Trending February 2024 # With Motorola Sale To Lenovo, Google Is Unloading A Headache # Suggested March 2024 # Top 3 Popular

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By selling Motorola Mobility to Lenovo, Google is ending a combination that never really worked out while keeping assets that could prove valuable down the road.

More importantly, the search giant will get out of a business that never helped it compete or make money and hurt its relationships with other Android phone manufacturers, industry analysts said.

Fixing a mistake

“Google didn’t really have to buy Motorola and probably should not have bought Motorola,” said analyst Avi Greengart of Current Analysis.

Now, Google can get back to its core business.

Though simple math suggests it cost Google more than $9 billion to own Motorola for a few years and obtain most of its patents, the company did recover about $2.35 billion by selling Motorola’s set-top-box business to Arris Group in 2012. And for a company worth more than $350 billion, these aren’t exactly bet-the-farm transactions.

The 2011 acquisition raised questions about whether the vast universe of Android device makers, including Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics, would be able to compete on a level playing field with an in-house Google handset brand. Among other things, the partners were concerned Motorola would get early access to new Android innovations, analysts said. The tensions were never resolved.

Now, Google can get back to its core business, analysts said.

While owning a phone vendor made it harder for Google to work with its partners in proliferating Android, the business also continued to lose millions. Motorola was struggling in a highly competitive phone business when Google bought it and remains a distant follower behind Samsung, Apple and other well-known names. Motorola’s share of the worldwide smartphone market was just 1.3 percent in the third quarter of last year, according to Gartner.

Better for Google, better for Android

But Google didn’t buy Motorola to get into the handset business, according to analyst Jack Gold of J. Gold Associates. It wanted patents, engineers and insights into the mobile business, and got those, Gold said in a note analyzing the news. “They made an investment in the other value of Motorola and probably just hoped for the best on sales,” he said.

Motorovo

With Motorola, Lenovo will get global name recognition but not global distribution, Greengart said: Motorola’s sales are mostly concentrated in North America and Latin America.

“This gets Lenovo into the U.S. and at the table with U.S. operators.”

However, the ailing phone maker’s products are actually good, Greengart said. Motorola has found a niche with smartphones that extend pure Android without smothering it in add-on features such as a Motorola calendar or phone application, he said. Also, the company has tuned its products for a set of consumer preferences—a “just right” strategy—rather than making the biggest or fastest handsets.

The challenge has been getting that message across to consumers, and Lenovo will inherit that problem, Greengart said. Still, Lenovo has a proven track record of adopting a U.S. brand, the successful Think line of laptops that the company acquired from IBM in 2005.

But the jury is still out on whether it can succeed. “The U.S. is very competitive and it will be an uphill battle for Lenovo to gain significant share in a market dominated by Samsung and Apple,” he said.

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Lenovo Miix 10 Review: A Good Tablet With An (Optional) Killer Keyboard

Lenovo’s Miix 10 is a solid hybrid: It’s comfortable and responsive, and the optional keyboard cover is a cut above. But so is the price tag for a generation-old processor.

Lenovo is known for building notebooks with exquisite keyboards, but the company is also no stranger to the tablet game. It has also introduced pioneering convertibles, such as the Yoga 11s and the newer Flex 14. The Miix 10 should be the culmination of that experience, but this hybrid falls short.

The Miix 10’s specs are par for the course—if you’re playing last year’s course. The 64GB of storage and 2GB of RAM are to be expected, but the Clover Trail-based Atom Z2760 at the heart of this device is a generation behind. Most of Lenovo’s competitors have moved on to Bay Trail chips that deliver higher performance and longer battery life.

During my testing, I encountered several frustrating slowdowns that didn’t happen with the Bay Trail-based Asus Transformer Book T100, which uses a newer Atom Z3740 processor. And in our benchmark tests, the Miix 10 proved to be 10 to 20 percent slower than the Asus Transformer Book T100.

ROBERT CARDINLenovo’s keyboard case is exquisite. Unfortunately, it adds $100 to an already high price tag.

