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RankLove SEO Blog http://ranklove.com/blog Wed, 12 Feb 2014 11:53:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Google’s Page Layout Algorithm Updated For Third Time http://ranklove.com/blog/index.php/googles-page-layout-algorithm-updated-for-third-time/ http://ranklove.com/blog/index.php/googles-page-layout-algorithm-updated-for-third-time/#comments Wed, 12 Feb 2014 11:53:34 +0000 admin http://ranklove.com/blog/?p=600 Yesterday, Google’s Matt Cutts announced on Twitterthat they have pushed out a refresh to the Google Page Layout algorithm on or around February 6th.

He did not specify how much this impacted the search results but based on my analysis of the SEO community, it had a very small impact on most SEOs.

This would be the third update to the page layoutalgorithm. Since it is just a refresh, it doesn’t mean Google updated the algorithm, but rather reran the algorithm and updated it’s index. So I doubt Google would classify it version 3.0, but rather 1.2 maybe.

Previous Updates For Google’s Page Layout Algorithm Was:



Here is Matt’s tweet:

What does it look like when a site gets hit by this? Here is a screen shot from WebmasterWorld of someone who was hit:

Again, very few seem to have been impacted by it but there are some and they are complaining in the forum threads I link to below.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorldGoogle Webmaster HelpBlack Hat World andTwitter.

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Google Webmaster Tools Search Queries Impression Data Drop? http://ranklove.com/blog/index.php/google-webmaster-tools-search-queries-impression-data-drop/ http://ranklove.com/blog/index.php/google-webmaster-tools-search-queries-impression-data-drop/#comments Wed, 12 Feb 2014 11:47:38 +0000 admin http://ranklove.com/blog/?p=596 There are many reports both in the Google Webmaster Helpforums and WebmasterWorld reporting major drops in the number of impressions reported within the search queries report in Google Webmaster Tools.

One webmaster said:

It is showing 50% drop in impressions & clicks at search queries report. Whereas, my actual traffic is improving. Any idea is this some kind of bug or Google doing some kind of changes.

It seems a lot of webmasters are noticing the discrepancy in the Google search queries report. A preferred member responded, “I can confirm the drop too, across multiple sites. It looks like a glitch.”

I am personally not able to replicate it on my Google Webmaster Tools accounts but it does seem to be a somewhat widespread issue.

Do you see this issue in your account?

Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help and WebmasterWorld.

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Showing Value In 2014: SEO Attribution Deep Dive http://ranklove.com/blog/index.php/showing-value-in-2014-seo-attribution-deep-dive/ http://ranklove.com/blog/index.php/showing-value-in-2014-seo-attribution-deep-dive/#comments Wed, 12 Feb 2014 11:03:12 +0000 admin http://ranklove.com/blog/?p=592 Carefully thought-out campaign attribution can show your SEO campaign’s true value to your business. Settling on a model which paints the least-wrong picture is your starting point, but pretty quickly you can make your model sing, providing real value and efficiency to your marketing budget blend.

Recently, I was asked to help a business answer a question: how can I make £5 million of marketing spend deliver as much value as £15 million had previously?

For lots of agencies, this will be a common question type. Companies with bloated post-recession marketing budgets are trying to piece back together cross-channel marketing budgets to gain an edge over their competition and their mantra this time ’round is efficiency.

Obvious questions arose: which channel delivered the most revenue? How do you measure ROI right now? And, my favourite: are your analytics accurate?

Pretty quickly, I was able to establish that they were keen to rewrite their approach across the board as they had a good understanding of the efficiency available from smart online campaigns across the marketing mix. They were insistent that TV would remain a chunk of that mix due to their market. (Sadly, I’ll have to leave the exact market obscure but feel free to assume a highly competitive market with a long history in online marketing. Also: it’s not retail.)

Oh, they also need to consider 7-8 key country targets in a mix of languages.

This seemed like an opportunity to build from the ground up the ideal marketing mix with all facets of the marketing budget allocated to deliver the biggest combined bang for the buck.

Building An Efficient Marketing Mix

There are a couple of big-button areas where the mix priority will be obvious in this case:

• Multinational (Technical) SEO. This is still a huge opportunity area. I’m amazed at that, but delighted for my clients as they get to reap the rewards of lax competition. This is a one-off piece, so it’s not a huge chunk of the overall budget. 

• Soft Competition Countries. With a little benchmarking of PPC and SEO competition in each target territory, we’ll get a good idea of the global low-hanging fruit for both of these high-value monthly cost channels. We can also estimate the size of the prize in each case. We’ve built a tool in-house to estimate organic competition levels, and with a little thought, I suspect you can think of a way to measure this, too. (Tip: marketshare, competing pages, rank, dominance of domains across related terms, backlink strength.)

