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Two detours for traffic on the info superhighway

DETOUR

Every once in awhile it would be nice if there was some construction on the information superhighway.

Some road work that caused folks oblivious to our websites to detour?

We all want some traffic to take a pass through our pages, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

Ideally we’d want the detour sign to read:

“Turn here for great deals on XYZ!”

…but more often than not folks go for something a bit more catchy like:

“If you like kittens and free bacon turn now before it’s too late!”

The problem with the former is that people don’t respect honesty as much as they should, after all, everyone has something for sale, tell us something we didn’t know.

The problem with the latter is that while totally successful, the traffic driven to the site won’t be on target at all, will likely bounce, and the best anyone can hope for is brand recognition. Unless the site actually has kittens and free bacon, but who would be reading this if they had all that? (Note to self, make a site with endless kitten pictures where the uploader is paid in bacon.)

Ideally we wish to find a ‘Goldilocks’ approach where we aren’t too off-putting with boring honesty, nor are we luring in people who have zero interest in the site.

So lets take a moment to look at two common approaches for traffic generation that I don’t see discussed often, one is very timely.

Unusual Approaches That Really Work!

ARGs or ( Alternate Reality Games ) are getting pretty popular online.

Google's Niantic ARG Logo

Google just launched a massive ARG called the Niantic Project and I am already 7 13 days behind on the clues/feeds..

The idea is that you become very curious about the game and subscribe to the daily clues. With luck this catches the eye of your friends, they get curious and sign on too. By the end of the game Google should have a large subscriber group waiting anxiously for their announcement.

Speaking of clues, one thing I seem to have discovered ahead of the crowd is the Interactive global Niantic XM (Exotic Matter) POI map that Google built:

If this game is an introduction to the recently released Google Field Trip app, then is it possible that Google associates have taken the time to embed ‘clues’ into major landmarks around the world that need local residents to ‘discover’ using an Android device and the Google Field Trip application.

With any luck Google will use Niantic to reach more people than they normally would, and the more people who know about field trip, the better/more interesting it will be.

Think Outside the Box

PDF Icon

In this case, the box, is the web/online and thinking outside means creating web content that people will want to print/download and share.

All of our team is doing on-page optimization training so that all of us have some skills with on-page SEO. Even if we can’t have each member doing live A B tests and such, they should know why you would run one and be familiar with the current standards.

This means that each of us has an SEO cheat sheet pinned to our cork boards and each of these has branding on them that we’re fine with. In fact I’m very tempted to promote these as something all of you should print for your daily SEO but I need to check and see if they are still available to the public.

If your company has info pages that are getting a lot of traffic, I’d look at pulling together a PDF of the content for download with a quick-reference for printing.

Getting your brand out there and helping potential clients is a win win for you if the market you are in is something that you want to be recognized for.

Giving it Away

Lending hand image

If you felt like making a resource and simply giving it away was too much for your time/budget, then you’ll be shocked by the next suggestion:

Give something substantial to a charity, preferably an example of your trade.

As an example: If you sell shoes and there’s a drive for winter shoes for the homeless, putting free footwear on people that cannot afford your product won’t cut into potential customers/sales, and it will remind people where to get shoes, and that winter is coming.

If there’s nothing you can do for charity that lines up with your company, you can always just give some money away, many sites thank donors with an ad or a link, and even micro loans are a nice way to help out with friendly options to get you started.

There’s a ton of ways to get unexpected traffic to your site in a manner that will have the visitors eager to explore, and potentially buy your product. Anything else and you risk the traffic bouncing off your site and telling Google that you aren’t offering interesting content.

Today’s Google Doodle

It’s with pride that I re-share the daily doodle for the Canadarm!

Google Doodle celebrates the 31st year of Canadarm operation

Google is celebrating 31 years of Canadarm use today with the above doodle.