The Miix 10 also delivered less battery life than the Asus hybrid: 8 hours and 22 minutes. While it sounds odd to call 8-plus hours “short,” the Bay Trail-equipped Asus delivered more than 11 hours of useful life.

The 1.28 pounds of curved edges and a flat back felt comfortable in my hands, but the 10-inch widescreen was a little too big for me to hold comfortably in just one hand even in portrait mode. Video resolution of 1366 by 768 pixels no longer sounds impressive, but I found it to more than adequate in my day-to-day usage, both on a desk and in my lap. The only time I noticed pixels was while reading in bed lying on my stomach, which put the screen about a foot away from my face. The bright display has excellent viewing angles, and you can turn it down enough for nighttime reading or movie watching without lighting up the whole room.

ROBERT CARDINMore than 8 hours of battery life is great, but some Bay Trail tablets are delivering more than 11 hours.

The Miix 10 has all the ports you’d expect to find on a Windows tablet, including a Micro HDMI and a MicroSD slot (hidden beneath a plastic door) on the left side, and a headphone jack on the top right. There is also a Micro-USB port, but it’s in the center of the bottom edge, between the contacts for the keyboard dock. You can use it only if you’re not docked to the keyboard, and you’ll need the included adapter to plug in a full-size USB device.

Lenovo’s keyboards, on the other hand, are awesome. The Miix 10’s keyboard cover is no exception. Lenovo has managed to make a 10-inch keyboard feel just as comfortable as my full-size laptop keyboard. Key size, spacing, and travel are all superb.

The keyboard cover gives the tablet the feel of a high-end notepad rather than a cheap netbook. It protects the back of the tablet in addition to covering the screen when closed. The tablet slots into a holder on the bottom and is held in by two clips on each top corner. I was worried that it would be hard to get the tablet out, but in practice it was very easy to go from desktop typing to couch surfing. ROBERT CARDINTouching the Windows logo on the Miix 10’s bezel toggles between the Windows 8 Start screen and the current app.

When opened, the tablet tilts forward and is held in place by a magnet behind the top row of keys. This proved to be surprisingly stable even when typing in my lap. This style does limit you to only one angle for the screen, but in all my location set ups, I found that one angle to work just fine.

With the keys all the way at the front edge of the cover, there is no room for a trackpad. You might think that you don’t need one because you have a touchscreen, except every time I touched the screen to reposition the cursor in a wall of text, the onscreen keyboard pops up. And if you need to use an old desktop program that’s not finger friendly, you’ll want to plug in a mouse—except the only USB port is now blocked by the keyboard.

I’ll admit a bit of bias as I’m such a fan of Lenovo’s keyboards, but that’s not enough to justify this price for a CPU that’s a generation old. While not the best, performance and battery life are very good, so if your primary concern is a good typing experience, this machine might fit the bill.

Editor’s Note: This review is a head-to-head comparison with the Asus Transformer Book T100. You’ll find the introduction to the story here and the review of the Transformer Book T100 here.

Competition: Motorola Exiting Feature Phones, 7″ Slates From Amazon, Google Loom

Several reports this morning sourced from Taiwanese supply chain indicate some pretty interesting reshuffling going on in the mobile space outside Apple. Samsung is shooting to cumulatively sell ten million Galaxy S III units by early July while Motorola Mobility is mulling exiting the feature phones business in order to focus all their energies on “innovative products”.

In the non-iPad space, a contract manufacturer has apparently landed orders for both Amazon’s seven-inch Kindle Fire tablet and Google’s Nexus-branded expected to make an appearance at Google I/O on Wednesday…

Let’s start off with Samsung.

Associated Press reports that Samsung is so confident in Galaxy S III sales that they publicly set the sales target: they expect to move more than ten million units in July. The report suggests Samsung could sell even more because “it struggles to keep up with demand because of component shortages”.

Filed as its biggest campaign to date, Samsung has reportedly set aside a marketing budget that will double in the next few months alone what the company burned on all Galaxy-branded products in the United States in 2011.

