SEO Updates for October 2012

Google has introduced a new feature in Webmaster Tools for websites who are unable to remove bad links naturally from their website. If you are having difficulty getting untrustworthy websites to remove back links to your site than you can now use the Disavow Links tool in GWT. Currently, we are recommending not to use this feature until it is known what effect it will have on websites.

Google Webmaster Tools Disavow Links Function

  • For the disavow links file to be indexed properly, a reconsideration request is needed
  • Do not disavow without being sure - the removal is permanent
  • Seeing improvement will take several weeks, potentially months
  • You may lose some domain authority after removing links

An update to the Google algorithm makes the search engine scrutinize exact match domains (EMD) more closely. Rather than giving credit for a keyword that is spelled out in a domain, Google is relying on all ranking factors including link profile, social signals, user engagement and overall website traffic. Quality sites with original and relevant content will not be penalized for having exact match domains.

Google EMD (Exact Match Domain) Update

  • Exact match domain names are getting less credit for keyword rankings
  • No penalty for quality websites with strong authority (good link profile & user stats)
  • Domain should include business name to avoid penalty

Social signals have become increasingly more important for building trust and authority. As more and more people build quality websites after Penguin and Panda updates, Google is looking for more advanced ways to judge performance. One of the main ways it does that is to see how well the business interacts with an online community to increase interest and interaction on the web.

Google Wants More Social

  • Google+ and Facebook pages are given more credibility to websites
  • Blog sharing and social bookmarking increase a website’s authority
  • Social interaction with community is helpful for improving rankings

Local Listing Updates for October 2012

The biggest change in October for Local search was that Google+ Local has changed the output of the reviews from the numerical scores it was showing before put is now showing descriptive scoring. This now means when you go to look at your reviews on your business profile you will see one of the following:

  • Excellent
  • Very Good
  • Good
  • Poor to Fair

There was a Google Places update that occurred on Oct 7th. We saw a lot of movement for a number of clients during this time. These updates occur about every 6-8 weeks inside of Google+ Local. Here is the full video from Google about this update - http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=9ci_sM2HWR4

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