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A Smattering of SEO – Doing the Algorithmic Mamba…

Wow folks, LOTS of Google algorithmic news this past week, and it’s all over the place! The next big update is likely to shake up quite a few sites’ rankings. We’ll keep you posted on all the goodies, starting with this week’s feast. Enjoy!

Google Algorithm News:

  • google-mobile

    Upcoming Mobile-Friendly Algorithm “Bigger Than Panda Or Penguin” Apparently – At SMX Munich, Google’s Zineb Ait Bahajji was quoted saying that the upcoming mobile-friendly algorithm update will be more impactful to websites than Panda or Penguin. While there were no specifics to go along with this statement, SEO news folks are beside themselves guessing how big the impact will be. Since more and more of Google’s traffic comes from mobile, one can guess that it’s going to be a big deal. We’ll bring you more as we get it.

  • Google Updated Their Doorway Page Algorithm – Google has never been fond of doorway pages, previously calling them “poor-quality pages”. Now, Google has gone ahead and updated their doorway page algorithm to be increasingly aggressive against them. Google now defines them as, “sites or pages created to rank highly for specific search queries.” They go on to say these pages are outright bad for users. If you have an Ecommerce site that uses this tactic to try and expand your search engine coverage, now might be the right time to stop.
  • google-doorway

    Speculation: Google’s Upcoming Algorithm Targeted At Ecommerce Sites – Over on RocketMill, author Yousaf Sekander took a look at both the data known about the upcoming mobile-friendly algorithm, as well as the aforementioned doorway page algorithm and came to one conclusion: Ecommerce is the big target of the upcoming algorithm. He notes one of Google’s new “questions we should ask ourselves” specifically asks, “Do the pages duplicate useful aggregations of items (locations, products, etc.) that already exist on the site for the purpose of capturing more search traffic?” This, to him, specifically goes after Ecommerce sites, who’ve been using this doorway tactic for a long time now. It’ll be interesting to see if he is right.

  • Penguin Not Updated Regularly Or Monthly – In a recent Google Hangout, a viewer asked Google’s John Mueller about Penguin updates, whether they’re regular or monthly. Mueller replied that he didn’t think the algorithm is on any kind of schedule at the moment, but it’s something they want to be more regular about. That just doesn’t mean monthly.


Regular Google News:

  • Google Says Mobile Autocomplete Forms Useful For Users, Not Rankings – In a recent update, Google stated that, “We hope to see many forms marked up with the ‘autocomplete’ attribute in the future.” When Search Engine Roundtable’s Barry Schwartz asked Google’s Gary Illyes if this was a hint about using these forms for rankings, Schwartz was told that nothing is being hinted at at all. Regardless, it’s good usability to make sure these forms work, so they should be implemented regardless.



Other News:

  • Yahoo Market Share Falls As Firefox Users Fall Back To Google – While the numbers are quite small, it’s fascinating to watch Google slowly creep back up in market share. Firefox users are returning to the search engine giant after Yahoo was made its search engine by default late last year, according to comScore’s recent February Search Share Report. According to the report, Yahoo’s share dropped to 12.8%, while Google’s rose to 64.5%. comScore went on to say that Yahoo lost 10% of its search volume between January and February.
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A Smattering of SEO: 7/30/14

Hello my friends, and welcome to another week of SEO news. Much of this past week’s news was dominated by a new animal in the Google kingdom, and by that I mean an algorithm shift, so let’s take a look!


Google News:

