Overreaching Over Optimization Penalties?

It is true that when I first read about Google’s warnings for its forthcoming over-optimization penalty I checked the calendar to make certain it wasn’t April 1. Reassured that the idea of an over-optimization penalty was not some sort of bad April Fool’s gag, it became obvious that at least to Google “over optimization” is indeed the new search engine spam.

What can you do to avoid triggering one of Google’s algorithmic penalties or results-dampening filters? Act smarter than a fifth grader, and create great content that your visitors will randomly comment upon and share with various friends. And read Your Website Might Be Over Optimized If … over at Search Engine Watch.

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Google 404 Error Image

Just because I appreciate the robot assembling itself.

Google 404 Error Image

Google 404 Error Image

Yup. That’s all Google knows.

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Still More Proof that SEO Can’t Fix Stupid

The New York Times recently did a piece exposing JC Penney for its spam-inflated search results in Google. I wonder if Bing copied that? Either way, the article makes for yet another interesting analysis of greed and stupidity in search.

Somewhere, someone decided it was worth the risk to use shady link building tactics to fool Google into providing top rankings for JC Penny. Oddly enough, if Google would spend more time fixing its algorithm, I think gaming Google would be a lot less fun for those that enjoy getting paid to perform stupid SEO tricks.

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The Real 2010 ‘Search Events’

I’m not a fan of real housewives, real New Jerseyites, or made-for-tv real life dramas. So it’s a bit odd that I would title this post The Real 2010 ‘Search Events’ and actually mean it, or for that matter, expect anyone else to read it.

Each year I’ve meant to do a compendium of sorts that looks back with fond recollections on the year, but I can’t seem to force myself to do it. Instead, most gentle readers (I know there are two of you based on GA), I offer you a simple synopsis of those events that I thought were interesting for the organic search engine optimization (SEO) industry in 2010.

January:

  • Google: WMT warning posted on malware. (We’re not playin’ around anymore. Google is serious this time. )
  • Google: Announces adoption of new Rich Snippets microformats for Events. (SEO is dead.)
  • Google: Can’t index video well; continues begging for video sitemap adoption and mRSS feeds via GWMT all through the year. (I thought the YouTube deal would solve Google’s edacious need for fresh content?)
  • Yahoo: Weather report; major updates to crawling, indexing, and ranking algorithms. (I wonder how many of these we have left?)

February:

  • Google: Launches Buzz in a Facebook-like fashion, automatically opting Gmail users in and causing a hu·mon·gous privacy kerfuffle in the process. Google eventually apologized, but Buzz failed to make significant inroads in competing with Facebook and/or Twitter. (First big Google #fail on the year.)
  • Yahoo/Bing Merger: Received clearance from both the U.S. Department of Justice and the European Commission. Binghoo, Yabing, Bingyah flack abounds. (SEO is dead.)

March:

  • Google: Supports more Rich Snippets microformats for Reviews and People profiles. (SEO is still dead.)
  • Yahoo: Weather report; major updates to crawling, indexing, and ranking algorithms. (Seriously? Yahoo! is updating their index more oftent now than when it was actually a search engine and not a portal.)
  • Yahoo: Introduces near real-time search (SEO is dead yet again and still.)

April:

  • Google: Rich Snippets go international beyond Google-US search results.
  • Google: Announces adoption of new Rich Snippets for Recipes.
  • Google: Page Speed becomes a ranking signal. (SEO lives again, only to be proved dead inside.)
  • Yahoo: Weather report; major updates to crawling, indexing, and ranking algorithms. (Again? C’mon now. What have you been doing all these years in search with few and far between index updates?)
  • Yahoo: UI update for Yahoo Sports and News Search (No one cares.)

May:

  • Google: Call for web spam reports in Thai, Indonesian, Romanian, Czech and Farsi (Only Thai spammers care.)
  • Google: Big UI Change! So-called “Jazz Interface” introduced. (Essentially, Google looks more like Bing and Ask by adding a third column to their traditional two column layout.)
  • Google: So-called “May Day” algorithym update. Yes, this is a big rankings change, not a crawling or indexing change. According to Google, the change impacts “long tail” traffic, generally the results of longer search queries that, few people search for individually, but in aggregate form can provide a large percentage of traffic. (SEO is like the Monty Python ‘Parrot” sketch. It is dead, I tell you. Dead. Dead. Dead.)

