Posts Tagged ‘seo news


Google Busts Itself

Google Chrome Gets Caught Buying Links—Will Sergey Penalize Himself?


Google Changes Algo! Film at Eleven!

And here we go again! Let the whiners whine, the criers cry, the complainers complain, and the smart adapt. Yep, it’s another Google algorithm “tweak.” We’re not sure what they’re calling this one, but we have a few suggestions.

  • The Caffeinated Panda Update
  • The Fresh to the Last Drop Tweakage
  • That Fresh Feeling
  • Flak Friday Freakout
  • The New Gnu Knew News Minor Modification to an Existing Platform Remodel

Okay, now that we got that out of our system, what’s THIS algo update mean? Well, as far as we can tell, it’s Google’s way of addressing the competition from Facebook and Twitter, where you are delivered the latest immediate updated news constantly. (Which is ever so much better, especially if what you call “news” is the most recent brain fart of somebody you barely know and hardly care about and won’t read anyway.)

Freshness is what they call it.

For about 35% of all searches, Google’s new algo will supposedly promote “newer” (or “fresher,”  if you prefer) content above “older” (or “staler”) content. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, try a search for “Madonna” and see how deep you have to go find a classic painting or anything else about the Virgin Mary.  Try “tea party” and hunt for anything historical about Boston or literary about Alice.

Kidding! (Mostly!) Actually, this tweak might turn out okay. A lot of search happens to be current events and pop culture related. For those things, freshness matters.

For more on the Great Google Algo Tweak of Fall/2011

Google Search Algorithm Change For Freshness To Impact 35% Of Searches

Google updates search results to account for real world events

Google improves search results

Google freshens up search engine

Google Changes Search Algorithm, Trying to Make Results More Timely

New, “fresher” Google rankings affect 35% of searches

Google Tweaks Algorithm for Freshness


Netflix, Facebook, and Change for the Sake of Change

Okay, this really isn’t all that much about SEO. But it does have a lot to do with online (or any other kind of) marketing.

Is Change Always Good?

Judging from the recent observed behaviors of a number of commerce giants, you’d have to draw the conclusions that

  1. Commerce giants think “YES!”
  2. Commerce consumers think “NO!”

Why the disconnect (bordering on cognitive dissonance)?

First, let’s review.

  • Microsoft Windows. We count 14 updates so far this month, not counting Office, or Security Essentials definitions, or Explorer. Hmmm. Really?
  • Adobe. An avalanche of updates virtually every time we connect.
  • Facebook. Unfathomable update to the news feed. As well as countless “privacy” updates, most of which have been detrimental to the user’s privacy.
  • Netflix. “I messed up” doesn’t even begin to cover it. Not just a bad idea, but a bad idea handled badly.

Why do they do these things?

Well, same reason a shark has to swim to breathe. In today’s corporate environment, nobody’s job is safe—not CEO, CFO, or eeny-meeny-minee-mo—unless they can show something to the board every quarter. “Here’s what me and my team are doing!” they exclaim, to the accompaniment of a PowerPoint chorus. “Look! We changed this and that and updated this and next month, we’ll upgrade that!” Doesn’t matter if it all means a gigantic loss of credibility, or loyalty, or even subscribers. Doesn’t matter if the changes improve anything. Doesn’t matter if they were necessary. Doesn’t matter if they were wise or in any way a good idea.

Just gotta put something up there on the damn agenda, don’t you know?

Well, to us, it all comes out to be one helluva argument for open-source, cloud-based EVERYTHING. Updates and upgrades can be done without impacting the users’ experience. Updates and upgrades that prove unpopular can be rolled back without loss of face (or job). Nobody feels compelled to change just because they can.


Google Chrome’s Game Changer

Last month, Google (sort of) quietly added a new feature to their signature browser, Chrome. And although it may not sound like all that much, this wee tweak has some definite ramifications for SEO and the entire practice of search marketing.

It’s just this.

Eh? How is that a big deal? Well, imagine first that this capability becomes widespread. Then imagine that you are a professional SEO with a fat contract from, say, BF Nickel’s Company, and you spend a year optimizing all their pages for search. Next, let us further imagine that these pages—while optimized perfectly—are somewhat sucky in terms of usefulness. Now, finally, let us imagine that 50% or so of all the potential customers of BF Nickels click on that little “Block” link. And suddenly, all of that SEO work is flushed like so many deceased goldfish. Because once a search result has been blocked, it will never show up in that particular person’s search results again. No matter how well optimized it is.

Think BF Nickel’s is going to extend your contract for another year?

More on Chrome’s New “Blocklist” Extension

Google’s New Chrome Extension Blocks Sites
Chrome Users Can Now Block Certain Results
Google’s Personal Blocklist


Google Puts Content Farms Out to Pasture

Google has pulled the trigger on a major algorithm update and busted a cap in an entire industry, the Content Farm. In case you don’t know, a content farm usually refers to a domain that exists solely to generate high-ranking pages for high-search keywords by cranking out minimally useful (if useful in any sense at all) content. Sometimes this content is scraped (stolen) from other sites, sometimes it’s written by freelance “buck-a-page” hacks, and sometimes is near-gibberish generated by computers stringing random words together. The reason these sites flourish is that their pages have tended to rank very very high for a very very high percentage of searches.

Here’s one of the most profligate: eHow. In pursuit of total web dominion, eHow has built a megalith site of over 20 million pages.  What? TWENTY MILLION FREAKING PAGES? About everything. They do web research to mine high-search keywords, and then build very minimally useful content pages around the terms. But the site is so huge and so interconnected and so competent at SEO that they rank first page for an unbelievable percentage of the keywords they pursue.

It’s not really spam, really. I mean, there is some sort of content there, right? Problem is, they (and all the other content farmers like them) have made searching the internet just that much harder for everyone. Want to know how to unclog a drain? Search for “unclog a drain” and you’ll find the first page of results a virtual sink-full of virtual content-farmed pseudo-content that you will have to stick your arm into all the way to the elbow in order to fish out one useful bit of knowledge.

Well, Google’s not happy about that. So Google made a little change. The Farmer Update.

This update—said to affect as much as 12% of all searches worldwide—will definitely make an impact on searching the internet, particularly for the content farmers cash crop, How-To information.

This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites—sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.  —the Official Google Blog

But there’s a potential boll weevil in all this: Google claims to be devaluing “low-quality” content. Which, in cases like eHow, is pretty easy to spot and pretty hard to argue with. The bug is what (and who) actually gets to define “quality”? Does Wikipedia, with almost 70 million pages of diverse content, make the cut? Or get the axe? Do blog sites like WordPress, with 300,000,000 pages of stuff ranging from the sublime to crap (like the blog you’re reading right now) get penalized across the domain just because 80% or so of what’s there is “low-quality”?

Time will tell, and webmasters will yell, and SEOs will prosper. And as for the content farms, those who get rich dealing manure can’t really complain when they find themselves upwind.

More on the Google “Content Farm” Update

Official Google Blog: Finding High Quality Sites in Search
Google Breaks Up Content Farms
Google Tightens the Screws on Content Farmers
Google Goes After Content Farms with Update
Google Forecloses on Content Farmers
Legit Sites Could Get Caught in Google’s Content Farm Crosshairs
Seeking to Weed Out Drivel, Google Adjusts Search Engine