News from Google, Mashable, and more…

There’s a lot going on as I’m writing this post, so I thought I’d just share it all.  Some of it came from Google Communities, so there’s another good reason to join. There are always new things happening on the Web. Let’s go!

  • Google Introduces Data Highlighter

This is for folks who aren’t really into coding.  That said, realize that the Data Highlighter is only available for events on your site. So, you’d need to have an event, first, and then, an events page on your website or blog.

What’s an event? A webinar. An appearance at a live seminar. A Google Hangout.  An event has to be for real, though. You can’t make them up and then, highlight the data or Google will be pissed. Just don’t do that. Here’s a video to tell you more about how the Data Highlighter works:

  • Control your computer and other smart devices with your brain!

This is awesome. It works through a headband that decodes your brain waves. How 21st century is that? Called Muse, the company is looking for crowd funding to complete the project. The cool thing is that they asked for $150K and already have $250K on Kickstarter. I’m guessing more people are excited about the possibilities than just me.

My daughter brought something up that was kind of creepy, though, what if instead of push, there’s push-pull capability. So, things are put into your brain that you may not want.  Good point. I think there would have to be some pretty strong proof that this headband works only one way. And then, on the other hand, think of the Matrix. Boy, would I like to learn that fast! 🙂 Check it out at Mashable.com

  • You will soon be able to email tweets directly from Twitter Read More…

Google+ Communities – New Feature

Folks have been rather reluctant to completely embrace Google+ since it opened last year. I understand. You’re used to Facebook. All your friends are on Facebook, and well… You just have more fun hanging in Facebook. Does that sound like you?Google+ logo

Yeah. Lots of other folks, too.

But just last week, in attempt to be more “Facebook-like,” Google+ has added a new feature — communities. Yeah, same as Facebook Groups and LinkedIn groups. But I’m liking it so far. For my niche  (SEO, of course), communities abound.  I’ve already joined four, and I think I’ll hold it to that.

Communities make sense to me. I love to talk SEO and teach newbies or learn from people who are bigger and stronger than me. I mean, I know my stuff, but it’s always great to learn something new, and in SEO, there is always something new. Plus, I know that many, many people are smarter than me. I like to hang with people like that because I learn so much.

So, why should you get involved? Well, I’ve said it at least a dozen times here — Google wants you to be an active participant in Google+ and they’re tying your engagement factor to search.  They want to see +1’s, re-posts, and such. So, doesn’t it make sense that you leverage Google+, if only for the sake of your business?

For example, I just joined a group called SEO 101. Now, you know I’ve been into this for the past 9 years, and am pretty far past the 101 stage, but I’m looking at being part of that group from several different angles: Read More…

How Google Is Changing Search

I was just over on Web Pro News’ forum answering a question from a webmaster about how his Google traffic dropped off over the past couple of months, and he couldn’t understand why.skull in the desert

He has a very nice looking site, and it’s nowhere near being spammy, but Google might think so because there is way more code on his page than text, like 92% code and 8% text. When spiders see that, it could make them think you have a crappy site. I mean, face it, they can’t actually “see” what it looks like, so putting things in iFrames, which spiders can’t parse, or just having a lot of CSS on a page can hurt you. Keep your CSS separate if it’s elaborate, and even if it’s not, it still can’t hurt.

But the biggest problem I saw is that the site is a nobody. Google is shifting, and I’ve mentioned this before. If you or your site isn’t queen or king of the prom, you’re going to be toast. Google is shifting to search results that only include the popular sites, hoping to rid the pages of sites that are spammy or just not important enough. IMPORTANCE is the keyword here.

I’ve made lots of predictions here in the past that have come true — social media being a vector for directing search results for one. My feeling, and I’m getting these from the horse’s mouth, is that Google will one day have NONE of us little guys in the results pages. Pepsi, Starbucks, Domino’s Pizza, Brookstone, and sites with recognizable brands will take the lead. Oh, you might get a Google listing, but if there are sites in your niche that are more IMPORTANT than yours, you won’t be on page one, for sure.  More like page 20 or 100.

