Secret Life Of A Google Search, Google’s Sought After Secret Sauce, Matt Cutts Pwns Forbes, & More

Secret Life Of A Google Search, Google’s Sought After Secret Sauce, Matt Cutts Pwns Forbes, & More

This Week’s Industry News

Compiled By Rocket Clicks Staff

The Secret Life Of A Google Search

The New York Times recently investigated and exposed JCPenney’s “black hat” link building that has allowed the company to rank at the top of search results for everything from home furnishings to clothing. Obviously JC Penney offers a wide range of products, but even casual searchers would say that they certainly aren’t the most relevant store for everything they sell.

Google’s Matt Cutts confirmed the link spam on the site, and the search engine has subsequently dropped JC Penney to their expected second or third page spots for many products.

Source: New York Times

Texas Attorney General Wants Google’s Secret Rankings, AdWords Recipe

Texas Attorney General Gregg Abbot is backing a civil lawsuit against Google that stems from a September 2010 complaint from e-commerce sites and calls for the search engine monolith to reveal their page ranking and AdWords rate formulas. Any anti-trust investigation is interesting, but one against the pioneer of search engines is extremely compelling.

Source: Search Engine Watch

Forbes Gets Pwned By Matt Cutts For Spammy Links

Matt Cutts has been less like a teddy bear lately and is more willing to call people out directly for bad behavior.

Check out the url he links to in his response to Denis Pinsky, Digital Marketing Manager for Forbes.  Of the 300 articles discussing the issue, I’m pretty sure Matt picked the tech crunch article specifically for its rather harsh URL.

Source: Google Webmaster Central

Google Social Search Returns Better Than Ever

Google has updated and improved its Social Search and overall social media integration (minus Facebook, for the obvious reasons). Updates include:

  • Social search results used to only show up at the bottom of the first page. Now you’ll see them sprinkled throughout the rankings.
  • If one of your social connections shares a link, it may show up under that result on the page. In the screen shot below, you’ll notice “Matt Cutts shared this” under the third result.
  • You can now connect accounts privately in Google Account Settings, so you can choose whether or not to include your connected social accounts on your public Google profile.

Google Social Search

SEOmoz also did an unintentional case study on Twitter’s effects on SERPs, which produced some very interesting results.

Source: Official Google Blog

Bing, Yahoo Tweak Trademark Policy For Keyword

Come March 3, Bing and Yahoo will allow trademarked names as keywords in search advertisements…sort of. Essentially, both aren’t explicitly saying “Go for it!”, but indicating that advertisers that take issue with the use of their trademarked name should deal with the respective advertiser themselves.

Google has been doing this since 2004, much to the chagrin of trademark owners, but it certainly can’t hurt Bing and Yahoo as they continue the ongoing fight to claim a bigger search market share.

Source: Marketing Pilgrim

Google’s Spam Robocop Confirms Anti-Farming Push

Matt Cutts has been extremely busy lately, and his latest announcement confirms many expected suspicions that Google is starting to crack down on content farms.

Source: New York Times

Google Wants User Feedback On Content Farms

If you use Google Chrome and hate content farms, you’re in luck! Google has included an optional extension in its browser that allows you to filter certain sites out of your search results. Google will then use that information to determine which sites.content farms are least useful to you, the average searcher.

Source: New York Times

Notable Commentary

Smarter Than The Average Bear

Ontolo Helps You Build Better Links

A guest post on Ontolo from In Business, Inc.’s David Wolf features a great graphic of a flowchart that aims to increase the quality of your links. Also, the process depicted is also meant to work wonders for your efficiency and productivity.

Analysis By: David Wolf, Ontolo

Make Sure Your Site Redesign Helps Instead Of Hurts

If you’re planning a hefty redesign to your site and are super excited about it, make sure you check out this article that lists and explains three key factors to implement before you get too deep. This extremely informative article could end up saving you a great deal of time, or it may expose how much time you have wasted with a faulty design. Either way, it’s helpful.

Analysis By: Beth Tackaberry, Search Engine Land

Matt Cutts Talks Penalties

Ever wonder if or how you can get rid of those pesky penalties from Google? Check out this YouTube video where Matt Cutts talks about the types of penalties that Google has in place and just how long they will last.

Analysis By: Matt Cutts, YouTube

Valentine’s Day Teaches Us Lessons About…Maximizing Our Return On Investment (ROI)

If you’re a retailer, a consumer, or if you just really enjoy data, check out this article that tracks the average order volume from retailers starting around Thanksgiving and ending just before Valentine’s Day. You may be surprised by the information that was found.

Analysis By: Joe Romero, Efficient Frontier

Groupon’s Short Climb To The Top Of The Daily Deal Ladder

Take a look at this article that profiles daily deal site, Groupon. Get a closer look at how the company operates, size up their competition, and also see how their rapid expansion could possibly end up hurting their local appeal.

Analysis By: Wailin Wong, Chicago Tribune

Can Inflation Be Tracked On The Web?

Bloomberg Business Week profiles Alberto Cavallo, an economist that created software that can index 5 million products from roughly 300 online retailers. Check out the article to see how Cavallo’s Billion Prices Project could possibly be bringing the Bureau of Labor Statistics into the age of cell phones and e-commerce.

Analysis By: Barrett Sheridan, Bloomberg Business Week

Spruce Up Your Project Management Skills

Have trouble juggling multiple projects? Continually getting slowed down by clients that aren’t being clear with their vision? Read this article that outlines 7 strategies that aim to help you maximize your potential when it comes to project management.

Analysis By: James Clear, Six Revisions