Browsing "internet marketing"
Previousl I wrote about a Google patent which has gained more and more traction in the search community. The patent in question is named Ranking documents, and as mentioned previously it seemed like an interesting tactic to employ to catch thsoe who less than ideal tactics to rank a website.
Unfortunately, often times you’ll find that people are discussing search engine optimization, and will tack on the terms spamming, or buying links, but the truth of it is – when you do it right SEO is none of those things. The new patent that was discovered I think of like a magic trick, it’s a bit of slight of hand that Google is using to get those unscrupulous tacticians to reveal themselves. Google shows them the index, they try and spam to get ranked highly. When Google notices the spam, they show a different set of results (if you don’t think they can do that, you’re not thinking clearly) just to see the reaction of their target. If they continue to offend, their site will likely be penalized, and the ranking pages will haven’t been affected negatively.
Spamming links to a website to give uncredible weight to a term is a measure used by those in the industry who are in the game for only a few quick clicks. Often used on disposable website urls, they will target a hot, trending term – as an example Paul Ryan’s RNC speech – and will try and garner as many links and as much visibility as possible in as short a time frame as they can. It’s a pump and dump tactic that is very likely to have the offending site banned from the index and the url blacklisted.
I fore see that this patent will be dissected, discussed, scrutinized and blamed for all manner of SEO problems and head aches to come. The only problem that some site owners have has with Google, Bing and Yahoo is they’re getting better and better at catching the people who try to cut corners or use less than natural methods to rank their site. Maybe even one day soon, we’ll have an adaptive algorithm which detects, and removes spam sites as you search actively so black hatters go the way of the dodo bird.
In Search Engine Optimization, your keyword margin for error is very large. If you use a keyword in a way that just doesn’t seem to be working, you can adjust it and try again. You may even find yourself starting to rank for keywords you didn’t think about. Those are a bonus, and you can chalk them up to extra traffic and possible conversions. You’ll also want to reassess your keywords every now and then to make sure there aren’t new trends, technologies, products or ideas that weren’t popular when you first did your research.
Since organic optimization doesn’t attach a fee per keyword, you shouldn’t shy away from the high competition terms that you may not get. It doesn’t hurt to compete for those, and, it makes it easier to match up for long tail keywords. And when it comes to the users, it makes your site much cleaner, because instead of having headings like “Winnipeg Blue Bombers Hatsfor your baby”, you can stick with “Blue Bomber Hats” or the more specific but still high volume “Winnipeg Blue Bomber”. It’s important to adjust the depth of the keyword to the depth of the site, with your landing pages using broader keyword matching and leaving it to your categories to be more specific.
On the other side of the spectrum, the margin for error in PPC is small. Every time you make a mistake, it costs you money. Every time that you bid on a new keyword, it puts you in direct competition with other sites. You need to go over your keywords with a fine tooth comb, cutting out those that aren’t working, adding negatives, researching new trends, and always the cost per click in mind and the other on the Quality Score. You need to make sure you’re using themes to categorize your keywords, that your copy is performing as well as it possibly can, and that your tight ad group/keyword strategy extends to your landing page and the way keywords are used on it.
There have been adjustments, changes, and what seems like complete rewrites of the algorithm that Google started with in the beginning. At first when you searched, the results you were given were based directly upon the query as you’d entered it, and sorted by how many back links it had. Now however, when you search for ‘Winnipeg Jets’, images and video for the team appear even though the words “images” or “videos” weren’t in the query.
The algorithm that Google, Bing and a handful of others use, has grown and evolved to a point where it’s trying to anticipate what you’re searching for, as well as the direct query you may have typed. The search engines are getting better at bringing what you want to see on your given topic, and seem to be weighing the number of clicks through to a result as well as all of the previous criteria as well. As you’ve probably mistakenly typed a word or two while searching as well, you’ve probably noticed that search engines are also able to correct spelling mistakes which are commonly made. What the engines are getting much better at doing however, is not correcting your spelling, but interpreting what you may actually be searching for. Google can load dictionaries of how words should be spelled and common misspelled variations of those words and can look at how searchers correct searches and when they click on different variations. And it can use this data to not only suggest a query with a different spelling but to treat the misspelling as a synonym behind the scenes and rank the correctly spelled matches.
And as with what goes in the same basket as interpreting what you might be looking for, Google is noticeably moving forward on trying to discern your intent while searching as well. A basic description of how it works:
Keyphrases don’t have to be in their original form. We do a lot of synonyms work so that we can find good pages that don’t happen to use the same words as the user typed. – Matt Cutts
Even Bing is getting in on the act as if you mispell a common word or phrase, you’ll still often be brough to the correct results. Perhaps soon enough, you won’t need to search by typing, but by simply visiting your preferred search engine. And because you researched a new car and purchased one via online dealership shopping, the engine knows that in a few months it should perhaps deliver you information on local garages which offer oil changes and tire rotation services.
