Showing posts with label seo ranking factors. Show all posts
Showing posts with label seo ranking factors. Show all posts

Saturday, May 5, 2012

2 Important Post on Google's Penguin Update by SEOmoz

5 Penguin-Friendly Link Building Tips

Since Google launched their Penguin update on April 24th, millions of websites have been falling down the rankings like losing soldiers in the battlefield! Google has been cracking down on "spammy" websites like never before.

This update has indeed been very effective at knocking down spam sites, but many believe that some legit sites have also wrongfully been hit and have voiced their opinions on Google's forums and social media outlets. Google's Search Quality team listened and has set up a form that webmasters can use to notify Google that the Penguin has been unfair to them.
If you have used any unnatural SEO techniques in the past and your website is still proudly standing on the first page, it doesn't mean you're safe. In fact, Google said that the updates will be gradually deployed throughout the next few weeks. Expect a lot of movement in the SERPs!

If you are feeling bad while reading this because you do remember using some slightly shady link building techniques in the past, don't worry, it's never too late to repent.

Now is the time to "whiten your hat" and re-think your SEO strategy. Here are some valuable link building tips that will help you not only survive the Penguin update, but safely improve your rankings for the long term...

Tip #1 - Get More Social, Leverage Your Fanbase

In 2012, social signals are more important than ever. When you post fresh content on your site or blog, make sure you share it on ALL your social pages. In fact, this should be almost like a reflex. For the lazies out there, there are tons of plugins and tools that can help you automate this process. Twitterfeed is one of them.

I have seen too many companies posting new blog posts weekly, but not sharing them on their Google+, Facebook fan page, or on Twitter. What's the point of having all these fans, friends and followers if you're NOT showing them your content? When you share useful content, you will get likes, retweets, and +1's. This not only gives you bonus points in terms of SEO, but it also helps virally spread your content far beyond the confines of your fanbase. A win-win!

Tip #2 - Link Your Inner-Pages

When link building, a lot of SEO's are still making the rookie mistake of always linking to their homepage. I understand that your homepage is the most important page of your site, but you can be guaranteed that Google will raise a red flag if a large majority of your backlinks point to your homepage and very few of them are linking to your blog posts and inner pages. It simply doesn't make logical sense for Googlebot. After all, inner pages are where the real content is at! When you look at a website that acquires tons of links naturally like SEOMOZ, you'll notice that most of the natural links they get are to their inner content pages (blog posts, videos, SEO guides, etc...)

Also, remember that it's not just about external links. Internal links are also highly important. Take some time to improve your internal site's structure by making sure the right keywords are linking to the right pages internally. This will make it easy and intuitive for both Google and your visitors to crawl your site. If you're lazy and you happen to be using WordPress, consider using a plugin like SEO Smart Links that can automate the whole process.

Tip #3 - Diversify Your Anchor Texts

Another element that Google has been cracking down on this year is over-optimization (both on-site and off-site). There's nothing Google hates more than feeling like you're trying to force it to rank you for a specific keyword. For instance, if you are targeting the keyword "New York Condos For Sale" and you're asking all your link partners to link to you using that exact keyword, Google will think it's highly suspicious.
It simply doesn't make sense for Google that all these websites would naturally want to link to you using that exact keyphrase, which also happens to be in your website's title bar and all over your homepage. *ahem ahem*

Think about it, if people were to link to you naturally, wouldn't they all be using different keywords? You bet they would, so try to vary your anchor links in a natural way. This will show Google that you're not trying to force it to rank you for any specific keywords, rather you're just trying to point visitors in the right direction. :)

Remember that Google is now smart enough to figure out which keyword relates best to your content. I also highly recommend using editorial keywords as anchor texts, such as: "click here," "read more," "learn more," etc... as these look way more natural. Again, diversity is key here.

Tip #4 - Focus on Quality, not Quantity

This has been said over and over, but it is more important this year than ever before. The game has drastically changed, folks! Google will penalize your website if you have a large amount of backlinks from untrustworthy sites. (Authority Link Network anyone?)

If you are doing guest posting, I can guarantee you that one high quality blog post from a reputable site is better than 100 posts from low quality ones. I have seen clients in competitive niches enter the first page with less than 30 quality links, while most of their competitors had hundreds/thousands of them.

Also, do yourself a favor and forget about shady link building techniques like mass directory submissions or any automated type of link. If you know someone that has reached the first page using these "spammy" techniques, you should feel bad for them. Google will eventually hit them and hit them hard. If not today, maybe tomorrow, or next month. These guys are definitely on Penguin's hit list. You don't want to be in their shoes. Going to bed every night wondering if your website will still be in the SERPs tomorrow is not a good feeling.

Tip #5 - Make Your Content Link-Worthy

Last but not least, make sure you are producing link-worthy content. Outsourcing your article writing for $5 a piece won't get you very far. If your visitors don't like your content, they will leave your site. High bounce rates = bad user experience. Bad user experience = lower Google rankings. It's really that simple. If you provide content that has value, people will stay longer on your site and possibly hit the like or tweet buttons on one of your articles. This enhanced user experience will pay off SEO-wise.
Always remember that content is (and will always be) king. That is the rule of thumb in white hat SEO. Do you think websites like SEOMOZ or Search Engine Journal need to do any link building in order to rank high in search engines? Probably not, they simply focus on delivering high quality content that people constantly link to from their websites and their social profiles.
This is the safest, most natural, and most efficient form of SEO.
Written By: AnimeR Source:

Penguins, Pandas, and Panic at the Zoo

Google’s war on lovable critters escalated on April 24th with the release of the “Penguin” update (originally dubbed the “webspam update” by Google). While every major algorithm update causes some protest, post-Penguin panic seems to be at near record levels, worsened by weeks of speculation about an “over-optimization” penalty. Webmasters and SEOs are understandably worried, and many have legitimately lost traffic and revenue. Before you go out and burn your website to the ground for fear of a penguin in the pantry, I want to offer some advice on how to handle life after an algorithm update.

1. What We Know
First, let’s review what we know. I’m going to break the rules of blogging and recommend that you stop and read this level-headed Penguin post by Danny Sullivan. It covers some of the basics and is the most speculation-free post I’ve read on the subject so far. Glenn Gabe also had a good post on potential Penguin factors.  There’s still a lot of speculation, but likely culprits include:
  • Aggressive exact-match anchor text
  • Overuse of exact-match domains
  • Low-quality article marketing & blog spam
  • Keyword stuffing in internal/outbound links
Many people have suggested low-quality link profiles in general, but analysis of Panda has been complicated by Google’s recent attack on link networks, which seems to have been manual and has probably been going on for weeks. The overlap has made analysis difficult, so let’s take a quick look at the timeline.

What’s the Timeline?

The official roll-out date for Penguin was April 24th, and it seems to have rolled out, for the most part, in a single day. Unfortunately, it came on the heels of other events. On April 19th, Panda 3.5 rolled out (most likely a data update). On April 16th, a data glitch caused a number of sites to be mistakenly tagged as parked domains. Throughout April (and weeks before Penguin), Google started sending out a large number of unnatural link notices via Google Webmaster Tools. Sadly, it seems that April really was the cruelest month.

How Bad Was It?

