Categories: Crawling, indexing & ranking :

EMD'ed or Panda'ed?

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EMD'ed or Panda'ed? andersvi 10/9/12 4:08 PM
Hello all,

I have spent the best part of this year building what I hope will become an authority site on WordPress Security. I found there was a big gap in the information available, and wanted to fill that gap.


However my site dropped significantly around the EMD/Panda 20 update, and I am completely at a loss as to what the reason could be.

Here is what I know and what I have done:

- I have written the content myself, so all is unique and (in my opinion at least) of high quality. With the feedback I get from my readers I believe they agree.
- I offer a pdf document for download for free on the site: The WordPress Security Checklist.
- I have posted comments on blog sites where comments would add value, and the same goes for forums (warrior forum and a danish forum mainly).
- I have had one quality article published on problogger.net with links back to my site (http://www.problogger.net/archives/2012/08/29/top-10-wordpress-security-myths/)
- Other than that I have not done any link building.
- I have filed a reconsideration request via GWT and received the response that no manual action had been taken on the site.
- I have built a list with 300+ subscribers, and yesterday I asked them to use the social sharing buttons on the site if they thought the site was high quality. The number of likes, G+1's and Tweets have doubled since.
- In GWT I had one warning in the posts sitemap for an image that was blocked by robots.txt. This image has now been removed and the sitemap is pending. All pages and posts listed in the sitemap have been indexed.

The GWT Search Impression numbers are:
9/25/12: 1000
9/26/12: 1000
9/27/12: 1000
9/28/12: 700
9/29/12: 200
9/30/12: 90
10/1/12: 150
10/2/12: 170
10/3/12: 170
10/4/12: 150
10/5/12: 150
10/6/12: 70
10/7/12: 70

My rankings were:
"wordpress security checklist" : solid #1 for some months -> 3 or 7 - 9
"wordpress security" : had slowly climbed up to page 2, was 11 - 12 for some weeks -> 283
"wordpress backup" : around 60 - 70 for some time -> 429

Obviously the content on my site is hugely more relevant for the term "wordpress security checklist" than the current #2 result. The #1 result is now the wordpress Codex.

For "wordpress security" the sites above my site are generally of the type "10 best wordpress security plugins" that have been around for a while. I accept that it takes some time and good, relevant content (which I believe I have) to outrank those sites.

Given that both "wordpress security" and "wordpress backup" fell out completely and the number of search queries have dropped to next to nothing I suspect this is the Panda 20 update rather than the EMD.

I know my site adds great value and that there is a need for the information on the site. However with these constant changes in Google it seems I have to spend more time figuring out how to do SEO than writing value-add content. And when everything gets wiped out like this I feel like just throwing everything in the bin! Especially when it is extremely difficult to get any information on what is going on.

Anyways, it looks like there are some really knowledgeable people on this forum, so perhaps I can actually figure out what is going on, if it is worthwhile continuing or if it is better to just give up and close the site.

Without organic traffic there is no point in going on.

So the questions are:
- What hit me?
- Can I fix it?
- If so how?

Your help is much appreciated!

THANKS!
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? andersvi 10/10/12 2:23 AM
Is there any information available on what was included in the Panda 20 update?
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? Lysis 10/10/12 6:21 AM
It looks keyword stuffed. It's forcing me to download a PDF to find any info, and as a user, I would bounce to something more freely available. As an educated user, I think it's kinda funny you want me to download a PDF when a PDF in itself is a security hazard for a WordPress owner if they allow JavaScript in the PDF (which you don't warn about lol).
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? andersvi 10/10/12 7:49 AM
Hi Lysis,

Thanks for taking the time to look at my problem - much appreciated!

> It looks keyword stuffed.

If you mean the front page the keyword density is 1.11% measured by Yoasts SEO plugin. I thought that would be well within reasonable limits? What are the reasonable limits these days by the way?

It's forcing me to download a PDF to find any info, and as a user, I would bounce to something more freely available.

No registration is required to download the PDF (which is unusual these days - most people require you to register).

And all the info in the PDF is also freely available on the site at this URL: http://www.wpsecuritychecklist.com/the-wordpress-security-checklist-interactive-version/

Before you download the PDF you are made aware of the availability of the content from the website.
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? luzie 10/10/12 8:19 AM
>>> keyword density is 1.11% ... What are the reasonable limits these days by the way?

