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Matt Cutts Answers “Will backlinks lose their importance in ranking?”

In the latest video published on Google’s Webmaster Help channel, Matt Cutts (head of Google’s Webspam team) weighs in whether backlinks will lose their importance as a ranking metric in the near future. The answer? Ideally, overtime, yes.

While Mr. Cutts  states that links still have many years left in them,  Google has made no secret that quality content and resource creation will be the way of the future. There is no denying that backlinks will still hold value as a metric of measurement for quality resources, but as Google shifts focus towards furthering it’s ability in understanding conversational language in search we may see their influence take a back seat as a ranking factor.

Matt Cutts has stated:

“As we get better at understanding who wrote something and what the real meaning of that content is, inevitably over time, there will be little less emphasis on links. I would expect that for the next few years we will continue to use links to assess the basic reputation of pages and of sites.”

So while backlinks may be safe for now, it may be wise to begin investing in a good resource and content strategy that will encourage organic linking and set your business as a resource, before the hammer falls.

SEO news blog post by @ 4:30 pm on May 6, 2014

Categories:Google,link building


Why Page Content Matters

Last week Matt Cutts, head of Google’s web spam, team put out a rather clever video on the Google Webmasters Help channel on Youtube. For those that didn’t catch it, the bodiless Mr. Cutts made a few great points about page content.

We all know that having unique, well written page content is one of the cardinal rules for any site.  It’s helps both visitors and search engines. Having relevant, topical information on your sites pages will help Goolge understand what your site is about and provide relevance for search queries. Having low quality, scraped or “thin content” can result in less search traffic to your site and depending on how low the quality is, may even fall under the umbrella Goolge’s of Panda algorithm.

Matt has deemed this a “public service announcement” but it begs the question, is this a warning of things coming down the pipe for algorithmic changes?

SEO news blog post by @ 1:40 pm on May 5, 2014



Google stock soars: Titan Aerospace + Public Glass Explorer

It would take a lot of thunderbolts and lightning to frighten a company as resourceful as Google.

After some of the bad news earlier this month, Google had a very good day on the stock market and is soaring high on several big announcements.

NASDAQ: GOOG – Apr 15 6:13 PM ET
536.44 +3.92 (0.74%)

As of today, April 15th, starting at 6am, Google started taking public orders for the Google Glass Explorer product.

What’s the catch? You have to be a US citizen because the Glass Explorer program is focused on the US and doesn’t have a lot of support for other countries yet. D’oh!

Also, at $1,500, you probably need to have a solid bankroll or a game plan to make the money back by producing videos and taking images that you can promote as ‘through glass’.

The official post on Google Plus took several minutes to finish loading thanks to the comments from people who range from excited, to angry, depending on their global location and access to the needed funds.

There’s no mention of the public access to the Explorer Glass Edition on the official Google Blog, but last week they had Dr. Jane Goodall discussing the tools she used to document and learn about chimpanzee behavior.

When I consider the additional images/video Dr.Goodall would have been able to collect and share if her studies were done with today’s technology/tools, it really boggles my mind.

Still, I don’t have US citizenship, or $1,500 laying around, so all I can do is write with jealousy. :)

Speaking of funds, Google also just purchased Titan Aerospace, the same company that has successfully built self-powered gliders that can sustain an altitude of 65,000 feet for up to three years.
Photo of the Solara 50 self powered glider.
The only figure that news sites will quote is the $60 million US that Facebook had previously offered to purchase Titan Aerospace, and the assumption is that Google obviously offered even more.

How much is it worth to Google to be able to update Google Maps image data without sharing the cost of satellite images? Millions.

What’s the value of traffic and exposure if Google’s drones can provide near real-time updates of forest fires and other large disasters? Priceless.

These self-powered gliders can apparently supplement Google’s Loon Project which provides internet access to low density population areas using ‘smart’ balloons that use the various wind layers to control their location.

If a balloon is going the wrong direction it can raise or lower to get into a different layer of wind for some limited control of it’s travel. When a balloon needs maintenance it can be deflated slowly to bring it back to ground safely, and in the event of a malfunction there’s a parachute in each balloon.

Currently the Loon project is focused in New Zealand with a future goal of establishing a contiguous ring of balloons around the 40th southern parallel that will provide uninterrupted internet access for anyone living in the 40km range of the ring.

With the purchase of Titan Aerospace and it’s gliders, Google has even more options and folks are already starting to wonder about a hybrid balloon using some of the glider technology that Titan Aerospace is bringing to the table.

Honestly, between selling connectivity and providing discounted image data for Google Earth, this purchase unlocks a ton of potential and could easily pay itself off in short order because Google’s in a great position to actually use the technology.