As Samsung takes aim at Apple, Google-owned Motorola Mobility will reportedly exit from the feature phone market in order to focus development efforts on “innovative products”, reports DigiTimes, citing a story by a Chinese-language Commercial Times.

Google is now officially a handset maker so it makes sense to get rid of the unprofitable business and focus on hero devices. Motorola’s Droid was key to Android’s successful launch in the U.S. and their Razr series was and still is very popular so there’s no room for doubt that Googleroola will produce some very successful Android devices in the near future.

Wondering about the top image? If Gizmodo Australia is to be believed, it’s possibly a rendering of a long-awaited Google-branded, Asus-manufactured seven-inch tablet set to launch at Google I/O, which runs from Wednesday through Friday at San Francisco’s Moscone West.

It’s said to become a Jelly Bean reference device (the upcoming Android iteration, version 4.1). Specs allegedly include a seven-inch screen running at 1280-by-800 pixels and sporting IPS technology for a 178-degree viewing angle.

It should also run Nvidia’s quad-core Tegra 3 chip, NFC for wireless payments (reportedly coming to the next iPhone as well), a 1.2-megapixel front camera and a nine-hour battery. The 8GB/16GB variants should be priced aggressively at just $199/$249, making the Nexus 7 tablet more of a Kindle Fire than iPad challenger.

Besides, contract manufacturer Quanta is said to ship three million units of the Nexus 7 tablet in 2012, which is a pretty low figure compared to the kinds of numbers we’re seeing from Samsung and Apple in the tablet space.

On the high-end, of course, the iPad gets to compete with Ultrabooks and Microsoft’s upcoming Surface tablet that some dismissed as a reference device meant to drive Windows 8 adoption. The Surface could be pricey and Microsoft’s hastily organized presser and lackluster demos clearly show nervousness.

Unfortunately, the Surface will only be sold at Microsoft’s retail stores. There are only 19 of them currently, with a new store opening in New York soon and another one planned in London in March 2012. All told, Microsoft plans to open 75 new retail stores over the next two years in an Apple-like push to better promote its products and control its brand’s message.

About one third of readers in our poll voted that Apple should definitely pay notice because the Surface has raised the water line on Microsoft’s platform functionality.

As for Amazon, it’s getting ready to launch a long-rumored seven-inch version of the Kindle Fire. Quanta, which makes the first Kindle, is expected to begin production of a smaller Kindle this month, with shipments expected to “significantly increase” in August, reports DigiTimes.

Cupertino is rumored to respond to the rise of the smaller slates by offering the so-called iPad mini that shouldn’t require you to sand your fingers down because at seven inches diagonally, its screen would still be sufficient for users to successfully hit the user interface targets, as outlined in Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines.

Summing up, I guess my question would be if Apple really needs to address the low-end of the tablet market or should the company remain comfortable in its position of the high-end player that reaps all the profits?

Also, I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on Samsung’s targets for Galaxy S III sales, especially compared to Apple. Can the S III become the first phone to outsell the iPhone?

Remember, they’re gonna promote this thing like there’s no tomorrow and sell it through around 300 mobile carriers in 147 countries by the end of July, giving it a three-month lead time over the next iPhone.

11 Tech Deals On Sale At Early Black Friday Doorbuster Sale Prices

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They say the early bird catches the worm, and that rings true even for Black Friday sales. Since everyone loves snagging tech items on the biggest sales day of the year, you may want to get ahead of the pack and get the stuff you want before you miss out on them. Lo and behold, here are 11 tech items you’ll find useful, all on sale at special Pre-Black Friday prices.

Blow up any content you want with this portable projector that’s as slim and light as an iPhone 7s Plus. It casts a 200-inch cinema-quality image onto any surface, and thanks to its 200 lumens, it delivers 4 times the brightness of other portable projectors. It usually goes for $799, but you can grab it on sale for only $279.97.

Named an Amazon’s Choice Product, the Z’s deliver superior audio with its high-performance neodymium-backed 40mm speakers and T-Quiet™ active noise canceling technology. It’s designed to fit ergonomically and securely, allowing for comfortable all-day wear. A pair typically costs $259, but you can score it on sale for $74.97.

