Major SEO Updates For 2009

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.

January ‘09
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.
•Support common JavaScript techniques for embedding Flash, such as SWFObject and SWFObject2.
•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.


February’09


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.

May ‘09
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.

June ‘09

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.

July ‘09

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.

Canada looking for New Direction

NDP delegates at the party convention in Halifax on Saturday were joined by Betsy Myers who was hired onto the Obama Presidential Campaign.

She told the NDP annual national convention at the World Trade and Convention Centre that a strategy to use the Internet and social media to develop personal contact with voters was what funded, and ultimately won, the drive to the White House.

“We were using tools available to us in 2008. Our competitors were using the tools of 1992 and 1996″. “People want to have a voice and in this new world, people can have a voice in a different way. We embraced that.”

“It worked,” she said of the commitment to electronic communication. “Look at the money we raised. We raised $30 million in the first quarter, mostly in very small donations, at a time when we were 30 points behind Hillary Clinton in the polls.”

“Jerry Booth said,It’s been nice to see some of the old team David, Betsy and others doing the rounds here in Canada trying to bring them up to speed about the new media world.

Times have changed, The tools have changed, It’s your turn Canada.

This goes for every business in every town and every city across the nation, Yes even you Winnipeg.

It’s your turn, Change you can believe in.

Google, Microsoft Share Image SEO Tips

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.”

Associated Press Looks to SEO to Boost Fortunes

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.

40% of Tweets are Babble

With Twitter being such a hot trend right now, research firms have been anxious to study how people are using the social platform, and analyze trends in aggregate view.

One such company, data analytics provider, Pear Analytics, set out to study the contents of our tweets to determine if, in fact, we’re all just sharing mindless babble, or if there was something more intellectual going on.

Their findings aren’t all that favorable to those of us with lofty views of Twitter, because as it turns out, 40.55% of tweets are pointless babble.

The Pear Analytics group took 2,000 tweets in English from the public timeline over a time span of two weeks, with 200 tweets captured each half-hour from 11am – 5pm CST daily. They then categorized tweets into six different types: news, spam, self-promotion, pointless babble, conversation, and pass-along value.

Google vs Microsoft: Reach for the cloud

Whether it’s office suites, browsers or webmail, wherever Microsoft goes, Google follows. Now the search giant is tackling the Windows behemoth head-on, with a fully fledged operating system (OS) for netbooks – and potentially desktop PCs.

July’s announcement of Chrome OS was one of those IT stories deemed significant enough to warrant attention in the national press and on TV. Experts from around the world were on hand to tell us that we’ll soon ditch desktop software and use computers running a slimmed-down OS that takes its power from applications stored online.

'Get Hitched; Not Ditched' On Search Engines

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

Google Hint: Maybe Videos Are The Future Of Website Design

Since its inception the Internet has developed considerably, gone are the long pages of basic text and in its place what is called Web 2.0, an arena full of social media sites, networking, images and videos galore.

Now users from around the world can switch on their computers and access a wide variety of information in a selection of formats, including high quality images, videos, audio and text.

Many of the large online corporations are continuing to expand, making deals with firms that combined with their own expertise, could really enhance the face of the web. Google is one such company, they have just paid and estimated $100 million, purchasing On2, a video compression tool specialist.

They produce equipment that compresses video files to make them suitable for use on computers, mobile phones and other gadgets, without compromising the videos quality. Considering Google currently owns video sharing site, YouTube, this deal could vastly improve the service offered to Internet users.

Forget Twitter. COBOL is where it's at

All the hipsters in Silicon Valley are talking about PHP, Twitter, and Web 2.0, but according to recent surveys, kids can’t be bothered to use Twitter and COBOL, one of the industry’s oldest programming languages, still “equates to 80 percent of the world’s actively used code.

COBOL? Really?

Yes, really. COBOL keeps chugging because it continues to power the boring (but essential) software like CICS (Customer Information Control System). Not very sexy, but when you think about life for more than a nanosecond, most of what makes life work is the transportation, finance, healthcare, etc. systems that don’t make waves but do make our lives more efficient.

This is why the hot jobs in the cold economy center on “old” programming languages like Java and .Net. They’re not cool. They’re essential.

I’ve grown to love Twitter, but I’m not waiting for it to change the world. My demographic (25 to 45-year olds working in technology) believes it’s changing the world, starting with the ushering in of a new age of Iranian democracy, but as Foreign Policy points out, Twitter does as much to help crush dissidents and spread misinformation as it helps to remedy things.

In other words, it’s really no different from the old technology, except that it does a better job getting into the news.

Work Together to Build Strong Links

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.