Archive for the ‘google’ tag
Outwit, outplay, outlast. These are the rules of “Survivor,” but they’re also the rules for surviving online. Nowhere do brands face more competition than on the web, where everyone is clambering to engage consumers and recruit new fans — and there are only so many fans to go around.
According to recent research from Ipsos, 40 percent of consumers follow brands online. Technorati Media says that more than 50 percent of consumers follow brands on Twitter and Facebook to “keep up with activities.” In other words, consumers are actively watching your posts. They’ve got their eyes on you, and one of the things they’re watching is how you engage with other brands that they know.
This puts marketers in a delicate position. In the past, competitive information was largely internalized. Business owners would count the cars in the competing hotel’s parking lot or, more recently, investigate a rival’s choice of search engine marketing keywords on Google. Rarely were consumers privy to these kinds of competitive tactics. If there happened to be an altercation between two brands, the news might make it to the local press, but rarely did its reach extend beyond that.
Social media has changed all of this in a very dramatic way. Not only are brands acutely aware of what their competitors are doing both online and off (if you aren’t already following your competitors on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Tumblr, you should be), but the contest for consumer loyalty and dollars plays out in public, for everyone to see.
The pitfalls of engaging with other brands
Take a look at Twitter. Early this year, Wendy’s used the hashtag #YouGetMajorPointsIf to promote itself online (“#YouGetMajorPointsIf you bring me a Frosty”). Over the next few hours, similar tweets were sent by Arby’s, Taco Bell, and McDonald’s, each one hijacking the hashtag to promote its own brand. And the rest of the fast food chains that count these brands as competitors? Those that failed to notice the spontaneous exchange missed out on a branding opportunity. Worse, their absence might have been construed as social inactivity.
Battling with other brands in the public eye isn’t without its risks. Last year, Old Spice took on Taco Bell with the tweet, “Why is it that ‘fire sauce’ isn’t made with any real fire? Seems like false advertising,” to which Taco Bell responded, “Is your deodorant made with really old spices?” In keeping with its brand persona, Old Spice deftly replied, “Depends. Do you consider volcanos, tanks and freedom to be spices?”
Together the three posts generated more than one thousand retweets and became the favorites of hundreds — and the brands aren’t even direct competitors. The exchange was funny to watch, but a company that isn’t as quick on its toes could end up looking the fool. Also worth noting is that these kinds of unplanned interactions won’t appeal to every brand’s target audience. The social media strategists responsible for tweeting on behalf of businesses might be eager to defend the brands they represent, but is that in keeping with the brand’s persona? Or could it do more damage than good?
When the battle is uninvited
One of the biggest digital media stories of the year so far is the recent hacking of several branded Twitter accounts. Burger King and Jeep were both victims of the social media attack, but McDonald’s and Cadillac too found themselves unwilling participants in the affair. The hackers made it appear as though Burger King and Jeep had been sold to their competitors, and even featured McDonald’s and Cadillac logos.
This put the competing brands in a difficult position. Should they weigh in on the hack to let their customers know they weren’t responsible? Should they address the victims directly? McDonald’s chose to release a statement on Twitter that read, “We empathize with our @BurgerKing counterparts. Rest assured, we had nothing to do with the hacking” — and the company went straight back to tweeting as usual. The effort, and McDonald’s disinclination to engage further in what amounted to a rather obtuse event, exhibited class and grace and resulted in more than 8,700 retweets and nearly 3,000 favorites.
That’s why Yahoo hired former Google exec Marissa Mayer last summer. They want Yahoo to sound more like Google, but Mayer’s first few weeks in the office did little to improve the company’s image. Nine months later, she’s still known as the woman who rescinded Yahoo’s telecommuting policy but she’s working to change that, too.
Speaking at the Great Place to Work Conference, Mayer defended her decision saying,
“. . people are more productive when they’re alone but they’re more collaborative and innovative when they’re together. Some of the best ideas come from pulling two different ideas together.”
Two of those ideas hit the market this week – newly designed mobile apps meant to prove that Yahoo is still a contender.
First is the new weather app for iOS. Weather apps are extremely popular. I don’t understand why but maybe that’s because I live in Southern California where weather conditions only effect us a few times a year. Like all weather apps, Yahoo’s will tell you the temperature and the forecast for the coming week. But what sets it apart are the graphics.
Yahoo’s new weather app uses photos from Flickr to illustrate the weather conditions in whatever city you happen to be standing in. Whether its raining in Paris or sunny in St. Louis (they don’t have graphics for every city in the world, but you get the idea), day or night, and I love the big, bold text. You can add multiple cities if you’re traveling or if you just like knowing what the temperature is in your old home town.
The Yahoo weather app is as simple as can be and there’s something really exciting and elegant about that.
Once you select an email message, you can tap the full screen button and eliminate all the unnecessary minutiae that clutters up the traditional email screen.
