Exciting news for Whoosh Traffic customers!

Posted on December 12, 2012 Written by Erica Douglass Permalink


We have quite a lot of new, major features in our pipeline. Since we just brought on another full-time developer (welcome Paul Bonser!), we’re cranking out new features even faster.

We’ve heard you loud and clear–all of these features have been requested by you, our customers. Here’s a quick update of what we’re launching in the coming months!

Google Analytics integration

Launching: Next week (the week of December 17, 2012.)

First, you’ll be able to automatically pull in keywords and URLs to track from your Google Analytics account. This will save you time manually importing keywords when you first sign up. We’re set to launch this next week.

Then, we’ll roll out a popular feature request–seeing your Google Analytics traffic data in your rank tracker graphs, so you can compare your rankings with the traffic you’re getting. This should launch the week of December 17, as well.

Next, we’ll allow you to add Google Analytics data to client PDF reports, so you can send clients traffic graphs as well as ranking data. This will make our PDF reports feature much more robust. Expect this to launch by the end of December.

Google Analytics integration is optional…but it will provide you much more context than just “rankings”, so we recommend enabling it for you and your clients.

Better client management and a new dashboard

Launching: This month, and continuing into January.

What are your best-performing keywords? Your worst-performing keywords? What do your traffic stats look like? How are your clients doing in the search results? You’ll soon be able to check out all of this data with just a glance via our new, completely-revamped dashboard.

This will start to roll out this month (December), and we’ll continue to refine it into January. This is a large, on-going project. If you have specific requests for data you’d like to see in your dashboard, email us at support@whooshtraffic.com.

A complete WordPress plugin for SEO

Launching: This month, and being updated throughout 2013.

Integrate keyword research and rank tracking into your WordPress blog. Version 1.0 launches this month, with new features coming out next year. Our goal: Integrate our entire experience, including our dashboard and metrics, into your WordPress control panel. Nifty!

Look for another blog post from us soon regarding how to get our WordPress plugin.

Alerts

Launching: January or sooner.

We’re targeting this feature for January, though it may launch sooner. Want to know immediately via email when a certain number or percentage of your keywords dropped? How about when one of your clients hits the first page of the search results? We’ll have that for you in January.

We’re looking into push and SMS notifications, as well, though we will likely launch with email by default.

Tags

Launching: January.

This feature will launch in January. Need to know which of your results are Google local or video results? How about being able to tag a few results and then set alerts based on those tags? Coming in January, this will help you better group and categorize you and your clients’ data.

White-labeling

Launching: January.

This is a popular request from agencies. Set up a domain name of your own (e.g. clients.[your domain].com) and your own colors and logo, and let clients log in to view their own reports and rankings data. This will be out in January.

More search engines

Launching: Q1-Q2 2013.

Coming in 2013: Yahoo, Baidu, and Yandex tracking. We don’t have ETAs for these yet, as we’re still in testing mode with them. Expect to see the ability to track 1-2 new search engines by March 2013.

A better website and more frequent blogging

Launching: This month, and continuing throughout 2013.

We’re revamping our current front-end website to better highlight our features, and we’ve recently hired Martin Dasko, a popular blogger, to help us with our Whoosh Traffic blog, as well. Expect more blog posts and videos on how to use Whoosh Traffic, starting this month.

What’s next in 2013?

2012 was a massive year for us. We grew from 2 people to a team of 6. We signed on hundreds of new customers. We grew from a “rank tracker” to having a full suite of products designed to help you with your SEO.

2013 will be an even bigger year. We’re doubling down on user experience and building out a dashboard that will more clearly indicate where you need to take action to improve your traffic, conversions, and sales.

We’re improving our documentation and adding videos, as well–we want to help you get better at SEO and online marketing with real, in-depth advice straight from the experts. It’s all in the works.

As you can see, the next few months will be busy. We look forward to continuing to serve you. Here’s to making your life easier!

Erica Douglass
CEO, Whoosh Traffic

P.S. If there’s anything you don’t see listed here that can help you work better, we’re listening. Just drop us a line at support@whooshtraffic.com.

Welcome Raven Tools Rank Tracker Customers!

Posted on December 7, 2012 Written by Erica Douglass Permalink


Written by Erica Douglass, CEO, Whoosh Traffic

UPDATE (December 11th): We’ve built out a full API integration with Raven Tools, so we will be able to import all of your historical data without you having to do anything. Just sign up and email us at support@whooshtraffic.com, and we’ll do the rest!