After 90 missions the Discovery and Atlantis Canadarm installations will be retired with the shuttles for museum display. The Canadarm that was fitted to the Endeavour was given back to the Canadian Space Agency and it is currently on display in the Quebec headquarters.

SEO news blog post by @ 11:54 am on November 13, 2012


 

EMD Insanity and Coining Phrases

It’s clearly time for Beanstalk to officially list ourselves as a sitedefibrillation solution provider.

Why? Because apparently the secret to SERP dominance with an EMD is to coin your own phrase!

Do a search for ‘coinflation’ + ‘gold’ or really, almost any other keyword to see what Google considers an ‘improved’ result following the EMD update.

Google Search results for Coinflation 
If you didn’t get something like the results above, please let us know!

 
Okay so that seems slightly silly, but how the heck did they pull that off? There’s clearly PPC/AdWords competition for the phrase, and EMD should either be a penalty or moot, shouldn’t it?

Well apparently not! In fact EMD can still clearly be an asset if the ‘quality’ scores are all above par!

This means that if you have an organic campaign, with ongoing back links/references from trusted sources, and you aren’t hitting other penalties, you really should be feeling no loss at all from the EMD update.

Indeed, if your competition was using non-organic approaches to EMDs they should have taken a trust hit, and you may see an improvement in position due to their failings!

So while I can show you some examples of the EMD apparently failing to work, we can assure you it’s working, and overall seems like a positive step for Google.

10″ Google Nexus from Samsung?

Last night CNET announced some ‘highly’ probable info that Samsung is manufacturing a new 10.1″ Nexus tablet for Google.

The article is more of a stub of hear-say but had some rather ‘exact’ details including the resolution of the display:

The 2,560×1,600 display will have a PPI (pixels per inch) of about 299, said Shim. That tops the 264 PPI on the 9.7-inch 2,048×1,536 Retina iPad.

Clearly this will be the ‘high end’ model for the Nexus line (currently manufactured by Asus), especially when you consider that Google will be releasing a 7″ Nexus subsidized down to a $99 price this December!

In fact since we’re pondering things to come more than talking facts, I’d have to assume this will be a dual or quad core device with GPU acceleration of some sort to assist with up-scaling video content and 3d games to that eye-popping resolution.

So if this high-end Nexus tablet is anything less than $399 I’d be really shocked and very worried for Apple.

Okay, perhaps more worried for Apple, would be more accurate given it’s current public affairs issues..

[iframe width="549" height="309" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/JEy2u2n_XTQ?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen][/iframe]

In case you’re wondering ‘who cares?’; Tim Pool goes to the streets and broadcasts unedited footage of protests/events.

I’d like to think Apple is patenting this to prevent companies from doing this, but in actual fact this is very creepy stuff from the overly litigious makers of the most expensive walled gardens on the planet.

It seems almost like Apple is testing how well their brand/product can weather bad public image at this point?

SEO news blog post by @ 11:53 am on October 9, 2012


 

You don’t want the next Penguin update…

Scary Matt Cutts

Is Matt Cutts just goofing around or is he really trying to scare us?

The statement in the title of this article, from Matt Cutts, has the SEO world looking for further information as to just how bad the next Penguin update will be.

During the SES in San Francisco this week Matt Cutts got a chance to speak about updates and how they will effect SEOs. One of the things he was quoted as saying really caught my eye:

You don’t want the next Penguin update, the engineers have been working hard…

Mr.Cutts has recently eaten some words, retracting his statement that too much SEO is a bad thing, and explaining that good SEO is still good.

Even with attendees saying that he spoke the words with no signs of ominous intent, how do you expect the SEO world to take follow up statements like:

The updates are going the be jarring and julting for a while.

That’s just not positive sounding at all and it almost has the tone of admission that the next updates are perhaps going to be ‘too much’ even in Matt’s opinion, and he’s one of Google’s top engineers!

My take is that if you are doing anything even slightly shady, you’re about to see some massive ranking spanking.

