Marching on towards Spring, EverSpark Interactive’s What’s New In The World of Google meeting met on Wednesday this week to discuss all things related to the search engine giant. EverSpark opens its doors every week on Wednesday from 8-9:30am for professionals who want to know more about how Google works, as well as tips for improving their own SEO returns.
Please join us at our next meeting on Wednesday, February 26th, 2014 by RSVP’ing on the Meetup.com link below. Can’t make the meeting in person? It’s not a problem. We provide catch up notes for every week on our blog. Take a look through our archive to catch up on anything you may have missed, or just refresh your knowledge base from past meetings.
The meetup takes place at the EverSpark Interactive offices located at:
6 Concourse Parkway
Atlanta, GA 30328
RSVP here: http://www.meetup.com/Whats-New-In-the-World-of-Google-Everspark-Interactive/
This Week’s Recap:
Google, Competition & Ad Serving
The group kicked off with a discussion on search engines other than Google, and what they’re doing to compete against the search engine giant, as well as how social media is starting to participate in search more. For example, sites such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn offer search functions on their sites that essentially can keep the user from having to leave to go to a search engine. By doing this, these sites are gaining valuable knowledge into what their users are searching for as well as potential data mining. Regular meeting attendee Angie Graves shared a story about how a friend of hers was looking to purchase black pump shoes for a wedding she was attending. After doing several online searches, she then decided to purchase them offline. However, because of those searches, she was delivered advertisements for shoes on her Facebook page and other social media for several months after the event. As Google continues to hone their data mining skills, it will become easier and easier to deliver specific, targeted ad content to online users.
While the idea of a search engine being able to bombard you with ads just because you wanted to order a pizza online is unappealing to many, it’s certainly the way the future is headed with search. Satirical news source The Onion delved even deeper into this idea, jokingly suggesting that perhaps in the future users may be subjected to even more intrusive advertising serving techniques. Step forward new Google phone service, the Google Whisper.
While funny, the idea of Google serving ads through their phones is not totally off base. EverSpark Principle, Jason Hennessey, went on to elaborate, “I predict that search engines will give everyone a free mobile phone in the future. Everyone will think, ‘Why pay a cell phone bill if you can get it for free?’ However, then they can gather your information such as where you go and what you do. In order to stay ahead, Google will need to make the jump to mobile.”
Angie Graves went on to mention that she had been speaking to Connect Advertising Agency in NYC with regards to Brides, and their unwillingness to post their wedding day videos on YouTube. Apparently, many brides prefer instead to send out copies themselves as they are currently unable to control the ad that will appear before their wedding video starts. Connect is now speculating that there could be an excellent market for YouTube to exploit this, particularly if they would allow brides to select their ad. When polled, many brides responded very positively to this. Further, you could take the idea one step beyond that and offer personalized advertisements that actually included the bride and groom. Markets and ideas such as this could end up being very lucrative for social media like YouTube. Ideally, offering more personalized delivery could break the market wide open.
Google & Social Signals – More Important Than Ever?
As discussed in previous meetings, Google has started to post social data within their search results, such as Twitter accounts. Given this, it would be fair to think that the search engine giant is also placing an increasing empahasis of importance upon social networks and the signals they send. EverSpark Senior Account Manager Rich Spaulding was recently involved with an account for an attorney who was handling a high profile case that was being extensively discussed in the media. Avonte Oquendo was a 14-year-old boy with autism who was unable to speak or communicate. He went missing from his Long Island City, Queens school in New York on October 4, 2013. Despite extensive searching, his remains were sadly found three months later. Avonte’s mother, with the help of The Perecman Firm, then sued the school. Working with the attorney, EverSpark helped devise a tribute site to Avonte that highlighted autism and Avonte’s Law, and invited social influencers to share the site and information. In two days, the site had over 5,000 shares, as well as 15,000 visits in just a few days. Additionally, after a few days the site had 132 keywords ranking in the top of Google, with a jump to 205 a week later.
The take home message for social signals when it comes to Google and your SEO rankings is that it does matter and can have a serious effect on your rankings as a whole. Google is clearly using social media to make a connection between something that’s popular, educational and well constructed. In essence, a large social media output shows Google that you are worthy of the ranking.
Does this mean that social media is actually “overstepping” SEO backlinks? No. But it is becoming a very important part of the equasion. Essentially, you can do everything right: clean code, great content and something to day, but at the end of the day, people have to care. Social media is quickly becoming a way to get that attention and build links.
What’s New With Google Webmaster Tools?
EverSpark’s chief of SEO, Steve Miller, gave an overview of new aspects of Google’s Webmaster Tools. Watch the full presentation here:
A Quick Overview of Google’s Webmaster Tools
This gives you a variety of information with regards to structured data. For example, meta information, authors and reviews. Additionally, you can see how many pages you have indexed and how many of those have errors.
The perfect tool for those who don’t know how to write code. Google’s Data Highlghter helps the search engine to produce snippets of content in the search results, making it easier for users to discover your site and what you’re all about. However, Steve was quick to point out that just because you tag something doesn’t necessarily mean that Google will use it the way you hoped. Ultimately, the choice is up to them, but tagging helps to steer them in the right direction.
This tool helps to points out problems such as title tags that are missing, html problems and duplicate meta descriptions. There can be false positives, but it’s good for starting to dig down on potential problems.
Sitelinks are the sub results underneath the main results of a listing on Google. For example, if you were to search for McDonald’s, sublinks such as menu and jobs come up. While you can’t tell Google what sitelinks you want to show up, you can use this tool to tell them what sitelinks you don’t want to show up, thus narrowing the field towards the ones you prefer.
A huge improvement in this tool is that search traffic numbers are now real numbers rather than estimated. For example, some search traffic numbers in the previous version would show as “less than 10” (or <10).
Google recently removed some of the keyword information from this, siting site security and privacy reasons. You can read more about it on the previous blog post where Steve covered this.
Links To Your Site:
These are the sites that link to you the most and show how your data is linked in terms of anchor text. This feature does not show everything, but it does show a lot more information than before.
This reveals all the pages that link within your site. For example, if you know that you have a page that is not doing particularly well in search ranking, you can take a look at where it’s linking internally to help boost Google to crawl it more often.
This tool shows the number of pages that you currently have indexed, and any that have been removed.
What keywords show up the most often on your site? This can be revealing for density and relevance.
If you have put in a no-index robots tag into your code and the page is still showing up as indexed, you can use this tool to get it taken down faster.
This can help to uncover errors like 300, 404 and 505, as well as others. This tool also divides out smartphone errors from desktop/computer-based errors.
Use this tool to find out how many times your pages are crawled a day and how much is downloaded per day. If you see major shifts, it’s worth looking at to uncover what happened on that particular day.
Fetch As Google:
This handy tool allows you to put in any URL and Google will immediately go and crawl that page. You can use this up to 500 times per month.
This helps you to track your robots tags, as well as test to see if Google is correctly blocking those pages.
You can submit your XML sitemaps for Google with this tool.
This can let you know if your site was hacked, or other various security alerts.
This tab offers additional tools and information that might be relevant or useful to webmasters.
Want to know what Google is working on next? This tab allows you to take a peek and even play with some of the new features they are working on.
For Next Week…
Everything you ever wanted to know about Bing’s webmaster tools (but were afraid to ask). Hope to see you there!