New Posts on GWT Something Is Happening At Google

We have all witnessed the modifications made by Google to their algorithm in recent years. We understand that these changes are always intended to benefit the user and, above all, the websites that, in terms of optimization, faithfully carry out the directives of the search engine. Search results have to be as reliable, efficient and effective as possible; that is what we all want and what Google works towards.

The First Messages: March–June 2012
In pursuit of constant improvement, during the months of March and June Google dedicated itself to sending warning messages, to many webmasters, relating to unnatural links they had identified. The message was as follows (in Google Webmaster Tools):

Web masters tools links

These messages, according to the explanation from Google, were sent because they had detected violations against their quality guidelines. It is important to mention that at the time, Google said these messages had been sent after detailed analyses of the websites which, in turn, recommended the execution of changes to the site and the removal of unnatural links.

Nevertheless, the receipt of this message does not mean that the site was penalized. In fact, one had to consider other factors (specifically a fall in traffic during this period) in order to draw conclusions about whether the site had been penalized or whether it was simply supposed to be a warning to take into consideration.

Many websites received this message and, in the sector, the issue was a point of analysis and reflection. The webmasters and those in charge of websites that received the messages began to take interest (we received many external queries about it). The seriousness of the message was never doubted and the parties involved, to a greater or lesser extent, were interested in analysing their link profile and proceeding in accordance with the recommendations of the search engine.

Controversial Messages
However, last week Google returned to send the same message once again in the form of a warning. On 19th July many sites received a message through GWT about unnatural links (links that are exactly the same, with the same words). To everyone’s surprise, Matt Cutts (Head of Google’s Webspam Team), came out to say that the message shouldn’t spread panic and clarified that it was a product of identifying some individual links that generated suspicion for them (for more information of this subject you can read more at their Google Plus account).

In conclusion, they have sent a message using the same words but to identify two different things. Before, the message was a product of a global analysis but, now, that same message is about the identification of an individual link or links that create suspicion. Previously we had to take it all into account, but now, what should we do? Do we ignore it? Something is definitely happening at Google. Something that is creating a certain degree of confusion. Danny Sullivan has some interesting thoughts on the matter in his article: Google Updates Link Warnings To (Sort Of) Clarify They Can Be Ignored (Maybe)

But there’s more. After this message, on July 23rd to be specific, the same accounts that received the above message received another message entitled Unnatural Inbound Links, which reads:

Unnatural inbound links

Here the message is clearer. They explain more coherently that they have detected some links that point to sites that may be violating the guidelines. However, they maintain their recommendation to remove any unnatural link. In my opinion, the positive aspect of this message is that (different to before) Google recognises that some links are out of the webmaster’s control. The rest of the message follows the traditional Google line.

Conclusions
Therefore, following the above information, we recommend conducting a link profile analysis and, more generally, analysing the possible causes of having received the message. However, if there is no change in site traffic, no change in rankings or visibility, there is really no need to be concerned as to why the message was sent. Be sure that we will have more information soon.

Make me a viral. I want you to make me a viral !!

Don’t tell me… you want a viral too? Everybody these days wants a viral for their brand or business! However let´s be honest, sometimes it’s just not possible.

Broadly speaking, there are three ways to make viral content. It’s worth pointing out that not everything can be ´viralised´ nor is everything important enough for people to share it, but for us it is the most important information in the world.

So let’s have a look at the three ways to make a viral. Of course there are variations and other strategies, but here are the ones I think are the three main ways

1. The funny one that isn’t looking for anything in return
The first is the one in which you do something stupid or funny at home, like recording your dog sleeping like a human, or recording your twins talking like adults in their own little language. You know it’s funny so you upload it, but you’re not actively looking for anything to come of it with regards to your business, and the audience knows this as well. This is what encourages people to share your content, and ultimately for it to go viral.

2. The one that doesn’t break the bank, but uses good resources and material
Another way is to create something that doesn’t necessarily require a big budget, but is something really, really original. Create content that is different and unique, something that grabs your attention as well as having an effect on your business, and you will see the benefits. An example of this is Justin Baldoni, who went all out on the creative front when he made a video of himself proposing to his girlfriend. Justin is an actor and counts a video producer amongst his contacts, therefore he has resources at hand that others of us don’t. The good thing was, with it being advertised everywhere, there wasn’t a girlfriend anywhere in the world that didn’t see the video and then show it to their boyfriend… “Look how sweet this is”.

If you’re going to watch it, you should know that it’s 27 of the most romantic and cutest minutes you’re ever going to see. You’ve been warned.

Something similar was the video Xuso Jones posted of himself singing at a McDonald’s drive-thru… something so silly that it got his name out there and ended up launching his music career. Had it ever occurred to anyone before to make up a song for ordering at a McDonald’s drive-thru? No, and that was the key to its success. (And as it’s so catchy… let’s see who can get it out of their head first…).

