Where the heck did March go? I swear it was just starting, now here we are at the last Wednesday of the month! To finish the month out, we have a bevy of SEO news to share with you today, check it out!
- Cutts: Determining Whether Your Site’s Ranking Is Penalized Is “Tricky” – In a recent Webmaster video, Matt Cutts answered the question as to how one could determine whether their low rankings are the result of a penalty or of other sites having better content. Cutts said determining that is tricky due to Google’s large number of algorithmic changes (well over 600 in 2012, according to Cutts), making it harder to determine whether smaller algorithm changes have an effect. He then said that when large changes are incoming, such as Penguin or Panda, Google usually makes an announcement and that might make it easier to determine whether you’ve been hit or not. Regardless, if your site isn’t ranking as high as you’d like, try making changes to the site that you feel your competitors are implementing successfully, or that you feel would improve the site in general. Cutts says that due to the algorithmic nature of the rankings, these adjustments might cause Google to re-score the site’s value once it’s crawled again.
Speaking of Penalties…
- Greek Link Networks Penalized – Several webmasters noted that Greek SERPs were showing a lot of volatility recently, leading some to ask Matt Cutts via Twitter whether there were penalties occurring. Cutts replied, “Ah, so you noticed the action in Greece?” basically confirming that unnamed Greek link networks have been hit. Google seems to be on a bit of a rampage these days…
- Web Design Library Penalized For Blatant Link Selling – The rampage continues. Search Engine Land noted that the rankings for a site called Web Design Library recently significantly dropped after it was caught making link arrangements via Twitter. You know, publicly. Dozens of tweets indicate that this company reached out to several companies looking to sell links. They were even seen telling T-Mobile how to properly set up their paid links (though at this point, T-Mobile doesn’t appear to be penalized). This will be an interesting story to keep tabs on.
- Cutts: Don’t Delete Old Disavow Files – Matt Cutts sent out a couple of tweets encouraging webmasters not to delete old disavow files before uploading new ones. Apparently, enough SEO folks had been doing that to warrant notice.
- Google Update Underway? – Several webmasters are noticing quite a bit of volatility in the SERPs over the last week, and they aren’t alone. All of the tools used to track SERP volatility, including SERPS.com, SERPMetrics, Algoroo and MozCast showed recent volatility, but at different times and at different intensities. While we know Google updates its algorithm with minor updates on a daily basis, these shifts might indicate a larger update either happened or is on the way. We’ll keep an eye on this and let you know how it develops.
- Twitter Experimenting With Visible Views Per Tweet – According to The Verge, Twitter has been experimenting with a new feature that would show profile owners how many views each individual tweet has received. It’ll be interesting to see if Twitter actually implements this, as it could either encourage people to tweet more to get more views, or discourage folks who get fewer views.
- Twitter Also Experimenting With Removing “@” And “#” Usage – People are noticing that test versions of Twitter, app or otherwise, have both the reply-based at (@) and hashtag (#) symbols removed from the Stream, which apparently will make it easier to understand. For some this might not be a big deal, but for brands and influencers who use these features often, these removals could be very problematic. It will also be interesting to see what, if anything, Twitter issues as replacements should they be removed.
- Over 200 Million Users Now Use Instagram To Share Over 20 Billion Photos – Instagram recently announced that their user numbers have surpassed 200 million, and that those users have shared over 20 billion photos. That’s a lot of photos. This hopefully shows that the Facebook acquisition a while back didn’t ruin the brand. Speaking of which…
- Facebook Acquires Oculus Rift – Not strictly an SEO story but big enough to warrant mention: Facebook has purchased VR helmet creator Oculus Rift at a cost of $2 billion in cash and stock. While the headset was originally to be used mostly for gaming, many now wonder to what end Facebook will use this fascinating piece of hardware and the people behind it. The backlash by the gaming community has been amazingly fierce, I can tell you.
That’s it for this week’s Smattering of SEO! Thanks for stopping by!