Weekly Search Recap

Google Bad-Link Warnings: Yes. No. … Maybe?

If the SEO community was already paranoid about link warnings and potential deindexing, recent pronouncements by Google’s Matt Cutts have ratcheted up the anxiety levels among search marketers everywhere. “If you received a message yesterday about unnatural links to your site, don’t panic,” says Cutts in a recent Google+ post. Cue panic …

Search Engine Land describes Cutts’ move as “insanity,” prompting Cutts to clarify Google’s stance. The new warnings, Cutts says, are “targeted action on the unnatural links instead of your site as a whole,” noting that webmasters should be less concerned about warnings that are not accompanied in the Webmaster Console by a yellow warning sign. After contacting Google for clarification, Search Engine Land concludes that link warnings should be on hold until Google can deliver a clearer message.


Yahoo: Mayer’s Not-So-Secret Talent Bank

Since Marissa Mayer’s appointment as Yahoo CEO, the eyes of the digital world have been on events at the once-pre-eminent Internet giant. Wired.com believes that Mayer will call upon her erstwhile pool of talent – members of Google’s Associate Product Manager program – to build a winning team at Yahoo. MediaPost takes an opposing view, suggesting that she will eventually have to reshape Yahoo not as a product-driven business, but as a media-focused organization. All Things Digital, ear close to the ground, reveals that Mayer has introduced weekly all-hands sessions and decreed that food in Yahoo’s Silicon Valley café will be free in future – it will be just like Google, concludes the piece.


Apple’s Earnings Fail to Impress

For once, an Apple announcement fails to impress, reports The New York Times. This one talks about earnings, not products, and analysts were unhappy with below-expectation third-quarter results, accompanied by disappointing projections for the final period. iPhone sales, up 28 percent from the prior year, were still 16 percent lower than the previous quarter, and the company’s shares suffered as a result. According to All Things Digital, Samsung shipped nearly twice as many smartphones as Apple in the quarter, and the dramatic growth in iPad sales was largely overshadowed by concerns that, without Steve Jobs, the company may be unable to sustain its winning streak.


Google Announces Index Status Tool for Webmasters

Google announced an addition to its Webmaster Tools, the Index Status feature, which shows how many pages from a website are included in Google’s index. The index count, which Search Engine Land notes may differ from that given by the “site:” search operator, excludes duplicates and non-canonical pages. Index Status also allows webmasters to identify pages that have been excluded by the Googlebot, helping identify indexing problems that may otherwise go unnoticed.


SEOmoz Aims MozCon Squarely at Link building

The agenda for MozCon 2012 has a definite “linky” flavor; the first two days include six sessions devoted to link building and related topics. According to The Seattle Times, CEO Rand Fishkin believes Google+ optimization will dominate SEO debate during the coming year, and that an increasing number of social networks mean more work for search marketers everywhere. That said, only one of the MozCon sessions is devoted to explaining the mysteries of Google’s fledgling social network. A first for the event is the presence of guest speakers from within the SEOmoz community, offering their personal SEO tips.


Why Waste Time and Money on SEO Hypochondria?

Michael Martinez at SEO Theory looks long and hard at unnecessary SEO activity, blaming the industry for many of the money-wasting practices that proliferate. Link building is only the current focus of attention, he argues, because search marketers discovered that sites with more backlinks perform better than others. Now Google is doing something about it, clients are forced to throw good money after bad, cleaning up the excesses of previous SEO “experts.” Guest posting will go the same way, opines Martinez, once Google decides that it’s another manifestation of link spam.


How to Create Truly Uninteresting Blog Posts

Take lessons from SuccessWorks and avoid creating blog posts that are stupefyingly dull and unappetizing. Why write your piece in a tiny font that disappears into a background almost the same color, asks the piece, and why omit subheadings that signpost an article’s structure? If your writing suffers these afflictions or lacks overall structure, you simply make it easy for readers to click onto the next item awaiting attention. Signpost your article clearly, make it readable on any browser – running on any size screen – and you significantly increase your chances of getting your message across.


