First it was Mozilla, then BBC & Now sprint has been hit by Google’s user generated content spam penalty. Mozilla was the first to get message from Google with user-generated spam on the site. This kind of spam is found on guestbook pages, forum pages, user profiles. This resulted in Google applying a manual spam action to the site. The entire site was not hit by spam penalty. Comment spam is one such spam area where Google is looking for UGC spam.
Then BBC was sent a notice of detected unnatural links. With such a big site like BBC & so many pages, it would be difficult to find out the spammy pages & remove. Sprint, the US telecom company has also been hit by UGC spam penalty now. Google usually applies Granular penalty to the pages
Google has said that publishers should talk to volunteers in the forums on how to avoid the penalty & also to overcome the problem. Google has 2 types of penalties. Manual & Algorithmic Both the penalties affect the ranking in the Google & also might affect traffic. Many sites have communities, forums & groups to discuss about the products, services & others. Google Groups is the best place to discuss issues related to UGC & overcoming the penalty.
Websites which target globally many countries have usually a dropdown in the home page to select language & country. Sometimes they are configured to point visitors to localized pages by redirects or through changing the content to the user’s language. rel-alternate-hreflang annotation is a new way supported by Both Google & Yandex to specify homepages. This would look like
<link rel=”alternate” href=”http://website.com/” hreflang=”x-default” />
<link rel=”alternate” href=”http://website.com/en-us” hreflang=”en-us” /> Targetted for US
The new x-default hreflang attribute value tells the Google algorithm that website.com is the default page & doesn’t target any country or language. This helps webmasters set x-default hreflang attribute value to suit particular requirements of the country based websites. This can be done through sitemaps or through HTML coding. More info about the same can be had at official Google Webmaster Central blog
Google’s Zeitgeist 2012 provides the most popular & hottest trending search terms from around the world. There are 838 lists from 55 countries. There is also an android app for Google Zeitgeist.An interactive map has also been added showing the most searched terms across the globle. Some of the most happening events of 2012 topped the chart like death of Whitney Houston, PSY’s Gangnam style, 2012 olympics event & others. Jeremy Lin topped the athletes list & ipad 3 in consumer electronics list.
Microsoft’s Scroogle is an anti Google campaign targeting its pay to rank shopping practices. On the website it is given as “when you limit choices and rank them by payment, consumers get Scroogled”. Recently there was another ad campaign from MS called Bing it on targeting search results. There is also PDF docs in the website showing the respective search site’s position. One can also submit their stories on bing’s facebook page.
Bing webmaster guidelines provide guidance on links, SEO, social media, content & others. These can be accessed under the content guidelines section. Technical part covers robots.txt, sitemap, site technology, redirects & others. It calls out to avoid cloaking, link schemes, social media schemes & duplicate content. They have also introduced Bing webmaster webinars covering different topics during Nov to Feb. More information about the webinars can be found here. From an SEO point of view, it covers all the major important issues.404 pages best practices is also included covering no advt, page returns a 404 status code & smart 404 pages.
Search Engine Optimization has become essential to succeed in the online marketplace. It helps drive traffic, leads, increase visibility & revenue to your business. Competition has become very high in the online marketplace & steps should be taken to stand out in the competition. some of the tips in SEO include
1. URL’s should be rich in keywords. This helps ranking in search engines.
2. Website should be simple & easy to navigate. Also there should be forms to get customer info.
3. Use a good linkbuilding strategy.
4. Follow search engine guidelines for search marketing activities.
5. Use analytic tools to find info about the metrics & others.
The new Bing has a three column design with Core Search, Snapshot & Sidebar panes. Core Search contains core web results which will help get results easier without cluttering it with social updates. Snapshot is the center column. It is between the web results on the left and the new sidebar on the right. Snapshot has info and services related to your search along with maps, reviews & others. This helps the users to take the intended actions. Sidebar is all about social information with info from friends, experts & others. Social results which were in core part have been completely moved to sidebar. You can even ask friends, experts and others from sites like Twitter, Foursquare, Quora & others to what they are saying about the search. This is a great search interface which will take search to the next level. With the rise of social media, social results appearing along with main search results has changed search results. More info can be had at Bing Community.
Google has launched fetch as googlebot, a new feature in Google webmaster tools, to submit & index the sites faster. It can be found under the diagnostics settings of the webmaster tools. This new feature allows google to index faster. There is a limit of 50 submissions per week for individual URL’s & 10 per week when URL’s & all the pages under it. This can be used in situations where if the page is launched new for some events & want it be indexed faster, to submit new sites & to replace a cached copy of the page in Google. It involves the following steps
1) Create a Google Webmaster Tools account for the website & verify it.
2) Fetch as Googlebot is given Under the diagnostics settings,
3) Add the pages to it & if successfull, you get the option for indexing the site
4) Root level or pages associated with it can be indexed.
5) After the indexing is successful, tool gets updated.
Google has launched Web Site Speed test tool to help know how fast the site/page loads. Included are the suggestions for the mobile & desktop. This is a great move by Google as it helps analyze the content of the page & how to improve the performance of the page. If the site pages load faster, it will help reduce the bounce rate & also increase in the conversion. How fast the page loads is one of the factors Google considers in ranking of the pages.
Google has introduced +1, similar to Facebook’s Like. Google has been taking the search experience more social with this +1. Google will be slowly rolling this out, however it is avaialble in experimental search site. +1 stands for “this is pretty cool”. By logging into the google accounts, you can add this feature from their experimental site. Go to google.com & search with a keyword. This +1 appears & you can click on to recommend it. All the +1′s you have made will be availble in your Google profiles. This is a smart move by Google with the increasing of Facebook’s like.