It's less a certain percentage that makes the page indeed look keyword-stuffed, it's more the absolute figures for the following three words:

checklist:      18 occurences
security:        19 occurences
wordpress:  45 occurences

It would certainly help if you reduced these numbers.

Given that you put too much stress on these words that at the same time combine to make up your domain name, it would look like the demotion of your site in search results is related to the EMD update, yes. (As to "Panda" ... there's very little content above the fold on your homepage, so I'd change that too)  

-luzie-
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? andersvi 10/10/12 8:58 AM
Thanks for your input.

So in your opinion:
- How low should I go on those number of occurrences?
- Would this be 'enough' to explain the site wide degradation? Or would there be anything else I'd need to look for?

I'll look at re-arranging the content to get more text above the fold.

I assume I'd have to wait for the next run of this filter to see the result - is that about a month or so?

Have a great day!
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? Ashley 10/10/12 9:02 AM
I wouldn't look at any numbers or percentages when examining content, in my humble opinion.

I'd read it. Outloud. If it sounds awkward or forced, then rewrite it. It should be written for humans. 
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? andersvi 10/10/12 9:21 AM
Thanks Ashley - I'll rewrite the front page to get more variation in there...

I'm just worried that there's more to it than this...
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? Ashley 10/10/12 9:46 AM
The EMD update means that before when your domain may have been giving you a big boost, it's not going to anymore. So you'll have to work very hard not necessarily to 'correct' something, but just to make the site world class. 
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? andersvi 10/10/12 10:25 AM
Thanks for helping me, Ashley/Luzie/Lysis - much appreciated!

I'll make the recommended changes and see what that brings.

If nothing changes I'll just drop the project.

SEO has become so complicated. I wonder how non-IT people would ever stand a chance.

Have a great day!
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? Ashley 10/10/12 10:47 AM

SEO has become so complicated. I wonder how non-IT people would ever stand a chance

Honestly - I think it has become significantly less complicated. Think about it.
- There are many (free even) options to help people build awesome websites quickly and in a robot-friendly way. This is SO COOL. 
- Google is less susceptible to tricks, so you don't need to know them - the message always has been, and resonates more now than ever before that you need to build a site that is: user friendly, unique, high quality. Google then tries to look at those factors and return relevant sites to queries. 
- There are tons of free tools (like Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools - these are amazing!), documentation and forums like this for loads of free data/help. 


Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? andersvi 10/10/12 11:32 AM
I'm sorry, but I don't agree...

Do you honestly think that if a lay person built a site on, say, pottery with awesome content they'd stand a chance ranking for anything?

A lay person would not have a clue about On Page SEO factors - and without the right meta descriptions and H tags Google wouldn't even find the site in the first place - let alone know what to rank it for.

And even if Google works out what the site is about there is no way it would rank without significant Off Page indicators pointing in the right direction. I can guarantee you that the lay person would not stand a chance here.

Even if the person decided to get an SEO specialist involved chances are they'd engage a low cost, local resource. And these days many semi-pro and even some full time professionel SEO's are giving up. So what are the chances that our pottery lady will find a cheap SEO specialist who actually gets it right?

I do believe this forum has many very helpful and very knowledgeable people helping out. And that is great. Thank you from my heart.

But saying that SEO has become less complicated simply does not resonate with what I see and what I have experienced myself.

I wish you were right. I wish Google would rank sites based on their on site merits. But that is just not the case.

Just look at my site. So I crossed a secret threshold and got dropped. If Google were really able to rank sites based on user friendly, unique, high quality content my site would rank above this site for the term "wordpress security checklist". Regardless of the number of occurrences of the words on my page my site is simply a much better answer to the query... 

With every major update people are scrambling to find out what happened. Fumbling around in the dark. Why does Google not just come clean and say: "This is cool. This is not". Why don't they tell people why they get cut so they at least have a chance to get it right?

I know my site has a lot of great content. I know the site helps people get their security right. I honestly do think there is a genuine need for the information I offer. I have spent most of this year building the site following all the best practices for pleasing Google that I am/was aware of. But still I get cut. No explanation, no idea what's going on. Now at least I can hope that these changes will bring back my site. But if not... what can I do? I'm lost!

