A Smattering of SEO News: 2/5/15

Well February is certainly starting off with a bang, and by that I mean serious algo-shifts in Google. We’re still seeing the quakes from this, so we’ll likely have more about it next week, but for now, here’s some news in your eye!

Google News:

  • Google Releases Detailed Reconsideration Request Documentation – Seemingly out of nowhere, yet very much appreciated, Google recently released updated information regarding reconsideration requests which covers them in more detail than ever before. This includes a step-by-step process on how to submit a reconsideration request, what happens before, during, and after the request, and even common examples of what might occur if you happen to have a request fail. It’s honestly a pretty great read, so go check it out.
  • Further Ranking Shakeups Might Be Related To Mobile Algorithm Update – As we reported last week, many webmasters and algorithm-tracking tools are seeing volatility in Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) as the possible result of a yet-unannounced algorithm update. Matt Southern at Search Engine Journal postulates that this volatility might be intertwined with many webmasters receiving warnings recently about their sites not being mobile friendly. It’s a very viable theory to be sure.

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  • Google Answers Launch New Action Links For Third-Party Sites – Google recently updated their answer boxes in the search results with more links to third party sites, such as WordPress, Quickbooks, and more. This will help users go directly to what is probably the exact search result they were looking for.  It is quite a nice usability addition to the SERPs.
  • Google Disabled Half A Billion Ads In 2014 – According to a recently released “Bad Ads” report, Google announced that in 2014, they disabled more than 524 million bad ads. This is way up from around 350 million ads in 2013. Over 43 million ads were of the “trick to click” variety, while nearly 10 million were health-care violations. Crazy stuff.

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Other News:

  • Twitter Launches Quick Promote Promoted Tweet Feature – Have you ever tried to promote a tweet on Twitter and thought to yourself, “This is just too dang hard”?  Well, you’re in luck! Twitter released a new Quick Promote feature which basically reduces the process to two steps: Pick a tweet. Pick a budget. Done. I’ve been thinking of doing this for my own personal sites, so I might try it out myself. It sounds nifty.

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A Smattering of SEO News – 1/29/15

As we look back on January 2015, we can safely say that it was one HECK of a month for SEO news. Algo-updates, mobile nonsense, and so much more; and it looks like this past week is no different. Let’s dive in!

Google News:

  • Googlebot Becomes Language And Locale-Aware – Google has announced a massive upgrade to its spider. They’ve now changed the way the spiders behave, allowing them to come from a multitude of US and non-US IP addresses (which are also used to help determine a site’s location) and support a multitude of languages. While Google still says they want different language versions of a website to have special URLs, this will definitely help websites that serve dynamic content based on the language or IP of their users.
  • Odd Little Update Occurred Earlier This Week – Did you see some odd fluctuations in your rankings or traffic earlier this week? Well, you weren’t alone! A big kerfuffle was raised on WebmasterWorld about the fluctuating SERPs, and the normal tools such as Mozcast show some fluctuations as well. Interestingly, according to Google’s John Mueller, it had nothing to do with Panda or Penguin. So…what was it? We’ll keep you posted if we can.

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  • Google Mobile Descriptions Now Note If They’re Blocked – A little while back, Google added a feature wherein they would state in the search results whether a site was blocking Google via Robots.txt in their desktop results. Google has now adapted this for their mobile SERPs as well, so both users and site owners are clear that their site is blocking Google somehow (which is something Google has been warning against more and more of late).

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  • “Trash Can” Coming To Analytics – While not specifically SEO related, it’s useful enough to be worthy of note. Analytics will soon have a trash can that – like its Mac and Windows brethren – will save data for a certain amount of time (in this case, 35 days) in case someone…oh, I don’t know, accidentally deletes an account or three. No, I’ve never done that myself, I’ve just heard tell…

Other News:

  • Report: Facebook Drives Around 25% Of All Referral Traffic – According to a new report from Shareaholic, Facebook’s share of social media traffic referrals saw a significant gain in the last four months of 2014, going from 22.36% in September to 24.63% in December (October and November both saw numbers over 25%). With referral traffic becoming a larger and larger portion of all web traffic, it doesn’t look like Facebook’s social dominance is going to end any time soon.
  • Yahoo Sees Tremendous Revenue Gains In 2014 – As part of Yahoo’s recently released earnings report, they announced that they generated $1.1 billion in revenue in 2014, an increase of 95% (95!) year-over-year. That’s…downright amazing. CEO Marissa Meyer credits much of their success to their newfound focus on mobile. Mobile properties alone generated $768 million in revenue for all of 2014. Meyer says mobile has “transformed Yahoo”, and she seems to be right.