  • Google Launches “Pigeon” Local Search Algorithm – This is the big news, folks. Amaps-pigeon-600 few days ago, Google launched a new algorithm specifically aimed at improving local search. According to Google, the update goes deeper into web search capabilities such as synonyms, the Knowledge Graph, and misspellings. These additions, along with improved distance and location ranking parameters, should help give users better local google-yelp-maps-600results. So far it’s already cleared up one problem Google was having with Yelp, in which the local search giant complained their results were being ignored in favor of Google’s. We’re still not sure as to how wide the impact of this new algorithm will be, but we’ll keep you updated as we learn more.
  • Over 100,000 Links Removed In “Right To Be Forgotten” Purge – Google has reportedly removed over 100,000 links as a result of new “right to be forgotten”google-eraser-320x198 laws in the European Union (a number Google has yet to officially confirm). Other reports are coming in saying that Google has approved a little over half of the requests to be removed. Apparently around 91,000 individuals have asked for over 328,000 links to be removed, and most of the requests have apparently come from France, Germany, and the UK, in that order.
  • Google Domains – Invites Begin Rolling Out – Search Engine Roundtable is reporting that webmasters are receiving invites into the beta program of Google’s new Domains service. This will allow users to register a domain directly through Google for $12. It’s unclear if having a Google-registered domain will help with SEO (we seriously doubt it), but the convenience of managing domains through a single Google account along with free private registration and 100 email addresses will be more than enticing enough for people to switch over their domains. I’m tempted to do it myself when I’m able to.


Other News:

  • Yandex Has Stellar Q2 As Revenue, Queries, & Paid Clicks All Soar – Yandex, the Russian search engine, has had a stellar Q2. Revenue was, in USD, around $361.5 million, which is up 30% year over year. Income was up 13% year over year at $1.08 billion USD. The search engine also saw tremendous increases in paid clicks (up 36%), organic queries (up 21%), and now has nearly 62% of the Russian search market. Pretty snazzy.
  • Bing Launches Site Safety Information In Search Results – Bing has launched abing-drawing-sketch-featured new feature called the Bing Site Safety Page. This will show relevant information in search results pages regarding links Bing finds dangerous. These links could include malware-infected sites, or sites with malicious JavaScript. Users can click on a link to get more detailed results as well, which should also be great for webmasters trying to diagnose their own site issues.
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A Smattering of SEO News: 2/12/14

Hello folks, and happy Wednesday! We’ve moved the Smattering to Wednesdays because that better matches when I do the news for our internal teams. Because of this, we have two weeks worth of SEO news for you guys to feast upon! I hope you enjoy it, and thanks for reading!



Google News:

  • Google Releases First Top Heavy Algorithm Update In Over A Year – Back in 2012, Google launched the Top Heavy algorithm, which was to punish sites that put too many ads above the fold, as users want to get right to content without scrolling past a bevy of ads. The algorithm was released in January, 2012, with one update following in October of that same year. Recently Google released a new update to the Top Heavy algorithm that, according to their own blog post, should affect about one percent of searches, and warns site owners not to make their sites top heavy by loading them with ads “to an excessive degree”.
  • Cutts: Comments With, ‘Bad Grammar Won’t Affect Rankings’ – In a recent Webmaster video, Google’s Matt Cutts said that comments with poor grammar that aren’t spam won’t affect rankings. If your posts themselves have bad grammar, however, that could be a factor in how well your site ranks. Also, letting spam comments through could also hurt your rankings, so avoid letting those through if possible.
  • Possible Bug Found In URL Removal Tool – On the Google Webmaster Helpt-google-404-1303660172 Forums, one unfortunate webmaster who found their site hacked tried to use the URL removal tool to remove specific URLs only to find their entire site had been removed instead. Google’s John Mueller said their engineering team would look into the matter, but until a fix is posted, use this tool with caution.
  • German Link Network Targeted For Removal, With More To Come – Shortly after a French link network was penalized by Google, Matt Cutts tweeted that an unnamed German link network has now also been targeted, along with their clients. He then said that there is “more to come in Germany”, meaning Google has found more German link networks to target and penalize. More on this as we have it.
  • Google Autocomplete Causes Trouble In The UK For Racist Suggestions – According to an article in the Daily Mail Online, Google’s autocomplete searchgoogle-autocomplete-featured suggestions are once again causing folks to be upset, this time for apparently racist suggestions in relations to specific British cities. According to the article, this happened when people types “Why is Bradford…” or “Why is Leicester so…” they would see racist suggestions, though I couldn’t confirm this myself. No word from Google on when or whether this will be fixed.
  • Bloomberg: Google Now Second Most Valuable Company In America – recently reported that Google’s market capitalization has increased to $393.5 billion, putting them ahead of Exxon Mobile at $392.6 billion. However, this still puts Google around $72 billion behind Apple, which has a market value of $465.5 billion. Bloomberg attributes Google’s rise to an increase in technology companies on the global business stage, as well as Exxon Mobile dropping in both revenue and sales over the past year. It’ll be interesting to see if Google can close the gap with Apple at all.
  • Google Earns $16.86 Billion In Revenue In Q4, 2013 – Google reported that their revenues in Q4, 2013 totaled $16.86 billion, up seventeen percent from Q4, 2012. Some reasons for these increases includes a thirty-one percent increase year over year in aggregate paid clicks along with an eleven percent decrease in cost per clicks year over year.
  • $1 Billion Could Be Forcibly Paid To Patent Troll By Google – As part of a patentLaw-Concept-300x270 settlement case with multiple companies, including Yahoo and Microsoft, a court awarded not only a set amount, but ongoing royalties to a well-known patent troll company called Vringo. Vringo claims they hold patents that allow ads to be placed in organic search results. As part of the royalty settlement, if the math Search Engine Land did is right, Google alone could wind up paying between $800 million and $1 billion. As we saw in the last story, this is a fraction of their quarterly revenues, but still, it’s a lot of money.
  • Google Begins To Target Rich Snippet Spam – Google recently began sending out notifications to webmasters via Webmaster Tools warning them that “Spammy structured markup” had been discovered on their website. This includes markup that is “invisible to users, marking up irrelevant or misleading content, and other manipulative behavior” that can violate Google’s guidelines. While rich snippet spam has been a problem ever since its inception, this is the first time Google has apparently taken manual action against it, which is an excellent thing.
  • Google Makes Music Videos More Prominent In SERPs – Google recently changed the way music videos are presented in music-related search results. Now if you search for, say, Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” video, the first result will be a large screenshot of the video, which you can then watch on (where else?) YouTube. Google says it supports multiple sources, however, but my tests took me almost entirely to YouTube. It doesn’t work right in every instance, either, but when it works, it makes that video very prominent. Whether this will be beneficial to searchers is still in question.

Other News:

  • Bing Announces Bitcoin Conversion Tool – Following in the heels of Yandex, Bing recently announced that they have launched a native bitcoin conversion tool in their search engine. Now typing “one bitcoin”, for example, will show you the exact dollar amount of one Bitcoin, which as I write this is over $672.
  • Yahoo Partners With Yelp To Improve Local Results – The Wall Street Journal isyelp-files-ipo reporting that Yahoo has partnered with Yelp in order to improve their local search results. This will eventually include reviews, and photos embedded within Yahoo search results, though there’s no word on when this will be implemented.
  • Rumor: Yahoo Eyeing A Return To Search – Rumors are beginning to surface that Yahoo is undertaking two projects – codenamed “Fast Break” and “Curveball” – that would let Yahoo take back control of both their organic and paid search products. It’s been long rumored that CEO Marissa Mayer isn’t thrilled with Yahoo’s current search deal with Microsoft, but apparently that deal ends in March. We’ll have to wait and see how this all pans out, but it would be interesting to see Yahoo regain control over their own search results.
  • 2013 The Worst Year Yet For Data Breaches – According to findings from the non-profit group Online Trust Alliance (OTA), they found that 740 million personal records were exposed in 2013, making last year the worst on record for personal data breaches. This includes high-profile breaches at Target, Neiman Marcus and other companies, for which the group took to task for not having better data security. The OTA also recommended all companies that handle personal data have a Data Incident Plan to better handle data breaches more quickly and efficiently.
  • Twitter Beats Expectations With $243 Million In Revenue In Q4 – Twitter had aTwitter-Large-300x150 better-than-expected quarter and year. For Q4, 2013, they had $243 million in revenue, up 116 percent year over year. Yearly revenue totaled $665 million in revenue, $220 million of ad revenue, an increase of 121% year over year. Interestingly, seventy-five percent of ad revenue was from mobile sources. However, Twitter announced that user growth is slowing, which may harm its long-term financial outlook.

