In the fiercely competitive landscape of SaaS, every single conversion counts. But with so many variables at play, optimizing your conversion funnel can feel like...
Google Webmaster Tools Data Stopped Updating Since Feb 7th, 2015
On Feb 12th, 2015, SEO strategists began voicing their concern regarding data update in Google Webmaster Tools. Over time, it has been observed that the data in Webmaster Tools is delayed by about two-days. But, this time, the Google Webmaster tool update showed its last update on 7th February. You are not alone in this! All webmasters across the world have talked about it on online forums and other similar platforms.
This issue is doing rounds in the webmaster circles as the search engine giant still hasn’t given a confirmation of the same. There are several complaints lodged in the Google Webmaster forums but no intimation is received from Google for acknowledging and resolving this issue.
Meanwhile, cases where Google Analytics zeroed out data on February 9th have also been reported. So, one of the Google’s representatives John Mueller was seen as saying, “The search queries data is currently a bit delayed. It should catch back up over the next couple days though. Sorry about the trouble this causes in the meantime, and thanks for your patience!” on a Google Webmaster Help thread.
It’s True! Google Adores Great Content on Social Media
There is no doubt that Social Media has a huge impact on your SEO rankings. Google uses a website’s popularity on social media channels as a ranking measure.
Quality content on your social media attracts followership, which in turn enhances the subscribers (and the traffic) for your website. For example, Google relies a lot on Twitter to find new content and on Twitter, it is of course the number of retweets and followers that differentiates between good and average content.
So what does social media presence mean?
If you have created a Facebook, Google+ and Twitter page, that alone is obviously not enough. It is important to update the social media pages regularly. One has to post as an engaged social media marketer while posting on social media channels, like it is good to follow other relevant people/ businesses, share the latest about your company and talk about any exclusive deals or offers. The frequency and quality of your updates is an important factor for your rankings.
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OK so what should I really do?
Write some great content
Like mentioned earlier, they key to be popular on social media is to share some great, and irresistible shareable content. Great content can get you the traction from followers who matter. Remember that Google is intelligent to identify in case you have proxy followers so try to post relevant content with equally relevant hashtags.
Share engaging and original blogs, articles, tips and updates. Google ranks engaging content higher than content full of keywords is looking more at the kind of content you’re sharing with people, instead of the number of keywords you can shove into a blog post or website.
Include posts that are useful, informative and engaging. The posts should address some customer challenges and this is how it can become useful. It should be informative to talk about your capabilities and the services you can offer. The posts should be engaging to ask some relevant questions and making your followers think and click on a link as a call to action.
Not sure how to write great content for your business?
Get Back to the Pack after Pigeon Ranking Change
In spite of all your efforts towards getting local search results, do you seem to be trailing in the rankings?
If yes, the following blog is just for your eyes.
In his write up, Neil Patel shares how, with Google’s Pigeon algorithm update, there should be a shift in the way we look at local searches. Titled ‘How Not To Do Local SEO In A Post-Pigeon Era’, the article talks about tuning our focus as per Google’s algorithm change, Pigeon. The algorithm change focused on local searches is, and in the coming days will be, impacting the website traffic.
Since the Pigeon algorithm bifurcated cities into smaller chunks (consisting neighborhoods), the attention should no longer be based on cities alone. Local searches have gone to a granular level, which means that Google shrunk its search radius and the keywords have to be now neighborhood focused. It will also be helpful for your website, if you promote it with all the different names that your neighborhood (once you know the neighborhood you fall under) may have. Don’t forget the directory listings (like Yelp, Trip Advisor) yet as trends show that some users include a directory name in their search query.
Post Pigeon, you also have to keep your focus on content marketing and link earning. Stressing on the importance of reviews and citation, Mary Bowling, Local SEO Experts says, ‘If your 7-packs have shrunken to 3-packs, striving to build greater organic authority may help you more than purely local signals like citations and reviews.’
So just tune yourself as per the Pigeon to reclaim your rankings and get back to the pack.
Behind the Mask – Here’s an Update on Phantom
No, this isn’t about Phantom, the superhero and his fights with the pirates or smugglers. And this isn’t either about Rolls-Royce’s Phantom, the timeless engineering luxurious marvel.
Calling it a quality update, Google recently rolled out the Phantom update and it apparently seems to have dipped rankings for a number of websites. It has been blamed to this update, which came unannounced, that has caused a dip in the HubPages Traffic (a community of experts who share their opinions, in the form of blogs, about a specialized area and writers who comment and share feedback on the ‘hubs’ created). This update is different from the big change, announced on April 21, which came in the form of Mobilegeddon (an algorithm change that favors mobile-friendly websites). Reports suggest that due to the Phantom update, there has been a traffic drop of almost 22% for HubPages. Google is yet to share more details on the update.