SEO news blog post by @ 5:00 pm on April 15, 2014


Newscology April 10, 2014

Google’s Continuing Smack Down

Google laid the smack down on 7 Japanese Link Networks recently. The Google technique of slowly shutting down blog networks must be having others around the world in a cold sweat. Is this like the horrid way pet felines like to play with their prey by slowly poking out the eye and then maybe gnawing on its tail? If it isn’t it sure looks that way so watch out you sneaky little grey hats.

Google is PPing on your PPC

In efforts to keep search secure they have removed query data from the referrer on the SSL on Although, third party software for keyword data won’t be able to be generated, webmasters can still use Google’s webmaster tools for more detailed information. Most speculate that Google’s move to do this is only to increase ad spend from the inadequate data. As SEOs have been moving on to evolve with Google’s rapid changes so does the PPC world one keyword at a time.

Masters of intelligence

Our next generation is already proving to be leaders in science and technology. Runnymede Robotics a division of Runnymede Collegiate is preparing for the World Championships in St Louis Missouri. Webcology had chance to interview a few of the bright youth who will be representing Canada with their amazing feats of engineering. During the interview the students showed an obvious affinity for the importance science and technology plays in our modern society. No doubt their one of a kind robot is ready to face up to 400 international competitors.

Beyond the robots they proved that they had a great knack with using online resources to crowd source funds for the special event. Armed with social media platforms like YouTube and Facebook and the right amount of engagement they were able to direct that interest into actual money to finance the big day. These kids can show many non-profits a thing or two about finance sourcing. Good luck Runnymede Robotics!

Webcology pic01

SEO news blog post by @ 10:25 am on



Is the heart of your website beating or bleeding?

The Heartbleed Bug is a serious SSL/TLS encryption vulnerability in the popular OpenSSL cryptographic software library. So what is it?

Seems like we’ve heard this all before?

To put it into layman’s terms, Heartbleed or CVE-2014-0160, depending on your pedantic nature, is a really bad thing.

In less simple terms, the ‘heartbeat’ service of OpenSSL can be exploited to ‘leak’ it’s memory and reveal the contents of of otherwise protected/encrypted data.

But we’ve heard of OpenSSL exploits/vulnerabilities before, why is this one exciting?

Heartbleed vulnerability logo

Not only does Heartbleed have it’s own logo: has it’s own website:

If you wanted to know all about it, the website is full of information and details on the vulnerability if you want to dig right in for maximum info.

Essentially these are the points made:

  • This vulnerability has been around for years and so if someone had captured traffic from a year ago, and then got your secret keys with this exploit, this could allow them access to data you thought nobody could touch.

  • Using this exploit to impersonate your servers could allow an attacker even more access.

  • This is untraceable at the moment, meaning you don’t know what secure/protected content was stolen, or when.

  • This isn’t even all about you and your servers, think about the private data of your users and how a common password could be stolen from your server and used to infiltrate other more-secure servers around the internet.

Who is impacted :

  • Everyone that uses SSL is impacted in some way. Even if you just have to change some passwords. This will impact you.

  • OpenSSL 1.0.1 through 1.0.1f are vulnerable. OpenSSL 1.0.1g and newer are fine. Very old servers that didn’t upgrade to the heartbeat feature may be immune.

  • It’s estimated that this applies to over 66% of the web servers on the internet.

What to do :

  • Upgrade OpenSSL and/or disable the heartbeat function.

  • If you don’t disable the heartbeat function you can expect to be contacted by security teams checking to make sure you’ve upgraded.

  • Make sure your users know, either by a site bulletin, or perhaps a blog post?

  • Urge users to make password changes once you’ve secured your server.

  • Make it clear that users need to update that password on all sites that it was used on.

  • Be honest. No data can be assumed private at this point, your users should consider this truth.

  • Revoke and reissue your server’s primary keys.

  • As servers get patched you can reconnect with them, but there should be a ‘patch first, trust after’ policy.

..and above all else, Don’t Panic. :)

Update: If you are hosted on CentOS don’t assume you are vulnerable based on the version. In our case we had version 1.0.1e installed but it has been patched for CVE-2014-0160, which I can confirm with SSH access and looking at the RPM changelog.

SEO news blog post by @ 3:27 pm on April 9, 2014


Newscology March 3, 2014


The now ClickZ (formerly SES) had its inaugural debut in New York this week. Everyone from the digital world showed their presence at this year’s event, but it sounds as though the number of tables has dwindled. Google and Bing both had exclusive rooms but unfortunately the number of showcased digital businesses was much less than in previous years. Jim hedger mentioned that since there were fewer larger corporate companies than before the smaller tables had less of a discount. Although there were fewer tables than prior years didn’t stop the show from going on.

