2014 brought a steady stream of changes to Google’s algorithm. The majority of the updates were aimed at preventing spam and low-quality content from reaching the top of the search results, and rewarding high-quality content. As collected by Moz, the changes that occurred in the first half of 2014 were:
February 6, 2014: Page Layout #3
The page layout update released early in February was the first major change of the year. The update penalized pages with too many ads close to the top of the page.
March 24, 2014: Unnamed Update
March 24 brought rumors of a Panda update, as many sites saw ranking changes and algorithm flux trackers spiked. However, Google never confirmed this update.
May 16, 2014: Payday Loan 2.0
This update to the “payday loan” algorithm, which targets spammy queries, was released just prior to Panda 4.0. The rapid succession of the updates made it difficult to examine the exact effects (more…)
Voice search is an increasingly common way to use search engines, with companies like Google, Apple and Microsoft all pushing their versions of the technology. Google in particular has recently advertised its voice search capabilities in venues such as the World Series. More and more people are using voice search, and the increase in its usage is changing how people find law firms.
The increase in the use of voice search is substantial. A recent Google study found that 55 percent of teenagers ages 13-18 use voice search daily. Most people enjoy using voice search – fifty-six percent of adults said that using it makes them feel “tech-savvy.”
Smart phones have been ubiquitous for years now, with many people relying on Siri for their searches. In addition, the use of tablets continues to grow, 171 percent last year according to the Google study. Tablets are widely used, both in an out of the (more…)
Previously, we looked at how PR and SEO are inextricably intertwined in the modern content marketing world. Here, we will take a look at some strategies companies can use to integrate their PR and SEO marketing.
What might a combination of PR and SEO look like? Robin Swire recently wrote on Moz about a PR stunt his firm orchestrated for a client specializing in parking lots. The “Bonkers for Conkers” promotion allowed drivers using the company’s parking lots to pay using conkers, or horse chestnuts, which were then donated to a nature reserve.
The first step to getting the word out was issuing a press release that integrated strategies such as keywords and links to the client’s website. The story was soon running in the national media, then international outlets. Online, the response could be seen in new visitors to the company’s website and in thousands of people engaging with the car (more…)
Traditionally, search engine optimization (SEO) and public relations (PR) had little in common; each had distinct goals and required distinct approaches and skill sets. That is no longer the case. Thanks to changes in search algorithms and in how the public consumes content, PR and SEO are now inextricably intertwined. As Moz recently reported, a good PR strategy should draw on SEO, and can boost SEO; similarly, SEO and content marketing should not neglect PR.
Part of the shift is due to Google algorithm updates. The most recent updates, Penguin and Panda, reward quality content over SEO tricks. While SEO is still important, methods designed to boost search engine ranking without providing quality content, such as SEO footers and hidden content, are punished in Google’s results.
As a result, SEO and PR now have similar, mutually compatible goals. SEO marketers seek to create high-quality content that captivates the audience, and which may also (more…)
Webmaster trends analyst John Mueller announced in an August 28 Google+ post that Google search results will no longer display page authorship, also known as rel=author markup.
Mueller stated that Google tests found that taking authorship away did not reduce traffic to websites or increase clicks on ads.
Regarding the display of authorship information, Mueller wrote, “Unfortunately, we’ve also observed that this information isn’t as useful to our users as we’d hoped, and can even distract from those results.”
Google Authorship was implemented in 2011. The goal of authorship markup was to was to connect pieces of content to author profiles on Google+. The schema.org standards, which are still used in rich snippets, were used for this and other aspects of structured markup.
The end of authorship follows two recent reductions in authorship in recent months. Last December, Google decreased the number of author photos shown per query. In June, Google removed all author photos, (more…)
On July 24, Google released a new algorithm, nicknamed Pigeon by Search Engine Land (SEL), which alters the way local search results are generated in Google Maps and Google Web. The Pigeon update is designed to make the local search results more accurate and relevant.
Google told SEL that the new algorithm relies more heavily on their hundreds of traditional web search ranking signals. It also draws on features like spelling correction, synonyms and Knowledge Graph. This change will make local search results align more closely with organic search rankings.
The algorithm is also designed to improve distance and location ranking parameters.
Currently, the algorithm affects only U.S. English results. Google has not confirmed whether or not Pigeon will be introduced in other countries or languages.
The Pigeon algorithm is still new, and it will take some time to get a feel for its full implications, especially since it’s possible that Google is still smoothing (more…)
Google released an update to its local search engine algorithm, dubbed the Pigeon update by Search Engine Land (SEL). The update was complex, including a number of changes designed to improve the relevancy and accuracy of local search results.
The biggest impact of Google’s Pigeon algorithm update has been seen in the local “7-pack” results, the groups of two to seven pinned, local results that appear on some local queries. It has also impacted Carousel, the scrolling list of local establishments that appears with some searches.
Since the implementation of Pigeon on July 24, the number of search queries that produce local 7-pack results has decreased significantly. According to a recent Moz report, local 7-pack results have decreased by 23.4% since the update. It should be noted that while the cumulative effect was a decrease, certain query results have actually gained pack results.
Among the terms that have lost pack results are (more…)