You no longer have to keep purchasing adapters whenever you travel. This award-winning adapter lets you charge up to your tech collection in over 200 countries and regions. With a USB-C port, 3 USB-A ports, and a multi-region AC output, it can accommodate up to 5 devices simultaneously. Normally $59, you can snag it for only $29.97 for a limited time.

Ideal for your entire collection, this surge protector comes with 6 AC outlets, built-in surge protection, and a circuit breaker. It’s fully extensible so you can add more blocks to cater to your needs, and it comes with a USB charging block for your mobile devices. Formerly $49, it’s on sale for only $39.97.

This digital ruler lets you accurately measure pretty much anything. It measures curves, lines, and a variety of surfaces, and is compatible with major units of length. Originally $89, it’s on sale for $69.97 for a limited time.

An environmentally-friendly notebook, the Wipebook transforms conventional paper into reusable and erasable surfaces. You can upload whatever you write directly to your favorite cloud services like Google Drive and Dropbox and wipe the pages clean for new ideas. A 2-pack is usually $59, but you can get it on sale for $49.97.

With 3 wireless charging spots and a USB-A port, this charging hub can fuel up to 4 devices simultaneously, including your iPhone, Apple Watch, AirPods, and other Qi-compatible phones and earbuds. It also doubles as a bedside lamp with 3 brightness levels, making it perfect for your bedroom. Formerly $79, you can get it on sale for $49.97.

This gamepad is compatible with 10 platforms, allowing you to enjoy your game on your own device. With 2 joysticks and 12 buttons (including A/B/X/Y and trigger buttons), you can map to the virtual buttons on your phone’s screen to create the controller of your dreams. It typically retails for $69, but you can grab it on sale for $43.97.

Eliminate desk clutter with this 4-in-1 multi-port and Apple Watch charger that can cater to 4 devices simultaneously. Crafted out of top-quality TPE, nylon braided cable, and aluminum shell, it’s built to last. It’s normally $34, but you can score it on sale for just $15.97.

These VR glasses are designed with a wide 102° field of view with adjustable focal length and pupil, allowing you to enjoy immersive 3D movies and games. They also feature an ergonomic design that relieves the burden on the nasal bridge and eyelids, so you can wear them comfortably for as long as you want. Typically $99, you can grab these on sale for only $69.97 for a limited time.

This bundle combines magnets and wireless charging tech to create a multi-functional portable charger that attaches to the back of your phone for 100 percent wireless charging. With a 5000mAh battery, it can charge your phone from 0 to 80 percent in a mere 35 minutes. Normally $75, you can get it on sale for $49.97.

Prices subject to change.

Kogan Agora To Be Second Android Device On Sale

Kogan Agora to be second Android device on sale

Barring a sudden speed-release by an unknown party, the second commercially available Android smartphone will be the Kogan Agora.  A candybar-format BlackJack-a-like with a full QWERTY keyboard, the Agora will begin shipping in Australia on January 29th and have a 2.5-inch resistive touchscreen, GPS, WiFi and 3G.

Grunt is from a 624MHz processor with 256MB ROM and 128MB RAM; storage expansion is via a microSD slot.  There’s a 2-megapixel camera, and the handset is triband UMTS/HSDPA (850/900/2100MHz) and quadband GSM/EDGE.  The Agora measures 108 x 64 x 14.8 mm and weighs 130g with its 1,300mAh battery; according to Kogan, that’s good for up to 400 minutes talktime or 300 hours standby.

The specs are a little on the anaemic side compared to the G1 (the resistive touchscreen will likely be a particular disappointment to anybody hoping for another capacitive panel as on the T-Mobile phone) but the price is reasonable.  Kogan will be selling the Agora unlocked and unsubsidized for 399 Australian dollars ($256) or a cheaper version without WiFi, camera or GPS for 299 Australia dollars ($192), with preorders being taken now.  It’s not limited to Australia, either; preorders are being accepted worldwide.

