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While most in the search industry fluctuate within a few points, over the last few months Blekko has enjoyed a huge increase in traffic. Since the beginning of the year, Blekko has enjoyed 350% plus gain in traffic, expecting to reach 400% by the end of the month. These are all unique IPs accessing the site, to conduct searches and likely SEOs taking advantage of the tools they have available.
Blekko was already enjoying a slow and steady growth in 2011, averaging just over 1.5 million uniques in the month of December. But flipping the calendar page to 2012, seemed to herald a new beginning for the slash tag search engine. The Uniques for the first month of the new year doubled what they had seen in December and broke the 3 million mark. And while the initial information came from Blekko themselves, casting a little bit of a shadow on the information, it’s since been learned that while the actual numbers aren’t known, the growth is there.
There are always shifts on the web, new sites grow, old sites decline in traffic, but sudden, massive growth like Blekko is experiencing should also be taken with a grain of salt. Those in charge of the company offered a few reasons why they feel they’ve experienced such explosive growth in the new year, and the one which is probably the largest reasons is they’ve taken the time to make their presence known. The company has made it a point to attend major conferences to tout their strengths, and it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to see they’re experiencing higher growth than previously. They also listed their recent upgrades as a reason for the sustained growth, which helped deliver an improved index for people who use the engine and build their slash tags. On the technical side of the equation, with the loss of Yahoo site explorer and the new tools which Blekko offers, they’ve undoubtedly seen an increase in traffic to that area of their site as well.
Competition in the search space is a great thing to be happening, and Google has said previously they welcome it. It encourages change, growth, and an ever expanding choice in what the public can use.
It’s somewhat common knowledge that when someone performs a search, there will be a box of “Sponsored results” to the left, above, and sometimes even below the organic results. Bing has a paid service, as does Yahoo and Google has their AdWords which proved a business in search can be profitable. There’s a discussion lately surrounding paid search advertising and the big 3 search engines, and if you’re not careful with how you read it, you may walk away with the wrong idea.
Compared to this time last year, the CPC for Google has fallen again, for the second quarter in a row while Bing and Yahoo’s CPC have continued to climb. On the surface it’s a statement which can make it sound like Bing and Yahoo have been managing to grab ad space from Google. The point closer to the truth however is more to the tune that Google has become an even better choice to advertise with, as opposed to Bing and Yahoo. Search engine marketing via the AdWords platform or one like it, has to be measured differently than the organic results, you can’t take positioning as the end goal.
When you begin to break down the numbers involved in SEM and SEO, there are some key differences that you need to understand. They both depend on conversion rates, because without converting your traffic, you’re wasting time and money. One of the largest, and most important difference however is the click through rate of your positioning. You could be ranked at the very top of the AdWords results, but if you have a poorly written ad, or a poorly built website, chances are your conversions will be limited.
Another major point you need to keep in mind is cost per click, or CPC as was being discussed earlier. Where paid advertising is concerned, CPC is a literal interpretation of how much it is costing you to have someone click on your listing. Organic SEO is more difficult to define, as you’re not paying each time someone clicks your organic listing, but after a few months you can more easily break it down. A high cost per click for your search term can mean that there are many people in the same space, or, it can mean that one of your competitors is driving up the bid on the keyword to try and gain dominance. A declining average cost per click isn’t necessarily a bad omen, it can point to reduced competition, it can also mean an improved conversion rate.
Occasionally, if you’re diligent about handling your website and checking in on Webmaster Tools, you’ll get the odd warning. Most of the time they’re not major, maybe your sitemap is old, your navigation has an error or you have an erroneous line in your robots.txt file blocking crawling on your site. But for people who’ve been maybe a little, naughty with acquiring back links, maybe getting caught buying links and increasing their Page Rank, receiving notice in your WMT is only the first step of the work you need to do.
There is some great information to be found, direct from Google itself about how to handle being called out by having unnatural links pointing back at your site. When you get a warning like this, you’ll also get a notice that you’ll have the penalty attached for 6 months, but just because you have it doesn’t mean you need to grit your teeth and bear it for that long. If you’ve acted quickly, and cleaned up all of the errors that have been reported and are serious about your online positioning, you need to submit a reconsideration request as soon as possible. Sitting and waiting out the penalty doesn’t just affect your site in the short term, it will also affect your positioning, and possibly your reputation in the long run.
If you’ve been flagged as having unnatural links pointing at your site, you need to go as far back as the links go. If you’ve been working them for a year, clean up the last years links. If it’s two, five, or even ten years of links, it needs to be dealt with. That means a massive undertaking, but this is your online presence, and possibly the survival of your online business. Taking the time to clean up all of the links leading into your site is time invested into the well being of your company.
The last piece of pertinent advice was just as important as well, just because you may have received a notice today, doesn’t mean it’s only just now been noticed. Google has only recently been actively sending out reports to site owners, so just because you may have received notice that your pages aren’t crawling properly, doesn’t mean they never noticed before. The issue you’ve recently become aware of, just may be the reason you’ve never been able to hit page 1, or over take a competitor in your online market. Taking action on your report and quickly submitting for reconsideration is not only the best course of action, it should be viewed as the only course of action after receiving a notice.