You can view photos in full screen mode, watch the video your friend sent or just enjoy a long message without having to scroll past lots of clutter. From here, you can swipe to get to the next message and the one after that. It’s a small change but it’s the difference between “processing tasks” and “reading your email.” It’s actually a mechanism that forces you to slow down and pay attention to what you’re reading. They show it here with a short message and a photo. Imagine your customers reading your company newsletter this way. That’s engagement.
For those times when you do need to process your email quickly, the new app can do that, too. Check several related emails and the app automatically pulls everything from that sender. Now you can toss all of those Facebook notifications with one click or find all the parts of a co-worker’s conversation with just a few taps.
The app also uses swipe to quickly delete and move messages and there’s a search box to help you locate what you need.
I moved from Yahoo to Gmail years ago, but these features are almost enough to make me switch back.
Good job, Yahoo. What’s next?
According to BabyCenter’s 2013 Social Mom Report, 91% of moms now check-in with a social media network on a regular basis. Social media is such an important key to staying in touch that 22% of moms said “if friends or family don’t participate in social media, they are not as much a part of their lives.”
Wow, cold. But I have to admit, I know more about my two siblings who post regularly to Facebook than the one that doesn’t. (Not proud of that fact, but I’m being honest here.)
To put this in perspective, moms are 20% more likely to use social media than the general public. Their usage is higher on every one of the major social networks including YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+.
And while the majority of folks check their email first thing in the morning, moms are more likely to check Facebook. 89% of mobile moms use a smartphone or tablet to do it.
Facebook is where mom goes to socialize, share photos and catalog their family adventures.
25% of moms 18-34 are on Twitter. They like it for breaking news and as a way of communicating with celebrities.
Moms turn to Pinterest for inspiration. They use it to plan parties, shop for clothes for their kids and redecorate their homes. 61% of moms say they’ve visited Pinterest at least once in the last six months which is double that of the general population.
Social Media and Spending
Moms make up only 18% of the total internet audience, but they’re responsible for 32% of online spending. Social networkers are 61% more likely to shop for clothing online and 65% more likely to buy home and garden products online.
Mike Fogarty, SVP and Global Publisher at BabyCenter summed it up nicely,
“Today’s mom is the most influential and social consumer you’ll meet. Before she clicks to buy, she’s posted, pinned, tweeted, and shared. In fact, social media is so much a part of a mom’s life that checking her various social platforms comes before enjoying her first cup of coffee in the morning. In the three short years since our last report on this topic, social media has become so pervasive, it’s now fundamental to the way today’s moms live their lives.”
Want to learn more? Download the 2013 Social Mom Report for free at http://www.babycentersolutions.com.
Pilgrim’s Partners: SponsoredReviews.com – Bloggers earn cash, Advertisers build buzz!
LinkedIn quietly continues to be a force in its section of the Internet space. It’s not a social network but it is. It’s just expanded online resumes but it’s more. Trying to describe LinkedIn and its potential is not easy.
One thing is certain though; it is working. ABCNews puts it this way which is pretty convincing.
LinkedIn’s approach has been highly successful so far. Although the Mountain View, Calif., company is about one-fifth the size of Facebook in terms of annual revenue and total users, its stock has been the hotter commodity on Wall Street. LinkedIn’s shares have nearly quadrupled since the company went public in May 2011, while Facebook’s stock has sunk by 30 percent from its initial public offering price 11 months ago.
The latest effort to expand its reach and to increase revenues comes in the growing area of mobile. LinkedIn has updated its mobile apps for iOS and Android and will now offer the chance to serve mobile ads to LinkedIn mobile users which make up about 27% of overall users at the moment.
LinkedIn will begin showing advertisements within the mobile app’s news stream as part of a “small test,” said LinkedIn spokeswoman Julie Inouye.
The new app, available for both the Apple Inc iPhone and for Android smartphones, makes it easier for smartphone users to interact with content in LinkedIn’s news stream, such as “liking” or commenting on a shared news story.
While we appreciate the ‘small test’ sentiment it’s not hard to see where this will lead. Every social network is coming to grips with mobile and its monetization (aside from Google+ but that’s Google’s M.O.). LinkedIn has set a standard of performance that is not about being sexy but more about being very effective. In the long run, effective usually outlasts sexy.
LinkedIn’s new app also will display photos and other graphics more prominently within a stream of updates. The stream will look similar to what people who frequent Facebook see on smartphones and tablet computers.
The revamped phone app was born out of LinkedIn’s belief that professional networking is growing as more people realize they can advance their careers by using online tools more effectively.
“Historically, people came to us only when they were trying to get a job,” Redfern said. “But now more people are coming to us on a daily basis to be great at what they do.”
