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My THUMB! Waving Bye-Bye to Authorship

GREAT NEWS!  Google has decided to drop those Google+ thumbnail images from its’ search results! Awesome.

Hold it.  How is THAT great news?  It’s not – exactly.  I’m being a bit facetious.  I’m not the first in line to sign up for new social platforms. Ever.  I only usually go with some trepidation as it opens up a whole new can of worms. One more thing to visit and one more thing to keep up with.  We have Facebook.  We have Twitter. We have LinkedIn. FourSquare. We have etc, ad nauseum.  Honestly, if I spent my time hopping into all those profiles on a daily basis, I’d get absolutely NOTHING accomplished in a day.  And then Google+ entered the fray with “Sliced Bread 2.0″ – and practically forced you into it if you wanted your site to appear in local. BUT, there was the shining single aspect of siging up for yet another social profile – and that was authorship.

The one thing that really DID make a difference for MOST people with the personal Google+ profile and all that effort was the Google Authorship component.  When properly implemented, and Google deemed fit,  this would allow a thumbnail to appear next to your SERP result on the search pages – and get a lot more attention than your non-thumbnailed competitors.  Even if you were way down on the page, this thumbnail just PULLED eyes to it on that page.

So, this really is NOT a good thing??

No. It’s not – if you were one of the people that either implemented or had your SEO people implement your authorship – and your image DID come up.   That extra bit of love your mug got anywhere on that search results page is gone – or will be within a day or two.  If you were one of those that never got it to work right, then you CAN count this as a good thing – since your more technical or deeper pocketed competitors will no longer have this advantage.

The ONLY Plus to Images Going Away

The ONLY appreciable benefit of authorship to MOST business users is/was getting the little image next to the SERP listing.  With the official announcement of no more images, there’s no reason to concern yourself with using authorship markup and having one more thing to stress over.

Heatmaps HAVE Shown

Regardless of what John Mueller says about the authorship NOT being that big a boon to click throughs in this announcement and rationalization of dropping images,  the eye DOES go to that picture – especially if you’re down in positions below #1. Especially if your result has/had the ONLY picture!

What IS the stated reason for dropping the images?

They caused problems for mobile users.

REALLY????  Sounds a little disingenuous to me, but I don’t drink the Google Kool-aid as served usually. I prefer mine with salt. Usually a LOT of salt.  The company that can tell me (or choose to NOT tell me as in the case of Analytics), the exact terms used to find my websites, which pages they went to, how long they stayed, where they came from, where they went, etc? The company that can read, catalog and store data from nearly a billion websites and decide who is worthy of each position for any given search?  And a thumbnail is causing problems for mobile users?  Mmmm… I’m not a genius, but a bit of CSS targeted at the device being used usually solves it for ME.  More on that in a second.

ANY Remaining Benefits to Authorship?

According to the Mueller post, G+ friends may still see your picture next to your listing.  That to me is a big maybe though and most people do NOT have a huge circle of G+ friends. If it’s there today, it very well may be gone tomorrow, so I just think it’s throwing time and effort to something that Google will likely change in the near future.  Besides, if they actually ARE your friends, it would be hoped that they know you well enough to KNOW that you do that kind of work, yes?

What’s the real reason for the image drop?

In my own view of things, I strongly suspect that those images were wildcards that were throwing wrenches in their egghead calculations.  But, ultimately, skewing their returns on AdWords.  Removing the images and eye draw down into the organics increases the value and CTR of the AdWords listings at the top. Increased attention to AdWords = increased revenue to Google.

“Thanks so much for the data everyone that did what we asked!  We don’t need any more, but we really appreciate it! BTW, we’re removing that feature. Thanks SO much for taking all that time to set everything up like we asked, waste a lot of time tryng to make heads or tails out of our typically cryptic descriptions and instructions, bulling your way through, MAKING it work,  enabling us to cull all your data, and then toss you like spoiled chicken. Did we mention we’re dropping that thumbnail thing? Have a rockin’ day!”

Is the Google Tangle Over?

Google got you in knots?Does this completely remove the need to deal with any of that Google knots? No, not at all. You’ll still need to navigate the UI and applications du jour to get your map listing and be found in the 2,3,4,5,6 or 7 mixed listing pack. You’ll still need to get verifications and all that. So, no, it’s not over. It’s still a mess.  It’s just one less thing to have to deal with – but one of the few useful and meaningful things to most website owners.

This is Business

I’ve read a quite a few comments on the Mueller post about people should have understood that the REAL reason behind implementing authorship was to provide quality content and be part of the community.  NOT to get your picture on and increased attention in the SERPs. Really?