[via Android Community]

Press Release:

KOGAN UNVEILS ‘AGORA’

FIRST AUSSIE PHONE POWERED BY ANDROID™

MELBOURNE, Thursday 4th December 2008 – Kogan Technologies today unveiled the Kogan Agora, the first Australian mobile phone powered by the Android™ operating system.

Kogan Technologies will sell the Agora for AU$299 and the Agora Pro for AU$399. Both models are available for sale today on chúng tôi The phones are sold outright – with no contract – and will work on any network.

The Kogan Agora (AU$299) features a full QWERTY keyboard, central navigation key, 2.5″ touchscreen, microSD slot, and 3G connectivity.

The Kogan Agora Pro (AU$399) adds a 2 MP camera, Wi-Fi, and GPS to the Agora’s impressive specifications.

Both models will ship to customers – in Australia and internationally – on January 29th 2009.

Kogan Technologies founder, Ruslan Kogan, said the Agora is proof that his company is achieving its goal of offering the latest technology at the best value prices.

“The Kogan team have been working very hard to bring out the exciting new phones powered by Google’s Android operating system at the right mix of price and specifications,” Kogan said.

“We’ve been listening to customers through our blog, and crammed in all the features we possibly could. The end result is the best value, fully-featured phone in the Australian market.

“We worked closely with manufacturers and vendors to develop drivers, software, and tweaks to make the Agora an intuitive and exciting experience for everyone.

“The design and features of the Kogan Agora makes the phone appeal to both consumers and business users.

“The Android operating system means the handset can capture and play music, photos and video, surf the web, play games, navigate, and organise your life with extremely powerful applications.”

Kogan has been a long time supporter of open source and Android™ provides a real alternative to Apple’s proprietary operating system for the iPhone.

“Google is a key player in developing efficient and innovative online solutions for customers around the world. The open source nature of Android means the operating system will continually improve over time,” Kogan said.

Some of the applications pre-loaded on the Kogan Agora are:

· Gmail™

· Google Search™

· Google Calender™

· Google Maps™

· Google Talk™

· YouTube™

HIGHLIGHTS:

· 2.5-inch TFT-LCD flat touch-sensitive screen

· Integrated QWERTY keyboard

· High-speed 3G network connection

· One-Touch Google Search ™

· Easy Web Browsing

· Easy-to-use email with attachment support for images, videos, music and documents

· Customisable Home Screen with instant Email, text message and IM notifications

· Instant access to mobile Internet services (Gmail ™, YouTube ™, Google Talk ™, Google Calendar ™, Google Maps ™)

· Music Player

· microSD™ expansion slot for all your storage needs

· Wi-Fi network access (included with Kogan Agora Pro)

· GPS navigation capability (included with Kogan Agora Pro)

· 2.0 megapixel camera (included with Kogan Agora Pro)

SPECIFICATIONS:

Operating System

Android™

Google Mobile Functions

Google Search™, Gmail™, YouTube™, Google Maps™, Google Talk™, Google Calendar™.

Display

2.5-inch TFT-LCD flat touch-sensitive screen with 262K QVGA (320 X 240 pixel) resolution

Device Control

Central Navigation Key

Keyboard

QWERTY keyboard

Keyboard backlighting

GPS

GPS navigation capability (included with Kogan Agora Pro)

Connectivity

Bluetooth® 2.0 with Enhanced Data Rate

Wi-Fi®: IEEE 802.11b/g (included with Kogan Agora Pro)

Camera

2.0 megapixel colour camera (included with Kogan Agora Pro)

Audio

Built-in microphone and speaker

Headphone jack

Ring tone formats:

· MIDI, MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV, PCM

Video

Video formats supported:

· MPEG2 H263, H264, MPEG4, AVI

Mail attachment support

Viewable document types:

· JPEG, GIF, WBMP, MIDI, AMR, MP3, WAV

Dimensions (HxWxD)

108 mm x 64 mm x 14.8 mm

Weight

130g

Battery

Rechargeable Lithium-ion battery

Capacity: 1300 mAh

Talk Time

Up to approximately 400 minutes

Standby Time

Up to approximately 300 hours

Processor MHz

624 MHz

Memory

ROM:

256 MB

RAM:

128 MB

microSD™ card expansion slot

Network

UMTS/HSDPA (850, 1900, 2100 MHz)

GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)

Other than as described in this release, Kogan and its products, are not affiliated with Google Inc or its products. Google™, Android™, Google Search™, Gmail™, YouTube™, Google Maps™, Google Talk™, Google Calendar™ are trademarks of Google Inc. Use of these trademarks is subject to Google Permissions.