Reciprocal links, excessive directories, participating in back-link cliques/neighborhoods, pointless press releases, redundant article syndication, duplicate content without authorship markup, poorly configured CMS parameters, etc.. These are all likely to be things, in my opinion, that will burn overly SEO’d sites in the next update.

The discussion also made it’s way to the issues with Twitter data feeds. Essentially since Google and Twitter no longer have an agreement, Google is effectively ‘blocked’ from crawling Twitter.

Dead twitter bird

On the topic of Twitter crawling Matt Cutts was quoted as saying:

..we can do it relatively well, but if we could crawl Twitter in the full way we can, their infastructure[sic] wouldn’t be able to handle it

 

Which to me seems odd, since I don’t see any other sites complaining about how much load Google is placing on their infrastructure?

Clearly the issue is still political/strategic and neither side is looking to point fingers.

With Twitter’s social media relevance diminished you’d think +1′s would be a focus point but Matt Cutts also commented on the situation stating that we shouldn’t place much value on +1 stats for now.

A final point was made about Knowledge Graph, the new information panel that’s appearing on certain search terms.

Since the Google Search Quality team is now the Google Knowledge Graph team Matt Cutts had some great answers on the topic of Knowledge Graph, including the data sources and harm to Wikipedia.

There had been a lot of cursing about Google simply abusing Wikipedia’s bandwidth/resources but it was made clear during the session that Wikipedia is not traffic dependent because they don’t use ads for revenue.

Essentially, if Wikipedia’s data is getting better utilized, and they haven’t had to do anything to make it happen, they are happy.

If you wanted to get more details there’s lots of #SESSF hashed posts on Twitter and plenty of articles coming from the attendees.

I’m personally going to go start working on a moat for this Penguin problem..

SEO news blog post by @ 11:56 am on August 16, 2012


 

Particle Physics and Search Engines

If you’ve been hiding under a rock then you may not have heard the news of the ‘God Particle’ discovery.

As someone who is fairly scientific, I look at this as more of a proof of concept than a discovery, and ‘God’ really needs to give Peter Higgs some credit for his theories.

 
I won’t dwell on the news surrounding the Higgs boson particle confirmation, but there are parallels between objects colliding and revealing previously unseen matters.

When Search Engines Collide

It’s been some time since Bing and Yahoo merged, so the data sets should be the same right?

No. That would really be a wasted opportunity, and Microsoft is clearly smarter than that.





 
By not merging the search data or algorithms of Bing and Yahoo, Microsoft can now experiment with different updates and ranking philosophies without putting all it’s eggs in one basket.

An active/healthy SEO will be watching the updates to search algorithms from as many perspectives as possible which means a variety of sites on a variety of topics tracked on a variety of search engines.

Say a site gets a ton of extra 301 links from partner sites, and this improves traffic and rankings on Bing, causes a stability of movement on Yahoo, and a drop in traffic on Google?

It’s possible to say that the drop on Google was related to a ton of different factors, untrusted links, link spam, dilution of keyword relevance, keyword anchor text spamming, you name it. This is because Google is always updating and always keeping us on our toes.

Bring on the data..

Lets now take the data from Bing and Yahoo into consideration and look at what we know of recent algo changes on those search engines. This ‘collision’ of data still leaves us with unseen factors but gives us more to go on.

Since Bing has followed Google on some of the recent updates, the upswing on Bing for position of keywords would hint that it’s neither a dilution of relevance or spamming on the keywords/anchor text.

Stability on Yahoo is largely unremarkable if you check the crawl info and cache dates. It’s likely just late to the game and you can’t bet the farm on this info.

What about the other engines? Without paying a penny for the data we can fetch Blekko and DDG(DuckDuckGo) ranking history to see what changes have occurred to rankings on these engines.

Since Blekko is currently well known to be on the warpath for duplicate content, and they are starving for fresh crawl data, a rankings drop on that service can be very informative especially if the data from the other search engines helps to eliminate key ranking factors.