So where are we at if Google cuts down sites with great, unique, helpful content?

Sorry for the rant - it is very, very frustrating to see lots of hard work get cut.

And once again thanks for all the advice - the volunteers here are real stars!
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? ChristopherSkyi 10/10/12 12:02 PM
Along w/possible keyword stuffing, check your internal links to make sure you're "overly" pushing your keywords in your anchor text. Use keywords in your internal anchor only when absolutely necessary, link a phase with the keyword in it. If you're trying to get a keyword in there, and you're doing that a lot, stop it. Second, SEOMoz has a great on-page SEO optimizer tool that will flag a page when it's overdoing it. Since you were hit, assume it's panda and start looking at how your on-page SEO strategies and writing habits could have forced you over the line into writing for the search engines.  And "quality content" doesn't mean the pages passes the Copyscape.com test. Say if you you rewrote/reworded an essay your that your high school English teacher was aware of, would she be happy? No way -- you'd be lucky to get a D. Make sure the stuff your putting on your site is new and not purely a re-hash of what's already out there.  That's probably the hardest part -- to really add value/say something new. The days of hiring someone to write "original content" for $10 is over (not saying you did that but talking to a wider readership here).
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? ChristopherSkyi 10/10/12 12:04 PM
P.S. Take a second close hard look at your link profile, especially for a lot of exact match anchor text in the links. You may also have been hit w/the Penguin  data refresh. The bottom line is something is wrong. Find it and then fix it. It's that simple. 
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? andersvi 10/10/12 12:33 PM
Hi Christopher,

Thanks for your time... you make some very good points... and have some very good tips for what to check...

All the content I have written has been written with the sole purpose of explaining technical stuff to non-technical people... all original content although I have a couple of very short posts leading to recommended articles on other sites. The one exception is the front page which I am reviewing now.

Super tip with the SEOmoz on page tool. I ran it and got a grade A (best rating) for the front page - go figure!

Anchor texts according to Majestic Historic:

# Anchor Text Referring Domains External Backlinks
Total Deleted NoFollow
1 anders vinther 52 2199 570 1992
2 http://www.wpsecuritychecklist.com 45 618 11 616
3 the wordpress security checklist 22 52 14 3
4 wordpress security 20 40 2 37
5 wordpress backup – the plugin and the plan 19 35 11 5
6 the wordpress rescue plan 17 31 10 2
7 how to restore a wordpress site 17 31 10 2
8 update notifications 16 27 7 2
9 off site monitoring for wordpress 16 27 7 2
10 wordpress backup 12 24 1 21

My link profile is influenced by the fact that I have not done any real link building. Mainly blog and forum commenting where value could be added and one high quality article published on problogger.net. I have a high percentage of backlinks with my name in it because I like to use my name when I post comments... wonder if that's triggering some keyword stuffing... no real prevalence of keyword anchors... unless I am reading the numbers wrong...

Just read this article from searchengineland on the latest updates...

The section on Recovering From EMD is especially discouraging. Along with the 7 complex articles recommended on how to get out of Panda they also say: 

You’ll only see a change the next time the EMD filter is run.

When will that be? Google’s not saying, but based on the history of Panda, it’s likely to be within the next three months, and eventually it might move to a monthly basis. But it could take longer until EMD 2 hits, nor is there any guarantee it’ll ever ramp-up to a monthly refresh like Panda, nor that Google will even announce when they happen.

Sorry, but it is not simple trying to find something when you have very few facts to run with and no idea when you'd see a result.

Again, thanks for your time and your most valuable input.

I'll try my best and see how it goes.

Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? andersvi 10/10/12 12:38 PM
> check your internal links to make sure you're "overly" pushing your keywords in your anchor text

Does this go for navigational links too?

My categories (and category links of course) are:
WordPress Security News
Wordpress Security Plugins
WordPress Security Tips
WordPress Backup
Other Cool Stuff
Datafeedr

Not done for SEO purposes but to be sure that any user coming to the site for the first time would know that I'm talking about WordPress Backup for example... and not some kind of other backup... not that Google would care about why I did it...

Could this be a problem?