No, Infographics Aren’t Dead – Just Resting

Recent suggestions that Infographics are a form of link spam are wide of the mark, suggests Search Marketing Standard, in a piece outlining how “lazy” search marketers are spoiling the medium for all. Good infographics will always be successful, and it’s only poor examples of the genre that need penalizing, argues the article. Focus on creating work that embodies great design, useful, well-presented information and you’ll have a story that will provoke genuine interest from readers, it concludes.


iAcquire: Back to Business as Usual …

Google relented on its decision to penalize iAcquire, deindexed in May 2012 for allegedly buying links for clients. Its website safely returned to Google’s index, the company published a “thank-you” post explaining what went wrong and what has changed. Gone are many of its link builders, replaced by content strategists, designers and journalists. Goodbye paid-for links, hello content marketing – let’s move on, the piece asserts. iAcquire’s experience is a wake-up call for the SEO industry generally, it concludes, so learn from the company’s experience and avoid a similar fate.


SEO: Putting Your Audience First

Two posts about customer-facing SEO deal with structuring your content for the reader, and not for search engines. Daily SEO Tip encourages webmasters to take the visitor’s viewpoint first, reminding readers that great content usually serves to improve search-engine visibility on merit. The Content Marketing Institute cites the longevity of outstanding content as a reason for aiming high, and endorses attention-grabbing pieces that improve brand recognition. Don’t forget that today’s content needs to seed tomorrow’s follow-up, it concludes, and keep your eye firmly on the essentials, including novelty, relevance and clarity.


KPIs – Don’t Just Pat Yourself on the Back

Too many website owners fail to make best use of analytics, according to Search Engine Land, collecting unimportant data and ignoring the real key performance indicators. Measuring what is important takes priority over simply focusing on what is easily measurable – tried and tested advice, maybe, but still as true as ever. Define your website conversions clearly, whether you are selling products, providing information or collecting registrations, and use analytics data to report your success. Make use of reports developed by other users, the piece advises, and avoid recreating the wheel.


Heaps of Must-Know SEO, Social, and Content Tools

For those of you who attended Mozcon 2012, and those who did not, I’m sure you will find this list of tools resourceful. Thanks to Thogenhaven.com, this list of tools includes everything from content tools including Infogram, Facebook Ads, and Google Analytics; SEO Tools such as Mozcast and Google Suggest, along with tools for outeach, management, social media, research and more.


Google’s Weather Report

SEOmoz.com announced the launch of Mozcast.com, the Google weather report. The more Google’s algorithm changes within a 24 hour period the hotter and stormier the weather gets! According to the tool, a normal day for Google is about 70 degrees Fahrenheit.  Each morning the weather report will update giving you the Google forecast for the day.


SEO and Lead Generation Go Hand-in-Hand

SEO is frequently misunderstood within the larger scope of marketing, specifically lead generation. Although, there is a close relationship between lead generation and SEO, search engine marketing cannot fulfill the needs of bringing leads through the sales cycle. This article discusses some lead generation techniques you can use to take on where your SEO efforts leave off.


“Actively Discussed on Google+,” … then what?

Google is trialing another new feature that embeds Google+ further into natural search results. Search Engine Land reports the appearance of links offering users additional content that is “actively discussed on Google+,” concluding that this additional “Google+ification” is bad for the search business, annoying users and provoking unfavorable publicity from the online community at large. Forcing Google+ membership on people is not the way to build confidence in the relevance of results, observes Marketing Land, in a separate piece on the subject.


Pinterest Today – Turning Commercial

Pinterest has relented on its decision to ban pinning for profit, reports The Daily Dot – in part, at least. The piece notes that the image-sharing site now allows users to add affiliate links from Rstyle, a move away from its previous policy of stripping all affiliate links added by pinners.


