When you’re looking for fruit in the grocery store, fresher is always better.
And you definitely want your food fresh the next time you sit down at a restaurant. Now you’ll get fresher, more relevant content when you enter your next search for scores, recent news and hot topics in Google too with the new Google update.
Google is basing their latest update, announced Thursday Nov. 3, on the premise that when you search for something that’s relevant today, you won’t get results for something from the 90s, 80s or even earlier. Google’s update to its basic search algorithm will land up-to-date results on top instead of stale, old content you really weren’t searching for.
The recent changes are expected to impact about 35% of searches on Google.
“Given the incredibly fast pace at which information moves in today’s world, the most recent information can be from the last week, day or even minute, and depending on the search terms, the algorithm needs to be able to figure out if a result from a week ago about a TV show is recent, or if a result from a week ago about breaking news is too old,” Google posted on its official blog Nov. 3.
Google said recent changes with the latest Google update will mostly affect searches on recent events or hot topics, regularly occurring events and frequent updates. For example, when you search for scores or information on new jobs available, you’ll get the latest information instead of scores or new jobs from even last week or last month.
Now, the changes aren’t expected to make a difference too many searches. Google said searches such as “fast tomato sauce” recipe certainly will deliver results that may be a few months or even a few years ago.
Many experts look at the dramatic impact of social media on why Google is making the changes with the recent Google update. Recent, fresh information is more available on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter than ever before about friends and family and even celebrities, athletes and others people are interested in liking or following.
And with the latest Google update, you get the latest information with your search.
Since the launch of the Google +1 button, many SEO’s and business owners have had the question, will the Google +1 button have any effect on my SE rankings? In order to best investigate that question, it is important to look at the idea behind the +1 button.
Google has had many failed attempts at getting involved in the social media scene (Google Lively, Google Friend Connect, Google Wave, and Google Buzz, to name a few). Each time Google released a social media platform, it failed to appeal to the majority of internet users, while things like Facebook and Twitter powered on, gaining more and more popularity.
However, Google seems to be in the game with the new +1 button. As of July, Google +1 is the second most used website plugin to the Facebook “like” button, even over twitter!
What is Google +1?
Very similar to Facebook’s “Like” button, Google +1 allows users to make a kind of “vote” for a website, alerting other users that they liked the website. It is very easy to add the +1 button to a site, simply visit Google here for directions on how to install the button.
While similar to a “like” button, the +1 button has many differences to a Facebook like that website owners need to be aware of.
Effects on SERPs
First, when you click the +1 button on a website, your vote data is shared with people on your Gmail or Google Talk contact lists. This means that when one of your contacts who has had data shared searches for a keyword where you have voted for a page, that page may show up higher on their search results as a kind of recommended site.
Your own search results will be personalized as a result of clicking +1 on a website. Google has also indicated that the +1 votes may indirectly affect Quality Score rankings for PPC campaigns in the near future. This means that having the +1 button on a landing page for PPC ads will be a must.
For now, anybody you are not connected to through Gmail or Gtalk will not be affected by your votes, other than them being able to see the aggregate number of +1 votes on a site. But this may change in the future.
It has become clear that Google is very interested in using social data to help them improve their search results. Since this data is sent directly to Google, it stands to reason that a site with more +1 votes will, over time, rank higher in the SERPs than a site with no +1 votes.
Please leave comments below, and let us know if your rankings have been affected at all yet by the +1 button.
For most businesses, web images have been kind of a way to spruce up the old website. They haven’t really been too necessary to be found on Google, as long as you had good content to back your site up with. All that, however, may be changing.
At its ‘Inside Search’ event in June, Google announced the release of “Google Search by Image”, a new way of providing search results. Instead of typing in a search query, or using keywords, users can simply drag an image into the search box, or paste an image URL, and Google will pull up any related site with a similar image on it.
How Does it Work?
This nifty bit of technology uses a combination of shape and color recognition algorithms to find pages with visually similar images, and returns those pages to you in your search results. Google has expressly stated that it does not use facial recognition technology for searches involving people, but that it exclusively relies upon its new shape and color algorithms.
The search is very easy to use. Simply visit http://images.google.com/ and click the little camera button in the search box, and you can upload images from your computer, drag images into the search box, or paste an image URL into the search box, and watch Google go to work for you.
This is particularly handy for tourists who want to know what a building is, or people visiting a museum wanting to know more about a particular piece, but how is it going to affect businesses?
