Google’s ‘Disavow Links’ Tool Arrives, Yelp Busts Businesses Paying For Positive Reviews, YouTube Adds A New Ranking Factor, & More

Google’s ‘Disavow Links’ Tool Arrives, Yelp Busts Businesses Paying For Positive Reviews, YouTube Adds A New Ranking Factor, & More

The Google ‘Disavow Links’ Tool Has Finally Arrived

Like The Phantom Menace, The Dark Knight Rises, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows premiers, SEOs have been figuratively camped outside Google Webmaster Tools, eagerly awaiting the release of the “Disavow Tool.”

Well, on Tuesday at Pubcon, Matt Cutts officially opened the theater doors, now allowing webmasters to submit a .txt file of bad linkbacks to Google to let search engines know the links were not actively obtained. Cutts said there’s no definitive timeline for Google’s recognition of these requests, and they reserve the right to reject these requests based on their own skepticism.

Source: Search Engine Land

Google Rolls Out Promotions For Google Shopping

Retailers can now add promotions to their product listings on Google Shopping to make them stand out. In addition, they can distribute their promotions on other Google properties such as Google Maps for Android and the Google Offers app, and attract shoppers to their store.

Source: Google Inside AdWords Blog

Google Adds Calendar, Drive Results To Gmail Searches

When it comes to improving search relevancy, Gmail search is one of Google’s most recent concentrations. Now, searches conducted within the Gmail interface will return Google Calendar and Google Drive results, depending on their relation to the chosen query.

Perhaps a more significant part of this story lies in how Google is integrating Gmail into its normal results pages. Because of positive user feedback from its August trials, Google will now include possible answers from Gmail, Calendar and Drive.

Source: Search Engine Watch

Yelp Catches Businesses In Paid Review Schemes Through Clever Sting Operation

If this story doesn’t compel you to use Yelp on a more frequent basis, we don’t know what will. According to a New York Times report (later on Search Engine Land), Yelp used Craigslist (because, where else?) to out 8 businesses that were paying people for positive review on their pages. Disguised as an “Elite” reviewer, Yelp discovered business across multiple industries showing a willingness to pay up to $200 for a good review.

Yelp will now display a notice and link to the incriminating evidence anytime a user hits these pages for the next three months. This practice is interesting because, while incredibly creative and smart on Yelp’s part, it’s hard to believe that will completely dissuade the practice for good.

Source: Search Engine Land

Single DMCA Notice Claims Lives Of 1.45 Million Education Websites

The second DMCA takedown notices became a reality in the world of copyright infringement, it was fairly obvious things could get out of hand. As it stands, a single request aimed at a five-year-old page’s content took down almost 1.5 million education-themed websites. The blogs’ host took issue with the take down, saying it was not given a chance to fix the problem, which should’ve probably been done, all things considered.

Source: Gizmodo

Google Reports Manual Actions At A 100% Clip

If someone at Google conducts a manual review of your website and determines it’s in violation of Google’s webmaster guidelines, the odds are extremely high you’ll get a rankings drop and a message about it. Matt Cutts confirmed as much at Pubcon this week.

Source: Search Engine Land

comScore Report Finds Online Map Users Are Increasingly Deferring To Mobile

Anyone that has used Google Maps on their smartphone and a desktop PC should identify with this study. According to comScore, more and more people are turning to their mobile devices to get directions, rather than their home computers.

The study found that mobile map usage has jumped 24% in the past half year, while 83% of these users will pull up mobile directions at least once each month. In contrast, map-based searches are down 34% on desktops, and clicks to map/navigation sites are down 41% over the past 15 months.

Source: Search Engine Land

Bing Announces Sitelink Extensions Now Available For PPC Ads

Bing announced that it is introducing sitelink extensions in PPC Ads displayed on the search engine and Yahoo, giving advertisers the ability link searchers directly to specific pages on their website. Sitelink extensions are included at the campaign-level, with advertisers able to add up to 10 sitelinks per campaign.

Source: Search Engine Watch

Search Makes Up Nearly Half Of Online Ad Spending

Search Marketing continues to be the largest player in online advertising in the US, making up 48% of the interactive advertising market in the first six months of 2012 according to a report released by Interactive Advertising Bureau and Pricewaterhouse Coopers.  Search ads brought in $8.1 billion, a 19% higher mark than at the same time in 2011. The report also showed that performance pricing (often cost-per-click) remains the most dominant pricing model.

Source: Search Engine Land

Time Spent Watching Video Now Ranking Factor on YouTube

The amount of time a video was watched will now be a ranking factor on YouTube. YouTube said they tested this ranking factor with their suggested videos and found it lead to “less clicking” and more watching. With the algorithm change, video producers will now be able to view “estimated minutes watched” statistics on their YouTube Analytics dashboard.

Source:  Search Engine Land

FTC Moves Closer To Lawsuit Against Google’s Paid Search Practices

This story has slowly snowballed over the past few months, but it appears the FTC is “seriously considering” deepening their investigation into how closely search engines are complying with the 2002 disclosure of paid advertisement guidelines.

Earlier this year the FTC confirmed they were looking into this issue, or at the very least are aware of it being a problem. Danny Sullivan does a good job running through the history of this lurking legal matter within this article.

Source: Search Engine Land

Asus Padfone Rolled Out As Next Generation Hybrid Mobile Device

It was only a matter of time before smartphones and tablets merged together. The second generation of the Asus Padfone features a slide-out phone on the back of the tablet. We’re still unsure how necessary this merger is, but cest la vie.

Source: Gizmodo

Google Adds Their Secretive Data Center to Street View

Today, for the first time, you can see inside Google’s data centers and pay them a virtual visit.  It’s beginning to seem like Google wants to add everything to Street View. In a lot of ways, that’s an exciting prospect. It’s also horrifying…

Source: Google Official Blog

Within Minutes, Mitt Romney’s ‘Binders Full Of Women’ Comment Became A Thing Because The Internet Is Great

The 2012 presidential race has been a gold mine for comedic memes. Tuesday night’s debate was no different, as a single comment from Mitt Romney about leafing through “binders of women” while conducting Cabinet interviews led to an immediate proliferation of the phrase across memes, tumblr, and social networks. As such, Google’s image search has also been immersed in the parodies.

Source: Search Engine Land

Notable Commentary

To Enliven The Mind And Nurture The Soul

26 Article Things About PPC Stuff

Unbounce has a list of 26 great PPC articles taken fresh out of the Internet oven and served piping hot.

Analysis By: Oli Gardner, Unbounce

Do This, Not That With Google’s Disavow Tool

Portent has a great article detailing what you should, and shouldn’t, do with Google’s new Disavow Link tool.

Analysis By: Josh Patrice, Portent

Search Spam Will Never Die

Matt Cutts admitted that the war on search spam will go on forever during the Power Searching with Google Hangout on Air #2. You can see a clip and read the transcript of the exchange at Search Engine Land.

Analysis by: Barry Schwartz, Search Engine Land

The Future Of On-Page Optimization

In last week’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand Fishkin muses on the future of On-Page optimization in the wake of changing algorithms and how SEO practitioners can move beyond the keywords to drive traffic and delivery for a better experience.

Analysis by:  Rand Fishkin, SEOMoz

From Link Building To Link Earning

We are in a new age of SEO where link building must be conducted smarter, not harder. Rand Fishkin uses SEOmoz’s Whiteboard Friday to discuss this shift in only a way he can.

Analysis By: Rand Fishkin, SEOmoz

Using Google+ For SEO Leverage

Cyrus Shepard has a great piece on SEOmoz explaining how Google+ can be used to get a leg up, SEO-wise, on your top competitors. Much of his tips involve using it the same way you would use Facebook or Twitter, with a few minor tweaks that cater to the SEO advantages built into Google+.

Analysis By: Cyrus Shepard, SEOmoz

The Strange Journey Of Reddit’s Most Infamous Troll

Gawker got Michael Brutsch, also known as the Reddit-grown troll that is Violentacrez, on the phone, and his interview did not disappoint. What transpires in this lengthy article is a compelling story about how easy it is to push the boundaries of free speech under anonymous monikers.

Analysis By: Adrian Chen, Gawker

Read About A Veteran Of Google’s Search Quality Team

You have a better chance of seeing a kraken than getting a gimpse inside Google’s Search Quality headquarters. However, James Norquay did talk to an ex-member of Matt Cutts’ famous spam hunters. His “day in the life” insights include how the team prioritizes spam signals, as well as their preferences for link building methods.

Analysis By: James Norquay

Rising Pay-Per-Click Ad Costs Are Causing Small Businesses To Explore Different Options

The heightened competition for keywords has driven up prices and made them harder for small companies to afford. In this article, the New York Times explores this rising trend.

Analysis By: Darren Dahl, New York Times

The Growing Influence Of Crowdfunding On Political Fundraising

Money makes the world spin, especially in politics. Mashable has an excellent piece on how crowdfunding money is creeping into the financial blood of our democracy, and how it is becoming an incredibly powerful tool for driving small-scale donors en masse.

Analysis By: Amanda Wills, Mashable