3. The unlimited budgets of the big firms
And finally, we turn our attention to the big companies who set aside astronomical amounts for advertising. Obviously with such a large budget and a creative team at hand, it’s possible to create virals like those seen in 2013. Get an entire airport on its feet? Mount a film set in a café? Fill the metro with music? Not a problem if you can pay for it.

We can see in the Volkswagen and Nivea campaigns below, just what amazing things can be made if the necessary means are available. As well as the millions of Youtube views it brings, through people sharing it thousands of times and uploading it on their own channels etc.

That’s not to say people with more modest budgets cannot achieve the viral they perhaps deserve. It just means we have to think a little bit harder given the limitations, and to try and come up with something that our audience has never seen before.

Before investing resources into a viral video, it’s best to stop and think to yourself: is what we’re to going to make interesting, fun or useful? In what format are we going to present it? And what strategy are we going to implement in order for it to catch fire? Only then can we ensure that it’ll be successful.

Local SEO tools – 7 great tools for optimizing Google Places listing

Optimizing your Places listing is very important in order to appear in searches. There are many factors in play that you can check out in David Mihms Ranking factors , some of the main points that you need to pay attention to are:

Associate your business with the proper categories;
Get a significant volume of structured and unstructured citations;
Get a significant volume of reviews of the business;
Optimize the description of the listing with the product or service keyword
Crawlable address matching Place Page Address
Now, how can I add the perfect categories to my listing or where can I find sites where I can add citations or reviews that will matter to Google?

Here is a list of some of my favorite tools that provide information for optimizing your Google Places listing and more:

Getting Categories right
Google Places Category Tool: Mike Blumenthal created this great tool which helps you search and choose the most relevant categories for your Google Local Business listing.

It is important to add as many categories as you can that are actually related to your business, but I do not really recommend making up these categories. So, it is important to find out what Google has already predefined as valid categories and make sure that we use those to describe our business. The problem is that Google doesn’t really tells us what the categories are. Here is where this useful tool comes in. Type in a word that describes your business and the tools tells you what are the predefined categories you can use, like you can see in the example below for the search “gym”:

Finding the citations and review sources:
Now that I have my categories defined, I need to get some citations. But what exactly are citatations? Citations are defined as “mentions” of your business name and address on other webpages, even if there is no link to your website. Citations are a key component of the ranking algorithms of the major search engines; they are the equivalent of links to organic rankings. Other things being equal, businesses with a greater number of citations will probably rank higher than businesses with fewer citations.

Here are some great tools to find sources of where you can get those mentions:

Whitespark Local Citation Finder: Excellent tool that finds citations for top-ranked businesses for specific local queries in Google:

Local Search Toolkit (http://www.localsearchtoolkit.com/lstk/): This great free tool, that not only provides you information about where your competitors are getting their citations but also information about the categories they are using and the number of reviews they have, the site’s title tag, number of photos, videos, whether it’s claimed and distance from city center for a query:

BuzzStream for Link Building is another great tool that that performs several searches in Google in order to find directories, or sites with guest post opportunities and product reviews.

Google: There is a great post by Rand Fishkin from SEOmoz where he gives examples of searches in Google (http://www.seomoz.org/blog/google-places-citations-5-tactics-to-earn-links-for-your-local-business) that can help you find citations:

Discussion Search + Local Keywords (http://goo.gl/RQzz8)
Image searches for: (http://goo.gl/UdmiE)
Competitors’ Business Names,
city + business type,
products/services + city and
All of the above with neighborhood names instead of city
Events Calendars, Sponsorships + Donations
City + events calendar http://www.google.com/search?q=salamanca+events+calendar
Local sponsorship + city http://www.google.com/search?q=local+sponsorship+salamanca
City + donations http://www.google.com/search?q=salamanca+donations+in+kind
City + Business Type + Listings / Businesses / Results http://www.google.com/search?q=salamanca+tapas+listings+OR+salamanca+tapas+bars+OR+salamanca+tapas+results

Crawlable Address that matches your listing
Schema Creator: Schema creator is a great and easy tool that you can use to create rich markup that will help localize your content. You can display your business address in schema.org format so that it is easier for search engines to understand and interpret that information:

General Analysis of your listing
Getlisted.org: gives a score to your listing from 0-100 depending how effectively your business is taking advantage of free listings at the major search engines and gives you recommendations on how to improve. The only information you need to provide is your business name and Zip Code:

Observation: Unfortunately this tool does not work as great for businesses with listings outside the United States

I hope you enjoyed this post and find these tools useful. If you want to add other tools to this list you are welcome to suggest more local SEO tools in the comments. Also if you want to give your opinion on any of these tools and share your experience you are welcome to do so. I hope you enjoyed this post and find these tools useful.