THANKS!
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? luzie 10/10/12 12:41 PM
Now, Ashley's post may not be an exact "answer" to your initial question in a restricted sense of the word (apart from that, she has given a lot of technically very sound advice in this thread), but I couldn't resist flagging it best for the very beauty and simplicity of it. I think it summarizes what has crystallized as a new way of looking at "SEO" here over the past years.It's not concepts like "keyword density" and "link juice" and the like anymore that count, it's true user benefit which makes the day in search results. 
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? luzie 10/10/12 12:44 PM
Of course discussion is still open, despite any answer having been voted as "the right one" (or whatever you may call it).
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? andersvi 10/10/12 1:02 PM
I agree - it's very clear and simple... and I truly wish this is the way the world was...

But it's not. 

Despite the fact that I've got a great site with helpful, needed, original content my site has been hit...

No one can tell me why. I have to guess on some things that could be wrong and take corrective action. Then my site might recover at some unknown point in time in the future. If I got it right, that is... otherwise, tough luck...

All the while users searching for a solution to their wordpress security problems have to deal with literally hundreds of search results of the type "10 best wordpress sercurity tips" posted in 2009 which do not address the problem...

How is that "true user benefit which makes the day in search results"?

Sorry, don't understand...
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? andersvi 10/10/12 1:10 PM
Of course discussion is still open, despite any answer having been voted as "the right one" (or whatever you may call it).

The thread has now been marked 'Answered' - is there a way to change that?
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? luzie 10/10/12 1:13 PM
>>> Sorry, I don't understand.

Sorry ... it's me who doesn't understand now. People like me first look at a site for a couple of seconds only in order to decide whether it's what they were looking for or not ... looking at your site - honestly, I'd just bounce. There's not enough compelling information instantly visible there that makes me understand I've landed right (this is even though I was! - I just wouldn't understand it quickly enough)
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? luzie 10/10/12 1:16 PM
>>> The thread has now been marked 'Answered' - is there a way to change that?

No ... unless you convince me of taking back my vote - which I won't. 

As I said, I'm of course still willing to discuss anything that would come up, I don't think your site or your site's concept doesn't deserve it.
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? andersvi 10/10/12 1:31 PM
> looking at your site - honestly, I'd just bounce

Fair enough... that's your opinion...

I've got more than 300 subscribers who've signed up voluntarily who disagree... but that's cool - we all have different opinions...

>>> The thread has now been marked 'Answered' - is there a way to change that?

> No ... unless you convince me of taking back my vote - which I won't. 

It's not a question about whether you like Ashley's response or not. I fully respect the fact that you like her answer, and I understand why.

The issue is that the thread is now marked 'Answered', which means it is highly unlikely that other people will chip in with more constructive changes that might bring my site out of whatever algorithmic penalty it has been hit with.

You can see for yourself Christopher has made a very good contribution to the thread after Ashleys comment. A comment that might not have been made if the thread had been marked 'Answered' earlier.

Respectfully I think that I - as the person with the problem - should be the one judging when the question has been fully answered. I still hope more tips will come out of keeping the thread open.

I'd be happy to let you know when you can close the thread. Or I'd even be happy to give Ashleys comment a vote myself at that stage....
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? Lysis 10/10/12 2:11 PM
I think it's go potential, OP, but I'd yank the pdf and place the info for the user to see without downloading. Most people aren't looking for a download. They just want the info in their browser.
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? andersvi 10/10/12 2:20 PM
Hi Lysis,

Thanks for your tip...

The info is already on the site so they can choose to download the PDF or view it on the site.
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? Lysis 10/10/12 2:28 PM
Oh, my bad. I did not see it. Maybe that could be an issue? I also realize that I didn't look long, but that's also very typical of a user. Maybe work on the landing page? But, still, the keyword stuffing for Google is too much.
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? luzie 10/10/12 2:40 PM
>>> It's not a question about whether you like Ashley's response or not.

It is, because it was me who flagged the thread as resolved.
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? andersvi 10/10/12 2:42 PM
No prob... I purposely added all the content to the site to keep people around longer and get higher page visits and duration... and it does work...

I've revised the front page, but it's difficult to get the number of occurrences down...

I've varied the text and that has made it a better read, so that's great...

checklist:      was 18 occurrences now 14
security:        was 19 occurrences now 17
wordpress:  was 45 occurrences now 32

I am considering taking off the Category List on the side bar to get the number even further down, but it would negatively affect the user experience, so I am hesitating a bit... it doesn't feel right to have to sacrifice user experience to reduce the number of occurrences of keywords...

