Bing’s Cool Markup Validator, Sitelinks Get The ‘Point,’ People Don’t Like Google SPYworld, & More

Bing’s Cool Markup Validator, Sitelinks Get The ‘Point,’ People Don’t Like Google SPYworld, & More

This Week’s Industry News

Compiled By Rocket Clicks

Google Is The Reigning Champion Of Website Referral Traffic

Google is the top source of traffic for 23 of the 30 most visited websites on the Internet, according to a comScore report. Overall, Google is responsible for 16% of the total traffic to these sites, while Yahoo (11%) and Bing (6%) sit in the second and third spot, respectively. Interestingly enough, Google’s share fell 1% over the past year.

Source: Search Engine Land

Bing Markup Validator Shows Visible Snippets, Schemas

Rich snippets and Schemas are the best present and future ways to communicate your website’s main intentions to search engines. As such, Bing has released a “Markup Validator” in Bing Webmaster Tools, which allows you to enter any URL into the provided blank field and view the markups a crawler can see in your page’s HTML.

Source: Search Engine Land

AdWords Introduces Improved Search Funnels Interface

Google has updated the Search Funnels interface for a more user-friendly experience. Advertisers can now compare year-to-year date ranges, quickly view drill-down dimensions thorugh tabs, and compare total conversions and conversion value next to each other.

Source: Google Inside AdWords Blog

EPIC Sues FTC Over Google Privacy Policy

Google Buzz may be coming back to haunt the world’s foremost search engine. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has filed a lawsuit against the Federal Trade Commission on the grounds that Google’s new privacy violates an agreement the search engine signed a year ago involving Google Buzz. Google has yet to comment directly on the lawsuit.

Source: Search Engine Watch

Mini Arrows Show Up In Google Sitelinks

Sometimes the smallest change to a website can boost conversion rates. With that principle in mind, it seems Google has included a small arrow next to its Sitelinks listings in paid advertisements. According to a Google spokesperson, the arrow is a permanent addition to Sitelinks, which have undergone enough plastic surgery to make Heidi Montag blush.

Source: Search Engine Land

Bing’s New SERPs Design Looks Familiar…

Bing rolled out a fresh re-design in their search results this week, and it strangely looks similar to a certain, uber-popular competitor. See for yourself (also, notice the ironic ad on the right sidebar:

Bing redesign

Source: Search Engine Land

Matt Cutts Breaks Down SafeSearch

Matt Cutts is the John Madden of SEO: he has an answer for everything complicated that somehow seems simplistic. Cutts recently explained the logic behind SafeSearch, and how Google determines this filter. He also offers a remedy for websites that suspect they are incorrectly classified as pornographic in nature.

Source: Search Engine Journal

People Aren’t Taking Kindly To Google’s Search Plus Your World

According to a recent survey, the average Google user isn’t very fond of Google’s personalized search results. Roughly 45% of respondents said everyone should see the same results for the same keyword search, and 39% said they don’t mind the combination, but have major concerns about privacy when doing so. However, it’s highly unlikely one survey will change Google’s vision for their search results.

Source: Search Engine Land

INFORGAPHIC: People Also Really Dislike Facebook’s Timeline Update

Around 70% of respondents to a SodaHead poll said they would abandon the Facebook Timeline if it were possible, while 20% said they liked it and 10% don’t have Facebook accounts. It should be noted that every Facebook re-design has been met with heavy opposition that gradually turns to submission.

Source: Mashable

Local Online Marketing Is Popular, Even Though Most Fail At The Simple Stuff

Football, Nickelback, Christopher Nolan movies; just because something is popular doesn’t mean that everyone completely understands it. Such is the case with localized initiatives among national marketers, according to a GMS Local survey.

The survey indicates that many national companies focus a lot of ad budget on localized SEO and PPC, but very few are actually allocating their attention to the most effective local digital platforms. This includes local citations, business listings on search engines, and geo-modified paid search.

Source: Search Engine Land

Pinterest Is Making Affiliate Commissions On E-Commerce Sites

If a Pinterest user clicks through a “Pin” to an e-commerce site and makes a purchase, Pinterest obtains a discreet affiliate commission. Digital marketer Josh Davis first discovered the affiliate tracking code. It’s an early answer to the question of how Pinterest would make money, no matter how gaffe-worthy it is from a transparency perspective.

Source: Search Engine Journal

Chrome Comes To Android Devices

Google’s Chrome browser is now available for Android devices. The mobile browser is geared towards “speed” and “simplicity,” according to Google. Check out the video in Google’s blog post for a detailed look at how Chrome will work on mobile devices.

Source: The Official Google Blog

Google Employees Should Probably Let Matt Cutts Do The Talking

A recent Google hire, named Jonathan Rockway, piqued the interest of SEOs and the Internet marketing world at large with some interesting comments he made in early January. On Hacker News, Rockway essentially said that SEO isn’t good for users (something Matt Cutts debunked in an October video), and Google wants people that pay for ads to rank higher in the organic results.

Obviously, Google vehemently denied these intentions, implying that Rockway is still a rookie and really doesn’t know what he’s talking about at this point. Given Google’s precedent on both of these issues, it seems unlikely Rockway’s assertions are true.

Source: Search Engine Land

Payments For Your Online Privacy From Google, Who Will Hijack Your Personal Information Either Way

If you use Google Chrome and don’t care about sharing your personal information with Google, the juggernaut search engine has a program for you. Called Screenwise, Google is now offering payment in exchange for your online privacy rights and a commitment to using Google Chrome to browse the web.

The mission of Google Screenwise is to gain insight into how average people use the web through human testing on its own browser. Installing the tracking extension in Chrome nets you’re a $5 Amazon gift card, and an additional $5 in Am-bucks will be earned after every three month period of inclusion in Screenwise.

That’s not a lot of payback for exposing everything you do online to Google, but if they’re going to track you anyways, why not?

Source: Search Engine Land

Your Deleted Facebook Photos Are Not Officially Deleted

If you’ve ever purged your Facebook photos because of an upcoming job interview or your mother’s impending friend request, they may still exist in the annals of the World Wide Web. Facebook claimed that this issue would be resolved…three years ago. However, the problem has recently gained some attention again, and Facebook has promised to work on the glitch in their legacy system, for realzies this time.

Source: Wired Epicenter

Google Updates Analytics Organic Reporting

Google has recognized a few new search engines, and tweaked a long-running problem with reporting traffic from search engines. Previously, traffic data was inflated because of incorrect attribution, but it’s been fixed so Analytics reports reflect much more accurate traffic data.

Source: Search Engine Land

Someone Spent $100,000 Playing Mafia Wars, According To An Ex-Zynga Employee

More proof we live in a developed nation that often acts less than developed: An anonymous former Zynga engineer has revealed that some of its users spent up to $100,000 to play their games. The engineer claimed he’d seen people spend $10,000, $20,000 and $100,000 on the company’s catalog of Facebook games.

He also disclosed that Zynga views free gamers as “spam,” and zeros in exclusively on people willing to spend money in Mafia Wars, FarmVille, FrontierVille, and others. Those users are referred to as “Zynga Black,” according to the former employee.

Source: Mashable

Wolfram Alpha Goes Pro

Wolfram Alpha is a data geek’s best friend, allowing users to ask any scientific question or mathematic calculation. Now, the “computational knowledge engine” is offering Wolfram Alpha Pro, which allows you to use the site’s analysis tools. There’s nothing quite like an addicting program that ups the dosage with more access and options.

Source: PC Magazine

Notable Commentary

That’s Really Pinteresting

Creating Great Google+ Content With SEO In Mind

Google’s Search Plus Your World makes no secret that Google+ is going to be everywhere on the search engine, whether you use it or not. If Google is giving that much attention to its social network, it’s only proper to integrate it into your SEO efforts.

Analysis By: Neil Patel, Search Engine Journal

This And That: The Non-Dancing Hamster SEO Edition

The SEO world is filled with conflicting advice on the best strategic route to success in Google’s SERPs. Much of that advice can depend on what color your hat is; however, Elisa Gabbert offers some resolute advice for new ways to target keywords and tired strategies that you should consider avoiding.

Analysis By: Elisa Gabbert, Search Engine Journal

Google’s Search Plus Your World Helps Local Businesses

Among all the gnashing of teeth over Google’s integration of Google+ into its SERPs comes an opportunity for local businesses to shine. Stephanie Hobbs outlines some new advantages and techniques presented to local businesses through a combination of search and social initiatives.

Analysis By: Stephanie Hobbs, Search Engine Land

The Passing Golden Age Of SEO

Kerry Dean reminisces about the past 10 years in the SEO world, how it’s changed in the last three years, and where it’s headed from here, for better or worse.

Analysis By: Kerry Dean, Search Engine Land

An SEO Test By Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie has created a test he uses to determine the strengths and weaknesses of his company’s SEO analysts. With some questions very hard and some breezy easy, Lurie covers every major aspect of SEO that an analyst should know.

Questions By: Ian Lurie, Conversation Marketing

Answers By: Ian Lurie, Conversation Marketing

Facebook Could Have Major Influence On The Entertainment Industry

Fred Vogelstein outlines the historical cold war between Silicon Valley and Hollywood, and how that situation could likely change into a mutual marketing agreement. Facebook specifically has a massive reach, and the movie and music industries would be wise to find ways to partner with the social network.

Analysis By: Fred Vogelstein, Washington Post

The Ever-Increasing Importance Of Online Newsrooms

Using studies of how people consume news online, Lisa Buyer explains how combining search and social results makes organizational “newsrooms” a necessity. She basically calls online newsrooms a “public relations hub,” but also expands on how they can be incredibly valuable as when partnered with SEO initiatives and social media outreach.

Analysis By: Lisa Buyer, Search Engine Watch

Conduct A Technical SEO Audit In 60 Minutes

Dave Sottimano has a great guide to analyzing your website’s biggest technical flaws in as much time as it takes to watch an episode of Breaking Bad. He also provides a list of SEO tools and explains how to use each (as well as Google) to discover these issues.

Analysis By: Dave Sottimano, SEOmoz

The Impact Of Pinterest On Website Layout And Design

Pinterest can’t keep itself out of the news, and with its rapidly expanding base of loyal users, it’s understandable. Pinterest’s impact goes far beyond a business and social media perspective, and could really change the way we view website design forever.

Analysis By: Sarah Kessler, Mashable

Blekko’s SEO Is Valuable For Sizing Up Web Directories

Blekko is one of the lesser known search engines on the web (really, most people only know three). However, it had a wealth of SEO data that can be harvested for quality analysis of web directories, so says David Zimmerman.

Analysis By: David Zimmerman, SEOmoz

ModCloth Does Things Differently…In A Good Way

ModCloth is a fashion clothing and accessory website that takes a unique view on advertising and marketing. Paid ads in particular have been a great asset to ModCloth, and Lindsey Mark runs down some of the more interesting aspects of this niche website’s marketing strategy.

Analysis By: Lindsey Mark, Compete