Internet Advantage weekly sum-up week 50

This week we have another sum-up of the most important online marketing news. Read here the most interesting SEO-, linkbuilding and SEA-news of week 50.

What the world was searching in 2012
The year 2012 was the year of Gagnam Style, Whitney Houston, the Ipad3, and Hurricane Sandy. At least that’s what the Zeitgeist-report of Google says. This report lists the most searched subjects of 2012. The report can be narrowed down by country, or worldwide.

12 PPC lessons from someone with 12 years of experience
Smart people learn from their mistakes, smarter people learn from the mistakes of others. Read here what Jeff Allen learned from his mistakes in his 12 years of PPC campaigns.

How to plan a linkbuilding campaign.
Linkbuilding can be very difficult. You never know for sure if your hard work and dedication will be rewarded with valuable links. But if you stick to your linkbuilding-planning, you will know that at least you have done everything to make it successful.
Paddy Moogan describes the best preparation of a linkbuilding-campaign.

The search for dead links
“Broken link building” is a linkbuilding tactic in which you contact the webmasters of other websites to indicate some dead links on their website. You then obviously give them an alternative link to your website. Russ Jones explains very well how to carry out broken link building.

Should you buy paid links?
Google punishes more and more websites with an unnatural linkprofile. Sometimes this is deservedly because of the purchase of links, but there are also a lot of cases of punished sites that didn’t purchase any links. Julie Joyce wonders how linkbuilding will develop in 2013. Is it wrong to buy links or should you actually do it?

Don´t leave the second biggest search engine unused.
If you consider the search function of YouTube as a search engine, it is, after Google, the world’s largest search engine. Therefore, a good YouTube Channel can generate a lot of traffic to your website. In this article on Search Engine Watch they describe the 7 basic steps for YouTube success.

Rumours in the SEO-world.

There was a lot of discussion going on this week in the SEO-world. A blogpost on Smashingmagazine.com from Paul Boag about the (un)importance of SEO really annoyed Yoast (Joost de Valk). Yoast dedicated a new blogpost to his vision of SEO and gave some sturdy feedback on the article of Paul. A lot of SEO´s then commented on the article of Paul. This is a very interesting read for SEO’s!

New: Mobile advertisements for people with ‘fat fingers’.
Google made a big change in the functioning of mobile advertisements. The so called ‘fat fingers problem’ is now solved. Read all about it on the Search Engine Journal.

Internet Advantage weekly sum-up week 49

A new week, a new weekly sum-up! Read our selection of the most important articles and updates here!

Nielsen social media rapport 2012
Last week research institute Nielsen presented their annual social media report.
This report shows that the use of social media on mobile devices exploded in 2012. Not only because there are simply a lot more smart-phones, but also because the use of special apps and mobile websites increased. Facebook remains the largest social media platform worldwide, but Pinterest emerged as the fasted growing social media (+1047%)

3 Holiday PPC Tips for Ecommerce Advertisers With Thousands of Products
With the holidays coming closer, it is time to become more critical about your AdWords campaigns. In this post David Jaeger is giving some tips for e-retailers that they should using for the holidays. He talks about the procedure of reporting, how to target Long-tail product names and matching keyword landing pages vs. category landing pages.

Don’t build links, build bubbles…
This article describes how you can use Google+ to spread the content of your website through the Google search engine. In the article they explain very well what the consequences are for the personal searchresults if somebody gives your website a +1 or if they follow your company on Google+.

Trust and SEO
Unlike other marketing channels, it is very unpredictable what the revenue of turnover or ROI percentage will be from SEO channels. That’s why it is important to gain trust from your client and their employees. Claire Thompson listed a couple of factors to take into consideration: Earning the trust of the search engines and beyond.

The future of SEO in 2012
The year is almost over and that means it is time for the typical ‘predictions-for-the-new-year’ lists. Even in the SEO-World they are making these lists. At Stokedseo.co.uk they asked a great host of SEO´s for their opinion regarding the SEO developments for 2013.

Breaking Down the Mormon SEO Strategy
Distilled made a nice analysis of the SEO strategy that is behind the website of The Chuch of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). Based on this analysis they give some useful tips. As we could expect, links are the main factor for this site, but it is nice to see how they used their community to gain this large amount of links.

SEO dead?
Every once in a while there is an online marketer who claims that ‘SEO is dead’. These statements always provoke a lot of discussion, and can thus work as great linkbait. But from this infographic we can see that nothing is what it seems; SEO is still growing, and the general budget for SEO is increasing dramatically (60%).
Your 2013 Enterprise SEO Campaign
Google put a lot of effort in the integration of different factors, among whom the influence of social media on websites. Jin Yu outlines what his view is on Enterprise SEO (not related to the size of the enterprise), and which channels and data you can use for this.