A Federal judge has allowed a lawsuit to move forward against Google clearing the first hurdle in actually bringing the suit to trial. The company e-ventures Worldwide LLC (a search engine optimization company) is alleging that Google Inc. has improperly censored search results for “anti-competitive, economic” reasons. (more…)
As confirmed over on the Webmaster Tools blog yesterday, Google is implementing a new change to their algorithm, this time focusing new penalties on something called “Doorway Pages.”
“For example, searchers might get a list of results that all go to the same site. So if a user clicks on one result, doesn’t like it, and then tries the next result in the search results page and is taken to that same site that they didn’t like, that’s a really frustrating experience.”
Basically over time in an effort to maximize their search footprint, a number of online sites have created various doorway campaigns using either the creation of many different pages on a site, a number of different domains, or a combination thereof.
If you are wondering about any of your current campaigns, make sure they don’t fall into any of these categories: (more…)
On December 1, 2014 Mozilla rolled out version 34 of its popular open source internet browser – Firefox. This may not sound like a big deal as updates to Firefox come pretty frequently but what was included in this new update may very be.
The default search provider has been switched to Yahoo in the United States.
Since 2004 Mozilla Firefox has been in an agreement with Google to use them as their default search provider on the home page and the search box in the top right corner in almost all countries. This has been the main source of revenue for Mozilla over these past 10 years which had forced them to become dependent on Google. (more…)
News reports like this one from globalpost and businessinsider have been popping up over the last couple days reporting that Google Chrome has become the worlds most used web browser as reported by StatCounter. Immediately when I heard this I thought that there was no way this could be true so I went to check my own Google Analytics Data…
Google Analytics Browser Data on Car Rentals over the past 30 days:
Google Analytics Browser Data on Housewares for the last 30 days:
As you can see, chrome is not even close to catching up to internet explorer in any of these verticals. To make sure I wasn’t going crazy I ran some reports on Travel in Germany, The Middle East and Spain.
I wanted to publicly thank Bill Slawski from SEO by the Sea I recently hooked up with Bill in a Google Hang out which was hosted by and old mate of mine Dejan from DejanSEO. After listening to him talk about various SEO related topics, I knew I wanted to hear more. I fired off an email offering to take him out to lunch and he responded promptly (maybe he was just hungry?), we sorted out a day and time for me to come down to meet with him.
It was a pleasure to chat with an industry veteran and share some war stories. I am looking forward to learning from and working with Bill in the future. If you have the opportunity to listen to Bill speak, listen very carefully and take notes :-).
If it’s your first time hearing about rich snippets you may want to read up at microformats.org first. In general though, rich snippets allow webmasters to influence the display of their website’s listings in search engines.
Rich snippets have been around since 2009, but up until recently only a few websites could actually benefit from them. Previously, Google required webmasters to submit rich snippet request forms through its webmaster tools before anything would display differently in search results. Recently though Google has removed the manual approval process for hReview and other rich snippet code. This opens up many new exciting opportunities for both webmasters and SEO professionals.
hReview is arguably the most important rich snippet because it can pull reviews from your website and display them as stars under your search listings. Richard Baxter from SEO Gadget noticed a 5% CTR increase to his website after implementing hReview and obtaining stars in search results. 5% is an attractive number considering it takes all of five minutes to install the code.
To get the code for your website you can try the hReview Creator tool at microformats.org or simply use a template (I didn’t have much luck with the hReview Creator tool personally). Here is an example code template I drew up for my company, Evolve Creative Group.
<span>Evolve Creative Group </span>
Reviewed by <span class=”reviewer”>Susie Smith </span> on
Jan 31<span class=”value-title” title=”2012-01-31″></span>
<span>Thank you for being a great partner and delivering a world-class website.</span>
<span>After an extensive web agency search, we selected Evolve Creative Group and couldn’t have been happier with our choice. Todd Bertsch and his team demonstrated a passion and commitment to our project from the very first phone call.</span>
This code can be placed anywhere within the body section of your source code. Make sure to use Google’s rich snippet testing tool to ensure that everything is set-up correctly.
Review stars will undoubtedly make your website more prominent in search results, but you need to be careful with how you use them or you risk getting your website penalized (unlikely) or having the snippet disappear altogether. Google’s guidelines for the hReview rich snippet state:
Google also has a rich snippet spam report form that states, “a rich snippet promoting a travel package as an event or displaying fabricated reviews would be considered spam.”
Google’s first guideline is the most confusing for many because it’s open to so much interpretation. My company could argue that our homepage is about a specific service (web design), but would Google see it the same way? Denmonlaw.com from the example above has simply moved a review from their testimonial page onto their homepage and incorporated hReview.
Assuming the review is legitimate I don’t see any issues with this practice. Only time will tell the future of this new open-ended system, but for now, we should all be taking advantage of this incredible opportunity while it’s still available. What do you think about moving a few testimonials to the homepage to benefit from hReview?
Just noticed something new in Google webmaster tools called “Google instant preview” it appears to be something they have tied to the fetch as Googlebot. It appears to be somewhat flawed, and does not crawl or display flash (makes our website look bad). Although it is yet another way to keep an eye on your website for errors and crawl-ability. I think this is fairly heavily tied to the “load time” of your website, as it appears to only provide Googlebot with a limited amount of time to grab a snap-shot of your website.
It showed us as having 26 errors on this page, seems like a lot considering our website is fairly tight (not as tight as our clients websites).
One last interesting note, our page actually appears rock solid in the Google Search Preview, yet not in this instant preview….hmmmm…..
Google announced the launch of Google Shopping in four new countries this week: Australia, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands. Google Shopping is a comparison shopping engine delivering product results already in US and many other countries. Google includes products delivered to them via data feed.
Product results in US are shown directly on page one of standard search, with images, pricing, and customer ratings. This high visibility can be a large traffic force for any ecommerce business. But thus far the shopping results in the new countries are not displaying in the main results. The user must click the Shopping tab on the left to use the retail search engine, but we expect in due time Google will integrate products into page one as they have elsewhere.
This is basically free traffic and advertising, so any business shipping to these countries needs to take some action. If you already provide your data feed to Google, you just need to create a new feed and choose that country from the drop down. If you are not set up with Google Shopping yet in any country, visit the Merchant Center to open an account and set up your product feed.
With our strong presence in the Australian market, we are most excited to see this launch! We have been prepping our clients for this and ready to get them included immediately.
Also note that this makes it more important to use the hreview microformat for your customer reviews as we discussed last week.
While several companies established a Fairsearch.org group in order to try and prevent the Google-ITA deal, claiming that it is a yet another step of monopoly (by Google that is) of the airline ticket market, Bing has decided not to complain, but to fight. In addition to purchasing a predictive engine for flight costs, the Farecast, about a year ago, they now team up with one of the popular travel search engines, the KAYAK. It seems that the deal is beneficial for both sides – after all, KAYAK is probably also worried about Google acquiring ITA, despite their talks about “welcoming Google as a competitor”.
It their announcement, Bing flatters KAYAK, calling its new partner “a leading innovator in travel search”, and talks about “more comprehensive travel search experience”. The deal should benefit those people who want to plan and book via Bing. Although this looks like trying to stop people from leaving Bing, the move is actually a counter-step to Google entering the travel search. Of course, although “Google is not wining every niche it enters” as said KAYAK CTO and co-founder Paul English, it can affect the market heavily.
So, there is nothing left but to wish good luck to both Bing and KAYAK in their struggle.