Hey, Mark. Good Morning. I’ve been listening to your show on iTunes on my way on a journey somewhere. I’m really enjoying your show. Although I’m listening to Episode 34 about two years after you recorded it, but all the same it’s very useful to me.
From your LinkedIn profile, it looks like we have some similarities in common. I also have a manufacturing background myself from the United Kingdom, also in quality management and process improvement.
I would like to use some subset of my experience in value added proposition for nonprofits, specifically process mapping and process improvements, tools and video and the like. I’m hoping to go through all of your podcasts and listen to them and really start to take onboard your suggestions.
I just wanted to follow up your challenge to give you a call and say thanks very much for the material. Best wishes to you. Speak again soon. Take care. Bye.
Tony, thank you very much for the call. Just so you guys know, I edited that call a little bit to get some of Tony’s personal information out of there.
There are a couple of things that jump out at me from Tony’s call. One is Tony had sent me a separate note and said he has been trying to listen to episode prior to Episode 35 in iTunes and he’s unable to see them. I’m aware of that. I’m working on untangling my RSS feed.
iTunes runs off of the RSS feed from your show, and the source of your RSS feed varies depending on how your show is set up. In my particular case, I set it up a long time ago and used a thing that bloggers used to use in ancient times called Feedburner. Feedburner still works and it’s still there, but it has some size limitations on the size of the feed, so I’m having trouble getting back farther than Episode 35 for the show.
I’m working on that – I know how to fix it, I just need to take the time to do so. I will be doing that and when I do, I will announce it on the show. Tony, stay tuned, those first 30+ episodes will be coming to an iTunes location near you soon.
The other thing I wanted to say is Tony talks about wanting to do some nonprofit things to help people out. He has this knowledge that he can use to help people and he needs a way to get the word out. This is one of the most amazing things about internet marketing. It’s kind of a reason, a side effect, a great benefit of doing the kind of affiliate marketing that I talk about on the show.
On Late Night Internet Marketing a lot of times what we’re talking about and talking to are people who are interested in making a little extra money on the side, either to escape their day job or to help better take care of their family, or to pay their medical bills, or to get that fancy car, or whatever it is that motivates people. They’re trying to make a better life for themselves.
As a result of that, you learn all kinds of things about how money moves around on the internet. By doing affiliate marketing in general, and by listening to the show specifically, you learn things about how to create a presence online, how to build websites, how to put your message out there so it can be seen. You learn how to think about how people are finding you and how to drive traffic to your site, either organically through Google, or in some cases how to pay money to get people to your site. You learn landing and conversion about how to think about what you want people to do when they reach your site, and sales funnel things about what action you want them to take once they get there.
All these things are things that help you make money – how to present offers to people, how to monetize, all these things are things we’ve talked about and that affiliate marketers talk about in general.
One of the great things about having those basic techniques, in addition to the fact that it may help you pay your light bill, is that it can help you do whatever it is that you want to do with those skills. You can help build a website for your church, you can be on the board of your child’s preschool and help them with their website to get their message out, maybe to reach more kids or grow that. Or, as Tony suggests, you can learn things about internet marketing to get a message online that helps people in a nonprofit situation.
The message here is learning about internet marketing doesn’t have to be all about just making money online and lining your own pockets. Although, you can certainly do that, and people do that with internet marketing.
A lot of what internet marketing can be about it helping people achieve some goal that they need to achieve. Helping people who know something about maybe helping children in Africa get a website online that helps them raise money so they can do that. Or whatever it is. You get the idea; internet marketing is a tool and as a leverage position it’s something that you can use to create some real value in the world.
I do this kind of thing, I help people with their personal websites. With the preschool example, I help my local church preschool that my daughter attends with their website. You can do those same things, too, because just by virtue of the fact that you listen to podcasts like this, you know more than 99.9% of people about website design, internet marketing, landing and converting, generating leads and getting people to take action. That makes you very powerful in this world.
I encourage you, Tony, to do great things. I encourage the rest of you to follow Tony’s example.
Google Penguin 3.0 Update
The next thing we need to talk about – and it’s admittedly a little early to talk about this because this thing just hit – is Penguin 3.0.
Most of you know that I’m deeply involved in the Rankings Institute, a group of people who essentially have paid money to learn advanced techniques about search engine optimization. I’ve talked about that many times and you can hear about it in past episodes and you can check it out at LateNightIM.com/ri.