Kudos to LinkedIn to doing what is right versus what is cool. In this world it may seem antithetical to ‘conventional wisdom’ but if you look real closely these days the ‘conventional wisdom’ is often short on convention and wisdom.
How are you using LinkedIn for your personal life? For your work? Is there room for growth for you in the service?
Last night, I received an email telling me it was time to wrap up my business with the Google Affiliate Network. If that email had arrived a month ago, I would have tossed it without much thought. But two weeks ago, I started a new niche blog which included several ads from the network – but not the one I wanted most – Netflix.
Netflix was the reason I joined the affiliate network long, long ago, but when I went to grab banners for my new blog, there were none. Netflix’s affiliate page still sends you to the network, so I was confused. I attempted to get answers through the support group but no one responded.
When I looked through the other available options there wasn’t much to pick from. Surprising, since Google is. . . well. . .Google. You’d think they’d have the top brands in their inventory.
Taking all of that into consideration, I wasn’t surprised when I saw the closure notice.
Our goal with Google Affiliate Network has been to help advertisers and publishers improve their performance across the affiliate ecosystem. Cost-per-action (CPA) marketing has rapidly evolved in the last few years, and we constantly evaluate our products to ensure that we’re focused on the services that will have the biggest impact for our advertisers and publishers. To that end, we’ve made the difficult decision to retire the Google Affiliate Network and focus on other products that are driving great results for clients.
Publishers can continue to earn revenue through the AdSense network. And marketers can take advantage of other CPA-oriented Google tools like Product Listing Ads, remarketing and Conversion Optimizer to drive valuable online sales and conversions. These areas are growing rapidly and we continue to invest significantly in them.
We’ll continue to support our customers as we wind down the product over the next few months. While we will no longer be adding new product functionality, we will maintain the platform during the transition period. We plan to disable publisher relationships from advertiser programs on July 31, 2013. Publisher payments will be disbursed for network activity generated through this date. We will continue to make certain functionality available through October 31, 2013 for retrieving reports, reconciling orders, and processing payments.
A huge thanks to all our advertisers, publishers and the team that has worked tirelessly on Google Affiliate Network over the past few years. We look forward to helping you grow your business in the future.
Since the blog is brand new, I didn’t have any ad revenue yet, so no big deal. It also helped me answer my own question about whether I’d spread myself too thin with too many ad networks on one blog. (Not a problem now) All in all, it wasn’t a big loss for me but I’m sure there are bloggers going into panic mode right now.
The affiliate game is getting tougher and tougher for the small blogger. I used to pull a few dollars from Commission Junction but had to leave them when they started taking money away when I didn’t make my quotas. Amazon briefly pulled the plug on their affiliate program here in California which was a huge set back for me. Linkshare is still active, and ShareASale – Clickbank for digital goods – the options are getting more limited with every passing day. So what’s a small blogger to do?
Rolling back to the Google Affiliate Network shut-down, it always felt like the red-headed stepchild in the Google ad program family. It didn’t have the power and style of Google’s other products, and in a way, it was taking traffic away from AdSense. So, I can’t say I’m surprised by the news.
Your thoughts? Blip on the radar or another sharp blow for bloggers?
Posted by Marie Haynes
This post was originally in YouMoz, and was promoted to the main blog because it provides great value and interest to our community. The author’s views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of SEOmoz, Inc.
Are you confused about the difference between Penguin and an Unnatural Links penalty? Not sure whether you should be disavowing your links? Wondering whether you should file for reconsideration? Well…you're not alone! I have spent a good amount of time answering questions and learning from others in the SEOmoz Q&A and I see a lot of site owners and even SEOs who are unsure about the answers to these questions.
Recently, a YouMoz article (that was promoted to the main blog) was written in which the author showed an image of the unnatural links warning that his site received and then stated:
"We straight away knew that we had been hit by Google's Panda 3.9.1 update!"
Oh dear. An unnatural links warning is NOT indication that you have been affected by Panda! Now, this article, and the comments below it have some great information on unnatural links recovery, so I don't want to be too harsh on the author. My point in mentioning this though is that even SEOs who know a thing or two about Google penalties and algorithm changes can be confused on these matters.
A confession – I messed up too.
I am insanely obsessed with understanding Penguin, Unnatural Links Penalties and Panda. I really don't know why. But it all started because I made a mistake. I was part of an SEO forum discussion in which a site owner felt they had been affected by the Penguin algorithm. I told him to clean up his bad links and then file for reconsideration. A senior member of the forum rightfully corrected me and said that I was giving incorrect advice. And he was right! As I will discuss further on in this article, filing for reconsideration is not going to help a Penguin hit site. I gave some bad advice and I am grateful that I was corrected. What that correction did was make me realize that Penguin and Unnatural Links Penalties are confusing. A lot of SEOs, myself included at the time, had a lot to learn about these issues. I made a decision that day that I would learn everything I could about algorithm changes and Google penalties.
