Due to the wide spread nature of internet and Web 2.0 trend the online presence is becoming increasingly competitive. Search engines are continuously working towards improving their search results to give accurate and relevant information to the users. Search engine algorithm tends to change every now and then and one has to adapt the changes immediately to be in the top of the race.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a broad sense is the set of methods used to boost website traffic, increase ROI that the website receives from the search engines, and businesses are affected depending on their placement in search results. It is an iterative and ongoing process, which keeps on changing as per the search engine rules.
Some of the major updates for 2009 till now in the field of SEO are as follows.
Google Improves Flash Indexing
Google has enhanced its search engine’s capacity to index Adobe’s Flash files, which are very popular on the Web but tricky for search engine spiders. Google and Adobe’s created a new algorithm which now indexes text content in Flash. As a result Google Bots now indexes textual content in .SWF files of all kinds and extracts URL’s embedded in Flash.
The Latest update on flash indexing made by Google on June 19th was that Google announces that when Google encounters SWF files on the web, we can:
•Index textual content displayed as a user interacts with the file. We click buttons and enter input, just like a user would.
•Discover links within Flash files.
•Load external resources and associate the content with the parent file.
•Index sites scripted with AS1 and AS2, even if the ActionScript is obfuscated. Update on June 19, 2009: We index sites with AS3 as well. The ActionScript version isn’t particularly relevant in our Indexing process, so we support older versions of AS in addition to the latest.
Canonical Link Element
In short, the canonical element is a line of code that you add to pages that may be duplicates. The canonical link element rel=”canonical” is added to a page within the header (head) of a page, typically by developers.
In this code, you designate the “canonical,” or “proper,” URL. Engines, in turn, note this URL and apply link popularity and authority to the canonical version instead of applying them to duplicate URLs.
This provides a hint to a search engine about which is the most important or original page if pages are identical or similar in terms of content, but have a different URL.
Google and other search engines announced support for a canonical link element that can help site owners with duplicate content issues.
Apart from canonical link element Webmasters have noticed few updates in the toolbar PageRank from February 28, 2009. Which was been discussed widely in many discussion forums, medias, etc.
March ‘09 and April‘09
Two major updates were :
i) Regular PR and Backlink Updates
Usually a Google PageRank update occurs every three months. So everyone was expecting an Page rank update in the month of march. Lots of rumors and gossips were spread out among webmasters and finally the wait ended up in the first week of April. This time Google crawled for both Page rank and Backlink. But this year Google gave two more surprises as Google danced similarly in the month of June and July which made a great impact on all the working strategies of SEO.
ii) Search Refinements and Snippets
There were three changes on the Google search result pages which were visible to all the users.
1. The snippet length for the search results has increased. Earlier the snippet was of two lines. Google now displays an extended snippet of 3 lines for queries that consist of three or more keywords. The idea behind this change is that these multi keyword queries are much targeted and complex and hence the short snippet might not contain enough information.
2. Another change is that Google now shows more related searches at the bottom of the search results page. It is very important that you optimize the different pages of your website for different keywords.
3. The third change is that Google now shows local results based on IP addresses. The local results are delivered based on the IP address of the searcher. That means that you will get different results than people in another city.
During the month of May two major updates occured in SEO world
i) Google Show Options
Google announced a new set of features called as Search/Show Options, which are a collection of tools that rearranges the result so that it can be viewed from different user’s perspectives.
If someone is looking for a particular query show options helps you in providing information regarding videos, forums, reviews, etc. Just say For example you want recent updates of your query but in general organic search you don’t get up-to-date information with the result, so these show options help you in getting recent information whether is 2 weeks earlier, 24 hrs or just latest one. There are other features which you can explore in your own time (like the nifty “wonder wheel”).These tools help in elaborating your result as per your requirement.
ii) Microsoft New Search Engine BING Launched
On May 28th Microsoft publicly unveiled its soon-to-launch search engine Bing, which was publicly available on June 3. Bing is Microsoft’s new decision engine. The home page features a rotation of stunning photography, for instance, which can be clicked on to produce related image search results. In search presentation, Bing wins. It uses technology from Powerset (a search technology company Microsoft acquired) to display refined versions of your query down the left side of the page. Bing gave a menu of “related searches,” that included Walkthrough, News, and so on.
Bing brings a new way of thinking to using SERPs, which has shown to demonstrably improve the satisfaction of searchers in finding the answers to their questions.
No More Page Rank Sculpting
PageRank sculpting is an SEO tactic that involves adding the nofollow attribute to links for which PageRank flow is not necessary. Early in 2005, the main search engines introduced a ‘nofollow’ attribute for the A HREF HTML command for coding hyperlinks.
Nofollow is also used extensively in social networks and in forums to limit any value comment spammers get from posting in the forums to their own sites for SEO benefits. PageRank Sculpting was one of the controversial issues among the webmaster. But the engines have evolved their thinking. They realize now that rel=nofollow is a much more versatile tool than when it was first conceived.
Pagerank sculpting used to be really effective around a year ago but Finally Matt Cutts announced in his blog that it’s not the most effective way to utilize your page rank and its not recommended.
Increase in Social Media Importance
With the continuing evolution of the Internet, and increased adoption of web 2.0 functionality, social media activities and discussions are going to take on a more important role in the eyes of a search engine. Social media has provided its users with unlimited opportunity to decide the relevancy of content. The financial downturn will encourage more marketing executives to turn to organic social media initiatives to drive awareness and interest. All in all, 2009 looks to be a year of significant growth for social media.
Discussion forums have built the tr
ust in the eyes of Google. It’s really not a surprise now if forum threads are been displayed in Google’s 1st page of SERP.
Webmaster “Summer Shine”July 2009 Google webmaster team have named there new update as “summer shine”. Webmaster added new feel to the webmaster. Among which some of the major updates are:
i)Site Selector Update:
Site selector lists all verified sites that you own, and allows you to search as you type. Only websites that are verified are been listed and available there.
It turns out that consumers rely on images in search engine result pages more than Google and Microsoft execs thought. Knowing this can help SEO professionals better optimize sites, according to executives from both companies who spoke at the Search Engine Strategies conference last week in San Jose, Calif.
It also turns out that image search is very important. Todd Schwartz, group product manager of online services division for Bing at Microsoft, shed light on the types of queries that consumers search for on Bing, he says. Following “Web search” categorized as a “vertical,” images took the No. 2 spot.
Not surprisingly, R.J. Pitman, director of product management for global search properties at Google, believes that image search as a vertical sits at No. 1, rather than No. 2. The growth comes from the “more than 1 billion” camera phones being sold yearly, and the ability to share pictures. Google sees “hundreds of millions of searches daily across billions and billions of images,” he says. Images are no longer a “nice to have, but a must have” piece to promote businesses online.
Pitman says Google has begun to rank images based on the quality of the image. People need to stop thinking about the photos as images and look at them as digital bits of information, where pixels in the frame actually mean something. Google considers more than the sitemap feeds, title tags and attached metadata when ranking images. The search engine now looks at what’s in the image. It helps Google find and serve up similar images through object and facial recognition, according to Pitman, who says to consider these facts to better optimize “when building next-generation Web sites.”
International news agency The Associated Press (AP) has adopted search engine optimisation (SEO) as a means to revamp its online readership, according to a report from brafton.com.
A report from the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University revealed that AP is placing its faith in SEO to restore its readership to the massive levels enjoyed during the golden age of print. The research centre said that it had got hold of a seven-page AP consultation document setting out the group’s plan to better adapt their global coverage to the online world of viral marketing and social networking.
The document, entitled Protect, Point, Pay – An Associated Press Plan for Reclaiming News Content Online, discusses how best to protect the agency’s universal output – used in syndication by news providers around the world – while maintaining its own income stream from unique content. The problem is, as the Nieman Lab points out, that syndicated copy is not particularly useful when it comes to SEO. To deal with this, AP is planning to deny its client news organisations some of its content and keep it instead on a single, centralised AP website.
AP general counsel Srinandan Kasi told Nieman Lab: “We have unique pieces of data, maybe, or we have a unique visual narrative, a graphic. We have unique photos, a photo gallery, and so on.”
“How can you use some pieces of content to drive traffic to other pieces of content? That’s really what’s being addressed here.”
WebProNews recently reported that international news agency Reuters has enjoyed a 500per cent increase in online traffic since 2004 thanks to SEO.
As customers turn to the Internet more and more to research their business needs, marketers are using online technologies to manage marketing through multiple channels, make changes on the fly and measure results.
These provide marketers with actionable steps and techniques, that improve their demand generation, lead nurturing, and ultimately their organization’s opportunity win rates, while spending their limited resources (i.e. time) wisely.
Getting Found,” Fresh can help getting your website or microsite ranked in natural search engine results for the keywords used by people in the market for your goods or services. We outline which elements of your pages matter most to search engines when they are indexing your site, and provides solid tips for finding out how your sites rank today and how to improve those rankings.
We provide people with information they can understand — to de-mystify the technology, and show people they can be in control and produce terrific results in their online marketing activities. It doesn’t have to be hard, or outrageously expensive.
Call Today for a FREE Assessment (1) 204.942.4200
To make the most of out your SEO linking strategy, make sure that the rest of your marketing team understands what keywords and pages you’re targeting.
Some of the best natural links come from work you’re already doing elsewhere, from press releases to social media.
To build an efficient and successful marketing campaign, be sure to cross reference your marketing efforts with every other member of your team.
Today I received the new marketplace magazine, in it they talk about website do’s and dont’s, tweets, social media and why the kid down the street should not build your website.
Glenn Tinley CEO of marketplace magazine mentioned on his blog that we live in a city and province that I believe has a business inferiority complex.
I agree with Glenn to a certain extent, but having been here 2 years now after relocating my offices from the US & England I think it goes a little further than that.
Inferiority complex? maybe, knowledge gap? absolutely, certainly were the Internet is concerned, It was like stepping back 10 years when I first arrived.
Winnipeg has a lot of great developers, but more amateur builders working from the basement than most and I’m sorry I have yet to meet a techie, web designer or developer who is any good at Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and I am speaking from 15 years experience.
Chris Brown wrote a good piece in there, mainly good practices to follow, but I will bet my bottom dollar someone will read that and all of a sudden they will be another expert in Winnipeg.
I fully back Glenn on his dream with the Chamber and the Asper School of Business of putting our thriving business community on the map both regionally and globally, BUT until these people realise there is life after Brandon, I’m pretty sure it will go the way of all the other ideas before it.
When Winnipeg finally decides to fully harness the power of the Internet to progress business, tourists and the City, I hope they call in the right people, traditional media just does’nt cut it anymore.
If you hear your agency, consultant or service provider make any of these five statements, consider running.
1.) Hi, I’m Mike from XXX National Directory/Search/Ad Network Company, and I am a Marketing Consultant with the company. I am here to help you build your marketing plan.
RUN! FAST! Nothing against these folks (really), but selling Yellow Pages or even a “boxed” pay-per-click solution does not make you a marketing consultant. It makes you someone that is trying to sell Yellow Pages or a “boxed” pay-per-click solution. There’s nothing wrong with selling. God knows we all do it in some form or fashion, but please don’t try to mislead people by calling yourself a marketing consultant.
Clarification: If you are in fact interesting in purchasing what essentially amounts to an advertising package, by all means engage with these folks. Just don’t expect to get any marketing strategy advice out of them.
2.) If you choose us for your SEO project, we can guarantee multiple top 10 rankings on your targeted keywords.
I thought these people had gone away, but it appears they’re back in full force. And I can’t blame clients for listening. When someone tells you they can guarantee results, it’s hard to ignore.
That being said, let’s all say this together: SEO is not a quick fix, set it and forget it solution for driving traffic . The best SEO strategies I’ve seen involve a long-term commitment to the creation of relevant content, building that content in multiple formats, and finding multiple distribution channels for that content.
I am guessing there are companies that make an SEO guarantee and do follow through on it. I am also guessing that those guarantees are made on keywords like “patent attorneys that also handle divorce cases in reston virginia”.
3.) You really can’t afford to wait on addressing social media. We should build out your presence on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter right away.
Stop. Please. We all realize that social media is important, even though it’s getting a bit crowded. Like anything else though, you shouldn’t build anything if it doesn’t fit into a more strategic plan.
Some of these groups will bait you with the promise of thousands of Twitter followers, Facebook friends, or LinkedIn connections overnight. Great. Go ahead and recruit thousands of followers, all of whom could care less about your message. They’re following you because they’re trolling for followers as well. And the followers/friends/connections you do want? You’ll turn them off quick with the hundreds of meaningless updates you’ll have to post to accumulate all the meaningless followers.
Build a social media strategy. Make sure it ties back to your overall marketing strategy. Then join, listen, learn, and eventually execute. It’s that simple.
And one more thing, and I know this will be painful for some “social media gurus” to hear. Social media is NOT a necessity, nor is it necessarily effective, for every business and business category.
4.) We know you think of us as a print design shop, but just last week we added capabilities in web design and development, search engine optimization, pay-per-click management, email marketing, social media…oh, and we can also handle your dry cleaning if necessary.
Wow, just last week huh? So you must have hired an entire new team right? Nope. Acquired a company that specializes in those areas? Nope. Formed a joint venture with a web marketing agency? Not so much.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with trusting a marketing service provider that has done you right over the years and who is now claiming to offer new services. Just make sure you probe a bit or execute a small trial project before diving in head first.
5.) You shouldn’t cut back on your marketing/advertising spend in a recession. As a matter of fact, I was reading in Business Week (or insert another referenced publication) that the companies that spend MORE during a recession end up as the top brands years later.
So your client just laid off half his/her staff, notified remaining staff that salaries and bonus levels have been frozen for the time being, cancelled plans to open the new office in the commuter-friendly downtown location…and you’re going to bring the “increase your marketing spend” message?
Don’t get me wrong. Increasing marketing spending may be right for certain companies; we’ve even seen a few of those up close and personal in the last few months. But the first move – as an agency, consultant or service provider – should be to figure out how to spend your client’s marketing dollars more efficiently.
The end of the world (of SEO) is coming! Or at least, that’s what some recent articles might tell you. Just a couple of erroneous statements I’ve read over the last few days:
“Social media (Twitter/Facebook etc) will soon be *the only* viable marketing medium”
There’s been loads of social mediums before Facebook and Twitter, and they’ve had their time and moved on. The net is an ever evolving, morphing, living thing, and just like everything living, it needs it’s heart and circulation. If you start following pages and links, all roads lead back to (you guessed it) Google (and other associated SE’s).
And one of the more confusing comments I’ve read to date;
“Google will stop using backlinks in the very near future”
Google’s (and other SE’s) index is built, in part, by the the way the web is interconnected; ie: backlinks. For them to stop using that method to crawl the web, and determine some level of relevance, they would have to “re-invent the wheel”. Seeing as that hasn’t happened yet, I won’t be holding my breath for this to happen either.
Search engine optimization and marketing strategies are an ever changing, and growing field. Full of pitfalls, short cuts, good ideas and bad. But it’s not going away, it will merely begin to fly instead of run; adapt and survive.
The primary aim of getting your business online is to increase its visibility. A web presence helps in getting your business a global success but only if you make your website visible out of countless number of them flowing on the internet. Various processes and tactics are practiced by the website owners for getting more notability. SEM and SEO are the key components through which online success can be ensured and there are couples of steps and process attached with SEO. Geotagging is one such method of the SEM that can help immensely in increasing the popularity of your website in local result.
Geotagging is a process under which the specific geo-coordinates are linked with the web pages or other relevant content on the website. This has become a popular process especially with the onset of rise in the photo sharing websites. It is a process that enables the webmaster to insert the geographic coordinates in the web pages, images, or such similar media. This tool is helpful as it enables you to pinpoint the location of your business exactly on the maps.
Geotags are supported by google, yahoo and other search engines for delivering local content with microformats. The visibility of the coordinates on the page can augment the convenience to the people looking for the same services and they can easily copy it directly into their GPS devices.
Hence, geotagging is a useful method in optimizing the website and must be used for gaining success in the online world
Struggling internet company AOL is pleading for patience from investors, insisting that online advertising revenues will pick up in the next two years.
Time Warner laboured over the decision to untangle themselves from the lead weight of AOL, but finally decided to jettison the company in February. Nine years ago, the two companies made the “deal of the century” with a merger that saw AOL takeover Time Warner for $160 billion.
It didn’t take long for the deal to go sour. The “transformed landscape” of digital media quickly turned into a quagmire, with AOL failing to move with the changing trends, crucially missing out on the broadband explosion and early movers who made the most out of the emerging internet advertising movement.
As subscribers dropped by two thirds, AOL shrivelled into virtual insignificance. The company changed its business model to focus on digital marketing but by then they had lost the edge of being on the frontier, and were playing catch up with the likes of Google and Yahoo. In the last three quarters, AOL’s revenue took a 20 per cent nose dive, hastening Time Warner’s decision to ditch its partner.
AOL’s chief executive Tim Armstrong told investors that AOL will make a comeback in the advertising market as the industry bounces back from the recession. “Advertisers are going to be driving to Internet Road and AOL is a major property on Internet Road,” Mr Armstrong told Reuters. The new look AOL will be pure display advertising, but with the frontier moving again to SEO, AOL could once again be caught one step behind its competitors.