Kevin Kantola

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

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.




Dec 192013

As 2013 comes to a close, it’s time to review the past and take a peek into the future. A quick year in review will show that Google made several Panda updates, a Penguin update, a Phantom update and finally the grande Hummingbird update. After these, Google would challenge marketers with the “not provided” update in its Analytics program.

Now, with all of this quickly behind us, what’s a snapshot of what is to come for 2014? SEO is not dead. It never will be. It just has to change and adapt. So, in 2014, mobile will continue to grow at a rapid pace and SEO’s need to keep up.

Expect Google + Business to continue charging ahead and gaining importance especially for Local search. Authorship will also gain greater ground and need to be dealt with on an SEO/ SMO level. Content is still king and will continue to be so in 2014. Ranking still matters and will drive traffic to websites.

Social will increase its ability to weave its way through every aspect of website ownership/ traffic, online success. So, now that you know what to look forward to, let’s get started!


Nov 182013

A Google document, Search Quality Raters 4.2 has just been leaked in a private SEO community. The 137-page document mentions a new emphasis for quality raters called the “Your Money or Your Life” concept or YMYL for short.

The quality raters are supposed to hold webpages that affect your money, such as financial sites or shopping sites that take credit card information, to a higher standard. Likewise, webpages that have an impact on your life, such as medical or safety, will also be held to a higher standard.

Some of these standards include the expertise and authority of the writer. We design is also held to a higher standard than say for humor, entertainment or gossip sites.

Here are more details about the Google YMYL ratings.


Oct 092013

A little over a week ago, Google unveiled their Hummingbird algorithm update on the search giant’s 15th birthday. The Hummingbird update may turn out to be the Mother of all Google updates when all of the research is in.

The new Hummingbird algorithm is said to have been built from the ground up unlike Penguin or Panda updates which concern smaller algorithm changes. Google’s Matt Cutts says that the Hummingbird update is less focused on keywords and more focused on anticipating what a user’s intent is when searching.

The “hummingbird” part of the update is meant to mean “precise and fast.” One of the biggest changes for the new algo is attention to conversational search. If you can remember back to the old days when was still and people would type in questions and the quick witted butler would try to answer them, then Hummingbird is supposed to handle this at a much higher level.

On October 4, 2013, Google launched its fifth and latest Penguin update dubbed 2.1 (yes, it is confusing). Penguin 2.1 is supposed to go deeper into websites checking for spam. Cutts says this update affects ~1% of the searches. According to the webmaster community, however, it may be more severe.

To use one more bird metaphor in this blog post, many webmasters are now looking to duck and cover.




Sep 102013

Twitter Tweeters soon learn the shortcomings of the search feature in this popular social media destination. Do a few random searches on Twitter and you’ll soon find not what you’re looking for but rather results that are akin to those that may have been served up from one of the search engines in the 1990’s (the ones that didn’t make it).

Now, in steps an Internet company called Topsy, which fills the gap in Twitter searches. While the Fail Whale falls short, the Topsy search engine delivers relevant Twitter results. In fact, Topsy will deliver every Tweet ever uttered in 140 characters or less since Twitter began in 2006. That’s about 425 billion chunks of content for you and me.

Now, if you want to see something really cool, just type in “from:username” and you can check the history of your own tweets or the tweets of others. Of course you’ll also have to click on a date range on the top left panel, but that’s a no brainer. While Twitter is cool, it’s easy to see how one goes topsy turvy over Topsy, too.




Aug 072013

Google has just made an announcement that it says will affect around 10-percent of “people’s daily information needs.”

According to the number 1 search giant, surfers sometimes are looking for more in-depth information on the results pages. And this is just what Google is now going to give them.

Mixed into the SERP’s with Google News and Youtube videos will now be a section featuring in-depth articles about certain subjects.

According to Google’s Pandu Nayak, “I’m happy to see people continue to invest in thoughtful in-depth content that will remain relevant for months or even years after publication. This is exactly what you’ll find in the new feature. In addition to well-known publishers, you’ll also find some great articles from lesser-known publications and blogs.”




Jul 022013

For those who weren’t into search on the Internet before Google became King, you’ll need to say goodbye and pay homage to a search engine you may have never heard of which is

Sure, Altavista is now powered by Yahoo (or Bing actually) and even in the title bar of the website it says “Yahoo Search – Web Search.”

The fact of the matter is that before there was Google there was Altavista and a handful of other search engines (Webcrawler, Lycos, Go, Magellan, Excite, Inktomi, Hotbot, Ask Jeeves, Northern Light) to name a few.

In 2003, Yahoo bought Altavista along with Overture Services. It was rumored a couple of years back that Yahoo would finally be putting the nail in Altavista’s coffin. But, with Marissa Mayer as the newish CEO of Yahoo it is finally time to say as of July 8, 2013:

“Altavista, Hasta La Vista Baby!”




May 312013

On March 22, 2013 Google rolled out its Penguin 2.0 update (during the evening and right before the long Memorial Day weekend). Webmasters and SEO’s are still collecting the data about what has been affected and what’s not.

When Penguin 1.0 rolled out it mostly impacted the homepage of websites. However, Penguin 2.0 is supposed to affect deeper pages. The target of the new Google algorithm update are pages that use all sorts of “questionable” linking scheme to drive rankings.

Here are a few external resources that may help sort out the latest changes: