Google Unleashes Panda 4.2

Google Unleashes Panda 4.2

Over the last 10 months, whenever anything happened on Google, it was speculated that it was the effect of the long-awaited Panda update. However, it wasn’t until last week that Google officially unleashed the newest update.

The launch of Panda 4.2 is slowly rolling-out and has reportedly affected about 2-3% of English-speaking queries. This update means anyone affected by Panda in the last update has a chance to re-emerge, if they have made the appropriate changes. This also means another opportunity to be penalized if you’re still not following the rules. Since Panda 4.2 is rolling out slowly, no drastic changes will be seen, but rather a gradual change in the listings.

The original Panda algorithm update launched in February 2011 in an effort to remove low-quality content from top listings on the Search Engine Result Pages and affected nearly 12% of English-speaking sites. There have been several updates to Panda over the years—some have been announced, and some have not. Have you seen any changes in your rankings since the new update?

Is Link Building bad?

Is Link Building bad?


Link building is a popular strategy used for Search Engine Optimization. Having a link on another website—especially a high ranking website— that opens a door back to your website will help your SEO, in turn, assisting your rankings on Google. There are a few ways Webmasters can build links; some are Google approved, and some aren’t.

Search engines view links as votes for popularity and importance in the ongoing opinion poll of the Web and have since the late 1990s, so when Google Webmaster Trends analyst John Mueller said he tries to avoid it, the world of webmasters came to a halt. Several articles were posted shortly after that statement, including one by a Portuguese Webmaster stating “…to ensure that you are not violating Google’s guidelines: do not buy, sell, exchange, or ask for links.”

Does this mean link building is bad? Not quite. After that post implied that it was, Google responded with some clarification—sort of. Google stated that you cannot “buy, sell, or ask for links that may violate our linking Webmaster guidelines.” To specify on what that vague statement means, link building is good, unless you participate in link building schemes, including, but not limited to, excessive link exchanges, buying or selling links, or keyword-rich anchor text. So, if you follow the rules, link building, in addition to other SEO tactics, can assist in improving your search engine rankings.

If you are interesting in applying proper SEO tactics to your website, your Savannah web company, Robmark Web, is there to assist you! Call (912)-921-1040 to start the discussion today.

Further reading:

https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo/growing-popularity-and-links

http://searchenginewatch.com/sew/opinion/2412546/why-i-shall-no-longer-use-the-term-link-building

Mobilegedd-non: The apocalypse that wasn’t

Mobilegedd-non: The apocalypse that wasn’t


Over the last several months Google has been pushing their mobile-friendly update, urging webmasters to make sure their websites were mobile-friendly to avoid seeing “a significant impact” in the search results. The buzz became apocalypse-esque once the mainstream media picked it up and was soon coined “mobilegeddon.” D-day was April 21, and webmasters and SEO specialists were scrambling to ensure their sites did not drop in the rankings. Well, that date has come and gone, and little impact occurred. It has now been a month since Google’s supposed cut-off date, and Mark Munroe of Marketing Land reports that mobilegeddon has barely made a difference in search results. He notes that there was a minuscule dip in results and that most of the impact was seen on the second and third of the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). So what happened?

Though there are a handful of theories as to why there was a lack of severity, one thing is for sure: Google has a sense of control over businesses, big and small. Google says, “jump,” and we ask, “how high?” Because of past algorithm changes that truly did change the face of the SERPs—Panda and Penguin, specifically—businesses don’t want to take any chances. So when Google warned “significant impact,” it’s no wonder we all reacted in an apocalyptic manner.

This is similar to an algorithm update they announced in 2014. Last year, Google announced HTTPS—a safer version of HTTP—would help with a website’s ranking. Following that announcement, scores of websites rapidly adapted to be more secure in fear of dropping in rankings. Yet, after the change, no shift in rankings occurred. Though no drastic changes occurred with either of these updates, a mobile-friendly Web presence and a safer website are not bad things. They are improving the Web experience for everyone, which is an obvious goal of Google.

Though the “punishment” was not as severe as promised, it is still heavily urged to have a mobile-friendly, responsive website. If you are interested in revamping your business’ web presence and creating a better user experience, call us at 912-921-1040. Robmark Web is proficient in creating responsive websites that work well and look great on any type of device, including mobile phones and tablets.

No More Separation Between Paid and Organic on Google

No More Separation Between Paid and Organic on Google

Now that Google has been around for nearly twenty years, people know its layout and understand that the first few listings are often paid results, not organic. Through growth and development, Google often tests user interface changes. One interface change they have recently made is removing the line between the paid and organic listings. Have you noticed a difference? Do you think this could cause confusion? We’d love to hear from you!

