Thursday, February 20, 2014

I'm Kinda Siding with Google on this One!

So, imagine someone tells you that you need to start showing your competitors products and services as alternatives to your own... on your own website!  You'd be like, "Ummm... I don't THINK so!" and so would I.

Now imagine that the "someone" was the European antitrust regulators and you are Google.  That's exactly what's being decided upon right now.  According to

"When a Google user searches for a product, for example, Google will now have to surface at least three alternatives next to where it displays its own Google Shopping results in a box. Same thing for flight results. The full text of the settlement explains how Google will decide which alternative results should be chosen and who’s eligible for such placements."

Now, I know it's technically no longer cool to root for the corporate giant that has a borderline "big brother" image, but in this case I really fail to see how this is right.

Ignoring the obvious, hugely-controversial issue surrounding the fact that Google will have to reveal how they "will decide which alternative results should be chosen and who was eligible for such placement" (which is proprietary information and is just WRONG), let's back up and take a look at the underlying issue here.

Google is being told they need to advertise their competitors' products on their own website or pay upwards of $5 Billion.  At the root, this is no different than if I were a distributor of machinery manufactured by other companies, and was being forced to show competitors' machinery that I don't carry.  That doesn't make any sense to me.

Here is a peek at how their current product search results are displayed and how they would need to change it:



Is anyone else even slightly disturbed by this?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Evolution of Google's Algorithmic Changes

SEOers all across the world closely follow news about Google's changes to their algorithms. It defines our job and, to a large extent, measures our success. But with literally thousands of changes, it's hard to keep track of them all.

Hubspot and Moz teamed up to assemble the following visual presentation of all these changes. As I looked over the list, it amazed me just how long ago some of these changes went into effect. For instance, who doesn't still to this day receive requests for reciprocal links in their email inbox each week.  Google cracked down on this in OCTOBER of 2005!

The fact is, if you optimize your site the right way, you don't have to worry about these algorithmic changes. They only weed out the spammy competition and serve to boost your own site's rankings.

What it boils down to is: create amazing content which answers questions that visitors to your site have in an organized and natural way and you'll rise in the rankings. Try to scam Google and you'll certainly lose rankings.

Incidentally, worth noting is that Google recently changed their Page Layout algorithm. As of Feb 6 2014, pages that bury their page content too far below ad placements will be punished in the search engines. If you recently noticed a drop in rankings, check how many ads push your page content down the page.