A Brief Description of Penguin, Unnatural Links and Panda
Before we start answering questions, here is some fundamental information about Penguin, Unnatural Links Penalties and Panda:
The Penguin Algorithm
On April 24, 2012, Google announced "Another Step to Reward High Quality Sites", an algorithm change aimed at fighting against webspam. The algorithm change was first called "The Webspam Algorithm" but eventually began to go by the name of "Penguin". This algorithm severely affected sites that had widespread keyword stuffing and participation in link schemes. Matt Cutts, head of webspam at Google, eventually admitted on Twitter that links are "a primary area to monitor" when you have been affected by Penguin.
What most SEOs believe is that one of the primary causes of Penguin is when sites create easily made links containing keywords as anchor text from low quality places such as article marketing sites, bookmarks and do-follow comments.
Unnatural Links Penalties
These penalties are manual penalties that Google can place on sites when they determine that a site is widely attempting to manipulate the search engine results by creating links. These penalties are manual as opposed to Penguin which is algorithmic. So, what causes a site to be hit with an unnatural links warning?
Most webmasters believe that if someone files a spam report against you, then this will open up your site for a manual review. Some have speculated that Google monitors some of the more competitive niches such as "payday loans", "car insurance", casino sites, etc. and manually checks for unnatural links. No one knows for sure.
The Panda Algorithm
The Panda Algorithm was created by Google in an attempt to cause low quality sites to be displayed much lower in the search results. When Panda first hit, it was an unnamed algorithm. Many named it the "Farmer update" as it seemed to be aimed at content farms that ranked well as a result of scraping content from other sites. Most SEOs believe that sites affected by Panda have issues with on page quality as opposed to the quality of their links as in Penguin and Unnatural Links penalties. Sites that have been affected by Panda often have significant amounts of duplicated content (either on their own site or more commonly, from other sites) and also thin content. Thin content is usually a page that consists of very few words. If a site contains a lot of duplicate and thin content then Google sees little reason to show this site prominently in its search results. An entire site can be severely demoted because of Panda even if only parts of the site have duplicate and thin content.
Now let's cover some of the points where people are the most confused about these issues.
What is the difference between Penguin and an Unnatural Links Penalty?
Both of these issues have to do with unnatural links. In both cases, the use of keywords as anchor text can be a factor. However, the main difference between the two is that Penguin is an algorithmic issue while Unnatural Links penalties are manual. A manual penalty is one that is levied by a human being, one site at a time. For example, a competitor could file a spam report on you which could result in a Google Webspam employee looking at your site. The employee could look at your backlinks and see that you have been engaging in practices that are considered as link schemes. As such, they may decide to levy a manual penalty on your site.
Penguin is not levied one site at a time. Google has created an algorithm which is designed to programmatically find sites that have been engaging in unnatural link building tactics. When Penguin updates, if your site has been flagged as a site that is engaging in webspam, then your site will be affected on the date of the update. No human being is directly involved in determining whether your site is affected. As a point of interest, I have heard some SEOs who have done testing and believe that Penguin can affect a site on any day and not just Penguin refresh days. So far, in sites that I have seen, it seems that Penguin can only affect a site on a Penguin refresh day. The reality is that at this point no one knows for certain whether or not a site can be affected by Penguin on a date other than a Penguin refresh date.
Do Penguin, Unnatural Links and Panda affect the whole site or just part of the site?
Penguin: Penguin usually affects a site on a page and keyword level. Let's say that you have a page called example.com/greenwidgets/ and you have been building links to this page all containing the anchor text, "green widgets". If Penguin affected you, then it would mean that this particular page would no longer rank well for "green widgets". Penguin generally does not affect an entire site. However, quite often when sites have been affected by Penguin, they have built many anchor texted links, possibly for many different keywords all to the homepage. This can mean that the homepage will not rank for a number of terms.
Unnatural Links: A manual unnatural links penalty can affect the entire site, or just a page, or even just one keyword. Sometimes a site can be penalized and be totally removed from the Google index. Other times, the site can still be in the index but not be shown in the first 10 pages for any of its keywords. Or, sometimes the penalty will not be as severe and may only affect one or two keywords. Here is a quote from Matt Cutts regarding a site that was penalized on a keyword level:
The site in this example would not be able to rank for the keywords that they had used as anchors for sites that embedded their widgets.
Panda: Panda can affect an entire site, or sometimes one section such as a news blog on the site. Panda does not tend to affect just single pages of a website. If you have a site that has some good content, but a lot of thin and duplicate content, then the Panda filter can cause the entire site to have trouble ranking, not just the thin and duplicate pages.
Should you file for reconsideration if you have been affected by Penguin, Unnatural Links or Panda?