In the case of our current example I’d narrow down the list of ranking factors that changed on the last ‘Penguin’ update and contrast those with the data from the other engines and probably suspect (in this example) that Google is seeing duplicity from the 301s, something Bing wouldn’t yet exhibit, but Blekko would immediately punish as badly or worse than Google.

The next step would be to check for issues of authority for the page content. Is there authorship mark-up and a reciprocal setup on the author’s end that helps establish the trust of the main site content? Does the site have the proper verified entries in Google WMT to pass authority? Barring WMT flags, what about a dynamic canonical tag in the header, even as a test if it’s not already setup?

Start making small changes, watch the results, and be patient. If you’re not gaming Google and you’ve done something accidental to cause a drop in rankings, you need to think your way through the repairs step by step.

It’s not easy to evaluate but the more data you can mash-up, and the better you understand that data, the closer/quicker you can troubleshoot ranking issues and ensure that your efforts are going to be gains.

SEO news blog post by @ 12:12 pm on July 5, 2012


 

Google Advisor: Where have you been all my life?

Admittedly, when I read the announcement that Google Advisor (Link removed – no longer available) was here to help me manage my money the first thoughts were about privacy and that last bastion of private information Google hasn’t touched yet: Banking.

Gloved hand that is reaching for banking and credit info

Being wrong never felt so good!

Google Advisor is not (at the moment) a way to suck more private information from you, it’s actually more of a consulting service for comparing bank accounts, credit cards, certificates of deposit, and more.

Google Advisor

As someone who’s setup review sites for various services/offerings I can tell you how handy/popular it is to break down competing services so the consumer can select something that meets their exact needs.

Google Advisor claims that the information it’s showing is based on my data, but a 0% intro rate on transfers for 18months? If that’s really available to me I’m going to have to send Google some chocolates.

Google bought QuickOffice

QuickOffice Logo

Google bought the mobile office suite ‘QuickOffice‘ which allows ‘App-Level’ access to office documents for mobile devices based on Android/iOS/Symbian.

This move seems redundant with Google’s ‘Docs’ suite offering even more connectivity to your documents/spreadsheets/presentations, but that is just a cloud service, not an ‘App’ and you can have more offline control of your work if you have an ‘App’ vs. a cloud service.

Plus you can’t argue with the users, they want ‘Apps’ and will pay for them.

Google bought Meebo

Meebo Logo

I’m not sure if this was related to Yahoo’s ‘Axis’ bar plugin that came and went with zero fanfare, but it’s an interesting purchase for SEO interests.

Meebo is a handy social media tool with some great options for ad placement and on-line marketing. SEOs not already dabbling with the tool should take a look, like yesterday.

If you’ve been managing your Twitter, Google+, Facebook, etc.., profiles without a management tool, aggregation sites like Meebo are really what you’ve been missing out on.

We know that Google owned properties have more relevance and trust on the web than similar services/products. After all, if you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?

So if you were using some other social aggregation tool, and were doing it solely for SEO awareness, you can safely assume it’s worth the effort to try out Meebo for a potentially improved result/relevance from your efforts.

We will be doing some testing (as we always do) and will blog about our results to further expand on what the service offers over others. This may even warrant an article or two?

SEO news blog post by @ 12:42 pm on June 5, 2012


 

Don’t drink the link bait..

Kool-Aid
Kool-Aid
Thanks to the recent (April/March) Google updates, ‘tread lightly’ has never been better advice to anyone in the SEO industry.

Between extra offers in my inbox to ‘exchange links’, ‘sell links’, ‘purchase links’, that all seem to be coming from GMail accounts, and reports of simple Java-script causing pages to drop from Google’s index, I’m about ready to dig a fox hole and hide in it.

First off, lets talk about how dumb it is to even offer to sell/buy/exchange links at this stage of Google’s anti-spam efforts.