Yeah, so we DO actually have a thing for purple moths... Listen, take off those rosy colored glasses, take a break from raising awareness about endangered left-handed purple midget Cranaberis moths that have 3 heads, and get a grip. (We do actually have a thing for purple moths ourselves…)  Without knowing the contents of Google’s databases, which they guard with more vigilance than Fort Knox, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that a far greater majority of the Google+/Local “community” is based on businesses that joined in hopes of increased rankings or part of an overall SEO / brand awareness strategy – not to gnosh granola and sing Kumbaya on Mount Utopia.  It’s a great song and all, but these are primarily small businesses that have limited budgets and want to get the absolute MOST for their buck whereEVER they spend it.

I had MANY that specifically came to me with the “Can you make my picture come up in the listings?” question.  I don’t recall even ONE coming to me and saying, “Eric, can you help us setup a Google plus and authorship profile because we really want to contribute deep, meaningful, quality content to the internet community?” Yeah, not one.  It’s about business.

If you can relate to the above, want a company that knows what you are looking for sans the Kumbaya, and wants SEO RESULTS, then you are OUR kind of customer.  Call us for serious search engine work.

What Is The True Value Of Google And Twitter Authorship? – Forbes

http://news.google.com Fri, 27 Jun 2014 18:49:09 GMT

The GuardianWhat Is The True Value Of Google And Twitter Authorship?ForbesAlthough Google announced this week that they have removed author images from search results, it doesn’t mean that they’ve done away with authorship altogether, only social ann …

Read more …

SearchCap: Google Drops Authorship Images, Updated AdWords Auction Video … – Search Engine Land

http://news.google.com Wed, 25 Jun 2014 21:16:46 GMT

Search Engine LandSearchCap: Google Drops Authorship Images, Updated AdWords Auction Video …Search Engine LandGoogle Drops Profile Photos, Google Circle Count From Authorship In Search Results Google’s John Mueller announced they are making a majo …

Read more …

Search Engine Optimization Apex NC

raleigh-seo-happenThe web is a busy market. Your web site is constantly competing with hundreds, or even thousands, of other websites, and standing out from the crowd is fundamental to your success. In this kind of competitive surroundings, the only method to get noticed is through the powerful implementation of Search Engine Optimization (Search Engine Marketing).

The formula is easy: with the majority of people in Apex using search engines to find what they can be searching for on the Web, you need to turn through to the first page of search results, rather towards the top of the page. If you do not get onto the first page then you’re losing out and someone else is taking your company.

Search Engine Optimization in Apex and the Triangle has become essential for any business trying to get detected on the web, and increasing your SEO efforts will lead to more visitors and more conversions. Even if you’ve got a Web site with a high conversion rate, if folks can’t find it then what is the point? You need to have a firm SEO strategy if you want to get ahead of the pack.

Do not let your lack of knowledge put you off of SEO. Apex, NC business owners can benefit today from our expert SEO services, and we can make your web site stick out from the bunch. We have the skills and the expertise to get results, as we have proven time and again for our satisfied clients in Apex and the Triangle.

Many businesses assert to provide SEO services, but frequently these are centered on the most fundamental of principles. They may understand what key word are, but do they understand how exactly to utilize them to the greatest effect? Can they supply you with keyword density guidance and provide real-life cases where their Search Engine Optimization abilities have generated top search engine ranks?

Our long experience in the subject of search engine optimization makes us the finest location to come for all aspects of SEO. Apex, NC residents can come to us for a full service, which goes way beyond the basics to enable you to get the back links and that all important search engine ranking that you need as a way to succeed.

Happy Customers - Understanding your SEO Project

Knowing what to expect = happy customers (in ANY business)

Seo is a science. It takes time, practice, and expert knowledge to genuinely get it to great use and start to see consequences. If you go having an SEO company that understands what it is doing, you are going to start to see all the advantages that come from an powerful strategy.

With regard to SEO Apex, NC residents happen to be benefiting from our services for years, and you want to help you too. We’ve got a great history across business sectors, meaning whatever sector you might be in we can help you with your Search Engine Optimization efforts.

If you are interested in being located, if you want additional clicks for your web site, if you desire a greater number of conversions, then we can supply you with what you should succeed. Our professional service and our focus on getting results mean our customers come back time and again when they need SEO. Apex residents can get in front of the remainder and improve their bottom line by benefiting from what we can offer, so contact us to learn how we can help you.

Our professional search engine optimization services make the difference between becoming located and being dismissed, between success and failure. Call  us today to figure out how we can enhance your Apex SEO efforts, and begin increasing your traffic now.

What to Expect from an SEO Campaign

When you work inside the world of Seach engine optimization day in and day out, it’s easy to forget that your clients (and potential clients) really don’t know what to expect.  For SEO people, we know the general times required to make things happen – and it’s not nearly as fast as business clients usually come to the table expecting.

Starting Out

What should you expect from a Raleigh SEO Campaign?

What should you expect from an SEO Campaign?

