SEO Weekly March 29, 2013 (March Recap)

March SEO Updates

Link Networks Targeted

Google has always frowned upon the practice of buying links in order to try to gain unnatural authority for your website. Now they are making more examples of people who still engage in the practice by penalizing known link networks as well as websites who use them.

First Google targeted the link network giant SAPE and anyone affiliated with them in what the SEO community is calling the end of link building. The black hat SEO practice of link building has finally become something that Google is actively targeting on a large scale, once again leveling the playing field for all SEOs.

Google Releases How Search Works

Intended for all audiences, the new How Search Works page released by Google weaves an intricate tale of how the search engine serves up content. The educational page goes into detail about how Google decides what to put at the top of a search query and why.

The page is written in a way that people without SEO experience can follow, but there are advantages for more advanced web users as well. Getting first-hand insight into how search engines work can be a very helpful advantage for the SEO community to get more involved in SEO best practices.

Google Panda on Autopilot

One of the largest SEO disruptions of our time cam in early 2011 when Google Panda was rolled out and changed the face of search optimization. Since it was first introduced to the Internet, the Google Panda algorithm has had regular updates to give it better assessment quality.

While Google still intends to use the Panda update to hone its search query results, those updates will now be done automatically. The Google algorithm has had automatic updates based on its rolling algorithm and now the Panda update is a part of that.

Accidental Penalties

Digg is a news website that has steadily grown in popularity over the years and fell off the map momentarily when Google penalized the whole website rather than just the one page it found questionable. The mistake was immediately noticed and fixed so that the website only sustained a penalty for a fraction of a day.

The same thing happened with Craigslist and people in the SEO community noticed. These massive website penalties getting noticed and fixed right away raised other questions for Webmasters. People who work in SEO regularly are wondering how quick Google would be to fix similar issues for smaller websites.

2013 Penguin Update

The Penguin piece of the Google algorithm has seen three major updates since it beginning and another update is coming soon, says Matt Cutts. In announcement made at SMX West, Matt Cutts told the SEO community to expect a noticeable Penguin update sometime in 2013.

Even though the release date of the update is ambiguous at best, it gives the Webmasters in charge of SEO some warning that the update aimed at black hat practices like link building is becoming more and more sophisticated.

Bing Webmaster Tools Gets Better

In the Google-driven world of Internet search the only company to come close to rivaling the search giant is the Microsoft search engine Bing. As Google grows and changes, so to does Bing and one way they make improvements is through the Webmaster Tools.

This month, Bing updated its Webmaster Tools to accommodate websites wanting to move to a new domain. The ne features allow a domain move for individual URLs within a website, something Webmasters have been asking from Google for some time. Bing is always looking for a way to get a leg up in search and giving Webmasters what they want is a good way to go about it.

March Local Search Updates

Google Maps for iPhone Updated

In early March the iPhone app for Google Maps was updated to include seven new countries and also added icons for the types of businesses most often searched. The addition of these icons makes searching on Maps for local restaurants and hotels even easier for all users.

While it has been a growing trend to use Google maps to find businesses near you, with the new picture search options the process becomes even more simple and at-the-touch-of-a-button. As Google Maps becomes more prevalent in mobile search the need for local search SEO grows as well.

Redirect URLs not Allowed in Google Maps

Google released a hard line about having redirected URLs within your business listing for Google Maps. The announcement stated that your business listing could not have a domain move without creating a whole new listing because Google was not going to accept any URLs that are not original.

Different countries around the world are given two letter abbreviations at the end of URLS to help differentiate them for local markets. There has a been an interesting new trend for people to come up with creative URLs using these abbreviations to try and help generate interest for their website.

With the announcement demanding original URLs in business listings, Google is quelling this marketing trend before it really begins. One of the examples given by Google as unacceptable was

  • Not Allowed: Walmart.stor.es/ which later direct user to http://www.walmart.com
  • Allowed: http://www.walmart.com/
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