A Complete Guide To The Essentials Of Post-Hummingbird SEO

Google-Wall Google has made stark changes over the past couple years in the way it ranks websites. When one of its most recent algorithm incarnations, Hummingbird, was released in August of 2013, it created a whirlwind in the search landscape and has since continued to have far reaching impact. In its wake, businesses have been forced to modify their web marketing strategies and SEO efforts to regain favor with Google to reclaim their former search rankings. Read on for the insights we've gained and what you need to do to thrive in this new environment. What We’ve Learned So Far In keeping pace [...]


How Long Can RetailMeNot’s “SEO Empire” Survive?

credit: Priceonomics RetailMeNot is having remarkable SEO success. According to an analysis by Priceonomics, RetailMeNot is first for numerous coupon-related and "promo code" searches -- an amazing 71 percent of the time. This is what the company said based on an analysis of nearly 300 coupon-related keywords: RetailMeNot ranks first in Google search results for an astounding 187 out of the 263 keywords we track. Dealcatcher.com, the next closest company, only ranks first for 7 keywords. Coupons.com, another recent IPO in this space, only has the number one spot in the Google rankings a single time. RetailMeN [...]


Google’s Matt Cutts: Determining If Your Site Ranking Is Result Of A Penalty Is “Tricky”

matt-cutts-smx-2-featured Today's video from Google's head of webspam Matt Cutts tackles the question, "How can you tell if your site is suffering from an algorithmic penalty, or you are simply being outgunned by better content?" According to Cutts: It's kind of tricky because we have a large amount of algorithms that all interact, and whether you call something a penalty, or ranking change...any of those things can be really hard to draw a fine distinction between those different points. If you're wondering why your site's ranking has dropped, Cutts suggests first going to  Webmaster Tools to see if you have a p [...]


Manual Spam Action Revoked! A Case Study

road-to-recovery-featured Checklists of how to get out of a Google penalty abound. Five things you should do, five things you shouldn't do, etc. But the number one thing you shouldn't do is ignore it. I want to tell you the story of a two-year long penalty, the steps we took and how something we never thought would work… finally did. No Impact On Organic Traffic The client was a purveyor of a highly competitive retail product -- one of the top in the world, with over 10 million visits per month. Back in July 2012, the client received the first notice that there were "unnatural links pointing to the site." But the c [...]


When To Consider A Backlink Cleanup

backlink cleanup If you've been paying attention to the SEO world over the past year and a half, you know that link removal is all the rage. There are countless tutorials that detail how to go about identifying and getting rid of harmful backlinks. If you have the tools, time, patience and ability to follow step-by-step articles, backlink cleanup is arduous, but doable. What these guides fail to mention, however, is when it's best to cleanup your backlink profile. Is it best to wait until you've received an unnatural link warning from Google? Or should you proactively deal with the spammy, paid link filled ti [...]


Lessons From Google On Optimizing Your SEO

SEO Assets Strategy Dan Cobley, Google UK's Managing Director, recently revealed that Google's infamous 2007 "50 Shades of Blue" experiment involving ad links in Gmail increased revenue by $200 million a year. These results switched the balance of power from design-driven to engineering data-driven decisions, and famously led Google's top designer, Doug Bowman, to ultimately to resign in frustration. Search professionals have since observed and reported hundreds of UI experiments, and the search engine results page has gone through dozens of iterations since the days of 10 blue links. Universal Search, embedde [...]


Google Is Not Broken

google logo - basic 570x270 In spite of what many think, Google is not broken. But wait, naysayers will say, Look at this search result, it stinks! This spammer is succeeding in ranking high, they emerged from nowhere and are now in the top three results! It's true -- there are many such examples that you can point to. Making sense of this landscape can be quite confusing, but that's what I will attempt to do in today's post. Firstly, there are two basic reasons why Google can be quite slow to address some of the problems you might find. 1. They Can Afford To Be Thoughtful And Patient Why, you ask? They have domi [...]


SEO Changed Forever In 2013. How To Adjust And Thrive In 2014

2013-2014-featured If there's ever been any question that SEO marketers need to put user needs first, 2013 was the year the search engines made it clear. Nearly every innovation in search -- algorithm updates like Google Hummingbird, SERP enhancements, social integrations -- was aimed at creating a better experience for the searcher. These innovations require SEO marketers to think more closely about the value their content creates for users and to take the technical steps that communicate that value to the search engines. Additionally, with an increasing shift toward mobile, it's even more important t [...]


The Brave New World of SEO: Beyond Websites

changes-ahead-exit-sign We hear it regularly -- the death knell tolling for SEO. In the past several years, we've been bombarded by a barrage of change in organic search, from Penguin to Panda to Hummingbird, from inbound link penalties to [not provided]. Let's face it: the only constant in search is change. But I propose that SEO isn't dead by far. In fact, the role of SEOs is expanding rapidly, and the reality is that we now have to look beyond just the company website. Let's review some of the ways search has changed in 2013 and take a look at how those changes have impacted the role of search marketers. Mobi [...]


Google Hummingbird & The Keyword: What You Need To Know To Stay Ahead

hummingbirdGraphic.HIRES On September 26, Google told participants at its 15th anniversary event it had a new algorithm impacting more than 90 percent of searches worldwide. They called it "Hummingbird." Google's Amit Singhal later said it was perhaps the largest change to the algorithm since he joined the company back in 2001. This information made some marketers nervous, but at PubCon last week, Google's Matt Cutts reminded the audience that the algorithm had been up and running for more than a month before it was announced, and no one even noticed. Hummingbird allows the Google search engine to better do its [...]


