Every week on Wednesdays from 8am – 9:30am, Atlanta SEO company EverSpark throws open its doors for their What’s New In The World of Google Meetup — a place where professionals gather to discuss how Google works, as well as tips and tools for how to better use the search engine giant to their benefit. The meeting is free and open to all.
We’d love to have you join us at our next meeting on Wednesday, March 26th, 2014. Please RSVP on the Meetup.com link below. It’s not a problem if you can’t make the meeting. We’ll keep you up to date 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/
What’s New This Week:
When What You Wear Gets Smart
There’s been tons of talk about the latest in wearable technology, from Google Glass all the way to smartwatches and even smart clothing. This week in London at the Wearable Tech Show, the range was staggering and clearly the market is opening up for a whole new range of wearable digital technology in the future. However, perhaps the most exciting announcement this week was for Android Wear, Google’s new Android-based smartwatch technology.
While a fascinating prospect, EverSpark Principle Jason Hennessey wondered if this is really new, as it appears to be able to do everything a good smartphone can do, minus a watch strap. Additionally, other companies such as Samsung are offering smartwatch technology with a watch that actually synchs to your phone.
Microsoft Office – Now Available For iPads
There’s been speculation for quite awhile now that Microsoft would eventually offer its Office suite for iPad users, though it wasn’t clear as to how far off in the future this was. Tech-based website The Verge is now reporting that it could be unveiled as early as this month. While discussing the potential impact this might have, Jason began a discussion by asking this: What if Apple or Google were to acquire a company like Starbucks? It was already discussed that Starbucks were supposed to have the fastest speeds for the internet in relation to other chains. This could offer a unique opportunity for product placement for either company.
The Google Webmaster Academy
Have you ever tried to use Google’s Webmaster Tools and felt like you just didn’t know what you were doing? Even with online training, it can still be difficult for the less-advanced website owner. Google’s Webmaster Academy is an attempt by the search engine giant to make this a bit easier, by using layman’s terms and easier-to-understand explainations for some of the more technical aspects of SEO. While there’s a quiz at the end of each section to try to help you determine what you’ve learned and what you may need to brush up on, this is not a certification course. It is possible to still get certified in Analytics, though those who have gone through the testing and certification process in the group were quick to point out that it was “no joke” and “extremely difficult.”
Musician-Specific Markup Language
If you’re a musician, either struggling or huge, you know that getting your crowd out to your live gigs is important for both your revenue and your popularity. Google’s Webmaster blog addressed this recently by showing how you can ensure that your important tour dates and appearances show up in the Knowledge Graph portion of their search. By using Schema.org, you can create tags where Google will more easily be able to pick up on these dates and display them to those who are looking for you. Visit the blog to learn more.
Finding Your Competition With Search
Jason pointed out an easy way to find out who Google views as your competition by using a “related” tag in your search. Within Google search, type related: and then your domain. For example, related:eversparkinteractive.com. In order to determine what is related to your site, Google looks at a blend of page titles, links and content. This simple tool can make it a lot easier determine which competition you need to be looking at in relation to keyword and SEO research.
Promoting Your Site 101: Hunting Down The Opportunities
Google, as well as many other search engines, have local pages. These are important for your local traffic to be able to find you. However, many smaller businesses just don’t have the time to go to every engine to get listed. Moz.com has a new tool called Moz Local to solve this. Though it’s really a re-brand of an older tool called GetListed, this was acquired by Moz and creator David Lim has been working to perfect it for the past 18 months.
Invite Google Into Your World
A great way to go to the top of Google is to get more citations. If you’re new to the idea of citations and how they relate to your local searches, have a read of this helpful guide from Moz.com. Another helpful guide to help hunt down citation information, particularly that of your competition, is Whitespark. The site has a wealth of resources available to help you build your citations, uncover what citations your competition is getting, and even find new citations to go for to increase your local traffic. Additionally, one of the best citations you can have is to bring a Google-recognized photographer in to photograph a virtual tour. There are very few of these in the country right now (EverSpark is home to one of them). Additionally, encouraging your customers and clients to upload their own photos can also help build up your reputation.
Easy PR Opportunities
As discussed in previous meetings, Cision.com is used by 49 out of the top 50 PR agencies, and are home to one of the most up-to-date media contact lists. Accessing this list can be as low as $200-$300 per month, making it easier than ever to connect with writers, bloggers and journalists and promote your company. Jason speculated that in the coming years, SEO will actually transition into more of a PR function by finding new ways to promote and drive traffic to sites.
