417 Marketing Blog

Google URL Update for April 2015

Unlike your home address, which says nothing about you or your family, a thoughtful and well-formed webpage address (also known as a URL) typically describes something about the webpage itself. It can describe the subject of the page or perhaps hint at the page’s location within the overall website. To emphasize this purpose, Google updated the algorithms that control the display of URLs in mobile search results on April 16, 2015. Let’s learn a little more about this Google URL update . . .
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Google Mobile Algorithm Update

These days, you can’t assume that all Internet users are sitting at a desk and looking at a desktop monitor. They might be wandering the aisles of a grocery store, sitting in a dentist’s waiting room, or preparing to board a plane. In fact, eighty percent of Internet users own a smart phone (source). To accommodate these on-the-go users, who grow in number every day, webmasters create mobile-friendly websites. But now, Google has announced that it wants to make mobile-friendly content even friendlier. Starting on April 21, Google’s algorithm will change, expanding its use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal to improve the search engine experience for mobile users. Let’s learn a bit more about the upcoming Google mobile algorithm update . . .

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What Is Direct Traffic?

In everyday life, traffic is dreaded and despised. In the world of SEO, it’s a sign of success! When you first dip your toe into SEO, you’ll hear a lot about traffic: web traffic, organic traffic, direct traffic, types of traffic, how to drive traffic to your site . . . Unfortunately, it can be difficult to understand what some of these terms mean. For example, what is direct traffic? If you search on Google, you might find this extremely clear definition (source):

“Source exactly matches Direct AND
Medium exactly matches (not set)
OR
Medium exactly matches (none)”

Yikes! Google also describes direct traffic in this way: “Users that typed your URL directly into their browser, or who had bookmarked your site” (source). Neither of these definitions is particularly helpful to someone who is new to the concept, so today we’re jumping behind the wheel and driving straight into the gridlock. Our goal? To seek out and clarify the definition of direct traffic . . .
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Are One-Page Websites a Good Idea?

Most websites grow like trees: there is the trunk (the homepage) that extends into several branches (subpages), and those branches veer off into smaller branches and leaves (even more subpages). Climbing these tree-like websites can be difficult, as users must navigate their way through pages and pages of information to get to their chosen destination . . . In more recent years, however, designers have begun creating gorgeous single-page designs that feature innovative transitions and beautiful graphics. Parallax designs are a common example. If a traditional multi-page website is a tree, a modern one-page website is a flower blossom: one large, beautiful, and comprehensive page. By simply scrolling, users can navigate the content of the website. Some websites even “bloom” with new content and graphics as the user scrolls down.

However, despite these websites’ popularity and ease of use, some question the viability of SEO on a one-page site. Are one-page websites a good idea? Or are they simply trendy?

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What Are Alt Tags?

If your friend couldn’t see a beautiful image, what would you do? You would describe it to her, of course. Using words, precise and potent words, you would describe the subjects, the setting, the colors, the mood . . . This is why the alt attribute (more commonly known as the “alt tag”) exists. For without alt tags, without words and descriptions, how would we tell someone who is blind about an image on a website? Similarly, how would we communicate the contents of our online images to search engines? It would be impossible without words. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start by answering a very basic question: what are alt tags? 

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Panda Update 4.1

Since the original Panda algorithm was introduced in 2011, Google has updated it twenty-seven times. The most recent, arriving four months after the previous iteration, is known as Panda update 4.1. It arrived on the scene nearly a week ago (September 25), so I think it’s about time that we give this Panda a once-over. How is it different from the past twenty-six updates? What are the effects thus far? Who’s enjoying the bear’s company and who’s been chomped up like bamboo? Scroll down to find out!

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Google Author Rank Lives On!

Still mourning the recent death of Google Authorship? Wipe away those tears and remember that Google Author Rank lives on!

The late Authorship program was formed so that authors could connect their content to their identity. It was a strong concept, but it failed to live up to expectations. Similarly, Author Rank is an SEO theory that maintains that Google’s perception of an author’s authority and trustworthiness can boost (or hinder) the ranking of that author’s online content. Both programs revolve around the importance of connecting authors to their work, but Authorship was a formal program and Author Rank is a (somewhat) unconfirmed idea. And while Authorship is now in its grave, Author Rank appears to live on.

Even though you can no longer use Google Authorship to connect your name to your content, maintaining an online presence is still important. As appealing as anonymity is in the online world, a verified online profile gives you credibility and authority, which make Google more likely to trust you, which could in turn improve your content’s ranking, assuming Author Rank exists at all, that is . . .

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The End of Google Authorship

Fini. The end. That’s all, folks! After just three years, Google has announced the end of Google Authorship. According to an announcement made by John Mueller of Google Webmaster Tools, the search engine will no longer be showing Authorship results in Google Search, and it will stop tracking data from content using rel=”author” markup. Why? It simply wasn’t as useful as Google thought it would be. If you’re interested in learning more about Google Authorship’s life and death, please scroll down.

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What Is Cloaking and Should I Be Using It?

Everyone knows that the Internet is full of deception: blatant lies, manipulated photos, plagiarism, stolen identities . . . As you learn more about search engine optimization (SEO), you may come across another type of online deception: cloaking. “What is cloaking?” you ask? Cloaking is an SEO technique in which different content is presented to human users and search engine spiders. When the website identifies a user as a spider, it sends them an alternate version of the webpage. Some people do this with innocent, “white hat” intentions, but others intentionally mislead search engines like Google so that they can display inappropriate content (like porn) at a higher ranking.

Keep reading to understand how cloaking works, the risks involved, and how it differs from personalization.

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Google Pigeon Update

We all know how much Google loves its zoo of algorithm updatesPanda, Penguin, Hummingbirdso when the search engine decided to leave its latest update nameless, the folks at Search Engine Land stepped in and christened the update Pigeon. With so many interesting animals to choose from (the lemur, the mongoose, the alpaca . . .), why did they go with Pigeon? Because pigeons fly home and this latest algorithm update is improving upon local search results. So exactly what can we expect from the Google Pigeon update? Scroll down to find out.

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