In addition, please note: Where Raven counts Google, Yahoo, and Bing tracking as 3 keywords tracked per month, we only count 1. Please keep this in mind as you look at our pricing.

We also have an “Agency Lite” package at $99/month that will enable you to manage SEO tracking for your clients. See plans and pricing.

Like you, I was surprised to read Raven Tools’ news today that they are shutting down their rank tracker product in order to retain access to Google’s API.

As a business owner, I understand why Raven Tools made the decision they did. However, I also understand the frustration that many Raven Tools customers are experiencing. You need a reliable, scalable rank tracker to check your rankings daily.

We’re here to provide that for you at Whoosh Traffic. As a Raven Tools customer, we will import all your historical ranking data into Whoosh Traffic at no charge. On top of that, you can try Whoosh Traffic for 30 days free, so you can ensure Whoosh Traffic is a fit for your needs.

Sign up today and use coupon code RAVEN for 30 days free!

What is Whoosh Traffic?

We’ve been tracking rankings every day for over 2 years, and have built a scalable SERP tracker that 200+ paying customers, from individuals to Fortune 500 companies, rely on. We offer daily tracking, and everything is web-based and managed, so you don’t have to mess with installed software or set up proxy servers. We scale to track tens of thousands of rank tracker items per day per customer.

We have many of the features you’ve come to expect from Raven Tools (note: the three features listed below are available on our Agency and higher plans):

  • Give your customers direct access to their ranking results. Set up a username and password for your customers so they can log in to Whoosh Traffic directly, and pull their own reports. A huge time-saver!
  • Create and schedule brandable PDF reports. Upload your logo and generate PDF reports instantly. Or set up a weekly or monthly schedule so your customers receive ranking reports automatically.
  • A complete RESTful API. Build Whoosh Traffic’s rank tracker into your own client dashboard. Scale to tens of thousands of keywords tracked per month, and show your customers proof of their rankings with our page cache feature (see below). The possibilities are endless!

Coming this month, you’ll also be able to white-label Whoosh Traffic’s entire back end for your customers to access directly–at no additional charge.

In addition, we offer some features you may not be accustomed to, but that will quickly become invaluable:

  • The Google page cache with your result highlighted. No more “I see this at #4 and your rank tracker sees it at #6. Why?” With our page cache feature, you can see the exact SERP (search engine results page) we found, with your site highlighted. Here’s an example from today (resized here for clarity):

    This is also accessible through our API. It’s invaluable for both you and your customers–never again will you have to wonder whether our rankings are accurate.

  • Track in any zip code in the United States. Track how you’re doing in different locations in the United States. Ranking in Chicago but not in New York City? We’ll tell you.
  • Track in any country or language. Need to track a customer’s results in Canada–in French? How about in Japan–in Japanese? No problem. We support any country and language combination.

Sign up today and use coupon code WHOOSH for 30 days free. In addition, once you’re signed up, email support@whooshtraffic.com with your Raven Tools export file and we’ll import all of your keywords and ranking history for you at no additional charge, so you don’t lose valuable historical data. Try Whoosh Traffic today and see why hundreds of customers love us!

Automated SEO Reports for Your Clients–They’re Easy With Whoosh Traffic!

Posted on October 23, 2012 Written by Erica Douglass Permalink


Are you an SEO consultant? Is SEO the linchpin of your operations? Are you looking to make SEO and life easier for everyone involved?

Hopefully you answered yes because we have a treat for you today. We often get asked about what makes us so unique. Today we wanted to outline one of the really cool features of Whoosh Traffic that allows you to make your job easier.

One of the hidden (as in rarely promoted) benefits of Whoosh Traffic is the ability to create sub-accounts. When you sign up with us, you’re not just creating an account for yourself. You can create an account for your clients, your employees, for other departments in your company, and for anyone that you wish.

This means that you can create an account for your neighbor that just launched a new comic book blog that’s paying you to help out with SEO–or your clients that are paying you good money for your SEO services.

How does this feature work?

We allow all members with an Agency Plan or Enterprise Plan to create as many sub-accounts as you need. Let’s say you want to give a client or an employee an account; you can do this in a matter of seconds.

Check out the video below to see how easy it is to create a new account.