That’s it for this week’s Smattering, it should be enough to tie you over till next Wednesday when I’ll be back with more exciting SEO news!

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Google Update: Google’s Most Significant Recent Algorithm Changes

Google is constantly making changes to its algorithm, and every couple of months or so they release a major update to this complex puzzle that delivers us our results on the search engine.  With this past week’s release of ‘Search Plus Your World’, we thought it would be interesting to highlight some of the significant algorithm changes that have occurred over the recent years along with our key takeaways from each to help you stay on top of your SEO.


VINCE (2009): Placed an emphasis on brand signals and social engagement with the site users, leading to more perceived authority for large brands.

TAKEAWAY: If you are a brand that is socially engaged with your users, those ‘social signals’ will help your SEO and the ability for pages from your site to be found easier in Google.


MAYDAY (2010): Lots of content alone no longer guarantees rankings for long tail keywords.

TAKEAWAY: In order to be found in Google, your content and the link anchor text must contain related terms and phrases to support a themed contextual


CAFFEINE (2010): Page load time and site speed are more important, also pages across the internet are indexed more rapidly.

TAKEAWAY: Rewards site that publish new unique content, “ie: Articles, Blog Videos and Images” on a regular basis because the perception is they are staying current with their market and their users.


SCRAPE AND PANDA (2011): Duplicate content is even more detrimental than before. Google is identifying and filtering out low quality pages and sites. This is more of a filter than an algorithm update. Google has ran this filter seven times starting on February 24th, 2011 with the last time it was ran on September 28th, 2011.

TAKEAWAY: Repurposed or reused content is not as valuable as unique content which is well themed and aligned with the sites contextual footprint. Sites that do not provide valuable informative content to their users will be filtered out of the index.


GOOGLE+ (2011): Builds upon personalized search and recommended content.

TAKEAWAY: A sites social graph, “the global mapping of everybody and how they’re related”, has an influence on what a user seeing in their search results. If the site is socially engaged with their user base, they will see more results from that site. This also means, that a sites user’s friends will see more results from sites that their friends are engaged with.


FRESHNESS (2011): Part of the Caffeine Update, this will impact roughly 35% of search queries, so that current content, topics and events that are updated

TAKEAWAY: Fresh content is a must, site must continually publish content.


SEARCH PLUS YOUR WORLD (2012): Google’s algorithm now finds both the content that’s been shared with you privately along with matches from the public web, all mixed into a single set of listings.

TAKEAWAY: Personalized search is the new “normal”. Social signals play a much bigger part in Google algorithm. This move was done to defend against spam and reinforce quality content as the driving force for SEO. Content that is of quality and pertains to target markets will now get extra lifts in Google based upon your social networks and recommendations.

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The Media vs. Google: Who’s Really At Fault?

Who's really at fault? vs.   Google under fire...or not?

Earlier today, Adage reported on an interesting controversy between big media and Google. The controversy in rooted in the fact that big media wants to exert more control over their positioning in Google’s search engine results pages.

Upset by the fact that amateur bloggers,  new-school content aggregators, and even Twitterers often rank higher than more ‘authoritative’ media sites like CNN or The New York Times for popular newsworthy searches, media companies and content executives are gearing up to go to battle on April 30th, when Google will host the next closed-door meeting of its Publishers Advisor Council.

But it’s not only special treatment these publishers are asking for; they also want a peek into Google’s algorithm and a clearer understanding as to how the search engine ranks sites. In essence, they want the recipe for Google’s secret sauce…and they aren’t likely to get it.

As most of us know, there are a ton of resources out there available to one who wants his or her site to rank highly in the search engines. If the media powers want to rank higher, why not just do the work?

When it comes down to who’s right and who’s wrong, it’s hard to say. Being a professional writer, it sounds nice to think content produced by respected media publishers might be given special weight by Google, but when I wear my Internet marketing hat, the same idea sounds ridiculous.

What do you think? Should brands like The New York Times be given special treatment because they’ve established credibility, or should big media be forced to optimize their sites like the rest of the world?