Effects On Businesses
First off, it is going to be more important than ever to make sure you are posting images of your products on your site. You want to make sure if someone is searching for your product using the image, your site is coming up in Google’s Search by Image results. If you do not have a similar image on your site, your site will not show up in the search results at all!
Here is an example of an image search results page that I got by pasting just an image of an iphone 4:
As you can see at the bottom of the iphone 4 results, Google only returns pages that have similar images posted. If you sell iphone 4′s, you better have a picture of one on your site or your clients will end up on somebody else’s site. If you have a unique building or brick-and-mortar store, get a picture of it on your site.
Not only will this new tool be useful for places and objects, it can also be used very effectively in searching for pictures of people. This is going to make it vitally important to be careful how you use your pictures online. If an employer searches for an image of you on Google, what is going to be returned? If your clients search for you, will there be a list of professional blog posts, or just a bunch of comments on fail blog?
Search by Image is, like all of Google’s products, only going to be refined with time. Some pictures are much easier to identify right now for Google than others. But one thing we are sure of is that images are now more important than ever to have on your website.
All we have to say about last week’s search shenanigans is “wow.” No doubt there will be major fallout from the recent bomb Google dropped on content farms and aggregation sites. In case you have no idea what we’re talking about allow us to catch you up to speed.
The short of it:
Last week Google announced a major ranking algorithm change that they said effects about 11 percent of search results. Spokespeople from Google said the change would mostly effect “content farms” and low-quality “duplicate content sites.” Since that algorithm change we saw the number of indexed pages for hubpages.com drop from around 5 million to currently about 1.2 million. Other sites like ehow.com were effected in a big way too.
All this slashing could have something to due to with a little search engine startup called Blekko. They launched last year sometime with a shotgun in one hand and noose in the other promising to serve search results that catered to sites with real value and to block content farm sites from even appearing in results all together. They even published a list of sites they were purposely blocking and keep an up-to-date tally of all the “spam” web pages they find (currently at over 700 million).
Sites whose sole business model is content aggregation and adsense revenue should probably be rethinking their strategy in a big way.
So is this change bad? What does it mean for the rest of us?
Well unless you are a user-generated content site owner or aggregate / “borrow” a lot of content the worst that can happen is you may lose a few search result competitors who fit the bill. And who doesn’t want that? Also, shaking things up like this means better, more relevant search results.
The big question we have is… what’s going to happen to Google’s profits now? They are the ones who made content farming profitable in the first place with adsense, and they themselves have made billions of dollars serving ads displayed across user generated content sites and aggregators like eHow, eZineArticles.com and HubPages.com. Sites like those have traditionally been Google’s largest outside ad network partners.
We’re not recommending you sell all your Google shares before next quarter’s reports hit, but it will be interesting to see what happens and if better search results will prevail over stake holder screams for profit.
Boostability is still a relatively small company, but they have been gaining momentum and turning some heads in the SEO world recently. Why? That’s exactly what we aimed to find out.
Boostability’s main business is building software to enable SEO do-it-yourselfers and those looking to perform SEO as a service themselves. While we don’t appreciate them encouraging every kid with a computer to start his own SEO business we were impressed with some of the tools they have developed.
If you have any information about this company we invite you to comment. You can also visit their official site, Boostability.com for more information.
Oxzen Media is yet another SEO provider right here down the street from us. We are beginning to think that maybe Salt Lake could be the unofficial SEO capital of the world. Whatever the case may be we our goal is to find out as much as possible about these companies wherever they are. So what were we able to find out about Oxzen? Some very interesting things.
Oxzen Media has branded themselves as a full service internet marketing firm, so we were unsure how much they actually knew about and focused on SEO. They tout heavily the fact that they were able to obtain a Google page rank of 6 for their website, oxzenmedia.com, within only a few short months. We wanted to know how they did it and if their methods were legitimate. So what did we do? We hired them.
What did they do?
Well after a while we began looking at the links they were building for us and we were not impressed. The were only building about 50 – 80 links per month for each of the sites we gave them and most of the links were created through blog commenting. A good percentage of the links had even been removed by the blog moderators destroying any hopes of rank improvement.
If you have any information about this company we invite you to comment. You can also visit their official site, OxzenMedia.com for more information.
Crexendo happens to be right in our very own back yard and we’ve been hearing a lot about them recently. In fact we even attended a seminar/luncheon put on by the Crexendo team in hopes of better understanding them and their service. We then dove a little deeper to see if their game matched their trash talk. Lets start with our experience at the seminar.
