Archive for March, 2011
Today, Google came out with a counter punch to Facebook’s Like button. Earlier today, the search engine giant began rollling out a new button called +1. The +1 button will apear next to search engine results and AdWords advertisements. In the future, website owners and publishers will be able to add a +1 button to pages and articles on their sites.
How Google +1 Works
How does Google’s new +1 work? First of all, +1 is currently being rolled out as an experiment and you need to opt in with Google to have access to it in the short term. In order to view +1 search results and AdWords results, the user will have to be logged in with their Google profile. Once a user is logged in and clicks on the +1 button next to a search engine result, Google we keep track of that +1 and highlight that search result if it appears for any of that user’s friends for that or a similar search.
Check out a quick video from Google introducing +1:
A Real Step Towards Social Search
With +1 Google makes a major step forward in its quest for more social search results. Not only do the +1 recommendations play a significant role in Google’s series of social search improvements, but they will also highlight content people are actively interested in. Now people using social search will be able to see content created and shared by those in their social network, and recommended by those in their Google +1 network. All of the +1 data, TechCrunch points out, will be available to the public likely through an API.
Google +1 Is a Social Network
While +1′s initial impact might be seen in social search results, it is important to realize that +1 is more than that; it is a social network. Google Profiles are at the core of Google’s future plans for the discovery and sharing of contextual information. With the launch of +1, Google Profiles got much more useful because a new tab has been created in Google Profiles to let users keep track of all of their +1s.
It seems like Google keeps making changes and adding new tools that will impact how your business will get found online. Don’t worry about understanding all of the details and granularity of every change Google makes. However, you should notice the patterns that are occuring with all of the changes Google is making. Clearly, Google is rewarding social businesses. The more your business connects with prospects and customers online, the more you increase your odds of getting found in Google’s evolving search results.
The days of obsessing over keyword rank are over. Instead, make your business social and create relevant information that will help to attract +1s and influence who decides to visit your site from search engine results pages. Blogging and sharing content on social media has never been more important. In a world that is being built on personal recommendations, it is critical that your business becomes social through remarkable content.
What do you think about Google +1?
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Posted by Tom_C
Today Google announced the release of a new social feature: +1
Read more about the launch from these in-depth blog posts:
- Danny’s ever-excellent coverage: http://searchengineland.com/meet-1-googles-answer-to-the-facebook-like-button-70569
- Official Google post: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/03/1s-right-recommendations-right-when-you.html
- Official Google page: http://www.google.com/+1/button/
Rolling out across English Google over the next few days is a new "+1" feature that allows you to endorse URLs. If you’re not yet seeing it in your search results enable it in Google experimental. Once enabled you see a little grey +1 next to all search results – including adwords listings:
Once you click a result you see something like this:
All of your +1 results appear on your Google Profile:
I’m a really big fan of this from Google – they seem to be doing a lot of things right with social at the moment and this seems to be universally received as positive by the twittersphere. It’s a lot of fun and ridiculously intuitive to +1 something and I can really see this catching on.
The Impact of +1 on SEO
So what’s the impact of this for SEOs? Well I’m struck by the opening paragraph from the Google +1 page (emphasis mine):
The +1 button is shorthand for "this is pretty cool" or "you should check this out."
Click +1 to publicly give something your stamp of approval. Your +1′s can help friends, contacts, and others on the web find the best stuff when they search.
Note how Google is emphasising right from the start that this is going to influence search results. Another quote from the official Google Blog (again, emphasis mine):
Say, for example, you’re planning a winter trip to Tahoe, Calif. When you do a search, you may now see a +1 from your slalom-skiing aunt next to the result for a lodge in the area. Or if you’re looking for a new pasta recipe, we’ll show you +1’s from your culinary genius college roommate. And even if none of your friends are baristas or caffeine addicts, we may still show you how many people across the web have +1’d your local coffee shop.
So the bottom line is that getting people to +1 your content is going to help you get more organic traffic from Google. Maybe even more/cheaper paid traffic too!