Google officially claimed that Penguin impacted about 3.1% of English queries, compared to Panda 1.0’s 12%. Since rankings change daily – even hourly – even with no updates, these numbers are nearly impossible to confirm, but it does appear that the impact of Penguin was immediate and substantial. This is an internal SEOmoz graph of Top 10 ranking changes around April 24th (please note that the Y-axis is scaled to accentuate changes):

Graph of Top 10 changes (Penguin vs. Panda 3.5)

Pardon the slightly cryptic nature of this graph – it’s for an upcoming project – but the core point is that the impact of Penguin dwarfed either Panda 3.5 or Google’s 4/16 glitch.

Is It Going Away?

In a word: no. Penguin wasn’t accidental, and Google is clearly serious about combatting spam tactics that have been lingering for too long. As you can see from the graph, it doesn’t appear that there were any major reversals in the few days since Penguin rolled out. Does that mean Google won’t make ANY adjustments? Of course not – it’s entirely likely that they’ll continue to tweak Penguin.
For comparison’s sake, remember that Panda 3.5 came 14 months after the initial launch of Panda 1.0. We’ve come a long way since the monthly “Google Dances” of 2003. Keep in mind, though, that Panda was somewhat unique – we believe that it feeds multiple variables into a single ranking factor that gets updated outside of the real-time index. There’s currently no compelling evidence to suggest that Penguin works in the same way. The Penguin update appears to be integrated directly into the main algorithm, like a more traditional Google update.

2. What to Do

Given the overlapping timelines, this advice applies to any Google update, and not just Penguin. The algorithm is changing constantly (Google reported 516 changes in 2010, and that rate seems to be accelerating), and I want to give you the tools to survive not just Penguin, but Zebra, Skunk, Orca, and any other black-and-white animals Google can ruin…

DO Take a Deep Breath

I’m not trying to be condescending or to minimize any losses you may have suffered. Over 17 years of working with clients, I’ve learned that panic almost never makes things better. No matter how hard Penguin hit you, you need to stop, take a breath, and assess the damage. Dig into your analytics and find out exactly where you sustained losses. Segment your data (by channel, engine, keyword, and page) as much as possible. It’s not enough to know that you lost traffic – you need to be an expert on exactly which traffic you lost.

DO Check the Timeline

Even though the overlapping timelines make analyzing the core Penguin factors difficult, the actual timeline when Penguin rolled out is clear. If you saw major traffic losses between Tuesday, April 24th and Wednesday, April 25th, odds are good that Penguin is at least part of the problem.

DO Double-check IT Issues

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been involved in a Q&A or consulting situation where a website owner was 100% sure they had been hit by an algorithm update, only to have their 17th message to me go something like this:
Oh, by the way, our site was down for 3 days a couple of weeks ago, right before our rankings dropped. I’m sure this wasn’t the problem, but I just thought I’d let you know.
Um, erp, what?! I’ve died a little inside so many times from messages like this that I’m not sure that I’m technically still human. Especially if your losses weren’t sudden or don’t match the algorithm timeline precisely, make absolutely sure that nothing happened to your site or changed that could impact Google’s crawlers. One of the worst things you can do in SEO is to spend a small fortune solving the wrong problem.

DO Quickly Audit Your SEO

Likewise, make sure that you know exactly what SEO efforts are underway, not just within your own team but across any 3rd-party contractors. I’ve had clients swear up and down that everything they did was completely white-hat only to find out weeks later that they hired an outside link-building firm and let them loose with no accountability. Make absolutely sure you know what every agent under your control did in the weeks leading up to the algorithm update.

3. What Not to Do

Panic leads to drastic action, and while I don’t think you should sit on your hands, bad choices made under uninformed hysteria can make a bad situation much, much worse. I’m not speaking hypothetically – I’ve seen businesses destroyed by overreacting to an algorithm change. Here are a few words of advice, once you’ve taken that deep breath (don’t forget to start breathing again)…

DON’T Take a Hatchet to Your Links

It’s unclear how Penguin may have penalized links, or if recent reports of link-related issues are tied to other April changes, but regardless of the cause, the worst thing you can do is to start simply hacking at your back-links. Even low-quality back-links can, in theory, help you, and if you start cutting links that aren’t causing you problems, you could see your rankings drop even farther.
I highly recommend this recent interview with Jim Boykin, because Jim has freely admitted to dabbling in the gray arts and he knows what he’s talking about when it comes to risky link-building. Tackling your problem links is incredibly tough, but start with the worst culprits:
  • Known, obvious paid links
  • Links in networks Google has recently delisted
  • Footer links with exact-match anchor text
  • Other site-wide links with exact-match anchors
Whenever possible, deal with low-authority links first. If a link is passing very little authority AND it’s suspicious, it’s a no-brainer. Cutting links is tough (see my tips on removing bad links) – if you don’t have control over a link, you may have to let it go and focus on positive link-building going forward.

DON’T “De-optimize” Without a Plan

One complaint I hear a lot in Q&A is that the “wrong” page is ranking for a term. So, to get the “right” page to rank, the well-meaning SEO starts de-optimizing the page that’s currently ranking. This usually means turning a decent TITLE tag into a mess and cutting out keywords to leave behind Swiss-cheese copy. Sometimes, the “right” page starts ranking again. Other times, they lose both pages and their traffic.
“Over-optimize” is a terrible phrase, and that alone has people in a panic. There’s nothing “optimal” about jamming a keyword 87 times into 500 words of copy and linking it to the same affiliate site. “Over-gaming” would be a better word. You think you figured out the rules of the game, so you pounded on them until there was nothing but a pile of dust on the board.
If you think you’ve played the game too aggressively, step back and look at the big picture. Does your content serve a purpose? Does your anchor text match the intent of the target? Do your pages exist because they need to or only to target one more long-tail variations of a term? Don’t de-optimize your on-page SEO – re-optimize it into something better.

DON’T Submit a Reconsideration Request

While I don’t think reconsideration will doom you, Penguin is an algorithmic change, not a manual penalty, and reconsideration is not an appropriate avenue. If you think you were impacted by the recent crackdown on link networks, IF you have removed those links, and IF you aren’t engaged in other suspicious link-building, you might consider requesting reconsideration. Just make sure your house is in order first.
Google has created a form for sites unfairly hit by Penguin, but it’s unclear at this point whether that form will result in manual action, or if Google is just collecting broad quality data. If you sincerely believe that you’re an accidental victim, then feel free to fill the form out, but don’t base your entire recovery strategy on clicking [Submit].
Fix What You Can Fix
Recently, I had a long debate with a client about whether or not they had been hit by a specific algorithm update. In the end, it was a pointless debate (for both of us), because we had two clear facts: (1) organic traffic had fallen precipitously, and (2) there were clear, solvable problems with the site. From a diagnostic standpoint, it definitely helps to know whether you were hit by Penguin or another update, but after that, you have to fix what's in your power to fix. Don't spend weeks trying to prove to management that this was all Google's fault. Isolate the damage, find the problems you can fix, and get to work fixing them.
Written By: Dr. Pete Source:

Imrpoving Your SEO Strategies after Panda & Penguin updates by Google

For the past few months, I have been practically living in an analytics dashboard, constantly monitoring my clients’ organic search data for even the smallest hint of a Google slap. If you haven’t noticed, Google has been busy updating their search products (see: NovDecJan, Feb, Mar).

On top of those changes that they have publicly documented, we are also seeing additional SEO-specific updates by Google. We’ve had a “page layout algorithm” update, Panda updates and even a bug in Google’s system that caused sites to accidentally be delisted.