Mobile-Friendliness Ranking Change

Mobile-Friendliness Ranking Change

The importance of responsive and mobile-friendly websites has been a known fact for a few years now; however, Google has finally drawn a line in the sand. On Tuesday, April 21, mobile-friendliness will be considered a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches worldwide and will have a significant impact on search results. This change is geared to have users find relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices. This change does not affect desktop search results, only Google searches performed on a mobile device, which includes tablets.
In order to ensure your website is not negatively affected by this change, it is important that your website is responsive, or utilizes another mobile site choice. Though a responsive web design is the recommended choice, it does not sway your rankings with Google if you use responsive over another mobile site choice. As long as it is optimized for a mobile device, Google doesn’t really care how. The mobile-friendliness of a website will be considered on a page-by-page basis and in order to pass the test, all of the pages on the website must be mobile-friendly. Another important note about this change mentioned by Google’s own Gary Illyes, is that Googlebots must be able to crawl both CSS & JavaScript. If the website blocks these elements, your site will not pass Google’s mobile-friendly test and could see a drastic change in your mobile rankings. You can use this Mobile-Friendly Test to see whether or not your website is properly optimized for mobile devices. We tested our new Robmark.com site and it passed the test!

The changes in ranking will happen immediately. As soon as the website is crawled and discovered as mobile-friendly, on a URL-to-URL basis, it will be updated. Don’t wait until April 21 to see if your website has been affected. Be proactive with the help of Robmark Web. Robmark Web is Savannah’s website development company that features in clean, responsive websites for any industry. Make sure your mobile website traffic doesn’t drop and give us a call today: 912-921-1040!

Further Reading:

http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2015/02/finding-more-mobile-friendly-search.html

http://www.thesempost.com/googles-gary-illyes-qa-upcoming-mobile-ranking-signal-change/?utm_source=sendgrid&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=top10

http://www.seobook.com/responsive-design-seo

The Importance of Reviews For All Local Businesses

The Importance of Reviews For All Local Businesses

Reviews for local businesses have always been important, but often times, companies outside the restaurant and hotel categories don’t go out of their way to attain them. In fact, reviews for all local businesses, especially businesses dealing directly with the consumer, are becoming ever more crucial based on the way the average consumer researches online. The customer’s journey to making a purchase has become more complex over the years, thanks to digital channels.
Most consumers start the buying process by researching a company, product or service via search engine. From there, they will find websites; read Google, Yelp, or Amazon reviews if it’s a product, ask loved ones for opinions; and more before they make a decision. So how do you ensure they choose you over your competition? Reviews! A recent Marketing Land survey stated that 90% of respondents claimed positive reviews online influence their buying decision, and almost as many were also influenced by negative reviews. Good reviews make consumers feel comfortable doing business with you and, in return, increase your conversions.

Not only do reviews assist with conversions, but also, thanks to how Google is set up, they visually set your company apart from the competition.  Which one would you visit first?

Some sites like Yelp and Google also allow you to only view listings that have reviews or filter to only the highest-rated reviews. So if you are in an area where your competition has more or better reviews than you, you might not even appear in the listings.

Though neither Google nor Bing has confirmed that reviews impact rankings, anecdotal evidence suggests otherwise. A Digital Marketing Works survey found a strong correlation between ratings and rankings in Google’s now-retired Carousel display. A MOZ Local search rankings survey given to industry marketers also shows that review signals are believed to influence your rankings by almost 10%.

moz-local-search-ranking-factors-2014-616x600

Some people are trepidatious about asking for reviews for fear of being penalized or for what a dissatisfied customer would say. Some review sites, particularly Yelp, discourage soliciting reviews because they feel it will affect the integrity of the site. On the other hand, Google encourages businesses to ask for feedback from customers, so it’s important to look into the terms and conditions of the review sites to prevent being penalized by any particular site.

In addition to major review sites, it is also a great idea to find a review site that pertains to your industry. For example, a local physician should encourage patients to post reviews on a site like RateMD. Those reviews would be more beneficial to potential patients than reviews of the practice on Yelp.

And remember, simply reminding your customers you appreciate feedback and providing excellent service are two great ways to develop a continuous stream of online reviews.

In review:

  • Reviews help increase conversions.
  • Reviews help you stand out from your competition visually.
  • Reviews assist in your rankings.
  • Try industry-related review sites in addition to Google reviews.
  • Asking for feedback and great customer service are sure-fire wins.

Further reading:

http://searchengineland.com/local-businesses-get-good-online-reviews-build-business-214939

https://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/advisor/why-online-customer-reviews-more-important-2014-143042598.html

http://moz.com/local-search-ranking-factors

http://www.seochat.com/c/a/search-engine-optimization-help/are-reviews-getting-even-more-important/

http://searchengineland.com/study-quantity-quality-of-google-reviews-determine-carousel-rankings-172221