After a two-week holiday hiatus, EverSpark’s What’s New In the World of Google meeting continued their Wednesday meetups for a group of professionals eager to learn more about how Google works along with important tips and tricks that can improve their own sites. Aiming to continue their drive to educate the community, the What’s New In The World Of Google meetup happens every Wednesday from 8-9:30am and the public are welcome to attend.
You can join the next meeting on Wednesday, January 15th 2014 by RSVP’ing on the Meetup.com link below. If you can’t make the meeting, ESI will be providing catch up notes should your schedule not permit it.
The meetup takes place at the EverSpark Interactive offices located at:
6 Concourse Parkway, Suite 900
Atlanta, GA 30328
This Week’s Recap:
Google’s New Inside Search Feature
Jason Hennessey, a Google and SEO expert and Everspark Principal, kicked off the meeting with an overview of the new Google Inside Search feature available on their website. Using a fun, animated style, the inner workings of how Google searches, crawls and indexes over 60 trillion pages of information throughout the world wide web. It also features tips and tricks you may not know about so you can get the maximum user experience while on the site.
Also available on the Inside Search feature is a new way to look at how Google handles spam. Millions of times a day, useless pages full of spam are created on the web. In the constant battle to fight this and give the best search results, Google has added a feature that gives users a real-time, transparent view into the process, including live spam screen shots of what has recently been removed. By giving web users a view into the what the world of “pure spam” looks like, you can begin to get an idea of why getting rid of it is so important. Not only does it keep legitimate sites from reaching their appropriate search spots, but it actually makes them harder to find.
The Evolution of Search
If you’ve ever found yourself wondering how Google has evolved, this video provides a fascinating timeline to various search improvements over the years. For example, the development of their news crawler came about after the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center Twin Towers. When people would search for relevant news and information on what was happening, they were not getting the most up-to-date, real-time information as the pages had been crawled a month before.
Reverse Engineering: A Real-Life, Real-Time Demo
Reverse engineering is the process by which an SEO analyst would use various online tools to offer a comparison between one site and their competition. Knowing what your competition is doing to wind up at the top can be worth its weight in gold, thus making it an essential process for website owners. Jason asked for volunteers from the group, and one of our attendee’s put forth his site, MilitaryBases.com, up against one of his largest competitors, Military.com (owned by Monster).
Step 1: Take a look at the domain information.
- What is the age of the domain?
- What is the domain expiration date?
- What is the domain’s IP address?
By using a site like Who.is, you can easily find this information about both you and your competitors.
Once you have this information, first look at the age of your domain in comparison to your competition. Generally sites that have been around longer will be given more weight with search engines and the SERPS. For example, MilitaryBases.com was registered on February 22, 1998, whereas Military.com came into play on May 20th, 1997. Search engines such as Yahoo tend to place more emphasis on age than Google does. Having an increased registration length can also play its part with the search engines. If your registration is ending in a year or so, Google will assume that you are not planning on being in business that long and will rank accordingly.
Also essential is looking into what your domain IP addresses. By doing a reverse IP search, you can see all the sites that are currently houses on a particularly IP address, which is also referred to as a C BLOCK. Back in the day, some web builders engaged in building multiple websites for the same market to take up more real estate on the front page of Google. To counteract this, Google began looking for C BLOCK patterns. Always ask for a unique IP address with a unique C BLOCK when you are registering your sites, and also adding the extra couple of bucks to the bill for private registration is well worth the investment. Private registration can be helpful from keeping Google from viewing multiple sites in the same vertical market.
Step 2: Check for the number of indexed pages.
Uncovering the size of your competition’s site can also go a long way in explaining why they’re coming up higher in the search rankings than you. Google can easily be used as a tool to check for the number of indexed pages a site currently holds. For example, MilitaryBases.com has 778 pages indexed on Google, whereas Military.com is home to over 9 million.
It’s evident from that Google wants to see bigger sites. However, content should always be going to a root domain. Jason says, “When setting up a subdomain, it’s treated like it’s its own site. So if you’re going to add a forum or places where outside individuals can write stuff, look at adding it as a subdomain. You can only then penalize the subdomain, thus protecting the entire site.” However, overuse can lessen the value as seen in the eyes of Google.
Step 3: Find out the value of your domain.
SEMRush is an extremely handy tool for tracking all sorts of data about your site, as well as your competitors. With just a few short clicks, you can gather a wealth of valuable information such as:
- Determine the monetary value of your domain.
- Discover what keywords are particularly successful for both you and your competition.
- Export keywords that your competitor’s are ranking on for Google to reverse engineer their SEO and content strategy
When a comparative analysis was run on the sample sites, we discovered that MilitaryBases.com has an SEMRush value of $2,520 per month, whereas Military.com’s value is set at $2.7 million per month (see above for example). It was asked if SEMRush would be a good tool to reverse engineer a PPC strategy, to which Jason suggested taking a look at Keywordspy.com was a much better tool for hunting those down.
Some Tips For Great Content
Jason discussed a story about how he recently searched for “Is quinoa good for you” on Google, and that a Huffington Post piece came up first as it clearly and decisively answered that question. Put simply, pages that provide clear information to users and answer a question get better rankings than those who don’t. Use one page for each topic on your site. By reverse engineering and discovering valuable keywords, those with the highest value can form your site content strategy for what needs to be included and what pages to add. However, creating content for sake of it, poorly written and fluff pieces can do more harm than good. Remember, the purpose of content can be used to instill confidence in your product, set you up as an industry leader or simply provide valuable information. Can also be used for content strategy, showing you which new pages to add. Fluff or poorly written pieces will suffer from a lower rating. Jason went on to indicate that he feels that Google must have a algorithm that gets the education level of the page. “Like in Scrabble, the bigger and better the words, the more points you get.”
Jason also shared a new content strategy that they have been testing at Everspark. They are now interviewing their clients on the phone, recording the call, at which point they get the call transcribed, edited and approved by the client, before adding what could be as high as 10,000 to 20,000 new words of Hummingbird compliant fresh content to their clients website. Jason discussed the idea of hiring freelance writers and journalists to add content to your site by interviewing relevant figures for your site. For example, for MilitaryBases.com, speaking to military families who had just moved there.
For Next Week…
Host Jason Hennessey will be out of town next week in Las Vegas for Affiliate Summit and then on a panel with Adam Dicker (Domain Expert) and Ruth Burr (Head of SEO @ Moz.com) at NamesCon. In his absence, the capable Steve Miller, SEO Manager at EverSpark, will continue with the reverse engineering session and any questions which there wasn’t time for.
- Get transparency to your off page link building strategy.
- Discover link patterns between the top ranking sites for your keyword.
- Crawl your competitor’s site to study their URL structure and content strategy.
- Take a closer look at your social media strategy and footprint.
See you then!