October 2011 SEO Industry Update


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A roundup of some of the most interesting Google updates and industry news for October 2011.

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October 2011 SEO Industry Update

  1. 1. Industry UpdatesIndustry UpdateOctober 2011
  2. 2. Industry UpdatesGoogle Moving to HTTPs for Logged in Users & It’s Impact• Google is no longer passing on the keyword information for logged in users of google.com.• This change has not been well received, particularly in the SEO industry. It will mean website owners have less information about where some of their organic search traffic comes from.• Privacy concerns are cited as reasons for the change, a motive questioned by many in the digital marketing industry since the keyword data is still available for paid search results.• Looking through Guava’s UK client’s analytics packages, across a variety of sectors, sizes of websites and locations, it looks as if the impact so far is, at best, negligible. The largest impact was just 0.4% of keywords.• Comparing our results with other fellow Google Analytics Certified Partners in the US, some are reporting the average percentage of searches currently coming in from logged in users at about 1.5%• Read Mark Edmondson’s post on e-consultancy: http://econsultancy.com/uk/blog/8193-the- impact-of-google-moving-to-https-for-logged-in-users-not-a-lot
  3. 3. Industry UpdatesJumbo Sitelink Update• In a recent Google engineer Hangout on Google Plus, one of the engineers confirmed that the new jumbo sitelinks are based entirely on search data (which is also how BING does it).• The old style sitelinks were based heavily on site architecture.• Jumbo sitelinks are now consistently displaying in a 6 pack format rather than the initial 12 pack (which Google dropped after a couple of weeks)
  4. 4. Industry UpdatesGoogle Releases more Guidance regarding Cross DomainCanonical Tags• When the representative URL is selected from a group with different sites the selection is called a cross-domain URL selection.• New Webmaster Tools messages will attempt to notify webmasters when Google’s algorithms select an external URL instead of one from their website. Common causes of cross-domain URL selection can include;• Duplicate content: When multiple domains are used either by mistake or to geographically target content. Webmasters should use 301s or canonical tags to resolve this.• Incorrect canonicalization: Incorrect usage of canonicalization to external URLs can mean Google’s algorithms select the external URLs in search results• Misconfigured servers: If two unrelated web servers return identical soft 404 pages Google may fail to detect as error pages. Google may incorrectly select the a.com URL as the canonical of the b.com URL."• Malicious website attacks: Some attacks on websites introduce code that can cause undesired canonicalization.
  5. 5. Industry UpdatesGoogle & Bing Handle Canonicals differently• Duane Forrester from Bing – "rel=canonical ... was never intended to appear across large numbers of pages...To be clear, using the rel=canonical doesn’t really hurt you. But, it doesn’t help us trust the signal when you use it incorrectly across thousands of pages, yet correctly across a few others on your website.” – “A lot of websites have rel=canonicals in place as placeholders within their page code. Its best to leave them blank rather than point them at themselves. Pointing a rel=canonical at the page it is installed in essentially tells us “this page is a copy of itself. Please pass any value from itself to itself.” No need for that. We do understand that doing work at scale requires some compromises, as it’s not easy to implement anything on a large site page by page. In such cases, leave the rel=canonical blank until needed.”• Matt Cutts (via webmaster video) – “We built in support to make sure that that doesn’t cause any sort of problem. So I can’t speak for other search engines, but it’s definitely a very common case. Imagine if you had to check every single URL and then do a self check to see whether you were on that URL. If you were then you couldn’t have a rel=canonical tag. That would be a lot of work to generate all those tags. So for our part, we said you know what? Go ahead and you can put a rel canonical on every single page on your site if you want to. And then if it points back to itself, that’s no problem at all. We handle that just fine.”
  6. 6. Industry UpdatesGoogle shuts down older services like Buzz and Code search.• In their “fall sweep” post, Google announced that they were shutting down some of their older services• These included; – Google Buzz : Google are set to shutdown Google Buzz and the Buzz API in a few weeks and focus instead on Google+ – Code Search: which was designed to help people search for open source code across the web, will be shut down along with the Code Search API on January 15, 2012. – Jaiku: a product Google acquired in 2007 that let users send updates to friends, will shut down on January 15, 2012. – iGoogle Social Features. With their new focus on Google+, many of iGoogles social features will be discontinued on January 15, 2012. iGoogle itself, and non-social iGoogle applications, will stay as they are. – The University Research Program for Google Search, which provides API access to our search results for a small number of approved academic researchers, will close on January 15, 2012.
  7. 7. Industry UpdatesGooglebot makes POST requests via AJAX• Thumbtack.com have recently reported that they have observed Google executing POST requests• Googlebot is constantly evolving and getting better at handling web forms, even submit ting GET forms and executing simple JavaScript.• http://www.thumbtack.com/engineering/googlebot-makes-post-requests-via-ajax/
  8. 8. Industry UpdatesGoogle and Citizens Advice Bureau promote safety• Google has released advice for staying more secure on the web and an overview of some of the security tools that Google offers. – http://www.google.co.uk/goodtoknow• Information was created in partnership with the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.• It also has a lot of information about how Google uses everyone’s data as well. – http://www.google.co.uk/goodtoknow/data- on-google/•