Archive for June, 2012

PostHeaderIcon Nvidia 304.48 Beta Drivers Boost Performance and Stamp Out Annoying GTX 600-Series Bugs

Nvidia’s rolled out its latest iteration of beta drivers, and these looks like a must-have for GTX 600-series owners. In addition to the usual performance tweaks and added SLI and 3D Vision profiles for GTX 400, 500 and 600-series cards, the GeForce 304.48 beta drivers pack in fixes for some troublesome problems that have been irking GeForce GTX 600 adopters.

Nvidia’s GeForce blog reports that the update corrects that annoying Adaptive VSync some users were running into, as well as an issue with the Global FXAA settings that turned the text in some programs — such as Windows Live Mail — into an unreadable, anti-aliased mess. Finally, some overclocked GTX 600 owners were finding that the 3xx drivers were forcing their cards into constantly running at idle clock speeds; 304.48 fixes that, too.

Then, there are the performance tweaks, which Nvidia claims can boost the frame rates in some titles by up to 18 percent.

Check out Nvidia’s GeForce blog for a full list of improvements, or wander over to the GeForce beta drivers page to nab 304.48 for your rig.

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PostHeaderIcon Identifying Link Penalties in 2012

Posted by RyanKent

This post was originally in YouMoz, and was promoted to the main blog because it provides great value and interest to our community. The author’s views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of SEOmoz, Inc.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. For SEOs and webmasters in June 2012, that sentiment is true. Some websites have reached record highs in SERPs since the sites which have been beating them for so long have been penalized. Other websites have received what is clearly the most painful, costly and time consuming penalty Google has ever dished out. The current Google penalty for manipulative links is so bad one of the seriously suggested solutions is to abandon the affected site and start a new one!?!?

The first step in dealing with a penalty is identification. Site owners often are not immediately aware they have been penalized. They notice a drop in traffic or rankings, then begin to investigate the issue. So how do you really know if your site has been penalized? Once you know you have been penalized, how can you figure out the cause and fix it?

Diagnosing Link Penalties

Google Manual Penalty with Notification

The easiest means to diagnose the penalty is if Google informs you they have penalized your site for manipulative links. Log into your Webmaster Tools account and search your message page from Google. Below is an image of the dreaded Google "you have been manually penalized" message. According to Matt Cutts, about 25,000 webmasters received similar notices earlier this year.

NOTE: identifying information such as web addresses have been removed from all images to protect client confidentiality.

Google link penalty

The key elements of the above message are:

  1. “We’ve detected that…”. Translation, you have been caught and will be penalized.
  2. “look for possibly artificial or unnatural links…”. Translation, the cause of the penalties is “unnatural” links.
  3. “Submit your site for reconsideration”. Translation, you have a manual penalty.

As bad as this message is, it is better than not knowing and guessing whether you have been penalized and what is the root cause. You now know you have a manual penalty due to unnatural links. Now you can focus your attention on fixing the problem.

If you do not have a manual penalty notice, then another possibility is you have been hit by Penguin.

Google Algorithmic "Penalties" – Penguin

penguinPenguin’s birthday is April 24th, 2012. What day did your rankings drop? If your ranking drop is right around that time, there is a strong likelihood your traffic drop is Penguin related. If you are unsure of the exact date, take a look at your Google Analytics account to see when your traffic dropped.

TIP – In your GA account, go to Traffic Sources > Search > Organic. Do not expect to see a straight off the cliff drop in traffic. Most of the Penguin penalties I have seen involve about a 1/3 drop in organic search traffic. You will notice your overall organic search traffic for the two weeks after April 24th is approximately 1/3 lower than the two weeks before April 24th. If your site was boosted by a larger percentage of manipulative links, the drop can be more severe.

It's important to note that the Penguin changes are NOT about improving search quality, but rather seems to be focused on penalizing specific types of spam. The most particular focus seems to be on anchor text "over-optimization". For more information on the Penguin update please watch Rand's WBF update on Penguin.

Many clients ask "why was my site penalized but my competitor's site was left untouched?" We have all seen plenty of instances of this happening. It's similar to asking a cop "why am I getting pulled over for speeding when all these other cars are speeding too?" A line was drawn in the algorithmic sand and you were found to be on the wrong side of the line. With future updates, the line may move and hit your competitor's site too. That response isn't very comforting but it is the closest we are likely to get to the truth.

Other Google Link Penalties

Google often manually penalizes sites and does not inform site owners of the penalty. Furthermore, Google makes many algorithm changes each year. Most people are aware of the major algorithm changes, but you should also know Google makes about 50 algorithmic changes each month which could lead to ranking changes or an "algorithmic penalty". With the Penguin update specifically, we are unsure if there will be further refinements and rollouts as has happened with Panda. On May 25th Google rolled out what Search Engine Watch calls Penguin 1.1

What advice is available for a site owner who wants to know if they have received a link penalty or at risk in the future?

Check your anchor text distribution to see if it appears natural. You can perform a fast check in Open Site Explorer of your top 20 links as follows:

  1. Go to
  2. Enter in the URL of your site and press <enter> or the SEARCH button
  3. Change your drop down box settings as follows: Show [followed + 301] links from [only external] pages to [pages on this root domain]…..then press the FILTER button. These settings will remove the “nofollow” and internal links which are not evaluated by Google as part of link penalties.
  4. You will now see a list of all links to your site which may cause you to incur a penalty. For now, focus only on the Link Anchor Text column. If 50%+ of your top 10 links show the same or very similar anchor text, that is a warning sign of a very unnatural link profile. Of course, a deeper analysis is desirable but this method offers you some idea of the problem in just a few seconds.