Even if the offer came from some part of the universe where blatantly spamming services, using GMail of all things, was not the most painfully obvious way a person who SHOULD be hiding every effort could get detected, it still doesn’t bode well for the ethics of the company trying to sell you some ‘success’ when they can’t even afford their own mail account and have to use a free one.

Further, if the offer came from someone who was magically smart enough to send out all the spam and not have it tracked, if they are at all successful what you’ll be doing is adding your site to a group of sites ‘cheating’ the system. The more sites in the ‘exchange’ the more likely it is to get you caught and penalized. So technically, any success there is to be had, will also be your successful undoing.

Secondly, lets consider how you would try to catch people buying/selling links if you were Google? It’s an invasion of privacy to snoop through someone’s GMail to see if they bought/sold links, but if Google sends you and email asking to purchase a link on your site, is that an invasion of privacy or just a really accurate way to locate the worst spam sites on-line? The same would go for selling a back link to your site, just send out an email, wait for positive responses from the verified site owner, start demoting the site. Talk about making it easy for Google.

Heck as an SEO trying to do things the right way, if I get enough offers to sell/buy links from a particular spammer, wouldn’t it be worth my time to submit a report to Google’s quality team? I think the ‘lack of wisdom’ of these offers should be very obvious now, but they still persist for some curious reason; Perhaps they are all coming from those relentless Nigerian email scammers?

Java Script?

The next issue is on-page Java Script with questionable tactics. I know Google can’t put a human in-front of every page review, even if they actually do a LOT of human based site review. So the safe assumption for now is that your site will be audited by ‘bots’ that have to make some pretty heavy decisions.

When a crawler bot comes across Java Script the typical response is to isolate and ignore the information inside the <script></script> tags. Google, however, seems to be adding Java Script interpreters to their crawler bots in order to properly sort out what the Java Script is doing to the web page.

Obviously if a Java Script is confusing the crawler the most likely reaction is to not process the page for consideration in SERPS, and this appears to be what we’re seeing a lot of recently with people claiming they have been ‘banished’ from Google due to Java Script that was previously ignored. We even did some tests on our blog late in 2011 for Java Script impact and the results were similar to what I’m hearing from site owners right now in this last update.

So, the bottom line is to re-evaluate your pages and decide: is the Java Script you’ve been using is worth risking your rankings over?

If you are implementing Java Script for appearance reasons, using something very common like jQuery, you probably have nothing to fear. Google endorses jQuery and even helps host an on-line version to make it easier to implement.

On the flip-side, if you are using something obscure/custom, like a click-tracker/traffic Java Script which is inserting links to known ‘SEO’ services, I’d remove it now to avoid any stray rounds from Google’s anti-SEO flak-cannon.
Google Flak Cannon

I did toss some Minecraft demo map videos on-line last night/this morning, but they didn’t turn out so swell for a bunch of reasons and I’m just going to re-record them with better software. Stay tuned!

SEO news blog post by @ 12:42 pm on March 22, 2012


 

Focus on the profit

In the first minute of the offical ‘hard hitting’ video called ‘Focus on the user’ they stab at the heart of the Google+ social search issue:
They do a search for ‘cooking
Then they click on the ‘most relevant cooking result within Google+
Afterwards they compare that with a search for ‘Jamie Oliver‘ and complain:

cooking‘ isn’t very relevant to the latest info from ‘Jamie Oliver

Twitter and Facebook wimper about Google+ social search

Don’t believe me that they did this? Go watch it again, they actually want us to feel outrage that ‘cooking’ doesn’t link us to the most relevant info for ‘Jamie Oliver’.

The authors of the plugin fully admit that they are getting the results info from Google itself, and just don’t want to say the words “Google is simple showcasing it’s services” instead they want to make it out to be a matter of ‘evil’ and ‘holding back’. If they didn’t at multiple times in the video slip up and show how you can still get the top results without using their plugin I’d say they had a case.