Google Seeks Searcher Satisfaction: How Marketers Can Keep Up

google-hummingbird2-featured In late September, Google announced it had been gradually rolling out Hummingbird, a completely new search algorithm. The algorithm emphasizes semantic search and focuses on understanding the meaning behind the user query rather than simply trying to match instances of words in its Web index. Take a look at Danny Sullivan's great FAQ for more specifics on what's changed. Hummingbird Unprecedented In Scope This significant change in the core underpinnings of search has a lot of folks wondering about its impact on their business. (When combined with the recent spike in Not Provided, it make [...]


How Will Google Hummingbird Impact Links? Here Are 6 Ways

google-hummingbird2-featured So you have a question you would like answered, and that question is: "How Will Google Hummingbird Impact Links?" It's still way too early in Hummingbird season to fully understand the impact of the new algorithm, but I've spotted a few clues, and the title of this column is a direct result of those clues. I wrote the title of this column in the form of a question, and I'll write the body of the piece in the form of an answer. And my guess is in about 48 hours, if you type the above question into Google's search box, or speak it into your headset via Google voice search, this very column' [...]


Google’s Hummingbird Takes Flight: SEOs Give Insight On Google’s New Algorithm

google-hummingbird4-featured On the eve of its 15th birthday last week, Google revealed a new search algorithm named Hummingbird. Designed to be more precise and provide faster query results, the algorithm is based on semantic search, focusing on user intent versus individual search terms. As Search Engine Land's Danny Sullivan explained in his FAQ: All About the New Google "Hummingbird" Algorithm: Hummingbird is paying more attention to each word in a query, ensuring that the whole query - the whole sentence or conversation or meaning - is taken into account, rather than particular words. The goal is that pages match [...]


Google: SEO Problems, Solutions & Wishlists

google-search-quality-guidelines When I was a little boy, my parents had an effective way of making me behave. They'd warned me that if I was rude, disobedient or messy, the bogeyman would come and get me. I never saw a bogeyman or even knew what one looked like -- but my imagination ran wild over this terrifying phantom that held my fate in its cruel hands and would ruthlessly punish me if I deviated from the straight and narrow path! Well, replace "parents" with "Google" and '"bogeyman" with "Panda" or "Penguin" (or any other fanciful fauna Google-watchers come up with in the future), and you have our SEO universe in a n [...]


Only 6% Of Top 100 Fortune 500 Companies Have Sites That Comply With Google’s Mobile Requirements

mobile-break-broken-featured Last month at the SMX Advanced Conference in Seattle, the head of Google's webspam team Matt Cutts briefed the audience on the importance of mobile SEO. "You really need to be thinking about mobile," said Cutts during his keynote session, "We're starting to think a lot about mobile." Not only is Google's head of webspam encouraging companies to make mobile SEO a priority, a recent post on Google's Webmaster Central Blog confirmed the upcoming changes, "We plan to roll out several ranking changes in the near future that address sites that are misconfigured for smartphone users." In light [...]


Google Expands List of “Generic” Top Level Domains and Makes Them Geotargetable

Typically, the country-code top level domain (ccTLD) is just that -- a country code. For instance, example.co.uk has content for the UK, and example.com.au has content for Australia. Usually, registration of these domains is restricted. You have to prove that you are operating the site from the designated country. However, some countries have opened up registration to everyone. And of course, some top level domains, such as .com, are inherently generic. Google uses the location of a site in its ranking algorithms. A searcher in the UK is more likely to see sites from the UK in results. But [...]


SMX Advanced Keynote: You&A With Google’s Webspam Chief Matt Cutts

If you've been doing search marketing for any length of time, you've probably heard of Matt Cutts. As head of Google's webspam team, Cutts and crew are charged with determining what constitutes "quality" content that's worthy of prominent exposure in search results. They also work diligently to weed out poor content, and make sure that anyone trying to game Google's algorithms feels swift and certain consequences. During the You&A With Matt Cutts interactive keynote conversation at SMX Advanced, Matt will have a wide-ranging discussion with Search Engine Land founding editor Danny S [...]


How To Stop The Panic Before Asking “Have I Been Panda Slapped?”

[caption id="attachment_112063" align="alignright" width="205"] Image credit to ShutterStock[/caption] You may see a drop in rankings or traffic and immediately panic. Have I been Panda-slapped? Even now, as we look at the two year anniversary of Google's Panda Update, the likelihood is that you have not. Rankings and traffic fluctuate for many reasons, most of which are not related to penalties from search engines. But, how can you tell? Instead of watching rankings overall, watch categories of keywords. If you separate your keyword categories by topic, you can more easily spot trends t [...]


Deconstructing The Google EMD Update

google-domains-featured Well, it's official - no more free lunch for EMD, now that the Google EMD Update has launched. It worked well, for a long time. A whole industry of exact match domain tools and brokers came up. Huge premium prices for good names just went through the roof when it was a real “money keyword.” For quite a while, it was possible to rank in the TOP3 with literally no backlinks, compared to non EMDs, often after only a few days in literally every niche you can dream of. Exact Match Domains (AKA Keyword Domains) are, in general, domain names that exactly match the keyword a website wants to [...]


Google Lucky Number 7: Differences In New Google SERP Across Retail, Finance & Technology

Google Lucky Number 7 – Differences across retail, finance and technology What do 26,000 keywords tell us about the latest Google 7 change and the new Google SERP? As the Google SERP continues to evolve and brands aim to increase their control over search results, the emergence of a new type of SERP has interesting implications for SEO Managers. Since August, Google has been serving for some keywords, SERPs with 7 organic listings, instead of the usual 10 listings as discussed in 7 Is The New 10? Google Showing Fewer Results & More From Same Domain. This fits in with what Google says is its ultimate goal – "Overall, our goal is to provide the mo [...]


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