Google steps up activity against blog networks manipulating Google rankings

By Greenlight | 08 Mar 2014

Welcome to Greenlight's weekly dose of Blog Watch! It's that time when we share the latest news and insights that have caught our eye. Enjoy!





Many sites these days use an infinite scroll feature, whether that be on a news feed or a pinboard or whatever takes a webmasters fancy! Although this may bring delight to users when it comes to search engines this can be a different story altogether. Crawlers can't always emulate manual user behaviour like scrolling or clicking a load more button, therefore if crawlers can't access your content it's unlikely to surface in the search results.

Therefore Google has given recommended steps to make infinite scroll search friendly.

1. Before you start: Place infinite scroll into component pages that are accessible when JavaScript is disabled. Determine how much content is to be on each page, so that items and content are easily found. Divide content so that there's no overlap between component pages.

2. Structure URLs for infinite scroll search engine processing. Each component page contains a full URL.

3. Configure pagination with each component page containing rel=next and rel=prev values in the < head >. Pagination values in the < body > will be ignored.

4. Implement PushState (HTML 5)

5. Test



The latest Google Webmaster Help video deals with a topic that comes up from time to time: breadcrumbs. How should you handle your breadcrumb navigation if a product or an article belongs in multiple categories and you would like the user to easily go up to the category view for all categories it may be placed in, via a breadcrumb structure?

Many of my items belong to multiple categories on my eCommerce site. Can I place multiple breadcrumbs on a page? Do they confuse Googlebot? Do you properly understand the logical site structure of my site?

"If you do breadcrumbs, we will currently pick the first one," says Matt Cutts. "So I would try to get things in the right category or hierarchy as much as you can."

This is actually the first time Google has stated it chooses the first breadcrumb. In their current breadcrumb documentation for rich snippets, it simply states "Pages can have more than one breadcrumb trail." There is no mention about Google currently using the first one and not using the rest of the breadcrumbs.




For a relatively new and unknown company in a really competitive market, Airbnb has been able to build links through its community exceptionally well. It has managed this through a charitable community, really unique listings, its development and community blogs, impressive neighbourhood guides and one-off content marketing efforts.

In terms of charity, during Hurricane Sandy 1,439 Airbnb community members put up displaced New Yorkers for free, generating 300 linking root domains. Its neighbourhood guides have built 130 links to date and its product and community blog has over 1900+ linking root domains. This is partly down to its bold company ethos but also because it posts regularly about newsworthy topics, consumer concerns and changes with its product. Airbnb has the advantage of having a product that relies heavily on its community which encourages people to share content.



Guest blogging has been heavily criticised and in January of this year Matt Cutts blogged about the decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO.

Last week, Google penalised, a guest blog network. Ann Smarty, Founder of MyGuestBlog said via Twitter, "Even though #myblogguest has been against pay for links (unlike other platforms), @mattcutts team decided to penalize us." Google had announced a few hours earlier that it had taken action on a large guest blog network but Smarty was confident at the time it wouldn't be MyGuestBlog because it wasn't a "network" and it wasn't selling links. Another reminder of the risk of misusing guest blogging and for MyGuestBlog it means it no longer ranks on Google for branded terms.

On the same day, SEO Theory summed up exactly how to use guest blogging. Highlighting that guest blogging should be used to reach out to a new audience, introduce your products to a new audience, inspire other people to link to you, add value to other people's websites, help a client out and finally to earn brand recognition. It seems like the guest blogging debate will continue to run in 2014.


Elsewhere Google took action on link networks in Spain, Germany and Italy and has also targeted networks in Poland and France. Google has clearly stepped up its activity against blog networks manipulating Google's rankings.





One way to create performance analyses that are highly valuable, is to segment data, and then analyse. By splitting data into their relevant categories (be they brand, generic, high volume etc), you will be able to get a better insight into the account, and its performance. By splitting brand and generic data, you will get a clearer overview on each of their performances.

As a result, this will help you when it comes to creating optimisation strategies that are highly impactful and valuable.



Take time to explore Bing reporting and you can make up for 99% of the interface' shortcomings. This highly useful tool provides useful insights in to metrics that will help to maximise your account performance and widen your target audience. Reports include Keywords performance, Geographic, device and ad copy performance.



Marketing forecasts have predicted that desktop spend will increase by a highly significant amount this year. In 2013, we saw desktop spend yield only a 2% growth, with mobile increasing by 121%. To no surprise, Google will have a massive influence in the overall shift in desktop to mobile spends this year. eMarketer predicts revenue share will fall from 76% in 2013 to 66% in 2014. That's a $770 million decline in desktop revenue!