Tag Archive google


Pirates, Penguins and Pandas – Search Lite Update

The world of online “Search” is a complicated one. Spend a little time with a search engine optimisation (SEO) specialist and it won’t be long before you’re wondering if a new language has been invented and you missed the news alert announcing its launch.

Google's Penguin 3.0 one of 3 recent algorithm updates

Google’s Penguin 3.0 one of 3 recent algorithm updates

I don’t profess to be an SEO specialist so my language will hopefully be plain with just the odd tech word thrown in, mainly because there are no alternatives. The aim here is to simply share a little information on where we are currently. My motivation to do this was actually due to reading another article which was so far removed from reality, offering up entirely the wrong advice that it should’ve carried a Google health warning.

I researched the current position and also have participated directly in search activities for a number of years so whilst I’m not an expert I do retain a level of practical experience.

As you may well be aware Google recently produced 3 algorithm updates, Panda 4.1, Penguin 3.0 and Pirate 2.0. Without getting into the technical minutiae of how this impacts search results I can confirm that the vast majority (95%) of businesses won’t be negatively affected. Those who have suffered will have been affiliate marketers, and those running websites that had continued to use deceptive and aggressive tactics to put their ranking at the top of page one.

  • Panda affects the ranking of a whole site or section of a site rather than individual pages. Its primary aim is to remove low quality sites that offer poor or duplicated content. This is the one that has caught a number of affiliate marketing sites.
  • Penguin the latest update was actually reported as a simple “refresh” of the algorithm but the key objective remains; to demote sites that are still using bad links to sites that are either spammy, malicious or are simply bad links.
  • Pirate updates are looking at the infringements of sites that use illegal copies of software or digital media.
  • The challenge to get your business to the top of the rankings is still a stiff one for most of us working in competitive sectors. Current “best practice” is to adopt a broad range of tactics that deliver a consistent and entirely appropriate content message to your audience. Well authored copy, original articles and news comment on your sector, profiles of key individuals and where possible more detailed pieces demonstrating the knowledge and capabilities of your team, company, products, services. Any links should be entirely appropriate for your business, not spammy and certainly “alive” with genuine quality content. The other increasingly important factor is to ensure your website is fully responsive…that is completely compatible with smartphone and tablet devices. Why is this important? If you have a mobile website rather than a responsive site you will very likely have duplicate content shared on the two platforms. Duplicate content is a negative marker for SEO and your site can be penalised whereas with one site that can be seen on multiple devices that problem is eliminated.

    In other news…..

    Google have recently undertaken further research into browser behaviour, specifically the movement of eyes over search engine results pages (SERPs). Download the report here http://pages.mediative.com/SERP-Research
    Without looking at the “hot spot” graphs you would of course expect eyes to be trained on the top of the page, this is still mostly the case but with Google moving the top natural search results further down the page we appear to have modified our behaviour to compensate. In 2005 the eye tracking results produced a “golden triangle” hot spot showing eye movement concentrated over the top left side of pages. One of the reasons for a vertical shift in eye movement is our use of mobile devices and scrolling for data.

    I would recommend reading this report, it does use a surprisingly small sample for their survey but the findings immediately resonated with me and my own experience of browser behaviour. The advantage of this report is that they’ve applied specific “eye tracking” software and techniques to map and present the movement of the eye….fascinating stuff.

    I’ll be blogging on the topic of search again shortly but in the meantime if you have any questions feel free to fire them my way.

    David Laud


    How to be Smarter with your Smartphone

    Smartphone sales indicate that we’re now far more likely to have one of these technological marvels than not. Be it an iphone, HTC, Samsung, Google or other wannabe market leader they all offer a range of tools that take us way beyond “making a call”.

    Recent research by Samsung indicated that making a call ranks 5th or lower in the list of things we do with our devices taking only 12 minutes a day on the task that was the original purpose of the mobile.

    These days we would far rather browse the net, check our social media feeds, play games or listen to music but what else can these treasures of technology do for us?

    If you’re on the go, often out of the office and need to stay in touch then it’s likely you’ve synched your work e-mail to the Smartphone.

    Perhaps you’re responsible for making an impact with social media for your business. Couldn’t be easier to download the LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter apps and post on the move. They don’t all offer the same functionality as the PC based version but the convenience and immediacy of of posting and reading feeds whilst out of the office can be invaluable, especially if you’re using twitter or Facebook to monitor customer feedback.

    Being mobile can create problems when trying to find venues for events, meetings etc.. No need to worry if you’ve a good map app connected and your location broadcast function is enabled on the phone. You can trace your progress on foot, in the car (if safely cradled and not in your hand) or on the train and even ask for a route to determine the time it will take.

    Sharing information with colleagues and clients might be important to you but a problem if the all important project document sits on your office network. Fear not, cloud based services such as Dropbox can allow sharing of folders or links to specific documents with a few well placed taps.

    If your life is so hectic you feel you’re not keeping up with the business world and areas that may affect you and your company I’d suggest revisiting the good old podcast. Finding the time to read trade journals, newspapers and magazines can be hard. These days there are a multiude of very informative and professionally produced podcasts. From wake up to money to the bottom line, most BBC business related radio broadcasts ara available to download and easy to subscribe to. Using the Smartphone as an aural digital box can be very handy. Listen to the podcast while commuting and get back in the know.

    Perhaps like me you have the odd idea, recall of something that must be done or just want to put it in writing. You can use your Smartphone as a digital notebook recorder. Voice memos, notes and also software such as Dragon can allow you to talk to the device and have your words appear in document form which can then be saved, e-mailed or linked to social media. It can take a bit of practice.

    On the subject of voice recognition a word of warning – you can look very silly having an argument with Apple’s “Siri” when it refuses to understand your command for the 6th time. Especially if you’re sitting in traffic apparently shouting at your dashboard. On a serious note Apple’s Siri – IOS.6 introduced a new array of functions and it’s expected to become the lead in voice recognition instruction leading to users asking for and relying upon responses directly from their phone. Google beware!

    Our Smartphone’s have become almost indispensable items and as we learn to use more of their functionality and apps improve it’s very likely that the humble PC will take an even bigger step into the dark corner of the office.

    Of course the beauty of these devices is that hey go beyond the pure work tool, they’re part of our every day. Hear a piece of music in an advert and want to know what it is? Just rewind and use your Shazam app. Miss the latest BBC drama just click on the BBC iPlayer app and you can catch up. Want to watch the match but you’re stuck on the train? Apps like SkyGo allow for immediate real time access to your subscribed channels.

    On holiday you can get the Smartphone to translate menus and of course take high definition pictures or video which can be instantly uploaded and shared via social media apps. Looking for a coffee shop or cafe for lunch, the geo-location platforms such as FourSquare can help pinpoint the nearest offer and top tip.

    Can they become addictive?….Oh yes, which is why it’s a good idea to have a schedule where you ensure its put to rest. Over use of the Smartphone can lead to sleepless nights, sore eyes and headaches let alone the ergonomic issues of thumb and finger use and a less gadget obsessed partner feeling jealous of the attention given to it and not them. I guess we’re not too far away from a gadget being cited as the other party in a divorce petition.

    On balance they are proving to be far more help than hindrance but they shouldn’t be allowed to get in the way of a good old fashioned conversation, with eye contact and your mobile on “silent”.

    If you’ve got an app suggestion that others might find useful let me know and we’ll share.

    David Laud