As an exclusive member of Whoosh Traffic, you have full control over the sub-accounts! What does this feature allow you to do?

  • Activate the account for the new user.
  • The ability to impersonate the person to see how their rankings are doing.
  • Give your clients a certain number of keyword/URL pairs to track.
  • See what keyword pairs your clients or employees are tracking.
  • Track their results on where they stand in the rankings.

You’re now essentially in charge of everything.

Why would you want to create sub-accounts?

You give your clients access to this super-helpful SEO tool. Your clients can have their own access that you share with them without any extra cost. They can do keyword research, perform competitive analyses, and more.

You can manage multiple clients easily. Instead of tracking separate results and monkeying around with Excel spreadsheets, you can give your clients their own account and then impersonate it to see how things are going.

Separate a project based on the client. Now you can separate all of your projects in an easy-to-manage manner. All of your SEO rankings will be under one umbrella with different projects.

Easy to measure results. You’ll see where each client or project stands in the rankings for their desired keywords. It has never been easier to measure where your keywords rank!

The video below shows you how you can easily separate projects or clients by creating sub-accounts:

Quick note: you need a unique email address for every sub-account that you create with us.

How can managing multiple sub-accounts make life easier for your clients and employees?

We’re proud to say that sub-accounts will make SEO much more convenient for everyone involved. How’s this possible?

Your clients can receive daily emails to see how they rank. Every day, your clients will receive email updates to see how their rankings are doing. As the consultant this will allow you to see if things are working or if you have to switch gears.

You can schedule reports to send to your clients automatically. You can send out a PDF that tracks all of your client’s rankings in a simple file. We also give you the power to choose how often to send this file (weekly or monthly), as well as what day of the week or month you’d like to send it.

For example, you can choose to have us send your clients a monthly email on the same date every single month with a PDF that lists all keyword rankings.

Okay, so you know how to create sub-accounts and all of the super juicy benefits. There’s just one issue left to address…

Why should you care about managing multiple clients with Whoosh Traffic?

Managing sub-accounts with us comes down to two amazing benefits for every SEO consultant or any company that primarily works with SEO.

  1. More money. You can make more money by picking up more clients and by having your current clients recommend others to work with you. You can also expand your services and work with more clients than ever before, thus earning you much more revenue in the long run. We’re here to help you grow your business!
  2. Makes life a million times easier. You don’t have to understand coding or any complex back-end algorithms. You don’t even have to set any reminders to send reports to your clients.

The ability to create sub-accounts is just one of that many reasons that you should sign up with Whoosh Traffic right now. Try out the sub-account feature to see how easy it makes life for you. Once you start using this tool you’ll wonder what you ever did before.

Try our Agency or Enterprise packages for 30 days free to see how useful sub-accounts can be: Sign up here and use coupon code WHOOSH for 30 days free!

New! Rank Tracker Plugin for WordPress

Posted on September 10, 2012 Written by Erica Douglass Permalink


I’m really excited to make this announcement today. We’ve been working on this for a while and are finally ready to take the wraps off the first beta version of our WordPress rank tracker plugin.

Better yet–if you’re a paying customer of Whoosh Traffic, you’ll be able to use our rank tracker plugin absolutely free!

What Our Rank Tracker Plugin Does

Our rank tracker plugin shows you where the pages and posts on your site are ranking in Google and Bing–right from your WordPress dashboard. No more having to open yet another tab in your browser and log in to our website to check your rankings. (Or worse–if you’re still using desktop software to track your rankings–being tied to a single computer to see your rankings!)

How to Set Up the Rank Tracker Plugin

All paying Whoosh Traffic customers have access to the plugin right away. If you’re already tracking your rankings with Whoosh Traffic, all the keywords you’re already tracking will now also be available via your WordPress wp-admin section, including all your historical data. It couldn’t be easier!

If you haven’t signed up for Whoosh Traffic yet and want to try out our plugin, sign up now for any paying account (use coupon code ILOVEWP for 30 days free!) and you’ll gain instant access to our plugin as well. Then come back to this page for installation instructions!

Installing the Plugin in 5 Minutes or Less

If you’re a current Whoosh Traffic customer, here’s how to install the plugin. The whole process takes less than 5 minutes, and it’s straightforward.

Go to [your WordPress site URL]/wp-admin and log in to your WordPress site.

