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- Algorithm Updates
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- Imp Google Ranking Factors
- What Is Social Media Marketing
- Google’s 200 Ranking Factors
Nothing has changed. If you have original, high-quality content, and you have high-quality and relevant websites linking to your own website, then your website is still going to rank well. If anything, your website’s rankings will improve just as they should have after the Penguin and Panda updates rolled out.
The key to making the right decisions about SEO is to understand where Google is going. Google’s goal is that when someone creates a new search, what Google shows that person is exactly what the person wants or needs. We’ve all had the experience of searching on Google and seeing websites come up that obviously aren’t what we want. We don’t even need to click on the link to figure that out, because what Google shows us is enough. When this happens to me I think “Good heavens, why in the world would Google think that’s what I wanted when I typed in those words?” Google wants to get to the point where I never think that again. To lose sight of this goal would be the death of Google. This is, in part, why Google employs a few thousand PhDs.
Many people have been frustrated by Panda and Penguin, and they’ll now see Hummingbird in a negative light. Don’t fall into that trap. If you’re the best at what you do, these updates Google has been rolling out are opportunities to separate yourself from your competition. They may have been engaging in spammy tactics to get good rankings, but if you’ve been focusing on creating content that provides real value to potential customers, their days are numbered. These changes will help you rise above, and the good news, as mentioned above, is if you’ve been doing the right things for your SEO you don’t need to change a thing.
Have you seen any impact to your website(s) as a result of the Hummingbird update? Do you see any details in the update you feel will give you an advantage?
: After contacting Google’s press department I was informed that Google has been running Hummingbird “for a few months,” not just since last month. The press department also reiterated their guidance for those doing SEO, “Our guidance to webmasters is the same as always — we encourage original, high-quality content, since that’s what’s best for web users.”
On the eve of its 15th birthday last week, Google revealed a new search algorithm namedHummingbird. Designed to be more precise and provide faster query results, the algorithm is based on semantic search, focusing on user intent versus individual search terms.
As Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan explained in his FAQ: All About the New Google “Hummingbird” Algorithm:
Hummingbird is paying more attention to each word in a query, ensuring that the whole query – the whole sentence or conversation or meaning – is taken into account, rather than particular words. The goal is that pages matching the meaning do better, rather than pages matching just a few words.
While the official Hummingbird announcement was made last week, most reports show it began rolling out a month ago. Unlike Google’s Penguin and Panda updates to its existing algorithm, Hummingbird is a complete replacement. Google’s search chief Amit Singhal told Danny Sullivan that Hummingbird represents the first time since 2001 a Google algorithm has been so dramatically rewritten.
With more than a month since the new algorithm’s initial release, I asked a collection of SEO practitioners their opinions on Hummingbird now that it has an official name.
“Hummingbird is a definite expansion of Google’s semantic capability evident at the search interface level that reveals, significantly, two things,” said David Amerland, search engine expert and author of Google Semantic Search, “First, Google has increased its ability to deal with complex search queries which means that it also has got better at indexing entities in Web documents. Second, it has got a lot better at relationally linking search queries and Web documents which means that its Knowledge Graph must be considerably enriched.”
Amerland goes on to explain how Google’s move toward semantic search will benefit SEO practices:
From a strategy point of view this opens the horizon for companies and webmasters considerably. From a practical perspective, the need to identify the USP of each business and become authoritative within it is now a key criteria for continued SEO success. The comparison element that has been integrated suggests that semantic mark-up may begin to confer an advantage now when it comes to helping index information in products and services.
He emphasizes the importance of content not being left in isolation, but instead shared across social networks via identified influencers. “This is not something that can or will happen at the drop of a hat,” said Amerland, “It requires time and commitment to building a relationship with influencers and sharing with them content that is of real value to their network.” Quick SEO, according to Amerland, “Is now firmly in the past.”
Christy Belden, vice president of marketing and media at LEAP, agrees that Hummingbird’s focus on semantic search will continue to drive SEO in the right direction. “Google has been talking about semantic language and understanding the meaning behind search for quite some time,” said Belden, “With more users searching via mobile and voice, the Hummingbird update makes a lot of sense.”
Belden confirmed her agency has not witnessed any changes to their client’s search results during the last month Hummingbird has been running. “We don’t anticipate making any dramatic changes in what we are doing,” said Belden, “What we are talking about is how we create quality, engaging, shareable, linkable content. It has become a core piece of our SEO strategy.”
SEO consultant and president of Archology Jenny Halasz commented on Google’s recent decision to make search term data ’100% not provided’ and how it relates to the new Hummingbird algorithm. “It’s becoming less and less about the keyword and more about the intention behind it. We see that with all the recent changes, but especially with Hummingbird,” said Halasz, “There’s no doubt that not having keywords provided will make it a little harder to discover customer intent, but there are a lot of other ways to get clues about that, including actively engaging with your customers on social media and such.”
Halasz believes SEOs have become so keyword focused that they’re putting emphasis on the wrong things, explaining that many are, “Trying to reverse engineer data that really isn’t actionable.” She thinks SEO should be less about keyword data and more about customer engagement.
“People who’ve been doing things like looking at their bounce rate on a page and trying to match the people who bounced to what they searched are missing the forest for the trees in my opinion,” said Halasz, “It’s not the specific keyword they used, it’s what they were looking for on that page. Did the page deliver? Clearly not since they bounced. So what could be better about the page? Or your information architecture overall?”
Trond Lyngbø, a senior SEO strategist and partner at Metronet in Norway, is excited about Hummingbird and has been forecasting Google’s the algorithm updates since December 2012. “It’s a good thing. Google is trying to find the intent behind the queries, and offer a solution,” said Lyngbø, “I look forward to seeing how it evolves as Google’s Knowledge Graph expands, especially how successful Google will be when it comes to local searches via mobile devices.”
In a post by Lyngbø on SEOnomics.com last December, the SEO insider wrote, “Trust is now king,” explaining, “The primary goals of semantic search is weeding out irrelevant resources from SERPs.”
Even though the post was published ten months before the new search algorithm was announced, Lyngbø’s tips for SEOs are especially relevant in light of the Hummingbird release:
• Businesses must understand and adapt to semantic search and the knowledge graph.
• Positioning yourself to be the provider of answers that people are seeking.
• Identify intent, needs and problems. Provide solutions and answers. Look at queries and what they really need. Give them what the people behind the queries want.
More about Hummingbird will be discussed during this week’s SMX East Search Marketingshow in New York City. The conference includes an entire track devoted to “Semantic Search” with The Coming “Entity Search” Revolution session scheduled on day two (October 2) of the conference.
The fifth confirmed release of Google’s “Penguin” spam fighting algorithm is live. That makes it Penguin 5 by our count. But since this Penguin update is using a slightly improved version of Google’s “Penguin 2″ second-generation technology, Google itself is calling it “Penguin 2.1.” Don’t worry. We’ll explain the numbering nonsense below, as well as what this all means for publishers.
If us talking about Penguin 5 in reference to something Google is calling Penguin 2.1 hurts your head, believe us, it hurts ours, too. But you can pin that blame back on Google. Here’s why. When Google started releasing its “Panda” algorithm designed to fight low-quality content, it called the first one simply “Panda.” So when the second came out, people referred to that as “Panda 2.” When the third came out, people called that Panda 3 — causing Google to say that the third release, because it was relatively minor, really only should be called Panda 2.1 — the “point” being used to indicate how much a minor change it was. Google eventually — and belatedly — indicated that a Panda 3 release happened, causing the numbering to move into Panda 3.0, Panda 3.1 and so on until there had been so many “minor” updates that we having to resort to going further out in decimal places to things like Panda 3.92. That caused us here at Search Engine Land to decide it would be easier all around if we just numbered any confirmed update sequentially, in order of when they came. No matter how “big” or “small” an update might be, we’d just give it the next number on the list: Penguin 1, Penguin 2, Penguin 3 and so on.
That worked out fine until Penguin 4, because Google typically didn’t give these updates numbers itself. It just said there was an update, and left it to us or others to attach a number to it. But when Penguin 4 arrived, Google really wanted to stress that it was using what it deemed to be a major, next-generation change in how Penguin works. So, Google called it Penguin 2, despite all the references to a Penguin 2 already being out there, despite the fact it hadn’t really numbered many of these various updates before. Today’s update, as can be seen above, has been dubbed Penguin 2.1 — so supposedly, it’s a relatively minor change to the previous Penguin filter that was being used. However, if it’s impacting around 1 percent of queries as Google says, that means it is more significant than what Google might have considered to be similar “minor” updates of Penguin 1.1 and Penguin 1.2.
