Digital-Marketing-Information, SEO

What Happend in Google in the past 12 months ??

1. CEO Larry Page
In a shocking move, Eric Schmidt announced in January he was stepping down as CEO, and Larry Page would return for his second tour of duty as CEO. Supposedly, “adult supervision” was no longer needed.

Page wasted no time, tying bonuses to Google’s social success, reorganizing management, and eliminating “losers” from its projects.

2. Google+ Project, +1 Button & Google Redesigns
Perhaps seeking a new identity – OK, Google looked at the valuable data Facebook had and said, “me too!” Google’s “want, have, take” philosophy became apparent as it created its own Facebook-like social network – sorry, identity service.

Google gave itself a new look to accompany the launch of Google+. This came a few months after of Google’s +1 button launched, Google’s answer to Facebook’s Like button.

Not content with its appearance last year, Google made numerous tweaks to its look – organic results saw a series of tests, sitelinks expand, while AdWords also saw its share of tests and changes.

3. Antitrust
Google is no stranger to antitrust scrutiny, but this year Google’s search dominance has been the subject of investigations in the European Union. In the U.S., the FTC is investigating Google, thanks in part to claims by Microsoft.

Most recently, Google’s Executive Chairman Schmidt answered questions before a U.S. Senate subcommittee on Google’s growing power. Consider this Google’s trip to the principal’s office. Expect to hear much more on antitrust this year.

4. Google Panda Update
What Google has called their “high-quality” sites algorithm, the Panda update rolled out in February, targeting low quality sites with little original content. This update, now seven months and several iterations later, still had many webmasters around the world baffled. Google search is Google’s game, and it’s apparent they’ll continue to change the rules when they want.

Traffic diversification, building a community, optimizing website usability, and authoring original, engaging, quality content are among the best survival tips. Also, honestly ask yourself: is your baby ugly?

5. Paid Links, Spam, Google & Mainstream Media
Want Google to change something? Apparently the trick is to get a story in The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal to embarrass Google to action (though making Google look bad can be dangerous).

Stories about the linking practices of JCPenney and got a lot of attention. While was hurt, JCPenney really didn’t suffer.

And just recently, spam and abuse issues in Google Places got Google moving – a little. Seems Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum was paying attention, as he’s the most recent to publicly scold Google.

6. Bing “Sting”
Google launched an elaborate “sting” operation and discovered that, in 7 to 9 percent of cases on junk searches, Bing returned results that Google had manipulated. Why? Because Bing used clickstream toolbar data as a user signal for their algorithm. The horror!

Google shouted from the rooftops that Bing was copying them, aided by a self-described search “rock star” and shocked an entire industry with their immature, juvenile behavior in the days the followed. Here’s my response to what I termed “hiybbprqagate”.

This whining strategy also backfired on Google when Google condemned the patent strategies of Microsoft, and others, in August.

7. Google Surrenders $500 Million
Children are going to mess up, and Google sure stepped in it on this one. Google surrendered $500 million made in ad sales from online Canadian pharmacies, and a U.S. attorney said Page “knew what was going on.”

8. Record Revenue
And just as kids will disappoint, they will also make you quite proud. Case in point: Google’s impressive Q1 record revenue of $8.58 billion. Know what was equally impressive? Another record in Q2: $9.03 billion in revenue.

In case you’re wondering, this is how Google makes its billions.

9. Instant Everything
Google continued to be obsessed with speed and “I want it now!” As such, they continued to expand on their Google Instant offerings rolled out last September, adding Instant Previews, Pages, mobile, video previews, Places, and ad previews – and also added autocomplete “predictions”.

10. Google Offers
After failing to buy Groupon, Google decided it could do its own daily deals site, but way cooler. A few months later, Google Offers launched in Portland, and has now expanded and has been performing well this month after a slow start.

11. Acquisitions
Undoubtedly, Google’s pending purchase of Motorola (for 12 times more than it paid for YouTube) lead the way for Google. But Google also scooped up several companies to bolster Google Offers and Google Wallet (DailyDeal, Zave Networks, and The Dealmap). Other noteworthy buys include Zagat and (which Google was forced to penalize for using doorway pages). Scroll to the bottom of this post for a list of Google’s other 2011 acquisitions.