Now, there’s a Penguin in the mix. Pandas, Penguins and bugs – Oh my! It’s like I’m at the zoo. And a zoo is pretty much what the SEO world feels like right now.

Also in the mix was the Matt Cutts announcement about a penalty for overly-optimized sites. And then a few weeks later, we started hearing more and more about ‘negative SEO’, which is essentially the process of sabotaging someone’s organic search rankings by generating tens of thousands of “bad” links to their website.

That is really sad, but apparently, there is evidence that it can work (although some people predict it will only work in specific situations, such as sites that already have suspicious link profiles). Yeah. Let that sink in. SEOs targeting SEOs. It makes me sick.

If you remember the good old days, you remember when Google would make one big change every once in a while. Rarely was it several major changes at once, and algorithm updates that had massive SEO implications were even more rare. The infrequency of major algorithm updates made it much easier to identify and measure the impact to rankings and all other metrics.
The best SEOs would figure out which factors changed and/or which factors had received more or less weight and then adjust their sites accordingly. This is not the case today. Lately, SEO is more like an gun fight where the dust never settles.

All Is Fair In The Land Of SEO?

Do you see that? Is Matt Cutts launching another algo update?
Do you see that? Is Matt Cutts launching another algo update?

As I mentioned earlier, SEOs are now living in a zoo, where every day feels like an adventure in controlled chaos. And with ‘negative SEO’, we’ve got a situation where SEOs are basically trying to eat each other. So instead of a zoo, maybe it’s more like Jurassic Park.

With Google’s Panda and Penguin updates affecting so many sites, I’m paranoid that my sites might be next.
One moment, I’m seeing a minor fluctuation in my traffic, and it’s like I’m hearing the footsteps while staring at the water rippling in the cup on the dashboard. Then, I feel like I’m riding in the jeep with Jeff Goldblum as we try to outrun the tyrannosaurus rex. And I’m a white hat! I’m the good guy!
I’m building fresh, quality content. I’m spending hours and hours researching market trends and creating value for my site’s visitors. I’m *not* buying thousands of links on private blog networks. Rather, I’m spending time contacting webmasters of websites related to my niche to advertise and build contextual links that make sense for my site.

I’m active on the social media front. I’ve invested in usability, information architecture and landing page optimization. But none of that matters because lately it seems like Google is targeting blackhat SEOs, but in the process they are affecting whitehats and blackhats alike.

I can’t help but think that there have been quite a few false positives related to Panda and Penguin. In fact, it must be a high number, as Google created a form to complain that your site was unfairly targeted.
Google may be targeting spammers and blackhats, but they are also inadvertently chasing people who actually care about their websites’ value, content, and overall marketing campaign. Google shows no sign of slowing down.

In that classic scene from Jurassic Park, the T-rex chases the jeep for awhile and then gives up. I can only hope that Google does the same. At least give us a chance to catch our breath.

Don't move! He can't see us if we don't move.
Don't move! He can't see us if we don't move.

So we’re living with Panda, Penguin, and all the other updates going live every week. Sometimes I think I’d feel safer if I just didn’t move. Maybe Google won’t see me if I don’t do anything at all. But I can’t do that. I’m not going to live like that. But I will be smarter about everything that I do and recommend.
So where do we go from here? Below are some tips for moving forward and getting settled on your piece of land in the SEO zoo.

Link Building

If you are managing SEO and link building for a big brand, I recommend ceasing all paid link building campaigns. I’m sure I’ll take some heat for that recommendation, but I just can’t recommend paid link building to big brands right now. It’s just too risky at this point in time.
If you have a knowledgeable, experienced link builder working for you and you haven’t been slapped by Google in any of the recent updates, then you are probably okay.
However, it’s still a big risk, especially when you consider what you are risking. But if you’ve got money burning a hole in your pocket and if you must insist on maintaining some form of paid link building, here is my advice:
  • Stop building exact match anchor links.
According to pretty much everyone, this is the biggest red flag in the land of links. If all of your links say ‘blue widget’ because you want to rank for ‘blue widget’, then Google will eventually punish you. It’s just not natural to have all of your links be exact match anchor text. You should be diversifying the anchor text, focusing more on links that mention your brand and less on links that mention non-branded keywords.
Don’t balk at links that say Read More, Here, or Having these types of links will make your link graph look more organic (pun intended).
  • Make your link building consistently inconsistent.
For example, if you have a budget of $2,000/month, then you are probably building a set amount of links each week or each month. And when Google looks at your link growth, what they’ll notice is that your link count is growing by the same number each month.
This type of is link velocity is unnatural, especially if you’re buying all the links from one network. It’s easy for Google to notice this type of paid link growth because Google is smart. So be more like a MLB pitcher: throw some fast balls and some change-ups. Don’t make it easy for Google to find a pattern in your link growth.
  • Diversify the quality (read: PageRank) of the sites you are buying links from.
If you are only buying links on sites with PR1 and higher, it is easy for Google to detect because that is unnatural. Obviously, you want to get links from sites with PR here and there, but don’t strictly focus on that factor.
Be very selective in your paid link placement. Diversify your paid link portfolio. Go for a range of sites that are big, small, popular, unpopular, no PR, higher PR, etc. Also, don’t be afraid to buy nofollow links. Don’t ignore potential links from social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. However, as you get more selective, be ready to spend more on links.
  • Buy a site/blog instead of buying links on a site/blog.
Buying a blog can be a much more effective use of your money in the long run. You’ll get a lot more value than just the links, and you won’t run the risks of being penalized for buying paid links.
  • Find all the free links that you already have.
Get familiar with your 404 reports, log files, and broken internal links. Check Webmaster Tools. Look for any indication of internal and/or inbound links pointing to inactive URLs. Look for links that are being 302 redirected to a final URL. Also look for URLs that are going through multiple redirects. Make sure all links are finding their ways to your active pages without passing through 302 redirects or some sort of redirect chain.
When I’m beginning a new SEO campaign, it never ceases to amaze me how many broken links I find in Webmaster Tools accounts. Sometimes the numbers is in the thousands. These are free links! These are free links that you earned! Make sure they are 301 redirected to active URLs!

Creating Content

Because paid links are a little too risky for me right now, I’d recommend moving the majority of any paid link budgets over to the budget for content creation. And when it comes to content creation, here are some of the ways you can spend money to add unique content and value to your site:
  • Write how-to guides
  • Develop infographics
  • Dust off the old corporate blog and start publishing new content on a daily basis
  • Build microsites
  • Build new landing pages
  • Create a buying guide for your most popular product categories
  • Write weekly press releases
  • Create video reviews of your products
The thing about great content is that it will generate links. But more importantly, great content will add more value to your site’s visitors. Just be sure to promote your new content. Encourage your visitors and customers to share your content and products.

In the end, you may be surprised that you get more bang for your buck with rankings via content creation than paid link campaigns. Also, the lessons you learn with content are priceless. It can really help to educate entire businesses about what their website visitors are looking for, enjoy, dislike, prefer, etc. You can use that information to make your site better overall.

Obviously, I could also include an entire section in here about the importance of being active on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. But I’ll leave that to the social media folks.

I could also write a how-to guide outlining the importance of AgentRank and setting up the rel=author and rel=me tags for all your authors and contributers, as a recent study reported that 17% of SERPs are showing author integrations. But this post is already getting too long. So maybe I can write about that next time.