It’s currently closed, there’s nothing to buy there, but you can sign up to be notified. I recommend that you do that, even if you don’t think you’d ever want to join Rankings Institute. Every time they launch the course they send out incredibly powerful free information as a way to generate buzz around the next launch of the course. I expect they’ll launch it again in six months or so.
In any case, the Rankings Institute guys are all over this latest update of Penguin 3.0.
I guess the first thing to talk about here is people tend to get Penguin and Panda confused. What I can tell you about the difference between Penguin and Panda is that Panda is targeted at penalizing low quality websites with low quality content.
It was original called the Farmer Update, it came out in 2011. The folklore is that Panda is not actual an animal, but Panda is a guy inside of Google who considered this algorithm and his last name has something to do with Panda. I don’t know if that’s actually true, but that’s the folklore.
To my understanding, and I don’t claim to actually know what’s going on, only Google knows what’s going on, with the Panda algorithm it’s sort of a machine learning algorithm in the sense that thousands of real human beings reviewed websites and then computers also reviewed those websites, and the Panda algorithm tries to correlate the things observed by those human reviewers with the things observed by the computer. Then once you correlate with thousands or perhaps tens of thousands of calibration data points, then you can turn this algorithm loose on the web and have the computer recognize with some degree of accuracy poor quality websites. These are websites that are ranking for whatever reason but their quality is poor. Maybe they have duplicate content, maybe they’re spammy, maybe they have too many ads, maybe they’re poorly designed. There are lots of things involved in the Panda update.
That’s not what just happened. What just happened is Penguin 3.0. Penguin is really designed to bring down websites that violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines with regard to SEO techniques, backlinking techniques, spammy backlinks, blog networks, and other kinds of techniques that are generally considered black hat. The Penguin 3.0 algorithm is the latest revision, which started, I think, around April 2012. First there was Panda in 2011, then there was Penguin in 2012, and there have been multiple revisions of these algorithms since then.
The latest Penguin 3.0 has just started to roll out. I say started to roll out because what is typical with these algorithms is that they will roll out slowly. I think that’s because Google actually monitors the impact that they’re having and modifies as it rolls out. The word on the street that this may continue to “roll out” for the next couple of weeks.
As you might imagine, I’m in contact with a lot of people who are being affected by this algorithm, both through the Rankings Institute and through Alex Miller’s SEO company that I use, which is called PosiRank. You can check them out over at PosiRank.com. Now, PosiRank is kind of a high end SEO company, it’s not for beginners and it’s not inexpensive, so I’m not suggesting that you go sign up for PosiRank. Please don’t do that without talking to me.
I do get a lot of information from the PosiRank guys and the PosiRank team and the learnings from PosiRank formed the basis for Rankings Institute learning. They’re in a really unique position because they are in charge of thousands of websites for which there are hundreds of keywords being tracked. From their perch at PosiRank on the back end of the software where PosiRank offers a lot of very easy to order automated SEO solutions – and when I say automated, I mean you order what you want and people do the SEO, but the front end of it for you from your perspective is automated. As a result of that, they get really tracking.
Alex and the people over at PosiRank know immediately what is going on with these algorithms because they’re looking at hundreds, if not thousands of sites, and tens of thousands of keywords responding to these algorithm updates. They have the additional advantage of knowing, at least for the SEO that customers have ordered through PosiRank, what has been done to those sites. Now, there is the additional noise of customers having done stuff in the past or having done stuff in addition to PosiRank. The bottom line is Alex and those guys know what is working and what’s not working to a great extent.
The advice that I want to give you right now, the very most important advice that I can tell you about the Penguin 3.0 update is that if your site has been affected, don’t do anything. Wait. The algorithm is not yet done rolling out and we’ve seen at least a couple of cases where Rankings Institute members have posted, “My site got hit,” and then a couple of days later their site slammed all the way back up to the top of the rankings.
We know that part of this Penguin algorithm reset is some amount of what we call “Google dancing.” For those of you who aren’t familiar with that phrase, Google dancing is what we call it when Google is messing around with the rankings of sites and they’ll drop out of sight and come back, or drop down to page four and come back, go down and come back, as if things are trying to settle out.
My very first recommendation to you is absolutely do not do anything if your site is impacted. Don’t start hacking on your site, don’t go in and start disavowing links and all this other kind of stuff.
You will hear out there that the sky is falling, the world is ending, SEO is dead, Penguin has changed SEO forever and it’s no longer possible to get organic rankings. You’ll hear people say all kinds of stuff. My caution to you is to be careful to only pay attention to people that have actual data. I’m not one of those people, but I know those people, so you can decide whether or not to pay attention to me.
