It’s been about six months since Google rolled out the first Panda (then called Farmer) update to its ranking algorithm — and Panda has since gone through at least three updates that we know of. Have we learned anything in that six month period?
That was the topic of our “Discussion of the Week,” which asked What Have We Learned From Google’s Panda Algorithm? And that topic got surprisingly few replies, perhaps due to vacations/summer, or perhaps — as I suggested in a comment that I posted — because we collectively haven’t learned much yet from Panda. There’ve been exceptionally few stories of sites that were hurt by Panda and have come around to recover.
In other news last week, the story of a 17-year-old who won a science fair project by writing an algorithm that excels at searching short documents — like tweets and Facebook status updates — was the number one story among Twitter users with 140 tweets and retweets. It’s a fascinating read.
Here’s a look back at all of last week’s Sphinn activity.
- Discussion: What Have We Learned From Google's Panda Algorithm? – It's been about six months since the Panda (nee Farmer) algorithm first rolled out. There was a lot of speculation early on about how to avoid getting lumped in with the websites and web pages that Panda targets. Now that it's been six months, we've had more time to analyze what Google's doing. So, our "Discussion of the Week" asks — what have we learned about Panda? What's working now or not working now? What are you doing differently, or what are you doing more of? The floor is open!
- 6 Advanced Ways to Improve Your Search Engine Rankings – Neil Patel some SEO tips that are off the beaten path. It's definitely worth a read if you're into reading stuff that's not just regurgitation of the same SEO "best practices" that have been going around for the last decade or so.
- A Theory About Google: Authenticity and Passion as Ranking Signals – Over the past 6-9 months, I've been getting the sense that there's something new in Google's algorithm – a metric or set of metrics that looks for some form of authenticity in a site and passion in the content created on a page. These aren't things a machine or algorithmic system has been traditionally able to measure, but (can I say this without sounding crazy?) I can feel it.
- Google Chrome becomes UK's second most popular web browser – Google Chrome is moving on up in the UK, becoming the 2nd most used browser, now ahead of Firefox.
- Calling All SEO’s! You Be The Judge and the Jury – An article that was run at SiliconValley.com (which is part of the Mercury News) has opened up the latest can of worms of a website (and in this case a large network of websites) feeling mistreated by Google. Their cause has been picked up by antitrust attorney Gary Reback (hmm, I see a dotted line connection here, what about you?).
Most Tweeted (not already listed above)
- Science fair gold medalist, 17, invents better way to search Internet – Seventeen-year-old Nicholas Schiefer has found a better way to search small documents, such as tweets and Facebook statuses – all for his Grade 11 science fair project.
- Blogging, social media use skyrocketing at universities – Get this: "100 percent of colleges and universities studied are using some form of social media…" Some interesting stats on how colleges are using social media for marketing purposes, including Foursquare and many sites not called Facebook. :-)
- Metricless PPC Management – Where I explain how to manage a PPC campaign that lacks solid metrics.
- Book Report: Affiliate marketing strategies for beginners, by Nick Reese – Arienne Holland reviews the book and Q & A's with the writer of Affiliate marketing strategies for beginners, Nick Reese.
- The 3 Pillars of Local Search Reviews – In light of the recent changes to Google Place Pages, Mike Ramsey weighs in with a great reminder of the right way to approach reviews for local search/SEO purposes.
Hot On Sphinn: August 1 to August 7, 2011
- How American ISPs Sneakily Monetize Your Search Queries – Jim Giles (New Scientist) reports that Searches made by millions of internet users are being hijacked and redirected by some internet service providers in the US.
- A Few Lessons I Learned About Online Writers Down on the Content Farm – An excellent overview from the other side of the fence.
- Google Image Search is Caffeinated – An interesting look at the evolution of Image Search and how the speed of image indexation can impact image optimization.
- How To Design Headlines and Subheadings – Nice tutorial from Steven Bradley on why you need headlines and how they should be created.
- Link Building in 2011 – The Todd and Jim Show – Continuation of 'Link Building in 2011' by Rae Hoffman.
- Making the Case For SEO in a Social Media World – In the last few years social media has jumped to the forefront of online marketing for many small businesses. Some business owners aren't even bothering to market (or in some cases even build) their websites anymore. Are we entering an age where SEO just doesn't matter?
- 10 Tips For Beating Google Panda: How We Came Back From The Wilderness – Thankfully though, after 2 months of redesigning and tweaking, Panda 2.2 arrived, and our traffic is back. In fact, thanks to the changes we've implemented in the meantime, it’s even higher than it was before the original algorithm hit. We also believe we have a better site for it. Here's what we did…
- Strategy: Five Ways Google+ Can Become Mainstream – A solid read from an old Forrester analyst on how ways Google+ can become mainstream.
- 17 Digital Marketing Experts Share Their Top Tips, Tricks, and Tools – With the breadth and depth of social media services out there, it’s no wonder that we often find ourselves lost in the vast array of services. I took the opportunity to contact some of my esteemed friends and colleagues who are experts in their field and asked for their advice on their favorite little known social media secret and social media tools, including their own if they had them.
- Bing Webmaster Tools Review – The most comprehensive overiew of Bing's Webmaster Tools that I've seen.
- Better Understanding Link-based Spam Analysis Techniques – Some very advanced ways a search engine might detect link spam.
- Determining Site Architecture From Keyword Research – As SEOs, we understand the value of keyword research – not only is it used to identify terms and phrases that a site should target, but it could even help to predict market demands and trends. However, one of the most challenging aspects of keyword research is what happens after thousands of keywords and their search volumes has been collected. How do you build structure out of all this data? And also, how do you determine which keywords to optimize the site for?
This is the latest in a weekly look at the stories that were “hot” on Sphinn in the past week. We’ll post these recaps every week.