"That's right, Sam Neill. I would make an awesome SEO." - Jeff Goldblum
"That's right, Sam Neill. I would make an awesome SEO." - Jeff Goldblum

In the meantime, hang in there. Be smart. Be cautious. If you can, wait for some of the dust to settle before you make any moves that could in any way risk your search rankings.

As Jeff Goldblum puts it in the movie: “I’m simply saying that life, uh, finds a way.
As an SEO living in the days of Pandas and Penguins, I, too, will find a way.
Remember that in the end, Jeff Goldblum makes it out of Jurassic Park alive.
So if you’re stuck and needing help making a decision about your SEO campaign, just ask yourself: What would Jeff Goldblum do?
Written By: Kerry Dean Sources:

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

30 Web Trends for 2012: How SEO, Search, Social Media, Blogging, Web Design & Analytics Will Change by Tad Chef

It’s this time of year again! In the previous years my web trends lists were very successful, both as predictions and by traffic or number of shares.

People working in the web industries want to know what’s ahead.
So for 2012 I want to tell you again what’s coming up. Basically I’m not predicting anything here; instead I just list trends you can already see and measure, but which will be obvious next year.

Good bye PageRank and links – links and PageRank matter less and less. In 2012 more ranking factors will probably be about other signals than conventional a href links. Google will use all kinds of other data including feedback human quality raters to overcome the big decade long link buying spree.
Freshnessthe latest Google update is perhaps more important than the high quality update dubbed Panda. Nobody cries about it because it wasn’t about penalties for sites but about improvements for searchers this time. This is good news for big news sites and bad news for brands with questionable business practices. The bad news will show up on top.
Quality – the Panda update wasn’t really about pandas, as I hope you know:  it was about ”high quality” sites. Thus focusing on quality metrics that entail usability, readability and overall usefulness is key in 2012. Underpaid quality raters are out there to get you, sometimes even without a look on your actual site.
SEO is just a part – SEO isn’t dead in 2012, but it’s more and more part of bigger ideas and concepts. This year it seems it’s not SEO 2.0 or findability anymore. The new en vogue terms are content marketing, inbound marketing, digital marketing or Internet/online marketing (again). SEO practitioners do just stuff meta tags, but their tasks now encompass much more.
SEO marries CRO – The two disciplines, SEO and CRO or conversion optimisation are just two sides of one coin. While SEO focused on getting traffic, CRO concentrates on making this traffic work for you. I’ve watched these two disciplines converge more and more. In 2012 you will rarely have one without the other. I know I predicted this for 2011, but many people still tried to divide the two sides of the same coin.

Google does it again – Google has quickly reacted to competition from small contenders like Blekko, Ixquick and DuckDuckGo. It has appropriated all improvements and features by these faster competitors – be it the removal of content farms by Blekko or the introduction of SSL search by Ixquick or referral blocking by DuckDuckGo, Google offers it all now as well.
Even more confusion – last year I predicted more clutter in Google results and was nevertheless unprepared for the wide range of changes leading to portal-like search results. In particular, many changes on local searches lead to even more information stuffed in the SERPs. Furthermore, the manifold social enhancements such as who +1′ed, shared or authored a post make the SERPs look like a collection of gif clip art. I’m afraid this won’t be the end of this trend of more confusion.
Search without clicking – in 2011 several small moves by Google showed a tendency to show search results as content directly on Google, thus making a click to the actual page not necessary anymore. We will see more of it until people start suing Google for stealing their content.
Google does it already on Google News, Google Places and Google Images. It also owns YouTube, where most video searches end up. They want the same thing for text search as well. They don’t want people to leave Google properties at all. Google+ brand pages just add to it.
Google reads your mind – we already got used to the sometimes annoying instant search results that appear even before you type something meaningful. Google works on more ways to find out what you need and give it to you even before you ask. Just consider the multiple data sources Google now has about you:  Google toolbar, Chrome, Profiles, Plus, search history…
Speech recognition – Siri, the speech recognition ”assistant” on the latest iPhone, makes people talk with their phones and it’s extremely popular already. In 2012 we will see Apple’s competitors come up with similar tools so that we don’t need to talk to people or type in search queries anymore. Is this the end of SEO as some journalists assume (just like some suggest after every other major change in the search industry)?
No, it just means different kinds of queries, maybe more colloquial or clumsy ones. Maybe more dialogue with your search engine, for example ”I want something to eat”. I can’t imagine people just saying one, two or three word queries in public without looking silly. So they will talk as they do with other people.
Mobile grows – no surprise here. Mobile search will grow in 2012 again. How big it will become? Some pundits suggest that more than 1/5 of all searches will be conducted via mobile devices.

Social media
Google+ stays tiny – Google+ is being heralded and pushed by Google in search results because it’s still tiny – it hasn’t even reached a social networking market share of 0.5%, while Facebook owns approximately 65% of it.
Facebook losing ground – despite its almost monopolistic position, Facebook is already losing ground. In 2011 Facebook lost 6 million users in the US. The various privacy scandals and annoyances, along with alternatives like Diaspora, Google+ or Tumblr, will accelerate this process in 2012.
Oversaturation – it has been evident for a while already, but in 2011 most people noticed it: people can’t join more social media sites and spend even more time there without spending 24h on social networking and creating user generated content. We witnessed this when Quora appeared and demanded constant attention and production of high quality content.
Also, the emergence of Google+ has shown that most average people already have enough to do with Facebook and the likes. In 2012 it will finally become obvious that the social networking and UGC market is saturated and that creating another site that demands time and effort is not a valid business model anymore.
Social bookmarking vs social saving – last time I predicted the death of social bookmarking. In a way I was right, though luckily Delicious, the original social bookmarking site, has survived. Nonetheless it moved on to a different model of sharing links. Other social bookmarking sites or their competitors have created something that has no name but that I’d like to call social saving.
People are saving snippets or whole webpages using tools like Diigo, Evernote or to collect, edit and share them. The future is bright for these type of tools in 2012 as webpages, articles or blog posts you want to bookmark vanish faster than you can look.
Curation – Curation is the collection of resources by an editor or a user who acts as an ad-hoc editor. Search engines like Blekko or Rollyo use curation but also third party services that create “Twitter newspapers”. With the relaunch of Delicious as a curation site for compiling small lists (aka stacks of links), the idea has been given another push. Adding +1 votes to search results is another kind of curation.
Social CRM goes prime time – customer relationship management (CRM) and social media converged for a few years now but there was no perfect solution to merge those two. In 2011 Nimble CRM appeared. This tool is so simple to use and flawlessly combines CRM, email and social media sites Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn in one place, so that you can save lots of time and effort when trying to generate leads right on there on social media sites.

Quantity vs quality – in 2011 people blogged less often, but when they blogged they wrote long articles. With the new freshness algorithm Google just introduced, the process might get reversed, as now the latest articles are more likely to show up on top in the top 10.
Tumblr – miniblogging is still growing, at least the market leader Tumblr. Why is Tumblr such a success? It’s a bit like Facebook, a bit like blogging and a bit like Twitter, but it combines the best of all of them. You can like or “heart” postings, you can reblog them and you can use a pseudonym like on Twitter. In 2011 many high level bloggers even moved their blogs from WordPress to Tumblr for the sake of simplicity and ease of use. Also, never underestimate the huge Tumblr audience.
Corporate blogging failsbusinesses dump blogging in order to invest in Facebook marketing some statistics suggest. This is like giving up your office and doing business from Starbucks. Despite logic, this seems to be an appealing business model both in real life and online. Why host your own website and practice SEO, networking and advertising to get people to visit it when you can rent a “table” at Facebook. This is quite a short-sighted and risky move but business people tend to follow this trend.
Line breaks – for the sake of readability bloggers use more text-decoration, lists and breaks. Some overdo it though it seems. Not every line needs a break after it, not every post has to be a list and every second word has to be bold.