Microsoft’s Tablet – Not What it Seems on the Surface

Last week, Microsoft finally admitted what the rest of the industry already knew – it confirmed that its decision to manufacture the new Surface tablet in-house might jeopardize supplier relationships with existing PC makers. Notwithstanding CEO Steve Ballmer’s assertion that Surface “has a distinct place in … a broad Windows ecosystem,” All Things Digital quotes Microsoft’s latest annual report, which notes: “Our Surface devices will compete with products made by our OEM partners, which may affect their commitment to our platform.” Nice to see this admission, concludes the piece, but what took Microsoft so long?


Google Search? Just Put it in Writing

If using a mobile device for search makes you feel like your fingers are all thumbs, relax. Google Handwrite, launched for smartphones and tablets, allows you to write letters with your fingers almost anywhere on the screen. It works best with Chrome, says Google, and is available in 27 languages for iOS and Android devices. Mashable, noting that Handwriting is intended to augment rather than replace typing, remains on the fence, but encourages readers to voice an opinion on the new feature.


People Prefer Natural Search Results? Think Again …

Nobody clicks on paid-search results, right? One of the first “rules” search marketers learn is that around 80 percent of searchers choose natural search results over paid-for ads … not any more, they don’t, according to two separate articles that take a closer look. SearchRank reports that for highly commercial keyword search terms, up to 80 percent of above-the-fold results are ads, while WordStream notes that in the United States, clicks on paid-search listings for similar search terms outnumbered organic clicks by two-to-one. “Not all keyword searches are created equal,” observes the piece, using an infographic to support the analysis. Because keywords with buying intent trigger more ads than informational enquiries, results for these searches are skewed toward paid-for clicks, it concludes.


Google+ – Traffic Still on the Up

Whatever the word on the street, reports Marketing Land, U.S. traffic to Google+, considered a “ghost town” by many, grew 82 percent between November 2011 and June 2012. According to comScore, in June 2012 more than 27 million American users visited Google+, just over 12.5 percent of the estimated total audience in the United States, although the article notes that the numbers reflect “traffic, not specific usage.” comScore’s data is consistent with Google’s own figures, which show active users spending one-third more time on site than they did three months ago.


Trust Me, Blue – Let’s Have Some Good, Clean, Orange Fun …

Before you decide on the final design for your new killer website, take a minute to check whether your color choice will achieve your objectives. UX Movement reports that choosing the wrong color may turn visitors away, quoting research that shows people associate specific colors with particular qualities. Blue is a safe choice, denoting trust, security and reliability, while black indicates high quality. Other colors can have conflicting meanings – orange, while signifying fun, implies that associated products are inexpensive. Avoid the combination of red and black, warns the article, unless you run a website designed to shock; together, these colors invoke feelings of fear in users.


SEOs: The New Clean-Up Merchants?

SEOs have become clean-up merchants, suggests Search Engine Land, noting the amount of legacy baggage accumulated by some websites as a result of questionable optimization practices in the past. Between them, Panda and Penguin have not only rendered rafts of spammy backlinks and reams of generic content redundant, they have made them highly undesirable. Getting rid of someone else’s shoddy work is hardly a task to excite the average search marketer, but that’s what many are having to do – just consider yourself an “SEO Account Janitor,” the piece concludes.


Great Content Attracts … Great Links

Your content is like your child, suggests an SEO Theory article – your baby is never ugly, although someone else’s may be. So your “great content” may not attract links because it’s not that great, but truly memorable content will … but if not, don’t panic, because great content doesn’t need links to rank, observes the piece. In essence, 21st-century SEO is about creating something that people really want to read and share, knowing that links will follow. Don’t start blaming Google or any other third party if you don’t attract traffic, it concludes, as the problem almost certainly lies with you.

This post written and provided by Jedediah Hunt. Jedediah works in the SEO services industry, and is constantly styaing on top of the latest seo news.

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