Retirement of Grehan

Mike Grehan, publisher of Search Engine Watch, as well as a long time veteran on the board of directors for the once SES International (now ClickZ), has retired. Grehan said that this was his decision and felt he had accomplished what he wanted and it was time to move on. He’s been long respected within the community and is the reason why his sudden retirement leaves many shocked. Many loyal fans are uncertain about the future of this event and are left to only speculate into what caused Mike’s sudden retirement. None the less we would like to thank Mike for many great live shows and we look to hearing more from him in the future.


The big topic stirring thoughts at the event was “Links”. Google’s wrath against the mal-practice of links has left more than many insecure of what could be next on the chopping block. The big concern stated by Jim was the penalty through association from penalized sites. The reason is that many Mom and Pop sites have been hurt through distant affiliation and can’t afford to pull themselves out. We now have to adapt and change, forcing SEOs into more of a professional role while representing their client.

In defense of Google many within the SEO community brought this upon themselves by abusing the system. Things needed to change which forced them into a more honest role and unfortunately these Mom and Pops were caught in the snares of the system. It will take time for SEO and businesses to recuperate but we are sure that these changes will bring a better internet for all.

Webcology pic01

SEO news blog post by @ 3:07 pm on April 4, 2014



Don’t farm the wrong email list..

I am a typist of sorts; I don’t dictate in a court of law, or even have good touch typing skills, but I honestly communicate via typing almost as much as I do with spoken words.

So I have a thing for nice keyboards and I made the mistake of trying out a new product, before it’d been thoroughly tested/reviewed: the Mionix Z60 mechanical keyboard.

It’s a really sturdy well built device with plenty of high end features that were what I wanted in a keyboard, however there were some critical problems with it that caused me to send it back a few times just to get a working unit.

Even after contacting the manufacturer’s support/warranty team on multiple occasions resulting in a few returns/replacements of the KB for one reason or the other I cannot reliably boot PCs with a mouse connected to the Mionix KB I finally ended up with, but I got tired of mailing things around so I just decided to live with the issues.

Yesterday, being April Fools, Dave snuck over to my PC and plugged my mouse into my KB. He already knew this would drive me nuts wondering what’s wrong with my computer till I noticed it and he was right! Curses!

So this morning, when I got 3 copies of a spam email, thanks to my numerous contact efforts, from Mionix advertising yet another crazy custom product, I laughed at the ‘day late’ April Fools joke, but seeing how they had three different email addresses due to my numerous support contact efforts, it was a good reminder:

“Do not send unsolicited advertising to the wrong email list.”

Unsolicited advertising to random people is bad enough, but to dump spam on some people who are frustrated and unhappy with their existing purchases is just reminding them to dislike you.

(Image credit: Terry Border – Bent Objects.)

… Unless you were so keen to get a brand mention that you intentionally contacted upset users hoping for backlash? In that case congrats. :)

SEO news blog post by @ 12:03 pm on April 2, 2014


Newscology March 27

Webcology pic01
Social media can be a benefit for optimizing our total presence on the web. Unfortunately it’s hard to figure out how to measure the impact we’ve made via Social media. The truth is, it’s social media, and the name of the game of Social is engagement. -

According to Wikipedia; “Communication (from Latin commūnicāre, meaning “to share”) is the activity of conveying information through the exchange of thoughts, messages, or information, as by speech, visuals, signals, written, or behavior. It is the meaningful exchange of information between two or more living creatures.”

Companies need a strong social presence on the web, but most importantly they need to have communicative relationships. Allan Knecht had mentioned on Webcology that it’s not all about how many followers or fans you have it’s about how you engage with them. Shared posts, communications and involvement are just few things to look at when measuring engagement. There are a number of free applications like Hootsuite, Tweet deck and Google alerts to help keep an eye on what people are saying about you or info they could be possibly sharing. Unfortunately the truth is that many companies out there do very poorly in the social arena. A good chunk of the time they either talk “at” their followers or post memes and quotes-of-the-day without any personal interaction what so ever.

Companies on the web need to recognize that they need to be an influencer in their sector before they can begin to see the development of positive response through their social efforts. Often we have clients that ask for a quantifiable number to help measure the worth of a social campaign. A good number to offer is a Klout score. A Klout score measures your social engagement and the new interface also connects users with other relevant content around the web catered to their interests and area of influence. The score is rated from zero up with an authoritative influence rank starting at 60. Giving a client a number to work up to helps provide incentive but also gives them an idea that what they are doing is actually working. Once they can see this number increase they will be more likely to continue with their efforts; understanding what actions result in increased Klout and taking the correct actions to move on.

