EverSpark Interactive’s What’s New In The World of Google public meeting came together 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 new ways to use Google’s competition and tips for site improvement.
You’re welcome to join us at our next meeting on Wednesday, March 25th, 2014. Please RSVP on the Meetup.com link below. You can also keep up with the latest and greatest at Google with catch up notes 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 Suite 900 Atlanta, GA 30328 T: 770-481-1761
RSVP here: http://www.meetup.com/Whats-New-In-the-World-of-Google-Everspark-Interactive/
This Week’s Recap:
Generic Top-Level Domains (GLTD’s)
Generic top-level domains are the talk of the internet these days, with 74 new names available for purchase. In layman’s terms, this is essentially the extension after the “dot” in your domain name. For example, you could get SEOexpert.guru or contentprovider.ninja, depending on what you felt would be best for your business. It is suspected that there is a “sunflower period” where certain domains are unavailable, thus giving time for big brands to scoop up what they want first, then it’s opened up to the marketplace. A full list of currently available GTLD’s is available by clicking here.
The jury is still out to see how this will affect rankings on Google. However, Google itself is bidding on some of these, which would act as a clear indicator that eventually they will. EverSpark Principal, Jason Hennessey, said he had personally not seen them rank as of yet, and that he had read that it may take 2-3 years for Google to recognize these extensions. The whole issue of GTLD’s would appear to be more of an investment for the future, particularly as most consumers have yet to catch on to this. Two great ways to use these domains would be “.email” for personal emails, or even “.cars” for car dealerships. This would serve better for marketing purposes than for searching.
There was some speculation amongst the group as if this could get you away from having to use URL-shortening programs, such as TinyURL.com or Bitly. At the end of the day, this will essentially be better for print and marketing. Having a URL that’s short, easy to read and remember can only help to drive traffic t your site.
Things That Make You Go “Hmmmmm…”
EverSpark worked with a new client this week, Exercise.com, as they were in the process of selling off their domain name and could not ascertain as to why they were not ranking more highly with Google. They were under the impression that they may have had a penalty, though after some initial research it was discovered that they did not. EverSpark looked at the usual culprits such as spammy links, but found nothing that should have prevented Google from indexing the page. Finally, EverSpark SEO manager, Steve Miller, crawled the page and it was uncovered that search engines were viewing the entire site as a JSON application, and therefore only hitting the homepage. Google doesn’t crawl executable programs, and the site was presenting as that because of their CMS. In order to fix it, the source code and CMS needed to be changed.
Similarly, EverSpark also did some research for a law firm that thought they had been penalized, as it wasn’t coming up in the SERPS. This also turned out to be a problem with their code. By regularly checking your code and using Google Webmaster tools to file a re-scan request, you can ensure that the search engine is indexing your site appropriately.
Google Expands Their Definition Services
In last week’s meeting, there was quite a bit of discussion on the issues of “scraping,” or taking content from someone else’s site for your own use. Google search guru, Matt Cutts, became something of a viral internet joke when it was pointed out that Google is perhaps the biggest content scraper of them all by using sites like Wikipedia to provide their users with definitions of terms, thus keeping them on Google rather than going somewhere else. It would appear that Google is now using additional sites outside of Wikipedia to provide definitions, such as MOZ.com when looking up meta description length.
The Negative Side of Google+
While Google+ is a hugely important tool for business, its strange and terrible power can also be used for more nefarious purposes, as evidenced by a hacker who was able to set up a profile as the San Francisco branch of the FBI. By creating a fake phone number, he was able to provide verification to Google to easily set up the profile. The hacker was then able to receive and record phone calls that were coming in to the “FBI” from that site.
While the phone calls are fairly innocuous, the implications for someone being able to do this are alarming. For example, it would be relatively easy for someone to set up a fake locksmith business to gain access to your home. It will be interesting to see how Google handles this in the future.
New Branding Opportunities on Google
Google is now testing new branding opportunities for major brands within search. According to an article on Searchengineland.com, a Google spokesperson confirmed that this is a small experiment running to the American market only. An example of this is with Southwest Airlines. This is a particularly interesting development, mainly because in 2005 the search engine made a vow that banner ads would never appear in search. There are approximately 30 brands that currently are running with this experiment, including Crate & Barrel and Virgin America.
While major brands will look to get in on these new large banner ads, Google also has logo opportunities within their site already. Jason Hennessey mentioned that using your logo on your Google+ account is essential, as it means it then comes up in the search. A quick search for Delta Airlines brings up their Google+ account, putting their logo in prime search real estate. Surprisingly, many companies fail to do this.
*Update 3/21/2014 – Google has officially called it quits on the Brand Banner Ad Test.
What Does It Take To Get A Wikipedia Page?
Seeing as Google is regularly borrowing content from Wikipedia, it would be an attractive option to get your business or yourself personally listed on the site. But how do you do it? Having a Wiki page isn’t as easy as simply going on and uploading your profile. You must have a lot of trustworthy citations, for example from trusted news sources such as CNN or major publications. Additionally, the person who submits it must not have an affiliation with you or your company at all. There are freelancers on the web who specialize in this. You can find more information regarding Wikipedia submissions by clicking here.
The Value of Links
There’s been quite a lot of talk of the potential dwindling value of links, particularly backlinking as it pertains to ranking signals. Searchengineland live blogged a keynote conversation at the San Jose Search Marketing Expo Conference between Google’s Amit Singhal and Danny Sullivan, founding editor of both Marketing Land and Searchengineland, which asked that and more. It was generally felt that links aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. It was also indicated that Google is actually not using social signals at this point, and they don’t have access to Twitter data. Facebook was said to specifically not rank in Google search, but it does in Bing as they have a relationship with Facebook. It’s difficult to believe this though, seeing as EverSpark recently saw Twitter data ranking in the search engine, as discussed in previous meetings.
For more theories on links and their potential importance in the future, there’s a great article on the future of page rank here, where industry experts weigh in with their opinion.
Can Sites Still Do Well While Ditching The Spam?
You’ve heard that it’s important not to engage in spammy techniques, yet sometimes you may see sites that are rank above you. Do the “good guys” even stand a chance in the page rank race? Google is getting better about fighting spam, and by engaging in the right techniques now, such as a great user experience and compelling content, your future with the search engine will be much brighter.