Web development
No more Flashthere will be no Flash on Android and RIM tablets and smartphones anymore. Thus the original Flash will die finally. Adobe is already working on a HTML5 implementation instead. So Flash will be probably resurrected based on Web Standards.
UX surpasses usability – if you believe Google Insights for search is a reliable statistic, you can see that in 2011 the interest in UX or user experience design has outgrown the dwindling popularity of the keyword usability. Fewer and fewer people are satisfied with usability because it’s too limited. The overall user experience, which includes emotional states of the user in its ideas, is the more important discipline of both.
@​font-face usage - I remember it as if it was yesterday, when I first heard about the @font-face CSS method to embedding web-safe fonts to websites around 2004; I couldn’t wait until web browsers started supporting them. It took almost a decade and half a dozen font replacement techniques to make this CSS3 method work in most modern browsers. Now most browsers support it and we already see an abundance of websites using beautiful and readable typography. In 2012 we will probably see this going mainstream.
HTML5 innovation – when HTML5 came up, the hype was huge but I rarely ever noticed some HTML5 that wowed me. Most websites still seemed to look boring. Yes they were readable, usable, maybe even findable but what about the 21st century design I’d expect in 2011? Well, now the sites that really use HTML5 to create a design beyond a few boxes start appearing in larger numbers.

Referral keywords - Google proprietary SSL search kills the Google keyword referrer. You can’t even see it on an SSL site, as Google removes the keyword using a script. Thus people will finally look at conversions not keywords.
Klout – no other metric has been so obsessed about both in a positive and a negative way recently. People love and hate Klout as if it was a nation or a religion. Whether you like Klout or not, it’s the elephant in the room. The social media influence measurement may be flawed at the moment, but it’s still the best there is. Also, Google has similar metrics for authors or might acquire Klout in the near future, maybe even in 2012. What’s safe to say is that in 2012 you won’t just measure websites but also people.
Rankings, traffic – simple SEO metrics such as rankings and traffic die a slow death. The search referrer blocking by Google may be only the last nail in the coffin of simplistic SEO metrics. When you can’t even see what keywords people use and thus can’t segment your search traffic properly, this metrics becomes useless.​
Real time analytics – Google finally caught up with the competition this year, adding real time features to Google Analytics. At least a dozen of other vendors have been offering real time data for a while, and even better than Google Analytics if you ask me.
ROIbusiness people finally seem to overcome the ROI frenzy. ROI is important for both SEO and social media campaigns, but you can’t quantify everything by chasing after Return On Investment. It seems that in 2011 this simple truth has dawned on marketers and analysts all over the place so that we can sit back and watch other metrics in the coming year.

Feel free to add more trends you want to get noticed in the comment section or on social media.
Written By: Tad Chef Source:

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Latest Google’s Updates March 2012: Anchor Text, Image Search, Navigational Queries Search & More

Google’s latest round of search quality updates is now available, and — at the risk of sounding like a grumpy old SEO — this month’s seems even more difficult to grasp than normal. There are a lot of words in this month’s list of 50 changes, but it appears to me that there’s not really a lot of explanation.
So be it, though. The monthly updates are a welcome thing from Google’s search team, and they’re always good to get discussion and speculation going.

With that in mind, here are a few of the items that stand out to me on first perusal of Google’s blog post.

Anchor Text Tweaks
There are two items on the list that make specific reference to how Google processes anchor text. Here they are, word-for-word from the announcement:
Tweaks to handling of anchor text. [launch codename "PC"] This month we turned off a classifier related to anchor text (the visible text appearing in links). Our experimental data suggested that other methods of anchor processing had greater success, so turning off this component made our scoring cleaner and more robust.
Better interpretation and use of anchor text. We’ve improved systems we use to interpret and use anchor text, and determine how relevant a given anchor might be for a given query and website.
The first mentions a specific classifier (i.e., signal) that’s been turned off; the second mentions a new way (signals?) for determining anchor text relevance.
Your guess is as good as mine re: what exactly that means. Comments are open if you want to speculate or tell us (and other readers) what you’ve noticed lately regarding links and anchor text.

Image Search Changes

There are also a couple items related to image search, and more specifically related to the quality of the pages on which images appear:
More relevant image search results. [launch codename "Lice"] This change tunes signals we use related to landing page quality for images. This makes it more likely that you’ll find highly relevant images, even if those images are on pages that are lower quality.
Improvements to Image Search relevance. [launch codename "sib"] We’ve updated signals to better promote reasonably sized images on high-quality landing pages.
In one case, lower quality pages are rewarded; in the other, “reasonably sized” (I read that as “smaller”) images on better quality pages are rewarded. I think.

Indexing Symbols

Google is no longer ignoring several punctuation marks and symbols. As the owner of a website whose name begins with the @ symbol, I love this one. (It used to be that searches for “@U2″ led to the official site,, not my independent site.)
Improvements to handling of symbols for indexing. [launch codename "Deep Maroon"] We generally ignore punctuation symbols in queries. Based on analysis of our query stream, we’ve now started to index the following heavily used symbols: “%”, “$”, “\”, “.”, “@”, “#”, and “+”. We’ll continue to index more symbols as usage warrants.
I would think this will also benefit searches for Twitter usernames, for example. And maybe hashtags? Haven’t checked on that. Feel free to ignore me.

Navigational Queries

There are a pair of updates regarding navigational queries:
Improvements to results for navigational queries. [launch codename "IceMan5"] A “navigational query” is a search where it looks like the user is looking to navigate to a particular website, such as [New York Times] or []. While these searches may seem straightforward, there are still challenges to serving the best results. For example, what if the user doesn’t actually know the right URL? What if the URL they’re searching for seems to be a parked domain (with no content)? This change improves results for this kind of search.
Better handling of queries with both navigational and local intent. [launch codename "ShieldsUp"] Some queries have both local intent and are very navigational (directed towards a particular website). This change improves the balance of results we show, and helps ensure you’ll find highly relevant navigational results or local results towards the top of the page as appropriate for your query.
On that second one, I did a search for the word “twigs.” When my location was set local to my hometown, Google showed results for a local restaurant named Twigs at the top of the results page. When I changed my location to New York City, it showed an East Village hair salon named Twigs. Results related to actual twigs (branches) were further down the page. If that’s what they’re referring to, this is an interesting change.

Other Changes Worth Reading Closely

Here are a few other things that caught my eye:
More accurate short answers. [project codename "Porky Pig"] We’ve updated the sources behind our short answers feature to rely on data from Freebase. This improves accuracy and makes it easier to fix bugs.
Improvements to freshness. [launch codename "Abacus", project codename "Freshness"] We launched an improvement to freshness late last year that was very helpful, but it cost significant machine resources. At the time we decided to roll out the change only for news-related traffic. This month we rolled it out for all queries.
Better indexing of profile pages. [launch codename "Prof-2"] This change improves the comprehensiveness of public profile pages in our index from more than two-hundred social sites.
There are also several updates related to synonyms and universal search results.
But what stood out to you as you read through the 50 search updates for March? Comments are open.
Written By: Matt McGee Source:

Friday, April 13, 2012

7 New Key Points to Think About SEO & Converged Social Media Metrics

The costs related to a specific actions and final acquisition has always been, and always will be, the ultimate metric and goal for any marketer. However, how we get to that final acquisition metric and how we optimize our search engine optimization (SEO) and social media efforts has changed significantly.
As we adapt to the convergence of SEO, social, content, and digital media channels there has never been a better time to think about new ways to measure paths to acquisition and utilize the vast amounts of technology, analytical tools and platforms that help us measure the value of media that is "earned from consumers."