When you’re online, you can always find a survey, or a post, or a questionnaire about almost anything. Recently, the results of one such survey were announced. Conducted by the website SEOMoz.org, they conducted what they called an ‘SEO Industry Survey’ and most of the results are.. predictable, it’s a lengthy read but you can find the full report here.
First off, they collected the usual data about their respondants. Who are you, where are you, how long have you been working online etc. And as per their results, the US accounts for the largest part of the respondants, and there are slightly more female respondents from 2012 – 20.6% to 22.7%. Half of us work as an in house marketer and are 26-34 years old, obviously still a young market at heart.
When it came to the jobs we do, well it seems that the majority of us feel as though we don’t have just one job, although search engine optimization is the number one role we provide (92% response). Followed by providing analytics assistance (82%), link building and content marketing were in the same boat (71%), and coming up faster, likely due to Facebook, is social media management with 70% of respondants saying that was a role they take on.
Not that it should be any surprise, but almost all of us (93%) learn our trade online via websites, blogs, forums etc, while nearly as many, 88%, state that the hands on approach works best. After a sharp drop off to 64% of us reading an actual book, there’s another dip where only half of us attend conferences or workshops in order to learn tricks of the trade. When it comes to plying our trade, almost all search engines will admit that your content is king, so when we’re creating, sculpting, or working on a site, the following chart gives a solid representation as to where we devote our time.
An interesting patent was being discussed lately, which may be related to all of the most recent shifts in Googles index, which seem to shake up the rankings pages every few weeks.
A basic description of how the patent reads:
Rather than allow the rankings to respond immediately and directly to those changes, the system that would change rankings in unexpected, counter-intuitive ways – while the rankings change from a first position through transition positions and to the final “target rank” position.
It sounds a little strange to think that the algorithm would work in an almost backwards way, but it’s an interesting idea. It’s a way for Google to monitor situations where spam may be an issue in a websites position, whether it be through links or content. and as the last portion of the analysis describes,
significant changes in position continue to happen even though there is no change in page’s ranking factors
Happy Birthday to Fresh
It’s been five, eventful years now since Fresh has made it’s landing in Winnipeg, and we’ve steadily become the online leader in the city. We’ve seen the construction of a new museum and stadium, the return of the long lost Jets, and a steadily growing business sector.
In terms of online change and growth, the internet has brought us nearly a billion Facebook users, the introduction of an alternative with Google+ and many changes and updates to the way people access information on the web. The growth of online search, and businesses using their websites to capture their audience has been increasingly growing in Winnipeg. While it was a little bit slow in the beginning to show locals the way, we’re surely and steadily getting there with more and more businesses and people coming online each day. It’s been a great beginning Winnipeg, and we look forward to many more to come.
If you’ve felt a little over run in the last little while by the Google zoo which has been running over the index, it’s a tad sorry to report but we’re not quite out of the wild yet.
Google has mentioned that while the Penguin algorithm shift is targeted at removing/reducing the spam sites in the results, they have also let it be known that it’s still actively being adjusted and worked on. The Penguin update is acting as an adjustment (their word) to the results in removing the backlink value that spammy sites could pass on to those looking at making a quick buck or shift in their positioning. As for Panda, that was the content upgrade in case you’ve forgotten, it is still tuned for digging out poor content on sites and pages. And although the updates are coming more consistently with them being automated, the shock, and surprise that website owners were initially experiencing from positioning drops, have lessened.
Panda is a regular monthly addition now to the search index, and Penguin is being incorporated in much the same way, however it still has a ways to go. With the addition soon to your webmaster tools to handle unnatural links pointing to your website, there will undoubtedly still be some site owners experiencing a shift in rankings if being inattentive with their site. Over time however, it will be a part of the regular indexing, and the results will be cleaner for it.
Matt Cutts on the growth needed of Penguin:
If you remember, in the early days of Panda, it took several months for us to iterate on the algorithm, and the Panda impact tended to be somewhat larger (e.g. the April 2011 update incorporated new signals like sites that users block). Later on, the Panda updates had less impact over time as we stabilized the signals/algorithm and Panda moved closer to near-monthly updates. Likewise, we’re still in the early stages of Penguin where the engineers are incorporating new signals and iterating to improve the algorithm. Because of that, expect that the next few Penguin updates will take longer, incorporate additional signals, and as a result will have more noticeable impact.
Late last week Google announced an additional metric to how it will be handling search results. Starting from last Friday, Google will be taking into consideration valid DMCA requests when parsing the index. While the new portion of the algorithm hasn’t been made live, they did have this to say:
Sites with high numbers of removal notices may appear lower in our results. This ranking change should help users find legitimate, quality sources of content more easily – whether it’s a song previewed on NPR’s music website, a TV show on Hulu or new music streamed from Spotify.
There are a couple of Google owned properties which are notorious for having copyrighted content, specifically Youtube and Blogger. And while they tend to receive the lions share of DMCA requests, Google has said it’s the valid takedown requests which will be used as the metric to decide who should stay, and who should fall. It’s the next major algorithm shift in store for site owners and it’s going to be interesting to see where it takes the content of the web.