While search experts are still trying to find a way around Phantom, the update seems to be similar to the one that was introduced in 2011 and which was called the Panda update. Even then, the Panda update had stressed upon improving the quality of the website. In a blog titled ‘More guidance on building high-quality sites’, Google shares some of the questions you should ask to counter the Panda update and ensure that you have a high-quality website.
If you are hit by the Phantom and experiencing lower rankings than before, it’s perhaps time to reevaluate your website.
Mobilegeddon Update – What Has Been The Impact?
Google announced the Mobilegeddon on 21st April this year. What has been the impact of the algorithm change that favored mobile websites? Has the effect of Mobilegeddon been as huge, as expected?
So far, Mobilegeddon has not proved to be as harmful for websites as anticipated, at least for desktop searches. But for mobile searches, the drop has been significant. While there are analysts who feel this update from Google will not have any significant future impact but others feel that Google will make a gradual rollout of this algorithm. If not a couple of weeks, Mobilegeddon may have an impact over the next few months. But yes, there is no need to immediately panic.
For businesses that are considering to have a mobile-friendly version of their website, it is important to ensure an enhanced user experience. For this, the most important factor is the time for a webpage to load and that assures its ranking on the mobile search results. One of the risks of having a responsive website (which is different from a mobile-friendly website) is that it may have a heavy code base and take a longer time to load. While such websites may pass the Google’s Mobile friendly Test, they may not get a good rankings due to the time it takes to load.
If you were to compare businesses that have dedicated mobile websites, they have seen the biggest impact in terms of Google rankings. Websites that are dynamic, which means they have desktop and mobile /responsive versions, have been less effected due to Mobilegeddon.
Unused Ad Groups & Campaign Removal Is Becoming Permanent After 30 June, 2015
Are you ready to give-up your unused, non-functional or discarded campaigns, which are 100 days old?
Google has recently started an activity to delete unused ads, campaigns and other AdWords entities present in your AdWords account and named it as ‘Spring Cleaning’. The activity that started on March 23 attempts to remove all the ads that have not been able to accumulate even a single impression and also removing ads that were posted 100 days ago. And once these ads will be deleted, you will not be able to see or access them in your account.
The idea behind deleting the campaigns is to reduce the clutter and speed up your AdWords experience. I believe initially it might bring a little panic but finally users will be able to experience a cleaner AdWords account. Also it will reduce the load on your system owing to these unwanted ad copies and Ad Groups in your account.
With a deadline of 30th June, Google expects AdWords Campaign Managers to change the status of their removed or unused ads, campaigns and other AdWords entities as paused. As this will be a permanent deletion of the ad campaigns and ad groups, reactivation of any of the campaigns or ad groups will not be possible. Also, it will no longer be possible to edit these campaigns or ad groups once deleted.
Just want to reiterate: If you still want to see the removed or unused ad campaigns and ad groups in your account, then change the status to pause of your ads, else you will not be able to reactivate them.
Google’s Pirate Algorithm – What has it changed?
The algorithm proved to be a blow to the websites with copyright infringements. But it only impacted their rankings and not their existence.
Recently Neil Patel shared the impact of the Google’ Pirate update, an update that was first introduced in 2012. The pirate algorithm was known to be quite different from the other algorithm updates like penguin, panda or pigeon as it didn’t need users to do something to improve their search engine rankings. The main purpose of the Pirate algorithm update was to keep a check on online piracy and it was primarily Google’s attempt to curb illegal online services. An attempt to enforce the ‘The Digital Millennium Copyright Act’ (DMCA), the algorithm supported the law that makes it illegal to use digitally protected data.
The next update of the algorithm was made two years later in 2014 and it attempted to remove websites (that were most likely pirated) from the search engine rankings. So somebody searching for a pirated website sees a message like the one below:
After the update, Google attempted to lower the rankings of websites that are torrents or most likely seem to have copyright violations (after receiving requests to block such websites). Some of the popular websites that promoted pirated content like mp3skull.com, myfreemp3.cc, etc. experienced a major drop (as high as 96%) in search results.
While Google receives a lot of complaints to block websites that violate copyright, it takes valid documentation to actually block any website. A user who wishes to report pirated content has to fill a form for removing content from Google. This doesn’t mean that Google will magically erase the website but it means that it will remove that URL from its index.