About Kogan Technologies

Kogan Technologies is a wholly-owned Australian company established in 2006 by entrepreneur Ruslan Kogan. Kogan sells a wide range of consumer electronics in Australia, New Zealand, and around the world. The Kogan promise is based on a unique business model that passes the savings of dealing direct with the manufacturers onto Australian consumers. Bypassing middlemen, Kogan is able to offer the latest technology at the most affordable prices. Kogan’s unique blend of quality technology and value for money offers price-conscious Australian technology consumers a real choice.

Removing A 16 Month Google Penalty – There Is Hope Yet

Disclaimer: Due to privacy agreements I cannot share the exact name of the client that I’m going to be discussing within the post.

Ever since the first Penguin update on April 24th 2012, the way we approach link building has completely changed. A lot of hard lessons were learnt and many businesses, not to mention all of those SEO agencies, suffered huge losses. But one man’s loss is another man’s gain. Amongst all of the chaos there was money to be made – this came in the form of search engine recovery projects.

I recently spoke to Christoph Cemper – the man behind the Link Detox Tool and Mark Traphagen of Virante (who created the Remove’em tool) – and asked them “What kind of opportunities have you found since the major Panda and Penguin updates over the past 2 years?”  Here’s what they had to say…

Christoph Cemper:

 “One word – Quality.

Since I started talking about my rules and guidelines that we use in SEO and link building I talked about quality, especially when it came to link building, at a price.

A lot of people always took the shortcuts – mostly for budget reasons and didn’t understand the risk they built into their link profiles especially.

Since the launch of Panda updates and especially the Penguin updates all those agencies that stuck to quality were really on the winning side. To my knowledge those were the minority.

Today everyone who understands what quality links really mean and manages to stay away from those tempting cheap offers of “guaranteed submissions”, “guaranteed manual link building” and other scammy offers you still find everywhere on the web will succeed.

My saying “you get what you pay for” has never been more true, and many people that paid peanuts for crappy links got their penalty or filter now as Google started enforcing rules that were WAY older than 2 years in my book.”

Mark Traphagen:

“Not long after Penguin 1.0 rolled out we started getting an increasing number of inquiries from webmasters seeking help in restoring the ranking power of their sites that had been hit by the algorithm update. While many of these sites had a major cleanup job ahead of them, we realized that there were a significant number who could probably do the restoration work themselves if they had just a little bit of help. So we adapted our in-house tools into Remove’em, a self-serve tool that automates or streamlines many aspects of the link removal and reinstatement request process.

But an ever-increasing number of site owners told us the size of their problem was too huge for them to deal with. At their urging we created a full-service product, where our team of highly-experienced link removal experts take over the process. This has proven to be the fastest growing part of our entire search marketing agency business. But we hadn’t seen anything yet! When Penguin 2.0 hit in late May, our number of monthly new Remove’em accounts more than tripled, and there has been no let up to date. Another growing part of our business: webmasters using our tool or full service to clean up their link profiles prophylactically in attempts to stave off any future algorithm updates.”

Myself and the rest of the team at Wow Internet have been working with webmasters that have suffered at the hands of Google’s updates for nearly two years now, and have learnt our fair share of lessons along the way as well. We’re quite proud of one project in particular that we took on after the client was banned from Google in February 2012. I thought it would only be fair to share our approach, the tools we used and what we found worked best, so that those with long-standing search engine penalties could have a little hope!