June:

  • Google: Unleashes Caffeine update. Caffeine provides 50 percent fresher results for web searches than Google’s previous index. (Caffeine is good for SEO which appears to not be dead, after all.)
  • Bing: Rolling out bingbot (beta)

July:

  • Google: Lays groundwork for alliance with Twitter. (SEO marketers’ quivers are now fully loaded.)
  • Yahoo: Started testing organic (also referred to as algorithmic) and paid search listings from Microsoft for up to 25 percent of Yahoo! Search traffic in the U.S. (Yahoo! search is nearly dead.)
  • Yahoo: Yahoo! Search Assist to provide near real-time suggestions as you type your query. (Not sure why Yahoo! bothered.)

August:

  • Google: Now indexes SVGc ontent whether it is in a standalone file or embedded directly in HTML. (SVG is an open, XML-based format for vector graphics with support for interactive elements. Only coders care.)
  • Google: Another UI Change: Now showing more results from a single site for queries that indicate a strong user interest in a particular domain. Prior to the change, only two results from any one domain would have appeared for a specific query. (SEO lives!)
  • Google: Google Wave #fail
  • Yahoo/Bing Merger: Organic search transition completed. (Sad day in search.)

September:

  • Google: Rich Snippets now supports Local Search via hCard structured formats. Note: Google now has three locally targeted products: Maps, Places and HotPot. (Google’s commitment to local is clear.)
  • Google: Implements Google Instant. The new search implementation allowed for faster results and predictive queries using the Google Suggest feature. (Dammit! SEO is dead for real this time.)
  • Bing: Bingbot out of beta
  • Bing/Yahoo Merger: Yahoo Search Marketing clients transitioned to Microsoft adCenter.
  • Yahoo: Yahoo! Search Assist now providing suggestions geographically closer to search users as they type. (Good way to differentiate Bing results, perhaps?)

October:

  • Google: Introduces Google TV (SEO for Google TV lives!)
  • Google: GWMT performs major backlink update (think algo reset), in tandem with Search Queries, Parameter handling and Messages updates.
  • Bing: Warns on speed and use of bingbot crawl delay. (SEO lives for speed!)
  • Blekko: The “Slashtag: no-spam search engine goes live. (Hmmm. Crowdsourced ranking search engine. This could be interesting.)

November:

  • Google: Expands its SWF indexing capabilities (Flash first indexed 2-years ago.)
  • Google: Adds Instant Previews to UI. (SEO dies and goes straight to purgatory.)
  • Google: Goes after Web Spam again; Chrome Extension for reporting (Market pressure from Blekko?)
  • Google: Introduces Rich Snippets for Products via hProduct microformats.
  • Yahoo: Beta testing a richer Yahoo! Search Assist UI.

December:

  • Bing: WMT Now featuring New Inbound Links  information
  • Bing: Microsoft and Twitter may form Alliance

At the close of 2010 SEO is oficially transmogrified into Social, Local, TV, Video, etc. tactics and lives on to this day.

Please let me know if I missed something major that you think should be included in the list. Sorry, I did not post all the links to all the articles that detail each SEO event in 2010. Had I done so, I fear my blog would have been labeled a”link farm” early in 2011. More on that next year!

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2011 Predictions Vizualized

Being a regular Search Engine Land reader I was pleasantly surprised to find a wonderful round-up of online marketing predictions for 2011. But I’m a highly visually oriented, so I decided to take a few of the foremost predictors’ prognostications and create a few beautiful word clouds over at  Wordle. The results were illuminatingly insightful. Don’t you agree?

Apparently John Battell has predicted that Facebook will be major this year what with going public and all, Groupon will be a major player, and Yahoo will lack millions.

Meanwhile, over at ReadWriteWeb, staffers predict that the Verizon iPhone will be ginormous in 2011.

ReadWriteWeb Staff Predictions for 2011

ReadWriteWeb Staff Predictions for 2011

And finally, Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz fame an fortune predicts that getting clients will be huge in 2011. Apparently Mobile Search, Links and Content will also be very big in SEO this year.

SEOmoz SEO Predictions for SEO

SEOmoz SEO Predictions for SEO

I hope you have enjoyed this visual check of what 2011 holds for SEO and online marketers over the next 12 months.

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