Category Archives: Internet News

Google Plus Results in Organic SERPS

This morning after being inspired this weeks MOZ video on Google+ and how it impacts personalised search results I decided to do some testing on Google for myself. Literally the first keyword I searched for showed a new result that I’ve not seen before – individual Google+ posts are now appearing as organic search results!

*NOTE – I’ve since been told this is not new but is something that has appeared in the US for a while now. Have to be honest and say I missed this first time around :)

Googleplussearch

 

The post that shows up for a search for “Handbags” (I work in fashion) is a post that was made nearly 1 year ago, and only had 2 +1′s. I was logged in to Google obviously so I was expecting to see persoanlised results but never have I seen the integration at this level.

The post itself had the word Handbags mentioned once and a few variations of bags plus also linked to our main product page for that item.

 

Googleplussearch1

I couldn’t find any other results that triggered this but if anyone else does please let me know!

 

Google Exact Match Domain (EMD) Penalty or Update – First Look

I guess the latest Google update penalty shouldn’t have been a surprise for many of us, we’ve all known that exact match domains have had extra punching weight when it comes to rankings in Google for some time now. For those that were not aware, on Friday 28th September Matt Cutt’s announced the following algorithm update:

Like many other SEO’s I run a number of affiliate or adsense site, these help pay for my server and for content development – so I checked out what impact this update has had. For the data below I have used 10 of my exact match domain websites as an example to see what aspects if any contribute to the algorithm change – out of the 10, 9 are .co.uk domains and 1 is a .org.

Change in Rankings since update

The graph above illustrates ranking changes over the weekend for the keyword that is targeted in the EMD – you can see that the results are quite dramatic, with only 2 of the 10 sites not dropping rankings. The largest drop in rankings came in at minus 191 positions but the overall average in ranking drop came in at  minus 81.

Ranking Change Versus Age of EMD

What’s interesting in this graph is that certainly looks like there is a correlation of the EMD site age and what effect this latest has update has had on them. The 3 youngest EMD sites in Medical, Insurance and Beauty  are all over 1 year old but have sustained the most drops and the 4 eldest sites have had the least amount of drops in rankings.

Ranking Change Versus Number of Links

Now I realise that number of links is not really a very useful metric as it’s always quality over quantity and unsurprisingly there is no correlation against the ranking drops.

Ranking Change Versus EMD Search Volume

So search volume is one metric I guessed would play some part in the update and this really does play a big part in the EMD strategy – it’s historically been the higher the search volume the more expensive the EMD is worth. Although you can see that the domains with the least amount of search volume are generally the least effected it’s not clear cut – there are some sites with low EMD search volume that have had big drops in rankings (beauty niche) and other sites with a low number of drops with higher search volume (film niche 1) – so there must be other factors that are taken into consideration.

Ranking Change Versus Content Quality

Ok, so this is probably the least scientific metric as I’ve personally graded my own website content quality. I like to think that none of the sites in this study would be considered spammy, I’ve either written the content myself or paid someone a decent wage to write content for me. What I’ll also admit is that within these 10 websites there are some which I believe have very good content and some that are probably now out of date or towards the lower end of the quality scale. What I find interesting is that 2 of the top 3 sites (in order of website content quality) have had the least impact – but what I find more frustrating is that the site I work on the most/consider the most valuable is one of the EMDs that has suffered the biggest drop (Medical Niche). As well as that Insurance Niche 1 site has low and certainly out of date content but has not really been impacted at all (but this is one of the sites with the lowest EMD search volume).

Ranking Change Versus MozRank and MozTrust

Now this graph above surprised me the most – you can see that there very clearly seems to be some correlation between Moz Trust and drops in the rankings (besides Film Niche 1) but it doesn’t make any sense – surely websites with good MR and MT would have good links and therefore be treated well by Google, but for EMD this really doesn’t seem to be the case.

Takeaways from this study

  • The age of your exact match domain does seem to play a part and anything under 1 years old will most likely have received a drop during this recent update
  • If your EMD is targeting keywords with fairly low search volume you may be ok, those with higher search volume appear to be further impacted (although at a very high 50k+ searches a month I am not sure)
  • Google seems to be counteracting the negative value of EMD’s with the sites true content value. My Medical Niche website has the best content (text, video and images), the most valuable links and the highest MR and MT but has dropped 143 positions

This update from Google has certainly reduced the value of EMD which was needed in many areas of the web, that being said not all EMD’s are spammy and some are certainly more valuable than a user generated Wikipedia page (which seem to have prospered from this update). Will Google release a second update? Maybe – for the sake of some of my websites I certainly hope so.

Google Authorship with NEW Smaller Images

I came across a feature in the UK search results for “seo” whereby it appears an unusual size of the Google Authorship tag. You can see the result below:

At first I thought I was logged in and this was just a recommended listing however on closer inspection the link “Terry Simmonds” actually points to a Google+ profile. I then checked a number of other pages to see if this was the same across multiple pages on the site:

This was not the case it was only the homepage of this website which Google shows the smaller Google Authorship thumbnail and link. I also thought that the review stars may be causing the authorship feature to appear smaller but when I looked at the rich snippet testing tool it gave me a normal result:

So what could this be? I have thought for a while that Google is giving a lot of kudos to any page with the authorship feature as it does draw a lot more of the SERP CTR even at lower positions (and probably takes away something from PPC too) – this could be then a test for a smaller thumbnail images being replaced in Google.