Here’s our April edition to the world of search, as always I hope you find it as interesting as we did!
You may have noticed that Google doesn’t always use your meta title and description when presenting your pages in its search engine. This month Matt Cutts confirmed again that Google wants to display a concise summary of the page, and the site that the page is on, which is also relevant to the search query. If Google doesn’t think that your title matches that then Google will dig a little deeper and will look at the rest of the content on the page and even the links that link to the page.
The way to make sure that the title you want to come up does come up you need to make sure that the page title is clear, concise, relevant to the page content (and the site) as well as being unique.
Search metrics published a new study this month that shows a correlation between schema rich snippets usage and rankings; and although correlation does not mean causation it was interesting to note that although 0.3% of all websites use schema.org mark up 36% of search results on the first pages of Google do use it.
Now this may just be because those that use schema are more likely to be doing SEO and updating their site but it might also be that search engines find sites with Schma.org much easier to crawl and understand and therefore more likely to rank a site well.
Buying old domains
There have been a few questions on the internet recently about how to ensure that you don’t buy a duff domain name, one that may have been burnt by spammers. Matt Cutts suggests doing a few quick searches and one more in depth one.
The quick ones are doing a “site: example.com” search and seeing if the site appears in the search engines, the next one is just to do a normal search to see if it come up on the brand name (“example”). If the site doesn’t come up on either search, and the site is currently live and has content, then you should be very careful about buying it.
Next head over to archive.org and see what the site has looked like in the past. Has it had bad, spammy, or spun content on it before? What was the purpose of it? Finally you can always ask to see the analytics data and look for any unusual patterns.
You may have noticed that the SEO industry seems to focus entirely on Google. Although we keep an eye on other search engines the following data will explain our Google bias.
comScore released their latest usage figures for March 2014 and it shows that Google have 67.5% of market share, Microsoft 18.6%, yahoo 10.1% and the remained being taken up by the smaller engines.
It appears that yahoo have slipped to their ever lowest share market share, while Microsoft have increased theirs slightly.
Not Provided for paid search
When Google started to replace keywords in analytics with “not provided” people were not happy, then when people found out that they still showed if you paid for an Adwords campaign people were furious. Seeing this Google promised to act and act they have… making the situation worse! Now even Adwords customers cannot see keywords and will start to see “not provided” more and more.
Following on from last month when we looked at mobile devises on the internet a new report has come out this month that shows while search was the largest digital channel for advertising in 2013 at $18.4b mobile was the fastest growing at $7.1b. As more and more people have mobile internet devises this channel is only going to grow and grow.
This is further supported by another study conducted by comScore that surveyed 5000 people in the US and showed that 78% of local searches on a mobile device resulted in an offline purchase. So this could be someone trying to find a shop that stocks what they are looking to buy or using reviews before they buy locally. This again shows the importance of getting your website and “brick and mortar” business working as one, and while you may not see the sales online if you have a mobile site it can be helping your business in many other ways.
As is always the case in these things we have very little to go on but Matt Cutts has given us a hint that there are different grades of the Penguin algorithm. This means that if a site is affected by Penguin it can be on various levels of severity. If this is true then it would explain why some sites have been hit so hard that they have disappeared from Google while other sites have just gone down a few places.
Matt Cutts has had another busy month in April. He took to twitter and named and shamed another guest blog network, PostJoint, which was swiftly penalised and his team reported that they had taken down seven link networks in Japan.
He also took time out to again confirm that buying Googles to help your search position is a myth.
Finally Rolfe Winkler from the Wall Street Journal has reported that he has had several conversations with Matt Cutts and he has been told by Matt that he is pushing to reward secure sites with better rankings. Google have not commented on this but it is reported that there are several key people in Google who don’t like this idea. It will be interesting to see what happens in the future.