[Giving a Shout-Out to Barry Schwartz over at SearchEngineLand for that link to a really nice summary of Matt’s presentation. I often keep an eye on Barry’s posts, along with other great journalists at SearchEngineLand.com.]
We’re very excited to see LinkedIn’s continued growth in popularity as well as the tweaks and redesign of their site and content promotion. As it’s popularity and respect has grown, it presents more and more opportunity to companies and individuals to promote their message.
Here’s a good start it improving your use of LinkedIn:
The SEO community is all-a- buzz about an SXSW presentation on Search Engine Optimization. Two really interesting items resulted from a panel with “Mr. Google”, Matt Cutts and Bing’s counterpart, Duane Forrester. Both of them discussed interesting aspects to their approach. One that matters for larger businesses, one for smaller businesses.
The SEO blog-o-sphere is chattering about an audio post from SEOLand of the SXSW discussion. Essentially, Matt is pre-announcing an upcoming change that may target websites that are “overly optimized”. He was defensively responding to a question about the increasing frequency of top results being irrelevant to the actual search. They want to stop fluff sites from over-ranking relevant sites, including Mom & Pop shops. Previously, his stance was a site couldn’t be overly optimized, unless using black hat techniques.
Most businesses seem to struggle with doing the basic fundamental best practices across all avenues of their online marketing, so this approach is likely a good thing. Now, don’t misinterpret Matt. Good, solid SEO techniques are still critical to ranking higher on Google’s Search Engine Result Page (SERP) as shown in this video:
The real news for smaller businesses is Duane’s response, just following Matt’s. Because of Bing’s continued relationship with Facebook, their response to this issue is to promote what users on Facebook are sharing and liking. This will help content rise even if no links point to it.
Microsoft also announced more about their deal with Twitter. Duane stressed that products or services from smaller or newer businesses will receive higher search results if social network amplification is occurring. (Meaning, someone sharing or liking something that was exposed to them from someone in their network, which is further shared by someone another degree away.)
Duane’s response exposes Google’s current weakness that Bing could exploit if it can attract enough searchers.
As discussed earlier, Google has begun blending and promoting their Google+ social network skewed results in their traditionally neutral search results, and doing so by default.
This favoritism and skewing of results is garnering tons of negative opinion pieces and articles around the web, such as this excellent overview on VentureBeat.com. It is quite easy for anyone to perform a search using Google and see how results favor Google+ pages and personalities over the much more relevant and frequently used pages or accounts using Twitter and Facebook.
We understand Google’s belief that they must somehow recreate and utilize a similar human network of web indexers such as their potential competitors seem to have achieved using Facebook ‘likes’ or Re-tweets. However, they do seem to be betting the farm with this decision.
It must be really tough making these kind of decisions in a company and industry that didn’t even exist more than a decade ago, give or take a few years. There aren’t any examples or historic events that they can consider when faced with these choices.
Or are there? Why are Search professionals so up in arms about this decision? Shouldn’t Google promote their own properties? Shouldn’t all companies and industries do so?
Turns out, these examples do exist and have been tested time and time again in their very own industry. Because Google is in the Advertising and Publication industry, the same as Sports Illustrated or Style or the New York Times. The content of search results are the articles and Adwords or Adsense are their Ads. Pure and simple.
And this decision? It’s the same one any Publication has faced and turned away from, or likely didn’t survive. Editors and Publishers both understand that the content must bring the consumers and the Ads will follow. When Publications begin promoting their Advertisers as news, it seldom works for long. Content consumers quickly deduce paid infomercials, whether obviously stated or not.
So, Google is breaking the oldest Publication law in the books: Editorial favoritism toward advertisers over unbiased or more relevant information. A huge no-no. Will they succeed and survive? Only time will tell.
Google continues to roll out massive, structural changes and, just like their Panda release earlier this year, this latest change will affect 35% of sites showing up in search results. More than 1/3 of the sites on the Internet may start or stop showing up on the first page of results.
Do you even know if your site has been affected? And if it is, do you understand why?
Google has made this major adjustment to force “more recent” content as the highest results. While this makes sense for searching on many news, gossip, financial and political topics, it could reek havoc on a great product-oriented website.
Once again, Google has upped the difficulty. You need to understand what “recent” means in your industry and for the type of site you have designed.
One reason for considering professional Search Engine Optimization experts is to help you keep abreast of changes and ramifications. Google has been increasing the number and significance of their algorithm changes every year. Last official count averaged more than one per day.
Unless you monitor your results using best practices you won’t know what changed, when it changed and how it affected your ability to show up on the first page of search results. Almost every client we start with, either thinks their results are fine (they usually weren’t) or think they’re terrible (they weren’t always) because they don’t really understand how to go about searching and what words to use. And how to check it consistently time after time.
For instance, a CEO of a Trash Can manufacturer might use “waste can” when searching for his product and be happy it showed up. Maybe all their content used “waste” and was indexed accordingly. Or, worse yet, maybe the CEO was signed in and using Google’s “personalized search results” feature that is set by default. Once the CEO is shown the majority of normal searches (in the US) use the word “trash” and not “waste”, he would be a bit disappointed. He would likely be even more disappointed with their results once the “personalized ” feature was disabled.
Why remind folks of this aspect? There are lots of benefits and lots of reasons why you really should consider learning finding a professional to help you in this area. You can spend hours every week reading what other experts are testing, what new methods are most effective and what techniques might now be getting you in trouble. Or just spend a few hours one week researching a professional.