Categories: Chit-chat :

Just wanted to say Google...

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Just wanted to say Google... Hrgot 12/21/12 7:37 AM
I've read the FAQs and searched the help center. 

Thanks so much for revoking our manual penalty. I can't tell you how much I appreciate that.

We really have been good this year so I was wondering if I could ask for a small present?

We have done our absolute best to create the best product fundraising website on the internet. We test for conversion optimization, we removed lots of bad links, we still have tons of great links, we are continuing to edit all of our content to make sure we are not spamming any longer but instead are writing solely for the visitor.

I am proud of our site now. So I was wondering if you could tell me what I need to do to get the site ranking broadly across the spectrum of fundraising keywords like we did for 10 years. I know you owe us nothing but we've worked so hard and quite frankly your algorithm seems less than consistent in lots of ways so we really don't know how you define a great website and web page any longer.

So, as we approach Christmas, I was wondering if we've been good enough to grant our wish that we recover rankings somewhere near where they were a year ago?

We so appreciate the revoking of the manual action and wish you and your's a great holiday season and 2013.

Re: Just wanted to say Google... mundabit 12/21/12 12:42 PM
The web hasn't brought anything new to marketing, except implementation and potentially, scale. How you might succeed with Google:

1. Beyond the obvious i.e. good implementation, forget about Google and concentrate on marketing. Worst possible result, you have more customers regardless.

2. Within reason, focus on what you can do to be different, get noticed. Go back to an old story, Thomas Chippendale, 18th Century furniture maker. Moved to London pretty skint, rented somewhere and came up with an idea. Lots of people going round London with handcarts delivering almost everything. Why not use this new fangled printing thing, have leaflets (not much more than cards) turned out and get the handcarts to deliver them as they went round.

Sounds basic to us but not then and the rest is history. His reputation spread, moved to better premises inside three years, a wealthy investor came along, published well known books, ended up the most famous furniture maker ever to live.

He could of course have stuck to the traditional routes at the time, Guild recommendations, subbing for architects, we may never have heard of him. An idea and an initial 2 Guineas worth of printing plus distribution changed the world.

The same applies, there is only so much you can, or should do directly for Google. Look elsewhere, be incredibly innovative on and off the website. Get the world wanting you and one thing is absolutely certain, regardless of your title tags, or sitemap, Google will want you as well.
Re: Just wanted to say Google... StevieD_Web 12/21/12 2:25 PM
marketing....

reward frequent/repeat customers.

Reward referrals.  Lots of rewards to referrals.   Let your customers spread the word and receive a small thankyou for doing the work for you.

Normally I would suggest you encourage tag along packages (two schools combine their orders to achieve a better price or save on freight etc), but I suspect your clients would hit market saturation if two adjoining schools held a fund raising event at the same time.

Also look for cross marketing efforts....

A local car dealership years ago let the girl scouts sell cookies from his lot.... good for him to bring in traffic, good for the girl scout to have a readily accessible fix location.


World Famous Chocolate (remember those folks?) use to have a coupon on their candy bars for a reduced price pizza from P-Hut.  You think P-Hut paid a few $ to have their coupons attached to the candy bar?

The bottom line should be to look for ways to increase exposure without significantly increasing costs OR to let others subsidize your costs.
Re: Just wanted to say Google... D1974 12/21/12 3:30 PM
It's not about quality. It's how popular your website is. Congrats on getting clean, but that only HELPS your rise to the top. It doesn't guarantee it. The only thing you can do is find a way to become "popular".  It's a pop culture world, and Google loves Kool-Aid.
Re: Just wanted to say Google... JohnMu 12/28/12 12:00 AM
Hi Hrgot

Congratulations on getting the manual action revoked - that's always a good step :). Looking at your site now, it seems that some of our algorithms still aren't as happy as they could be. To some extent, it can just take time for us to recrawl, reindex, and reprocess all of the URLs and signals that we have to look at, so I wouldn't assume that your changes aren't appreciated (by our algorithms & your users). That said, being complacent and just waiting probably isn't a good strategy either, so recommendation would be to continue looking at ways to make your website the absolute best of its kind. Other parts of our algorithms will definitely pick up those kinds of changes (and your recent changes) faster, and if users love your site, they'll come to you with or without search engines. Good luck in 2013!

Cheers
John
Re: Just wanted to say Google... Diamond Dudley 12/29/12 5:59 PM


Hello John,

Could I possibly get you to take a look at http://www.candy.com , they are suffering through a manual penalty since April 2012.   I was brought in three months ago to assist them with the manual penalty and other search issues.  The founders are third generation Candy makers.  They had no eCommerce acumen when they purchased the URL, they hired and relied on outside vendors and unfortunately one of those firms did some very poor work.  The owners were much more naive than they were nefarious.