Think about it. Way back when Google started it was 1998. The Internet was alive, but Internet business was in its infancy. So, Google needed the little people to make an index. No so anymore. Big brands abound online now and they’re all vying for space that we little guys once controlled. They will always win.

You can get more important by Read More…

Guest Posting: How Long Will It Last?

We all know how difficult Google has been this year. Panda & Penguin have taken so many SEOs down the road to depression because what used to work (and work well) no longer does.  Optimizing pages, when they’re too optimized, as in having the right title & description, keywords in your copy, <h> tags and all of that, when it’s too perfect might cause you trouble.Sign My Guestbook

The days of link buying can crush you in search and those of trading are long gone, too. What’s a webmaster to do?

These days, everyone is leaning toward guest posting.  In case you’ve been living in a cave, you’ll know that guest posting means writing a great piece of content that another webmaster agrees to put on his or her site.

I’ve accepted guest posts here, and I’ve rejected some because they were just too general. They had no life, no research, and they were poorly written. I hate to do that to people, but this is my reputation, not just with readers and clients, but with search engines as well. Here’s where I’m wondering about guest posting and how long it will work with search.

A while back, I watched a Matt Cutts video where he talked about getting great content onto important websites as being the type of guest posting that Google condones. (I may have posted it here, but if not, you can find it on the Webmaster Channel at YouTube.)

What does that mean? Read More…

Raven Internet Marketing Tools Loses Tracking Metrics from Google

ravensSo, you know I use Raven Internet Marketing Tools, eh? I loved it. Raven was a way for me to search keywords, find and document links, keep content, and check Google keywords’ metrics, among other things. It was a way to keep track of what people working with me were doing and of reporting back to my client.

But…

On Friday, Raven customers got a message from Patrick E. Keeble, the CEO and co-founder of Raven, which said, ”

“As of 5 p.m. PST (GMT-8) on Jan. 2, 2013, Raven will stop importing and using any scraped Google data. As a result, we are eliminating our SERP Tracker tool in its entirety. Also, we will no longer use SEMrush data in our system.”

What prompted this action was the loss of their Google AdWords API earlier this month, after a Google audit. (SEOMoz was also affected.) So, Raven made a deal to stop scraping the keywords metrics and Google allowed them to recover the API.

Keeble also wrote that this company was taking this action because,

“… this decision aligns Raven software with the direction my co-founders and I have long believed the Internet marketing industry was going—away from individual ranking results as the most important metric and toward campaign performance metrics including traffic, conversions, and goals.”

I agree with that, but tell that to clients. Read More…

Content Freshness According to Google

People have been fretting over content freshness and how important it is to Google some, but I think Matt’s answer is a very good explanation of what Google means when they say they want fresh. Check out his video:

If you’re worried about content freshness or you’re working from a one-page site, it never hurts to add a blog. But then, there’s the dilemma of content, right?

I guess you need to decide whether Google’s traffic — free, targeted traffic, mind you, is important to your business. If it is, add that blog! If it’s not, then no worries.

Which Test Won? Do You Care?

I’m a fan of Which Test Won emails, which are sent out every Tuesday from Ann Holland’s Ventures, Inc. Each week, the email asks you to test your marketing brain on an A/B split test. One small change is made to a website and you have to see if you can guess which version of the page converted better.A/B testing

What makes this little game great is that no matter how smart you THINK you are, every now and then, a split test will come along and fool you.  I mean, some of them are no-brainers, while other tests produce some very surprising results. So, it’s fun to see if you can spot the change that made an impact.

This week, it was about a website called SPAMfighter. The test included a Facebook recommend button just under the headline on the test page, while the control page had none. Can you guess which test won? Yep. The Facebook recommend.

Do You Have Social Proof?

That’s called “social proof,” my friends and the more social proof that you can provide shows people who visit your website that other people like it, too. That’s important to most people on the Web due to the “lack of trust” factor. If people see that other people think you’re cool or that your product is,  they’re liable to think you’re pretty cool, just because their other friends do, too. Without social proof, you’ll have trouble making sales. Read More…