Digital State Cheshire

So this week saw the long awaiting roll-out of Google’s Penguin update (note that the article has additional links later on in the piece for subsequent news updates).

Basically, it’s been a slow and steady rollout and there’s been little to indicate that it’s as seismic as previous major iterations.  Saying that, according to most industry sources, the rollout is likely to continue for a couple of weeks so it’s perhaps premature to make conclusions.

On the other hand, Dan Petrovic doesn’t see any evidence to support that and has, essentially, decided the update was a bit of a damp squib.

Given that this is now a regular occurrence, I’m not too surprised that the update is a little more specific – perhaps even surgical – in its targeting.  That’s not to say 1% isn’t a large number of websites, more that it would be surprising to see Google make an algorithmic change that, tacitly, acknowledges its previous iterations were so inaccurate.


DSM have talked extensively about sitemaps in the past – not least of which in our recently published statistical analysis paper.  We’ve been pretty clear about the importance of getting these elements right in your website set-up and, as such, it’s nice that Google have provided some clear advice on best practice – both for sitemaps and for RSS feeds.  Essential reading for your Web Dev.

Content Development

You know when people go on about the centrality of content development and how some people (mentioning no names – cough, Duane Forrester, cough) claim that “if you build it, they will come”.  Well, in the real world, we all know that this is a pretty picture but unlikely to hold water in a competitive market without the advantages of a massive brand authority.

As such, it’s interesting to watch this week’s Whiteboard Friday from Rand Fishkin about the possibility of good SEO coming from good content alone.

I agree totally with him on this one (I’m sure that will comfort him no end!) – good content is vital but authority development also needs pro-active marketing and that means link building of some sort.

Onpage SEO

Think you have a pretty good handle on the concepts involved in onpage SEO?  Then you’re ready for the Advanced Class, my dear Padawan.  Cyrus Shepherd builds on foundational information around keyword density and semantic indexing to build a peerless introduction to the most important related theories (be sure to look at the first comment – from Cyrus – which provides additional reading).

And if your mind hasn’t been sufficiently blown by all that information, you can jump into this extended thought experiment by Uri Bar-Joseph.  Essentially prompting the reader to get beyond the practicalities of SEO as we currently practice it and consider how they answer the real demands of their target audience in the future.  Deep.

Lastly, a little trumpet blow for an article of our own, published this week on the Business 2 Community blog.  If you’ve been wondering when (or, indeed, if) to make the transition to Universal Analytics, this article could be just the primer you need to make the decision.