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Friday, February 22, 2013

A reminder about selling links that pass PageRank

Webmaster level: all

Google has said for years that selling links that pass PageRank violates our quality guidelines. We continue to reiterate that guidance periodically to help remind site owners and webmasters of that policy.

Please be wary if someone approaches you and wants to pay you for links or "advertorial" pages on your site that pass PageRank. Selling links (or entire advertorial pages with embedded links) that pass PageRank violates our quality guidelines, and Google does take action on such violations. The consequences for a linkselling site start with losing trust in Google's search results, as well as reduction of the site's visible PageRank in the Google Toolbar. The consequences can also include lower rankings for that site in Google's search results.

If you receive a warning for selling links that pass PageRank in Google's Webmaster Tools, you'll see a notification message to look for "possibly artificial or unnatural links on your site pointing to other sites that could be intended to manipulate PageRank." That's an indication that your site has lost trust in Google's index.

To address the issue, make sure that any paid links on your site don't pass PageRank. You can remove any paid links or advertorial pages, or make sure that any paid hyperlinks have the rel="nofollow" attribute. After ensuring that no paid links on your site pass PageRank, you can submit a reconsideration request and if you had a manual webspam action on your site, someone at Google will review the request. After the request has been reviewed, you'll get a notification back about whether the reconsideration request was granted or not.

We do take this issue very seriously, so we recommend you avoid selling (and buying) links that pass PageRank in order to prevent loss of trust, lower PageRank in the Google Toolbar, lower rankings, or in an extreme case, removal from Google's search results.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Make the most of Search Queries in Webmaster Tools

Level: Beginner to Intermediate

If you’re intrigued by the Search Queries feature in Webmaster Tools but aren’t sure how to make it actionable, we have a video that we hope will help!


Maile shares her approach to Search Queries in Webmaster Tools

This video explains the vocabulary of Search Queries, such as:
  • Impressions
  • Average position (only the top-ranking URL for the user’s query is factored in our calculation)
  • Click
  • CTR
The video also reviews an approach to investigating Top queries and Top pages:
  1. Prepare by understanding your website’s goals and your target audience (then using Search Queries “filters” to support your knowledge)
  2. Sort by clicks in Top queries to understand the top queries bringing searchers to your site (for the given time period)
  3. Sort by CTR to notice any missed opportunities
  4. Categorize queries into logical buckets that simplify tracking your progress and staying in touch with users’ needs
  5. Sort Top pages by clicks to find the URLs on your site most visited by searchers (for the given time period)
  6. Sort Top pages by impressions to find valuable pages that can be used to help feature your related, high-quality, but lower-ranking pages
After you’ve watched the video and applied the knowledge of your site with the findings from Search Queries, you’ll likely have several improvement ideas to help searchers find your site. If you’re up for it, let us know in the comments what Search Queries information you find useful (and why!), and of course, as always, feel free to share any tips or feedback.