Tag Archives: Facebook

Keywords, and #Hashtags, and Hummingbird! Oh My!

A long-standing aphorism in the search community dictates that chaos brings opportunity. Well, Google has brought us the chaos.

 

The last couple of weeks have been full of the kind of Google news that fundamentally alters the way SEO professionals and site owners do business. Reeling from a triple shot of change, the search community has been eating anti-anxiety meds, writing emails to clients explaining what will happen next, and generally running around in circles.

 

From a social media and content marketer point of view, Google’s recent changes ring with the thrill of opportunity.

 

Businesses tend to parcel out their digital marketing tasks to multiple third-party service providers. One company does SEO. Another does PPC and a third does social marketing.

 

Now Google has given our industry a reason to force consolidation. Businesses that continue to see digital marketing as a series of silos will miss out on a myriad of opportunities to cross-pollinate their marketing with all of the their other online efforts.

 

Here’s what Google has changed and what those changes mean from a social marketer’s point of view.

 

Keyword Reporting

 

Not Sure If...

 

As Thom Craver pointed out in his article, “Goodbye, Keyword Data,” all searches now happen on encrypted servers, eliminating keyword data previously provided to site owners. Google said it’s a user privacy issue:

 

“We added SSL encryption for our signed-in search users in 2011, as well as searches from the Chrome omnibox earlier this year,” a Google spokesperson told Search Engine Watch. “We’re now working to bring this extra protection to more users who are not signed in.”

 

For businesses that live and die by their keyword rankings this sounds like catastrophic news. In fact, their visibility for certain terms in search is only a starting place. Granted it’s an enormously strong starting place.

 

Keywords told us “what,” but weren’t indicators of how likely a site visitor would find exactly what they were looking for on a particular website or how likely they were to stick around and convert into a paying customer.

 

The removal of keywords forces website marketers to move the needle forward. Google is very good at figuring out what your site is about and no longer wants to be told.

 

This is where content and social media come into play. Well-written pages that serve value to the human beings navigating a website are critical to conversions and true ROI.

 

Establishing relationships via social media with visitors that are still in the decision-making process help to foster an emotional affinity for the brand and separate the researchers from real customers. In other words, search and social shouldn’t be separate. They need to be working together as a marketing team.

 

Hashtag Search

 

hashtag-abuse

 

Just as easily as Google taketh away the keywords, Google giveth hashtagging. Hashtags, particularly those used in Google+, are now providing value added results in Google search.

 

Along with standard search results for their query, the user will also get a live scrolling feed of public Google+ posts bearing the hashtag searched for and links to those hashtag feeds on Twitter and Facebook. The Google+ feed isn’t showing up for every hashtag searched, it seems to depend on if the tag is trending at the time of the search.

 

Hastags present branding and topical authority opportunities. When used judiciously, well-placed hashtags in blog titles, Google+ posts, Facebook and Twitter updates, and in image descriptions across Pinterest, Instagram, and Vine can add a layer of cohesiveness to a brand’s online campaigns.

 

One of my clients is interested in developing an ongoing series of Hangouts on Air for their customers. We had already discussed the use of a branded hashtag to help promote discussion on other platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Now that we know there is an added benefit in search, we will be even more tactical about how we post and share promotions of their Hangouts.

 

Combined with the authorship markup, hashtags used appropriately in blogs should help writers aggregate their articles around specific topics and increase the perception of authority on those topics.

 

Hummingbird Update

 

Google Hummingbird

 

Danny Goodwin points out that the technological update of Google search is designed to handle more complex queries, in his article, “Google Hummingbird Takes Flight.”

 

As the search engine has matured over the last 15 years, its understanding of language has become more sophisticated. Like any other teenager, it can combine vocabulary with grammar to understand the meaning of questions rather than just matching words on page to words in a query. Google has grown up to understand how we communicate and share information with one another.

 

This is what is most exciting about Internet marketing. The content of a website no longer needs to be artificially loaded with terms meant to attract web crawlers.

 

The more we produce material that real human readers will enjoy, the more search will understand the communication connection. The digital space continues to become a more accurate reflection the real world.

 

Summary

 

Embrace the change, shift your paradigm, tear down a few cubical walls, and free your content writers, webmasters, SEO professionals, and community managers to work as a cohesive team. It’s a brave new world we live in.

 

Thank you for visiting.
Andrew Radics

 

Image Credit: Dimka/Flickr

 

Article Source: http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2299177/Keywords-and-Hashtags-and-Hummingbird-Oh-My

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Matt Cutts: Google +1s Don’t Lead to Higher Ranking

Matt Cutts - SMX Advanced 2012 Photos

Matt Cutts – SMX Advanced 2012 Photos (Photo credit: planetc1)

It isn’t often that Google’s Distinguished Engineer Matt Cutts comes right out to debunk a highly publicized blog post regarding something to do with ranking in Google.

 

Everybody has their own opinions of what works and what doesn’t work, and SEO in itself can be highly subjective, primarily because Google doesn’t really come out and specifically admit the things that work, because they don’t want people gaming the system.

 

Moz published a blog post “Amazing Correlation Between Google +1s and Higher Search Rankings” claiming that Google +1s had a direct correlation with higher search rankings in Google – and that it was higher than any other ranking factor. The post was written by Cyrus Shepard, the “Senior Content Astronaut” at Moz, and the data was taken from their 2013 ranking factors.

 

It’s a pretty sensational title, and immediately sparked a lot of discussion. His post brought up a lot of points about why he feels this correlation is correct, such as posts shared on Google+ are crawled and indexed almost immediately, and that posts on the site pass “link equity”. He also noted that authorship shares in the rankings as well. However, he’s also stating it as fact, instead of just a possibility without any specific hard data with proof, such as specific sites where an increase in rankings can be solely attributed to Google +1’s.

 

In addition to grabbing the attention of many in the SEO industry (many of whom trashed the post as being highly flawed), Cutts immediately stepped into debunk the claim of the correlation between rankings and +1s. Specifically, Cutts wrote:

 

Just trying to decide the politest way to debunk the idea that more Google +1s lead to higher Google web rankings. Let’s start with correlation != causation: http://xkcd.com/552/

But it would probably be better to point to this 2011 post (also from SEOMoz/Moz) from two years ago in which a similar claim was made about Facebook shares: http://moz.com/blog/does-google-use-facebook-shares-to-influ… . From that blog post from two years ago: “One of the most interesting findings from our 2011 Ranking Factors analysis was the high correlation between Facebook shares and Google US search position.”

 

This all came to a head at the SMX Advanced search conference in 2011 where Rand Fishkin presented his claims. I did a polite debunk of the idea that Google used Facebook shares in our web ranking at the conference, leading to this section in the 2011 blog post: “Rand pointed out that Google does have some access to Facebook data overall and set up a small-scale test to determine if Google would index content that was solely shared on Facebook. To date, that page has not been indexed, despite having quite a few shares (64 according to the OpenGraph).”

 

If you make compelling content, people will link to it, like it, share it on Facebook, +1 it, etc. But that doesn’t mean that Google is using those signals in our ranking.

 

Rather than chasing +1s of content, your time is much better spent making great content.

 

So his belief falls in line with what a lot of SEO professionals are doing for long-term SEO success, where creating great quality content that is more likely to be shared is the best kind of strategy when it comes to content.

 

He does continue to reiterate that +1s and rankings are not related. “Most of the initial discussion on this thread seemed to take from the blog post the idea that more Google +1s led to higher web ranking. I wanted to preemptively tackle that perception.”

 

Cutts also mentioned that another SEO has been doing a rigorous study on whether it +1s lead to higher rankings are not, which he suspects will be released the next month or two. If it is providing specific examples in the study, it will be good to be the most conclusive evidence SEOs will have about whether it is or isn’t a ranking factor with concrete data to back it up.

 

Cutts made similar statements last year at SES San Francisco, when he said that Google doesn’t put a lot of weight on +1’s yet and advised people not to assume Google+ equates to rankings.

 

Below are a few reactions from Twitter. What’s your take?

 

moz-tweet-dave-naylor

moz-tweet-ben-cook

moz-tweet-chad-lio

moz-tweet-paul-gailey

 

Thank you for visiting.
Andrew Radics

 

Original Article Source

 

 

 

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