This month has seen a number of changes and news stories, as ever we have tried to pick out the most interesting and useful ones that to the world of SEO.
This month saw the first refresh of Panda 4, Google’s “quality” algorithm. So much has been written about Panda over the years that I won’t do in to details but it is yet another reminder to site owners that they need to keep their sites updated, curate useful content and pay attention to the trust signals that Google talks about. The bar of quality is rising, be sure that your site doesn’t fall beneath it.
When it comes to Penguin 3 there are no facts, only rumours, and most of them are started by Google’s own John Mueller. This month he told us all that he expects Penguin 3 to come out “before Christmas” so make sure you are ready for it!
SearchMetrics new ranking factors study
We are often asked what do you need to do for SEO and our common reply is that “there are lots of different factors” and now SearchMetrics have listed them out. A full list of them can be found here but here is a brief summary:
This includes quality content with a decent length, the longer and better quality the content the better that page ranks. What is interesting is the increased importance of word co-occurrence and it looks like Google are using that more and more as a sign of quality. So make sure that when you write your content you use other related terms, not just your keyword.
This includes good site architecture, as well as most traditional things such as keyword us in the URL, title and headers. It is also apparent that site speed is becoming very important.
These, as ever, are still important but they need to be relevant and from good quality sites. If they are not you are better off not having any at all.
This is still not that important for pure ranking but it is still vital for user-engagement and as part of your sales funnel so don’t ignore it.
The best ranking sites all have not bounce rate and high user-engagement. Google can track this so why wouldn’t it use the data?
Sadly it seems that having a big brand helps in the search engines, especially away from the local search market.
Another link network is taken down
This month saw Google take down another link network. They are not the first and they certainly will not be the last but it does raise the question of why do people still continue to do this? Why not incest your time and money in practices that are effective and within the guidelines?
Right to be forgotten
It seems that that the EU isn’t happy with Google only implementing the “right to be forgotten” practice to EU search engines and are now insisting that it is also applied to Google.com. After years of looking in to this legislators have only just cottoned on to the fact that there is more than one Google search engine and while they have power over the ones in the EU they do not have global jurisdiction. It seems that their attempts at controlling the past and information in a public arena may not be working out how they planned…. welcome to the internet!
The Yahoo directory was once one of the most important directories on the internet for both finding other sites as well as a source of links however those days are now over with the news that Yahoo has announced that they are closing their directory.
Bing Spam update
We often speak about Google updates but for once we have a Bing update to mention. This month saw the release an anti-URL keyword stuffing update that impacted about 3% of search results.
This looks to be quite a major update and takes a number of factors in to account such as site size, number of words in the domain name, site clustering in the search results and site content quality signals.
So what’s the best way to avoid this? Just write naturally and don’t stuff your URLs with keywords.
Duck Duck Go gets blocked
The rising star of the search engines world Duck Duck Go, the search engine that focuses on privacy, has been blocked by China. It is unclear why but chances are due to their refusal to self-censor their results.