12. Android’s Growth
The calendar year began with CEO Eric Schmidt saying all of Google’s strategic initiatives were “all about mobile,” and one of those was to make more affordable Android-based smartphones available worldwide.

As of July, Android now commands 41.8 percent of the U.S. smartphone market share, according to comScore; Android also recently passed iOS in Europe, and now has a 22.3 percent share of smartphone users, trailing Symbian’s 37.8 percent share, comScore reported. Mobile ad impressions grew 48 percent month-over-month in August on Android, according to Millennial Media.

Meanwhile, the fight over Android’s technology between Oracle and Google continues, with Oracle now seeking $1.16 billion in damages. A court date is set for October 31.

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The 4 Ps of Search Engine Optimization

If there is any one reality to SEO, it’s that there are winners and losers. There are certain qualities that are necessary for any winning SEO strategy that can be broken down into the 4 Ps of SEO: proactive, persistence, perseverance, and patience.


Being proactive is fundamental to being a good SEO for a couple of key reasons:
Latency Effect Between Work and Results
Any SEO work done today likely won’t affect traffic or revenue today. When it comes to SEO there is a latency effect as new changes to your website or your off-site profile (backlinks, social activities, etc.) get indexed by the search engines and filter into the SERPs.
How long the latency period is depends on the situation. If you put up a new targeted page on your site that gets indexed quickly, you could indeed start to see some new traffic from new keywords within a day. If you’ve made a lot of sweeping on-site and off-site changes to your website, it might take a month to see the results you’re looking for.
The idea here is that it will almost always take longer than you would like to get the results you want from the activities you’re doing today, no matter how hard and smart you work. Think and plan ahead. Make sure you factor in the long-term into your day-to-day activities.
  • Actionable tip: Use a calendar to plan all SEO activities ahead. Compare this on an ongoing basis against results tracking to make sure your plan is consistent with your SEO gains. This may also help you see whether you have space for innovation within your tactics.

Stay Ahead of the Curve

The other key point here is to be proactive as opposed to reactive – do your best to keep yourself ahead of the curve. Time and time again I see knee-jerk reactions to changes in the SERPs, and that is the worst thing you can do because new changes are made to the search algorithms all the time.
Firstly, you should have seen the changes coming and changed your strategy months ago. Secondly, if it’s already too late, you’re just going to need to accept reality and adjust your strategy accordingly.
You might be able to get back to where you were before, but it won’t happen overnight – sorry. Engaging in a huge flurry of SEO activity immediately following an algorithm update, for example, has a good chance of doing you more harm than good.
  • Actionable tip: Meet with your team regularly to discuss the trends and whether your strategies require adjustment. Where do you see the industry in two years? Five years? Make sure your strategies are in line with long-term trends and are built to last. That way you’ll be more likely to ride out the future Panda-type algorithm updates with no trouble and stay ahead of the curve.


SEO isn’t something you can spend a few weeks doing, and then sit back and watch the money roll in. In just about any given niche, several or even dozens of other individuals or groups are attempting to beat you.
In competitive niches, the competition is going to be doing something every single day to reach that goal. Unless you’re doing the same or better, you’ll simply fail.
You need to work every single day at something that contributes to your SEO success. That could be something as simple as publishing new content or developing your branding, but it should all be considered within the scope of your global SEO strategy.
  • Actionable tip: Work harder than the others! The minute you stop working is the minute you stop winning, even if it takes a few months for it to become apparent.


No matter how strong your SEO strategy is, you don’t control the SERPs, the search engines do. What that means, fundamentally, is that you’re investing resources into something you have absolutely no control over. Yes, you can influence it (sometimes very heavily), but you can’t control it.
What that lack of control means is a high potential for volatility. Inevitably, you’re SEO campaign is going to have highs and lows. You might have huge successes, with money pouring into the coffers, followed by catastrophic losses that set you back months or even years (think of some of the Panda losers).
OK, those are extreme cases, but you need to be prepared to not always be winning, and to ride out the tough times. Those who persevere in SEO are those who eventually win.
  • Actionable tip: Ensure that you are prepared for possible periods of no-growth or decline. Preparedness will help you understand the reasons behind the poor performance, which in turn will help you to respond faster and more effectively to get back on track.