When you contact any company about improving your website rankings, usually the first thing that they will do is to examine your on-page elements. Most of the time, there are issues there that can be improved.  Sometimes, there are epic fails on your site.  We often see pages that fail to actually even mention the terms for which the company would like to be ranked for.  This is particularly common when we see sites that “we did it ourselves” is the uttered phrase.  We also see it often from web design companies that really don’t do or understand SEO.  There’s a difference between pretty pictures and getting traffic to your site.  Way too often, clients are wowed by some awesome graphics and cool looking page elements. UNFORTUNATELY, a lot of the time, those really way cool graphics are the focus of the page.  Sadly, way cool graphics aren’t what drive traffic TO a site.  They’re super once you GET a client ON the site, but they are much harder to get properly recognized and translate to Google rankings (or Bing/Yahoo rankings).

That said, the first part of any serious campaign will be about getting proper keywords found and put in place on your website.  One of the more common things we DO see, particularly on the “we did it ourselves” sites – besides NOT including the target keywords – is including a bunch of what we’ll call “industry specific terms”.  It’s probably similar to talking to an SEO come to think about it.  Each industry has their own phrases – usually of a technical nature – that they use between themselves when discussing certain things – but no one outside of the industry has ANY clue what it means. And they surely will NOT be searching for it.  They’ll be searching for more “human” terms.  If in doubt, ask your neighbor how they would go about finding a particular service or product. Ask your family. Ask your friends.  You’ll probably have an eye-opening experience.  SEOs will often go to keyword tools like the Google Keyword tools.  Tools like that can indicate general search volume for any term and is a fairly reliable source of information to base any campaign on.

This step can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days (and even more) depending on site size, complexity and format of your website.  Your search engine company also has other clients – so keep in mind, unless you’re paying absolute top dollar, they DO have other responsibilities to their existing clients.  During this time, if your site was really lacking, you may start to see some performance and rankings increase. Having optimized title tags is one of the most important things for your onsite optimization. This phase can also include modifying your site structure and URL paths.  That can get more complex and most SEOs won’t go that direction unless there is a REALLY pressing reason.  If your site only includes a dozen pages, it’s not a killer, but anything larger than that can be a time-consuming process.

The Disconnect – and why it takes so long…

How long before SEO works?

Is it READY yet???

Here’s where the disconnect starts to happen with customers.  At this point, your SEO company may have been on the project for a week or a month depending on your particular level of service and the optimizations that are being done.  “Why am I not ranking #1 for xyz term???  You’ve been working on this for a month!”  After making a change, your company first needs to make the search engines aware of that change.  If you’re using a plugin like All-in-one-SEO for WordPress or one of the other common ones, MOST have a feature that will generate your specific XML sitemap that can be sent to the search engines to give them a heads up.  What is that? To keep the size of this post down, we’ll post that in a different article. In short, it lists all pages and posts on your site for easy digestion (or indigestion) by the search engines.  This will serve as notice TO the search engines that changes have been made and it’s time to come back to see what has been done.

If your site is fairly active with changes being made, posts being added, etc, spiders/search engines tend to come back far more quickly. We like to include traffic plugins so we can see what is hitting our sites and when.  If you don’t see a Googlebot hit your site in a reasonable time, you can always pop out a tweet with your new URL or changed URL or similar.  That will usually put a flurry of bots on your site – including Googlebots.

Now the bots have seen your site. They’ve digested the content, at least the changed content at the URL that you have submitted, and now it’s a waiting game.  We have actually seen things appear in as few as a few hours – but that is NOT the norm.  It’s often a few days before you will see things reflected in the Google SERP results.  So if you’re getting Raleigh SEO done and the titles are changed from “My Service” to something like “Raleigh ‘My Service’ | Focused term | Similar term | Company name”, it will usually be a few days before Google starts reflecting that.

While one may ask why it takes so long and why it’s not immediate in most cases, there are currently 955,676,295 existing websites on the public web right now.  That’s JUST shy of a billion. And you best believe that Google is doing everything it can to index them all.  Once it sees the content, the data goes into a ranking algorithm and is given an internal ranking of sorts.  You’ll see all sorts of different measures of quality, strength and more from different companies. Google does NOT share exactly what it uses to rank your site – so it’s always a bit of an unknown but there are certain things that we, as SEOs, know that WILL increase your rankings. You’ll see terms like PageRank, MozRank, Domain Authority, Page Authority, Trust, and more thrown around.

Check out the Cache date on your site

Check out the Cache date on your site

Once the current value on many factors has been calculated, the site meta information makes it to their indexing ready for public consumption.  A quick way to see what version of your website is currently being used in the Google caches.  Do a search for your service (or some phrase that should bring up your specific page/site) and click on the little green down arrow next to the target URL. Click the “Cached” link. That will bring up the content that Google has in cache on your target site along with a date.

