Tag: SERPs

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Google search changes again

Google search changes again. There are Panda changes and Penguin changes, now Hummingbird changes, and Google has removed keywords from our Analytics, and we have to figure out what to do with Google+ and Google Local Business listings aka Google+ Local (or is it Google+ Local Business Pages this week?). What is an innkeeper to do? How can you keep up with all the changes, in order to make sure your business is successful? [caption id="attachment_878" align="alignright" width="300"] Photo by ljmacphee on Flickr[/caption]As one of my teachers (far too long ago, now) used to say, "When you are up to your ears in alligators, it is difficult to remember that your objective was to drain the swamp." He meant, of course, that the pesky details that force themselves on your attention will often keep your focus away from your real objective. In this case, the details of each change in the online marketplace can keep you from working toward your ultimate goal. More Google search changes In addition to the changes mentioned in the opening paragraph, there are two very recent major changes from Google that clamor for your attention. The first, and older of the two, is the carousel in local search. Not all searches result in a carousel, but this is changing and growing as Google rolls it out. It places a black-bordered filmstrip-style carousel at the top of the search results, with photos related to the search result to catch your eye. The second is that Google has made all searches "secure" searches (meaning they use a secure https connection), with the result that Google no longer reports keywords from its searches in Google Analytics. Neither of these two changes is minor. Being in the carousel means you show up (with a photo) at the top of…

Changes in Google search results – what should you do?

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Or so it is said. Google itself says it changes its search algorithm over 300 times per year (almost daily!). However, it seems beyond question that some changes require more attention for small business websites than others. When there are changes in Google search results that would penalize your website, for example, or when credit is given for particular formats or content, a change is surely warranted. Various search engine experts have observed that a number of changes have been occurring in the Google search results. These changes have suggested, among other things, that there may be less value on links to your website than in the past, usage of keywords on the page may be declining in importance, and social signals (references in social media) may be less important than had been previously observed. Search experts Moz (formerly known as SEOMoz) released a preliminary view of their analysis of current search ranking factors. The analysis is heavy on statistics and arithmetic, of course, but the summary is quite clear. Things are changing, but the old ways are still the strongest - at least for now. After analyzing the technical data and surveying numerous search experts, Moz found that the data supports the ideas that there may be changes around inbound links, keywords on the page, and social references, but at the moment, these items remain important. In fact, sites which are among the top search results are those which are strong in these areas. That said, The strongest social signal is from Google+. This corresponds with our observations, that Google is placing increasing emphasis on the Google+ Local business pages, and keeping posts current. This is a major departure from several years ago, where it could have been said…

Your Webmaster Should Take A Look At This

Yesterday (16 July 2012) Google's Webmaster Central Blog published a post explaining "semantics" (more about that in a moment) of web pages, urging sites to use semantic markup (specific types of HTML), and several "Do's and Don'ts". Could this be a signal of an upcoming algorithm change? A Bit of Background This will be the geeky part, but a bit of background will help understand what may turn out to be significant about the Google Webmaster Central post mentioned above. If you prefer, just skip to the last section for the punch line. The code used to create web pages, generally speaking, is HTML. The actual "tags" used to designate elements (headers, paragraphs, blocks, etc.) is called "markup." There are standards for properly creating pages with HTML, and those standards change and are updated as new browser features and other online capabilities become available. Google (and other browser and search firms) are usually represented in the updating and standards for HTML. The latest version of the HTML standards was HTML5, which was not officially released. One group has gone forward with it, while another has renamed HTML5 as HTML and continues it as a work in progress. We'll refer to both interchangeably as HTML5, for purposes of this post. HTML5, not fully supported by all browsers at this time, replaces some generic markup with "semantic" markup. For example, before HTML5 you might have a section of your HTML markup called a "div" - a generic block that could be used for any purpose. One div might be your navigation links, and another might be a feed from your blog. These could be differentiated by an "id" so a div with an id of "nav" might be your navigation links, and a div with an id of "feed" might be your…

Google Instant: Love it, hate it? It’s here.

What is Google Instant? Search results while you're typing. Not the little drop-down thingie that anticipates what you'll type, but actual results (complete with local map, for appropriate searches) that change as you type. See the screen shot below for an example. Notice that while the user has typed in "bed and" Google suggest has added "breakfast" and the search results are for the full term "bed and breakfast". If you change the third word to bath, the results change. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? The answer to that question depends on a number of factors. Google's Matt Cutts says you should give it a chance, as it will speed up your research, getting you results really quickly. He also addresses concerns that this will destroy, or at least change Search Engine Optimization (SEO). No doubt it will change SEO, as search, like the internet itself, is not static. Things change, and businesses adapt. SEO adapts regularly to new algorithms, new players (Bing), etc. This is just another new factor. It will change things. How it will change them remains to be seen. For a fun example of using Google Instant, and a really effective ad, see Google's video, below. Thoughts? Comments?

Google SEO experts explain what REALLY affects search results

[pullquote]Wouldn't it be great if Google would tell you which changes will help with search results?[/pullquote] Don't you wish your site ranked better in the organic search engine results pages (SERPs)? Wouldn't it be great if you could find out from Google (well, let's not forget Bing, Yahoo! and the others, but after all, their share of the market is tiny compared to GOOG) whether or not certain changes will really make any difference? You're not alone! Most of us would like to know if some change, or some technique that we've heard about will actually make any difference. Recently five Google experts answered questions on the Digital Inspiration blog, covering such topics as page loading speed, duplicate content, sitemaps, and more. John Mueller (Webmaster Trends Analyst, Google Zurich), Matt Cutts (Webspam Engineer, Google California), Zareen Kazim (Strategist, Google India), Koteswara Ivaturi (Project Manager, Google Hyderabad) and Kaspar Szymanski (Strategist, Google Dublin) provided answers to questions common to most website owners. If you manage your own web site, or just want to know the details, the 25-question interview is available at the link above, as well as a pdf file of the entire interview.  We'll summarize some of the interesting answers here (think of it as a short version, or executive summary). Page loading speed: This is a ranking factor, though not a "high-impact" factor, so faster site loading will not guarantee better search ranking.[pullquote]faster site loading will not guarantee better search ranking[/pullquote] Pages should be optimized for fast loading by compressing files (CSS and JavaScript files), caching pages on the server, etc.,  to provide a better user experience. Changing servers may not be needed, but you can use free tools to evaluate the things which may help. Google provides a speed-related mini-site to help with this. Duplicate Content: Duplicate content on your site…

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