The Rise of Social SEO
Of course, for me this isn’t so much a new direction as much as a continuation of the social circle work that Google has been doing recently. I’m a massive fan of results from your social circle – as I’m searching around these appear on a crazy high % of search results:
These social results pop up all the time and are immediately obvious and useful to me. The more that Google rolls out this integration the better imho.
Is this how Google are going to reduce the emphasis on links? Maybe.
Social Metrics Are Already Well Correlated With Rankings
I’m not going to go into too much detail here as we’re still in the middle of gathering data and running analysis but here’s a sneak peak from Rand’s presentation that he’s giving in SMX Munich next week. We’ve run a correlation analysis on a whole bunch of search results (~10,000) for a wide range of factors and there’s some surprising results. Check out this graph:
It shows that Facebook shares are well correlated with rankings. In fact, comparing to other factors we see Facebook shares are similarly correlated to the number of linking root domains.
It’s early days in the analysis and all we’re showing here is correlation not causation but it’s kind of surprising the correlation is so strong!
(Aside: I should point out a few things here – when we say Facebook shares we’re talking about the aggregated number of Facebook interactions; comments, likes and shares as reported by the Facebook graph API. The full analysis will breakdown the different types of Facebook interactions in more detail. We should also say a big thankyou to Topsy as we have been using their totally awesome API to gather Twitter information)
In my opinion this is why inbound marketing is going to overtake SEO as the primary function of SEO professionals. Engaging across social channels to get links, shares, likes, comments and +1s is going to be the future for generating organic traffic to your site. Not just from Google but these channels are increasingly driving significant volumes of traffic in their own right.
+1 & Social Metrics Will Be Hard To Game
Previously the biggest objection I’ve heard from SEOs about user-generated signals is that they are easy to game. Well I’m not so sure. Think about how much information Google has on you and all the ways they can justify your profile is tied to a real human being account. For example – to show you’re a real human being Google could look for the following signals:
- Google analytics
- Google calendar
- Google voice
- Google checkout
- Chrome sync
- Search history
- Google docs
- Google reader
- …. etc
Don’t believe me? Why not head on over to your Google dashboard and see just how much information Google knows about you.
Still think it’ll be easy to fake?
Let’s also not forget that Google are smart. I very much doubt that social signals will impact search results equally – some industries just don’t have a strong social footprint. For these industries I think (hope) Google will normalise the impact and won’t let the "fun" site outrank the "useful" site – they can easily tell which niches have a lot of social activity and those that don’t. For the more mundane/commercial industries Google will fall back on the regular signals of links.
What’s Next for Google +1?
Google are already talking about a new publisher button that you will be able to embed on your page to allow people to +1 content from your site – very similar to the Facebook like and tweet this buttons that already exist. Once you enable +1 you’re also opted in to show this information on 3rd party sites in exactly the same was as Facebook buttons:
Here’s a few other more speculative things to think about:
- Will Google create aggregated pages for the "hot" +1 content on the web?
- How will Google persuade regular people to create their Google profile page and add their friends?
- It seems like this is a very direct threat to the Facebook like button – how will Facebook react?
- How will +1 results impact Adwords listings?
- What kind of dashboard/analytics information will be available to publishers to see who is +1′ing their content?
For now, why not do us a favour and go give SEOmoz a nice juicy +1 :-D
I’ve recently seen a lot of chirping and discussion on the value of nofollow links for search optimization, with some people saying that there was value to having them. I asked three industry leaders in search engine optimization what their take was on nofollow links.
Specifically: “What’s your take on no follow links? Is it still valuable to get them when you can, such as from social media sites or Wikipedia? Under what circumstances do you pursue links from Wikipedia? Is their huge reach and audience worth it, even without SEO value?”
Answers From The Experts
Tom Critchlow works for the SEO Company Distilled as VP Operations NYC (office opening in June!) but is currently working alongside the web’s most popular SEO Software provider; SEOmoz to help them with their SEO:
There is a lot of debate around nofollow links and their impact on SEO. Will wrote a great post on the weight and authority that nofollowed links can carry. As SEOs I think that we shouldn’t be so obsessed with only getting “followed” links. If a link is from a strong site and will pass traffic then I think you should go and get it.