• Mobile Device Competition Gap. We know that the traffic levels for mobile devices are historically higher than their PPC bid spends suggest they should be — this leaves a handy gap that can be usefully exploited (see image below) by clever mobile and tablet segmentation in your PPC budget bid strategy.



• Dynamic Remarketing. Triggered against tightly defined goals, remarketing can be a very efficient use of budget to capture lost conversions. The key is to match precisely relevant information within the ad — so avoid static ads (please), and use inventory to show items that relate to the lost conversion’s likely intent. (While my client isn’t a retail site, they do have “inventory.”)

• Affiliates. When you’re looking at tightly cut back budgets, affiliate marketing is often the first channel to get the chop. Before you consider that, though, let’s get our attribution on. I recommend getting a strong cup of coffee and setting aside a solid day to work through each example given by Avinash in this superb post on the basics behind attribution models. Try out a few examples and see how they would influence your decision, specifically, on cutting back a channel that’s currently driving revenue.

• Email. Similar to the use case for dynamic remarketing, cutting back on email channel budget is often a budgeting failure as this channel’s ability to soak up non-converters as a soft conversion (registration capture, restock availability, new releases/early peek, general info, deals, advocacy/benefits, etc.) and convert them later is unparalleled.

That said, making it work efficiently is often a challenge. Looking at custom time-delay attribution models for each of your site goals that incorporate email as part of the conversion path will give you an idea of current value. It’s likely this value is way more than budget against this activity and so there’s little scope for rebudgeting opportunity here.

• Social. This channel will be looped into SEO promotion budgets in this case, as the business handles this internally, and excellently, at the moment and doesn’t need to account budget against this channel in their mix (lucky them!).

• Offline Brought Online. Using Universal Analytics, as well as call tracking and tagged campaigns everywhere (via URL shorteners for social engagement richness), you should be able to better attribute offline impact on conversion path. Again, crack out a tested, custom attribution model for this. Apply to existing data if you have foresight, wait until the data flows in from your first tagged offline campaign if not.

Your remaining big ticket item to consider is the large monthly budget balance between PPC spend, offline and SEO execution (whether agency or in-house time). Again, modelling for each of these channels will tell you the risk you are incurring in cutting budget. I strongly urge using at least a time-weighted attribution model to inject a little sophistication into your decision.

In the case of this specific query, what was my outcome?

The size of the technical SEO prize and the multinational aspect suggests the biggest returns will come from weighting efficient mid-tail SEO and PPC campaigns heavily across the top three countries. With the platform as a whole benefitting from the technical quick wins, general SEO performance will improve dramatically, and landing pages will deliver better Quality Scores for efficient supporting PPC campaigns across the board.

A small test run offline campaign in each target territory, correctly tagged, will indicate the final size of budget allowed to remain in offline. If the tests fail a set ROI target using our best-guess attribution model, then they get funnelled into late-stage campaign PPC budgets with display and mobile PPC activity being ramped up in the biggest target market (the US).

Affiliate marketing, sadly, does not have a bright future in this mix. In this case, an overly generous affiliate deal due to a saturation of competitors in the market, backed by Google’s heavy clamp down on affiliates’ ability to take large inventory and prosper in SEO, has killed ability to drive cheaper traffic, so a lower value deal likely won’t get many takers.

Reviewing performance after the first offline ad would set the full year marketing blend mix. Performance against some simple KPIs can trigger extra budget and a slow climb back the pre-recession days with a much healthier, underlying mix and a more competitive offering.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

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Live @ SMX West: Social Meets Search – Where Are We Now, Where Are We Going? http://ranklove.com/blog/index.php/smx-west-social-meets/ http://ranklove.com/blog/index.php/smx-west-social-meets/#comments Wed, 12 Feb 2014 10:38:43 +0000 admin http://ranklove.com/blog/?p=588 All savvy marketers know that social media is now hugely important to the success of online marketing campaigns. But how exactly do search marketing and social media efforts interact and impact each other? Some studies of search engine ranking factors, such as the Searchmetrics 2013 SEO Ranking Factors and the Moz 2013 Search Ranking Factors Survey suggest that social factors are very significant.

But then you have Google’s Matt Cutts going on record saying we don’t use Twitter or Facebook social signals to rank pages.

