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 sp [...]


Pigeon: Search Engine Land’s Name For The New Google Local Search Update

maps-pigeon-600 Last night, Google released a pretty significant local search algorithm update. Google told us there was no internal name for the update, but now that we see that it was fairly significant, we decided to give it a name: Pigeon. Pigeon is the name we decided on because this is a local search update and pigeons tend to fly back home. When the Google Panda update launched, there was no official name from Google, so we named it the "Farmer" update. A few days later, Google told us they internally named it the Panda update. So we switched names from Farmer to Panda to avoid that confusi [...]


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 tie [...]


Google Webmaster Tools Updates Robots.txt Testing Tool

Google Webmaster Tools - Facebook Featured Google announced they have updated their robots.txt testing tool in Webmaster Tools. The update brings you a few more features including: (1) Highlights which line in your robots.txt file is blocking a specific page. (2) Make test changes to the robots.txt tool and test it before you make the file live. (3) Google will also show you older versions of your robots.txt file to see past issues. Here is a screen shot showing off the highlighting feature: [...]


Using Adobe Flash For Your Web Site? Google Mobile Results Will Issue Searchers A Warning.

flash-serp-note-border Flash, Adobe's multimedia based website technology, is not a friend of mobile devices or search spiders and now Google has decided to step up their campaign against such sites using the technology. Google announced that starting today, they will be issuing warnings to searchers when their algorithms detect that the website is not supported on the device they are using. For example, if you are using an Android device or iOS device and the search results show a listing of a site designed fully in Adobe Flash, Google may issue a warning that Flash is not supported with your device and encourag [...]


Google’s Quality Rating Guide Leaked Again; Here Is Version Five

google-quality-spam Google's Quality Rating Guidelines document has been leaked once again! Version 5.0 was leaked a few days ago, where Google has reportedly completely revamped the guidelines. Jennifer Slegg has documented most of the new guidelines on her blog. You can also read the full new 160 page guidelines on scribd.com. I am actually surprised the document has not yet been pulled down yet. Jennifer explained the new guidelines put "a high emphasis on sites that are considered to have a high level of expertise, authoritativeness or trustworthiness." This is known as the acronym, EAT: expertise, [...]


Google Officially Launches Webmaster Tools International Targeting

Google Webmaster Tools - Facebook Featured Google has officially announced the new feature we reported was in beta named International Targeting. The new International Targeting reports within Google Webmaster Tools helps webmasters debug common issues with their implementation of href-lang. The markup enables Google and other search engines to serve the correct language or regional version of pages to searchers. But often, webmasters implement the annotations/markup incorrectly. The new International Targeting reports within Google Webmaster Tools helps webmasters fix those common issues. The report helps webmasters identify two [...]


Head Of Google’s Web Spam Team Matt Cutts Is Going On Leave

matt-cutts-600x338 Google's Matt Cutts -- who holds the title of "distinguished engineer" -- is taking a break from his duties as Google's chief web spam fighter. Cutts has announced on his personal blog that he's taking leave through October. It will be the longest break Cutts has ever taken from Google since he started with the company back in 2000 and since he began overseeing the web spam team in 2004. It's also one that he writes is overdue. From his post: When I joined Google, my wife and I agreed that I would work for 4-5 years, and then she'd get to see more of me. I talked about this as recentl [...]


What Local Business Leaders Must Know About Search Engines And SEO

What Business Leaders Must Know About Search Engines And SEO When I write about SEO and business success, I often realize that I've touched upon a point that merits a column of its own. This is one such column. It will focus on the fact that online and offline marketing have grown inextricably codependent -- especially for local businesses. How Businesses & Search Engines Have Evolved As a business leader, you must be aware that the style and method of selling has changed in recent times. Just as the fax machine, cold calling and advertising flyers revolutionized selling in an earlier era, there's a new kid on the block that has transformed the wa [...]


Google Hits Poland Again With Link Network Penalties

google-poland-600 Four months after Google's first link network penalty in Poland, Google has targeted an additional two Polish link networks this morning. Google's Karolina Kruszynska, a spam fighter, posted on Twitter that the most recent wide spread manual action targeted two link networks in Poland: @rustybrick We took action on two link networks.— Karolina Kruszyńska (@karo_krus) July 3, 2014 Google's Matt Cutts confirmed this as well on Twitter after Bartosz Góralewicz showed evidence on of massive manual actions being sent out in Poland. Bartosz posted a screen shot of manual actions [...]


Former Googler: Links That Change Are Trusted Less By Google’s Algorithms

google-links-featured A former member of the Google search quality and web spam team, Pedro Dias, said publicly on Twitter yesterday that "Google is less likely to trust a link once it has changed from the first time it was seen." So if you changed the anchor text or URL path of the link, the value and trust of that link will be less than it was before you made any changes. Here is Pedro's tweet: Did you know Google is less likely to trust a link once it has changed from the 1st time it was seen? — Pedro Dias (@pedrodias) July 1, 2014   Is This True? As I covered, I asked Pedro what his source o [...]


