Mar 012015

I will keep this short and sweet. Google has publicly stated that there are 2 new ranking factors in its search algorithm soon that all webmasters and marketers need to know.

The first one, according to Google, “Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.”

The second one according to Google, “…over the past few months we’ve been running tests taking into account whether sites use secure, encrypted connections as a signal in our search ranking algorithms. We’ve seen positive results, so we’re starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal.”


Links to More Information at Google


Dec 222014

Just in time for the holidays, Google has launched a limited release of popular song lyrics at the beginning of the search results. Here’s a little test you can try yourself in Google.

Type in the popular Christmas song + lyrics, “Grandma got run over by a reindeer lyrics” and you’ll see something like the picture below.

You can also try “Stairway to heaven lyrics” and a handful of other popular song lyrics to see if they pop up. This appears to be an expansion of the Google Knowledge Graph in the search results.

According to TechCrunch, “With Knowledge Graph, Google has been steadily enhancing its search results pages for years with data gathered from a number of sources, including Wikipedia, the World CIA Factbook, Freebase, Google Books, online event listings, other commercial data sets and structured data from the web.”

Some of the top lyrics websites may be affected by this move, but it will be an asset to some searchers who are looking to find popular song lyrics quickly instead of digging around through other websites to find the info for which they are looking.


Nov 282014

Google has recently rolled out its beta Contributor program as a test targeted toward about 10 websites. Contributor lets a select group of website visitors block Google ads for $1, $2 or $3 per month with the lion’s share of this going to the website publishers.

According to Wired, “The web is funded by ads. But so many people hate seeing them, and they often resent all the data tracking that props them up. It’s a clash that has become a major pain point for news websites and other publishers. The rise of ad blockers, which let people surf the web without these annoying ads, is also blocking their revenue. But Google is now offering a service that addresses both sides of this rather complicated issue.

“Launched on Thursday, the service is called Google Contributor, and it asks you to pay $1, $2, or $3 a month to back the websites you particularly like. In exchange for your support, you’ll see ‘thank you’ messages where ads used to be—at least on the websites that participate in the program.”

Some of the high profile websites that are participating in this test include Mashable, The Onion, Imgur, Urban Dictionary, Science Daily and WikiHow. Of course there are already ad blockers that one can use especially add-ons for Firefox, but this option allows fans of certain websites to contribute to the publishers directly and support their favorite online content.

It’s too early to tell how Google Contributor will impact advertisers or Adsense publishers.





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.


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


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.


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.




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.




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.”