For those new to the whole “Penguin” concept, Penguin is a part of Google’s overall search algorithm that periodically looks for sites that are deemed to be spamming Google’s search results but somehow still ranking well. In particular, it goes after sites that may have purchased paid links. If you were hit by Penguin, you’ll likely know if you see a marked drop in traffic that begins today or tomorrow. To recover, you’ll need to do things like disavow bad links or manually have those removed. Filing a reconsideration request doesn’t help, because Penguin is an automated process. Until it sees that what it considers to be bad has been removed, you don’t recover. If you were previously hit by Penguin and have taken actions hopefully meant to fix that, today and tomorrow are the days to watch. If you see an improvement in traffic, that’s a sign that you’ve escaped Penguin. Here are previous articles with more on Penguin recovery and how it and other filters work as part of the ranking system
If you’re wondering about how Penguin fits into that new Google Hummingbird algorithm you may have heard about, think of Penguin as a part of Hummingbird, not as a replacement for it. Hummingbird is like Google’s entire ranking engine, whereas Penguin is like a small part of that engine, a filter that is removed and periodically replaced with what Google considers to be a better filter to help keep out bad stuff. To understand more about that relationship and Hummingbird in general, see our post below
Best Practices For Influencer Marketing
People have always relied on word-of-mouth referrals when making purchasing decisions. Today, social media is where they go. Successful marketers know that in order to thrive in today's business climate they must identify their key influencers, listen to what they're saying, and then try to engage them so they recommend their brand. But unless it's done the right way, those efforts may be fruitless.
In 6 Best Practices For Influencer Marketing, you'll find smart strategies to increase the effectiveness of your campaigns and maximize your ROI, including:
· How to find influencers inside and outside the box
· Ways to build stronger influencer relationships
· How to tailor tactics to specific platform
Google has said before that search engine optimization, or SEO, can be positive and constructive—and we're not the only ones. Effective search engine optimization can make a site more crawlable and make individual pages more accessible and easier to find. Search engine optimization includes things as simple as keyword research to ensure that the right words are on the page, not just industry jargon that normal people will never type. “White hat” search engine optimizers often improve the usability of a site, help create great content, or make sites faster, which is good for both users and search engines. Good search engine optimization can also mean good marketing: thinking about creative ways to make a site more compelling, which can help with search engines as well as social media. The net result of making a great site is often greater awareness of that site on the web, which can translate into more people linking to or visiting a site. The opposite of “white hat” SEO is something called “black hat webspam” (we say “webspam” to distinguish it from email spam). In the pursuit of higher rankings or traffic, a few sites use techniques that don’t benefit users, where the intent is to look for shortcuts or loopholes that would rank pages higher than they deserve to be ranked. We see all sorts of webspam techniques every day, from keyword stuffing to link schemes that attempt to propel sites higher in rankings. The goal of many of our ranking changes is to help searchers find sites that provide a great user experience and fulfill their information needs. We also want the “good guys” making great sites for users, not just algorithms, to see their effort rewarded. To that end we’ve launched Panda changes that successfully returned higher-quality sites in search results. And earlier this year we launched a page layout algorithm that reduces rankings for sites that don’t make much content available “above the fold.” In the next few days, we’re launching an important algorithm change targeted at webspam. The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s existing quality guidelines. We’ve always targeted webspam in our rankings, and this algorithm represents another improvement in our efforts to reduce webspam and promote high quality content. While we can't divulge specific signals because we don't want to give people a way to game our search results and worsen the experience for users, our advice for webmasters is to focus on creating high quality sites that create a good user experience and employ white hat SEO methods instead of engaging in aggressive webspam tactics. Here’s an example of a webspam tactic like keyword stuffing taken from a site that will be affected by this change:
Of course, most sites affected by this change aren’t so blatant. Here’s an example of a site with unusual linking patterns that is also affected by this change. Notice that if you try to read the text aloud you’ll discover that the outgoing links are completely unrelated to the actual content, and in fact the page text has been “spun” beyond recognition:
Sites affected by this change might not be easily recognizable as spamming without deep analysis or expertise, but the common thread is that these sites are doing much more than white hat SEO; we believe they are engaging in webspam tactics to manipulate search engine rankings. The change will go live for all languages at the same time. For context, the initial Panda change affected about 12% of queries to a significant degree; this algorithm affects about 3.1% of queries in English to a degree that a regular user might notice. The change affects roughly 3% of queries in languages such as German, Chinese, and Arabic, but the impact is higher in more heavily-spammed languages. For example, 5% of Polish queries change to a degree that a regular user might notice. We want people doing white hat search engine optimization (or even no search engine optimization at all) to be free to focus on creating amazing, compelling web sites. As always, we’ll keep our ears open for feedback on ways to iterate and improve our ranking algorithms toward that goal.