 I have submitted two reconsideration requests and both have been replied to with the generic reply of "We still see links"....etc.

In my reconsideration request (s)  I did name the firm they used.  I acknowledged the poor management decision to "trust" that firm.  I have charted a new course for our optimization strategy and  the tactics we employ are now entirely natural and collaborative.

 I have submitted another reconsideration request dated 12/24/2012.

1. We have made hundreds of manual requests to domains asking that links be removed
2. We have filed DMCA requests with the hosting firms for the domains that have been unresponsive or uncooperative.
3. We have had many links removed.
4. We disavowed 100's of domains in Google's Disavow tool, as well as over 1000 individual links.
5. Of course, we fired that firm, and we have retained our eCommerce platform provider (3dcart) to handle on page optimization.

There are some meaningful reasons that Candy.com should be considered a quality search result for Google's search users.

1. In the next week, we will be a Google Trusted Store.  We are in the 28 day / 500 order waiting phase, that should be done Tuesday or Wednesday of this week.
2. PCI Compliant
3. McAfee secure
4. Versign EV SSL 128 bit encryption
5. Mobile and Tablet pages.






Re: Just wanted to say Google... mundabit 12/29/12 7:04 PM
Hi

Can't possibly answer for John Mu but apart from maybe a well earned break, can you see an issue posting behind him like that. If he was obliged to provide answers, he might feel never able to post, which would be a loss all round.

You should start your own thread in the Crawling, Ranking and Indexing section. For what my view's worth, people could:

Wonder why, when you are responsible for search, you have "retained our eCommerce platform provider (3dcart) to handle on page optimization". Don't know them so can't comment but unusual, hosts might be good hosts but often the last people you would want helping run a site. Not least with so much urgent on page work needed. Massively repetitive indexed content, from area targeting onwards, about the same on keywording for core pages and many others often having little value.

They might also not be surprised the request for reconsideration failed, with thousands of links still pointed at that site which look able to be removed. Regardless of disavow requests, or the spam rubbish you possibly can't remove.

Best to leave that here and post afresh.
Re: Just wanted to say Google... Hrgot 1/9/13 11:29 AM
John thanks for taking the time to respond.

We have worked extraordinarily hard. We cleaned up our links and had the penalty revoked.

We gone through virtually every page on the site and reduced keyword density, cleaned up content and added breadcrumbs.

We've made our site the most user friendly fundraising site on the internet (based on customer feedback).

We removed virtually any duplicate content we could find.

We see new links to our site regularly.

So I am at a loss as to what else we might be able to do. At one point we were top 3 for virtually every single fundraising related term. But now we are top 20.

I don't want to sit around and hope but I'm really now at a loss of what to do. Could you make suggestions? Can any of you?
Re: Just wanted to say Google... StevieD_Web 1/9/13 3:26 PM
my gut, for what is worth, is that you are still running into EMD issues in that a query for "easy fundraising ideas" or any variant of that query including  "virtually every single fundraising related term"  simply because searchers for the query may or may not desire your site.

A similar issue would be Florida-Real-Estate-Lawyer .com matching the query "Florida Real Estate Lawyer". 

I have preaching to my law/medicine/realtor clients to rename their sites to a brandable name (Smith-Jones-LawFirm) rather than the topic/task they perform (FREL) and I think you need to consider doing the same
Re: Just wanted to say Google... Ashley 1/10/13 12:48 PM
Yeah - the domain name, to me, is a soft spam signal. But that's just as a user.

- I also don't like the light gray text on white. Super hard to read. Then you've gone further and made it Italics, so it's doubly hard to read. 
- The home page is way too long. There's no focus. It's just too much. 
- On any secondary page you're hitting me with a popup. Not friendly. 
- A lot of the interior pages are pretty long too. Some of the content seems like fluff or a bit redundant. I wish it were a bit snappier to just see the value and understand what I needed from the pages. 
- ACK! Autoplay videos with no controls halfway down the page. I'd immediately leave the site. http://www.easy-fundraising-ideas.com/programs/preschool-fundraiser/ I imagine this is present on many other pages. 

How long ago did you redirect all of these doorway pages? http://www.easy-fundraising-ideas.com/sitemap/local-sitemap/ that was a massive issue in the past, I bet. Weird too that you're still serving all the content under the 301 redirect rather than only having the "moved here" statement. May want to get rid of that sitemap too. 