Yahoo-financials

A Smattering of SEO News: 1/22/15

Hello my friends, and happy Thursday! January just keeps trucking along, but SEO news is at a fast and furious clip (there’s a lot to look at this week). Let’s dive in, shall we?

 

Google News:

Google Begins To Send Warnings Regarding Poor Rankings For Non-Mobile Sites – Google seems to be going out of their way to make sure sites become more mobile-friendly. Recently they added a “mobile-friendly” label to sites in the SERPS and now we hear that they’re sending out Webmaster Tools messages when they determine that a site isn’t mobile-friendly. The messages include which pages and sites are problematic, along with how to fix them. Personally, I think this is awesome, and am glad Google is being so proactive about more sites becoming mobile-friendly.

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Google Updates Its Structured Data Tools And Documentation – It’s been a while since Google did any updates to either its Structured Data Tool or its Documentation, but in the past week it’s updated both. Now the tool supports JSON-LD syntax for dynamic HTML pages, more comprehensive validation, problematic syntax highlighting, and more.

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Report: Google Still Serves 3 Billion Searches Per Day, Over 1 Trillion Per Year – According to a report from Medium’s Backchannel column, an interesting statistic revealed that Google handles around 3 billion searches per day, or over 1 trillion searches per year. The interesting thing is that these numbers were released back in 2012, but in this new article, use of the word “over” denotes growth, but Google won’t say how much. Tricksy devils, they are.

 

Google Reports It’s Addressed Odd AdSense Spam – Earlier this month, advertisers found that their AdSense ads were being redirected to spammy sites, even with the use of ad blocker software to try and diagnose the issue. It took Google a couple of weeks, but they were able to find these Flash-based redirects and kill ‘em, which is awesome. It’s kind of fascinating that it could be done in the first place though, even with ad blockers.

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Google: We Ignore Everything On 404/410 Pages – Google’s John Mueller said on Twitter that if their crawler hits a 404 or 410 page, they’re ignoring everything on it. Therefore, there’s no link equity benefit from them. Mueller said to “make them work for your users,” which is something we always advocate, as a good 404 error page can seriously increase a site’s user experience.

 

Other News:

Search Engines Overtake Traditional Media As Most Trusted News Source – According to data from the 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer survey, “Online Search Engines” – which Search Engine Land sees as “Google” – have overtaken traditional media as the most trusted source for news. In 2014, 65% of respondents valued traditional media more, versus 63% for search engines. In 2015, the numbers have flipped a bit, with search engines getting 64% of the vote, while traditional media received 62%. The last couple of years have seen gains in trust for social media as well, rising to 48% this year over 45% last year.

google-news

A Smattering of SEO News: 12/18/14

Hello folks, and happy holidays! Since the aforementioned holidays are upon us, news is unsurprisingly a bit light, but there’s still some fun stuff to talk about! Let’s get to it, shall we?

 

 

Google News:

  • Report: Penguin 3.0 Affected Different Types Of Sites In Different Locales Differently – Over on Search Engine Land, Philip Petrescu of Advanced Web Ranking reported the results of research AWR did on the affects of Penguin 3.0 on a wide variety of sites. The interesting results are that sites in different countries were affected differently, as were lower-ranked websites, which were hit harder than more highly ranked sites. It’s definitely worth a read, so check out the full report.

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  • Panda Might Be Having A Bit Of A Hibernation Respite – Several webmasters are noticing that there hasn’t seemed to have been a Panda update since late October, leading many to think that the algorithm has gone on something of a much-needed holiday. I guess this is why Penguin is so busy.
  • Google Reiterates: New TLDs Don’t Inherently Rank Better Than Other TLDs – Apparently the folks at Google have been getting more questions about newer TLDs, because in response Google’s John Mueller re-shared a post of Matt Cutts’ from 2012 stating that newer Top Level Domains (TLDs) do not have any ranking advantage over other TLDs. This is apparently in the wake of domain sellers trying to convince buyers that newer TLDs are more valuable from an SEO perspective, which isn’t the case.

domain-names-tld

Other News:

  • Report: Instagram Trounces Twitter In Engagement – A recent report released by analytics firm Socialbakers shows Instagram has an engagement rate that is a staggering 50 times greater than Twitter’s. The report noted that, when comparing the top twenty five brands and their engagement, Instagram had a 3.31% engagement rate, while Twitter’s was a paltry 0.07%. That’s simply amazing, and I think shows the increasing power of Instagram as a marketing platform.

twitter-instagram

A Smattering of SEO News: 12/11/14

Just because it’s the holiday season doesn’t mean SEO slows down, and Google is ably proving that with a constant series of updates to its algorithms that are keeping us on our toes. Read about that and more in this week’s Smattering, my friends, and enjoy!