Hopefully your anchor text distribution looks more natural than the below example. Notice how all the links show anchor text? A natural distribution would show a high percentage of links with simply the site URL. When anchor text is naturally used, it is often far less than ideal.

manipulative anchor text OSE

So what does a natural profile look like? It is easiest to show from AHREFs (, a tool similar to OSE but which offers a cool anchor text report.

Below is the anchor text distribution report for GNC stands for General Nutrition Center. They sell vitamins, supplements and other health products. According to AHREFs, has 5700+ domains linking to their website. The report below shows the top 10 anchor text keywords used in their backlinks. Notice all the keywords are their unique brand / site name, or generic terms such as click here to view website. What you don’t see is anchor text such as “buy vitamins” or “best herbal products”. Even if their 11th highest anchor text used a keyword, it would only represent 1% of the links to their site. THAT is a natural link profile. You can see similar profiles by looking at sites such as and as well, but I wanted to use an e-commerce site to show how those sites can achieve the same results.

AHREFs anchor text distribution

In comparison, below is the backlink profile for the site first shown with the OSE anchor text distribution. This site has 335 linking root domains as per AHREFs. Notice the difference? 70 of the site’s 335 LRDs (over 20%) use the exact same keyword anchor text. This particular domain name, which uses the format, has no relation to “los angeles dentist”. What are the chances that 20% of domains naturally chose that anchor text?

If your site’s anchor text distribution looks similar to the below, expect to be hit by a penalty. As a note, it appears this particular site has NOT been hit by Penguin, but I would suggest it is a prime candidate for Penguin 2.0 if Google decides to move in that direction.

AHREFs anchor text chart

Final Thoughts

There are some reports from site owners who were penalized by Google after 301 redirecting a penalized site to their site. There is not enough data on this topic to form any conclusions yet.

I can confirm two other items related to these penalties. First, any form of link network is a concern. The first client I worked with who had been penalized for links was in November of 2011. The client is a leader in their niche selling $18 million worth of products the prior year. Over a 12 year period the client grew a network of over 100 sites, mostly various forms of duplicate content of the main site. These were very large sites having hundreds of thousands of pages. By dismantling the network, we removed over 3.5 million links. If you are penalized, you should consider other sites you own which link to your main site. Ross Hudgens credits the removal of links from other company owned sites as the most critical reason WPMU made a fast Penguin recovery.

The second item I wanted to share relates to Bing. Shortly after the above mentioned client was penalized by Google, they were penalized by Bing as well. Once the Google penalty was lifted, removing the Bing penalty was easy. I simply shared with Bing all the actions taken to resolve the Google penalty and they accepted that answer and lifted the penalty. With all the attention currently on Google, let's not forget that Bing (Bing + Yahoo) controls approximately 30% of search traffic in many markets.

Thanks for reading. I hope you find this information helpful.

This is my first SEOmoz blog article. I spend most of my limited free time in the Q&A. There seems to be a huge interest in both diagnosing and resolving link-related penalties. If this article is popular, I will write a follow-up article soon on How to Remove Link Penalties sharing some case-study examples. If you have any questions related to diagnosing link penalties, feel free to ask. I would like to extend a special thanks to Gianluca Fiorelli and Keri Morgret for nudging me to become more active in YouMoz. This article would not have been written without their encouragement.

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Article Source: The Only Yard For The Internet Junkie
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PostHeaderIcon HP Begins Taking Pre-Orders for Envy Spectre XT Ultrabook

Announced along with a bunch of other Ultrabooks and “Sleekbooks” at HP’s Global Influencer Summit in Shanghai last month, the HP Envy Spectre XT is now up for pre-order. The 13.3-incher, which HP likes to think of as an “ultramobile premium Ultrabook,” tips the scales at  3.07 lbs and measures 12.44 x 8.8 x 0.69 inches.

The Spectre XT starts at $999.99 and has the following specs:

  • OS: Windows 7
  • Display: 13.3-inch diagonal display with 1366 x 768 resolution
  • Processor: 1.7-2.6GHz Core i5-3317U (base model)/1.9-3.0Ghz Core i7-3517U/2-3.2GHzCore i7-3667U
  • Graphics: Integrated HD Graphics 4000
  • RAM: 4GB DDR3 System Memory (1 Dimm)
  • Storage: 128GB SSD (base model)/256GB SSD
  • Battery: 4 Cell Lithium Ion Battery  with up to 8.0 hours of battery life
  • Ports: 1SuperSpeed USB 3.0; 1 USB 2.0; 1 HDMI; 1 Mini DisplayPort; 1 headphone-out; 1 microphone-in
  • Webcam: 720p HD video streaming webcam supports Skype
  • Audio: Beats Audio

Our sister site TechRadar went hands-on with the Spectre XT at HP’s Shanghai event last month and came away mighty impressed with its “gorgeous” brushed-aluminium frame and thin bezel. The company expects to begin shipping the Spectre XT later this month.

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Article Source: The Only Yard For The Internet Junkie
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