A lot of your topical pages seem to be just made for keywords rather than for users. Take http://www.easy-fundraising-ideas.com/programs/organ-transplant-fundraiser/. 90% of that page (including the first scroll or two) is just boilerplate content. Lots and lots of boilerplate content on the site still. I'd stop that. 


Are any of the other domains you own live?
Re: Just wanted to say Google... Hrgot 1/10/13 1:14 PM
 
- On any secondary page you're hitting me with a popup. Not friendly. 

Killed it. It was firing on the second page only.

 
- A lot of the interior pages are pretty long too. Some of the content seems like fluff or a bit redundant. I wish it were a bit snappier to just see the value and understand what I needed from the pages. 

Cleaning all of those up one at time.

 
- ACK! Autoplay videos with no controls halfway down the page. I'd immediately leave the site. http://www.easy-fundraising-ideas.com/programs/preschool-fundraiser/ I imagine this is present on many other pages. 

You found 1 of a half dozen that have not been updated. They don't auto fire anymore.

 
How long ago did you redirect all of these doorway pages? http://www.easy-fundraising-ideas.com/sitemap/local-sitemap/ that was a massive issue in the past, I bet. Weird too that you're still serving all the content under the 301 redirect rather than only having the "moved here" statement. May want to get rid of that sitemap too. 


Is the problem there is a sitemap that includes a lot of 301'd pages? We create those pages dynamically from 5 databases of participating stores. If there is a local store that offers a fundraising card the page builds. We were building a page for every city and if their weren't any local participating stores we simply delivered some of our regular fundraisers. 

That created lots of virtually dup pages so our query now says if there are no local stores in the database 301 the request to the home page. The thought was we deleted all dup pages.

So help me with your thoughts here please...

 

A lot of your topical pages seem to be just made for keywords rather than for users. Take http://www.easy-fundraising-ideas.com/programs/organ-transplant-fundraiser/. 90% of that page (including the first scroll or two) is just boilerplate content. Lots and lots of boilerplate content on the site still. I'd stop that. 

As I said above we are updating this content to absolutely unique and topical.


 
Thanks for the help!!!
Re: Just wanted to say Google... Ashley 1/10/13 2:11 PM
Sounds like you're still doing a lot of stuff, so I wouldn't expect ranking to come bounding back while you still have some serious content issues. I found them on all pages I checked, I don't think I just randomly hit a few bad ones. Unless you want to show me the page that you are most proud of? An example of what you think is a really good page?

As far as the local pages, can you show me an example of one with a store that you'd fulfill instead of redirect? I'd also not keep redirected pages in a sitemap. Why would you? Laziness? 


Re: Just wanted to say Google... Hrgot 1/10/13 3:27 PM
Here's a page we are proud of ... http://www.easy-fundraising-ideas.com/products/cookie-dough-fundraiser/ 

Here's a local page with participating stores: http://www.easy-fundraising-ideas.com/local/san_antonio-texas-fundraising-ideas/

We are running some scripts to rebuild the sitemap showing only the local pages with stores. I had read a view articles with Matt Cutts saying there was nothing wrong with our 301 solution .. but of course that never addressed some url's showing up in the sitemap.

Let me know what you think of the above 2 pages.

Thanks Ashley
Re: Just wanted to say Google... Ashley 1/10/13 4:11 PM
http://www.easy-fundraising-ideas.com/products/cookie-dough-fundraiser/
-- Why is most of the top part of the page just 4 main products and I have to scroll down to get to any real content?
-- How many other pages do those top products appear on at the top (duplicate)?
-- The content seems a bit... forced? It just doesn't feel all that natural and informational. It's not obviously stuffing, but still feels stuffed when I read it. Try reading it outloud. 
-- For the love of all that is holy - why do all of your pages need to be so long? Who is served by 10+ scrolls? Especially when so much of the content is fluff or duplicate? 
-- Get rid of nearly all that right sidebar dupe content. 


Get rid of these pages 
Remaining evidence of a massive amount of doorway pages. 



Honestly, we could split hairs (like why is the title "The Top Cookie Dough Fundraising Programs Available" and not just "cookie dough fundraising programs". Seems spammy). But really I just can't get past so much content that doesn't feel natural and a huge percentage that is duplicate. 


And so much stuff like this http://www.easy-fundraising-ideas.com/programs/kindergarten-fundraising/ and http://www.easy-fundraising-ideas.com/programs/elementary-school-fundraising/ just really makes the whole site like it's primary goal is to manipulate ranking - not create a really useful site for visitors and I believe that is what Google is looking for. 