Google News:

  • Google To Shift Penguin To A Continual Update Mode – Since Penguin 3.0 was launched in mid-October, the algorithm has undergone several revisions just in the past week or so, with webmasters reporting fluctuations several times this last week. When asked about it, Google released a statement to Search Engine Land saying not only is the update still rolling, but that they plan on shifting Penguin to a continual update. This will undoubtedly keep us on our toes for a good long while. Search Engine Land also noted, humorously, that all of these updates are breaking Google’s own rule about keeping updates light during the holidays.

penguins-diving

  • Google: Content In Tabs Or Behind Expandable Sections Has Been Discounted For Years – Recently it’s come to light that Google has been discounting the content in expandable sections that use an accordion script or tab. While this apparently is relatively new information, Google has been discounting this content for years it seems. This calls into question something we for a long time thought was a valid content technique. What this means for website owners and webmasters is that they’ll have to work harder to make their content fully visible if they want it weighted properly.
  • Google Polling Webmasters On CMS Update Notifications – This is interesting. Google’s Webmaster Central team is running a poll on Google+ to see what kind of CMS-related notifications users might like to see, such as whether their CMS needs an update to a new version, or whether it has known security issues. This would definitely add another level of usability to Webmaster Tools, but I’m unsure how they would actually track such things. Regardless, it’s a fascinating idea.

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  • Google Mobile Employs Reactive Prefetch To Increase Speed by 100-150 Milliseconds – Sure, 150 milliseconds doesn’t sound like a whole lot, but when you’re on a mobile phone and need to find a pizza place NOW, every millisecond counts. According to a post by Google’s Ilya Grigorik, Google Mobile is using a new technique called “reactive prefetching” which only downloads resources once the user has selected where to go next. Unfortunately this fascinating reactive technology is only available for those using Chrome on Android, but if more browsers support it, they’ll also reap the benefits.

Other News:

  • Bing Releases Content Quality Documentation – In a nice move toward more transparency, Bing released a presentation on how they determine the quality of content. The three tenets they stick to are: is the content trustworthy (Authority), is the content is useful and detailed (Utility), and is the content well-presented and easy to find (Presentation). Having content that meets all of these criteria definitely helps Bing determine whether content is valuable and worthy of higher rankings.
  • Facebook Search Upgrade Incoming – Facebook is about to begin rolling out a big upgrade to its internal search functionality. The improvements will make it easier for users to search for content that’s been shared with them, using searches like “Jessica’s wedding” or “my friends who live in New York” for example. I for one am itching to see if they can accomplish this given Facebook’s massive database of…well, just stuff, really.

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  • Instagram Reaches 300 Million Users, Surpasses Twitter – Instagram recently announced that not only has it recently past 300 million users (passing Twitter’s 284 million users), it’s added 100 million just since March of this year. This tremendous growth has led the image social media service to now share more than 70 million photos and videos every day. Speaking of Twitter, Instagram will soon add “verified” badges for celebrities and brands, similarly to what Twitter implemented some time back.

New Contest: #DeckYourDoors From ETO Doors!

It’s that time of the year again – time for fun, festive decorations and making your home glow with holiday cheer! In the spirit of the season, ETO Doors is launching their #DeckYourDoors contest, the lucky winner of which will receive a $500 Visa gift card! All hopeful entrants have to do is deck their front door out with their bright and colorful holiday best, snap a picture, and post it to Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #DeckYourDoors. The merrier your door décor, the better your chances to win!

eto-doors-deck-your-doors-contest-banner

So suit up against the winter cold, break out your hot glue gun, and get ready to make your front door sparkle. The contest runs from December 1st, 2014 to January 10th, 2015, and you can find out more about it on the ETO doors website. So don’t delay! Get your entries in now. May the most beautifully decked door win!