However at this stage it is the only real thing I have to go for, so I'll give it a shot...

I'm still not convinced that this is the full reason... doesn't sit right with me... but I have no clue what else could be wrong...

As you suggest I'll have another look at the navigation and organisation of the landing page... maybe I can make things simpler or more obvious... thanks for the input...
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? andersvi 10/10/12 2:44 PM
luzie, I see... I am new to this and did not realize there is a difference between liking a comment and marking a thread as resolved...

So why did you mark it as resolved?
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? luzie 10/10/12 3:05 PM
>>> So why did you mark it as resolved?

Because I felt the post in question "said it all" - so to say (please understand that in this place we had to be brief, somehow, and can't always discuss every single detail at length - even though it's sometimes done). 

It also doesn't mean people wouldn't look at this thread anymore, on the very contrary, they even may be attracted by seeing something "resolved" and look at it, in the justified hope of learning how search and SEO really work.

Keep posting, asking and discussing, as I said, I do not think you're working on a lost cause (like many do!). Your service seems worthwhile to me, it's just that I think it's presented in a quite wrong way.
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? andersvi 10/10/12 3:05 PM
Luzie,

On the "true user benefit which makes the day in search results" I should probably explain why my site is different... it would probably only be noticeable for people who are actually trying to secure their wordpress sites, and who are looking for this information.

When you search you will get a bunch of scattered, incomplete information along the lines of "Top 10 Tips", "Best Security Plugins" etc. It is extremely hard to find any resource which gives you a holistic view on WordPress Security... i.e. an end to end, practical guide to what you should do and how you do it.

This is what I was looking for when I had a compromised site, and could not find anything. Hence the birth of this site.

So it does fill a gap.

And it is unique in that I have found no other site that will hand hold a non-technical user through the process of securing their end to end environment.

Now there are a couple of reasonable books for sale on the topic... but none of them give the full picture like my checklist does... and in addition to this I am giving it away for free...

I am sorry if you did not get the warm and fuzzy feeling when you looked at the site, but I have had more than 1000 downloads and 300 subscribers, so I do think that indicates there is some substance to the site...

Sorry for not making this clearer earlier...
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? andersvi 10/10/12 3:15 PM
> it's just that I think it's presented in a quite wrong way.

Well, I am open to all input on what I can do differently and how the site can be improved... so please feel free to shoot with any ideas and criticism you might have...

I know your time is valuable and I appreciate everything I get here...

Thanks!
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? luzie 10/10/12 3:19 PM
>>> I am sorry if you did not get the warm and fuzzy feeling when you looked at the site

LOL ... well, it's not necessarily the "warm and fuzzy feeling" I'm missing, on the contrary, it's more the feeling of straightly having hit the right thing I'm missing (I'm exactly the technical kind of person I assume somebody looking for wordpress security commonly is, so I don't savour seeing fancy fonts (like: How do I secure WordPress?) or fuzzy questions like (How do I secure WordPress?) - I want two or three clear sentences in readable font about what your thing is and what it does and a link right away saying "Download here" - none other.

>>> I have had more than 1000 downloads and 300 subscribers,

So what. You could easily have 10.000 downloads and 3.000 subscribers - given that your plugin IS potentially useful to millions of WordPress installations. I mean that's what we're discussing about, is it. 
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? andersvi 10/10/12 3:30 PM
> I want two or three clear sentences in readable font about what your thing is and what it does and a link right away saying "Download here" - none else.

I understand. And I would love to do that. But I am afraid that would give the site a 10 second visit time and 100% bounce rate...
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? luzie 10/10/12 3:51 PM
>>> But I am afraid that would give the site a 10 second visit time and 100% bounce rate

Look at what you've got now ... a "position 78" (or so) ranking? You gotta try out something new? What you have now must somehow be wrong, right?!
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? ChristopherSkyi 10/10/12 4:57 PM
Sorry -- that should be NOT "overly" pushing your keywords in the anchor text.  And yes, navigational links too. The SEOMoz on-page op tool has a couple of checks about avoiding stuff: see the "Avoid Keyword Stuffing in Document" & "Avoid Keyword Stuffing in the URL" section and there's something called "Avoid Keyword Self-Cannibalization" -- I'll let you read/research that -- you're nav. link keywords may contribute to cannibalization. 

