September 3, 2014

Don’t believe what Google tells you about search

liar
Photo by Alan Cleaver on Flickr (CC BY)

How has Google misled us? Let us count the ways!

Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

Chris AbrahamIf you’ve been listening to Google of late, you’ve heard their spokespersons’ declarations that you should go merrily on your way producing content for your followers while making no attempts to improve your search rankings through explicit means. Focus on what you do best and ignore all that voodoo SEO stuff.

Well.

I’ll probably get some blowback for this, but it’s time to call out Google for its — how shall I put this? — sleight of hand, half-truths and tendency to lie about this.

The following list of Google mistruths have some exceptions and caveats. And, Google does make examples of bad actors, which is all to the good.

But for the vast majority of us Web publishers, bloggers and businesses who just want to create content and have it read, you should frankly ignore what Google has been telling you about backlinks not mattering anymore, SEO not mattering anymore and other misdirections.

Let’s do a rundown of which SEO elements actually still work

How has Google misled us? Let us count the ways! (I’ll list my bona fides below, and I have my own caveat: Google hasn’t said that none of the following is important, but let’s run through all of these SEO elements one by one.) Continue reading

March 13, 2014

Google gets more personal as it becomes more personalized

Tilted Kilt
A long-ago activity resurfaces at a mouse click.

Will you be assimilated into the Google Empire?

Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

Chris AbrahamGoogle can’t get hardly any of us to use Google Plus, but they’re still trying. And they’re pushing hard. One of the reasons I love blogging is, for good or evil, I don’t need any evidence for anything I say. With that caveat, Google is closing in on its goal of being federated across all of its properties, so be acutely aware. They’re triangulating us all and will soon be able to identify not merely what “you” want, need, and desire, but what you, yourself, (or me, Chris Abraham), want in particular, down to your very essence.

Rejoice! I am no longer 35–44-year-old white, college-educated, man, living in Metro Washington, I am 43-year-old, soon to be 44, Christopher James Abraham, who lives between Columbia Heights and Arlington Views off of Columbia Pike in South Arlington, Virginia, who owns guns, motorcycles, spends money on eBay and Amazon, and loves eating fish tacos at Taqueria el Poblano during his weekday happy hour from 4-7 pm — and many other very specific details of my life. Continue reading

November 26, 2013

Google: Are authors replacing inbound links as the key to success in search?

authors
Image by Les Chatfield on Flickr (CC BY)

Create a content strategy by enlisting top influencers to write for your sites

Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

Chris AbrahamIt’s a great time to be passionate about social media, the Internet, online community, and the Google suite of products and services.

Google is about to reward you big-time just as Google pulls the rug out from under the feet of traditional SEO link strategies. Good for you, bad for many online businesses. Be sure to monetize while you can. 

In my analogy, Google’s Hummingbird algorithm will require each website owner to find one or more social media passion players and woo, hire, pay, or partner with them in order to get back on top of Google organic search. If you want your home page to rise to the top of Google Organic Search, I believe you’re going to have to bring some legit Google authors on board and publicly be associated with them. Continue reading

October 16, 2013

What goes into Google’s search rankings recipe?

google-650
Above is how Google’s overall algorithm breaks down in a study by Moz.

We break down the factors that Google gives the most weight to

Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists. This article originally appeared at Moz and is republished with permission.

By Matt Peters
Chief Data Scientist, Moz

matt-petersEvery two years, the SEO site Moz runs a Ranking Factors study to determine which attributes of pages and sites have the strongest association with ranking highly in Google. The study consists of two parts: a survey of professional SEOs and a large correlation study.

According to our survey respondents, here is how Google’s overall algorithm breaks down — see the chart above. We see:

  • Links are still believed to be the most important part of the algorithm (approximately 40%).
  • Keyword usage on the page is still fundamental, and other than links is thought to be the most important type of factor.
  • SEOs do not think social factors are important in the 2013 algorithm (only 7%), in contrast to the high correlation I’ll outline below.

Page Authority, social signals correlate strongly with higher rankings

We’ll dive into the data in a minute, but here are five key conclusions:

  1. Page Authority correlates higher than any other metric we measured.
  2. Social signals, especially Google +1s and Facebook shares, are highly correlated.
  3. Despite Google’s Penguin release, anchor text correlations remain as strong as ever.
  4. New correlations were measured for schema.org and structured data usage.
  5. More data was collected on external links, keywords, and exact match domains.

Continue reading

October 14, 2013

Buttress your brand with content creation & community

community

To get discovered in search, be true to yourself, not to SEO tricks

Target audience: Marketing professionals, PR professionals, businesses, brand strategists, educators, journalists, general public.

Chris AbrahamYou can’t control your brand perception. You can’t force your will or your perception of yourself onto Google no matter how big your advertising budget — sorry. And, now, you can’t do it through writing big checks to black hat link farms, either.

So, if you want to make sure you can shape perception of your business in search as much as possible, you’ll need to write about yourself and your company as thoroughly as humanly possible — and, part of that is doing the equivalent of a 360-degree feedback of your own brand, your own corporation. For those of you who don’t know, a 360 review represents feedback that comes from members of an employee’s immediate work circle. And, like the 360, you should ask people outside of just yourself and your board how they perceive you. Continue reading

September 26, 2013

7 strategies for succeeding in the new Google Search

search
Image by Fairfax County on Flickr

Changes in search results require changes in content & marketing strategies

This is the second of a two-part series on Google Search. Also see:
Content strategies to deal with Google Panda & Google Penguin

Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR professionals, mobile strategists, businesses, nonprofits, Google Plus users.

Chris AbrahamAcouple years ago, search engine optimization (SEO) held a lot of secrets. But that’s not quite as true today.

To a large extent, SEO today has become a war between Google’s vision of what quality and valuable search results should look like — and the rewards conferred to anyone who can just produce content that meets those stringent standards — and an entire industry that is committed to finding every shortcut and loophole possible and systematically exploiting those loopholes for as long as possible until they’re closed. The entire SEO industry has been almost entirely fueled by exploiting shortcuts, loopholes, link syndicates, link conspiracies, strategic linking, shadow linking, and shadow content. And it’s mostly worked, too, until recently. Until Google really started rolling out Panda and Penguin algorithms, as I wrote about Monday. Continue reading