This is maybe the toughest of all the Ps. No one is really patient, especially in business – everyone has bills to pay, executives to report to, investors to satisfy… considering that financial planning typically works on a quarterly basis, it can often be difficult to justify SEO spend in one quarter when results might happen the next quarter.
The fact about SEO is that results happen on their own timetable, and that’s just the way it is. Results sometimes come later than expected, particularly if you are taking a softer, lower-risk approach.
You really want results next month? Sure, go ahead and build 200 new backlinks this week with the exact same anchor text for the big-money keyword… and see what happens (hint: don’t do that).
Want to win in SEO? Create a solid foundation and gradually – patiently – build on it.
  • Actionable tip: Take the evening off and smoke a cigar. You’ve got a lot of work to do tomorrow and if you’re smart about it, the eventual payoff might be big.


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The First 7 Items On Your SEO Audit To-Do List

Look at Google Webmaster Tools For the Site

If Google Webmaster Tools isn’t currently set up, then get it put in place. The list of great data you can get from this is long, but here are some of the most important things:
  • Are there are any messages for the site in the opening screen? Hopefully not, but if there are, you want to see these first.
  • Check out the crawl errors. One of your first recommendations is going to be to clean these up. 
  • Check out the sitemaps to make sure there is no problem there (Site configuration -> Sitemaps).
  • Check out your Robots.txt (Site configuration -> Crawler access). Any content blocked that you didn’t expect?
  • See what the most popular search queries are (Your site on the web -? Search queries). Of particular interest here is the ranking data that Google provides. Search on some of the more popular terms and see if your titles and descriptions look like they can entice more clicks if you adjust them. Look for opportunities. Something in the 4th spot? Might represent an opportunity to get it to move up.
  • Look at your crawl stats (Diagnostics -> Crawl stats). Drops in pages crawled per day, or increases in time spent downloading a page are a warning signal.
  • See how fast your site is running (Labs -> Site performance). If you see something like the screen shot provided below, you have found something for people to work on. Google Webmaster Tools will give you some specific suggestions on how to do it.

Look at Bing Webmaster Tools for the Site

Think there is no value in looking at a second Webmaster Tools? Think again.
Google does a nice job with their tools, but allows you to get the viewpoint from a second search engine, and you will see different things. For example, even their 404 report will show different 404’s than Google’s. The main elements you are looking for here are:
  • Pages Crawled to see if there is a noticeable drop.
  • Pages with Crawl Errors – this may report different errors than Google
  • Sitemaps to make sure they are properly recognized by Bing.
  • Look at the Index report to check if there are any noticeable changes. The go deeper and look at Index Explorer, which is a neat tool for seeing how Bing sees your site hierarchy.
  • Traffic because you can check out the search phrases bringing traffic. Of particular interest is the Average Impression Position and the Average Click Position, as these can tell you if rankings are moving up or down over time. Pages that are going down are probably offering a poor user experience compared to competition. That’s a problem.

Perform a site: Check on Your Site

See how many pages Google has in the index for the site. Compare that result to the number of pages you think you have.
With larger sites it is often difficult to know exact page counts, but you should have a general idea, such as its between 30,000 and 40,000 pages. What you are looking for is a huge discrepancy. If you think you have between 30,000 and 40,000 pages and Google reports 100,000 pages you probably have a (potentially massive) duplicate content problem.
If you see a large discrepancy, then you know you have some work to do to figure out the nature of the problem. You can look at the pages returned in the SERPs for the site, and you may get your answer there. If that doesn’t work, go back to Bing Webmaster Tools and look at Index Explorer as it may show the problem there. You can see a screen shot of what that looks like here:

Crawl the Sites

There are a number of crawling tools you can use to help you with this. These can help expand your duplicate content checking efforts as well as a number other checks that include:
  • Duplicate titles
  • Missing titles
  • Duplicate meta descriptions
  • Missing meta descriptions
  • Crawl depth
  • Other similar items.
This type of data can be invaluable. Companies that offer these types of tools include:
  • SEOmoz Crawl Test Tool (requires membership in SEOmoz Pro).
  • Raven Internet Marketing Tools (requires a fee to use).
  • Screaming Frog SEO Spider (a free tool that looks like it provides some great metrics, though I haven’t tested it personally). Let me know in the comments if you have and what your experience has been.
These are just some examples of the more well known tools that you may have that don’t cost an arm and a leg. SEOmoz and Raven provide a lot of functionality beyond a crawl that you can use in a rapid audit as well. Some SEO agencies can provide you with a proprietary crawling tool as well.

Perform Some Title Checks by Hand

Spend 30 minutes flipping through various categories of pages to see if you see clear title problems, such as titles for pages that are not unique, or titles that don’t properly use keywords. Given the limited time you have, this will be a spot check, but it should help you determine if you have any major problems on your hands. If there are, you can write this up as part of your report.

Check the “Keyword Space”

Use a tool like the Google AdWords Keyword Tool. Based on your review, get a sense as to the most sought after search phrase for your market space (that is likely to convert). Is that in your home page title?
Then look at the next level down. What is the first level of refinement that users make after they progress past the top level term? Do you have pages for each of those at the next level? Perhaps you should.
Then take it one level further. This will tell you if you have a site hierarcy with holes in it, or if the hierarchy is misaligned with the way that users think (which is a bad thing).

Compare Your Backlinks vs. 2 or 3 Top Competitors

Use Open Site Explorer or Majestic SEO to pull the reports and get a quick sense to see if you have a link building program problem.
Getting crushed by the competition on the link building front? If so then all that on page SEO won’t save you and you have to plan on fixing the link building plan as quickly as you can.


With those seven steps you should be able to get a top level look at a site. If you’re looking at the site for the first time, you should also add a step (make it the first step) of interviewing the team responsible for the site to see what you can learn that way. Sometimes you can get invaluable information without involving a computer or the web at all.

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Google Launches First Google Plus APIs

Google has unveiled the first developer application programming interfaces for Google+, the company’s new social network.
The launch is the first step toward developers creating Google+ apps and integrating the social network into existing apps.
“I’m super excited about how the Google+ project brings the richness and nuance of real-life sharing to software, and today we’re announcing our first step toward bringing this to your apps as well by launching the Google+ public data APIs,” Google Developer Advocate Chris Chabot said in a Google+ post.
Google made it clear that Thursday’s API release was focused on public data only — they can only retrieve public posts and public profile data.

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11 Great Points About Google AdWords Sitelinks

Most PPC managers will agree that Google AdWords’ sitelinks can be a powerful optimization tool for any PPC account. At the encouragement of our Google AdWords rep, I’ve recently been spending more time with sitelinks, and have discovered several new ways to effectively utilize sitelinks.
Last week, I turned to my PPC colleagues on Twitter to find out if their experience matched mine. As with any crowdsourced question, I got some great feedback that I hadn’t thought of – and it’s too good not to share.
With that, here’s what’s great about AdWords sitelinks.

1. Great CTR

Sitelinks have a click-through rate (CTR) that’s far above average. One of my clients has an overall CTR of just over 2 percent, while the sitelinks in their account have a CTR of more than 10 percent. That’s a five-fold improvement – not too shabby for a few minutes of setup.

2. Helps Quality Score

Although Google publicly denies this, our AdWords rep told me that sitelinks help quality score. I was honestly surprised at this news, because Google is generally tight-lipped about the quality score factors. Still, we all know that CTR is the biggest factor affecting quality score, so it stands to reason that anything you can do to increase it in your account, including sitelinks, will help.

3. Additional Space for Ad Text

We all know that 95 characters isn’t a lot of space in which to expound the virtues of your PPC offering. Sitelinks offer up to six additional opportunities for additional ad text and/or calls to action. As long as the text is relevant to every ad group in the campaign, this can be a great way to sneak in more ad copy, and take up more space in the SERPs.

4. Alternate Conversion Paths

Along similar lines, sitelinks can be used to point visitors to conversion-oriented landing pages that may be different from those in the individual ad groups. This gives more options to the searcher, and makes it easy for those who are close to converting to find where they need to go.

5. Can Send to Multiple Landing Pages for Relevancy

Yet another benefit of sitelinks is the use of multiple landing pages, a different one for each sitelink; thus giving searchers more options to find relevant information. This is a great option for small businesses without landing page budgets. If you run a small business and can’t afford to create individual PPC landing pages, sitelinks are a good alternative – you can test multiple landing pages in one campaign.

6. Gives Better Sense of Legitimacy

One really cool thing about sitelinks is that most searchers can’t tell the difference between PPC sitelinks and organic sitelinks. For all they know, sites with additional links are just more relevant, according to Google.

7. Allows for More Targeted URLs to Deeper Content

Where else can you run a PPC ad with five or six different destination URLs? For example, you could use sitelinks for broad or general terms this way: A search for “Hot Drinks” could use sitelinks showing “Tea, Coffee, Hot Chocolate, More Tea,” etc. This is a great way to help searchers narrow down their choices and get closer to a conversion.

8. Competitive Advantage

For years now, advertisers have coveted the premium top spot above the natural search results. By including sitelinks in these ads, advertisers gain an even bigger competitive advantage.

9. Ability to Optimize for “in-ad” Text/Links

Similar to increasing the length of your ad copy, sitelinks enables advertisers to optimize for multiple landing pages and calls to action.

10. Brand Awareness

You can use sitelinks to promote social media profiles, such as Facebook and Twitter. While the AdWords editorial guidelines somewhat restrict what can be said, there are creative ways to include social media links in sitelinks and build brand awareness and loyalty.

11. Good for Every Type of PPC Campaign

Sitelinks can work for every type of PPC campaign: local, e-commerce, lead generation, etc.


As you can see, sitelinks are indeed a powerful PPC feature – one you should be using, if you’re not already. That said, there are some down sides to sitelinks. In my next post, I’ll outline the cons of sitelinks.

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3 Things to Remember When Selling SEO Services

Over the last six years, I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of a number of successful SEO sales pitches to a wide variety of companies, from startups to the Fortune 100. And I’ve also been part of a few that weren’t so successful.
When I analyze all the pitches, three common elements become apparent as the keys to successfully selling SEO services. Keep in mind the following three things to help you win new SEO business.

1. Keep it Simple

When selling SEO services, it’s important to remember that most of the time you aren’t talking to an SEO geek like yourself. You’re talking to a digital marketer who knows just enough SEO to be dangerous, but not usually enough to follow along with your rant about canonical tags and PageRank sculpting.
While you certainly want to let people know that you’re qualified to handle the job, you don’t want to confuse your audience and alienate them by talking over their heads.
Explain your process at a high level. Talk about the opportunities that you have identified for their site. Then speak a little about the success that you’ve had in the past for similar clients.

2. Have a Plan

Always do your research for a prospective client’s site and identify which opportunities will be the most impactful before pitching SEO services.
It’s kind of like going to Midas to get your car looked at. They check out your car, figure out what’s wrong with it, and then tell you how much it will cost to fix it.
You don’t want to give away solutions in your pitch, obviously, but you should be able to point out to your prospective client where they are currently falling short in their SEO efforts and a general plan on how you will approach fixing it. This allows your prospective client to understand the opportunity on the table and it gives them confidence that you’re the person (or agency) most capable of fixing their problem.

3. Be Passionate About What You Do

Being passionate about SEO is easy for me because I love what I do. And so do many of the folks reading this article.
Make sure your passion and enthusiasm are evident to your prospective client in the way you talk, the way you carry yourself, and the energy in your presentation.
While there is a balance between passion and professionalism, you want to be sure to convey how excited you are to work with the prospective client. It goes a long way in making someone feel confident that they’ve hired the right person for the job.

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Top 10 Web Analytics Myths… Dispelled

Having worked in online marketing and web analytics for nearly a decade, I’ve heard it all when it comes to myths passed around small and large companies alike. Here is a top 10 list of my favorite web analytics myths and practical advice on how to dispel them.