Be careful. SEO is one of those things where everybody has an opinion, this includes me. You have to decide whether or not to believe people about SEO and believe their opinions. Most people out there don’t know what they’re talking about because they don’t have any actual data. Full disclosure; this includes me, I do not have visibility to thousands of sites like Alex does. But, I know Alex, so I kind of know what’s going on.
That’s my first bit of advice to you, just don’t do anything. I’ll give you some additional information, but what you need to generally understand about Penguin is that they are going after spammy links and over-optimization of anchor text.
The best way for you to fight that very simply is don’t order spammy links to your money sites, to the sites that you’re trying to rank in Google. If you see a product on the web that is offering 50,000 social bookmarks to your website, that is not going to help you. Because of these algorithms like Penguin 3.0, they’re going to see that for what it is, which is a huge proportion of low quality links, and they’re going to either ignore those links or, worse, apply some derating factor to your site that is going to push you down in the rankings.
The thing about the Penguin algorithm that’s kind of painful is it is what it is until they run it again. Once they assign this penalty to your website, it’s going to take awhile for you to recover it. That’s an issue. This is not something you’re going to be able to fix overnight.
There’s no reason to go freaking out and changing your website right now. Let’s wait and see what happens. The thing that I can tell you is to stop buying spammy links. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. You need really good high quality links.
One of the high quality links that you can still get are guest posts.
Now, you’re going to tell me, “Mark, didn’t you hear the other day that Google started taking down guest post networks and now guest posts are dead?” The truth of the matter is that a guest post network where you can fill out a form and magically have a piece of content appear on some blog somewhere is really just a blog network. They’re disguising it as a guest post network, but really if there is some highly automated way that you can get a backlink like that on some random site that no one has ever heard of, that is not a guest post, that’s a blog network.
A guest post is exactly what it sounds like. You find a blog that is authoritative in your niche, you write quality content for that blog, and you point a link back to your site recognizing you as the author of that content, pointing people to where they can find more of what you have to offer. That’s a real guest post. Those are real. That’s a critical idea in blogging that’s inherent in the way really good blogs generate content, they have guest authors and those guest authors have links back to their sites.
If those kind of authoritative guest posts links are the kinds of links you’re getting, that’s one example of something that you can continue to do that’s still working that you should be doing. So if you want to spend some energy, go get a list of the top 10 blogs and websites in your niche and write a fantastic piece of content that would be good for one, two, or three of those sites. Send them an email and say, “I have this fantastic piece of content, it’s attached, I’d love to post it on your site. Just so you know, I’ve contacted a couple of other sites, so the first one to reply gets the content. If you’re interested, let me know. I’d love to work with you.”
Then you have a quality piece of content and that piece of content should be 1,000 to 1,500 words long and it should include images, it should include section breaks and so forth that make it look fantastic. That will get you some guest posts. In that post you should have an author bio that links back to your site. What I like to do is try to get in that information at the top of the article, but a lot of times you’ll be asked to put it at the bottom of the article.
The way to put it at the top of the article is to write an introduction that says something like, “Hi. My name is Mark Mason. As a fan of Joe Blogger, I know you guys like information about _____. I have this expertise about _____ and I wanted to share it with you today in this guest post, and Joe has been nice enough to give me a chance to tell you all about what I know. If you want more information about me you can find it at LateNightInternetMarketing.com,” and then you write a fantastic article.
Is this a lot of work? Yes, absolutely, it’s a lot of work. It takes effort to create that kind of content.
I will tell you, if you’re looking for that kind of content, you can find writers to write this stuff. We’ve talked a little bit about how to hire writers off of Elance and places like that. If you’re very specific about what you want, you can hire a writer and you can get this done. It depends on who you hire, if it’s a college student maybe it’s $10 or $15, if it’s a professional writer maybe it’s $30. A good 1,000 word article that doesn’t require a lot of editing is pretty easy to go get and there are plenty of people who are willing to do that for you.
Wrapping Things Up…
That’s what I have for you today.
My advice to you; don’t panic about Penguin, wait and see. I’ll be back to talk to you in a couple of weeks when things settle down. Second thing; junkie links are getting identified. Stop building them. Build quality links. Stop buying those spammy backlinks, you’re just killing your money sites. Don’t do that.
Those are my two recommendations regarding Penguin 3.0. I hope that helps you sleep a little bit better tonight. I will be back to talk to you guys in about a week.