As much as there is to roll my eyes at, from an SEO standpoint, everything about focusontehuser.org is brilliant. The back-links must be pouring in, and I saw a very clever ‘click here to get your results to show’ link in the video that could be a real profit mill for them (their marklet’s broken right now or I’d investigate).

Don’t get me wrong, I know this scripting project was backed by Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace (it’s still going), so it already had some deep pockets, but in my opinion, it looks like the devs had some deeper ‘evil’ ideas?

While we are still on the ‘Google+ Social is Evil’ topic, the changes to support nicknames, pseudonyms, and maiden names is apparently done and now you can socialize however you wish on Google+. A more ‘evil’ company would have stuck to the original, and far more profitable design which requires valid names and serious privacy commitment.

To read more about the new Google+ naming policy put out on Monday just hop on over to Bradley Horowitz’s Google+ page.

I know this is the part where I slap up a picture of Chia Bart’s amazing growth and progress.. but someone decided to help him out and drain his water tray so he’s really wilted right now and I’m trying to get some life back into him. Perhaps I’ll do an update after lunch if he perks up? :)

Bart sprang back a fair bit, had to zoom to see the wilt!

SEO news blog post by @ 11:23 am on January 24, 2012


 

SEO Effects of Social Search

Yesterday we covered the hot topic of Google’s social search from a very ‘news’ perspective. If you haven’t watched the tour video take a minute and hit play on the video below.

The truth is that Google is rolling this new search functionality piecemeal just in the same way as most of the recent features. So if I try to explore the option from my work account I get no offers and I’d have to cheat to go play with it right now.

However, on my personal account the option comes right up and my personal account has a smaller social circle than my work account so it seems to me that it’s just a work-in-progress at the moment.

A visit to the Google Inside Search site gives us a bit more confirmation:

If you aren’t seeing the features of Search plus Your World, don’t worry, we’re rolling them out over the next few days.

.. so if you’re not getting the option to try it out, it should come along soon!

Here’s a ‘hands on’ example of ‘Search plus Your World’ for a phrase I personally talk about a lot, ‘minecraft’:

Demonstration of Search plus Your World using the phrase 'minecraft'.

The first thing that occurs to me is that Danny talks about Minecraft WAY more than anyone else, but the second thing that gets my interest is that there’s nothing in the results that I wouldn’t have read or couldn’t get from poking my head into Google+.

Going back to that video from Google that we linked earlier, I have to admit this looks like a very over-hyped feature where 90% of the interesting parts of the video aren’t things we can do with the new search feature. This almost feels like a Microsoft product that was invented by marketers as something to market with zero user interest?

Well that’s my opinion dealt with, but what about SEO factors of this new feature?

A ton of questions come to mind that need to be answered, here’s a few :

  • Who stands to gain from these types of searches?
  • What sites will be negatively impacted?
  • What should websites be doing to take advantage of this new feature?

The first one’s easy, Google, and particularly, Google+ will gain the most from this new search behaviour. Google has always wanted you to find what you want within their domain/services, and limiting your search to a Google owned property, selling it as a great feature, works so well for Google’s overall goals. If you don’t believe that Google wants to keep you inside their services, as you use Google products challenge yourself to consider ‘What more could Google do to keep me inside their networks?’ and I think you’ll start seeing all the efforts they are making to give you what you want instantly vs. leaving Google to visit an external site.

Social media sites that were getting a lot of commercial traffic/advertising will be the hardest hit by this move. If a client came to me and said “We’re on all the big sites, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Squidoo, etc.. but we haven’t bothered with Google+.” I would be forced to assume they were Australian with such an opposite approach. The same thing would follow with campaign strategies where a company looking at time spent vs. returns would be silly to start a social media campaign anywhere but on Google+ first.

