Google’s January Updates and What They Mean For SEO

Google, Updates

Authorship Reduction

A new year often means new changes and Google is no exception. In January, we saw the results of the great Google Authorship “purge”. But this reduction of Authorship was brought to our attention as early as October 2013. Take a look at the graph below to see the timeline of Authorship reduction since this first public announcement of changes to come:

authorship-30day

As you can see, Authorship in search results have dropped greatly in the projected 30 day period.

What Does It Mean?

Losing Authorship on your search terms can be a big hit to your business. The problem is that Google felt like there were too many Authorship results, and rich snippets to begin with. Which is why they were working to tone things down. The important thing to remember is that there is no clear answer at this point.  Some experts speculate that the loss of Authorship can be attributed to: certain industries, Authorship authority (or Author Rank) and even website authority.

One thing does go without saying, you can’t depend on Authorship showing up as a guarantee. Because there is so much that is unclear, the best we can do is to keep doing what we’re doing: work on your reputation by building up website and Authorship authority. But don’t forget to stay tuned for the latest news.

Exact Search Queries in Webmaster Tools

If you’ve checked Google Webmaster Tools recently, you may see a vertical line at 12/31/13 indicating that there had been a Google WMT update. From this point on, Google will report the exact number of search queries, instead of displaying a rounded number. This may be a result of Google wanting webmasters do a better job in analyzing website data. Or it could be a result of criticism that Google doesn’t give website owners enough information. People are going so far as to use third-party tools (like StatCounter), which Google probably doesn’t want to promote the practice of.

What Does It Mean?

Google Webmaster Tools is now more accurate, with the ability to give you exactly what you’re looking for, including exact impressions and clicks for a given keyword or page. You can even search for a specific date or a given date range. If you have any more questions, check out the Official Google Webmaster Central Blog post here.

Google Adding Dates to Your Content

This post on Google Product Forums gives an example of when Google automatically adds a date to your content. Interestingly enough, this page no longer ranked in Google once that date was added to the page’s snippet. There are many questions to ask in this scenario: Why would Google add a date to a page? How can a date affect the page’s CTR? Is this just a fluke or something Google is working on implementing on a wider scale?

What Does It Mean?

Since this specific example didn’t have a specific answer, we can only assume that it’s a bug that will be fixed once it’s passed onto the team. But it does raise the concept of keeping fresh content on your website. Snippets for in-depth articles come to mind. Even if it’s not something that I’ve seen in results, it still means that something is in the works on Google’s end!

 

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

How to work with a search marketing company or consultant

I thought this topic would be relavant to our customers as well as others out there that work with a search marketing company or consultant. I recently spoke to one of our paid search and search engine optimization (SEO) customers today and discovered some interesting data. The orginal intent of the call was to followup on a new 800 number to better track the calls coming through. The customer went on to discuss what keywords are most effective for their paid search and SEO campaigins. This customer surveys all potential customers to find out what search engine they found them on, what keyword was specifically used to find them, and what state they’re calling from. With these 3 pieces of data we were able to make adjustments in real time to their paid search campaign. The SEO campaign does not have this flexibility but when it’s time to renew thier SEO campaign we can add some of these words to their campagin. So make sure to keep your search marketing company up to date on what’s working for you. The more information you can provide, the better the company or consultant will be able to fine tune the search marketing campaign. This could be done through a weekly phone call or a weekly email. If you’re not already tracking this information, start today. It’s your money so you might as well get the best value out of your marketing spend.

Here’s a list of some helpful things you can do yourself to get the most out of your search marketing campaign:

  • Track site traffic through free Google Analytics
  • Use free Google Webmaster Tools (You might need some help from a webmaster to get this initially setup)
  • Track your data on a spread sheet (what search engines you were found on, what words, was it organic or a paid search ad?, etc.)
  • Stay in touch with your search marketing company on a weekly basis
  • Stay current with search marketing trends by reading blogs like ours and one or all of these: Search Engine Land, Search Engine Guide, or SEOMoz (I currently subscribe to these and 6 others through Google Reader which is a nice way to feed all of these sites into one reader.
  • Request your paid search log-ins for Google, Yahoo, and MSN and log-in yourself to see what’s working and what words are being advertised. Some search marketing companies will not give this information out and provide generic reports. At emarketed we give access to your accounts if you request this information. You can login and run all types of reports to find out what’s working and what’s not.

Well that’s it for now. I will post more tips to this post in the future so stay tuned. Please also feel free to comment if you have some ideas that can help.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.