Google Authorship

There was a time not too long ago when every SEO professional felt confident proclaiming that Authorship was the future of search, but it appears the predictions couldn’t have been much more incorrect.

When Google was pushing Authorship as a part of their search system, it frequently repeated that authorship information would help users identify more trustworthy sources and improve the quality of results. In the end, it was ultimately little more than a picture and name next to content and was often ignored by users.

This problem was reflected in the confirmation by Google’s John Mueller that authorship information will be entirely stripped out of search results. In the statement, Mueller explains:

“Unfortunately, we’ve also observed that this information isn’t as useful to our users as we’d hoped, and can even distract from those results. With this in mind, we’ve made the difficult decision to stop showing Authorship in search results.”

If we are being honest, the vast majority of Google users probably won’t even notice a difference and site owners shouldn’t be too concerned since Authorship didn’t help increase traffic to pages. But it has received considerable attention from the online marketing community because it seemed like a common sense and simple way to improve listings. In the long run however, it just didn’t work.

Mueller did clarify that Google will continue focusing on structured markup, saying: “This markup helps all search engines better understand the content and context of pages on the web, and they’ll continue to use it to show rich snippets in search results.”

Twitter has grown from a small social media platform to one of most popular ways to share and interact with everyone from friends and family to celebrities and clothing brands. But along the way Twitter also got a reputation for being one of the most highly efficient marketing tools possible.

While Twitter isn’t the first social media platform to allow brands and public figures to interact with their audiences, it has continuously been one of the most powerful and easy to use platforms available. The only thing holding it back was a lack of analytics tools.

Last month, Twitter took the first step in rectifying this issue by launching an analytics dashboard similar to Google Analytics that specifically focused on Twitter. The analytics dashboard did everything from measuring the performance of your tweets to monitoring how many people are seeing each tweet. Too bad only advertisers and verified users had access to it at the time.

Thankfully, everything changed yesterday when Twitter engineer Ian Chan announced the wide release of the analytics dashboard via a tweet.

Twitter also added a new page to the help center which explains everything you could want to know about using the dashboard and familiarizing yourself with the layout. To get access to the analytics dashboard, you only need to have an account that has been open for more than 2 weeks and primarily tweets in English, French, Japanese, or Spanish.

People have been gradually turning against “click-bait” for a while now and using the questionable tactic to attract attention may finally be accompanied by some real consequences according to an announcement from Facebook today.

According to the announcement, the social platform is rolling out an update to the News Feed algorithm that will help reduce the number of misleading or purposely vague headlines by incorporating the amount of time users spend reading a page as a signal.


“‘Click-baiting’ is when a publisher posts a link with a headline that encourages people to click to see more, without telling them much information about what they will see,” Facebook research scientist Khalid El-Arini and product specialist Joyce Tang wrote in a blog post. ”

“Posts like these tend to get a lot of clicks, which means that these posts get shown to more people, and get shown higher up in News Feed.”

Click-bait certainly is effective, but this strategy has become so prominent that even casual internet users are becoming familiar with the phrase. More importantly, the majority appear to agree they don’t like it. 80% of Facebook users say they prefer headlines that give them a fuller picture about what’s behind the link instead.

Here’s Facebook’s explanation of how they are aiming to take down click-bait:

One way is to look at how long people spend reading an article away from Facebook. If people click on an article and spend time reading it, it suggests they clicked through to something valuable. If they click through to a link and then come straight back to Facebook, it suggests that they didn’t find something that they wanted. With this update we will start taking into account whether people tend to spend time away from Facebook after clicking a link, or whether they tend to come straight back to News Feed when we rank stories with links in them.

Another factor we will use to try and show fewer of these types of stories is to look at the ratio of people clicking on the content compared to people discussing and sharing it with their friends. If a lot of people click on the link, but relatively few people click Like, or comment on the story when they return to Facebook, this also suggests that people didn’t click through to something that was valuable to them.


Image Courtesy of Quinn Dombrowski

Google has worked for years to ensure speakers of all languages can use and benefit from their search engine. But with the increasing use of conversational and voice search, another issue has risen.

Millions of people around the world are at least partially multilingual, including up to 20 percent of the U.S. population. Starting today, Google can now understand those languages at the same time.

As announced in a blog post from today, multilingual people can change their settings one time and then speak in any of up to five of Google’s 50 understood languages and be understood. Before, users could only use a single language at a time, but now they can switch between languages as they are most comfortable.

As the blog post explains:

Now, you can just make a small, one-time change to your settings, and then you can switch back and forth easily. Google will automatically detect which language you’re using. (For now, you need to stick to one language per sentence though.) You can select up to five languages total—enough to satisfy all but the most advanced polyglots. Whether you get a spoken response from Google depends on the language you use and your query (and you’ll see more languages and features added over time).

While this is beneficial for many Americans, this could be seen as downright revolutionary for many areas of the world where children and immigrants speak the native language and an adoped dominant language interchangeably.

A little over a year ago, Google brought apps into advertising through the use of app install and app re-engagement ads, which made their way to Google’s mobile AdMob Network this June. Today, these ads also became available on Google Search and YouTube globally.

If you haven’t gotten familiar with app install and app re-engagement ads, Ginny Marvin gives a great explanation in her article for Marketing Land.

ransomLast week, many webmasters and SEO’s received a scare in the form of extortion emails from a supposed SEO threatening to plague a site with negative SEO if they do not pay a ransom of$1,500.

It seems the emails concerned even the most prominent members of the SEO community such as Dan Petrovic and Steve Webb. Even more interesting, despite assurances from Google that they would investigate the threats, a fair portion of the community appears to be at least moderately troubled by the threats. This gives an indication of just how easy people perceive negative SEO to be.