1. Free Analytics Software is Just as Good as Enterprise Analytics

There are several reasons why free software is never the best solution. Some of my favorite retorts to “why do we use Omniture rather than Google Analytics” often involve witty comebacks like “because I have to pay the bills” or “because my boss said so.” If that doesn’t work (and it never does), the primary reasons to go with enterprise analytics are:
  • Service Level Agreements: What happens if your software fails? If you pay for analytics, you have a neck to choke; if not, you have to wait it out and pray nothing is lost.
  • Data ownership: Free doesn’t mean consequence-free. Someone is paying the bill. Free software is often offered “at no cost to you.” Enterprise solutions enable you to take your data with you, should you so desire. 
  • Privacy: Enterprise solutions offer security and privacy through non-disclosure agreements protecting both sides of the contract. 
  • Customization: Hacking free solutions like Google Analytics is possible, but only to a certain degree. Enterprise solutions are built for customization with business objectives in mind.

2. Bounce Rate (or “Insert Metric Here”) is the Best Metric

Avinash Kaushik calls it the sexiest metric, but it’s not the best because there is no “best” metric. I know of several companies that employ teams of analysts whose sole responsibility it is to monitor a “God metric,” but rarely do these stand the test of time. It’s best to focus on a handful of metrics that actually drive profitable insights.

3. Everything Avinash Kaushik, Jim Sterne, or Eric Peterson Says is Gold

Don’t get me wrong, Avinash is brilliant, but none of the experts in analytics know your business well enough to provide a plug-and-play measurement strategy. On a high level, their best practices are indeed gold, but nothing beats digging into your data and creating an analytics playbook of your own.

4. Dashboards or Reports Should Have 4 Quadrants and Only a Handful of Data

Although it’s a lofty goal to aim for when producing any content (resumes, menus, etc.), it’s extremely difficult to integrate the data, insights and visuals on a single page that caters to everyone on a distribution list. A good strategy is to start bigger than necessary to showcase your capabilities, get the attention of several stakeholders in your organization, consult with unique business units, and fine tune custom reports for each audience.

5. Insights are More Important Than Data

Sometimes key data is all your executives need to make a decision. Should your company officially support IE6 for our next redesign? If only 2 percent of visits to your site for the last six months came from IE6 and incorporating development and testing for an application would cost several million dollars, the answer is easy!

6. Unique Visitors are Real People

Unique visitors is perhaps the single most abused metric in history. If you really think about it, the metric known as unique visitors is no more than: count of persistent cookies dropped in a browser. Unique visitors do not equal browsers, individual people, or computers.

7. Analytics Code Degrades Site Performance

All code degrades site performance. If you had a single webpage with nothing on it, adding any code to it would increase load and execution time. That being said, there are customizations that add considerable bloat to your JavaScript files supporting web analytics data collection. As with any code added to a page, try to measure the benefit of adding additional code versus the cost of not having it on a page.

8. Web Analytics is the Responsibility of Marketing/Research/Communications/Operations/IT/etc.

Web analytics is the responsibility of a data-driven organization. If your website influences your business in any way, it’s everyone’s responsibility within your organization to take a portion of the responsibility for coming up with actionable business insights that increases revenue, decreases cost, takes advantage of opportunity, or mitigates risk.

9. Metrics From Different Web Analytics Vendors, Web Logs, and Databases Should Match

Web analytics is inherently inaccurate and practitioners are rarely adequately versed in statistical theory, so to argue that any one data collection source should match another is futile. There are several factors that contribute to inaccuracies in web analytics data including:
  • Browser compatibility with JavaScript code employed by any given vendor. 
  • Cookie acceptance.
  • Data corruption: receiving, executing, and transmitting.
  • Server-side caching, scripting or configuration issues.
  • Filters and processing rules: reverse DNS inaccuracies, data sampling, data encoding.
Look past the numbers and analyze trends, ensure your findings are statistically significant before coming to a conclusion, and always be transparent about web analytics limitations.

10. Insights From Web Analytics is Free

Nothing is free. Adding JavaScript code to a site requires time and effort, analyzing reports and deep-diving may entail hard costs and additional access to tools, and the practice of web analytics itself comes at an opportunity cost to the organization that must be considered just like any other capability.

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