Google’s Pigeon Update Solves Yelp Problem, Boosts Local Directories

google-yelp-maps-600 As the analysis continues on yesterday's Google local search algorithm changes -- that we're calling the Pigeon update -- one thing appears to be clear: Local directory sites are getting better visibility in Google's search results. More specifically, it looks like Google has fixed its "Yelp problem" and is now showing Yelp pages at the top of search results when queries specifically include the word "Yelp." You might recall Yelp's recent accusations that Google was manipulating its search results to show Google's own local listings and content ahead of Yelp pages even when users spe [...]


Google “Pigeon” Updates Local Search Algorithm With Stronger Ties To Web Search Signal

maps-pigeon-600 Google has released a new algorithm to provide a more useful, relevant and accurate local search results that are tied more closely to traditional web search ranking signals. The changes will be visible within the Google Maps search results and Google Web search results. Note: We've named this update the Pigeon update. The core changes are behind the scenes, but it does impact local search results rankings and some local businesses may notice an increase or decrease in web site referrals, leads and business from the change. Google told us that the new local search algorithm ties d [...]


Google Penalty Hits eBay’s Bottom Line, May Cost Up To $200 Million In Revenue

ebay-600 Earlier this year, eBay was hit with a search penalty by Google. The loss of traffic resulting from that has been noticeable enough that eBay acknowledged it in a financial call this week, suggesting it may have cost up to $200 million in revenue. eBay also said it plans to improve its efforts in paid search, something that was underway even before it hit a penalty -- and a seeming rejection of an eBay research report that said paid search doesn't work well. eBay's Google Problem On the earnings call yesterday, eBay's chief financial officer Bob Swan said that Google wasn’t drivin [...]


The 10 Most Important Paid Search Developments So Far In 2014

money-mouse-ppc-600 It's been a big year so far for product listing ads on both Google and Bing. Google started putting more ads in the Knowledge Graph. Bing followed Google's lead on combining tablet and desktop traffic. And Google said it would begin stripping paid search queries from referrer strings. Now that we're halfway through the year, let's step back and look at what's happened so far in paid search. These were the 10 biggest announcements and changes to come from Bing Ads and Google AdWords in the first half of 2014. Bing Ads There were three announcements made by Bing Ads in the first hal [...]


The Feature Google Killed The + Command For — Direct Connect — Is Now Dead

google-plus-signs-600 Cast your mind back to November 2011, only a few months after the launch of Google+. That's when Google made one of its biggest Google+ification moves. It demoted a long-standing search feature involving the plus symbol so that searchers could instead more easily reach new "Google+ Pages" that had been launched. Today, this "Direct Connect" feature is forgotten and broken. How Direct Connect Worked When Direct Connect launched, Google promised that people could go directly to popular pages on Google+ by beginning their searches with a + sign followed by a few characters of the page's name. F [...]


Google’s Matt Cutts: MetaFilter Hit By Previously Undisclosed Algorithm Filter

google-flyswatter-penalty-600 Last month, MetaFilter, a news and discussion site from back in the old days, told us they got hit by a Google penalty years ago that had a major impact on their business. We posted our theories and details on this penalty in our post named On MetaFilter Being Penalized By Google: An Explainer. Last night, at SMX Advanced, Matt Cutts, Google's head of search quality, confirmed MetaFilter was indeed hit by a previously undisclosed algorithm filter or "update," as they are often called. Such filters aim to prevent a wide range of sites from ranking well on Google. For example, the Panda u [...]


Google Reconsideration Request Rejections May Include More Details

Google Webmaster Tools - Facebook Featured Google's Matt Cutts, the head of search spam, announced at SMX Advanced that they are updating how they handle reconsideration rejection requests with more details from Google Search Quality analysts. That means when a Google search quality representation reviews and responds to a reconsideration request with a rejection notice, that Google representative has a new box where they can enter more details. Hasn't Google provided more detailed responses to webmaster who have submitted these requests? Yes. Matt Cutts explained they have offered a couple link examples for link issues and gener [...]


