Google Puts Webspam In The Crosshairs, Google Granulates Quality Score Analysis, Google Retires Multiple Programs, & More

Google Puts Webspam In The Crosshairs, Google Granulates Quality Score Analysis, Google Retires Multiple Programs, & More

This Week’s Industry News

Compiled By Rocket Clicks Staff

The Google Penguin Has Struck!

Google’s much-anticipated Penguin Update has started its lumbering charge to destroy spammy SEO everywhere. Google claims it only affects 3% of searches, and the websites most impacted will be ones that have pages that exist strictly for SEO purposes. Some common features of these sites include: keyword stuffing, saturated internal links in anchor text, cloaking and bad redirects, and intentionally duplicated content.

Source: Search Engine Land

Google Breaks Down Quality Score Issues Into Three Categories

Quality Score has long been crucial in measuring AdWords account performance, and Google has reformatted it in a more granular fashion. The metric will now be broken down into three categories (expected click-through rate, ad relevance, landing page experience). A rating of average, above average, or below average will be assigned to each component, allowing advertisers to better diagnose any issues with their campaigns.

Source: Search Engine Land

Google Keyword Tool And Traffic Estimator Look, Feel Different

Keyword and Traffic Estimator Tools were the latest victims of Google’s recent redecoration binge. Now, keyword ideas can be lumped together by theme, and the isolated, no-login-required version of the Traffic Estimator is now moving to Florid, so to speak. This tool now necessitates an AdWords account login.

You can also view traffic estimations based on select keywords, and Google has now made it possible to graph these estimates based on past account performance.

Source: Search Engine Land

Google Related Toolbar Among Features Company Will Scrap

Google is doing away with the Google Related toolbar, which offered contextual information about the Web page being displayed in the main browser. Apparently, the feature never really caught on.

The move is part of a spring cleaning of sorts. In addition to phasing out the Related toolbar, Google is scrapping Google Patent Search in favor of a revamped patent search, shutting down Google One Pass, the company’s payment system for publishers and has passed over its Flu Vaccine Finder to HealthMap.

Source: Search Engine Land

Facebook Advertising Analytics Beef Up Like Jose Canseco

Facebook is revamping its advertising analytics to a near 100% customizable form. Specifically, they will not long just track Likes and Clicks. Rather, advertisers (once the program rolls out in the coming weeks) will be able to track @mentions, number of comments from a user, check-ins on Facebook Places, and more.

Basically, nearly everything a user does that involves your brand on Facebook can now be tracked, resulting in a comprehensive understanding of your company’s social demographics.

Source: Search Engine Watch

Confirmed: Microsoft Pitched Bing To Facebook

Reports have surfaced that indicate Microsoft did in fact try to sell Bing to Facebook. While Facebook declined the offer, the fact an offer existed suggests Microsoft may not be fully invested in braking into the world of search.

Source: Search Engine Land

Come June, Foursquare Will Offer Paid Ads

Foursquare will be the newest member of the paid search advertising club in June. The company confirmed rumors that it would be selling paid ads on its network at the start of summer. In the age of local search optimization, and zip code ad targeting, this is great news for restaurants, retailers, and other companies with a hyper-local focus.

Source: Search Engine Watch

Google Sells Smartphones Directly To Consumers

As of this past Tuesday, Google is attempting to sell smartphones directly to consumers through the Google Play Store. Phones will be $399 and can work with multiple wireless carriers. This is an improvement from a previous e-commerce flop in 2010, when Google attempted to sell a $529 phone with only a T-mobile carrier. Needless to say, I think they probably have figured out the e-commerce game this time.

Source: New York Times

Facebook Is About To Go All Public Up In Here

May 17th: Mark it down. That’s the day Facebook will officially become a publicly traded company, according to TechCrunch. The estimated valuation of its IPO is around $100 billion, in case you were wondering.

Source: Gizmodo

Google Drive Opens A Cloud To The Masses

Google announced the launch of Google Drive today, Google’s answer to cloud storage. The basic 5GB level is free, but for a monthly subscription fee, users can get either 25GB ($2.49/mo) or 100GB  ($4.99/mo). As much as 16 Terabytes is available if you feel like backing up a few thousand movies for some reason.

Source: CNet

Firefox Murders Favicon In URL Bar

Citing malicious sites using sneaky tactics such as Favicons resembling padlocks to give a false sense of security, Firefox has eliminated the address bar Favicon in its most recent build.

Source: The Next Web

Notable Commentary

From Illuminated Minds

Adapting To The SEO Climate Change Brought On By The Google Penguin Update

Like the Quentin Tarantino version of Mr. Popper’s Penguins, the Google Penguin Update began pecking at the hearts of SEO spammers everywhere a little over a week ago. The update also affected a significant number of white hat SEOs, so Danny Sullivan was nice enough to offer a medic post to help stitch up some of the lesser quality parts of you or your clients’ SEO profiles.

Analysis By: Danny Sullivan, Search Engine Land

Judging The Winners And Losers Of The Google Panda 3.5 Update

The NFL Draft isn’t the only event getting shotgun analysis this weekend. Danny Sullivan rules on the winners and losers of Google’s recent spam busting Panda update.

Analysis By: Danny Sullivan, Search Engine Land

These Six Changes To Your SEO Campaigns Need To Be Made Immediately

Google’s over-optimization penalty is looming on the horizon, so Rand Fishkin has devoted an entire Whiteboard Friday to explaining how every SEO will be affected, and how they can prepare for the change with minimal damage.

Analysis By: Rand Fishkin, SEOmoz

Google Release Information On Its Fight To Stop Bad Ads

Recently, Google has shed light on its manual review process for suspect ads and how it trains new hires to the ad quality team. The release of details comes in response to criticism surrounding malicious and counterfeit ads being displayed by Google and is part of an effort to be more transparent about the company’s practices.

Analysis By: Pamela Parker, Search Engine Land

SEO Analytics, Middle Earth-Style

Beautiful, awesome post by Ian Lurie, geeking out over how to present SEO analytics as only Ian Lurie (and probably a few of us here) can. If you read one article on how to communicate SEO value this year, make it this one. Particularly if you can recite lines from Tolkien in your sleep.

Analysis By: Ian Lurie, Portent

User Generated Content And How Search Engines Might Rank It

Bill Slawski was very busy this week, covering Bing’s move towards SPYworld-like results and Google’s acquisition of Circuit City video rental patents. However, his most significant post involves how search engines may rank user generated content, which encompasses message boards, forums, user reviews, blogs, blog comments, and more.

Analysis By: Bill Slawski, SEO By The Sea

‘Pay What You Want’ Not Such A Bad Pricing Model

Five years after Radiohead allowed fans to pay what they wished for their album “In Rainbows,” new research suggests the “Pay What You Want” model does hold some merit. While the fear of appearing cheap discourages some potential consumers from buying, it also motivates many to pay a little bit more than expected when setting their own price.

Analysis by: Jane J. Lee, Science Magazine

How Amazing Bosses View Business And A Workplace

Utilizing past discussions with some of the world’s foremost CEOs, Geoffrey James runs down a list eight deep of the most popular core beliefs of these business leaders.

Analysis By: Geoffrey James, Inc.

Why Click Through Rate Matters To Conversions

Benjamin Vigneron believes that click through rate and conversions are related. Vigneron urges readers to keep an eye on CTR to maintain conversion volume and to try to maximize profit margin. In the end, he says the correlation is mostly about relevance and engagement level.

Analysis by: Benjamin Vigneron, Search Engine Land