Search engines these days are paying attention to social signals like tweets, Facebook shares (both nofollowed) and traffic data (from toolbar & browser usage) so if you’re really trying to build your brand online you shouldn’t obsess over whether a specific link is relevant for SEO – you should be thinking about whether a link is good for your brand, because you can be sure this is what Google is trying to reward. In particular, I’ve seen Wikipedia drive significant amounts of traffic even for niche terms without huge search volume.
I would urge businesses to look at the Wikipedia pages for their niche and consider whether they can provide a resource of such value that you can get a Wikipedia link. If you can, you can be sure it’ll drive good volume of high converting traffic.
Gianluca Fiorelli, SEO, ItaliaSEO:
When it comes to links, I personally don’t think at first if they are going to be followed or not. Even though, from a pure classic SEO perspective, any backlink should have to be a followed one in order to increment the PageRank of your linked page, I consider that actually a link is not just about PageRank anymore, but trust and brand awareness. In fact, even though search engines do not carry PR through the no followed link to your site, they record it and they take notice that your site has been cited in a site. If that site is an authoritative one or a trusted seed, somehow its aura will reflect on your own web site, which will gain trust and relevance to the eyes of the search engines, therefore better rankings.
Just for this reason it is good to be linked by Wikipedia or any authoritative social media site, and I include in this definition sites like forums, blogs and Q&A sites, which are social by nature. Obviously, they can directly send good traffic to your web site: just think at Quora and the traffic a link in a voted or most useful answer can lead to your site.
Under what circumstances can you pursue links from Wikipedia? First of all you must have great great content or very specific and unique. Wikipedia folks are very picky about what sites to cite as external sources for any voice. If you have that content, then you can suggest it for the right Wikipedia voice.
Example: during an competitive research about travel to Patagonia related web sites, I saw that the one that was ranking first in Google.it had a link from Wikipedia. I dug into that link and discovered that it was to a post about the Welsh immigration in Patagonia present in that site’s blog. Is that link sending traffic to the site? Probably not at all, but it was noticed by someone in the BBC website, who finally linked to that same post citing Wikipedia. Boom, now that travel site not only as one link from Wikipedia, but it has also an important backlink from another trusted seed: the BBC.
Moral of the story: Wikipedia maybe won’t send you directly great traffic, but to have a link in it gives authority to your site, therefore others will tend to cite your site and link to it.
Barry Schwartz, Executive Editor, Search Engine Roundtable:
Nofollowed links do not pass any search engine ranking value for most of the search engines, including Google and Bing. You can have a nofollowed link on Wikipedia or even Google’s main blog and it won’t count in terms of improving your rankings. That doesn’t mean the link is not valuable.
Sites with lots of traffic with links on them, even if they are nofollowed, still can send traffic. That traffic can help with leads, conversions and even encourage other sites to link to you without a nofollow attribute on the link. When it comes to getting links and social media, it is more about creating awareness about your content or product. That awareness will lead to more link building opportunities and create even more awareness for your content.
What’s your take? Have you seen value from nofollow links to your blog or website, or none at all? Let us know in the comments.
Photo Credit: Dawn Huczek
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Posted by richardbaxterseo
This morning I set myself a challenge. Using some inspiration from recent excellent ideas, strategies and articles about the Panda update, I decided to see if I could cobble together a quick strategy to weed out pages that might be deemed as “low quality” in the eyes of Google’s most recent major algorithm update.
I gave myself two hours to get the data and to put this post together, with the intention that you’ll be able to download the template and pick up your analysis from where I left off.
It’s all about poor performance
This methodology should help you identify poorly performing pages that have few, if any links and a high average bounce rate across a wide spectrum of keywords. This might help you identify any page candidates that need a rethink.
Step 1 – Head to Google Analytics
Head over to analytics and navigate to Traffic Sources > Search Engines:
Now, select “Google”
Step 2 – Get lots of raw data
Make sure you can get your hands on plenty of data by inserting the &limit=50000 query into your report URL. This might come in handy later!
