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Loren Baker over at announced that Matt Cutts had confirmed the PageRank update that happened last week was ‘primarily’ a response to link selling. No additional information was provided except that Google would be continuing to look “at additional sites that appear to be buying or selling PageRank.”

If your sites’s PageRank was damaged by this update Loren suggests taking a close look at your site and ironing out any wrinkles before asking for reconsideration via Google’s Webmaster Tools. Be CERTAIN that your website is wrinkle free otherwise you may get yourself in hotter water if you tell Google to give your site special attention.

Remember that it is always wise to wait for the fallout to clear before making any considerable changes to your website in response to a search engine update. Often we find that when search results stabilize many falsely affected websites are automatically reinstated – at least partially. Here’s hoping that the same happens this time around.

Google has upgraded its PageRank algorithm and it has negatively affected a whole host of popular websites.

What does this mean for you? First I should note that no one REALLY knows the reason these sites have been affected. After all, it is possible these PageRanks were reduced for another reason but with all of the righteous posturing from Google over the past year over purchased links I think it is a fair assumption that paid link advertising is the culprit. So with that in mind, if you have a high number of reciprocal or paid links on your website then it is quite possible you will also see a drop in PageRank soon. You should also ensure your site does not have links to websites that may have a vastly lower reputation – penalty by association. Read more…

As of today Google will allow you to see and optionally disallow which links on your site have been identified as candidates for appearing as “sitelinks” directly in Google search results. (see Google’s press release)

What are Sitelinks?
Sitelinks are shown when a website is considered a leader in a particular search term. The sitelinks are a list of key navigational links on the site and they appear below the standard website listing (see snapshot). Read more…

On Monday Microsoft announced a new set of features had been rolled out within their Live Search platform:

Microsoft Corp. today announced the final updates to the fall release of its Live Search service, introducing a broad array of new services and features to its local and mobile search offerings. The new features and enhancements are designed to make it easier for people to find what they need at home or on the go through significant innovations in mapping, imagery and driving directions as well as new services to make the mobile search experience easy and powerful.

For more info check out their news release.

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

Google Expands Analytics

Google announced yesterday a few new features to be added to Google Analytics in the coming weeks. If you are a fan of statistics and currently use, or are considering Google Analytics, these features could certainly come in handy.

One new feature is the addition of tracking which outbound links visitors click when leaving your site. This feature is nothing new to the world of stats programs, and seems only fitting that Google is finally implementing this option. Other new additions include an “Events Tracking” section which is used for working on user interaction with embedded movies and widgets. Event Tracking and Outbound Link Tracking will begin in a limited beta with no date mentioned for a full release.

If you have Site Search enabled you will also be able to track what searches were performed, from which page, and where the visitor was directed.

Use of these new features will require the update of your on site Analytics JavaScript code; however, Google has also unveiled an extra little upgrade. This new JavaScript code will not need to be updated again in the future as new advancements are released.

Upgrading to the new JavaScript is not necessary if you are not interested in using the new features. The existing code will continue to work correctly into the foreseeable future.

Wednesday, September 5th, 2007

Additions to Google App's Expected Soon

In today’s information travels I came across some information about Google App’s and its rumoured expansions over the coming months. Here are a few things you can expect that have me quite intrigued.

  1. Google is expected to add a wiki which will provide added collaborative functionality to Google Apps.

    Acquired by Google in October of 2006 JotSpot is an online wiki platform that (according to their FAQ) “allows you to create rich web-based spreadsheets, calendars, documents and photo galleries. It’s as easy as using a word processor — you don’t need to know HTML. Thousands of businesses are using JotSpot to manage projects, build an intranet, share files and stay in sync with colleagues and customers.”

  2. Google’s purchase of a company called Tonic Systems in April has prompted expectations of many who are eager to see Tonic’s Java Powerpoint editing software added to Google App’s. There is no telling when, or if, the full breadth of the Tonic platform will be integrated into Google but it is a logical move for the App’s platform.

A post today at the Google Webmaster Central Blog announced that Google’s Search Quality Team will resume sending notification emails to violators of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

The notices started in 2005 as a courtesy to let webmasters know that pages have been temporarily removed from Google’s index but over the past few months Google stopped sending them because fraudulent emails (that supposedly came from Google) were scaring webmasters half to death. Read more…

Thursday, August 16th, 2007

SEO is More Important Than Ever

I do my fair share of web marketing reading on a daily basis and lately I have noticed more and more writers stating that search engine optimization (SEO) is no longer as important for online success. This spin may make sense to those writers (and their financial goals) as they try to push industry cash flow away from SEO but I disagree wholeheartedly and throughout this posting I will explain why. And I assure you that despite my own inherent bias it will all be very logical and undeniable. Read more…

On July 11th, Google’s Blogger announced a deceptively minor update that allowed users to reference a 3rd party feed for their blog. For veteran Blogger users the importance of this update may be obvious but for others let me explain.

Then: Blogger only had its own feed type which meant that users of Feedburner or other 3rd party feed trackers had to include two feeds on their blog – one being their 3rd party service and the other being the Google service. The result was that some visitors who subscribed to their blog could have subscribed to the Google feed rather than the preferred 3rd party feed. This meant the actual subscriber base for a blog would be inaccurate (lower than it actually is) because the 3rd party feed is the feed being measured. Read more…

Yesterday Danny Sullivan posted an interesting walkthrough on a new technology that Yahoo is currently testing called Yahoo Search Assist. Throughout the following I will give a quick rundown and explain why Search Assist may help sites found in the bottom 5 of the top 10 search results.

What Do I Mean by Search Assist? First Some Background
You may have noticed over the past couple years that whenever you search for an item in Google or Yahoo you were provided with word completion suggestions. For example, if you typed in ‘boat’ then the suggestions that appeared in a drop-down (which you can select from to complete your search) might be ‘boating’, ‘boat sales’, ‘boat magazine’, ‘boating tips’… or something like that. These suggestions came from the search engine’s analysis of the most common searches related to what you are typing in. This functionality is useful but Yahoo Search Assist promises a more intelligent search experience. Read more…