Don’t Panic! A Hitchhiker’s Guide To Surviving SEO Changes #SMX #SMXMilan

Don’t Panic! A Hitchhiker’s Guide To Surviving SEO Changes #SMX #SMXMilan

7th November 2013

SMX Milan started off with a great selection of SEO, SMM and SEM content from a wide range of multi-talented professionals. Here’s one of many round ups from Jackie Hole and Haukur Jarl from the morning sessions of SMX in Milan.

This session includes our very own Gianluca Fiorelli!

SEO // Don’t Panic! A Hitchhiker’s Guide To Surviving SEO Changes

Bill Hunt, President, Back Azimuth Consulting (@billhunt)


  • Martino Mosna, SEM & Web Analytics Specialist (@martinomosna)
  • Johannes Müller, Webmaster Trends Analyst, Google (@JohnMu)
  • Gianluca Fiorelli, Moz Associate, SEOmoz(@gfiorelli1)

Personalization & SEO – Gianluca Fiorelli

gianluca-fiorelli-1SEO is not a tactic – SEO is a strategy that uses tactics for obtaining a purpose – qualified organic traffic

  • Why are you asking for rankings when they are all different? When they all see different search result pages?
  • 64% were unaware that Google search results were personalised
  • 54% were unhappy about Googletracking their  online activity to personalise
  • The conversion funnel is not a spiral – powerful is the force of personalisation
  • Localisation – Google knows where you are
  • Linkdex – 67% of the time you rankings won’t appear in the localised SERPS
  • Use Geo Ranking Tools (Authority Labs, LinkDex)
  • Work for obtaining bigger and stronger relevance


  • Creating events and synergies online/offline
  • Targeting local sites
  • Targeting local influencers
  • Use the follower base of your competitors
  • Use FOLLOWERWONK – journalist outreach – find influencers followers

Other factors

  • Browser used
  • Device Used
  • Timing of Search
  • 40% of internet users also browse on mobile
  • 40% of mobile users use their devices while watching TV

Forget about not provided keywords + implicit query  = explicit queryabout queries

Search Entities

  • A query a searcher submits
  • Docs responsive to query
  • Search session
  • Time submitted
  • Adverts presented
  • Anchor text
  • If I am not linked to then find a document in the serps that is indexed – Google will assign probability score
  • Branding targeted outreach for Richard Baxter  (really targeted­­ outreach)
  • Total implicit queries – making of a google tool which would give you answers
  • Email marketing to the rescue
  • Integrate with Google now –

SEO in a silo is not enough – SEO must synergically interact with all the other marketing disciplines

SEO must become search experience optimisation!

Webmaster Tools & Disavow – Jonathan Mueller

jonathan-mueller-15 free takeaways

  • Don’t forget tech issues
  • Cleaning up takes time – do early
  • Be clear and honest with reconsideration requests
  • Algo changes take time to be fisible don’t iterate aim for the top – algo’s get better
  • Ask others for help – use forum and hangouts

60 trillion individual pages and constantly growing –– if you were to print out the pages 15X to the moon

Google Algos

  • There are 100 billion searches a month
  • 73,000 precision experiments in 2012
  • Google take Manual action when necessary

What does it take to clean up ?

  • Verify all sites
  • Check inbox for messages
  • Use the manual action viewer & security issues
  • Links download news vs sample or all
  • Crawl errors do not penalize a site – crawl errors = healthy website

 On page spam issues

  • Hacked content, spammy UGC open forum hidden profiles – blog comments
  • Hidden text/keyword stuffing

What to do

  • Clean up or remove completely
  • Lock down UGC spam
  • Create workflows for regular reviews
  • Fix security issues
  • On site spam issues:
  • Auto generated content (machine translate, spinning)
  • Low quality content (re-written content)
  • Doorway pages or microsites


  • 404 or no index pages robots txt for sites
  • URL removal tools for separate sections
  • Create a policy for the future to avoid it
  • Resolving issues with links
  • Remove bad links
  • Disavow otherwsise / no index / manual action – focus on links from Webmaster Tools and find similar ones
  • Document your work

Note: onsite robots txt 302 doesn’t block passing of PR

Reconsideration requests

  • Be short and to the point
  • Show real significant changes and effort – be honest
  • Supporting documentation – access without login
  • People manually review – what would YOU want to see?

Algo changes

  • Harder – no one is manually reviewing
  • There is more to a website than text
  • Don’t be as ‘bad as others’ – aim to be the best – don’t dilute your work

Questions from weekly hangouts

  • Is X a bad link maybe a real user did it? Maybe – clean it up and move on
  • An old SEO placed these links what can I do? Clean up disavow file RR move on
  • I have low quality content – noindex or 404 – either works but making high
  • Will I get a penalty for crawl errors? – No
  • Does adding schema increase site  quality? – No but it’s still a good idea


Written By
Jackie Hole is an Award Winning Search Marketing consultant specialising in Paid Search, Conversion Improvement and Organic Search / SEO for the USA, Canada and European markets. Starting out in Multimedia & Interface Design, Jackie has over 15 years experience in online marketing and was recently awarded European Search Personality...
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