Google Launching Payday Loan Algorithm 3.0 Targeting Spammy Queries This Week

payday-loan-search-600 Google's head of web spam, Matt Cutts, announced at SMX Advanced tonight that the third version of PayDay Loan algorithm is launching this week, as soon as tomorrow. This algorithm specifically targets "very spammy queries" and is unrelated to the Panda or Penguin algorithms. Didn't Google just update the PayDay Loan algorithm a couple weeks ago? Yes, version 2.0 was launched a couple weeks ago. Matt Cutts explained that this goes after different signals. The 2.0 version targeted spammy sites, whereas version 3.0 targets spammy queries. Again, this is launching as soon as tomor [...]


Bing Says “Right To Be Forgotten” Request Info Coming Soon

mistakes-forget-forgotten-erase-600 The EU's new Right To Be Forgotten doesn't just apply to Google. Microsoft's Bing search engine has to obey it, as well -- and Microsoft says today that it expects to provide information on how to request removals "soon." In a short help file page that went up today, Bing said that it is working on a system for how those in the European Union can request removals. Here's Bing's full statement: We’re currently working on a special process for residents of the European Union to request blocks of specific privacy-related search results on Bing in response to searches on their names. [...]


Google My Business: A Visual Tour Of Google’s New Tool For Local Businesses & Brands

Google My Business is Google's new unified interface designed to make life easier for local businesses as well as brands to be better found within Google. It's a big, huge change. Our visual tour below is designed to give you an overview. Getting Started Google My Business was announced today. You'll find our overview story here about it. Google's main entry point for those wanting to use Google My Business is here, where you're greeted by this page: New, Existing Or Non-Local Business? The "Get on Google" buttons are most prominent, and you can use those rather than "Sign in" even if [...]


Apple Drops Google For Bing As “Spotlight” Search Provider In iOS 8 & Mac OS X “Yosemite”

apple-spotlight-600 Bing has gained another win with Apple, becoming integrated into a new version of Spotlight in Apple's forthcoming Mac OS X "Yosemite" operating system and in the coming iOS 8 mobile operating system. Spotlight will also tap into a wide-range of search resources similar to how Siri works on iOS. During Apple's WWDC keynote today, the company shared how a revised version of Spotlight will allow typing on the desktop (rather than clicking on small magnifying glass in the menu bar) in order to search your computer for apps and documents. Beyond that, Spotlight is gaining search smarts that [...]


On MetaFilter Being Penalized By Google: An Explainer

Google Cop Big MetaFilter is a news and discussion site dating back to the early years of the web. Founded in 1999, it's attracting attention this week after coming forward about how a Google penalty has severely harmed its business, to the degree of having to let staff go. It serves as a poster child of problems with Google's penalty process, despite all the advances Google has made over the years. Google Hits Sites Large & Small If you just can't wait to get to the specifics of what happened to MetaFilter, scroll further down in this story now. But I'd encourage you to go through the background e [...]


Google Begins Rolling Out Panda 4.0 Now

google-panda-xcu-600 Google's Matt Cutts announced on Twitter that they have released version 4.0 of the Google Panda algorithm. Google's Panda algorithm is designed to prevent sites with poor quality content from working their way into Google’s top search results. But didn't Google stop updating us on Panda refreshes and updates since they are monthly rolling updates? Yes, but this is a bigger update. Panda 4.0 must be a major update to the actual algorithm versus just a data refresh. Meaning, Google has made changes to how Panda identifies sites and has released a new version of the algorithm toda [...]