What follows are some insights and straightforward tips from my recent visit to SES New York and some food for thought as to new ways to look at measuring, not just SEO, but converged, earned, and business related metrics.

1. Match Value to Traditional SEO Metrics

While ensuring that you measure traffic from the search engines – how many pages receive visits from these search engines, and how many keywords are sending traffic to site – also try to match value to these metrics.
For example, what is the size of the actual SEO opportunity and how much traffic and conversion comes from specific landing pages? How many keywords are under management and what is the specific value, cost and return, of specific keywords?


2. Distinguish Between Reactive vs. Proactive Metrics

Sometimes it's too easy to get caught in a battle or debate with client about metrics. We all know this happens far too much, right? The reality as to why this happens it due to that fact that people often report binary metrics based on reaction to:
  • A loss of rankings.
  • Reduction in traffic levels.
  • Reductions in actions.
  • Loss of business, lower conversions, and so forth.
Now these are all essential metrics to the success of any online campaign. However, simply reporting these metrics can put you in a constant cycle of debate.
Looking and reporting proactive metrics actual helps you in this case by providing the clients with something new and also putting any reactive metrics into perspective. Such metrics to focus on are:
  • Rankings in relation to competition.
  • Rankings in relation to content and news and external/industry statistics.
  • Influencer based metrics and future value.
  • Social value and engagement.
  • Attribution based metrics (more on this later).
  • Action based metrics that over time influence rankings.
You can do this by utilizing a combination of:
  • Advanced analytics (Google and Bing Webmaster Tools and analytics).
  • SEO tools (Majestic, Moz, Screaming Frog).
  • Enterprise SEO and social media technologies (later in this post).

3. Place a Value & Forecast SEO Metrics – Think Beyond Just Ranking Position

SEO is finally becoming more measurable, and by tracking the whole picture and integrating with site analytics measuring ROI has become a whole lot easier. Quantifying the value of an SEO (just like you would with PPC) project prior to its start allows clients to invest more based on these forecasts.
Always remember the following:
  • Rankings mean nothing unless you put a value to them.
  • To place a value on SEO use organic traffic data and PPC keyword data to project spend – just like you would PPC.
  • Make sure you use this data to benchmark where you or your client are is in relation to the competition.
current-seo-value-optimized-best-caseImage credit: BrightEdge

Being able to see where you're winning and losing becomes a whole new SEO metric in itself

4. Embrace Social Media Metrics & Objectives

Eighty-four percent of companies surveyed in a recent Facebook survey believe that social signals will be more important to SEO in 2012. The convergence of SEO and social media tactics has meant that social media metrics are becoming just as important as traditional SEO metrics.
It is now vital to measure "beyond the Like" and understand the true value of social media interactions.
As BrightEdge CEO, Jim Yu, mentioned in his panel presentation, the increased importance of social signals (e.g., Google Search Plus Your World) means it is now essential to look at how, when, and why social signals (tweets, Likes, +1’s, and Pins) influence rankings and position. Creating a Google+ page, adding social plugins (maximize engagement), interlinking deep pages with social media properties, and SEO’ing your social pages are all vital steps in optimizing for the social web and graph.
Lee Odden, Author & CEO of TopRank, makes a great point on matching KPI’s to business values.
"One important distinction to make with measuring the integrated SEO and social media efforts is the difference between KPIs and business outcomes," Odden said. "I talk about this in Optimize where KPIs are defined as the behaviors that often lead to revenue oriented outcomes. KPIS like links, rankings and search traffic as well as likes, fans, friends, followers, network size, rate of growth and such are all useful measures of progress that can lead to business outcomes."
Odden also makes an interesting point on the differences between sales and social impact.
“Obviously sales and new customers are the most often sought after outcomes but so are the social impact on increased orders, order volume and frequency,” Odden said.

Image credit: Econsultancy

"Whatever brands can do facilitate productive connections between prospects or consumers and useful brand content, the more meaningful the engagement," Odden said. "And in my experience, an engaged community is more likely to be a profitable community."

5. Utilize the Right Tools & Technologies That Get You The Right Metrics

From measuring site stats, links, value, and social media influence the development many tools and technology platforms are allowing us to segment different types of metrics and build insights and value from a numerous of different sources.

Utilizing these types of seo and social media technologies – see this article on 45 SEO and Social Media Tools for examples – helps you collaborate much more closely with clients and agencies and…

6. Report The Right Metrics to The Right Person

Metrics are pretty useless you are reporting the right metrics to the relevant people, in the relevant format and at the relevant time. There is no set formula as to how you report metrics to an agency or a client as every company has a different organization structure, political structure, and level of knowledge.
Beyond marketing and sales objectives, search and social media marketing programs can affect increases in media coverage, attracting new employees and serving as a facilitator for better online customer service. That means more than links and likes.
For Odden, this means "performance based measurements in alignment with objectives like monitoring social conversations for customer service opportunities and overlaying those trends on social / search referrals to company knowledgebase and FAQ content. Is social engagement and optimized customer service content attracting more visits to FAQ and knowledge-base pages for example? What impact does such optimized content have on brand sentiment within social channels over time?”
Depending upon your objective you can start to build and utilize dashboards and widgets to begin to segment how and to whom you report certain metrics through an organizational structure. Once you have done this you can gain ‘buy-in’ from individuals in specific roles whilst then collaborating and sharing metrics easily across various business functions.
The end result is a client that fully understands the metrics relevant to them and their role.
Ciaran Norris, director of Emerging Media, Mindshare Global, makes a great point to help keep us in check.
“What’s changed in the market is that clients and agencies were use to the simple, precise nature of search (CPC etc) but have now had to adapt to the sometimes less definitive world of social,” Norris said. “There should be different metrics used to measure the effects of different platforms. The ultimate metric should be sales”.


7. Attribute Credit and Admit That You’re a Marketer

Someone once said “It’s not SEO, it’s Marketing”. The scope of SEO has changed dramatically over recent months due to its convergence with social and content-based media.
It's only natural (pardon the pun) that now we have more effective ways of measuring success that we should think like a holistic marketer. SEO has long had an issue with its PPC peer about attribution and credit. Advancements in analytics, tools, and technology highlighted above now pave way for SEO to monetize its value while also showing how its assists in the conversion process.
Kevin Gibbons wrote a great post showing how you can treat SEO forecasting like PPC and help to attribute accordingly.
Yes, there are always going to be challenges to this such as local search (Panda) and softer metrics that muddy the waters and are hard to measure (brand metrics) but the development and rise of API’s can help you work your way to building metrics to get you nearer your goals and show how you add value in the conversion chain.


As we move to a converged media world we are now presented with a number of ways to attract new connections between brand and consumer. This is turn creates a number of different ways to measure interactions and value by looking at metrics in a new light.
Utilizing the right technology and reporting the relevant metric from the relevant channel to the relevant person at the relevant time is the best way to show value and get the increase in spend that you deserve.
Converged SEO Metrics

"The only metrics that really matter are sales (or the equivalent) and the cost of driving those," Norris said. "Anything else is just dressing."