Penguin: No. A reconsideration request is only meant for sites that have a manual warning. If you have a manual warning then you will have a message in your WMT. (See the image next to the section above on Unnatural Links.) If you have been affected by Penguin, then, because this is an algorithmic issue, having a Google employee review the site will not help.
Unnatural Links: Yes. If you have a manual warning in your WMT then once you have done the work required to clean up the site (see below) then you will need to file for reconsideration.
Panda: No. See Penguin. Panda is also an algorithmic change and a reconsideration request will not help you recover.
Should you be using the disavow tool if you have been affected by Penguin, Unnatural Links or Panda?
On October 16, 2012, Google released the disavow tool which allowed webmasters to essentially have Google add an invisible "nofollow" to certain links that are pointing to their site. Since the release of this tool, there have been so many webmasters asking questions in Q&A as well as other SEO forums wondering if they should be disavowing their links. Many have become paranoid about their links and want to disavow everything that looks suspicious. I've seen people who wanted to disavow a great link because it was site-wide. I've seen others who wanted to disavow a pile of links even though they are already nofollowed links. There is a lot of confusion around the use of the disavow tool. This is probably why the disavow tool comes with this disclaimer:
Penguin: Google vaguely suggests that the disavow tool could be useful for a Penguin hit site. In their blog post about the disavow tool, they say the following:
"Q: Should I create a links file as a preventative measure even if I haven’t gotten a notification about unnatural links to my site?
A: If your site was affected by the Penguin algorithm update and you believe it might be because you built spammy or low-quality links to your site, you may want to look at your site's backlinks and disavow links that are the result of link schemes that violate Google's guidelines."
Most SEOs believe that if you have been affected by Penguin then you should use the disavow tool to discount the unnatural links to your site. At the time of writing this, Penguin has not refreshed since the disavow tool was released. (The tool was released October 16th and the last Penguin refresh was October 5th.) What this means is that we do not have any proof yet as to whether or not disavowing links will help a site to recover from Penguin. Hopefully it will, but there may be other factors that need to be addressed as well such as on page issues like keyword stuffing.
Unnatural Links: Yes. This is what the disavow tool was made for. Google says, in regards to a manual unnatural links penalty, "If you’ve done as much as you can to remove the problematic links, and there are still some links you just can’t seem to get down, that’s a good time to visit our new Disavow links page."
Panda: No. As Panda generally does not have anything to do with backlinks, disavowing links to your site is not likely to help.
Do you need to manually remove links?
Penguin: While removing links is probably a good idea, it is likely not necessary. Because Penguin is an algorithm, to recover you don't need to show a human being evidence that you have worked hard to remove links. Most SEOs who are experienced with Penguin issues believe that disavowing your problematic links will help and that physically removing the links is not necessary. With that being said, if the bad links are under your control and easy to remove, then it is a good idea to do so.
Unnatural Links: When trying to recover from a manual unnatural links penalty, it is not enough to just disavow the bad links. Google wants to see evidence that you have tried to get as many of the unnatural links removed as possible. When you file for reconsideration, one of the first things that the webspam team member does is check a number of the links that they have flagged as unnatural and see how many of them you have gotten physically removed. For the unnatural links that you are unable to get removed because the webmaster didn't reply, or because they wanted a large sum of money or for whatever other reason, then you can disavow those links.
Removing an unnatural links penalty from a site can take a lot of work. If you are struggling to remove a penalty from your site, or if you are an SEO who would like to get involved in doing penalty removal work, I have documented everything that I do in order to get penalties removed in my book (see bio section for link).
Panda: No, it is not believed that any links need to be removed for sites affected by Panda.
When will you recover?
Penguin: Most SEOs believe that you will not be able to recover a Penguin hit site until Penguin refreshes again. Google announced at SMX West that in 2013 there would be a major Penguin update but did not say when this would happen. There are some people who believe that they have seen Penguin hit sites recover on a day other than a refresh day. There are ways to recover a Penguin hit site without waiting for a refresh. For example, if you had a "green widgets" page that had been affected by Penguin because you built anchor text using the phrase "green widgets", you could build a new page called "buying-green-widgets" and get new, good quality links to that page and possibly rank again for this term. The original page would not rank, but the new one could. The problem with this is that getting new good quality links is difficult. Google wants you to earn links and not make them yourself.
I asked John Mueller, a Google employee about whether or not it was possible to recover a Penguin hit site outside of a Penguin refresh and here is what he said:
"+Marie Haynes theoretically, in an artificial situation where there’s only one algorithm (which is, in practice, never the case), if a site is affected by a specific algorithm, then the data for that algorithm needs to be updated before it would see changes. In practice, while some elements might be very strong depending on what was done in the past, there are always a lot of factors involved, so significantly improving the site will result in noticeable changes over time, as we recrawl & reindex the site and it’s dependencies, as well as reprocess the associated signals. So yes, you’d need to wait for the algorithm to update if it were the only thing involved, but in practice it’s never the only thing involved so you’re not limited to waiting.
