Matt Cutts Video: How Google Determines What’s A Paid Link

google-war-links-featured Google head of search spam Matt Cutts released a pretty detailed video discussing the Google webspam team's criteria for determining whether a link is considered a paid link or not. There are five basic criteria Google uses in this determination. The first is the most obvious, is the link an explicit link for sale; then, the others are less obvious. The others include: how close is the value to money, is it a gift or a loan, what is the intent of the audience and is it a surprise or not. Explicit Link Sales Links that are explicitly sold for money are the most obvious. A webmaster sells a [...]


Tweet Showing How Google Itself Is A “Scraper Site” Goes Massively Viral

gone-viral-600 Perhaps it's SEO's "Oreo moment," a tweet relating to search engine optimization that's gained nearly as much attention as Oreo's famous Super Bowl blackout tweet. But the subject was a perfect storm of goodness -- a real-life example of Google doing the type of thing in search it seems to be telling others not to do. Yesterday, the head of Google's web spam team Matt Cutts announced a new Google Scraper Report for publishers to use if they see a site that has copied or "scraped" its content and which outranks the publisher in Google searches. That quickly brought up a number of people j [...]


Someone Outranking You With Your Own Content? Use The New Google Scraper Report

google scraper One of the most frustrating experiences for any publisher is discovering that someone not only has copied your content but outranks you on Google for searches related to that content. Now, Google seems to have heard the complaints and has launched a tool to help. Called the Google Scraper Report, it was announced by the head of Google's web spam team Matt Cutts on Twitter: If you see a scraper URL outranking the original source of content in Google, please tell us about it: http://t.co/WohXQmI45X — Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) February 27, 2014 The Google Scraper Report form doesn't pro [...]


FOX Partners With Google To Allow Voting For American Idol On Google’s Search Results

american-idol-logo FOX and Google have partnered to enable American Idol fans to vote for the finalists directly in the Google search results. That means you no longer have to text your vote, you can do it on Google.com. How does it work? Simple, you go to Google on your desktop or mobile device and search for [american idol] or [idol] during the voting window and select from your favorite finalists. Then you can vote up to 50 votes per contestant directly on Google by clicking on the contestant's photo: Then review your votes and click "submit votes to American Idol": After you submit yo [...]


Everything’s Not Awesome: Google News Spammed With Pitch To Watch “The Lego Movie” For Free

lego-movie-featured It's definitely not what you expect to make the top of a Google News section, a crappy article promising that you can watch The Lego Movie online for free, not when the film is still in theaters. But that's what Google is delivering up. The screenshot above shows the situation, which reader Vishvesh Agrawal of DhanInfo tipped us to, after coming across it when reading Google News. The "story" appearing at the top of the Google News entertainment section is all types of bad. Supposed News From The Call & Post Let's look at a close-up: Supposedly, this is a story from the Call & [...]


Google Says (Some) Missing Features Will Be Added To New Google Maps

google-maps-600 Google took its new Maps site out of beta this week, but many users noticed that some of their favorite features from Classic Maps were missing. Not to worry, Google says. It's aware of that and plans to bring at least some of those missing over to the new Maps site in the near future. The team will continue to work to improve the new Google Maps, so look out for better performance and additional features, like send to car, in the coming weeks. That mention of the Send To Car feature is as specific as Google would get in its replies to our questions about the missing features we've n [...]


Open Letter: Why Search Engine Land Will & Won’t Cover Someone Being Penalized By Google

google-flyswatter-penalty-600 It's been big news recently about major brands and Google penalties, and the floodgates feel open on people spotting even more brands possibly hit out there. Some new crackdown by Google? No. It's the rise of hyperactive attention in this area, and that's turning into a problem. Hence this open letter, on how we're planning to address "public penalty reports" here at Search Engine Land. In Summary: Penalties Aren't Always Newsworthy The TL;DR is this. We're not going to be writing about every brand that is suspected to be hit by a Google penalty. Unless there's some exceptional news value, t [...]


