Archive for April, 2012

Why I think the Google Penguin update is a good thing

On April 24th 2012 Google decided to launch an online bloodshed aimed at killing web spam from their natural search engine results. This update has created huge problems amongst the online marketers / SEO’s whom have been salvaging through the wreckage this bloodshed carnage has left them with.

The Google Penguin Causing Carnage

Since Tuesday, I have read literally 100′s of forum posts, blog posts, tweets,  Facebook updates, msn conversations and emails from people who have been virtually wiped out overnight. In my opinion, it has been a long time coming and everyone who hasn’t played by Google’s rules deserves everything they have been given (obviously bar the innocent ones, but a bloodshed makes no exceptions). Google is a business and appearing in their results (let alone being ranked number 1 in the natural SERPS) is a privilege and not a right, which the majority of people forget at times like this. Lots of websites have had a relatively easy ride up until 24th April, with lots of niches being able to rank with very little real ranking knowledge other than buying 1000′s of anchor text spammy links from a blog network.

Nothing has REALLY changed with this penguin update, Google has always provided clear guidelines on what they are looking for and how providing good quality content for its users means you will be rewarded for your efforts by lots of traffic. They have always told people to write for people and not search engines, as this will gain you natural looking links which will be rewarded with higher search engine positions.

The problem with this industry is there are so many people looking to make quick and easy money without having to do much – these are the people who are now looking to jump ship and try and find a new ‘easier’ business model to exploit. I personally see this as a good thing. The competition just got less competitive.

For me the main key to succeed working online are 2 things -

1. You have to be able to adapt to changes
2. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

You might think this blog post is written a bit pretentiously, but it is actually quite the opposite. This penguin update has affected me personally in numerous ways and in some ways I have suffered just the same as the majority of others – we all like an easy ride and I am guilty of some of the tactics myself. The difference is I haven’t put all my eggs in one basket and I have numerous other things to fall back on. This G day has always been inevitable and my attitude to risk spreading, reinvesting and exploring other avenues has yet again proven to be some of the best things I did and will continue to do.

So why do I think this Google Penguin update is a good thing ?

- It has made me realise more than ever, that we are not invincible and to carry on making a living online for the long term, requires adaptability and more rule playing as opposed to rule breaking.

- It has made me sharpen my pencil and pay more attention to doing things the correct way for the long term, as opposed to the sometimes easier way.

- It has encouraged me to pursue further opportunities and traffic sources which I had previously pushed to one side.

- Lots of new opportunities have opened up as a result of this update. Sites which were previously ranked for money keywords in their niches are now ripe for the taking if done correctly.

- It has already helped to alleviate my attitude to procrastination, and make me become much more attentive to working on the things that really matter as opposed to things like  Twitter, Facebook and Colour Blind Test (*blush*)

- Apart from the big brands, the playing field has been somewhat levelled in terms of SEO and ranking abilities in bigger / more rewarding industries.

- Some of my content rich websites have been rewarded from my previously seemingly disregarded efforts, and the traffic has now increased by tenfold on long tail traffic which didn’t exist prior to this update. This speaks volumes to me in terms of my future plans.

- It has made me brainstorm and expand on previous thoughts, and made come up with more than 10 workable and pursuable ideas which have 0% reliance on Google.

- It has made me look at certain aspects of what I do, and how I can improve on them and my own productivity.

It is always easy to look on the negative side of any change which affects you adversely, but a true entrepreneur will always try and see the silver lining and apply that new knowledge. It may sound strange, but I am actually quite excited by the opportunities that have been created / identified as a result of this update.

I suggest you take that penguin by the hand and give it a firm shake, as it could actually be the best thing that ever happened to you. If you are unable to see ANY positiveness from all of this and are unwilling to adapt then I suggest you stick to your original plan of jumping ship and moving into other things ideally offline.

Laura Hogg – My Apprentice 2012 Predicted Winner

Laura Hogg

As we are approaching Week 3 of this year’s ‘Apprentice’ (BBC1 9PM Wednesday’s for those who are unorganised) the stronger candidates are now starting to emerge, and there is a clear divide between the real entrepreneurs and the ‘wannabe celebrity’ entrepreneurs. For me personally there is only one candidate who appears to have the right attitude and mindset to go all the way and become the Apprentice 2012 winner, and that is Laura Hogg.

Week 2 saw the candidates given the task of creating a new gadget. The girls (Team Stirling) were torn between 2 ideas – A plastic bath screen which stops kids from splashing water everywhere (Laura’s idea), and a foot cosy which wrapped around the taps and provided a place to rest your feet in the bath. After doing some market research it was apparantly obvious that the foot cosy was a firm favourite, but the team leader Jane chose to ignore this and go with the bath splash screen anyway - much to the dismay of the sub team who had conducted the market research (including Laura).

The girls lost the task and Jane was asked who she was bringing back into the board room, and she chose Maria and Katie. Given that Laura was the one who came up with the idea of the bath splash screen and it was potentially the reason the girls lost the task, she was not chosen to go back into the boardroom – this is quite rare in The Apprentice, as they usually get made a scapegoat, but not this time and I think that speaks volumes about Laura as a candidate.

Laura conducted herself very professionally throughout the task, and even though she came up with the idea of the bath splash screen, she was rooting for the foot cosy over her own idea – another thing I think speaks volumes. To identify and admit that someone else’s idea is better than your own idea is a very strong trait to possess and shows maturity, professionalism and a good business mindset, especially in ‘The Apprentice’ situation.

So for me, there is only one clear winner so far of the Apprentice 2012 and that is Laura Hogg !

You can follow Laura on Twitter, or check out her business website (Glasgow based affordable bridal boutique) here