On Wednesday, October 10, 2012 3:38:52 PM UTC-4, andersvi wrote:
> check your internal links to make sure you're "overly" pushing your keywords in your anchor text

Does this go for navigational links too?

My categories (and category links of course) are:
WordPress Security News
Wordpress Security Plugins
WordPress Security Tips
WordPress Backup
Other Cool Stuff
Datafeedr

Not done for SEO purposes but to be sure that any user coming to the site for the first time would know that I'm talking about WordPress Backup for example... and not some kind of other backup... not that Google would care about why I did it...

Could this be a problem?

THANKS!
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? andersvi 10/11/12 1:26 AM
>>>> So why did you mark it as resolved?

>> Because I felt the post in question "said it all" - so to say

I'd appreciate if you could please remove the 'Answered' mark again?

The problem has not been resolved. Marking the thread as 'Answered' is making it more difficult for me to find a solution.
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? andersvi 10/11/12 2:08 AM
Christopher,

Once again excellent pointers - thanks!

I'll review those documents and make changes accordingly.

You are being most helpful... thank you very much for your time!
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? andersvi 10/11/12 1:22 PM
Okay... I've worked with the SEOmoz On Page Optimization tool - great resource...

There were some potential issues with the exact areas that Christopher mentioned.

I've re-arranged the content a bit and used a page 1 competitors numbers as a benchmark for acceptable number keywords... 

Thanks for all the help.

I'll wait and see if the rankings improve.
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? evz.mitchell 10/11/12 2:06 PM
Hi Andersvi,

Just read your post and answers you received. It's frustrating when people make it seem like it's something
so obvious and easy to fix.

I'm in a similar situation as you except ever worse. I've got 100+ great blog posts, 20+ YouTube vids, comics,
fun tools, and my site STILL gets buried. Then these lame magazine sites are at the top when I know the
audience WAY better than them.

Anyways. The SEOmoz tool, did you get the free trial? Is that what you're using?

Let me know if you find anything helpful. Perhaps we can help each other out.

Evan
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? pink fluffy unicons 10/11/12 8:26 PM
hi

you have your h1 followed by a bunch of social bookmarking javascript and then the content, it's no different than placing an ad there. Place the social buttons towards the end of the article.

a target="_blank" is annoying as hell.

the 1st codex result is concise and has different sections where people can quickly find what they're interested in, sorry but yours is a mish mash of text.
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? andersvi 10/12/12 1:39 AM
Hi evz.mitchell

> Anyways. The SEOmoz tool, did you get the free trial? Is that what you're using?

Yes, they've got some great tools, and their Q&A forum is excellent!

An extremely frustrating experience indeed.
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? andersvi 10/12/12 1:49 AM
Hi pink fluffy unicorns (great name by the way),

Thanks for your advice.

> you have your h1 followed by a bunch of social bookmarking javascript and then the content, it's no different than placing an ad there.

Many sites seem to be doing this. Are they all wrong?

I don't understand how social buttons could be judged the same as an ad? Would you have a link to some discussions of this? I'd like to understand this.

> a target="_blank" is annoying as hell.

I understand your opinion. It's also very frustrating to lose the spot you were at when you're reading a page. I've tried to open in new tabs when I have assessed people would click a link to get more info related to the article they are reading, and not when I have assessed they would want to navigate to another article on the site.

Does this have any influence on ranking?

> the 1st codex result is concise and has different sections where people can quickly find what they're interested in, sorry but yours is a mish mash of text. 

I have no problem with the codex outranking me... obviously that is THE authority on the topic.

However you have to keep in mind that the codex is a reference document and my site is presenting a checklist that takes you through a process. Hence the organization of content will be very different.

Thanks for your insights!
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? pink fluffy unicons 10/12/12 6:08 AM
Many sites seem to be doing this. Are they all wrong?

Many sites also seem to be engaging in link campaigns, Are they all right?


I don't understand how social buttons could be judged the same as an ad? Would you have a link to some discussions of this? I'd like to understand this.
 
View your page without the css enabled to see how the bots see it. I've not seen 'many sites' do this can you at least point one out?


 Does this have any influence on ranking?

