No Noise Friday 23 May’14

The latest news about web marketing, SEO, PPC & Analytics. But only the stuff that matters from a New Zealand perspective. Less noise, more signal!

If your business has anything to do with the online world you know how much information is out there. It’s overwhelming and constantly changing.  Finding out what’s relevant to your business amongst all the noise is time consuming and can result in information overload.

At SureFire Search we want to help you by sifting through all the noise and highlighting what’s new and noteworthy in SEO, PPC and Web Analytics. But more importantly, answer the question – Why this might matter to YOU and YOUR business here in New Zealand.

Here’s what caught our attention this week…

  1. Panda 4.0 Has Been Released
  2. Payday Loan 2.0 Will Address Spammy Search Queries
  3. The “Right to Be Forgotten”: EU Court Gives People Ability to Remove their Individual Data
  4. Website URL (Publisher) Report in Bing / Yahoo Network
  5. Google Updates PageSpeed Insights Tools with User Experience Rules

1.Panda 4.0 Has Been Released

Matt Cutts the head of webspam for Google announced via Twitter that they have released version 4.0 of their Panda Algorithm.

Matt Cutt's Twitter Panda 4.0 Anouncement

The update is a major one. Changes have been made to the actual algorithm rather than a simple data refresh. The official reason for the update is to try and stop websites that have poor quality content reaching the top of the results. At this stage it’s too early to fully understand the impact, but an initial study by Searchmetrics suggests that content aggregators with little original contact have suffered and lost visibility on Google’s search results.

It seems that more than just the aggregators have been caught out with the Panda 4.0 update. Large websites which have historically had a presence on the first page of Google for many search terms such as Ebay, Ask.com and others have seen a reduced amount of traffic since the release.

Why should you care?

This is a major update which could affect your rankings and therefore traffic to your website. SureFire advises that you keep an eye on your analytics and rankings over the next week.

The update is a clear indicator that Google wants to reward webmasters for good content. If you have a website that primarily aggregates content or has limited content on your website – start producing great content today.

2. Payday Loan 2.0 Will Address Spammy Search Queries

Payday Loan Update Search QueriesExample

Google has also released a new algorithm which is an update of their “Payday Loan” Algorithm. This shouldn’t be confused with the Panda algorithm release. The two are separate updates; they just happened to be released around the same time.

The Payday Loan algorithm is so-called because it was designed to specifically target areas of the web that have a high level of spam, such as the pay day loan and porn industries.

The original Pay Day Loan algorithm was released back in 2013 and Matt Cutts stated that the algorithm impacted around 0.3% of US queries. This new update is an international rollout and will affect different languages to different extents.

Why should you care?

If you work in a market that tends to attract a lot of spammers and see a sudden drop in traffic from Google over the next week or so you’ll need to check to see if your site has been hit by the Payday Loan &/or Panda 4 algorithms.

3. The “Right to Be Forgotten”: EU Court Gives People Ability to Remove their Individual Data

Europe’s top court, the Luxembourg-based European Union Court of Justice, has recently ruled that Google can now be compelled to eliminate information regarding individuals from their search results.

This is known in the EU as the “right to be forgotten”. The EU has effectively said that in this age of information individual privacy trumps all when it comes to data that is of a personal nature.

Some have called this a victory – as a mistake made in the past which has been rectified should not have a bearing on the future of that individual. Others like the founder of Wikipedia have called it “wide-sweeping internet censorship.”

At this stage this will only be in effect within the EU.

Why should you care? 

Right now this has no bearing on Google’s search results in New Zealand. You’re not going to be able to get something removed from the Google search results. However, with this ruling there’s the possibility it could cause a flow on affect in other jurisdictions beyond the EU.

The EU case stemmed from one of its citizens wanting information removed about a debt that was in a newspaper online because the debt had been resolved – the EU court ruled in his favour. If something similar happened in New Zealand then it could open the doors for a NZ version of the “right to be forgotten”.

4. Website URL (Publisher) Report in Bing / Yahoo Network

You have the option when advertising on the Yahoo! Bing network to advertise solely on Bing and Yahoo websites.

The Publisher report gives you the ability to view and assess which syndicated search partners your adverts are appearing on and which are performing.

If you notice that some websites on the syndicated partner search network are not performing (this could be indicated by a lower than usual click through rate), you have the option to block the websites in the interface or editor tool.

Why should you care?

This is a great way make your advertising dollar go further. Bing recommends that you check the report once a month to make sure that your advertisements are performing as expected.

By making sure that your advertisements are only being shown on sites that are driving traffic to your website, you have the ability to ensure that your company is only showing up on relevant websites. You can also get an idea of what type of websites are driving traffic to your website and use that information to improve your marketing.

5. Google Updates PageSpeed Insights Tools with User Experience Rules

Google has recently announced through their Webmaster Central blog that they have made adjustments to their PageSpeed insights tool to help webmasters improve the mobile user’s experience.

Suppose your fast mobile site loads in just two seconds instead of seven seconds. If mobile users still have to spend another five seconds once the page loads to pinch-zoom and scroll the screen before they can start reading the text and interacting with the page, then that site isn’t really fast to use after all,” –Google.

Google is saying that what happens when a visitor arrives on your mobile website is just as important as the speed in which your mobile website loads.

Pagespeed Update Mobile Example

Google’s recommendations cover the following areas.

  • Configure the viewpoint so it displays correctly on a mobile device.
  • Make sure your content fits the width of the viewpoint no matter what device accesses it.
  • Use font sizes which can be read.
  • Size tap targets so they can be easily selected.
  • Stay clear of plugins for your mobile website.

Why should you care?

An increasing percentage of your customers will access your website via mobile – for many websites it’s 1 in 3 visits.

Google is telling every webmaster through this update that mobile user experience matters to them. They want to return websites in their search results that the searcher will not become frustrated with. If you want your business to have the best chance of showing up in the Google search results it’s becoming more apparent that having a mobile responsive site or a separate mobile website is no longer “nice to have” but essential.

Don’t get left behind. Make sure your website is mobile friendly and therefore Google and customer friendly.

OK, that’s what we think. We’re keen to hear your thoughts on any of the above.

Last week’s web marketing news


About the Author SureFire

These search marketing news updates feature articles of interest picked up through the week by the SureFire team.

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