Hover over the word “Plugins” on the left side of your wp-admin screen, and click “Add New”:

Add New WP Plugin

Type “rank tracker” in the search field and hit “Search Plugins.”

You should see Whoosh Traffic’s plugin as the first result. Go ahead and click the “Install Now” link to install it:

Install WordPress plugin

Once you’ve installed the plugin successfully, you need to set your API key from Whoosh Traffic.

Keep your wp-admin page open. Then, in a new browser tab or window, log in at https://secure.whooshtraffic.com.

Once you log in to Whoosh Traffic, click on “API” at the bottom of the page:
Finding your Whoosh Traffic API key

Go back to your wp-admin page. Hover over Settings, then click General:
WP Plugin Settings

Scroll down to the bottom of the page, and you’ll see this:
Whoosh Traffic API Key

In those two fields, insert your API login and API key from Whoosh Traffic. Then click “Save Changes.”

That’s it–you’ve installed our plugin!

Now, you can go to “Rank Tracker” right from within your wp-admin section, and see your ranking items as well as your unranked items, instead of having to log in to Whoosh Traffic.

If you hover over a URL that’s ranking, you can even see your graph over time of where your page has been ranking in Google in Bing for that keyword.

Much More to Come…

This is just the beginning for what we have planned for WordPress. Consider it a “sneak peek.” Soon, we’ll be integrating the rest of our tools into your WordPress blog, so you can use our keyword research tool to help you write better blog posts, and our competition analysis tool to quickly see how to rank in Google and Bing for a particular keyword. That will all be rolling out soon. Install this plugin now, and you’ll be sure to get all these updates as soon as we push them live.

As always, if you have questions or feedback, we’re listening: support at whooshtraffic dot com is our email address, and we welcome your comments or suggestions.

Now Tracking Local Search Results!

Posted on September 6, 2012 Written by Erica Douglass Permalink


We’ve just pushed a big change to our rank tracker–and it’s per your request!

Several customers have requested the ability for us to track local rankings. We needed to be careful about how we made this change, but after clearing it with some of our customers, we have implemented it!

A Full-Blown Local Rank Tracker…

Previously, we weren’t counting local listings in the search results (as seen in the image below.) When we started doing rank tracking in 2010, that made sense. Since then, Google has shifted more and more data into local listings, and they’re now taking up about the same amount of space as a regular listing. Accordingly, it was time for us to make the change and count local listings as “rankings” in Google.

This is how our rank tracker previously looked at a Google local results page:
Old Rank Tracking

And this is how we look at it now:
Local Rank Tracking

What Does This Mean for You?

If you’re a current customer of Whoosh Traffic and you’re tracking a keyword that includes local results, you may notice ranking changes starting tomorrow (September 7.) Some of your sites may appear to “drop” in the rankings. Don’t be alarmed–you’re likely the same or similar position you were in yesterday; it’s just that we’re now tracking all the local results on the first page.

Some of the Google results pages have more than 10 results; therefore, it’s possible that you’ll be ranked #13 in our rank tracker, for instance, and still be on the first page of the Google results!

If You Were Waiting for This…

We know local rank tracking is an important feature. If you were waiting on this feature to sign up for Whoosh Traffic, it’s here!

We are currently one of the only local rank trackers to fully support all U.S.-based zip codes, as well. That means you can track rankings in any zip code in the United States, so you can track your city for “pizza” in New York City and in San Francisco. Combined with our new local tracking feature, this makes Whoosh Traffic one of the most advanced rank trackers available.

Whoosh Traffic also has our unique “page cache” feature, where we actually show you the exact Google results page we found your site on, so your rankings are guaranteed accurate. That’s a claim that pretty much no other rank tracker can make.

Here’s an example of our page cache feature, showing the site being tracked as “highlighted” on the exact Google results page we found it on:
Rank Tracker Page Cache Feature--Proof

You can find that page cache by logging in to Whoosh Traffic, clicking on “Rank Tracker” on the left, and then clicking on the “Show Graph” button next to any of your tracked items.

You can see the zip code support in this page cache, as well. That’s what we mean when we say we’re the most accurate rank tracker out there. If your rank tracker isn’t showing you proof that it found your site where it says it did…how do you know it’s accurate? That’s why we show you proof.

We support every country, Google search engine, and language. Want to track local results in google.ca in French? No problem. How about results in Japanese on google.co.jp? Sure thing! How about getting really crazy and tracking using French on google.co.jp? Yep, we can even do that.