Yes it does, a frustrated user will just close the new browser windows and click back to google = bounce.

To get to the security checklist I had to go through 2 clicks and new page!

Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? Ashley 10/15/12 6:07 AM
It's always nice to wake up and see you've caused such controversy.

I replied with my post after you pretty much appeared to be done with the thread and just want to toss one last complaint in there. Luzie marked it as best but then continued to add feedback.

I don't think it's hindering your ability to get feedback in ANY way. This is one of the most lively threads out there right now. Maybe the controversy did you well?

:)
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? andersvi 10/15/12 7:09 AM
Hi Ashley,

Looking over the thread I believe the two contributions that add most value are the one from Christopher that I marked as best answer and your 2nd reply (which I can't mark as best answer as well).

The answer marked by Luzie does not address or answer the question at all, so marking that as the best answer is not really helpful to anyone.

If I were the kind of person who looked through this forum trying to help people I'd focus on threads NOT marked as answered. Or in other words wrongfully marking a thread Answered is not helping. Why anyone but the OP can mark a question answered is beyond me.

I do not care about controversy. I only care about finding the solution to the problem. And I am not convinced that I have. I have made some changes and time will tell if Google is happy or not.

I've decided to stop investing any more resources in the site until I know if the problem has been solved or not. If it turns out it has not been solved I will pull the plug on the site.

Thanks, Google, for making the internet a better place!
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? Lysis 10/15/12 7:36 AM
>> Why anyone but the OP can mark a question answered is beyond me.

Because usually OPs mark answers they want to hear.
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? sue-de-nimm 10/15/12 8:03 AM
Just my humble opinion..but looking at it I thought it looked a bit 'thin on top'. Lots of selling type words with big gaps but not really much of substance.. This is what I see above the fold. Maybe you could take out the rhetorical questions & create a really good paragraph or three from your content?

How do I secure WordPress?

Answer: The WordPress Security Checklist!

(Oh, by the way... the checklist is FREE!)

You're probably here because you think about securing your websites.

That's great! We're here to help you get it right.

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Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? luzie 10/15/12 8:25 AM
I already told him, but it's always very hard to make people listen. His statements of ...

I only care about finding the solution to the problem.
I've decided to stop investing any more resources in
the site until I know if the problem has been solved or not.

... hint to a widespread believing that demotion of a website in search had to be due to a certain single, very confined "mechanical" "problem". What these people wanna hear is something like: "Google doesn't like you anymore because you trespassed the threshold of 4.75% keyword density. make it 4.65% and Google will love you again". Such answers may have helped a decade ago, they're not available now anymore. The problem with the site in question is something like "overall low quality of presentation" and needed to be reverted by a whole bundle of measures, not by "fixing" this or that detail.
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? andersvi 10/15/12 9:09 AM
Luzie,

> I already told him but it's always very hard to make people listen.

If you read this thread it should be clear that I do listen, I have taken a bunch of advice on board and I have made changes accordingly.

>> I only care about finding the solution to the problem.

> ... hint to a widespread believing that demotion of a website in search had to be due to a certain single, very confined "mechanical" "problem". 

Not sure why you think I believe this. The problem is that my rankings have dropped. I have already made several changes. So you're not correct when you say I am looking for one single, confined problem. In fact I have several times mentioned that I don't think the problem is only caused by what has been pointed out by the helpful and friendly people here.

> The problem with the site in question is something like "overall low quality of presentation" and needed to be reverted by a whole bundle of measures, not by "fixing" this or that detail.

I am very happy to hear that you have a concise idea of what I need to change. Please could you explain what that "whole bundle of measures" is? I would love to know, so I can fix it.

Thanks ;-)
Re: EMD'ed or Panda'ed? andersvi 10/16/12 1:18 AM
Hi sue-de-nimm,

Thank you very much for your suggestion - and for taking the time to help me.

Luzie made a similar suggestion on Oct 10 after which I did change the layout of the front page to get more text above the fold. Of course you'd not be able to see this now :-)

I've decided to keep the front page as is for now. The first question accurately describes what the site is all about and addresses the pain point of the people arriving at the front page.

I am aware of the algorithm update referred to as 'Top Heavy' which focuses on content above the fold, and I do not think there is any danger there. For a start there is no advertising above the fold at all.

Once again thanks for your input - much appreciated!
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