If you have a website that isn’t already following the guidelines for linking between Google+ and your site, you need to start there and then work on building up followers. Ideally you want people talking about your products/services more than your competition so I’d strongly urge someone within your company to engage in Google+ social media efforts on a weekly basis if not more. While it’s pointless to have infinite reach and zero relevance, you also want to be very ‘friendly’ doing whatever it takes to get people to take enough interest in your company pages to follow, +1, add to circles, etc..

In fact the last bit of advice will be a recurring theme for early 2012 where we will be looking at super organic ways to get your product/services out to relevant sections of the internet.

A good example would be a product that is easy to find on-line, but very technical/tricky to work with. Selling the product puts you in the same group as everyone else selling that product, but offering expertise on that product will raise your profile quickly while generating interest/informing potential clients. If you can get links from grateful recipients the effort will pay for itself, and the people you come in contact with are very likely to draw in more clients due to the way that social media is sharing business leads via friend connections.

Typical of Spring, the sooner you plant this ‘social seed’ the sooner it will grow into something that can support your on-line efforts.

Speaking of growing, Chia Bart is getting a little leafy already!

Chia Bart is sprouting nicely.Bart’s beans are sprouting!

SEO news blog post by @ 3:17 pm on January 11, 2012


 

Panda’s take on Popular vs. Productive

I’ve seen a few SEO blog posts recently on post-panda content concerns that unsurprisingly contradict each other.

The “popular” camp seem to feel the following is true:

- Don’t post anything off topic
- Don’t post anything that won’t be a hit
- If you post something that fails, pull it
- If you can’t pull a post, fake the popularity

So what that means is pulling your punches until you have a post that’s really going to draw attention to your blog.
The SEO logic is that while regular content creates a positive metric, anyone can produce regular content and in fact loads of unpopular content could become a negative ranking factor.

The “productive” camp follow these golden rules:

- Don’t post content that isn’t unique
- Don’t spin content to create unique content
- Keep keyword densities high
- Keep a low ratio of links in proportion to images/text

This group spend all their time creating content and don’t spend time worried about how popular every post will be.

The SEO logic with “producers” is that the Panda update wants to see regular fresh content publications without duplication of existing content, only ‘really bad’ content can harm this ranking factor.

Well I hate to be a pacifist, but both sides are correct! A great strategy would be to listen to BOTH sides.

  • If every post on your blog gets 300+ links on the day it’s posted, that’s not going to look organic
  • If your blog gets one post, every single day, and nobody links to them, that’s not organic either

So post regularly, but don’t sweat it if you miss one day. If you are having a slow day for topics, you should try to go find some discussions where you can generate interest/back-links to your existing posts. At worst you’ll find some topics that are far more interesting that what you’ve been blogging about and you’ll get something fresh to discuss.

A post in draft, waiting for perfection, won’t do you much good if it never gets published. :)

Those of you shocked to see us on SEO blog topics right now can rest assured we’re struggling to stay on topic.

Oh the SOPA debate is frightful,
But MAFIAAFire is so delightful,
And since we’ve no position to SEO,
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

It doesn’t show signs of shoop’ing,
I’ve got a report showing keywords are ranking,
And the competition’s phrases are way down low,
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

When we finally reach page one,
How I’ll hate going on the phone!
But if you’ll order via email,
It will make it to your home without fail.

The lyric is slowly ending,
And, my dear, we’re badly rhym-ing,
But as long as you let me SEO,
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

SEO news blog post by @ 12:05 pm on December 20, 2011


 

10 new changes to Google algorithms

New features from GoogleYesterday, over on the Google Inside Search blog, Matt Cutts shared 10 recent changes to the Google search algorithms from the last few weeks.

As always these posts can get a bit technical, and anyone subscribed to the feed can just get it from the horses’ mouth. The goal of this post is to put the changes into clearer terms from a SEO perspective:

Translated search titles:
When searching with languages where limited web content is available, Google can translate the English-only results and display the translated titles directly below the English titles in the search results. This also translates the result automatically, thereby increasing the available web content for non-English searchers. If you were selling products that appealed to a global market, but hadn’t yet invested in translations/global site structure, this could drive fresh traffic to your sites/products.