The email cuts straight to the point opening with, “This is an extortion email.” It then goes on to explain exactly how the individual(s) will enact specific tactics which can hurt a site’s performance in Google and potentially cause a site to be deindexed by the search engine.

The full text of the emails is as follows:


Read this email very carefully.

This is an extortion email.

We will do NEGATIVE SEO to your website by giving it 20,000 XRumer forum profile backlinks (permanent & mostly dofollow) pointing directly to your website and hence your website will get penalised & knocked off the Google’s Search Engine Result Pages (SERP) forever, if you do not pay us $1,500.00 (payable by Western Union).

This is no false claim or a hoax, download the following Notepad file containing 20,000 XRumer forum profile backlinks pointing to (this is our website and go and see on this website, you will find our email address [email protected] from which this email right now is being sent to you) :

Just reply to this email to let us know if you will pay just $1,500.00 or not for us to refrain or not from ruining your precious website & business permanently. Also if you ignore this email and do not reply to this email within the next 24-48 hours, then we will go ahead and build 20,000 XRumer forum profile backlinks pointing directly to your website.

We are awaiting your wise decision.


Thankfully, it appears the entire situation has been nothing more than empty threats. Despite several credible SEO figures reporting the extortion emails, no one has reported paying the extortion amount and there are no signs that negative SEO is being put into action against these sites.

With its ever decreasing organic reach, Facebook is putting a lot of attention into their paid ad platform, especially the ads shown on mobile devices. Now, the reporting side of Facebook’s paid ad is getting improved to reflect the huge increases in mobile ads in recent times.

One of these improvements is the launch of cross-device reporting for Facebook ads. Now Facebook advertisers are able to see how users move throughout their sales process, even if they move across devices. The announcement described just how advertisers may benefit:

Imagine seeing an ad for a product on your mobile phone while in line at the bank. Do you immediately make a purchase on your phone? Probably not. But perhaps you go back to your office later that day and buy on your desktop computer. Such cross-device conversions are becoming increasingly common as people move between their phones, tablets and desktop computers to interact with businesses.

Cross-device reporting allows advertisers to be able to see which devices ads were viewed on, and on which devices conversions subsequently occurred. That means you can see how many people clicked an ad on iPhone but then later finished their conversion on desktop, and vice-versa.

In a recent analysis of US Facebook campaigns, it was found that of the people who show interest in a mobile Facebook ad before converting, over 32% converted on desktop within 28 days.

You can view the cross-device conversions for campaigns by going to your Facebook Ad Reports, where you will click Edit Columns, and select Cross-Device on the left-hand menu.

Now that we’ve all hopefully gotten over the “links are dead” hysteria, SEOs and webmasters are beginning to worry about their backlink profiles again. In the past it was easy. You could buy links or make enact one of the many now-banned tactics to try to artificially inflate your backlink profile and it seemed like no one was the wiser.

Of course things have changed quite drastically, as you should know by now. Backlinks need to be earned, and they need to be quality. As many analysts will tell you, building backlinks these days is more about relationship building than it is about farming as many links as possible. But how are you supposed to earn these prized high quality links?

SEOChat asked a long list of SEO experts where their most valuable links came from, and each gives an example of how you can earn links yourself by simply providing a service to your users and important figures related to your industry.

New ImageCountless businesses have 90 days to make significant changes to their Facebook strategies and pages. With an update to its Platform Policy, Facebook killed the so-called “like gate” which required users to Like a Page before they could be gain access to content, apps, rewards, or be eligible for contests.

The new policy is set to take effect on Nov. 5 and any page that doesn’t comply will have the gates disabled. New apps made after the announcement will also be unable to create new like gates.

Here’s the explanation from the latest developer blog from Facebook:

You must not incentivize people to use social plugins or to like a Page. This includes offering rewards, or gating apps or app content based on whether or not a person has liked a Page. It remains acceptable to incentivize people to login to your app, checkin at a place or enter a promotion on your app’s Page. To ensure quality connections and help businesses reach the people who matter to them, we want people to like Pages because they want to connect and hear from the business, not because of artificial incentives. We believe this update will benefit people and advertisers alike.

Like gating isn’t as popular as it used to be, but it is still a relatively common Facebook fan-building strategy.

It is important to note that it is still acceptable to use incentives. You simply can’t use incentives that require a user to Like a page to gain access to content.


Merlin2525_Paid_Business_Stamp_2As online optimization and marketing become more and more essential to the success of smaller businesses, many small businesses are trying to manage as much online marketing on their own as they can manage with limited time and resources.

Most often, this results in the company taking on relatively small SEO responsibilities which can give a slight boost to their online visibility and performance while missing out on the larger benefits of hiring professionals. With limited resources, this may sometimes be the best option, although it doesn’t pack anywhere near the punch.

One of the biggest problems with trying to pickup SEO as a part-time strategy for your business is that SEO is only a part of the equation. These days online marketing is only truly effective when you use a holistic approach that combines social media marketing, SEO, paid search, and even traditional marketing.

Many smaller businesses employ someone savvy enough to even contribute to social media marketing efforts, but typically the do-it-yourself approach results in paid search getting neglected and you missing out on some of the most successful parts of a successful online marketing strategy.

You don’t have to leave all your pay per click (PPC) efforts to the professionals however. If you can’t afford to hire someone to take on your paid search marketing, you can still gain some humble improvements and increase your conversions with some beginner level SEO. Huffington Post shared a list of 8 things anyone can do to improve your PPC efforts, and you might be surprised at what you can accomplish by just sticking your toes into the pool.

If you are pleased with the results, it might even be the push you need to invest serious resources into a strong online presence in all areas.