Google is taking another page from Facebooks social networking prowess, and will being allowing vanity urls to some select profiles. Currently the majority of the Google+ urls are followed with a long string of numbers denoting your profile, while some are being tidied up.
While the idea is to roll out the feature and vanity value to all of the users, currently they have only passed the cleaned up address to a few on the social network. While it’s a step in a good direction for Google+ social offering, they still have a fair amount of ground to cover in order to catch up to Facebook. A small problem has been picked out currently with the change, as the new vanity urls haven’t been forwarded with optimization in mind. The new addresses are being used as canonical urls as opposed to being a full 301 to pass the full and proper content to the search engines.
The real trick about being noticed online, isn’t about having a Facebook account, or even about having a top of the line website built for you. Just like you can think of Coke and you instantly conjure up and image of a soda, branding is where you will make your business fly.
Online branding isn’t just for multi-billion dollar companies with worldwide distribution, when it’s done right, you can leverage it locally to your advantage. All you need is the time and the willingness to forge an image for yourself, and your business both online and offline. When you’re working to create an image for your business, you need to be clear as to what you want that message to be. Just like thinking of Coke or Pepsi makes you think of a soda, you need to be mindful of what imagery your campaign will inspire. Once you have that image in mind, it’s time to push ahead with becoming your vision. Search engine optimization is merely a tool you can leverage when you’re working on your brand. It is a very powerful tool, and when you manage it correctly it can make your presence known quickly and clearly online.
So once you’re ready to make your move and become more than just another store front, the online branding experts are here and ready to help. With our help, your desire to rise to the top, and some concerted effort we can make you the cream of the crop.
Google has been king of the search world, from almost the day it became a tool on the web. There are a handful of other search engines as well, all which do their best to offer a choice when you’re looking for online information.
There’s been some discontent with Google as a service, and it sometimes leaves users craving an alternative to the giant. There is a small problem with that idea however, and it’s the same reason that makes Google so successful. When you consider the basics of search, if you have quality content that people easily link to, you’re going to be well represented on the search engines, Google, Bing, etc. Google has just worked out how to best deliver the most likely content you’re searching for, because it can work out the content and the links leading back to that content.
It doesn’t mean though, that the web and search is due to stagnation. Everyone is working to innovate on the space, trying to find the newest, and biggest evolution in search and online interaction. There are some out there that do their best to be an answer engine, where you can basically query a database for an answer, and there are others out there which pride themselves on being hand curated by teams of human users to help promote the most relevant content. Bing and Google are both trying their hands at integrating your social life into your search results, both with mixed success at the present. But what all of these search engines become stuck and stuble upon, is the same issue, all of the current relevant results are built primarily upon links and link structures to help give value and authority to the website.
The future of search, won’t lie in constructing links back to your quality content, it will be when someone is able to come up with a search engine which can predict what it is you may be searching for. When you’re able to start looking for a new home for sale in a new city for example, and based upon your current, and previous searches it can determine that you’re in need of a new home near a school for your children, and it delivers those results to you as the most relevant. The technology doesn’t quite exist in such a way at the moment, as it would require massive amounts of calculations to hold the web open, ready to pick out the points you’re searching for. But the web and it’s technology do grow everyday, and perhaps soon enough we’ll be able to talk to our devices to find what we want.
When you’re working on your online branding campaign, a portion of your time is well spent on working on your pay per click offering. It’s like writing ad copy for a commercial, as adwords are the results which you see often on the top of the organic results, or to the left of the page. Typically marked as ‘Sponsored Links’ so as not to confuse those who are looking for the organic, or natural listings in the center of the page.
The pay per click model of search listing and advertising has been gaining a growing number of clicks, especially with searchers actively seeking to purchase an item. While working hard to improve on page and off page otpimization to rank organically is great for the long term gains, you can experience short term growth with adwords (PPC) advertising.
Once you’re setup with your adwords account, you’ll begin to get emails from Google offering to assist you with your account. Sometimes they offer simple suggestions as to keyword optimization or increasing your daily budget, and sometimes straight up offer a helping hand at improving traffic. On the surface at the moment, it seems that the helping hand that can be offered is worth it, with increased traffic and lower over all cost. And if that were all that were important with the PPC model that would be great, but the number one metric of measurement still hasn’t been determined – conversion rate.
It’s a great point of pride to say that your website receives 1000 visitors per hour (example only), and that your adwords cost to drive those visitors is only a few cents. But if you’re only able to effectively complete your goal – sign up for a newsletter or email, purchase a product etc, a few times out of those thousand then you’re really not doing as well as it looks initially. Your conversion rate is the key metric that matters the most in a pay per click campaign, and while it seems that letting the Adwords associates do the heavy lifting for you is great on the surface, they really only serve the same purpose as a search engine optimization expert. Driving traffic is key to visibility online, but it’s up to you and your website to convert the visitor.