Like all other algorithms, Google isn’t transparent about how the pirate algorithm works but is serious about eradicating piracy. But in doing this, is Google making the right decisions? The copyright laws are complicated and it is only with the support of DMCA, Data Protection body, Trademark law, etc. that a right decision can be actually taken.
Jayson DeMers in his Forbes article in 2014 rightly questioned, “Google, in this case, has become something of an unquestionable judge, distributing penalties as it sees fit. Most people wouldn’t argue against the search engine giant striking out against illegal enterprises, but since Google is operating independently, could this be the beginning of a new trend that extends beyond matters of legality?”
Lessons learned from Google’s Mobilegeddon
Find out how important is it to have a responsive website or mobile-friendly website after the Mobilegeddon effect.
The above graph information is commonly being cited as the main source of information on what happened during Google’s Mobilegeddon. These number make it clear that Google was not messing around when the term “Mobilegeddon” was coined.
What this means?
This information was obtained by Stone Temple Consulting after they took the URL’s that ranked in the top 10 of their test queries. This means that if the URL was in a lower position on one day, then experienced a raise in position later, this data records that change. So this is a visual reflection of the way Google punished websites that did not perform well on mobile devices, and rewarded those that did.
Adobe systems later came out with a comprehensive report that confirmed what was already suspected was going to happen during this Mobilegeddon. This report stated that overall traffic to non-mobile friendly websites fell 12% in the two months that followed the implementation on April 21. This information was taken from more than 5,000 different sites. The key success metrics according to Google here as the use of larger text, good fit on small screens, and things that are generally easier to tap.
As is natural with these changes, the sites that received less organic traffic due to this update, decided to push their mobile bids up (about 16%) to combat this change.
This all means that sites that are continuing to invest time to make their platforms more friendly to mobile eyes, are going to be experiencing more conversions overall. If you aren’t looking into this part of your website, do consider it soon as Google doesn’t look to be slowing down with this filtering.
What will happen to Google autocomplete API on 10 August 2015?
As Google announced just recently, they will be shutting off their unpublished Autocomplete API on August 10 of this year. Let’s look into what this is and what this will do.
First of all, who even cares?
Well, if you’ve ever worked with keywords before this will likely affect your work. The unpublished autocomplete API helps about a many businesses by providing valuable keyword information. It does this by using an undocumented API that provides the top 10 most common (fresh) results for any keyword entered in Google.
Although Google never intended it to turn out like this, developers reverse engineered Google’s auto complete to use it in their own ways. With this autocomplete API, people from all kinds of different fields created innovative ways of utilizing this information, one of which ways is to address underlying issues with keywords.
What are Google’s intentions here?
Google’ had the opportunity to shut down the unofficial uses of their API, but decided against it for quite some time. Google stated that they were actually impressed by the innovative nature of what they were doing and said, that multiple times have come to light wherein the developers are reverse-engineering Google service via an unpublished API. So, they let things go for a while.
For what it is worth, Google said the following about why they decided to finally put a stop to this.
And thus, the unofficial autocomplete API usage comes to an abrupt end. However, Google says that you can always purchase their Customer Search Engine offering or try the free version of their solutions to gain this autocomplete API functionality back.
Of course, no one knows for sure if Google is really doing this for all the reasons they stated in their announcement. Much speculation can be made but at the end of the day, only the time will tell.
Coming Soon: Google’s Real Time Penguin Algorithm
Last month Google disclosed that they will be releasing a real-time version of the Penguin Algorithm before this year’s end, or at least that is what they’re shooting for.
Penguin is the name Google dubbed this algorithm as it crawls sites to determine if they are “black-hat” techniques used by those trying to trick Google into ranking a site higher than it naturally would rank in search results.
The difference between Pandas and Penguins
Penguin’s close relative, Google Panda, is the other algorithm that was recently updated in July that is still rolling out today. Instead of searching for those trying to trick the system, this algorithm seeks out sites that are “low-quality” and punishes them for being so.
The good news
Because of the real-time nature or this upcoming Google Penguin update, it is important to note that you should keep watch on your rankings to make sure you don’t get punished. But if you do, the good news is that Google will let you recover instantly from this punishment if you make the right changes.
This is a load off of webmaster’s backs as SEO punishments are often quite detrimental and can take a while to fully heal up from. So needless to say, some websites will have to keep a close eye on their rankings.
Some more good news about this update is that, because of the rigorous nature of its parameters, the vast majority of sites will be unaffected. The Penguin update, however, is more of the one to watch when it comes to being punished as the audience affected by this update is much larger.
Honestly, the only bad news to share regarding these updates would be for those using spam, or black hat techniques, so a good update for Google all around.
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