Well, what we have today is a whole new way of dressing, measuring and tracking how SEO and it’s converged media partners can become more accountable in that sales process.
Written By: Andy Betts Source:

Thursday, March 15, 2012

6 SEO Tips for Local Search Optimization

A big part of small business SEO is local search optimization. The first step is providing search engines with information about your geographic location. Here are some tips to get you started:
  1. Add Company Address & Phone Number To FooterAdding your contact information to a footer that appears on every page lets search engines index your site for local search. Also, where natural, include the city’s name a few times in-text and in title tags.
  2. Add Your Company To Local DirectoriesLook up industry specific directories or umbrella organizations that might be interested in listing your services. As a small business, it is especially important that you are listed in all local business or industry directories.
  3. Find and Target Local Exact Match Keyword PhrasesIf your city is large enough, many users will type in what they are looking for plus the name of the city where they are trying to find it. Use keyword tools to find and target complete keyword phrases with your city’s name in them. For example “Boston car repair shops” or “Atlanta salons.” Don’t forget to try searching for city abbreviations as well. Google Insights has a filter function where you can narrow search by city and state, though many results do not have enough search volume to return results.
  4. Add Company to Search Engine’s Local ListingsGetting on Google Places, Yahoo!, Bing and Yelp’s local directories should be at the top of your list. Also, because of the rise of blended search (SERPs including a mix of video, images and news) make sure to add photos to your local profile. Ask your satisfied customers, especially those who are repeats, to leave you a review on one of the above listings. Your business will rank higher if it has more positive rankings.
  5. Add Company to Local Business Listings on LinkedInIt’s free. LinkedIn is considered one of the most important professional businesses databases online. Add your site by clicking here. Make sure to complete your profile, adding as much information as possible.
  6. Set Your Geographic Location in Google Webmaster ToolsSome people try to use meta geo tags, or meta data that specifies a city, state and geographic location of a website. But Google says it places very little weight on those tags. Instead, Google recommends setting your location through Google Webmaster Tools! Go to Webmaster Tools Homepage. Site Configuration. Setting. Geographic target. Select your location option.  There are lots of different ways to tell the search engines about your geographic location.  Each of the steps above is just a small percent of the total equation for local optimization. So make sure to put your company on every local listing you can and keep on-page local optimization in mind.
    Once you’ve completed these steps, you can start using more creative ways to optimize your site for your target city or region. For example, try submitting press releases to PR Web. You should always tag the city where the news is happening in any press release. This affords you a great (and natural) opportunity for local optimization.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Search Quality Highlights: 40 changes for February 2012

This month we have many improvements to celebrate. With 40 changes reported, that marks a new record for our monthly series on search quality. Most of the updates rolled out earlier this month, and a handful are actually rolling out today and tomorrow. We continue to improve many of our systems, including related searches, sitelinks, autocomplete, UI elements, indexing, synonyms, SafeSearch and more. Each individual change is subtle and important, and over time they add up to a radically improved search engine.

Here’s the list for February:
  • More coverage for related searches. [launch codename “Fuzhou”] This launch brings in a new data source to help generate the “Searches related to” section, increasing coverage significantly so the feature will appear for more queries. This section contains search queries that can help you refine what you’re searching for.
  • Tweak to categorizer for expanded sitelinks. [launch codename “Snippy”, project codename “Megasitelinks”] This improvement adjusts a signal we use to try and identify duplicate snippets. We were applying a categorizer that wasn’t performing well for our expanded sitelinks, so we’ve stopped applying the categorizer in those cases. The result is more relevant sitelinks.
  • Less duplication in expanded sitelinks. [launch codename “thanksgiving”, project codename “Megasitelinks”] We’ve adjusted signals to reduce duplication in the snippets forexpanded sitelinks. Now we generate relevant snippets based more on the page content and less on the query.
  • More consistent thumbnail sizes on results page. We’ve adjusted the thumbnail size for most image content appearing on the results page, providing a more consistent experience across result types, and also across mobile and tablet. The new sizes apply to rich snippet results for recipes and applications, movie posters, shopping results, book results, news results and more.
  • More locally relevant predictions in YouTube. [project codename “Suggest”] We’ve improved the ranking for predictions in YouTube to provide more locally relevant queries. For example, for the query [lady gaga in ] performed on the US version of YouTube, we might predict [lady gaga in times square], but for the same search performed on the Indian version of YouTube, we might predict [lady gaga in India].
  • More accurate detection of official pages. [launch codename “WRE”] We’ve made an adjustment to how we detect official pages to make more accurate identifications. The result is that many pages that were previously misidentified as official will no longer be.
  • Refreshed per-URL country information. [Launch codename “longdew”, project codename “country-id data refresh”] We updated the country associations for URLs to use more recent data.
  • Expand the size of our images index in Universal Search. [launch codename “terra”, project codename “Images Universal”] We launched a change to expand the corpus of results for which we show images in Universal Search. This is especially helpful to give more relevant images on a larger set of searches.
  • Minor tuning of autocomplete policy algorithms. [project codename “Suggest”] We have a narrow set of policies for autocomplete for offensive and inappropriate terms. This improvement continues to refine the algorithms we use to implement these policies.
  • “Site:” query update [launch codename “Semicolon”, project codename “Dice”] This change improves the ranking for queries using the “site:” operator by increasing the diversity of results.
  • Improved detection for SafeSearch in Image Search. [launch codename "Michandro", project codename “SafeSearch”] This change improves our signals for detecting adult content in Image Search, aligning the signals more closely with the signals we use for our other search results.
  • Interval based history tracking for indexing. [project codename “Intervals”] This improvement changes the signals we use in document tracking algorithms. 
  • Improvements to foreign language synonyms. [launch codename “floating context synonyms”, project codename “Synonyms”] This change applies an improvement we previously launched for English to all other languages. The net impact is that you’ll more often find relevant pages that include synonyms for your query terms.
  • Disabling two old fresh query classifiers. [launch codename “Mango”, project codename “Freshness”] As search evolves and new signals and classifiers are applied to rank search results, sometimes old algorithms get outdated. This improvement disables two old classifiers related to query freshness.
  • More organized search results for Google Korea. [launch codename “smoothieking”, project codename “Sokoban4”] This significant improvement to search in Korea better organizes the search results into sections for news, blogs and homepages.
  • Fresher images. [launch codename “tumeric”] We’ve adjusted our signals for surfacing fresh images. Now we can more often surface fresh images when they appear on the web.
  • Update to the Google bar. [project codename “Kennedy”] We continue to iterate in our efforts to deliver a beautifully simple experience across Google products, and as part of that this month we made further adjustments to the Google bar. The biggest change is that we’ve replaced the drop-down Google menu in the November redesign with a consistent and expanded set of links running across the top of the page.
  • Adding three new languages to classifier related to error pages. [launch codename "PNI", project codename "Soft404"] We have signals designed to detect crypto 404 pages (also known as “soft 404s”), pages that return valid text to a browser but the text only contain error messages, such as “Page not found.” It’s rare that a user will be looking for such a page, so it’s important we be able to detect them. This change extends a particular classifier to Portuguese, Dutch and Italian.
  • Improvements to travel-related searches. [launch codename “nesehorn”] We’ve made improvements to triggering for a variety of flight-related search queries. These changes improve the user experience for our Flight Search feature with users getting more accurate flight results.
  • Data refresh for related searches signal. [launch codename “Chicago”, project codename “Related Search”] One of the many signals we look at to generate the “Searches related to” section is the queries users type in succession. If users very often search for [apple] right after [banana], that’s a sign the two might be related. This update refreshes the model we use to generate these refinements, leading to more relevant queries to try.
  • International launch of shopping rich snippets. [project codename “rich snippets”]Shopping rich snippets help you more quickly identify which sites are likely to have the most relevant product for your needs, highlighting product prices, availability, ratings and review counts. This month we expanded shopping rich snippets globally (they were previously only available in the US, Japan and Germany).
  • Improvements to Korean spelling. This launch improves spelling corrections when the user performs a Korean query in the wrong keyboard mode (also known as an "IME", or input method editor). Specifically, this change helps users who mistakenly enter Hangul queries in Latin mode or vice-versa.
  • Improvements to freshness. [launch codename “iotfreshweb”, project codename “Freshness”] We’ve applied new signals which help us surface fresh content in our results even more quickly than before.
  • Web History in 20 new countries. With Web History, you can browse and search over your search history and webpages you've visited. You will also get personalized search results that are more relevant to you, based on what you’ve searched for and which sites you’ve visited in the past. In order to deliver more relevant and personalized search results, we’ve launched Web History in Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Morocco, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Estonia, Kuwait, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Nigeria, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Bosnia and Herzegowina, Azerbaijan, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Republic of Moldova, and Ghana. Web History is turned on only for people who have a Google Account and previously enabled Web History.
  • Improved snippets for video channels. Some search results are links to channels with many different videos, whether on, Hulu or YouTube. We’ve had a feature for a while now that displays snippets for these results including direct links to the videos in the channel, and this improvement increases quality and expands coverage of these rich “decorated” snippets. We’ve also made some improvements to our backends used to generate the snippets.
  • Improvements to ranking for local search results. [launch codename “Venice”] This improvement improves the triggering of Local Universal results by relying more on the ranking of our main search results as a signal. 
  • Improvements to English spell correction. [launch codename “Kamehameha”] This change improves spelling correction quality in English, especially for rare queries, by making one of our scoring functions more accurate.
  • Improvements to coverage of News Universal. [launch codename “final destination”] We’ve fixed a bug that caused News Universal results not to appear in cases when our testing indicates they’d be very useful.
  • Consolidation of signals for spiking topics. [launch codename “news deserving score”, project codename “Freshness”] We use a number of signals to detect when a new topic is spiking in popularity. This change consolidates some of the signals so we can rely on signals we can compute in realtime, rather than signals that need to be processed offline. This eliminates redundancy in our systems and helps to ensure we can continue to detect spiking topics as quickly as possible.
  • Better triggering for Turkish weather search feature. [launch codename “hava”] We’ve tuned the signals we use to decide when to present Turkish users with the weather search feature. The result is that we’re able to provide our users with the weather forecast right on the results page with more frequency and accuracy.
  • Visual refresh to account settings page. We completed a visual refresh of the account settings page, making the page more consistent with the rest of our constantly evolving design.
  • Panda update. This launch refreshes data in the Panda system, making it more accurate and more sensitive to recent changes on the web.
  • Link evaluation. We often use characteristics of links to help us figure out the topic of a linked page. We have changed the way in which we evaluate links; in particular, we are turning off a method of link analysis that we used for several years. We often rearchitect or turn off parts of our scoring in order to keep our system maintainable, clean and understandable.
  • SafeSearch update. We have updated how we deal with adult content, making it more accurate and robust. Now, irrelevant adult content is less likely to show up for many queries.
  • Spam update. In the process of investigating some potential spam, we found and fixed some weaknesses in our spam protections.
  • Improved local results. We launched a new system to find results from a user’s city more reliably. Now we’re better able to detect when both queries and documents are local to the user.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Forum Posting is Still Effective