Background of the Project

I was first approached by the client in February this year. They run a huge non-profit international Christian community website and had received a manual search engine penalty on 23rd February 2012. I was told that they hadn’t worked with an SEO agency before but they had instead tried to do it all themselves.

The result was that tens of thousands of links had been paid for from their internal teams from around the world. No record had been kept of the links that were purchased and nearly all of them were exact-match anchor text – not good. To top it off, they had sent through repetitive reconsideration requests that were, of course, thrown back at them.

Stage 1: Assessing the Situation

The first stage of any search engine recovery campaign involves deep analysis to identify any specific issues that contributed to the manual penalty. To do this, I use as many different link analysis tools as possible so that I can get the most accurate picture of the link profile. For this stage of the project I used the following:

Majestic SEO

Ahrefs

Open Site Explorer

Google Webmaster Tools

Yandex Webmaster Tools

You’re probably looking at those tools and thinking ‘Why Yandex Webmaster Tools?’. The reason is that Yandex WMT is awesome for identifying the links coming back to your website. I use this on each of my link building campaigns, because it gives a far greater representation of links coming back to the website than Google’s WMT suite.

1.1   Gathering the Links

This stage of analysis has to be one of the most critical parts of your project – if you cut corners here then it will come back to haunt you. I spent a whole day on simply gathering the links to the website; as you will see when you read on, this isn’t the only time you will need to do this. I suggest using Majestic SEO, Ahrefs, Open Site Explorer, and Google Webmaster Tools:

1.2   Organising Your Links

Next we need to find out how many times a domain has linked to the site. To do this, type in the following formula in the column next to your list of domains (assuming they are in column A):

=COUNTIF(A:A, A2)

Stage 2: Digging Deeper into the Links

The second stage is to dig a little deeper into all of the results that you have gathered, in order to find some trends that will pin-point specific reasons for the manual penalty. Within the project that I was working on, it was clear that there were a lot of site-wide links (all with exact-match money keywords) pointing back to my client’s site. I guessed that this was probably only the tip of the iceberg and I wasn’t wrong.

2.1 Using the Link Detox Tool

Along with Virante’s Remove’em tool, the Link Detox tool from LinkResearchTools has to be my favourite tool to use within these types of projects. For this specific project, I used the Link Detox tool to find certain trends within my data and give me a direction to follow for the next stages of the project.

A word of warning with the Link Detox tool – remember that it is never going to be completely 100% accurate and will therefore require some human element. Use the results as a guide (which will save you endless time) and then go through the links yourself to double-check.

2.2 Summarizing the Results

What I found from my analysis was that the poor link building work that had been carried out by the internal team within my client’s business was on a much larger scale than was first anticipated. Here were the major issues identified:

Extensive over-optimization of anchor text from backlinks.

Large number of site-wide backlinks from irrelevant websites.

Many of the links were from sites that also had Google penalties.

Large quantities of dofollow banner links had been placed on low quality sites.

Hundreds of new spammy links were being indexed every day (from over 2 years ago in some cases).

Stage 3: Taking Action

Once I had my ‘hit list’ of toxic links, it was now time to start compiling the contact information for these sites in order to begin the link removal requests.

Many of you know I’m a fan of utilizing oDesk to automate specific processes within my projects. The procurement of contact information is a prime example of where oDesk is fantastic. As there were such a huge number of links I needed to gather further information on, it made sense to split this task between a few different freelancers to get it done quickly and effectively.

BuzzStream

Another method that I used to get the contact information of webmasters was by using BuzzStream. If you don’t have a subscription to this tool and you’re involved in online marketing – take a free trial because it’s pretty awesome. Even if you’re not using it for Google penalty removal, it has fantastic link prospecting features.

Bearing in mind that a lot of the webmasters that I had to get in touch with were from spammy, low quality websites, it wasn’t realistic to think that BuzzStream could find all the details needed; however, it did find at least 40% – which was a fantastic result. This saved me a huge amount of time and meant that I had to spend less on outsourcing the work.