5 Times Google Penalized Itself For Breaking Its Own SEO Rules

google-jail-600 Make no mistake. Plenty of sites -- big brands included -- willingly do things in an attempt to rank better on Google that go past SEO tactics that Google itself considers acceptable. However, there's also no better poster child for how complicated and confusing Google's rules can be than the fact that Google has had to punish itself with penalties over and over again. Below, a look back on times when Google took action against itself. FYI, this is a companion piece to our related story on Marketing Land today: 10 Big Brands That Were Penalized By Google. Be sure to also check that out [...]


Wow! See How Much Screen Real Estate Google Is Giving Rivals In Its EU Antitrust Settlement

Google's finally reached a proposed agreement with the European Union over antitrust charges. Judging from screenshots the EU has released, it will give Google rivals unprecedented positioning in Google's results, sometimes for free, sometimes for a fee. Consider how the EU is saying that shopping results will appear, as part of the agreement. The before: And the after, based on screenshots that the EU has released: In the after, you can see an "Alternatives" section that gives shopping search engines co-equal space alongside Google's own advertisers who buy product listing ads (which [...]


Super Bowl 2014: How We Searched

Skittles Seattle I know, I know. Kids today are all about the hashtags and the Twitters; but it turns out, we're pretty good multi-taskers and are still really into searching, too. As has been the case all six years I've been looking at how the Super Bowl impacts how we search, we use Google (and Bing and Yahoo) to get more information about everything from snack recipes to players.  The more I watch the stats, the more I imagine that everyone is just sitting at home in front of their televisions, laptop at the ready, and every time someone appears on screen, everyone types at once: tell me more about this! [...]


Where Yahoo Might Again Compete In Search: Mobile

yahoo-mobile-phone-featured Kara Swisher on Friday broke the news that Yahoo was working on two internal (no longer) secret initiatives to get Yahoo back into organic and potentially paid search and thereby separate from Microsoft. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has been critical of the Search Alliance with Bing and its impact on her company. The Search Alliance deal, negotiated by Mayer's predecessor Carol Bartz -- Scott Thompson is like the William Henry Harrison of Yahoo -- is pretty much a failure for Yahoo. It has benefited Microsoft and helped Bing to grow share, but mostly at Yahoo's expense. Google has essentially be [...]


What Time Does Super Bowl 2014 Start? Look Up!

Along with the Super Bowl, there's another annual big game that happens -- sites trying to be number one for "What Times Does The Super Bowl Start?" This year, I want to win by pointing out that no one should click on any of the articles competing. Just look up, searchers -- Google already won. Every year, we have a recap of all the attempts by publications to rank tops for this search : 2009: Can Searchers Find The Superbowl? 2010: Searching for the Superbowl Start Time: How Are The Engines, the NFL, and CBS Doing? 2011: What Time Does the 2011 Super Bowl Start? A (Continuing) Le [...]


Matt Cutts: “Stick A Fork In It, Guest Blogging Is Done”

blog-featured Google -- and Matt Cutts, in particular -- has made a number of statements about guest blogging over the past year as the tactic has grown as a link building tactic. None of those statements are as clear as the one Cutts wrote today on his personal blog. Cutts, the head of Google's webspam team, says that he'd "expect Google's webspam team to take a pretty dim view of guest blogging going forward." He begins the post with a very clear message: Okay, I'm calling it: if you're using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop. Why? Because over time it's bec [...]


Expedia Lost 25% Of Their Search Visibility In Google Possibly Over Unnatural Links

200px-Expedia_logo.svg The major travel website, Expedia, seems to have lost 25% of their search visibility in Google according to Search Metrics. It appears that drop was due to an unnatural link penalty, where Nenad called out Expedia over a month ago for possible paid links on article sites. Expedia.com's Google Traffic Decline: Patrick Altoft noticed a drop in Expedia's traffic today and posted about it on Twitter. If you look at their decline today, it looks like Google has penalized Expedia in their search results. We reached out to Marcus Tober from Search Metrics who sent us additional details showing that [...]