Official: Google Payday Loan Algorithm 2.0 Launched: Targets “Very Spammy Queries”

spam-600 Google has confirmed they have released a new algorithm update to their Payday Loan Algorithm update over this weekend. This algorithm specifically targets "very spammy queries" and is unrelated to the Panda or Penguin algorithms. A Google spokesperson told us: Over the weekend we began rolling out a new algorithmic update. The update was neither Panda nor Penguin -- it was the next generation of an algorithm that originally rolled out last summer for very spammy queries. This comes with at no surprise to most SEOs and Webmasters who watch the space. There was a tremendous of rumors and s [...]


Doodle Equality: In 2014, Google Features Women In Special Logos Nearly Half The Time

womens-day-2014-6253511574552576.3-hp If you haven't noticed, the Google Doodle team -- which creates those special Google logos -- has been making up for lost time in 2014, adding significantly more women to the number of historic figures featured on Google's various regional and global homepages. Now, nearly half the logos feature women. Google was called out in February after a revealing study by female advocacy group SPARK uncovered Google's considerable lack of female-focused Doodles. The study found only 17 percent of the Google logos honoring historic figures between 2010 and 2013 celebrated women. Google Doodle team [...]


The Myths & Realities Of How Of The EU’s New “Right To Be Forgotten” In Google Works

EU Google Depending on what you read, a "Right To Be Forgotten" court ruling in the European Union this week means that now anyone can ask for anything to be removed from Google, which will soon collapse under an overwhelming number of requests. In reality, it's far more limited than it sounds, though the ruling does raise serious concerns. Here's a Q&A on how things really will work, as best we can tell. NOTE: Since this article was written, Google now has created a process for removals. See our follow-up story: How Google’s New “Right To Be Forgotten” Form Works: An Explainer Is i [...]


Google Action Against Pregnancy Center Ads Stirs Confusion, But Does Not Signal Preference Or Policy Change

google logo - basic 570x270 You may have read this week that some paid ads by pro-life oriented crisis pregnancy centers have been removed by Google after pro-choice political advocacy group NARAL claimed credit for getting the ads banned, as reported by the Washington Post. In reaction, outlets on the pro-life side have cried foul with headlines like "Google Bans Ads From Pregnancy Centers After Lobbying From 'Pro-Choice' NARAL" of abortion. Google's official response to the issue has been, "We're constantly reviewing ads to ensure they comply with our AdWords policies, which include strict guidelines related to ad r [...]


Content Free: 25 Percent Of Google+ Reviews Are “Empty”

online-reviews-featured Investment firm Piper Jaffray has started tracking and comparing Google+ and Yelp reviews. For its inaugural report, the firm looked at a "snapshot of 950 places in 20 major cities" and compared review counts and depth across categories. The firm says it will continue to do so on a weekly basis going forward. Yelp holds a significant lead in coverage and review counts according to the report (embedded below). The main findings reveal some interesting things: Yelp has an average of 142 reviews per location; Google+ averages 69 reviews Out of 950 places examined in the report, Google [...]


Google’s Matt Cutts: Why Google Will Ignore Your Page Title Tag & Write Its Own

google-ignore-kid-600 Google's Matt Cutts posted a video answer on the question about why and when Google will ignore your title tag and use something else for the snippet title in the search results. Matt explains in the video that Google really wants the title of the snippets to match on some level the query of the searcher. This logic often results in a higher click through rate on the URL and thus should be better for both the searcher and the web site owner. The criteria Google uses when coming up with a new title tag are: (1) Something that is "relatively" short (2) Have a good description of the [...]


How A Single Guest Post May Have Gotten An Entire Site Penalized By Google

google-penalty-600 Google made it clear earlier this year that those doing guest posts "for SEO purposes" might be subject to penalties. But the latest chapter in its war on guest posts feels a bit crazy: an entire site put into Google's penalty box because of a single guest post that Google didn't like. Your Entire Site Has Been Penalized By Google The situation involves DocSheldon.com, run by Doc Sheldon, a long-time SEO. Sheldon recently discovered that he'd been issued a penalty against his entire site, as he shared in an open letter to Google: As you can see from the penalty report above, Google decide [...]


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