Unnatural Links: Once you file for reconsideration, it will take anywhere from 3-14 days to hear back from Google. I have had it take as long as six weeks, but this was just after the disavow tool was released and Google probably had a large backlog of sites to review. If you get the wonderful "manual spam action revoked" message, for some sites recovery can happen in a couple of days. Depending on how severe the penalty was, it can take significantly longer such as several months.
There are some sites that can have a penalty revoked but not see any increase in rankings at all. This generally happens when sites have no good links to prop the site up. If your site's backlink profile consisted of 99% self made links and you have removed or disavowed almost all of those links then you will need to get good, quality links to your site in order to rank again. Gone are the days of being able to rank well on poor quality links.
Some sites can still appear to be penalized after their manual penalty is lifted if they are also under the effects of Penguin. In most cases, it is believed that the work that is done to recover from an unnatural links penalty will also get you out of Penguin trouble. However, you'll need to see a Penguin refresh in order to start ranking well again.
Panda: Again, a full discussion on Panda recovery is outside of the scope of this article. Once you have done what is necessary to fix Panda issues such as duplication and thin content, then many sites will recover with the next Panda refresh. However, I have seen some sites that have taken several Panda refreshes in order to recover. As of March, 2013, Matt Cutts stated that Panda will not be doing large regular refreshes as we have been used to but instead it will now be regularly rolled into the regular algorithm. I expect that this means that Panda hit sites can recover much sooner now once the work is done.
The purpose of this article was to answer some of the regularly asked questions when it comes to differences between Penguin, Unnatural Links and Panda issues. I don't claim to have all of the answers though. I hope this article generates some good discussion and questions!
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Wegens het grote succes van de afgelopen reeks live Hangouts on Air, gaan we vanaf volgende week door met een nieuwe tien-weekse serie waarin uw AdWords-specialisten u helpen met het optimaliseren van uw account. De komende tien weken zal er elke week, op maandag, woensdag, en vrijdag, een ander thema behandeld worden. In elke aflevering zullen uw AdWords-specialisten nieuwe en belangrijke mogelijkheden van AdWords bespreken, hun beste praktijken met u delen en u tips meegeven voor de toekomst.
U kunt zich hier inschrijven, en hieronder vindt u een overzicht van de wekelijkse thema’s. Houd deze blog in de gaten, want elke week zal er een gedetailleerde agenda verschijnen van de week erop, zodat u precies weet wanneer welke onderwerpen binnen dat thema besproken worden.
Week van 22 april: Adverteren met het Google Merchant Center
Week van 29 april: Geoptimaliseerde campagnes en nieuwe biedingsstrategieën
Week van 6 mei: Adverteren op YouTube
Week van 13 mei: Adverteren in het buitenland
Week van 20 mei: Adverteren met advertentie-extensies
Week van 27 mei: Conversies
Week van 3 juni: Adverteren op mobiele apparaten
Week van 10 juni: Adverteren op het Display Netwerk
Week van 17 juni: AdWords advertenties integreren met andere Google-producten
Week van 24 juni: Veelgestelde vragen
Alle sessies zullen om 11:00 uur Nederlandse tijd van start gaan.
Om deel te kunnen nemen aan de Hangouts on Air hoeft u enkel deze Google+ event pagina te bezoeken op het moment dat de Hangout on Air start, u kunt dan live de training volgen.
Indien u vragen of commentaar wenst te plaatsen op deze Google+ event pagina, dient u in te loggen in uw Google+ account en de AdWords Benelux pagina toe te voegen aan uw kringen. Wij zullen sowieso elke week een bericht plaatsen om u aan de Hangout on Air te herinneren. Met 1 klik op de link kunt u dan de Hangout live bijwonen.
Posted by Dr. Pete
It’s been over four years (February 2009) since Google and Yahoo announced support for the rel=canonical tag, and yet this single line of HTML is still causing a lot of confusion for SEOs and webmasters. Recently, Google posted 5 common mistakes with rel=canonical – it’s a good post and a welcome bit of transparency, but it doesn’t address a lot of the questions we see daily here in Q&A. So, I thought it was a good time to tackle some of your most common questions (and please forgive the following nonsense)….
What Is Rel=Canonical?
Put simply, the rel=canonical tag is a way to tell Google that one URL is equivalent to another URL, for search purposes. Typically, a URL (B) is a duplicate of URL (A), and the canonical tag points to (A). The following tag would appear on the page that generates URL (B), in the <head></head>:
<link rel=”canonical” href=”http://www.example.com/url-a.html” />
Google’s support document on rel=canonical is actually pretty good. The subject of duplicate content is complex, and I’ve addressed it previously in detail. For this post, I’m going to skip ahead and assume that you have a working knowledge of technical SEO and have attempted to use rel=canonical on your site.