There are all sorts of experts out there in the SEO world, and for all of the experts out there willing to take only a couple of hundred dollars to place your site, there is a larger road block to finding the real pros in the industry; information. Good info, bad info, just plain wrong info, if you search for seo expert, or anything along that though line, you will run into some real winners if you’re willing to dig deep enough.
The last year or so the internet search world has been buzzing with Panda, it dropped this clients site, or it ruined the results for the term which magically brought their site 20,000 visitors in a day previously. Casting aside all of the hyperbole, Panda didn’t affect the vast majority of the websites out there, the main aim of the algorithm is to search out spammy sites, sites with scraped content from other sources and even sites which use automatic posting means. Just like any of the other major algorithm shifts, if you weren’t doing anything wrong at all, you’ll have noticed very little change in your positioning, and in your visitors.
But, if you happened to be working in a back linking scheme to garner thousands of links from a seemingly active blog, and you magically dropped in the rankings, then chances are the blogger wasn’t quite doing things the proper way. Before you start reading information on search and taking it at its face value, you need to dig even deeper into the threads and posts on the site which calls itself experts. If it’s only comprised of a handful or so pages, chances are they haven’t done anything except find some decent content and copy it. If the information sounds good, check the post date on it, if it was posted even a year ago, then as great as it sounds then there are likely vast portions of it unusable. And finally, actually take the time to dig into the post, read it both silently and out loud. If something isn’t adding up as you read it, sentance structure is off, or the cadence is jerky, then there are a couple of strong contenders. The post in question was either scraped and put together in a hodge podge fashion to try and dupe the algorithms, or, the piece was written by a piece of software.
The last bit may seem a little odd, but there are programs available now which can truly write all of your blogs for you. You can feed it a topic, how many words you want, what type of emphasis, and a few minutes later you have a post. The key issue with these programs however, is just as bad as someone manually scraping the web for content, the posts are almost entirely made up of scraped content. The software is just designed to piece it together to make it fit the parameters you have set.
There is really only one rule to bear in mind when searching for an SEO, or when one approaches you: Can you find them when you search for them? Because if they can’t list their site in the top few pages, then chances are very strong they can’t do a thing for your site as well.
It should be no surprise to anyone out there that Google has their share of privacy concerns. People worry about their search history, their emails being read, even with some who use the browser the worry extends to their entire online activity profile. Everybody has always assumed that Google knew what you were doing and kept track of everything, and they never really helped their case by saying either way. But now, you can have an insight into just how much Google does know about you.
Earlier today, Google announced a new service they call Account Activity which does exactly as it’s name suggests. For users who opt in to the service, once a month Google will send you a report about the information it has collected on you for that month, while signed into your Google account. Being ever curious, I opted in for the report and a few hours later I received all of the data that has been grabbed of my activity. And bearing in mind that I also use an Android device, the amount of data that could be collected of my usage is quite large. Yet when I went through the report, I found the information was vague at best, at least in terms of what they keep. It kept track of the top 3 people I email, how many emails I had coming and going (note: not the content of which), and the devices and platforms I’ve used while signed in. Way down at the bottom of the report is Web History, and since I’d opted out of allowing them to collect any data, it was completely blank.
Since Google unified their privacy policies across their products, it seemed like there was a sudden surge of concern about what data Google does collect about their users. Personally, it was never a concern, becuase while true privacy online doesn’t exist, as a user you do still have an incredible amount of contol about what information you share with the world, and with the services out there. Where the disconnect between the reality and the paranoia occur, is where people stop reading about their services, and just run amok with what’s trending. Whether it be on Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media network. Every service on the internet, not just Google, every single one is only viable because of the users who share information with them. Even if it’s something as simple as a username, without even that fragment of information they couldn’t exist. When you next read about some internet company stealing your information or selling it to third parties, instead of jumping on the band wagon have a look at your settings if you’re a part of the network. It’s the user who has the control at the end of the day, if you don’t want to be a part of a service, leave it.
So Google has come out and said that late last week they pushed out a new update with Panda, and that it really only affected less than 2% of searches in the wild. Considering the millions of searches performed in a day that might seem trivial, but what do you do if you were caught up in the update and “lost” your position? Well, there’s a short, and a long answer to this predicament, we’ll start with the long one.
One of the first things you need to verify when you think you’ve been removed or bumped down in the index is, you need to have a look at your toolset you use. Whether it’s Google’s Webmaster tools, Analytics or any other suite with which you use to monitor your site, get in there and have a look at the warnings or errors section. If a search engine has found any major faults with your site, you’ll often find a report which outlines the discovered errors and some tips about how to rectify the situation.
Another helpful step you can take to make sure nothing naughty has gone on while you weren’t looking, is run a quick backlink check on your site. You should occasionaly have a look at who it is that’s linking too you, as backlinks tell part of your story to the search engines. While the internet is a vast, wild and sometimes reckless place, you can still have some control over who is lending you relevancy. If you’re a shoe sales website you wouldn’t want to have thousands of backlinks from a forum relating to boats as your website and business have nothing to do with boats.
