Tag : google-algorithm

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This week in Search: Google Panda 4.0, eBay’s bad day, DuckDuckGo Relaunch

Google Panda 4.0

Panda 4.0 is here and has been effective since last Tuesday, May 20th.

Google Panda 4.0 update - Matt Cutts tweet

Google Panda 4.0 update – Matt Cutts tweet

If you happen to get the two cuddly animals confused (Panda vs. Penguin), a simple way to look at it is Panda targets content and Penguin targets links.  Panda algorithm is designed to prevent sites with poor quality content from working their way into Google’s top search results.

Major Search Blogs and Sites like Moz, Search Engine Land, Search Engine Watch, SearchMetrics have all given their 2 cents about it. I particularly like Barry Schwartz’s post on the biggest losers and winners after this Panda storm settles. So far the biggest losers seem to be ask.com, ebay.com and biography.com. 


eBay’s Bad Day

Last week certainly hasn’t been the best week for eBay. Beyond SearchMetrics recording eBay.com’s 33% loss in organic visibility, Dr. Peter Meyers from Moz also documented eBay’s fall from #6 in Moz’s Big 10 (Moz’s metric of the ten domains with the most “real estate” in the top 1) to #25.

Many SEO experts are looking to explain what eBay did wrong that’s caused this Google penalty. So far, the conclusions are not pointing to the latest Panda 4.0 as the major culprit. If this piques your interest, you can geek out on Refugeek’s deconstructing report on eBay’s organic loss. 

Refugeek observed that majority of pages that were removed from Google results were considered “doorway” pages. These were category or sub-category pages that eBay may have been creating and optimizing in part to boost rankings in search results. Tsk tsk, eBay! (It’s quite ingenious, actually!)


DuckDuckGo Relaunch

May 20th (last Tuesday) marks an important day for Search. Add to the list Google Panda update, eBay’s loss and now DuckDuckGo’s relaunch. Never heard of DuckDuckGo? It’s a search engine that advocates not tracking its users, unlike you-know-who (the one that hangs out with all the cuddly animals, HA!)

DuckDuckGo Smarter Search

DuckDuckGo Smarter Search

The Smarter Search interface does look pretty clean and non-cluttered. Above is a glimpse when you search for “Daft Punk”. It’s pretty cool how it’s connected to SoundCloud so you can load and play the audio tracks within the search results.


DuckDuckGo Places - Local Search

DuckDuckGo Places – Local Search

I’ll keep an eye out for DuckDuckGo’s local search product. After all, it is connected to Yelp and can be another touchpoint with your local business’ potential customers.

DuckDuckGo Meanings Search

DuckDuckGo Meanings Search

The idea is pretty similar to Google Cards but more in-depth and with a better user interface. The “cards” at the top are scrollable and also organized by categories “art/ entertainment”, “organizations”, “places” etc.

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Ranking Factors: Correlation of Social Signals, backlinks & more!

Gone are the days of adopting only classic SEO practices- tweaking some Titles & Meta descriptions, and expecting your organic rankings to rise! As Google continues to punish manipulative linking practices (with the penguin update) and social signals are shown to have a stronger correlation with good organic rankings, content marketing inevitably moves into center stage for the world of SEO.

Search Metrics pulled February and March 2012 data for 300,000 websites and conducted an analysis on a list of potential rankings factors and their correlation with rankings on SERPs. Clearly, there’s room for doubt when it comes to implying causation purely from correlation. The debate of whether a site receiving more social signals causes it to rank well, and vice versa, is still valid, but some of their findings lend a lot of insight to what Google emphasizes in their algorithm.

Ranking Factors Social Signals Correlation

Judging from the Ranking Factors U.S. graph, social signals (Facebook shares, comments, likes, Tweets) dominate in having the most positive correlation with top organic rankings.

  • Facebook is dominating with scores 0.37, 0.35 and 0.30 for their shares, comments & likes respectively.
  • Tweets scored a 0.25.
  • What this means for your site: Build strong social media presence, engage with your audience, continue sharing useful and relevant content

Second to Facebook shares is the number of backlinks.

  • Proportion of nofollow links correlates more strongly with rankings than proportion of links containing keywords.
  • What this means for your site: Perfectly keyword-optimized links are no longer effective and that another strategy is necessary. Although social media has rising influence on organic rankings, backlinks are still not to be ignored.

A common SEO best practice is to include branded keywords in Titles, Meta descriptions and on-page content. However, this graph provides a contrary conclusion of the best practice.

  • # of keywords in Title, # of keywords in H1 and word count all result in a negative correlation score: -0.02, -0.03, -0.12 respectively.
  • The less often a keyword appears in title and the fewer the keywords in the text, the better a page will rank.
  • What this means for your site: I find this quite surprising. One way to look at it is to avoid over-optimizing pages to the targeted keyword. Instead of focusing on achieving top positions by traditional optimization efforts, focus on curating useful content around topics that your audience is searching for.

Slowly but surely, SEO is transitioning into something that resembles more of content marketing or online brand management. Fellow SEO’ers and digital peeps: does this surprise you? How will you change up your SEO game to adapt?