Kevin Kantola

I am the owner and hands on search engine optimization guru behind SEO First.

Oct 292014

Google is calling their latest Penguin 3.0 release an algorithm refresh rather than an update. According to Google they didn’t add any new signals to the algorithm but rather cleaned up some old issues from Penguin 2.0.

Google broke the story through Search Engine Land that this worldwide rollout had started late on Friday night, October 17, 2014. After some confusion regarding the end of the rollout, it has been stated that Penguin 3.0 is still rolling out and will do so for weeks to come.

A couple other fun facts about Penguin 3.0 is that have been stated by Google representatives is that it impacts less than 1-percent of the English language search queries and it is targeting spammy links. What are the unstated facts? Like all refreshes or updates, it may take weeks or months to figure out the nuances.


Sep 292014

Yahoo started as a directory in 1994 and since has evolved into much more. After 20 years of service, however, Yahoo has decided to hand its own directory walking papers.

Because of competition from Google and decreased demand for what its directory has to offer users, Marissa Mayer has decided to pull the plug without offering a life line.

According to Yahoo, “Yahoo was started nearly 20 years ago as a directory of websites that helped users explore the Internet. While we are still committed to connecting users with the information they’re passionate about, our business has evolved and at the end of 2014 (December 31), we will retire the Yahoo Directory. Advertisers will be upgraded to a new service; more details to be communicated directly.”

Yahoo is an acronym for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle.” RIP Yahoo Directory.

Aug 142014

This week is SharkFest on the National Geographic TV channel and appropriately enough Google has entered into their own battle with real, live sharks.

Fiber optic cables, which transmit data across the Pacific Ocean, have been the object of recent shark attacks. One theory is that the sharks are mistaking the electrical impulses from the fibers for fish.

According to The Guardian, “Showing video of a shark biting a cable during an attack, a cloud product manager said that Google is working with partner companies on cables across the pacific to reinforce them with a Kevlar-like matting to prevent damage. Underwater surveillance video shows a confused shark biting down on a cable.”

So, if your Internet speed connecting to Asia has been slow of late, it just may be bites of bytes that are responsible.


Read more at The Guardian


Jul 162014

In May 2014 the European Union declared that its citizens have the right to be forgotten. In other words, many of these citizens don’t want to appear in the search results.

So, how about in the U. S.? According to a recent survey on Survey Monkey, 74-percent of adults in the U. S. also want the right to be forgotten and would permanently remove their names from the search results if given a chance.

Some of the top privacy precautions users take online include using privacy mode in their browsers, deleting history, deleting cookies and avoiding storing information in the cloud. A whopping 27-percent avoid social media altogether including Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.

So, what now? Google at least has taken a step in the more anonymity direction. After 3 years, Google + says they will finally accept any name to be used and will no longer require only real names upon signup. This may help at least some of that 27-percent to join in and participate in social media.


Jun 242014

Some people have asked, for the past several years, if the heyday of search is over. And the answer is that for the past 6 months, this apparently has been so.

Shareaholic has tracked the organic search traffic to the top 5 search engines from December 2013 through May 2014 and found declines in ALL of them. In fact, the declines have been between 17-percent and 32-percent.

So, what has replaced the search engines? Well, social media (especially Facebook and Pinterest) have been in the driver’s seat in regard to increased traffic quarter over quarter. Twitter is also starting to creep up in delivering traffic.

But, Linkedin and Google + while owning a very small percentage of the traffic pie, tend to drive more engaged users. And this is something that marketers need to be aware of as well.

So, is search dead? No, not dead, it’s just not peaking month after month like it used to do. And social media continues to expand its place at the table.


May 152014

If you’re a search user who doesn’t like being tracked, you could use the Firefox browser with its no tracking privacy option, or you could go to DuckDuckGo and search away. One of the claims to fame of DuckDuckGo is that it doesn’t track people and share their info with the NSA (what would be the point in that?).

DuckDuckGo has a clean user interface like the Google of old. And a bow tie on a duck for the logo, that’s just mar-ve-lous! DuckDuckGo needs to have their own Penguin and Hummingbird updates just so they can stay with the bird theme.

The results may not be as robust as those of Google, Bing or Yahoo, but for simplicity sake you may just want to flock together (birds of a feather) and check out DuckDuckGo.


Apr 222014

Microsoft has just rolled out an interesting feature called “Bing Predictions,” which will predict the outcomes of TV shows like American Idol, The Voice and Dancing with the Stars. Now, what makes this interesting to me is the technology behind these prognostications.

According to Bing, “The central idea behind the direct approach is that winners and losers correspond to popularity. In broad strokes, we define popularity as the frequency and sentiment of searches combined with social signals and keywords. Placing these signals into our model, we can predict the outcome of an event with high confidence. For The Voice, our model is tuned to account for biases, such as regional preferences, and other measurable and observable trends. We have also learned how to combine the prior popularity of a contestant with the contribution due to his or her performance. Although we might believe that the outcome of this week’s The Voice comes down to how well someone belts out a tune, our data indicates that many people have ‘favorites’ regardless of individual week-to-week performances.”

This may not be of grave concern to the general population of Internet marketers, yet, but you can be sure that the Las Vegas oddsmakers are taking notice. :)


Mar 212014

Other the past couple of years many small online businesses have gotten their butts kicked by bigger brands in the Google search results. But, new Panda help is just around the corner.

According to Search Engine Watch, “Google is working on a refresh of Panda, a ‘kinder, softer Panda,’ Google’s Distinguished Engineer Matt Cutts announced at SMX last week.

“The goal of the next generation of Panda is to help small businesses that may have been impacted by previous versions of the algorithm that Google has unleashed periodically since the initial launch in February 2011.”

On August 30, 2013 Google began asking for small website owners to take a survey and state why their “best in class” websites weren’t ranking as well as their large brand, off-target competitor. As of this writing, the page is still up, so you can submit your website if you so desire.


Feb 102014

Rob Toledo, Head of Outreach at the Moz Blog wrote an excellent article recently about the value of nofollow links. And the value, according to Mr. Toledo, is not in the building of a balanced linking profile as one would assume.

According to Mr. Toledo, “Eliminating a site from a prospect list just because it nofollows links is focusing far too much on the minimal value one link provides. I would argue that in any online marketing campaign, nofollows not only have a place but should be sought after as part of the overall strategy.

“To be clear, I’m not talking about trying to maintain some healthy ratio of link types in a site’s profile; I’m talking about actively pursuing nofollows with the intention of gaining the benefits they bring almost entirely unrelated to organic search.”

For the entire article, read this.


Jan 132014

If one of your favorite travel comparison sites is then you’re not alone. However, Kayak and the other large travel comparisons websites had better take notice that Google Flights is expanding.

In March 2014, Google Flights will be adding Ryanair to its list. Ryanair is a European budget airline which offers larger discounts that some of the other major airlines.

And if searching for a place to stay, then Google Hotels may help you look for your favorite place.

While the Big G may be the world’s most loved search engine, the Mountain View company will also help you travel the world as well.