Sign up today and use coupon code WHOOSH to try us out for 30 days free. We’d love to have you join the hundreds of happy customers who are already using Whoosh Traffic!

New features galore: Automatic PDF report generation and more!

Posted on August 28, 2012 Written by Erica Douglass Permalink


We’ve been pushing new features out quickly here at Whoosh Traffic! Here’s a quick look at the coolest new features we’ve added recently, as well as a sneak peek into what’s in store (hint: it’s big!)

Automatic PDF Report Generation for our Rank Tracker

This was one of our biggest customer requests, and we heard you loud and clear. On our new Agency plan or higher plans, you can now set up PDF reports to go to your customers on a scheduled basis (weekly or monthly.) You can even set your own custom email body, add a CC to another person, and set the day of the week or date of the month that you’d like reports to be delivered on. With the Agency plan and higher, you can even insert your own logo into the PDF reports, so it’s as if the reports are coming directly from your company.

Click on the “Create PDF” button at the top of your rank tracker results page to configure automatic PDF reports. (You can find all the reports you’ve scheduled, and delete reports, in your Settings.)

You can even use this with Groups to configure automated PDF reports for certain groups you have. In your drop-down list at the top of your rank tracker results page, select the group you’d like to generate a report for, and then click the “Create PDF” button. We’ll automatically set up the report for just that group.

We know this will be a boon to agencies and Internet marketers alike, and we already have several customers using this with rave reviews rolling in!

Share Your Rank Tracker Graphs!

Now you can share your rank tracker graphs with your friends, co-workers, clients, or anyone else, without those people needing to log in to Whoosh Traffic. It’s easy to create a sharable link for any rank tracker result you’d like. Just click on the “Show Graph” button next to the rank tracker item you’d like to share.

Then, on the graph page, click the “Share” button at the top right:

Share your rank tracker results

Our system will generate a URL with your latest rank tracker results. This shared graph will automatically update every day with your latest rankings!

Coming Soon: A WordPress Plugin!

And now for some big news! Over the past couple of months, we’ve been working on a WordPress plugin that will tie together the tools you already love into the WordPress platform you’re using to run your site(s).

The first iteration of our WordPress plugin will integrate your rank tracker results into WordPress. Next, we’ll be building in keyword research and competitive analysis tools straight into WordPress, so as you’re writing new blog posts and pages, you’ll be able to do keyword research and competition analysis right from within WordPress. We’re really excited about this, and it’s a natural evolution for us. Stay tuned for more details!

As always, if there’s any way we can make our tools better for you, just send an email to support@whooshtraffic.com.

Don’t have an account yet? Try us for 30 days free with coupon code WHOOSH and join hundreds of other happy customers. See our plans and pricing.

Google Panda, Google Penguin and You!

Posted on May 5, 2012 Written by Erica Douglass Permalink


What are all these crazy Google updates, and how can you get your site to rank higher? Is it still safe to be link building even after the latest Google chaos? In this post I’ll share with you the latest information on what’s happening over at Google, and what you can do to prevent your site from getting penalized.

Looking Back: The History of Search Engine Optimization

I got my first paying job in the SEO industry in 1997. Back then, it was all about how many search engines you could submit your site to. That changed, of course, when Google became popular in the early 2000′s.

In the early 2000′s, I used my SEO knowledge to build my hosting company website, eventually earning it a Google PageRank 7. (PageRank is a number between 1 and 10 that’s given to every page–not every site–on the Internet. A page with no one linking to it or a new page is a 0. As you get more influential links to your site or page, your PageRank improves. PageRank is an exponential algorithm, so jumping from a PageRank 2 to a PageRank 3 means you likely have either hundreds/thousands of low-PageRank links to your page, or a few more-influential, higher-PageRank links. 7/10 is the same PageRank that many influential companies have–American Express and Southwest Airlines both have a PageRank 7, for instance.)

How Whoosh Traffic Got Started

Finally, in early 2011, I bought a product called “Profit Instruments.” If you’ve been around the erica.biz community for a while, you may remember me promoting that product. It was a solid introduction to building an online business. The product creator, Ritoban, mentioned an interesting way to build links online.

I took a poll of all the people I’d referred to Profit Instruments and asked them if they would pay for a service to build links for them. A shocking 80% said “yes”, and my company, Whoosh Traffic, was born.

