As cited in our last month’s newsletter, a Penguin update was just round the corner. Since the last Penguin update, thousands of affected site owners were waiting, and waiting, and waiting for a refresh which will hopefully recover their affected sites. Their wait finally came to an end on Friday, October 19th when Google started rolling out the Penguin 3.0 update. This was officially announced by Google rep Pierre Far on Monday in one of his posts on Google Plus.
Here’s what we know about the Penguin 3.0 so far:
- Penguin 3.0 started rolling out on Friday, October 19th and was officially announced on Monday, October 21.
- It’s a global rollout.
- It’s a refresh and not an update. New algorithmic signals have not been added. You can read more about the difference between a refresh and an update here.
- It will be a slow and steady rollout that can take weeks to complete.
- Google and even some industry experts have been rather quiet about this update as compared to the Penguin 2.1. That’s a little strange considering the magnitude of Penguin 3.0 and how long we have waited for it.
Here’s what we have observed after the Penguin 3.0 roll out:
Since we monitor the rankings of 2000+ websites, we get a bird’s eye view of how the update has affected our websites. And the good news is that it hasn’t negatively affected us. The plan of action we adopted after the Penguin 2.1 update has worked beautifully for us. We have seen recoveries for websites which were hit by the previous update.
Here is one such example of a website which has recovered.
Organic Traffic (Google)
Google Webmaster Tools Impressions
As far as Google rankings are concerned, the numbers have moved up as well as far as page 1 positions are concerned. Below is the comparison.
Key Takeout’s from the Penguin 3.0 update:
1. If your website has bad backlinks and has been affected, backlink cleanup is of utmost importance. You need to download all of your inbound links from a number of sources, analyze those links, flag unnatural links, and then remove/disavow them. We can help you out with this.
2. On the flip side, if you have just recovered from a Penguin hit, then you should create a process for checking your links on a monthly basis. Make sure new spammy links are not being built. We’ve have seen spammy links replicate in the past… so it’s important to fully understand your latest links.
3. Continue to focus on more On-Site optimization which includes correcting all possible 404 errors, fix duplicate (thin) content on the site, implementing Google Publisher / Authorship markup, etc. Clients need to be willing to either fix or allow us to fix these issues. Internal blogs is also a good addition which we should do when allowed.
4. On-site optimization also includes creation of landing pages / GEO specific location pages. We always advise our clients of the same and have seen inner pages rank in Google SERPs after the update. Check out the below example:
5. Vary anchor text and lower the % of specific key terms focus. We have been doing this since the last Penguin update and will continue to work the %’s.
6. Local citations give you a good variation of follow/no-follow links, they come from trusted sites, and they are pretty easy to get. They are not the powerhouse links that will help you dominate your competition but as part of the big picture, they are a great addition.
7. This has been mentioned numerous times but getting your Google+ local listing verified and its 100% completeness is of utmost importance.
As you can see, the steps you need to take to rank after the latest updates are not really new or ground breaking. The big difference is that now you need to follow the methods above more closely than you have in the past.
Google announced they’ve added a ton of new features for business owners within the Google My Business (old Google Places) dashboard and Google My Business Android and (coming soon to) iOS app.
The features include:
- Reviews alerts and notifications
- Respond to reviews via the mobile app
- More data in the Insights section such as phone tracking, driving directions heat maps and more
- Expanding the AdWords Express app to 20 additional countries
Here are screen shots of all these new features:
Reviews in the mobile app:
- New insights, including phone call tracking:
- New heat maps for driving directions:
- The new AdWords Express data in the app:
This is a major update to the features within Google My Business. Finally, this is shaping up to be a Google-like experience for the local division at Google.
Google Webmaster Tools has added another great report that’s designed to help you identify and track errors and issues your mobile site visitors are having. The report called, Mobile Usability, provides you with details such as: issues with flash content; clickable links, buttons, and other touch elements too close to each other; content not sized to view port and more.
It then goes a step further to give you tips and advice on how to fix the errors within your report. You can access your site’s report within Google Webmaster Tools here – https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-usability.
Google is laser focused on giving their mobile users a great user experience and they’re happy to provide you with the data and tools to help ensure your website is included in that experience. A responsive designed website that is fast loading and secure is the only way to go and if you haven’t done the work yet, you’d better get it prioritized because your continued success moving into the next year depends on it.
Apple has finally released a legitimate way for U.S.-based small business owners to claim ownership on their Apple Maps listing and keep the information correctly updated! It’s called Apple Maps Connect and here are the steps to take to get started:
- Login with an existing Apple ID, or create a new Apple ID.
- Write in your business information, including your relationship to business, business name, business address, and business phone number.
- Verify your business over the phone right away, or via email (with a business email address).
- Confirm business location, category, hours, and input Website and social media links.
Updated information or new listings have been showing up within about one week. Again, this is only available for U.S.-based business for the time being, but Apple reports that it will be rolled out to more countries in the near future.
Facebook is growing its global marketing reach at very high rates! It has transformed into a giant marketing hub anchoring every single online media. Off late, one considerable thing to take a peek at is, how Facebook narrowed down the reach of its ads campaign.
Before the Change:
Not much time ago in March, Facebook came up with new Ads Campaign Structure with following hierarchy:
Campaign à Ad Set à Ads
- Campaign: Campaign would define the objective of running ads. Examples: page likes, clicks to website, event responses etc.
- Ad set: In a single ad set there could be multiple ads targeting specific audience. Moreover, one could have separate bidding and placement for an ad.
- Ads: Ads can be created based on creative, copy and by ad type.
What this Change brings:
In August, Facebook again came up with the update on how the ads will work. According to update, ads and ad sets will play different roles in running a campaign. Facebook suggests that all the ads within an ad set should target the same audience in order to get better performance.
What it means is; every Ad Set including all of its ads will have fixed location as a target. Though, one can create number of variations by changing images, texts, videos and links.
Even if you try to create variation on the basis of targeting audiences and bidding, you will end up creating new ad sets for the same campaign.
Note: People who have their existing campaigns running will not have to face this change as they have started it before the update! Facebook clarified that adapting to structural changes may be necessary in January.
Implementation of the update:
Facebook has announced the global implementation of the update for first party Facebook tools such as Power Editor, Ads Create Tools and Ads Manager. Updates were made available from September 1 and are expected to be in use from October 1.
Given this, nothing has been revealed about third party Facebook advertising tools.
Why this change
With bidding, targeting and placement made available to Ad set instead of Ads, advertiser will have better control to direct its ads to proper audience. This also gives surety of reach to build the expectation.
What future holds
With this update, Facebook has made sure that they are opting for more audience oriented mind-set. Facebook also confirmed that they will be launching audience management, advanced delivery controls and a campaign spend cap.
Let us see how Facebook pulls this trick.
Now you can toggle between accounts without having to sign in separately every time.
Google announced a new workflow that allows you to switch between Google accounts without having to log out and log in again. Switch accounts and still stay logged into all of them.
To get started in AdWords, click on either the Customer ID or login email in AdWords to open what’s called the account selector. Managers can choose to add more accounts using the “Add Account” button.
This is an example of a seemingly small change that will make a huge difference in user experience and productivity.