Google Notifying Publishers For Right To Be Forgotten Removals

Right To Be Forgotten Now that Google has been removing results from the European versions of Google in response to the EU's Right To Be Forgotten requirements, many webmasters are now receiving notifications of these removals. Last night, around 10 p.m. EST, I received a notification for a site I have verified Webmaster Tools access from. The notice read: Notice of removal from Google Search We regret to inform you that we are no longer able to show the following pages from your website in response to certain searches on European versions of Google: [URL(s) go here] For more information, see https://w [...]


Breaking Down Page Speed Events For SEO Gain

PageSpeed Vs Time to First Byte

It’s important to get clear the value of changes in terms of SEO impact before allocating in-demand tech time to work on fixes. To throw up just one example: if your page returns in less than one second what impact will fixing render-blocking CSS have on absolute page load times?


Google Webmaster Tools Beta International Targeting Reports

Google Webmaster Tools - Facebook Featured Google is currently beta testing a new international targeting report within Google Webmaster Tools. The new International Targeting report is designed to help webmasters who have international sites and use lang markup understand common mistakes and learn what errors they need to fix, in order to better communicate the language settings across the webmaster's internationalized web site. The tool offers debug details on missing return links from specific language codes, to unknown language codes in general. Here are some screen shots of the beta tool that was shown by Google during their [...]


Google: Redirecting A Penalized Site To Penalty Free Site Likely Won’t Negatively Impact The Site

redirect-change-directions-arrows-600 On Friday, Google's John Mueller answered a question I proposed in a Webmaster/Search Helpdesk Hangout about the issues around a penalized site being redirected to an unpenalized site. The question was: What if a competitor takes a site that has a severe penalty and 301 redirects it to my penalty-free site -- would it cause my penalty-free site to get a penalty? John Mueller basically said he has never seen a case like this where it ended up hurting the site. He said that Google is usually catches these situations fairly easily. He did add, if you are worried that you can disavow all the [...]


PR Newswire’s Answer To Their Google Panda Troubles: Taking Action On Press Release Spammers

google-panda-featured When Google released its most recent modification to the Panda algorithm, Panda 4.0, on May 20th, one of the sites reportedly hit hard by the update was the large press release distribution company, PR Newswire. The company's answer to recover from the algorithmic penalty is to "take action" against press release spammers through new internal quality guidelines for press release submissions. SearchMetrics showed a significant drop in SEO visibility for PR Newswire, a drop ~63% after Panda 4.0 was released: PR Newswire announced "new copy quality guidelines" that their editorial st [...]


Study: Top 5 Search Engines See Search Traffic Drop By As Much As 31% Since December 2013

seo-200 A newly released report from Shareaholic claims the top five search engines -- Google, Bing, Yahoo, Ask.com and AOL -- have all experienced a decline in search traffic since December of 2013. Using data from December 2013 through May 2014, Shareaholic evaluated aggregate organic search traffic numbers from more than 300,000 publishers reaching an audience of more than 400 million monthly unique visitors. The report shows Google's search traffic fell 17 percent between last December and May of this year. Bing, Yahoo, Ask.com and AOL saw an even bigger drop in search traffic numbers [...]


Google’s Knowledge Graph Is Showing Step By Step Instructions: Here Are Some Examples

google-data-knowledge-brain-featured Earlier this year, Google began offering much more detailed answers in the top Knowledge Graph box. Shortly after that was introduced, Google also began expanding those answers into a bulleted list format. We've been seeing these bulleted lists, especially in "how-to" like queries for months now and here are some interesting examples. In the example above, notice how the first result is not being used for the answer here. Google is making an effort to give the publisher a nice big link, but the truth is the user really has no need to click through to the publisher's site to get the a [...]


WATCH: Matt Cutts AMA Keynote At SMX Advanced 2014

matt-cutts-danny-sullivan-600 You already read the live blog and news coverage. Or maybe you were one of the lucky ones who was in attendance last week for the annual Matt Cutts "You&A" AMA-style keynote conversation with Search Engine Land's Founding Editor, Danny Sullivan, at SMX Advanced. Either way, you can now catch (or catch again) the full interview as it happened on June 11. We've uploaded it to YouTube and embedded it below to save you a click. You'll hear Matt and Danny talk about the Payday Loan 3.0 announcement, what happened to MetaFilter, Google's changes to reconsideration request replies and much [...]


Will Google & Bing Penalize Microsoft Over Their Sponsored Post Campaign For Internet Explorer?

google-penalty-600 This morning, news broke that Microsoft Internet Explorer is getting help from SocialChorus to build more awareness for the aging browser by way of sponsored posts. Michael Arrington posted on his site an email from the company, soliciting him into this paid blog post campaign. The campaign instructs bloggers to write about their experience with using the new Internet Explorer and link to the brand page, but, at the same time, provide disclosure that the sponsored post is paid. In the instructions, there is no indication that the bloggers must use nofollow attributes in the link. As yo [...]


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