If you’re like me, you do as much of your holiday shopping online as possible. Juding by statistics, there are plenty of people out there like me. Google searches for retail products jump up as much as 500-percent during December.

Conversely, the service industry sees a major dip in activity through the holidays. Obviously, December is a different landscape than the other 11-months and what was previously working for your business may need to be tweaked for the holidays.

Jeremy Decker, of Search Engine Journal, has some suggestions to make the most of this changing terrain. By pulling the right strings, you can have a very, merry holiday season.

Have you ever wondered how Google handles web spam in other languages or other countries? According to Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team,  they have people placed on the ground across the globe to handle markets for their native countries.

Cutts, was responding to a question asked online, when he said, “If an algorithm misses something, they are there to find the spam. They know the lay of the land, they know who the big players are, and they’re really quite expert. So if there’s some really unique kind of link spam going on in Poland, for example, there’s a person there.”

The video is below. The question was poorly phrased (Europe is smaller than the US? Really?), but it helps illustrate just how international of a company Google is trying to be. I’ve heard European countries use Google less than the US, but clearly Google is still trying to offer the same experience across the globe.


Almost every designer has ended up working with a bad client. We all try to avoid it, but sure enough, eventually you end up with a client that will drive you up the wall. Wouldn’t it be great if you could easily pick out which clients are going to be more hassle than they are worth?

Justin Spencer has created a list of tell-tale signs at Designrfix that a client might not be worth the money. It is important to note, a bad client is not just one that doesn’t pay you on time. Slow payment, while highly frustrating, is not always the sign of a bad client, especially if they are a small company.

Instead, bad clients are those that create completely unnecessary problems as professionals. During negotiations to work with these types of clients, they will often do things like understating the difficulty of a project to lower fees. They could also try to get you to work at low prices by promising they will give you lots of work in the future.

Spencer has plenty more signs that will help clue you into a bad client. If you see more than one of these issues early on, seriously consider if the work you are going to put in for them will be worth the headaches later on.

The reality of online marketing is that advertisers must find a way to reach users on a variety of different devices. AdWords recently made that difficult task a little easier with a new tool that allows you to convert ads using Flash to HTML5.

Since many tablets do not support Flash, this tool could help your business reach thousands of additional users. And converting takes just a couple of mouse clicks, no expert knowledge is needed.

To find out more, check out Chris Crum’s article at Web Pro News.

Content creation has long been at the top of SEO, but it is leaking from the internet into the real world. One of the front runners of this change in real-life marketing is Red Bull, who has begun publishing their own magazine, The Red Bulletin, which paints a picture of a world where there are no limits.

This isn’t an isolated case. According to a recent survey, 90% of marketers believe that content marketing will only become more essential in the next year. Ronn Torossian has predictions and other instances of how companies are using content creation to reach out to their customers directly, all at Search Engine Journal.


While people have been fretting about Google penalizing innocent site holders, it appears outside groups have been abusing Google’s DMCA algorithm to try to get legal content about films taken offline.

For those who aren’t familiar with the DMCA related algorithm, known commonly as Google’s Pirate Update, it basically referenced valid DMCA takedown requests as part of a sites rankings. If a site has been frequently hit with valid takedown requests, its ranking is penalized.

However, TorrentFreak has uncovered that a company who has been issuing DMCA requests on behalf of multiple movie companies has been issuing requests for the removal of legal content such as listings for legal copies of the movie on Amazon and iTunes, as well as Wikipedia pages about several movies and television shows.

Most of these requests were ignored by Google, but it is a worrisome matter that these companies are clearly using DMCA requests without discretion, and these invalid  requests could plausibly be missed by algorithms sorting out the mess.

Search Engine Land posits that the motivation of the mysterious organization, known as “Yes It Is – No Piracy” could be to bump up their own pages of content for specific listings while lowering legitimate sites, but for now, the motive is unclear.

Not a Google Panda

Look at the most recent SEO article you can find about Google Panda. You can even look at some I’ve written. In general, the mood among those articles is not positive. Whatever positive changes for users that Panda offered, it drastically changed how SEO is run, and well, people don’t tend to react well to change.

However, in all the hubbub about the negative impact Google’s changes may have had on smaller businesses, we forgot that Google Panda did make some very important changes that made their search engine perform markedly better.

Ruth Burr, head of SEO at SEOMoz, didn’t forget this because she is a constant user of Google search. I won’t repeat her anecdote here, but she does recall a time when using Google could easily lead you to vapid, not useful websites trying to hide that their “articles” were really just ads for their own business.

The biggest point she raises is very true. Google’s goals are not to “foster small or local business growth in the U.S. and abroad.” While there are ways for local or small businesses to take advantage of search engines, Google’s main aim is to simply provide the best search engine performance possible. There’s little denying Panda wasn’t a step in the right direction in that regard.

If you aren’t convinced of Panda’s positive features, or just want to see more pictures of cute pandas, check out Burr’s article. She makes some strong points.

When it comes to social media marketing, everyone is looking for ways to separate themselves from the crowd. Courtney Seiter, of Marketing Land, suggests personalizing aspects of your online profile to help connect with your audience.

Many of her suggestions won’t take up too much of your time and will keep your fans and followers coming back. It’s definitely worth a read.

There is a rule in design based on the principle that the closer and larger a target is, the faster it is to click on it. The concept seems self evident, but it is surprising how much that concept affects on a web page. Users are actually less likely to respond to a call-to-action if it takes more effort than they want to expend on navigating to the button.

The concept is called Fitt’s Law, and it can have a big impact on how users respond to your website, but don’t start redesigning your page around it quite yet. Anastasios Karafillis pinpoints some instances where Fitt’s Law is not the best design principle to follow. She explores every aspect of the law, and how it can help or hurt you in specific circumstances.

Anyone starting an SEO from the ground up knows how difficult it can be to choose your clients. Many will just accept anyone that is willing to pay them for work. Many can’t afford not to.

But once you have established yourself, you can begin to be a little more choosey with your clients. You are not forced to work for clients that do not appreciate your work, or try to get a ton out of you without compensating you equally.

Nick Stamoulis has gone through these stages, and collected a set of reasons why you may decide to decline a client. The reasons are varied, but the main point is while you want to work with anyone that comes to you for business, sometimes it is better to let one prospect pass so that you can catch a better one a little later.