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 [...]


Re-imagining Google: America’s Favorite Homepage Gets A Redesign By Letter Society Blog

google-letter-design-challenge-600 Early last month, the design blog Letter Society posted a challenge asking its select group of designers to submit redesigns of Google.com. The site, which positions itself as a "collaborative and challenge based" blog, asked the designers to do a "reskinning" of the current site: With there being already a minimal approach to the page, re-imagining should require us to think hard, critically and outside of the box to create a quality solution. Seven redesigns were submitted, each with an explanation from the designer on the choices they made. Submissions included a range of ideas, from [...]


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 [...]


Why Yahoo’s Not Going To Steal The Search Default For iPhone Away From Google

yahoo-featured Apparently, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer wants to be the default search for Apple's Safari browser on iPhone and iPad and has been preparing to make a solid pitch. Well, we all want things we can't have, and I'd be incredibly surprised if Yahoo got its wish here. Kara Swisher over at Re/code has the scoop, in her Marissa Mayer’s Secret Plan to Get Apple to Dump Google and Default to Yahoo Mobile Search story. Be sure to read that. Here, I'm going to share the incredibly tough list of obstacles that would have to be overcome to turn this from a fantasy into reality. Yahoo Has No Search Techn [...]


More April Fools: Everything From Tools To Make Your Video Viral To Free Nexus Phones

april-fools-day Yesterday, our editor in chief Matt McGee found a number of Google April Fools jokes already in play, including a Google Maps Pokemon challenge and Google+ David Hasselhoff photobombs. Not wanting Google to be the only one having all the April Fools fun, a number of other companies have released their own April 1st shenanigans. Here's what we have found so far: Bing Sells Link Juice Promising 100 total links, Bing claims its new bottled Link Juice is "loaded with all the nutrients and goodness you need to successfully grow." Shipped in discreet plain brown paper packaging, the snake [...]


Google’s April Fools’ Day Jokes For 2014: Google Maps Pokémon Challenge, Magic Hand & More

google-april-fools Is it just me, or does it seem like Google starts celebrating April Fools' Day earlier and earlier every year? No company on the web takes April 1st more seriously than Google, as we've been covering for years now. So what about this year's April Fools' Day antics? Let's have a look. Google Maps: Pokémon Challenge It was a little past 12 pm ET today (March 31), when the Google Maps team posted its April Fools' Day gag -- the "Pokémon Challenge," a game/adventure where Pokémon masters are tasked with using Google Maps to find game characters out in the wild. Winners will (facetiously) ha [...]


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 [...]


Nearly A Year Later, Google’s Penalty Notices Remain Confusing

confusion-maze-direction-600 Nearly a year after Google's Matt Cutts told us penalty notifications will get clearer, including more actual examples of what a problem is, it seems as if the notifications have gotten harder to understand. I spend a lot of time following penalties issued by Google through examples given to me via email, penalties publicizes on blogs and then examples posted in the Google webmaster forums, where people are confused. And in the past week, two good examples of experienced people and companies being confused have come up. Experienced SEO Company Confused Over Penalty Last week, an experien [...]


Google Penalizes Italian & Spanish Link Networks

google-cop-busted-featured As promised, Google has taken manual action to penalize link networks in Italy and Spain. It was just four days ago that Google warned webmasters in those two countries about its rules on paid links and willingness to take action against websites that violate those rules. The penalties were announced separately on Friday by Google employees outside the U.S., and later retweeted by Matt Cutts, the head of Google's webspam team. First up was Giacomo Gnecchi, a member of Google's search quality team based in Dublin, who tweeted the news (in Italian) about the Italian link network penalty [...]


Google Working On A Softer & Gentler Panda Algorithm To Help Small Businesses

panda-and-baby Google's head of search spam, Matt Cutts, announced at Search Marketing Expo that his search team is working the "next generation" Panda update that would appear to many as being softer. Cutts explained that this new Panda update should have a direct impact on helping small businesses do better. One Googler on his team is specifically working on ways to help small web sites and businesses do better in the Google search results. This next generation update to Panda is one specific algorithmic change that should have a positive impact on the smaller businesses. Matt Cutts didn't mention [...]


Google To Publishers Concerned Over The Knowledge Graph; Searchers Still Need Your Content

google-logo-glow-featured In the keynote session last night at Search Marketing Expo West, Google's head of search, Amit Singhal tried to address the concern of publishers that their content is being scraped and used by Google's Knowledge Graph, ending with the user not having to click on the search results to get the answer. Danny Sullivan, in his interview of Amit Singhal, brought up the tweet that went viral showing how Google is considered by many as a massive scraper site. Amit addressed the concern with an analogy. Amit equated Google's knowledge graph to a swiss army knife while equating the publishers con [...]


Live Blog: Head Of Google Search Amit Singhal Keynote At SMX West 2014

amit-danny-smx-west Good evening/afternoon (or early morning for our European readers!) from sunny San Jose, Calif., where day one of our SMX West conference is almost finished. We're wrapping up the Marketing Land Digital Marketing Summit with a keynote conversation between Google's Amit Singhal and Danny Sullivan, founding editor of both Marketing Land and Search Engine Land. Singhal has overseen Google's search engine ranking algorithms since 2000. From the Knowledge Graph, to Google Voice Search, to Google's new "Hummingbird" algorithm update, no one has better insight into Google's many methods of trying [...]


BrightEdge Uses SEO Patents As “Sword,” Sues Searchmetrics

patents-600 Oh no they didn't: BrightEdge has sued rival Searchmetrics using multiple SEO patents, which were granted last year. The concern being expressed by some today is that this could be the beginning of a wave of litigation as BrightEdge seeks to capitalize on its newly granted IP or goes after competitors that it perceives to be infringing. The patents in question broadly pertain to various automated SEO software tools: 8,577,863: “Correlating web page visits and conversions with external references” Granted 11/5/2013 8,478,700: “Opportunity identification and forecasting for search [...]


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 [...]


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