Step 3 – Sort by landing page
We’re interested in landing page performance, so in your left hand sort column, select “landing page”
Step 4 – Download the data as CSV and create an Excel Table
Ok so far so good – by now you should have a rich data set all tuckered up in Excel. To make your data into a table, highlight it and press CTRL-L on your keyboard.
Step 5 – Head to Open Site Explorer
Next, we’re going to export all the links data that Open Site Explorer can give us, and use VLOOKUP to add the number of links to each URL in our table. Whee!
If you’re not familiar with VLOOKUP, check out Mike’s awesome guide to Excel for SEOs. Create an Open Site Explorer top pages report (My favourite report since, ever), download the data and throw it in an Excel tab called “Top Pages”.
Tip: for the purpose of this blog post, you’ll need to remove the domain name from the Open Site Explorer data. Do a find and replace for your domain, replacing the domain URL with nothing, like this:
Step 6 – VLOOKUP time
Next, you’re going to need to combine the analytics data with the top pages data from OSE. Create a new column in your analytics data called “Links” and add your VLOOKUP, just like this:
Pro tip: use IFERROR to weed out any nasty N/A errors, replacing them with a 0, like this:
Step 7 – Create your pivot table
With a complete data set, you’re now able to create your pivot table. Insert a pivot table and setup your filters, labels and values like this:
Step 8 – Filter by bounce, visits and use conditional formatting
At the end of my data mashing, I came up with this table:
I can only imagine what this data might look like on an extremely content thin, "low value" site. Any page with a very high bounce rate, measurable level of traffic and low / no links might cause some concern and there are certainly a few pages in this list I’d like to take a closer look at.
If you’d like to take a closer look at your pages, you can download this Excel document here:
PRO Tip: Add your keyword data
I have a working theory that it’s good to have a complete picture of a landing page’s performance. In principle, you could build a more complete picture using keyword data. Think about it like this: if a page has a slightly below par bounce rate, with the keyword data intact you can investigate the problem a little further. Is there a specific keyword that’s causing a problem? How would you approach this problem?
I hope you enjoy using the data and I’d love to hear your thoughts on how this type of analysis could be developed further. Happy number crunching!
Posted by Hannah Smith
Hello there. You look lovely. I’m Hannah and I’m an SEO Consultant for Distilled. I’m British which means I spell things strangely sometimes, we like to make things more complicated than they really need to be here. This is my first post for SEOmoz, I hope you find it useful.
- It enables the search engines to index all of pages on the site
- It provides suitable landing pages for all of the keywords (or search phrases) that you might wish to rank for
- If the search engines can’t index your content you will not rank.
- If you don’t have a page for each keyword (or at least each sub-set of keywords – you can of course target more than one keyword per page), again you’ll struggle to rank.
- A lack of rankings means a lack of traffic. A lack of traffic will likely mean a lack of revenue.
- A sitemap will not fix this.
1. How many facets do you need in order to get everything indexed?
- T Shirt Type
2. Facets versus filters
3. Do you have pages to enable you to rank for all of the keywords that are important to you?
6. Duplicate Content
- Use as many facets as you need to ensure that your deepest faceted pages contain 100 products or fewer AND to ensure you have all the pages you need to target the keywords you want to rank for.
- No matter which route a user takes to reach a particular page there can be only one (think Highlander) indexable URL
- Remember to create unique content for each page – the more important the page, the more awesome the content
YouTube is famous for funny videos of cats and kids, but what if you are a B2B company? Video can still tell a powerful story. The virality that is possible on video-sharing sites like YouTube adds a new level of reach to compelling video stories.
Recently, glass company Corning released a video on YouTube that could arguably be the best B2B viral video ever made. At the time of this blog post the video ”A Day Made of Glass… Made possible by Corning” had more than 10 million views.
Do you think your product or service is boring? Is it more boring than glass? I doubt it. Yes, Corning’s video was likely expensive to make but it wasn’t the production quality of the video that made it successful. The marketers at Corning brought a simple product to life in a new and hopeful way. The video doesn’t demonstrate what glass does; instead it shows what glass could do. When it comes to marketing content, it isn’t about your product. It is about how your product changing the work of your customers and the lives of their end users.
What did you think about the video?
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