When an individual has reached an influential score it becomes easier to have them and their brand begin to network with other influencers, expanding their exposure to a much larger audience. Most importantly, by sharing knowledge with other industry leaders and their audience they will have strengthened their trust and authority, thus providing them with a better chance to attain natural, organic links.

The foundation to being a successful, optimal online company is to embrace social media while engaging with and listening to the audience carefully. If we can work with a client to recognize the value of proper social interaction then we will be ahead of the game when achieving converting traffic.

Follow this Webcology program from March 27 with guests Allan Knecht (Digital Always Media) and Adam Proehl (NordicClick) as they help explain the necessity of engagement.

SEO news blog post by @ 12:42 pm on March 31, 2014



Oculus VR SOLD to Facebook

About an hour ago (it will be by the time I post this) it was announced that Facebook has acquired Oculus VR, makers of the Oculus Rift virtual headset for roughly 2 billion in cash and stocks.

oculusvr soldout

Targeted marketing: Now in 3D!!

If you review the products that Facebook has purchased/acquired recently you’ll see a very consistent logic in going after products that they can control and lock down to their own services. The goal is very simple, get a technology off the public market so you can control it, brand it, and eventually monetize it with user tracking and advertising. All of which are bad for the Oculus VR’s development.

So what was an exciting new product is instantly becoming a pile of speculation and distrust, not even 7 days after the DK2 kit became available for purchase, and exactly 1 week from April Fools?

Talk about ‘deeply’ suspicious folks! In the first half-hour of the news break on Reddit the /r/oculus threads are full of people overusing ‘sell out’ and just pummeling Palmer Lucky, the man who used to call the shots over at Oculus VR, with insults and insinuations.

Just 1 hour ago Minecraft’s Markus Persson (AKA: Notch) has already publicly hit the NOPE button:

While this means that Minecraft won’t officially support the Oculus Rift, it really boils down to needing user-based modifications to support the Oculus hardware as Mojang won’t be wasting time on a Facebook property.

This is just hours after the announcement so I would expect Minecraft to be tip of the iceberg when you really sit down and think about who’s in business with Facebook:

- Microsoft
- Oracle
- Nokia
- Zynga
- etc..

Things over at Facebook are a bit of an axis of evil in terms of IT culture, soliciting a slew of ‘dark side’ remarks from upset users replying to Palmer Lucky’s sale post. It’s my opinion that as many people who would complain about losing access to such a device, there’s many more that would understand that this could be the end of a great thing today.

It reminds me a bit of a movie I watched where there’s a jolly fat kid carrying around his bag of candy pieces only to have a bully come along, steal a candy, stick it in his nose, and then drop it back into the bag with a shake to make sure it’s well sorted.

At this point the entire first page of the Oculus VR subreddit is entirely devoted to negative responses to this news, including this juicy revelation:

People are now shifting interest and focus to other projects and /r/virtualreality just got subbed in for a ton of ex-oculus fans.

SEO news blog post by @ 4:58 pm on March 25, 2014


Newscology March 20, 2014

Webcology pic01
Google made strong moves within the last twenty four hours in the guest blogging arena. One of the more well-known guest blogging networks, “MyBlogGuest” was hit with a massive manual penalty rendering them nonexistent on Google’s index. Although this company worked hard to stay on the white side it couldn’t avoid wearing a grey hat.

Anne Smarty the founder and creator of “MyBlogGuest” represented her side of the story on Webcology. She seemed to firmly defend her blog network, insinuating that they worked hard to educate the community of proper practice but unfortunately the community was taken advantage of. This may play a major role in causing the penalty but she also put up resistance towards Google’s nofollow rule which ultimately was the real reason for a penalty.

Anne Smarty has a supportive crew from the SEO community yet there are also many that think that this game was well played by Google. David Harry, also a guest on Webmaster radio, mentioned that if “MyBlogGuest” wanted to avoid the penalty they would have taken actions to fix the issue months ago. When asked about the Mom and Pop sites that are also caught up in the middle of these penalties he said; “Anyone who attempts their own SEO better take the time to understand how internet marketing works as well as the rules that surround it.”

It’s an honest statement from David and an obvious one at that too. The same thing goes for these smaller businesses that hired SEO services – they should have known enough to protect their investment or should have avoided agreeing to play a grey game from the beginning.

We all knew that it wasn’t a matter of “if” these networks will be taken down it was more a matter of “when”. Now that we see Google has moved ahead with a heavy fist we will begin to see more positive results for the ones playing the game by the rules. It’s about time that the internet gains integrity.

SEO news blog post by @ 3:27 pm on March 20, 2014



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