Contradictory advice? Perhaps – or perhaps not. Admittedly, these are somewhat apples-to-oranges comparisons, but they do illustrate the confusion regarding how search and social media marketing efforts work together. That’s in part why we created the Social Meets Search: Where Are We Now; Were Are We Going? session at SMX West.

On this panel, representatives from search engines and social networks will discuss how social signals and data impact ranking and new sources of content. They’ll also discuss how consumers make use of search engines devoted to social content. You’ll learn from the experts how social is influencing search, becoming part of search and how marketers can ride the social wave for SEO success.

Social Meets Search: Where Are We Now; Were Are We Going? is one of more than 60 sessions at SMX West, March 11-13 in San Jose, the three-day conference devoted to all aspects of search, online and social media marketing. Check out the agenda for SMX Westand register now!

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Google’s Matt Cutts: Don’t Worry About Poor Grammar In Comments http://ranklove.com/blog/index.php/googles-matt-cutts-dont-worry-about-poor-grammar-in-comments/ http://ranklove.com/blog/index.php/googles-matt-cutts-dont-worry-about-poor-grammar-in-comments/#comments Tue, 11 Feb 2014 11:52:56 +0000 admin http://ranklove.com/blog/?p=584 In today’s video from Google’s Matt Cutts, Cutts addresses the concern over having third-party comments with poor grammar on your blog or site.

Cutts said that you do not need to worry about the grammar people use on your site. You should worry about your writing style and your grammar but there is no need to worry about how other people are writing comments on your site.

He did add that this doesn’t mean you should allow spam comments, you still should remove spam comments. But when it comes to being on top of grammar, you have enough to worry about with content that you write, and you don’t need to worry about what others write.

An example Cutts gave is that YouTube has tons of comments that are poorly written, with horrible grammar and sometimes don’t even make sense. You are judged on your content, not a third-party snippet of content.

Here is the video:

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Google Now Ranks No. 2 Behind Apple As The 2nd Most Valuable Company In America http://ranklove.com/blog/index.php/google-now-ranks-no-2-behind-apple-as-the-2nd-most-valuable-company-in-america/ http://ranklove.com/blog/index.php/google-now-ranks-no-2-behind-apple-as-the-2nd-most-valuable-company-in-america/#comments Tue, 11 Feb 2014 11:45:08 +0000 admin http://ranklove.com/blog/?p=580 Bloomberg.com reported today Google has moved ahead of Exxon Mobile Corp to become the second most valuable company in America following Apple.

According to Bloomberg, Google’s market capitalization totals $393.5 billion, representing less than a billion more than Exxon’s $392.6 billion, but $72 billion behind Apple’s market value of $465.5 billion.

As the world’s largest online advertiser, Bloomberg notes Google’s rise is a reflection of the technology industry taking a larger role globally:

Technology companies are establishing themselves as key players worldwide as they disrupt industries from retail to finance. Google, which went public in 2004 – 84 years after Exxon – has benefited from consumers moving to online services and content, a trend that’s being accelerated by the growing population of smartphones and tablets.

Bloomberg’s report goes on to say Exxon has been “under pressure” since last month when the Texas-based oil company reported a 16 percent decrease of net income ($8.35 billion) and 3.3 percent ($110.86 billion) drop in sales. Google, on the other hand, reported an 11 percent rise in revenue, claims Bloomberg, topping the company’s projected revenue of $13.4 billion.

“While shares of Exxon have fallen more than 11 percent this year, Google’s are up 3.5 percent through yesterday,” wrote Bloomberg reporter Brian Womack.

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Is Google Misleading Us? If So, How? http://ranklove.com/blog/index.php/is-google-misleading-us-if-so-how/ http://ranklove.com/blog/index.php/is-google-misleading-us-if-so-how/#comments Tue, 11 Feb 2014 11:41:36 +0000 admin http://ranklove.com/blog/?p=577 You’ve all seen it, parking signs that are so confusing that sometimes you wonder, is the local government trying to mislead you…

Webmasters are asking themselves the same questions about Google. With all the blog posts, videos, guidelines, is Google setting SEOs and webmasters up for disaster one way or another?

Last year, we asked you if you felt Google was lying to you and only 10% said no. The rest, over 55% said Google is lying to us and 31% said Google lies to us sometimes.

The post has 150+ comments with examples and debates.

The new WebmasterWorld thread asks in more of a subtle way. Asking “What OfficialGoogle SEO Advice is Misleading or Misunderstood?”

Greg Niland started off saying that guest blogging is one of those examples:


For example Matt Cutts has recently said that if you were using guest blog posts “you should probably stop”. This led many SEO people to start assuming that Google will consider every guest blog post to be bad. Matt Cutts had to clarify his initial statement and say that some guest blog posts when done in a relevant and professional manner can be good for your online business.