Based on that, hopefully at this point, you can start to see why it’s not an immediate thing.  There are a lot of moving parts to search engine rankings and it is pretty amazing that a change that we make right now can find its way into that index even within a few days.  While we may be changing your content and optimizing, your competitors are ALSO likely changing their content and optimizing. What was good a few days ago, based on what your competitors are doing, might fall short today and your site loses rank.  What wasn’t liked by Google last week, well the converse can also be true.  Google changes algorithms, sometimes even for certain locations, services or other target groups, which can have a huge impact on any website.  Additionally, your competitors can foul up – maybe making changes to their site that actually DECREASE their rankings – which will automatically INCREASE yours :)  We LOVE when that happens.  It is like a sand dune though – ever changing. The web is definitely a living thing and only so many things can be pinned down  – the rest ARE beyond anyone’s control.

Now add in Offsite SEO work

seo backlinks

Now, let’s see how the backlink portion works…

All of the above just applies to YOUR website – the portions of things that you CAN control.  Now we move on to the things that can’t be controlled direction and those items are referred to collectively as offsite SEO. As any SEO should be able to tell you – a lot of your ranking is going to come from the sites that link to you.  Lots of links often equates to increased rankings. Yet there are a lot of factors that are calculated into the particular boost – or even demerit – that will come to your site. If your site has links coming into it from other quality sites, the site should have a net positive boost. Should those links be coming in from poor quality sites – like adult or obvious spam sites – your site can also reflect those links but in usually a negative way.  Links coming in from several, dozens or even hundreds of low quality sites will not count NEARLY as much as one good link from a local or even national authority site.

Going back to all that we did for a client site, now when a link to your site is garnered from another site, the whole process starts up on THAT site.  The content has to be found, spidered, qualified, etc – just like the actual site that we’re working on. Additionally now, those factors mentioned earlier – PageRank, MozRank, Domain authority, etc – come into play deciding how much boost YOUR site will get from a link on another website.  You can get a lot of information about your site here at 99WebTools Is the site even related? Is it on a similar topic or is the surrounding content at least on a similar topic?  What kind of links does THAT site have? What anchor text is being used (the part that you see that you click on to TAKE you to YOUR site) – is it a keyword or keyword phrase? Is it branding / company name text?  Besides the onsite factors that we’ve described above, there are now a whole NEW set of factors that will have to be taken into account to determine the actual value of a link from these sources.

Just like the target site, the data from the link source site has to also be seen and cached up, link values calculated, etc before our target site will see any benefit.  IF that site is a high activity site, it may be indexed quickly. If it’s not a high activity site, it could be a couple weeks or month before Google looks at it – unless prodded.  Until that site data is in Google, it’s not going to count for you.  So if we add a link to your site, we now have to wait before it’s published and made public – which could happen immediately or take days.  The search engines need to find it and assign values to it.  They must calculate the benefit of the link to your site – how much “Google juice” it’s going to pass – and then take that into account when ranking your site against your competitors.  Now repeat that a few (at least) times and you’ll start seeing some increase.

Takeaway for SEO Clients

Happy Customers - Understanding your SEO Project

Knowing what to expect = happy customers (in ANY business)

The biggest thing to keep in mind with SEO work is that it is NOT immediate.  If you want immediate, or near immediate, we recommend Adwords. If you want long-lasting type benefits, then we recommend standard organic SEO work.  With organic SEO, it takes time to make the changes, time for the search engines to see those changes and rate them. Those results need then to be analyzed by your search engine company to see what the net effect was and ascertain how to progress.  Does the page content need to be changed, or would it be better to add another page/post for a specific topic?  That link that was gotten to the site – did it do anything? Is it even being reflected yet?  Was the proper anchor text used or should it be different? Is the format DoFollow or NoFollow? And just so many more questions.

There are a lot of points that a good company should be factoring into the equations. Unfortunately, there is no “Here’s exactly how you do it” guide though there are a lot of goofballs that want to sell you one. Just because they managed to rank one site for some non-competitive term – or spent several years ranking a site and then “boil it down” to 5 easy steps, does NOT mean that it will work. Only from a very high level view, is there a “one-size-fits-all” SEO plan. We’ll actually give that to you in an upcoming post.  There are a lot of variables in good SEO and each site is, and should be treated as, unique.

Doing SEO right can and will take a few months to start seeing real results, and continuing to do it right is almost always an ongoing task. Doing it wrong can be done RIGHT NOW but have everlasting results that are much more difficult to change.

So, as a client, if you ever feel the desire to jump up and down and stamp your feet, ask yourself – do you want it done RIGHT, or do you want it done RIGHT NOW? 

Find out more about Raleigh Search Engine Optimization. Or if you’re ready to get started now – see if we’re a good fit!