A Smattering of SEO News: 12/4/14

Hello folks, and happy December! November was a darned busy month for SEO news, and December is looking like it won’t be letting up: we’re already dealing with a continued Penguin rollout from Google, and more! Check it out!

 

Google News:

  • Google Says Penguin 3.0 Still Rolling Out (And May Continue To Do So Indefinitely) – Google recently confirmed with Search Engine Land that Penguin 3.0 is still rollinggoogle-penguin2 out, and that recent fluctuations on Thanksgiving and this week are both related to the ongoing rollout. Further, John Mueller said in a recent Hangout that not only is the team being very cautious about this particular rollout, but they’re hoping “things will keep updating,” potentially indicating an ever-present ongoing rollout. That could make things VERY interesting for us SEO folks who are trying to keep up. More on this as we get it, surely.
  • Local Pages Quality Guidelines Updated – If you’re a local business and you don’t run a Google Local page, you’re missing out on a massive opportunity. If you ARE running Google Local pages, you might want to take a look at their updated quality guidelines. These new guidelines specifically prohibit both descriptors as well as broad category usage, require consistent business name usage, and disallow virtual offices unless they’re staffed. Hopefully this will make things a bit clearer and easier for folks running these pages to grok.
  • Google Recommends Paginating Infinitely Scrolling Pages For Proper Indexation – In infinite-scrollinga Hangout with Google’s John Mueller, he was asked if Google will always index page content on infinitely scrolling pages regardless of the length or size of the pages. Mueller responded by saying that even if you have infinitely scrolling pages – which is not a bad thing for usability – you should still have some sort of pagination, either through page categories or numbers. Mueller also said he thinks 50MB is the limit per page, but wasn’t 100% sure on that.
  • YouTube States 300 Hours Of Video Uploaded Each Minute – Not specifically SEO related but fascinating nonetheless: a site called ReelSEO says they have it on good authority that YouTube is now gaining 300 hours of video each minute. That’s an amazing number, and it’s only likely to get bigger as more and more people use the service. I know I upload at least a couple of hours of video each week, and I’m just one person. Multiply that by millions and the numbers totally make sense.

Other News:

  • Yahoo: Ebola Tops Most Searched Terms Of 2014 – According to a recent report from Yahoo, Ebola was the number one search term in their engine for the entirety of 2014, followed by searches on Minecraft, Ariana Grande and Jennifer Lawrence. Most of the terms were celebrity related, so it’s interesting to see Ebola at the top of the list. Interestingly, in Bing’s list of top news searches, Ebola clocked in at number eight, while the world cup held the top spot.

Bing-2014-most-search

  • EU Issues Formal “Right To Be Forgotten” Guidelines – Months after coming up with the new “right to be forgotten” rules for Google, the EU has finally come up with clear criteria on the law. These criteria ask a series of questions, such as whether the data surrounding the request is accurate, whether it’s relating to a criminal offense, or whether it can put the subject at risk. These rules came out just in time too, as now apparently both Bing and Yahoo are following suit and have begun taking requests as well.

Client Infographic: ServerCentral

Each day, the now-ubiquitous cloud stores all our data for us and keeps it ready to serve up at a moment’s notice. From the latest memes to the funniest cat videos, the cloud stores everything worth backing up. But have you ever wondered what keeps it chugging? The answer, of course, is data centers. ServerCentral is here with a new Infographic to tell us how data centers act as the brain of the internet, powering the cloud and ensuring we always have access to everything we need.

 servercentral-infographic

Check out the full Infographic now to discover how data centers help you every day!

Client Infographic: IFA Auto

Who doesn’t love a good car action movie? From James Bond to Back To The Future, IFA Auto‘s new Infographic chronicles some of the most infamous automobiles to hit the silver screen. Check it out to see if your favorite muscle car made the cut!

ifa-auto-infographic

Don’t miss out on the rest of the featured cars! View the entire Infographic!

Client Infographic: Chronicle Books

With the school year well underway, many parents are stuck wondering how to keep their child engaged in school. In a media-saturated world, it can feel like a struggle to make students care about their education. But the battle for our kids’ limited attention spans can be won with one simple idea: passion. Chronicle Books is here with a new Infographic to show you how to spark your child’s motivation to study with a few simple dos and don’ts. You’ll also learn the importance of an early education and how to make learning feel relevant, fun, and even exciting!

chroniclebooksinfographic

Check out the full Infographic to discover how you can rekindle your child’s desire to learn!