Note: Rel=canonical is also referred to as “Rel-canonical” and “The Canonical Tag”. For this article, I will try to consistently refer to it as “Rel=canonical”.
(1) Should I Use Rel=Canonical for Pagination?
I’m not going to repeat all of Google’s answers, but this one is so frequently asked that it deserves more detail. Let’s say you have a series of paginated search results (1, 2, 3… n). These can be considered “thin”, from a search standpoint, so should you rel=canonical page n back to page 1?
Officially, the answer is “no” – Google does not recommend this. They recommend that you either rel=canonical to a “View All” page (if having all results on one page is viable) or that you use rel=prev/next. Rel=canonical can be used in conjunction with rel=prev/next to handle search sorts, filters, etc., but that gets complicated fast.
Pagination for SEO is a very tricky subject, and I recommend you check out these two resources:
- Conquering Pagination – A Guide to Consolidating your Content
- The Latest & Greatest On SEO Pagination
(2) Can I Use Rel=Canonical Cross-domain?
Yes – in late 2009, Google announced support for cross-domain use of rel=canonical. This is typically for syndicated content, when you’re concerned about duplication and only want one version of the content to be eligible for ranking.
(3) Should I Use Rel=Canonical Cross-Domain?
That’s a tougher question. First off, Google may choose to ignore cross-domain use of rel=canonical if the pages seem too different or it appears manipulative. The ideal use of cross-domain rel=canonical would be a situation where multiple sites owned by the same entity share content, and that content is useful to the users of each individual site. In that case, you probably wouldn’t want to use 301-redirects (it could confuse users and harm the individual brands), but you may want to avoid duplicate content issues and control which property Google displays in search results. I would not typically use rel=canonical cross-domain just to consolidate PageRank.
(4) Should I Use Rel=Canonical on Near Duplicates?
As my catastrophic canonicalization experiment and follow-up experiments showed, Google does honor rel=canonical even on very different pages, in some cases. That doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea. Generally speaking, I think it’s best to reserve rel=canonical for duplicates or very-near duplicates. For example, if a product pages spins off into five URLs for five different colors, and each color's page only differs by a sentence or two (or an image), then yes, I think it’s fine to rel=canonical to the “parent” product page.
Do not use rel=canonical as a substitute for appropriate 301-redirects and/or 404s. While it probably won’t cause large-scale catastrophes, I strongly suspect that Google will start to ignore your canonical tags, and this may impact how you control legitimate duplicates.
(5) Can I Put Rel=Canonical on the Canonical Page?
In other words, is it alright to put a rel=canonical tag on the canonical version of the URL, pointing back to itself? Practically speaking – yes, it is, but you don't have to. Early on, there were hints that both Google and Bing preferred that you not overuse rel=canonical. Over time, though, their stances seemed to soften, and I’ve seen no evidence in recent history of a properly used, self-referencing canonical causing any harm.
This is often just a practical issue – many URLs share common templates, and the code needed to display a rel=canonical tag on just the duplicates and not the canonical version of a page can get messy and increase your chance of mistakes. Personally, I believe that the search engines recognized the reality most webmasters face and adjusted their initial, conservative stance.
(6) Is It OK to Put Rel=Canonical on My Entire Site?
Should you pre-emptively rel=canonical your entire site – even if many of the pages aren’t subject to duplicate content issues? I think this gets very speculative. We have recommended this approach at SEOmoz in the past, and I think it’s generally safe. I do worry that excessive use of rel=canonical could cause search engines to devalue and even ignore those tags, but I can’t point to any clear evidence of this happening. I also worry that people often implement site-wide rel=canonical tags badly, and end up pointing them to the wrong pages.
I do think that a pre-emptive rel=canonical on your home-page is generally a good ideas, as home pages are prone to URL variations. In a perfect world, I’d say to use rel=canonical on the home-page, known duplicates, and any pages with parameters that could drive duplicate content, and leave the rest alone. However, that’s often a very difficult procedure. In some cases, site-wide rel=canonical implementation is better than no index control.
(7) Should I Use Rel=Canonical or 301 Redirects?
Please understand that while these two approaches can behave similarly, from an SEO standpoint, they are not interchangeable. Here’s the critical difference – a 301-redirect takes the visitor to the canonical URL, while a rel=canonical tag does not. Usually, only one of these approaches is the right one for your visitors. If you really want to permanently consolidate two pages and remove the duplicates, then use a 301-redirect. If you want to keep both pages available to visitors, but only have one appear in search results, then use rel=canonical.
(8) Does Rel=Canonical Pass Authority/PageRank?
This is very difficult to measure, but if you use rel=canonical appropriately, and if Google honors it, then it appears to act similarly to a 301-redirect. We suspect it passes authority/PageRank for links to the non-canonical URL, with some small amount of loss (similar to a 301).