At first, it was easy. Build links–watch our customers move up in the rankings. What a fun business!

Then, last year, Google launched its “Panda” update. Suddenly, site content mattered. A few of our customers who had “thin” sites that were just a few pages with no real content got hit pretty hard.

Panda Caused Us to Change Everything

We took action. We changed up our link building service to a more diverse mixture of links–including articles submitted to article directories, blogs built specifically for our customers on free blogging sites like Blogger and Tumblr, and all kinds of other links. We hired a great team to write comprehensive articles for each of our customers’ niches, and I spent hours working with individual customers on their site content.

The results showed. Now our link building service was working well again. (I stayed away from private blog networks, preferring to build links only on existing sites like article directories.) But it was a lot more work. We raised our prices to compensate, and our customers were still happy with their results.

Panda became a “rolling” update, and sites with thin content continued to get hit. I started refusing to have our team build links for our customers until they had completed a 20-point site checklist. During this time, we also developed a “repair plan” for customers that got hit by Panda, and the few customers’ sites that did get hit started to recover.

We were doing well again. Perhaps too well–we had one fairly large customer cancel after two months because, thanks to all of our advice, consulting, and link building, his site hit #1 for all of its keywords. (It has stayed there to this day.)

Then Google released its Penguin update. Google claimed that this update wasn’t as big as Panda, but it again affected a portion of our customers. This time, though, it was harder to recover from, because for the first time, Google was penalizing sites based on the links from other pages on the Internet to their site.

You have to understand how unprecedented this is in Google-land. For Google’s entire existence, they had basically never penalized on links built to your site before.

Think about why: By definition, links exist on sites that you probably don’t control. If you’re my competitor, and I know Google penalizes on links that are built to your site, I can just hire some nefarious tricksters to build a bunch of crappy links to your site and get you penalized. That’s why Google didn’t take that route–it didn’t want to start a war where people were busy bombing their competition instead of building great content. Search engines are designed to reward good content, not punish people for links that may largely be out of their control.

For the first time, it appears to be the case that you can now “bomb” your competition out of the search results for a given keyword. There are already claims out there that this is possible, with members of a forum banning together and getting a top “white hat” SEO guy kicked out of the Google results for the keyword “SEO”.

It’s still unknown whether this will be a long-term trend, but it’s clear (in my professional opinion as well as to many other SEO experts) that this is a step in the wrong direction. It’s likely that in the future, Google will quietly roll a large part of the Penguin update back.

In the meantime, what’s a site owner to do?

What Is Penguin?

First, let’s review what Penguin is and how it can affect your site. Here’s how it works:

For this example, your company is Acme, Inc. and you sell blue widgets. Another site links to your site. (Let’s say, for example, that your company got featured in an online newspaper article.) In the newspaper article, the underlined text that links to your site is called the “anchor text”. It’s long been known that Google uses anchor text to help you rank well for a keyword.

The link on your newspaper’s site may look like this:

Acme, Inc. sells blue widgets…

Or it may look like this:

Acme, Inc. sells blue widgets

Those two sentences may look about the same to you, but they are hugely different to Google. Google considers each of these links a “vote” for your site. The first vote is the newspaper telling Google that your site is about “Acme, Inc.” In the past, this hasn’t been a particularly useful type of link, because people typing “Acme, Inc.” into Google probably already know about your company.

The second link, however, is much more interesting from an SEO perspective. It tells Google that your site is about “blue widgets.” Assuming people are typing “blue widgets” into Google, a link like that from another site will help your site rank higher for that key term.

This is pretty well-known in the SEO world, which is why SEO companies are ultimately focused on 1) helping you find the keywords that people are searching for in Google, and then 2) building those type of specific anchor-texted links so that your site will rank higher in Google for those terms.

Until Panda, it was easy: The more links you had (and the more authoritative they were in Google’s eyes) with that anchor text, pointing to your site, the better.

Then Panda Hit Last Year…

Last year’s Panda update made it so that your site had to also contain that text (and had to have a fair amount of other content on the site, as well.) So now your site needed to have the keyword “blue widgets” in the title, and somewhere on the page. That was when we started consulting with our customers and sending you a site checklist to ensure that your site met Panda’s guidelines.

