No More PageRank Dilution with 30x Redirects

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A few years ago, Matt Cutts, a Google software engineer, confirmed many SEO specialists’ suspicions: 301 redirects affect PageRank, which is the algorithm Google uses to rank sites in its search engine results pages (SERP). Cutts’ confirmation stated that the PageRank of an old URL was not fully passed on to the new URL, causing a drop in rankings. In order to prevent movement in the rankings, it was suggested to link through using a normal link versus using a redirect. Two years later, our pal Matt Cutts released a statement that 301 redirects no longer dilute PageRank. SEO specialists celebrated as Cutts said, “The amount of PageRank that dissipates through a 301 is currently identical to the amount of PageRank that dissipates through a link.” Now that our 301 worries are relieved, what about 302 redirects or other 30x redirects?

Up until now, all other forms of redirects still caused a dilution in PageRank. It wasn’t until last month that SEO specialists could stop worrying about PageRank when Gary Illyes, a Google webmaster trends analyst, confirmed that using a 301, 302, or 30x redirect of any kind will not result in a loss of PageRank. Google’s John Mueller also confirmed this statement.

301 redirects are used most commonly when a page with good page authority from your domain has been removed from the site. It is encouraged to add a 301 redirect from that page to another relevant page from your domain. In terms of SEO, this is a better alternative than using 404 error pages, which have no SEO advantage.

Are you interested in optimizing your search engine results? RobMark Web’s team of SEO Specialists is here to help! With a mix of white hat SEO tactics, RobMark Web can help you improve your PageRank.

Google Has Updated Local Listing Ranking Signals

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Google has updated the ranking signals for local listings. Instead of focusing mostly on proximity, it now takes into account traditional ranking signals used for organic search.

The three main areas Google considers when determining local rankings are relevance, distance, and prominence. “Prominence” is the new section added to the Google document, and within the document, it explains prominence as how well-known a business is. Not only does the prominence ranking factor take into consideration how prominent a business is offline, but they also use information like Google Review count and score, links, directory listings, articles, and organic search ranking to judge how prominent the business is online. This means that SEO best practices and your website’s ranking directly affect how well your Google My Business listing shows in local search results! Another way of looking at it is if you aren’t focusing on traditional SEO, the visibility for your Google My Business listing will suffer, and vice versa. If you haven’t paid too much attention to your Google My Business page, but have been focusing on traditional SEO tactics, your local rankings are likely to increase.

If you’re coming to the understanding that SEO is a necessity for your business’s website, call us! Robmark Web has a talented team of SEO specialists that stay up-to-date on the latest changes and adhere to all of the best practices guidelines.

Google Provides Defense Against Ad Fraud

Ad fraud has become a popular topic nowadays. Rumored to be costing the advertising industry millions or even billions of dollars a year, ad fraud has nearly everyone in agreement that something needs to be done.

Master of the universe and a leader in online advertising, Google has finally unleashed a weapon to help combat ad fraud. This new feature automatically filters the traffic coming from the top ad fraud botnets that are currently plaguing the industry. Marketers can access this new feature on Google Display Network and DoubleClick Bid Manager.

“Our move to consistently and confidently cut out the traffic from these botnets represents a significant milestone in the defense of our advertising ecosystem,” said Andres Ferrate, chief advocate, ad traffic quality at Google. “Identifying ad fraud malware and protecting ad platforms against botnets is a sophisticated effort that requires deep technical knowledge, diligence, and the ability to think several steps ahead. It’s a game of chess against an opponent that is constantly changing the rules.”

The three main botnets, Bedep, Beetal and Changthangi, have already infected hundreds of thousands of devices and are responsible for generating fake traffic or serving ads that no one actually sees. These botnets are designed to mimic human behavior such as clicking articles or scrolling. In addition, they also control malware-infected computers, which are run by fraudsters who generate a large amount of non-human ad traffic to shady publishers. This then generates a large about of ad dollars for the fraudsters and publishers. A report by Distil Network claims that these fraudsters see $1 for every $3 spent, and according to a recent ad spend report, that would accumulate to over $18 billion annually.

Google states that they are now able to stop these botnets and the new feature is “resilient to possible changes” made to the malware that generates botnet traffic, which is often an issue when filtering out spam. Does this actually work? Only time will tell but for now, Google has again saved the day.

Reviews Trump Testimonials in 2016

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A lot of pieces of the local marketing puzzle moved around in 2015. For example, Google’s 7-pack shrank to 3 and Google+ removed location information, marking two of the biggest recent changes in this arena. Until Google makes additional changes, right now, your business listing’s Knowledge Box and Google Maps are the only places where your business information, including reviews, is shown.

Reviews have always been important, especially when it comes to potential customers. And now that Google has purged information from the listings, including the business description, categories, and photos, all you’re left with is your business name, basic contact information, and reviews. This means the importance of these reviews has increased, so much so that it may be time to rethink your review/testimonial strategy.

Customers want to see unbiased, honest reviews on a third-party site, not hand-picked testimonials. Have you ever looked at your website analytics to find activity on your site’s Testimonial page? If you have one, it is most likely one of the least-visited pages on your entire website. Consumers want to read the good with the bad and gather enough information about a company to make a decision themselves.

That being said, instead of a testimonials page, we suggest a reviews page that links to various off-site reviews, including Google Reviews as well as other sites your customers may frequent. For example, restaurant-goers are more likely to use Yelp, while those reviewing a medical facility are likely to use Healthgrades.

Keep in mind that Yelp frowns upon direct links to a listing page. However, by conducting a Google search for “[your business] Yelp” and using that SERP URL as the link, you are putting the Yelp reviews on a platter for the user without sending them directly there, and Yelp sees it as the visit coming from an organic search.

Now your Reviews page is a wealth of useful information that a customer can appreciate. Having these links also makes it easier for customers to leave reviews. It’s a win-win!

From AdWords to Zeitgeist, Google Alphabet is Here

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Google started as a search engine in the late 1990s, and over time it has evolved into a multi-international technology company that specializes in Internet-related services and products. Some of Google’s services include search, online advertising technologies, software, cloud computing, social networking, mobile operating systems, and so much more! Because of the large growth and diversity of Google’s products, as well as the growth and change that is constant within the industry, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have decided to make the company cleaner and more accountable by creating a new company called Alphabet.

Instead of Google being the umbrella for hundreds of different products and services, Google’s subsidiary companies, including Google itself, will now become their own companies, with their own CEOs, all housed under the holding company—Alphabet. This restructure will allow each entity to prosper through strong leadership and independence.

Investors need not worry. “Alphabet Inc. will replace Google Inc. as the publicly-traded entity,” says Alphabet CEO Larry Page, “and all shares of Google will automatically convert into the same number of shares of Alphabet, with the same rights. Google will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alphabet. Our two classes of shares will continue to trade on Nasdaq as GOOGL and GOOG.”

Alphabet is not only beneficial for the companies involved, but it also allows the holding company to venture into areas that might be unlikely for Google, and allows Page and Brin to stay in control of the bigger picture of the company they founded almost 17 years ago. This new found freedom could be world-changing.

Google Unleashes Panda 4.2

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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?

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