3.1 Contacting the Webmasters

Once I had a list of all of the webmasters that needed to be contacted, I created an email template. I’ve found here that it’s quite important to make the webmasters feel that there could be negative effects on their website if they don’t remove the link. Also, I always make sure that I give them the exact URLs where the links appear so that they have to do as little searching as possible. Here’s the template email that I use:

This is where BuzzStream saved the day again. I asked the client to set me up with an email address from their domain (this dramatically improved response rates) and input the IMAP details into BuzzStream. By doing this, my team and I could send emails directly through BuzzStream via the client’s email address.  I then imported my outreach template, along with a couple of variations (so that I could split test) and then started sending them to my list of webmasters.

3.2 Using Screaming Frog SEO Spider

An awesome tip that I picked up from an article written by Cyrus Shepard was to plug in all of the URLs that linked to the client’s website into Screaming Frog SEO Spider, in order to find any URLs that resulted in a 404. It is often the case with low quality links that their entire site will shut down or disappear. We could then class any of these links as removed.

3.3 Educating the Client

Another big part of the project involved me coming in to talk with the client’s internal marketing team. I spent the day personally training the client on SEO and how to abide by Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

As a result of the session, a document was put together and circulated around the business that briefed everyone involved within the project about link building practices. This ensured that they would be able to avoid any problems like this in the future. I made sure that the circulated document was uploaded as a Google Doc and included within the reconsideration request.

Stage 4: Compiling the Disavow List

Instead of going with a ‘let’s just disavow everything’ approach, I decided to add each of the toxic links to the disavow list (not the whole domain) – but I meticulously scoured through the links to ensure that none of the good quality links were removed.

Once the disavow list was finalized and doubled checked, I submitted it through Google Webmaster Tools.

Stage 5: The Reconsideration Request

Here’s where we reach the final hurdle. Everything has been done to the best of our abilities, we have gathered all the collateral related to the project and slaved over an extensive reconsideration request. Two weeks later, we received a response…

Having the first reconsideration request returned to with a negative response isn’t uncommon. If this has happened to you – don’t panic. Take a deep breath and relax. It’s quite rare that you will be able to find every single bad link on the first attempt because you will always be slightly more cautious on your first attempt – this was definitely the case within our project.

After some deeper analysis, we found the following issues were still not resolved:

Some of the paid dofollow banners were still live on some of the spammy websites.

Since the time of our reconsideration request up to the time of our message from Google saying we were still banned, the link analysis tools we used had indexed another 3,000 questionable links.

5.1 Moving on to the Next Request

Before we received the response back from the first reconsideration request I had a chat with the client about how confident we felt about getting re-indexed. I was feeling a bit too over-confident and may have shot myself in the foot when giving an ambitious 95% chance of success! Needless to say – I had egg on my face. As a result I really wanted to get a result for the client very quickly and agreed to work double time on the project through the next two weeks and get another reconsideration request out – schoolboy error.

As you can imagine, with added pressure from the client it was easy to miss some of the rising levels of links coming into the website. What we did manage to do was to get rid of all of the spammy banner links, which was a big step. We then updated the disavow list and sent off our second reconsideration request – DENIED.

Stage 6: Getting Re-Indexed

They say third time’s lucky – you certainly need a bit of luck when grovelling at the knees of Google. Luckily for us, we nailed it on the third reconsideration request. After the second rejection from Google we sat down and took a much more prudent approach to the disavow list. This included disavowing all of the toxic links on domain level to ensure that any new links that were getting indexed would still be ignored by Google.

We also spent a huge amount of time going through and re-contacting any of the webmasters that we didn’t get a response from to try and get even more of the links removed. We actually managed to get around 10% of the spammy links manually removed. When you consider that there were thousands of links that were from domains from all over the world, this was a pretty big achievement.

After receiving this message it was a mixture of delight and relief. A lot of hard work went in to the project and I’m currently working on a few more projects as I type. Just for your reference, here is the reconsideration request that I submitted:

Hopefully this project can be a sign of hope to those who have had long-standing manual penalties on their site. The one tip I would give is not to rush anything. Be meticulous and thorough on every process of the project and you will get the best results – rush and you will spend a lot more time in the long-run.

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