Search Engine Land’s Most-Shared Stories on Google+ for 2013: What’s Right, What’s Wrong, What’s Next, & What’s Dead

sel-2013-review-featured Happy New Year to you, search marketing friends! Surely you're eager to dive head-first into 2014, weighing predictions and forecasts of what's next in the worlds of SEO and SEM, but we've still got an installment or two in our Search Engine Land Year In Review series! So let's get to it. You've seen the roundups of top news, most popular columns and stories, as well as posts that stole the show in our Twitter and Facebook communities. Now, it's time to turn our sights to Google+. What kind of content did our readers share most on Google's own social network over the last 12 months? Hmm.. [...]


Search Engine Land’s Most-Shared Stories on Facebook for 2013: How To Survive Google, Plus A Joke Here & There

sel-2013-review-featured Search marketing friends -- welcome, welcome! It's time for another installment of our Search Engine Land Year In Review series. We've toured through the top news stories and those that were most tweeted -- now it's time to scope out the articles, tutorials, resources, and surveys that were most shared on the world's largest social network, Facebook. Much of our "most popular on FB" posts you've already seen on the top tweeted list, but the order in which these stories rank is something of note. And for sure a few more playful posts made it into this roundup (April Fools, Easter Eg [...]


The Test Begins: Do Google Shopping & Other Shopping Search Engines Give You The Best Deals?

google-shopping-products-featured It sounds pretty damning. Two recent surveys suggest that Google Shopping isn't leading searchers to the best prices on products. But the surveys weren't well documented, nor did they include competitors like Bing, Shopzilla, PriceGrabber and Nextag, which have similar issues. So, Search Engine Land will be running its own fully documented tests. Every few days, we'll search for an item and show what we found, starting with today's test, a search for a toaster. Testing For The Low Price Vs. Featured Price This is a long story. It's designed to be that way so that people can understand ex [...]


NORAD & Google Launches Rival Santa Trackers; Still No Comment From Santa’s Camp On Which Site Mrs. Claus Will Use

Google Santa Tracker 2013 Snapshot After NORAD announced last week it would be joining forces once again with Bing to track Santa's whereabouts during the holiday season, NORAD Tracks Santa went live on Dec. 1. Google followed suit today by announcing the return of its own Google Santa Tracker. There's still no comment from Santa's camp on which site Mrs. Claus will be using to track her husband this Christmas. This is the second year that the search engines have released competing Santa Tracker services, although it appears the two companies have acknowledged the momentous responsibility involved with hosting two separat [...]


After Two Years Of Broken Promises, Does Google Need To Explain More To Maintain Trust In Search?

google-g-logo-2012 For two years running, Google's broken major promises about search. It began doing paid inclusion in 2012, which it once called "evil." This year, it's experimenting with banner ads it said would never be allowed. Both represent major philosophical shifts for the company about search, but shifts it has largely avoided explaining. Does that erode user trust? That's the focus of my column at Marketing Land this week, Google’s Broken Promises & Who’s Running The Search Engine? It looks at the history behind both promises plus how search has a "fuzzy management" structure at Google, [...]


Court Finds Google’s Book Scanning Is Fair Use: Highlights From The Ruling

google-books-featured Nearly ten years after it began and eight years after Google was sued over it, Google's program that scans books in order to make them searchable has been found legal. A judge found fair use, especially in that "Google Books does not supersede or supplant books because it is not a tool to be used to read books." The ruling by Judge Denny Chin found that the Authors Guild's claims that Google was massively infringing the copyright of books didn't hold up. Below, some of the key highlights from his ruling. The Background & Permission Needed To Scan? Most of the ruling covers the ba [...]


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