Another big point you need to try and bear in mind, also falls in line with the short answer to the question of what to do if you get bumped or dumped. As shocking as it can be to be dropped from the index, the number one step you can do is wait. If you have a clear conscience and are confident in the work your SEO performs for you, you need to remain calm, correct any major flaws pointed out in your webmaster tools, submit your reconsideration forms to the search engines and wait. The search engines, Google, Bing, Yahoo etc do a great job of keeping people informed and in the dark at the same time. There are hundreds of variables active in the search algorithms, and if you’re found in glaring violation of any of them you could be kicked down or dropped from the index. So remain in contact with your SEO, have a look at your site from time to time and make sure you’re still relevant to your niche, and in time your course will be corrected. The index is like having a jar of water with sand in it. When it’s left long enough, the water clears and the junk filters to the bottom, but every now and then it’s interesting to pick it up and give it a good shake. Make everything muddy for a short time, but in time it will settle out and everything will clear.
In all the ruckus made about the issues of privacy that people keep bringing up, it always comes back to the same question. If you’re so unhappy, why don’t you just stop using it? The real issue with privacy and being online that the vast majority don’t, or won’t realize, is it doesn’t truly exist. If you want your information to be private, never sign anything. Never use the internet, don’t get an email address and move to a mountain side. And even then, even if you lived all alone in a shack on the side of a mountain, if someone sees you and writes a blog about you, sorry, no more privacy. All you can do to maintain control online is to be aware of the sites you use, what their policies are and what they change too if they change. Google didn’t change anything about how they do their work, they simply stream lined it to make it easier for the user, and for them. Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo, all massive companies all of which became that way because you’ve used their products and given them your information. Companies don’t grow like trees, they grow with your personal, private information.
For a new business starting up, or for those looking to make their presence known online, the over whelming amount of options you have can be staggering. There’s pay per click, organic search engine optimization, social media and social media optimization, the internet is a speedway filled with potholes if you’re not careful.
Pay per click marketing, also known as AdWords, is a pretty straight forward marketing plan. It’s bidding on ad placement within relevant search results, to put it plainly. If your ad is deemed relevant, and you’ve won the bid, your ad will be displayed in a “Sponsored Listings” box on the results page. Basic optimization needs to be kept in mind, as well as the quality of your website and it’s landing pages.
Organic search engine optimization, SEO, or the holy grail of online marketing, are the results you see in the center of the page when you conduct a search. A fair amount of time, resources, knowledge and creativity are involved where organic SEO is concerned. Finding an expert in the field can be a difficult, if not troubling experience. In recent years, the field has become inundated with web designers, graphic artists and the like all proclaiming to be SEO experts. If you find your business is being contacted by parties wanting to sell you SEO services, here’s a little tip. After they tell you their business name, try searching for them. Because after all, if they can’t list their own business, how can they list yours?
Then we get into the bustling world of social media. Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and now Pinterest all vie for your attention. And as an added result, your customers attention as well. It’s incredibly cost effective, if not free, to become invested with social media for your business. The majority of your investment is going to be with your time and creativity. Taking the time to leverage all of the social angles is a consuming process, but it’s well worth it as it can quickly build a positive brand image.
Google marked its 10th year in Canada by nearly doubling the size of its staff here and the Mountain View, Calif.-based company intends to make its Canadian presence even larger in 2012.
“Canada is one of the fastest growing markets for Google and it’s one of our big bets corporately. It’s a market that Google is very committed to and investing in heavily in terms of resources and growing very, very quickly,” said Eric Morris, head of mobile advertising at Google Canada.
Mr. Morris was one of the first two Google employees to set up shop in Canada after the company first moved north in 2001. When asked if Google might double its Canadian staff again in 2012, from its current roster of about 300 employees, he said “hopefully.”
Read more: http://www.ctv.ca/generic/generated/static/business/article2285273.html#ixzz1hrp5Oh4g
2011 is very nearly complete, another year of search under our collective belts and hopefully we’re all just a little bit smarter. With the world being digital, it’s fairly simple to get in tune to the heartbeat of the world and what is on ‘our’ minds. Google has pushed out it’s Zeitgeist for 2011, in a great little tool that’s easy to browse through and learn just a little about what makes us tick.
The overall top 10 fastest rising searches of 2011 just happened to be:
8)TEPCO – Fukishima Reactor Plant
If someone who’d never met a human before saw this trend list, they’d be hard pressed I think to wonder about our fleeting fascination with global topics. One potential disaster that could have harmed untold numbers of the Japanese population nearly buried on a list of electronics, television and pop stars, video games and tech gadgets. Maybe the list is a little better closer to home? Lets have a quick look at the top 10 fastest rising searches for Canada
3)Canada Post Strike
7)Game of Thrones
Well.. it seems that we’re not much better than the rest of the world, with having Rebecca Black, Ryan Dunn and a video game taking 3 of the top 5 spots in Canada. Maybe next year we can try a little harder? Happy holidays