of weeks is the so-called ‘Farmer or Panda Update’.

The ‘Farmer Update’ appears to be Googles attempt to reduce the effect of the sites Google see as ‘Link Farms’. Link Farms are the name given sites which really only exist to create backlinks to other sites where people want traffic. Whether sites like ezinearticles and hubpages are Link Farms in the strictest meaning of the phrase matters little at the moment as it is having a massive effect on the traffic as can be seen in an recent post by Search Engine Land. This has led to Ezinearticles saying that all links from their website will from later this month become ‘no follow’ links meaning that they should not contribute anything to Google as a backlink and hence not improve the SEO of the site you are linking to. This is possibly what Google wanted.

So what is the conclusion to all of this – only time will tell. A respected SEO expert once told me that there is no such thing as a bad link but clearly some are going to be unimportant or at least links that have little or no effect. In a world where we are short of little except time spending this time and effort writing articles and links is not going to be as effective as it has been in the past. My advice would be, like many other things, to trial it and see what the effect is but at this stage I wouldn’t be investing huge amounts of time or effort.

No doubt SEO’s are looking at other strategies to improve Google ranking etc but for me I would start with the basics of creating good content on your own sites and blogs. Have a look at a commenting strategy to maximise links and maybe look to write guest posts for other peoples blogs.

I would be interested if anyone else had an opinion or experiences with regard to article marketing and the recent Panda/Farmer Google Algorithm update.

Extending Magento ecommerce for SEO and Social Media

Magento is an open source (or open core if you prefer) ecommerce systems. Similar to WordPress with plugins (a great blogging platform) Magento has an architecture that allows extensions. Extensions allow 3rd party developers to add functionality to the core system. Over on Magento Connect the official Magento extensions site there are over 3000 extensions from erp/crm integration through to iPhone support both free and open source to some quite expensive premium extensions.

We are currently working on a few Magento sites and below is a quick list of some of the extensions we are currently looking at: