Archive for the 'Search engine' Category


From Ice Cream Sandwiches to SEO

I just got my Android Smartphone firmware and software update to the latest Android Platform called Ice Cream Sandwich. Do you know what was the most noticeable change? Voice-activated Google.

Say What?

I’m serious. I can now conduct a Google search by speaking into my phone. This got me to think about the impact to SEO.  Voice search is not new, iPhone 4S Siri is basically voice activated search. However, with a direct voice activated Google search, I see the popularity of voice search taking off.

One of the interesting differences: when I am typing, I see projected search suggestions. That won’t happen while I am speaking. Also while typing, I am more likely to keep adding modifiers to whittle down my search results. I don’t think that will happen while I am speaking. We tend to speak naturally even when using voice activated software and that will mean a different set of search results.

Also, the accuracy of uncommon searches that are spoken can be challenging. For example, I wanted to search about the General Petraeus Affair, my spoken search result was “general betray us affair.” As I think about it, the search results probably would have taken me to the same place.

One other difference, voice activated users will need to see search results in a more consumer friendly format. I’ll accept fewer results but I’ll definitely need a better idea of where the results will take me.

For marketers, there is one thing I see that will be very important in the future – Video Optimization. All marketers will need to pay close attention to their video descriptions and how it can be shared on social networks. Think about how the video will be searched when spoken as well as keywords for typed searches. With the number of Smartphone users growing and two of the favorite activities being watching videos and sharing them on Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest, implementing good SEO practices will reap benefits.

Let us know what you think the impact of searching out loud will have on SEO. Share your thoughts with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow @Weise_Ideas on Twitter.


Google and Improved SEO: Possible Projects Post Panda and Penguin

As the world’s leading search engine, Google wields a lot of power. One of the things we like best about Google’s mission is they want to provide the best search experience possible, they want users to get the information they are looking to receive.

As the search engine optimization (SEO) world continues to learn about Google’s ever-changing algorithms, there are do’s and don’ts of SEO that Google rewards and penalizes. Ultimately, you should align with Google’s goal of providing the best experience for your customers and clients. The combination of fresh, relevant content, high quality links and trusted authority are still your best SEO options.

The most recent Google product updates had significant impact on SEO. Panda focused on high quality content. Sites leveraging content produced by “content farms” like had their organic search rankings negatively impacted. Sites that produced relevant, high quality content were rewarded.  Penguin focused on off-site SEO, most notably links. Sites that were link spammers (the most common tactic is to reply to blogs with links in the reply) or sites that purchased links in hopes of higher rankings were negatively impacted.

We thought it would be interesting to predict some other possible projects for Google. Here is our list (with the pre-requisite animal starting with the letter P):

Puppy – As social media becomes more important in search results, preference will be given to other Google products like Google+ and YouTube. Some of the wisdom behind the importance of social media in SEO relates to my friends recommendations. If they like it, I’ll like it. If they read it, I’ll read it. These recommendations are coming from a source I trust.

Pit Bull – This project should come on the heels of Puppy. An individual’s social media reputation will play a large role in the credibility of what they share and how much they share. One of the reasons we like reading unbiased journalist reports is the credibility behind the words. How much credibility can you attach to the recommendations of FireBreath919?

Piranha – The combination of Social, Local and Mobile (SoLoMo) will be a major driver to SEO. This will incorporate a swarm of social media and location based services like: Google Places, Yelp, Groupon, Living Social and Foursquare to offer a very tailored search for mobile devices.

Porcupine – As Google Analytics keeps delivering “not provided” as a term used to search a site under the cloak of protecting privacy, this will become a revenue opportunity for Google. Are you willing to pay a monthly fee to see what people are searching to find your site? If you pay that fee, will your SEO improve because you’re providing better content or because you are simply paying that fee? This prickly project might be a longer-term, but clearly on the radar.

Let us know if you see other projects on Google’s horizon. Want to add to this list, share your thoughts here or on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow us on Twitter at @Weise_Ideas.


Google creates a keyword black hole negatively impacting SEO

On October 18, 2011, Google announced it would block keywords from natural search results for users signed into Google products such as Google+ or Gmail. Google said the motivation behind the decision was to protect the privacy of personalized search results. This motive is bogus for two reasons:

  1. Google has NEVER provided a keyword search result tied to a specific individual.
  2. They are still providing the keyword search results for someone signed into a Google product if it is PAID search traffic.

Now, our Google Analytics for the Weise Communications website, and for clients’ websites returns, “Not Provided” as the highest or second highest keyword result.

As someone who creates Internet content, I believe hiding keyword search referral data from unpaid search results impairs my ability to deliver high quality content to my audience and my clients’ target markets.

By creating a black hole of keyword results, I also predict that some websites will turn to black hat tactics to compensate for the loss of data.

However, we send major props to Avinash Kaushik for his post about five steps to Smarter Data Analysis of Google’s https (not provided) change. I have not seen anything close to adapting to Google’s decision and improvising a solution.

What Avinash proposes is not easy to do. Quite frankly, I don’t know any clients that would be willing to pay for this analysis today to improve SEO. However, “not provided” is only at 10 – 18 percent, Google wants that to be as close to 100 percent as possible. I reserve the right to revisit that statement as more and more keyword results are hidden from companies and they feel the pain of not knowing what people are searching to reach their website.

Unless they pay for the privilege.

Let us know if you’ve seen “not provided” search results impact on your SEO. Share your thoughts here, on our Facebook page at Weise Communications, or message us on Twitter at @Weise_Ideas.



SEO Tip: Improve Your Ranking with Google Places

Last week, I had the privilege to be interviewed by Angel Tuccy and Eric Reamer of the Experience Pros Radio Show on KLZ in Denver to discuss search engine optimization – SEO (Click on pic of Angel and Eric for the podcast) Unfortunately, we ran out of time before I could provide a hot SEO business tip that any business with a physical location can implement today.

Google Places is a free service provided by Google that combines a physical address with the robust Google Maps application. Google Places allows an individual to review and evaluate business listings. For marketing professionals,of of the best reasons to understand Google Places is that Google has a clear preference for businesses listed in Google Places when providing search results.

Here is an example, I entered the search term “copying” and the first page of Google has two paid ads, a wiki entry about the subject copying, two company websites FedEx Office and Staples, then the Google Places results. Interestingly, the top three selections in the Google Places listings all have customer reviews.

Now that you see Google Places is important to Google ranking, there are some to do’s that are important:

  • Since Google Places uses an algorithm to list the most relevant results, you should include the most important keywords for your business in the 200-character description of the listing.
  • Listings are allowed to include up to five photos. Use appropriate keyword titles for the pictures that will also help with SEO. It is important to control the photos attached to your Google Places listing because with the fleet of street view camera cars, Google reserves the right to use their sources to add photos to your listing.
  • Encourage customers to leave reviews on the Google Places page. You can set up a program to give a customer a discount on a return visit for a positive review. One note of caution: Do not submit multiple reviews from the same IP address. The people at Google are smart, if you cram a bunch of reviews from the same IP address, Google will identify and consider this type of behavior a violation.
  • Be sure to add your Google Places site to your analytics. In addition to traffic, the analytics dashboard will show you the search terms used to find your Google Places listing. This will provide valuable information as you can focus your content creation on relevant search terms.

Let us know if you’ve used Google Places and seen impact on your SEO. Share your thoughts here or on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow us on Twitter at @Weise_Ideas.


Is Google+ Creating a New Type of SEO?

As Google+ keeps growing, many people are wondering, what will the new ‘+1’ feature do for SEO?” Will Google searches give a search advantage to sites that have been “+1?”

We believe Google+ is essentially going to put a different spin on searching.  The +1 button is similar to Facebook’s “like” button.  However, Google is taking it one step further.  If your friends and family recommend content with the +1 button, this content is going to become more relevant in your searches. SEO Scheduler discussed what Google insiders said about this new +1 feature:

“Content recommended by friends and acquaintances is often more relevant than content from strangers. For example, a movie review from an expert is useful, but a movie review from a friend who shares your tastes can be even better. Because of this, +1’s from friends and contacts can be a useful signal to Google when determining the relevance of your page to a user’s query. This is just one of many signals Google may use to determine a page’s relevance and ranking, and we’re constantly tweaking and improving our algorithm to improve overall search quality. For +1′s, as with any new ranking signal, we’ll be starting carefully and learning how those signals affect search quality.”

Essentially Google+ is turning SEO into SER, Search Engine Relevance.  And the relevance part is if people you know “like” certain content. The ability for this to change the way you get content from searches is going to be a slow process, so no need to worry just yet.  First of all, you must be signed into Google+ for this to have any affect on the content Google gives you.  Also, until you build your Google+ circles and recommending content reach critical mass, the social search feature isn’t going to have much impact.

Another thing to be aware of is that Google has not yet set up profiles for businesses.  You may notice that in order to get information from a business on Google+ page, it must be from a specific person, not the business.  For marketers, once business profiles are implemented, jump on the bandwagon ASAP.  This will definitely improve SEO and allow a business to utilize “relevance searching” to your advantage.

Our best advice today is to be keenly aware of Google+. Start by implementing +1 buttons on websites to get better page rankings. However, there is no need to immediately change the way you create SEO. Our prediction is that social searching could be HUGE in the near future!

Props to Natalie Kleopfer for her research and contributions to this story.

Let us know if you have started implementing +1 buttons and if you are using Google+. Share your thoughts on the impact of Google+ with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow us on Twitter at @Weise_Ideas.


Google Panda: Newly released SEO algorithm changes act more like a grizzly

The panda has been released! The good news: it is a much better web search experience for Google users. The more challenging news: companies are going to have to react to these changes and implement new web practices.  The new Google algorithm, called Panda, was created to lower rankings for low-quality sites.

One of the very visible changes with Panda is the ability for USERS to block content delivered to them with one click.  Google has promised that they will not use blocking data to change the algorithm, instead they will watch blocking data to authenticate the algorithm. “Authenticate not change,” sounds a little like “Trust but verify;” – potential slippery slope if concerted efforts are launched to artificially suppress content by users…or rival companies.

Here’s an example of how users can block content:

In this search, I am using Mozilla Firefox to search “Twister.”  I get a mix of the children’s game, the movie starring Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton, and tornadoes. I also come across a random restaurant called Twister, seen below.

If you click a link, then hit the back button return to the Google search, you will see an opportunity to block that result from the search.

In this second picture, if you look at the area highlighted in the yellow circle, you’ll see “Block all results”

In early testing using the Google Chrome browser, they found an 84 percent overlap in sites that were negatively impacted by Panda and sites that users had blocked during the Chrome testing.

Winners in a world after Panda will be companies focusing on high-quality original content. Marketers should consider blogs, infographics, webinars, whitepapers, etc. to attract links with authority. Copify Director Martin Harrison describing the increase in copywriting jobs “SEOs are realizing that quality content really will make the difference as Google continues to refine its algorithm.” Google Engineer, Matt Cutts described Panda impact, “The net effect is that searchers are more likely to see the sites that wrote the original content rather than a site that scraped or copied the original site’s content.”

Backlinks are legitimate traffic drivers to high quality content. Marketers should strive to secure quality backlinks to increase authority to your website. Backlinks from content farms like,, and are detrimental to your organic web search.

Keyword bloat is a slow death sentence for any website. You have to choose relevant keywords that will work together on the page. Keyword bloat happens when companies use keyword density as a measure of optimization and they constantly add keywords in an attempt to improve page rankings.  One of the ways Panda can discern keyword bloat is the length of time it takes for the website to load.

Tell us if you’ve used the new block content option from Google and if you have seen an improvement in searching. Share your thoughts with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow us for free on Twitter at @Weise_Ideas.


“Black Hat” SEO Tactics: Lessons Learned from JCPenney

As a business or franchise owner, online marketing through effective search engine optimization (SEO) is essential. However, what happens when “black hat” tricks are used to insure top rankings? Ask JCPenney. Recently it was revealed that JCPenney used dirty SEO tactics during the holiday season to maintain the number one ranked spot within search engine results pages (SERP). For months on end if someone searched using the keywords dress, luggage, area rug or bedding; JCPenney was the first result to hit the screen. This was not because JCPenney was seen as the most essential or relevant site for these products. JCPenney appeared in the number one spot because of the adverse “black hat” tactics.

Recently The New York Times release an article “The Dirty Little Secrets of Search,”  exposing JCPenney’s “black hat” tactics and highlighting Google’s penalty for their use.

There are a number of factors that directly impact the ranking of a website within search engine results. One factor is the amount of links from one site to another. For example, if you own a site that showcases a cleaning business and each of your clients has a link from their site to yours, this will cause your cleaning site to rise in search engine rank. Linking adds credibility and more visibility to your website. This is the tactic used by JCPenney but not in an honest way. According to the article, “Someone paid to have thousands of links placed on hundreds of sites scattered around the Web, all of which lead directly to” As a result of this the retailer was able to outrank the competition and brand manufactures for months on end. This tactic was dirty and gave the store a very unfair advantage.

The goal of Google and other search engines is to provide the most relevant search results for their users. Upon finding out JCPenney paid for link placement, Google took immediate action to manually correct the issue. Google aimed to specifically demote JCPenney. They were very successful in this corrective agenda. Merely weeks ago, JCPenney was number one on the search engine charts, today it is buried due to their questionable SEO tactics which resulted in the immediate displacement of the company’s search engine consultant firm.

The JCPenney story acts as a lesson to all online advertisers and businesses that aim to obtain higher search engine rankings. The use of legitimate SEO tactics is imperative. It is vital that your business uses “white hat” methods to insure success in SEO.

If you are looking for fresh ideas to help maximize the SEO of your site or would like to share valuable tips please contact us. Share with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow @Weise_Ideas on Twitter.


Three Ways Your Blog Can Improve Your SEO

According to Hitwise, Facebook was the top visited website in the U.S. in 2010, accounting for 8.93 percent of site visits in 2010. Google came in second at 7.19 percent. Additionally, six of the top 10 searched terms were related to social media, this is further indication that social networking is the first source for information while searching the web.  There are some simple tricks to leverage your company blog and the social media trend that will increase your SEO.

  • Link Bait – Obtaining quality links to your website has a direct impact on SEO. One effective way to gain more links is to provide the bait to attract the links. Link Bait is anything you create on the Internet that inspires other people to link to it. You simply need to provide the incentive to get someone to link to your content.

You may ask, why would someone link to my content? Basic human nature, people share content that makes them seem funny, helps them appear to be clever or possess special information.

With publications like Newsweek predicting 2011 to be the year of the social media bubble, effective link bait will become critical as people turn to websites like Twitter and Facebook as their first source for information.

  • Easy to Share – By writing content that provides value, is easy to read and is easy to share, you’ll attract more inbound links. You must keep your headline ‘re-tweetable’. Not only must your headline be intriguing enough for someone to want to learn more, but you also need to account for the 140-character limit on Twitter. With many websites allowing visitors to post a micro URL (i.e., or onto their Twitter account, and to allow for your Twitter handle, you’ll need to keep the headline to under 100 characters.
  • Content to Share – Even if you create some great content and make it easy to share, you still need to consider what people will actually share.  This is by no means an exhaustive list, however, these categories are the most likely content to be shared:
    • First to Cover News/Discuss News
    • Insight/Perspective on Controversial Topics
    • Behind the Scenes or Insider’s View
    • Lists/Poll Results/Informational Graphics
    • Reviews/Recaps/Roundups
    • Really Humorous Video

Let us know if you have other SEO-improving tips for blogs. Share your thoughts with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow @Weise_Ideas on Twitter.




Spam-free Searching: Can Blekko Seize the Moment?

Alternative search engine relies on Slashtags

Bing TV Ad - Search Engine Overload

I’ve always enjoyed the TV ads for Bing, they focus on one of my biggest frustrations with search engines – the superfluous, unrelated information delivered as search results.  Bing was the first alternative search engine focused on providing better search results. Although, once the deal with Yahoo! was finalized, it can be argued that they are courting the same advertising dollars as Google – as evidenced with the Bing PPC guidelines.

Google addressed the issue with the launch of Google Instant in September. It allows me to refine my search terms dynamically.  Now, comes a new search engine, Blekko, currently in beta. This search engine encourages the use of slashtags to reduce spam.

Basically, a slashtag filters search results by limiting the sites that are searched.  The slashtag mirrors the popular Twitter hashtag and if slashtags catch on, search could be significantly changed.

Here’s a quick example of the slashtag “/”:

If you select a topic that has a lot of content covered from many viewpoints, you can use the hashtag to identify the viewpoint you wish to find.  If your subject is “global warming”, you can use the slashtag /liberal or /conservative and get distinctly different results.

Since the more traditional search engines do not provide results ranked by journalistic integrity, the searcher has to wade through content returned driven from SEO-centric sites that aggregate content without regard to reputation, credibility or integrity. The flood of second-rate, SEO-driven content is an opportunity for a search engines that eliminate spam.

This leads to a series of interesting questions that will impact future marketing decisions:

  • Will Blekko gain traction outside the tech community?
  • Will slashtags impact search engine optimization techniques?
  • Will the public change behavior and type a symbol prior to searching for a topic?
  • Are the searches really better than what I can get with Google?

Blekko acknowledges that it is still in the embryonic stages. That is partially why it still in its beta stage. “This is just the beginning.  We wanted to put out a base set of features, but we can think of lots of ways to work with our users to improve search,” said Blekko CEO Rich Skrenta.

Tell us if you think there is an opportunity for a new search engine or are we already saturated, and if you think the slashtag is an innovation or just too late to make a difference. You can find Weise Communications on Facebook and follow @Weise_Ideas on Twitter.


Share The Side Note

Facebook Twitter More...

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,099 other followers

Weise Twitter