Better Snippets:
Google’s mantra is always ‘content, content, + more content’, and now the snippet code is focusing on the page content vs. header/menu areas. Because of the way sites use keywords in the headers/menus, coding the snippets to seek out body content will result in more relevant text in search snippets.

Improved Google generated page titles:
When a page is lacking a title, Google has code in place to assign a title to the page using various signals. A key signal used is back-link anchor text pointing to the page. If a site has a ton of duplicate anchor text in the back-links, Google has found that putting less emphasis on those links creates a far more relevant title than previously. In this way the titles in the search results should be much less misleading.

Improved Russian auto-complete:
Languages are a constant headache for search engines, and new features like auto-complete can take a very long time to mature in languages outside of English. Recently the prediction system for auto-completed queries was improved to avoid overly long comparisons to the partial query to make auto-complete function much better in Russian, and closer to how well it works for English queries.

More information in application snippets:
Last week Google announced a new method of improved snippets for applications. The feature’s pretty technical and looks like an entire blog post is coming on just this topic. Here’s an example image that hopefully gives you a gist of how the snippets are giving details, like prices, ratings, and user reviews.

Example of application snippet from Google search results.

The feature has been very popular and Google recently added even more options that will elicit a full blog post soon here.

Less document relevance in Image searches:
If you look up search engine optimization in Wikipedia and look at the entry for Image search optimization you will note that there’s really nothing to say about SEO tactics towards images. This hasn’t been true, there are signals that Google has to look for when deciding what image to show for a particular keyword.
Previously, an image referenced in PDF or other searchable documents multiple times would get higher placement in the results. Google has done away with this signal as it wasn’t giving improved results and could easily be abused. *Innocent whistling*

Higher ranking signals on fresh content:
Consider if you will, how Google would look if they never gave new sites/fresh content a shot at the top, or a moment in the limelight? By default most ratings systems will show you the ‘best of the most recent’ by default just to avoid older content dominating the results. As a person on the phones taking SEO leads I can tell you there’s always been a ’10 mins of fame’ situation on Google where the explainable happens in the search results with fresh sites/content, only to return to normal later on when the dust settles. Google claims the recent change impacts roughly 35% of total search traffic which could be a significant boost for sites that take the time to publish fresh content, or for new sites looking for a chance to be seen.

Improved official page detection:
We’ve blogged recently about the importance of the rel=author attributes, tying your content to a G+ profile, and completing the circle with a back-link from the profile to your site. Google’s added even more methods to establish ‘offical’ pages and is continuing to give ‘official’ pages higher rankings on searches where authority is important. If you missed our article on this topic from last week, here’s the link.

Better date specific results:
The date a page is discovered may not always be the date the information is published. Google has the difficult task of sorting out the ‘date’ relevance for search results, and they keep improving on this where possible. A good example would be using duplicate matches to avoid showing you a 3 year old article that was posted two days ago if you specify that you only want results from say ‘last week’.

Enhanced prediction for non-Latin characters:
You’d think it’s hard enough to get a predictive query straight when the character set is limited to Latin, and you’d be right. When it takes several keystrokes to complete a single character in non-Latin, a service like Google’s auto-complete would be hard pressed to know when to start guessing. Previous to this update predictions in Russian, Arabic, and Hebrew were giving gibberish results as the user was forming characters.

These are 10 changes out of 500+ made so far this year. We try to document the most important changes for you but there’s lots of times where Google can’t release info because of exploits/cheating. When that happens you’ll see us chime in with experiments and our personal experience when we can. So while I’d normally suggest folks interested in this topic subscribe to the inside search blog, we know that you’ll only be getting part of the story by doing so. ;)

SEO news blog post by @ 1:16 pm on November 15, 2011


 

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