In The News This Week

So what has been happening this week that you will be interested in? The biggest story of the last few days is that a Google backed company “Thumbtack” has been penalised by Google themselves for unnatural linking. Now for those of you that haven’t heard of Thumbtack, they are a US based company that connect local service providers with potential clients. Let’s say you’re a photographer, plumber or personal tutor you would add your services to Thumbtack and then those needing a particular service, visit the site put in their requirements and Thumbtack then analyses that request and provides a list of suitable providers for a small fee.

Last year Thumbtack landed a $100 million investment by Google led capital and they have been making great strides as a business ever since. That was until just recently when they were handed a manual penalty for unnatural linking.

What had they been upto? Essentially encouraging the thousands of businesses listed on their books to link back to their website in return for points and a badge. This kind of reward-bait is against Google’s guidelines unless you ensure the links back are “nofollow”, which is a way of telling Google to not pass on any link-equity from those links as they are not earned links but rather forced by reward.

This topic of big companies being penalised is not a new one, a new scalp happens every so often and sends ripples around the SEO world. This latest one is all the more amusing as it is a Google backed company. It does however show that Google doesn’t care who they penalise. You can read more about this latest Google victim here.

Our advice: Focus on your website and work on a content-focused-strategy where you will earn the right to rank and gain editorial links rather than trying to manipulate your way to the top. That said, running an awards bait campaign is absolutely fine so long as you take the steps to ensure you stay firmly within Google’s guidelines.

In other news this week, Google’s Larry Page was named top CEO in surveys conducted in both the UK and United States. It is any wonder when you think of all the benefits Google’s staff enjoy such as free meals 24/7, far longer maternity cover and often very flexible working hours.

There was an article published on Search Engine Journal this week that is certainly worth a read. Neil Patel looks at what makes a successful SEO. Now a few years ago this type of piece might have been filled with comments relating to how to get the most out of various article spinning software and how to spam your way to the top. Nowadays however a successful SEO has a whole new set of skills that includes content and headline writing, networking and blogging.

Lastly this week I want to draw attention to an excellent post I read called “4 things most leaders don’t understand about SEO”. No prizes for guessing why this title caught my eye when I was doing my usual check of the week’s best news. The author Trond Lyngbø made some very valid points regarding how many business owners and board members mis-understand SEO. I agree entirely with the vast majority of his post and if you’re a little unsure about how to position SEO within your company, you should read his post.