SEO Update – (Mo)November


What it’s December already? Well, as the month of gift giving and mild insanity is upon us, it’s time for a recap of November in SEO.

Agreeably it was a much quieter month all-in-all, however there was still a lot going on, disavow tools talk, content hijacking and security issues – plenty to keep the industry occupied that’s for sure!

Authorship In Search

Not something that is new in November, but the focus is certainly ramping up none-the-less. The rising influence of AuthorRank was a large focus, as well as the importance of taking full advantage of what it can provide. I’m still very much excited about what AuthorRank will mean for websites (and authors – obviously!) and there’s much buzz in the HP offices too! If you’re not already thinking about putting authorship into place on your blog/website it is certainly time to start considering it.

Disavow Links Tool

The Google Disavow Links tool saw the light of day in October and it was covered a lot across the various blogs and websites. However, a month on it’s apparent that, like most Google related tools, it has the power to polarise people. The first thing that is clear is that it wasn’t the tool people wanted, in fact Sujan Patel, writing on Search Engine Journal contributes reasons for website owners and SEOs not use it. How exactly Disavow will make an impression on the SEO industry in the long term is yet to be seen, but it is clear you need to assess it’s appropriateness for your needs carefully before jumping in.

Google Webmaster Tool Security Issues

For a few hours on the 27th digital marketeers began to notice that they had Google Webmaster Tools access to old accounts that they probably shouldn’t have. This thankfully was a temporary glitch which Google were quick to get on top of, however the thought of someone else being able to deindex your site, disavow your backlink profile or change your geotargeting amongst other things is a worrying one. This highlghts just how important it is to always be sure you know and trust whoever has access to your GWT account at all times.

Hijacking Content

The thought that Google has the ability to deal with duplicate content in a fair way is one of the few things that stops many from totally freaking out about Panda and it’s continuous series of updates (see below). Although the Big G’s ability to accurately determine the truth authority of a particular piece of content was called into question by an experiment by Dan Petrovic, where he hijacked several blogs (including Rand Fishkin’s). What this demonstrated is that duplicate content can be seen as the authority if it has the most PR directed at it – a worrying prospect for the smaller sites out there.

If that’s where the story ended there’d be a good  reason to freak out a little bit, however Google caught up shortly after and slapped a big duplicate content warning on the whole thing – hopefully a massive eye opener for all.

Panda 21 & 22

November started off with another Panda update (21) and then a few weeks later it seems as if the SEO/Webmaster community noticed some more panda-like movements within SERPs. Whilst Google didn’t confirm it at first, they hinted there was another update in the works… and there was – a day later! Panda 21 and 22 didn’t stir up results as much as the triptic of updates in Sept/Oct, but it is keeping people on their toes before Christmas.


Whiteboard Friday always has had the ability to set the SEO community ablaze in discussion for days, if not weeks to follow and Rand Fishkin’s offering about Co-Citations/Co-Occurance was no different. One of the most interesting elements of this video is the assertion the idea that anchor text’s influence is gradually fading – something which has been discussed since Penguin’s release in April. Joshua Giardino, writing on iAcquire’s blog gives a storming rebuttal/counter to much of what Rand says; it’s a long story, but well worth a read for those ardent link builders out there.

Hyphens In Domains

Following the EMD update and his initial research, Ben Milleare once again rolls up his sleeves to see whether hyphenated domains are now a negative signal to Google with some interesting results. Whilst not conclusive it certainly seems that there is a correlation between those sites who’ve witness ranking drops and those with hyphens in the domain – not guaranteed causation, but certainly food for thought!


If you’ve wondering that this post is a few days late, there’s been a bit of a buzz around the HP offices over the last week or so! If you haven’t seen it already, check out the High Position Digital Marketing Advent Calendar, where we’ll be easing your way through the Christmas period with a new nugget of wisdom from the member of the team. 


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