EverSpark Interactive’s What’s New In The World of Google meetup 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 tips for improving their own sites in the eyes of search engines.
We’d love to have you join us at our next meeting on Wednesday, March 12th, 2014. Please RSVP on the Meetup.com link below. If you can’t make the meeting, we understand. 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:
Bing It Up
As the search engine race heat’s up, it’s important to understand not just how Google works, but also how its competition functions. Seeing that Microsoft’s Bing is currently owning 25% of the search engine marketplace, knowing how to manipulate and work with it can give your SEO an easy boost. This is particularly true with PPC (pay per click), as Bing is oftentimes less expensive for keywords than Google.
EverSpark’s own personal SEO guru, Steve Miller, gorged himself on all that is Bing this week to bring the group a full run-through of what makes Bing tick.
Bing’s Webmaster Tools Recap Notes
To login to Bing’s webmaster tools, please click here.
Sitemaps – To make crawling your site for Bing easier, you can submit your sitemap here.
Submit URL’s – If you don’t want to upload a sitemap, you can simply submit URL’s directly to Bing. You may submit up to 10 per day, or 50 per month. This function is similar to Google’s Fetch.
Ignore URL Perameters – This can be used in tandem with putting a canonical tag on your site to get a search engine to ignore the URL.
Crawl Control – This feature allows you to control when Bing will crawl your site. While this may not matter to smaller sites, larger sites couldhave their speed impacted should Bing elect to crawl it during heavier usage times. At present, Google does not offer a feature like this.
Deep Links – Using this feature can help you to block certain URL’s and links on search. You can also block according to country or region.
Block URL’s – This service is used for your own URL’s, and can block a page or directory from being crawled.
Page Preview – The Page Preview Tool on Bing fetches a site for you and shows you what it looks like. YOu can block the page preview from here as well.
Disavow Links – Similar to Google’s disavow feature, Bing’s Disavow Links tool allows you to disavow a page, directory or domain. While Google will allow you to upload an XLS file, Bing’s function is a manual process.
Geo-Targeting – With this tool, you can specifically label individual pages for a particular region. For example, creating a Spanish-language page for Mexico or Spain.
Verify Ownership – From this tool, you can verify your ownership of a site with Bing.
Connected Pages – Here you can explicitly tell Bing who and what your social media links are.
Users – Use this feature to add other users and/or webmasters to your site’s account.
Page Traffic – Unlike Google, Bing still features keyword transparency and gives you result positions and clicks from search. The comparison data on Bing’s webmaster tools is actually more robust, as well as more flexible and easier to read.
Index Explorer – This feature crawls your site and turns it into a directory-style listing so you can look at the various pages you have in different sections. According to Steve, this provides a very nice informtion structure and essentially allows you to see what your site looks like according to Bing. Additionally, you can set filters to only look at errors should you need to.
Search Keywords – This presents a nice run down of your site’s keywords, including longtail keywords.
SEO Reports – By using this tool, you are able to get a full run-down of what problems you may be experiencing on the site. Additionally, it rates the problems so you know what is the most important element to tackle first.
Inbound Links – Uncover how many links that you have, as well as determine jumps or declines.
Crawl Information – This feature can help you to see the number of errors that a recent crawl has uncovered.
Keywords Research – The Keywords Research tool tells you what keywords are appearing for your site and how much they’re appearing in search. The longest term you can search on is the past six months. This tool can also tell you cost per click, and give you an idea of how much cheaper Bing can be as part of your search engine strategy.
Link Explorer – This behaves very much much like inbound links, but gives you more filtering options.
Fetch as Bingbot – See how Bing is viewing and scanning your website’s pages.
Markup Validator – If you have any markups (such a schema.org) and allows you to check code.
SEO Analyzier – Use this tool to determine which pages may need work in order to improve your SEO. This can be extremely helpful as it can narrow it down to page specific results.
Verify Bingbot – This helps you to see if there is an IP address in your server logs for Bingbot or other search engine crawlers.
Site Move – If you’re moving your site, this is the place where you can let Bing know. Tell it what you’re moving, URL’s within the site, domains, in addition to the 303 redirect. While Google has this for site level, it does not offer it for individual URL’s.
And Now Back To Google…
Google’s Scraper Report
Ensuring that you have quality and original content is great, but sometimes a site can “scrape” that content and end up moving higher in the search engine ranks than you. Though this is an unsavory and deeply frowned up on practice, Google has now come out with a way for you to report this type of violation. This was mentioned by Matt Cutts through his Twitter feed, which was met with some humor from the masses.
In essence, by pulling content from Wikipedia, Google has become one of the biggest scraper sites of them all. While most are unsure about what Google will actually do when you report a scraper site, they are at least being proactive about the issue.
The Great Backlinks Debate
There’s been some speculation through the years that eventually Google will do away with backlinks, or that they will become less important in a website’s ratings. Previously, backlinks used to be the only way you could get anywhere, particularly back in the early days of the web when people would search directories. For example, if you were looking for a specific attorney in a particular area of the country, you would have to slowly drill down your results piece by piece, such as “Law,” then “Personal Injury Attorney,” followed by “Los Angeles,” and so forth. With the sophistication of search these days, are backlinks really still needed? What would Google look like without them?
EverSpark Principal, Jason Hennessey, went out to say, “I would imagine as Google is getting smarter and smarter that links are still going to be important, particularly on trusted well-ranked sites. Is social the future of showing popularity? It could be argued that gaining LIKES is easier than gaining LINKS.”
Paid links seem like they should be a great idea. You pay someone, they give you a valuable backlink… everybody wins, right? Wrong. In this video, Matt Cutts reveals how the webspam team uncovers paid links, and why they’re probably something you should avoid.
Essentially, Google has based their guidelines on the FTC’s stringent guidelines. When it comes to Google deciding if you’re actually paying for your links, they use the following criteria:
- What is the value of what you’re getting? If you get a free t-shirt it probably won’t change your behavior. However, if someone gives you $600 for a link, that will change your behavior.
- How close is something to money? For example, the use of gift cards or free things. how close is it to actually getting paid?
- Gift or Loan? If you loan out a car for someone to try for a week to write about it, it’s a lot different than simply giving them the car for a great review that’s loaded with links.
- What is the intended audience? Generally the intent is crystal clear. For example, giving a trial copy of something to build your audience isn’t necessarily asking for links. But changing that to “Give me a laptop I’ll write a nice story about you” is asking for material compensation.
- Would it be a surprise? If you’re a movie reviewer and get to go to free movies, that’s not a surprise. However, being given two round-trip airline tickets might be.
Google changing up the look of the SERPS
While Google advertisements were appearing more subtly previously, now they’re clearly marked for all to see. There is no longer a pinkish, highlighted background, nothing is underlined, and additionally titles appear to be one or two points larger. When you view the comparison, it’s easy to see the difference.
Old Google SERPS
New Google SERPS
Google’s Investment Fund
Adding to Google’s ever-expanding portfolio, the search engine giant is now also offering investment options and funding. Currently there are only three companies that they are investing in:
Many speculate that Renaissance Learning Capital will end up being a tool for teachers to create a lesson plan, and eventually kids could end up doing all of their lesson plans on Google, from tests to text books.