Our 10 Most Popular Posts of 2011 (So Far)

We're nearly halfway through 2011 and we thought it would be interesting to take a look back on our 10 most popular posts. Over the first six months we wrote nearly 70 posts, and the following list features the most visited and talked about posts on our site:

1. Google penalizes JC Penney for using link farms / Feb. 14
This was the most popular post for the first half of 2011 largely because we wrote and promoted it shortly after news of the penalty went public. For the next month or so, our post was ranking in the top five for a variety of searches related to the penalty. The lesson here is that when a major story breaks, write an insightful post about the subject and publish/promote it on the same day.

2. How long do Google penalties last? / Feb. 15
We wrote this the day after our initial JC Penney post in response to a video posted by Matt Cutts which addressed when penalties are lifted. We wrote a quick recap and included information on manual and automatic penalties, as well as tips for a site reconsideration request.

3. Selling SEO and social media to Baby Boomers and Generation X / Feb. 21
When I reflect on this post, I still feel the same emotions that I did when it was originally published back in late February. At that time we had recently pitched to a client and ran into many of the same problems, beliefs and pricing concerns that spurred us to originally publish it. This is a must read for anyone in sales looking for ways to dispel all of the misconceptions regarding SEO, social media and online marketing.

4. Article marketing and Google's war on content farms / Jan 26
This was written in late January one month before the first Panda update. We examined a new Google blog post which said the company was testing ways to filter low quality content from their search results and within a month Google rolled out one of the largest algorithm updates of the last decade.

5. HTML 5 and the evolution of web design and development / March 18
This post was written by Nathan Biles, one of our developers who looked at changes in HTML5 and how the new standard benefits both designers and site owners.

6. Three major learning points from Groupon's failure / Feb. 8
This was written right after the company aired three Super Bowl spots that were meant to highlight their service with a tongue-in-cheek critique of indifference to social problems. However, no one got the joke and the ads landed the company in hot water and served as another example as to why shock value advertising doesn't work, especially in the age of social media. We may have to write a followup that looks at their failure as an overall company if you believe recent reports about their viability.

7. Are search engines breaking state law by serving mdpv ads? / April 19
I wrote this article after I read about a nationwide push to ban the drug commonly marketed as a bath salt. When I searched for more information, there were multiple ads for companies selling the drug online. I decided to see if ads were being shown to users who lived in states that had already banned the drug and sure enough they were displaying in the Adwords preview tool. I wrote the post to examine whether Google was breaking the law by displaying ads for mdpv suppliers.

8. Google penalizes Overstock.com for .edu linkbuilding campaign / Feb. 25
Earlier this year Google implemented and later lifted a penalty against Overstock.com for receiving a large number of .edu backlinks by offering discounts to anyone who posted keyword link filled content on their webspace. Overstock voluntarily halted the program before the penalty but that wasn't enough and a manual penalty was put in place. The impact was a sizable loss of both traffic and sales.

9. SEO tools review: Optimize content with Inbound Writer / June 8
We came across Inbound Writer, a program that scores your content based on its optimization, and decided to write a review. Overall it's a good program for anyone who does content development or SEO managers looking to grade the work of their freelancers.

10. 3 Major learning points from Google's farm update March 7
This was written shortly after Panda was rolled out and looked at how Demand Media, the perceived catalyst for the update, emerged unscathed (though they were effected in later updates) and how "good" sites and article sites experienced large drops in traffic.

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