When i started my blogging career i spend a lot of time in forums, just to build a few links for my blogs. In forums i read different threads about forum posting, every one was saying that forum posting is not helpful for link building. I was still busy in building links through forum posting. Now i am happy that thanks god i did not stopped forum posting, because i got benefits.
I notice 3 three things in my blogs success just because of forum posting.

1. Traffic

As a blogger you will always need traffic for your blog. Traffic is blood for a blog and every webmaster works day and night just to drive traffic to there blogs and websites. The positive thing about forum posting is, that the more threads you post, the more comments you post, the more traffic you get from your contribution. That is what i did and got daily regular visitors from forums.

2. Click Through Rate

As every blogger want to earn money from there blogs using different Pay Per Click programs. One of the popular among all PPC programs is Google Adsense. Being a active member of some popular forums i notice increase in Click ThroughRate for my Adsense Ads.

3. Ranking

For one of my blog, for which i was trying to get high ranking on search engine. I achieved  my aim, by just posting valuable information in forums. Where i got links in signatures for my blog. So if some one is saying you that forum posting has no value, then he is 80% wrong.
Why 80%
Because if one is going to spam a blog, and just need backlinks from forums then forums are not going to help. The only way to get benefits from forums is to add quality in the existing discussions, Starting your own threads to share useful information and Respecting senior members of the forum.
Forum posting can help you in getting high rank position for average keywords. If you are a newbie then it is recommended that join popular forums and post valuable information along with links in signature. Dofollow Forums
For me forum posting is very effective, if you are thinking that forum posting is just a waste of time. Then share your thoughts here through comments, so that our readers can know that why forum posting is not effective.

3 Tips For Effective Forum Posting Are:

Forum Posting is a very useful technique to get free backlinks and relevant traffic. Especially if you are in affiliate business, then forum posting is very important for you. Every hit on your affiliate link has the chance to convert into sale. Forums has huge amount of visitors, thus if you will provide some quality then you will get a lot of free traffic to your blog or website.
1. Signature Links
Don’t put too much links in your signature, add only two links in order to get more hits on the links. Whether it is affiliate link or your blog link, allow your readers to easily chose and click on the links. If there will be more then 5 links in your signature, then there will be confusion for the visitor. So try to add only Two Links and Provide all the details about the link, so that visiter can easily understand the nature of the blog, affiliate or website link.
2. Informative Threads
The second tip to get hits on your blog or website link is to write a quality thread in your field. The more quality you provides the more hits you will get for links in your signature. No one will click on the link in your signature, if you just write a simple sentence, e.g Hello I want to know about off page optimization?
Instead of the above sentence if you will write “Off Page optimization is one of the most important factor in Search Engine Optimization. You must get links for your blog if you want to……..etc….”
Now more people will respect you and more people will click on the links in your signature. They will want to learn more knowledge from you, so provide unique and useful information in your threads.
3. Response to Threads
This is another useful technique to get hits on your signature links. For example if some one has wrote a thread about “Search Engine Optimization” and he missed some information, then its is chance for your to provide more detail information about SEO. In this way your comment will get more attention among the other response.
Follow these steps and start posting in forums for getting quality traffic and backlinks. Previously i wrote some useful posts about getting backlinks, don’t forget to reade these posts.
There is no need to search on the web for the list of high page rank forums. I have collected 700 dofollow forums for you guys. Just create a free account in all these forums and start posting, but keep in mind the above 3 tips. In this way yourforum posting will be effective and will give you a lot of benefits.