Mr. Google, Matt Cutts, foretells the Future of SEO

ImageMatt Cutts has recently given a heads-up for what webmasters and SEO experts should expect over the summer of 2013. He addresses Google’s “Most Wanted” List of Top Ten things to watch out for:

http://searchengineland.com/googles-matt-cutts-black-hat-link-spammers-less-likely-to-show-up-in-search-results-after-summer-159185

[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.]

SXSW: Bing gets Social. Google Wants to Paint Too Much SEO Black.

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.

Google’s Change to Search Algorithm Affects 35% of Sites’ Search Results

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.

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy, though, to work out what qualifies as ‘recent’, according to Google fellow Amit Singhal in the official Google blog post on this new change.

Fewer Words Matter

The hardest part of any marketing task is communicating your message in just a few words.

I have been telling friends for years that a marketing degree should start with “Marketing 101: How to Describe It in 100 Words.” It would be a weekly course and every week the student would have to describe the same item, but in fewer and fewer words. The final would be a Google Adwords Ad…here is it’s format:
25 Characters
35 Characters
25 Characters

That’s less than 100 Characters, including spaces. And in that 100 characters you have to grab a person’s attention, differentiate yourself and entice them to click on your Ad among all others.

Most firms we begin helping have a tough time saying what they do in a paragraph.

One of the SEM mentors I follow posted this video, which I think sums all this up in two spoken sentences and one written one.

Can you describe your company in seven words or less? Give it a shot, you may be surprised at the results!

3 Best SEO Practices that Could Penalize Your Site

Well, we recently posted about the need to change a common “Best Practice” SEO technique for incoming Links to your site. It’s been considered a good thing to have those links use the most relevant keywords that matter to your site, rather than every link on the web using “Click here for more”.

Now it appears two other SEO Best Practices may hurt your site’s search ranking results, at least Google’s results anyway.

Joining “important keywords should be used on inbound links” are these two common SEO techniques:

1) Don’t Waste Page Titles on your Brand Names, use Keywords instead

2) Keeping page content specific to one subject

It now appears, after Google’s Panda and Mayday updates, that both of these techniques will no longer help you and may indeed hurt you, dropping your rank on Google’s search pages.

Here’s an in-depth article that will detail these two important changes, as well as discuss the common anchor text on inbound links practice. It’s called, “Breaking 3 Old SEO Habits“.

 

 

Are You Watching Your Google Rankings?

Don't Play Around with Panda
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.

A new article talking about the biggest three changes last year prompted me to post this article. Did you hear about Google’s Panda change? Did your site’s search results drop? You might be very interested in the following article from Duncan Heath at SearchEnginePeople.com about the big difference in Google’s latest search change, called Panda.

Big Change in SEO “Best Practice” – Anchor Text in Links

One of the toughest things for small business owners is keeping up with all the important advancements or changes in technology that impacts many aspects of their business. Unfortunately, these advancements might be in areas that are NOT the business owner’s core competency, such as Web design, Quick Books updates or new Trade Event booth designs that dramatically cut costs.

Was Ten, Now Nine SEO CommandmentsImproving and keeping your search engine results are one of those areas as well. And for some months now, it appears that Google has drastically changed a top ten “SEO Commandment” I call “standardizing keyword use with inbound link anchor text”. This commandment from now on needs to add “NOT” in it. The updated commandment and the explanation are as follows:

Thou Shall NOT use the same Anchor Text Keywords within all inbound Links 

During most of 2011, Google has focused on trying to reduce the “black hat” SEO sites that are merely content farms housing shallow information that is seldom what a searcher is seeking. One item they continue to analysis AND penalize involves paid links. Their house cleaning consists of punishing violators who are obviously paying for links on a site that isn’t relevant and shouldn’t be sending traffic to the violator’s site.

Small business owners are easy, constant targets for the “we can guarantee your company will show up on Google’s first search page”. One of the often used methods is to sell a service that will increase the amount of incoming links.

FOR YEARS, SEO experts have know that using your most important keywords CONSISTENTLY in the link on the other site increased the importance of showing your site when someone searched on those exact words. This recommendation has been considered a White Hat Best Practice since its inception.

Now that same behavior could get you penalized. Just like JC Penny and Overstock.com (for slightly different link building schemes). Google has determined that if too many of the links on other sites that are pointing to your site use the same exact text in their link, you are probably paying for them.

We would recommend that you build up an expanded list of your most important keywords. If you have the opportunity to request what anchor text to use on another site, keep track. Use Google Webmaster Tools to periodically check natural growth in inbound links. Make sure to include product and company brand names in the links now to further change the links from being all the same.

Google assumes “natural links” would not always use the same words. And if they suspect you are buying those links, they’ll silently penalize you from being displayed on their search results.

Yes, this will happen even if you have only been following Best Practices or Used an professional SEO expert in the past. By the way, this is also the reason you shouldn’t think of SEO as a one time task.