I am sure you all have many examples – do share.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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Google Starts Penalizing Sites for Rich Snippet Spam http://ranklove.com/blog/index.php/google-starts-penalizing-sites-for-rich-snippet-spam/ http://ranklove.com/blog/index.php/google-starts-penalizing-sites-for-rich-snippet-spam/#comments Mon, 10 Feb 2014 11:55:30 +0000 admin http://ranklove.com/blog/?p=572 If you use rich snippets on your websites, you should be aware that Google is now penalizing websites for spamming structured data markup.

The new warning was first mentioned in a forum post on the Google Webmaster Central forums from a user who is asking for clarification about the warning and what the issue could be. It is a manual action penalty based on incorrect usage of markups, regardless of whether it was deliberate spam or simply a mistake.

The warning that would appear in a user’s accounts if they have manual action taken is:

Markup on some pages on this site appears to use techniques such as marking up content that is invisible to users, marking up irrelevant or misleading content, and/or other manipulative behavior that violates Google’s Rich Snippet Quality guidelines.

The writing on the wall for penalties related to rich snippets was back in October at Pubcon when Google’s Matt Cutts talked about changes Google was planning in regards to rich snippets and dealing with related snippet spam.

Rich snippets could get a revamp and they will dial back on the number of websites that will be able to display rich snippets. “More reputable websites will get rich snippets while less reputable ones will see theirs removed,” says Matt.

The new penalty seems to affect websites that are misusing rich snippets, such as including authorship on homepages and reviews on pages where there are no reviews. But there was evidence that Google was attempting to educate webmasters on how to use it correctly when they made changes in December to add debugging support for structured data.

If you’re unclear if you’re using rich snippets correctly, you should first check your Webmaster Tools account and see if there’s any issues that show up, either as issues or in the structured data debugging area. Google also has the pretty significant help area for rich snippets, including with videos, to help webmasters implement structured data correctly.

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Possible Bug May Drop Your Whole Site With Google’s URL Removal Tool http://ranklove.com/blog/index.php/possible-bug-may-drop-your-whole-site-with-googles-url-removal-tool/ http://ranklove.com/blog/index.php/possible-bug-may-drop-your-whole-site-with-googles-url-removal-tool/#comments Mon, 10 Feb 2014 11:50:05 +0000 admin http://ranklove.com/blog/?p=568 A webmaster posted an issue in the Google Webmaster Help forums with the Google URL Removal tool.

In short, the site he is working on was hacked. He is using the tool to manually remove the hacked pages from Google, one by one. But for some reason, one of the URLs he entered triggered not just one page to be removed but all.

He asked:


Why on earth would the Google Webmaster Tool developers think that url parameters were irrelevant, and how do we get this fixed?


Here is a screen shot:

John Mueller from Google responded in the thread saying:


Thanks for reporting this, Michael (and thanks for escalating, Grace!). I’ll check with the engineering team to see what’s happening here. It’s great to see you help clean up this kind of hacked content!


It might be the configuration of the hack, confusing Google? I am unsure.

Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.

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Check Google To See If Your Name Triggers SafeSearch Before You Go With It http://ranklove.com/blog/index.php/check-google-to-see-if-your-name-triggers-safesearch-before-you-go-with-it/ http://ranklove.com/blog/index.php/check-google-to-see-if-your-name-triggers-safesearch-before-you-go-with-it/#comments Mon, 10 Feb 2014 11:45:49 +0000 admin http://ranklove.com/blog/?p=565 There is this ultra-orthodox religious Jewish magazine named Ami Magazine, I was actually profiled in it a few months ago. The interesting part is that when you Google the name, [ami magazine], Google filters the word “ami” due to Safe Search.


Google wrote:

The word “ami” has been filtered from the search because Google SafeSearch is active.

When you turn SafeSearch off, you do indeed get amimagazine.org in the number one spot, even with sitelinks. But with SafeSearch on, which it is by default, you won’t get that result.

The magazine even has its own Wikipedia page.

What is interesting is that AMI is also short for “Association Montessori International” and the various Montessori organizations, which Google’s co-founders are very into.

So why is ami not a safe word? It may have to do with amiaustralia.com.au, which is an organization named Advanced Medicinal Institute that is about men sexual health. But even that seems a stretch.

So two things here:

(1) Why is ami not a safe word?

(2) Google your name before you go with it. Although, they may have done that and Google’s SafeSearch index may have changed since then.

Forum discussion at Google Web Search Help.

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