A few weeks ago, right before Penguin, Google changed things up a little bit, thanks in large part to some nefarious SEO companies (not us!) that were simply embedding links in gibberish text hosted on tens of thousands of sites around the world. Now, the text around the anchor text–the sentence and paragraph your link was embedded in on the other site–counted. That got rid of gibberish links, and started a few rumbles about “negative SEO”, or the practice of bombing your competitors out of the index. (If you could just create a bunch of junk text, find thousands of sites to post that text on, and then link to your competitor, would that knock them out of the Google rankings?)

Then Penguin hit, and all hell broke loose in the SEO world. Penguin is an algorithm that looks at all of the pages that are linking to your site on the Web, and the anchor text distribution of each of those links.

Going back to our example, let’s say Acme, Inc. has 1000 links to its site on the Web. And they haven’t hired an SEO company, so the links to their site from other sites may have this sort of clickable text, or “anchor text”:

52% http://www.acme.com/
12% Acme.com
10% blue widgets
8% red widgets
8% Acme, Inc.
6% Acme
2% click here
1% visit us
1% visit Acme.com

That’s what SEO’ers call a “diverse link profile.” Don’t get too caught up in the terminology–what it means is that you have a bunch of different sites linking to you with a lot of different text in those links.

But if you hired an SEO company (this time that includes us), and didn’t gain any other links, your link profile might look like:

89% blue widgets
8% http://www.acme.com/
2% Acme.com
1% Acme, Inc.

Until Penguin, this was an extremely effective way to do SEO, and it gave Acme a strong chance of ranking for “blue widgets”.

Those sites were the ones that got penalized. (Including a small portion of our customers.) That’s Penguin in a nutshell.

Now, doesn’t that mean that you could bomb your competitors out of the index by building 100,000 crappy links for whatever keyword they want to rank for to their site–thus skewing their link profile? That’s the thinking–and although I haven’t seen conclusive proof yet, I suspect this is going to become a bigger issue for Google moving forward. And I also strongly suspect it will cause Google to roll back some of this update.

How To Move Forward

Regardless of whether you’ve been affected by Penguin or not, you should know that we’re immediately updating our link building method. We are still building the same types of links–since that part is still effective.

However, for each links package you order, instead of just building links for one keyword for you, we’re going to build 50% of your links for the keyword you have decided on, and the other 50% of your links will be split between things like http://www.[your site].com/, yoursite.com, Your Site Name, and even phrases like “click here” and “visit our website.”

We started this new method on Thursday, so if you’re in the process of building links with us, your links for this month will likely have this new distribution.

This means it may take a bit longer for you to see results–but it also means that even if you don’t use any link building services other than ours, you are unlikely to get penalized.

We’ll also be launching a new service soon that we think you’ll really like (more on that in another post!)

What If You Got Hit?

We are aware, thanks to our built-in rank tracker, that a small percentage of our customers have been affected by Penguin. If you are one of those customers, the question is: What do you do now?

The worst thing you can do right now is to panic and stop building links. That pretty much assures you won’t recover at all–since your link profile won’t change.

Instead, contact us via support@whooshtraffic.com and we’ll set you up so that temporarily, we build links with your website URL as the anchor text, and your company name, and other generic words. That will balance out your link profile so that you recover.

We can also do a press release for you–and we’ve seen some nice improvements in rankings with these. Normally, our one-time fee to do a press release is $297, but since time is critical and you need the links, we’ll discount it to $197 until May 30.

That $197 is a one-time fee, and it includes our team “interviewing” you and writing the press release for you, then distributing it to several wire services. We’ve done this for Whoosh Traffic–see our own example here. (Who knows–you may even get a call from a news service wanting to profile you–it has happened before!) If your rank tracker graphs show you’ve been negatively affected by Penguin, and you’re a customer in good standing, email us at support@whooshtraffic.com to order one so that you can get back up and running more quickly.

I know it can be frustrating to keep up on the “SEO treadmill”–especially when you lose your rankings. This post should give you an insight as to what happened. I am confident that you can recover from this.

And if you haven’t lost your rankings? First of all, that’s awesome. Secondly, you don’t have to worry going forward, as we’ll automatically be changing up the anchor text of your links to more closely match what Google wants–even if you buy our “one keyword” package.

And, of course, should Google change things again–which they inevitably will–we’ll keep you posted here, on our SEO blog.

If you have any questions, feel free to email us at support@whooshtraffic.com.