Our first impression of Crexendo was positive. While attending their seminar the president of the company spoke on SEO and their service. He clearly understood what he was talking about and presented some impressive case studies. For some reason however he focused extra heavily on the importance of bookmarking. Don’t get us wrong bookmarking definitely has its place he just seemed more excited about it than most.
So after the luncheon we were feeling pretty good about Crexendo, but at the end of the day putting on a good show and getting results are two very different things and we were still curious to see if Crexendo would come through on the latter.
Legitimate or not?
After getting back to the lab we did some intense investigation of Crexendo, and later on we even spoke one on one with a sales rep of theirs. We found that they have a very specific approach to link building which heavily includes bookmarking, as we could imagine. It appears they use the same exact procedure for every single client. Basically they take each keyword they are building links for, write an article, spin it 30 times, post it to a blog or user-generated content site like HubPages, embed a couple links per article, then bookmark each article 30 times. And that’s it.
We were absolutely astounded at the simplicity of their approach. The concept however is fairly sound, and in looking at some of their clients it seems to work. The price however is a little steep starting at $1,000/mo per keyword.
So what is our advice concerning Crexendo? If you are in a medium to high competitive industry and you have the cash they are a decent choice. Their methods are simple, but solid and they seem to know what works.
If you have any information about this company we invite you to comment. You can also visit their official site, Crexendo.com for more information.
1. Reach Out To The Bloggers
Blogging has grown insanely in the past five years. Even though Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere 2010 report found that 65% of blogger survey respondents are hobbyists, you’ll probably find several bloggers in your industry who have very active communities and traffic/subscriber numbers that blow traditional media websites out of the water.
Blogger influence goes hand-in-hand with traditional media when it comes to generating interest for a new product, and the approach and methods used are similar. Understand the blog, its audience and its content before sharing information about your product. If it makes sense, contact the blogger and see what it would take to get them to publish a press release or review your product.
When working with bloggers, remember to treat them like you would traditional journalists. (many of them think they are one in the same)
2. Social Media Opinion Leaders
Get yourself some caffeine, put on your twitter face, then go find the most active social media users in your target market. These people are extremely influential. They’ve hustled a large and specific set of viewers, listeners and followers. While the payoff might not be immediate, creating relationships with these highly influential people can lead to valuable long-term opportunities.
While there is no universally accepted way to define and measure influence, using tools like Twitter Grader and Klout will give a good indication of the major players in the social space and in your specific industry or market. You can also take it one step further and narrow your search by category. Tools like Twello allow you to search a directory filtered by self-identified expertise, interests and professions. This can be especially helpful for identifying Twitter users in a subfield that directly relates to your new product.
3. SEO (Of Course)
You didn’t think we’d forget the bread and butter did you?
Before you begin your online efforts to market your new product, you’ve got to have a “home base,” a.k.a. a search-friendly website or blog. When launching a product, to aid both potential customers and to boost search engine performance, consider creating a product-specific landing page that features photos, descriptions and/or video. Make sure this page is appropriately coded for search, complete with keyword-rich copy, title tags, header text, a unique URL and meta information that succinctly describes your new product. Make sure this page is visible and easily accessible from your home page, at least for its initial release.
To build your online content library, consider enhancing your traditional media outreach efforts and social media news presence by distributing your product press release using paid services with both text-only and multimedia options, such as PR Newswire, PRWeb and PitchEngine. If you’re looking for a less expensive route, Free Press Release and PR Log allow you to share news for free.
Here at Website Breakthrough we have just one new years resolution. It stems from our driving desire to figure out Google’s ranking algorithm completely (or get as close as possible without getting sued). Put simply, our resolution for 2011 is to try as many new seo services, methods, tricks, tactics, and strategies as possible. No doubt we will fall on our face a few times, but before every great discovery come a few disappointments. We’re gearing up and getting ready and hope you are too.
In 2010 we feel we did admirably, but this year we aim to do even better. If you were following along last year you may remember our spout with RankPay, the friends we made at affiliate summit east, our deep delve into local search, and the thrill of finding out new ways to build links. 2011 is sure to bring even more.
If you are still thinking about your marketing resolutions for 2011 we hope you include website breakthrough. We would thoroughly enjoy your company along the way. We would also appreciate you sharing any insights you might have.
The best part about the web is how fast it moves and what better way to spend a year than leading the sprint. We wish you success and prosperity in the new year.