(9) Can I Chain Rel=Canonicals (+301s, 302s, etc.)?
What happens if you rel=canonical to a URL with rel=canonical to another URL, or you rel=canonical to a URL that 301-redirects to another URL? It gets complicated. In some cases, it might work and it might even pass PageRank. Generally speaking, though, it’s a bad idea. At best, it’s sloppy. At worst, it might not function at all, or you might lose significant PageRank across the chain. Wherever possible, avoid chains and implement rel=canonical in a single hop.
(10) Are Non-Canonical Pages Indexed?
For all practical purposes – no. If Google honors a rel=canonical tag, then the non-canonical page is not eligible for ranking. It will not have a unique cached copy, and it will not appear in the public index via a “site:” search. Now, does Google maintain a record of the non-canonical URL? I assume they do. As an SEO, though, the non-canonical URL ceases to exist in any meaningful way.
(11) Can Someone Else Rel=Canonical My Pages?
I’ve seen occasional worries about someone using rel=canonical, especially cross-domain, to harm a site or steal its authority. Keep in mind that you can only grant canonical status from pages you control. So, you could rel=canonical all of your pages to someone else’s site, but why would anyone do that? To wreak any real havoc, someone would have to hack into your site. If that happens, then rel=canonical abuse is the least of your problems. The vast, vast majority of damage done by rel=canonical is self-inflicted.
(12) Can I Have My Cake and Eat It, Too?
No. Yeah, I know – you don’t want to hear it. At least a third of the questions we get about rel=canonical boil down to “I want all of these pages to rank, and they’re the same, but I don’t want to get in any trouble for duplicate content!” I don’t have any secret sauce to pour on that.
You don’t have to use rel=canonical, but. in my experience. controlling your own duplicate content is better than having Google do it for you, and eventually they’ll do it for you. In the old days, that might just mean that the wrong page got filtered out. After 25+ Panda updates, though, it could mean that your entire site suffers. You can’t have it both ways – if you have duplicate content, then remove it, control it, or improve it.
What Questions Do You Have?
If you have any general questions about the canonical tag or how to use it, feel free to leave a comment, and I’ll try to address them. Please understand that I can’t dig into your site and provide consulting-level services, but if you can ask the question in a general way that will be helpful to others, I’ll do my best to leave a reply.
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After June 30th Google is removing all tiered pricing programs and going with its full suite option (Social Marketing Suite) only. Let’s just say that many people are not too happy about this.
When Google wanted to get into the game of selling social ads across all platforms, it decided to acquire Wildfire, a company that had the market on lockdown. Since the acquisition last July, little has changed as far as what Wildfire offered, how it offered it and there was little to no impact for current customers.
Today, the Wildfire team has announced that its first major shift is upon us, cutting off standalone campaigns that were a hallmark of its tiered offerings.
The post on the Wildfire blog tells us
We want to do all we can to poise our customers for success when they begin using Wildfire. So that we can better focus on doing that, we’ve decided that we’ll be retiring our Basic, Standard, and Premium promotions after June 30th. We’ll continue to offer promotions as part of our Social Marketing Suite. We understand that some of you will still want to run standalone promotions, so we’re glad to know that there are other companies dedicated to helping you do this. But we’ll be sad to see you go. Of course, we’d love for you to stay in the Wildfire and Google family, so if you want to learn more about the Wildfire Suite, then please give us a call at 888-274-0929.
You liked our various promotions levels. That was cute. We don’t want to bother with you small players so leave if you have to, it’s no skin off our nose. Oh and if you want us to pitch you on why you should stick around and spend way above your capabilities give us a call and we’ll be happy to close you.
Should this come as a surprise? On some levels yes but on others not at all. If there is not enough money in a Google backed service or any part of that service these days, Google is going to jettison it. From a profitability standpoint it makes perfect sense. From a ‘we’re here for everyone’ standpoint it pretty well sucks.
There are plenty of other options in the marketplace and all you need to do is read the comment section of the TechCrunch post as every small player in the industry is pimping their wares.
What the bigger takeaway here is that if you are married to, or even dating, some Google product that is not making Google money you need to ween yourself off the relationship pronto. I would have to guess that Google Alerts will be something that will be cut loose (resource hog and probably generates next to nothing in revenue). There will be more and the net/net from Google is “While we hate to see you go we know you won’t completely, so stick around and buy stuff from us because the free ride is coming to an end.”
Hey, it’s their company and more power to them. Also, more power to those that can fill the gaps because there may be some serious opportunity on the horizon.
You’ve heard that using social networks like Twitter and Facebook will improve your sales, but that’s not working quite the way you expected. Someone else told you to blog. Another mentioned YouTube. And what about good old fashioned email?
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