You never answered my question as to if you have any other live sites related to fundraising. 



Just found a bunch of "member" sites that have pretty spammy links included in the bio. How are you combating this?


These links are a gigantic red flag too. Why are these still there

This one was great - http://mommyhastowork.com/
Because it pointed me to http://www.stepbystepfundraising.com/ (phone number is ONE digit different from yours) and http://www.fasttrackfundraising.com/. Different phone number, but clearly related. 

Then I remember, a long time ago you asked about your site and I remember digging in and finding loads of other sites, dupe content, spam links. 

Seems like your up to the same old game? Give me a second - let me dig up some old gems. 

Re: Just wanted to say Google... Ashley 1/10/13 4:27 PM
It's not even worth pointing out details. You've been told the same thing by so many people for the last 4 years.

1. Get rid of the multiple sites. You're spamming. You still have a ton up. Make one site. Period. Between your gift card/mall sites and your multiple fundraising sites it's a joke. 
2. Clean up your links and STOP engaging in bad link practices. Period.
3. Clean up the content. The vast majority of content that I see on the site is duplicate or keyword stuffed. You have SO MANY pages that are clearly made for bots. Stop it. 


The best was that I found a rant from me, to you, in 2009 that still holds water. What the hell have you been doing?!
And there are so many more. You've heard it all before Howard. What else do you need, really?


P.S.
Pretty weird URL - explain?





Re: Just wanted to say Google... Ashley 1/10/13 4:33 PM
Damn it Howard - now I'm just pissed.

My bad for not remembering every post I participate in; but for everyone else -- stop helping. He has had plenty of help from countless regulars, bionics and even from JohnMu.




Do the work now. Just eff'n do it. 
Re: Just wanted to say Google... Hrgot 1/11/13 11:20 AM
Trying to do it Ashley.

Interesting though. You say we have too much content. StevieD says we don't answer enough questions.

You say the local pages are spam but we get 100's of visitors to those pages every day.

You say don't target keywords. Isn't that exactly what everyone wants to do? Become the most special destination for people searching for specific things or keywords?

There's a fine line here between offering good advice (thanks StevieD) and becoming and arrogant little B (did you think I was talking about you Ashley? .. I wonder why you'd think that).

I wasn't going to dignify your fit. But we have cleaned up our linking - thus the revoke email. We killed off similar sites. We have no link farms. We work on our content. We work on our conversion.

What exactly do you do? Do you have a website? Does it rank for anything? Have you made any money marketing online? What are your qualifications besides your arrogance and advice to create blandness?
Re: Just wanted to say Google... Ashley 1/11/13 11:45 AM
Did you just call me an "arrogant little B"? That's hilarious. You can say Bitch. We're all grown ups here. 

You didn't get rid of your multiple domains and you have failed to address MANY issues that have been pointed out to you. It's frustrating. You've made so many posts here and had so much advice (go look at your posting history for your site). It's not fair to everyone else to keep eating up resources and manipulating volunteers. We HATE when people come in here and don't give us enough info - that's just what you're doing. 

And what do I do? Not SEO. And I'm PROUD of that. But it doesn't matter because Google thinks me qualified enough to make me a TC even without a flashy SEO website. As soon as my advice is off-mark or irrelevant, I'll get corrected or get the boot. 


I think you have plenty of help for now, for free. Do what you want with your own site. Maybe just stop playing the system here to keep trying to get free help. 

Re: Just wanted to say Google... Hrgot 1/11/13 12:07 PM
If you think I'm wasting your time simply ignore my posts. 

Since you like looking at posting history you will see that I help lots of other people by answering questions that I am qualified to answer based on my experience.

So I have no problem continuing to ask questions when I believe I have legit questions.

Re: Just wanted to say Google... StevieD_Web 1/11/13 6:23 PM
>You say we have too much content. StevieD says we don't answer enough questions.

I think Ashley was saying you have too many pages..... pages that significantly overlap and try to accomplish the same or similar tasks that when combined together a single page could do as well or better.

(by the way, I don't disagree with my summary of what I believe Ashley stated)


PS:  come on dude, keep it clean.  We all clown around here and make some pretty darn vulgar and disparaging remarks about websites and stuff, but don't stoop to name calling or directing a negative comment AT the person.


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Re: Just wanted to say Google... SharmaRahuuul 2/16/13 3:21 AM
Hello John,
 
             I need your help can I get your email address so I can directly drop you a mail.
 
Regards
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