Another easy PR “win” when it comes to promotion is Seek or Shout and HelpAReporterOut.com. Both offer you the opportunity to connect with journalists and writers working on stories. Monitoring this can give you a gateway into being quoted as an industry expert, or respected contact in your field. For example, a reporter may post “I’m doing a story on the recent car accident statistics that were released by the National Safety Council. Would anyone be able to give me a quote?” This would make a great opportunity for an accident attorney, car mechanic or other professionals to get in touch.
Creating Great Blog Topics
You probably already know that blogging is an important tool for your SEO strategy. but delivering the home run of both interesting and relevant topics on a regular basis can be difficult for even the most experienced blogger. If you’re interested in developing a range of topics along with those essential longtail keywords, there are several sites that can help you achieve that. Ubersuggest, which bills itself as “Suggestions On Steroids.” An example used in class was “why do babies” which produced, quite literally, hundreds of results. By using this, it’s easy to develop a blog calendar and keep on track with your blog development process.
The Disavow Process
When it comes to that all-important PageRank with Google, one of the factors you’re judged on is the quality of the links that are directing traffic to your site. Essentially, you’re judged by the company you keep. There are many reasons that you may want to disavow a link. You may have previously engaged in some SEO practices that Google now frowns upon, such as paid links, blog spam or forum spam. Additionally, you might have fallen victim to a negative SEO attack by a competitor, where they purchase thousands of poor quality links and link them back to you. In the eyes of Google, this then makes you look like a spammer. This practice is very big in the PPC business (Porn, Pills and Casinos). Google Webspam guru Matt Cutts explains in this video clip some reasons why you might want to use the tool and how it works.
Basically, while it’s not easy to disavow, it’s still a very important tool to keep your site looking correct in the eyes of Google.
1. Log into Google’s Webmaster Tools. Follow the Disavow Backlinks page, and then go on to the Disavow Links Tools page.
3. Merge all of your links into one document. Using SEO Spyglass, you can start going through each site to determine which may be good or bad links.
Determining The Good From The Bad
There are several questions you can ask yourself when researching your links to determine if it’s worthwhile disavowing a link or site.
- Does the TLD (Top Level Domain) of your links make sense for your website? Meaning, is the link coming from a foreign extension (for example, .co.uk or .ru) that you don’t have any dealings with?
- Do you have too many links with the same exact (keyword rich) anchor text?
- Does the site where the link is coming from look like it only exists for SEO purposes and no other reason?
- Did you get a virus alert when you visited the page that links to you?
- Is the link bad or is the entire site bad? You can disavow an entire site should it appear to be spammy.
Looking at instructions such as this, it might be easy to think that the disavow tool isn’t something that you need. For example, you might be a smaller site or you may not have received any notification from Google that a penalty has been applied. However, even the smallest of sites should be checking their backlinks regularly to ensure that nothing is amiss. After all, it’s easier to actively work towards not getting a penalty rather than trying to fight your way back from receiving one.
How Long Does The Disavow Process Take?
Though Google’s Disavow Tool is one of it’s most talked about, it’s also one of the search engine’s most mysterious. It’s not clear how long it actually takes for a disavow to kick in. In some higher profile cases, it could take only days. However, some take up to 3 months. This is compounded by the fact that Google will never actually tell you if they’re honoring your disavow request or not. In some studies, 70% of respondents said they actually saw no benefit from using a disavow. However, Google wants to see that you are documenting the process, showing them that you are actively trying to remove your bad links. You can even include comments in your disavow file that say, “Reached out to the site to get the backlink removed. No response.” Essentially, being proactive in this case is far better than being reactive.
New Videos From Matt Cutts
Seeing that it was noted at this year’s SMX Conference that mobile searches would be higher for the first time this year over and above desktop searches, making sure that your site is mobile accessible is more important than ever before. In this video, Matt Cutts explains a few ways you can achieve this and how you can let Google know which version of your site is a mobile version.
If you run a commerce site, then chances are you will eventually have a product or service that is no longer available. Matt Cutts gives several suggestions on how best to handle this in terms of Google search. However, it was mentioned that there are sites such as Walmart who routinely keep unavailable product pages live, showing products that you may want to purchase instead. In essence, keeping it live would appear to be the better way to go, rather than a 404 redirect as suggested by Matt.