Google Disavow Link Tool

The buzz around the SEO world right now is about the launch of Google’s Disavow Links Tool. The tool allows site owners to take control of the links pointing towards their site.

As there are so many posts going about right now, rather than add to it, I’m just going to link to some of the ones that have caught my eye.

If you want to find out more about the Disavow Links Tool, check out...

Webmaster Central Blog (Google’s Official Blog) - Click here
Search Engine Land - Danny Sullivan’s post - Click here
Search Engine Watch - Danny Goodwin’s post - Click here
Search Engine Roundtable - Barry Schwartz’ post - Click here

If you have any interest in Digital Marketing or SEO then these posts are definitely a worthwhile read and will probably tell you all you need to know about the tool. Give the Matt Cutts video in these posts a little bit of your attention too.

Google release third update of their Penguin update

Late on Friday night, Matt Cutts, head of webspam at Google announced on his Twitter that there was to be a Penguin algorithm update.

The latest Penguin update, a data refresh and the first update of Penguin for over four months is likely to impact 0.3% of English search queries.

To see if your site has been affected, you will need to check your visitor numbers for over the weekend. Compare them against other weekends, if there is a dramatic drop in numbers from previous weekends, your site may have been affected by the Penguin update.

Equally, if your site has a decent increase in visitor numbers, you may have benefited from the update.

SEOmoz brings you... MozCast

SEOmoz have released MozCast, their very own Google weather report!

The weather report is used to chart changes in Google’s algorithm. A typical day will see the MozCast display a sun with clear skies. The more changes that have been made to the algorithm in 24 hours, the hotter and stormier the weather will be shown in MozCast.

 Here is the range of weather symbols shown in MozCast...

On the left, a bright sun indicates just a normal day, with minimal changes in Google search. The far right shows lightning storms, this means that changes are registering in Google search and indicates there has been an algorithm change. To check the weather report yourself, you can visit the Mozcast by clicking here.

Google's new calc

A neat little feature has been added to Google search recently.

Google search could be used to find answers for sums a bit like a calculator.

If you typed “2 + 2” into the search box and clicked search, Google would tell you the answer was 4. Brilliant!

Not only does Google still answer your sums for you, they also offer a fully interactive, 34 button scientific calculator to work out more calculations

Pretty cool!
Google have added a new feature in Google Webmaster Tools. From now on, webmasters will be able to see just when Google discovered links to their site when downloading link data from Webmaster Tools.

Google have added a “Download latest links” button in the “Links to Your Site” in Webmaster Tools.

When you use this feature, you will see there are a list of the links in the left hand column and the date of when Google discovered these links on the right column in the report.

I’m sure many Google will be commended for this extra data. It will help to see how long it actually takes Google to index certain links as well as several other advantages.
The Search Engine community has overseen a lot of change in the last year or so with Google introducing algorithm updates such as Panda and Penguin and penalties for over optimisation and bad link building techniques in dodgy neighbourhoods.

That’s why those clever folks at SEOmoz have overhauled their Beginner’s Guide to SEO. They have updated it to lead potential SEO-ers from bad habits that were effective pre Panda and Penguin. I read the original Beginner’s Guide to SEO when I first got into learning about search engine optimisation at Equator.

There was so much stuff in it, I had to go back and read it a couple of times to take it all in. If you are looking for a detailed guide to give to someone starting out in the industry or just wanting to test yourself to see if you really are on the right track, the SEOmoz guide is worth a read.

You can find the Beginner’s Guide to SEO here

Yahoo's troubles continue!

Yahoo’s troubles in the search engine business continue to run. Yahoo’s share of the U.S search engine market has continued to decrease in April.

This is a continuation of a now 8 month slide, starting in September 2011 for the company. Yahoo has also been blighted by CEO changes and employee redundancies of late as well as co-founder Jerry Yang’s departure.

Yahoo’s search share fell 0.2 percent in April to just 13.5 percent according to comScore. This is significant drop on Yahoo’s share in last April which stood at 15.9 percent.

Both of Yahoo’s main rivals, Google and Bing, seen slight gains in the market share with Google recording 66.5 percent of the share while Bing recorded a 15.4 percent of the share according to comScore.

So what is next in store for Yahoo?

How Google search actually works

Have you ever wondered just how Google search actually works?

Here is Google's Head of Web Spam, Matt Cutts to tell us:

Google have announced that they plan to introduce a ranking penalty that will punish websites that seem to have purposely been over optimised or over SEO’d.

Google say they have been working on this over optimisation penalty for a few months now and are getting ready to launch it probably sometime this month.

The over optimisation penalty is going to “level the playing field” according to Google. This means that once the update has been rolled out, websites that have great relevant content has a better chance to rank well in the SERPs.

Websites that have poorer quality content, rely on keyword stuffing techniques or exchanging too many links could suffer in the rankings in the near future.

Many will say "well this isn't new, Google have been doing this for a while now" however it is they way they are going to tackle it from now on that is the real change.

Google intend to use notifications through their own Webmaster Tools to inform webmasters whether their site has been over optimised. This is all part of Google's attempts to be more transparent.

We'll see how this affects the SEO world once it kicks in.

More bad news for Yahoo!

It's not been that long since we brought you news of Jerry Yang, co-founder of Yahoo and his decision to leave the company. 

In yet another blow for the company, Yahoo’s new CEO, Scott Thompson has announced the company’s plans to lay off 2,000 of their current staff. The company employs around 15,000 people around the world. The loss of jobs is around 15 per cent of Yahoo’s total staff. At the end of 2010, then CEO, Carol Bartz trimmed the staff by 4%

Scott Thompson explained:

“Today's actions are an important next step toward a bold, new Yahoo! — smaller, nimbler, more profitable and better equipped to innovate as fast as our customers and our industry require. We are intensifying our efforts on our core businesses and redeploying resources to our most urgent priorities. Our goal is to get back to our core purpose — putting our users and advertisers first — and we are moving aggressively to achieve that goal. Unfortunately, reaching that goal requires the tough decision to eliminate positions. We deeply value our people and all they've contributed to Yahoo!”

It is estimated the job cuts will save Yahoo about $375 million a year. 

Simple SEO tip

Most people work really hard on their website or blog to get it to represent themselves or their brand well on the internet. This can be especially vital for people who deal in ecommerce. The thing is, you can work really hard, get great content out there and represent yourself or brand really well but no one is taking notice. This happens to many great web pages or blogs. You don’t have to worry; search engine optimisation (SEO) can help you.

In its simplest form, SEO is a tactic you can use to enhance your website or blog’s appearance in search engine result pages (SERPs) such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. This improved appearance in result pages is a great way to get more visitors to your site or blog.

When the search engines crawl all internet websites, they look at many factors on the webpage to decide how relevant the web page is to the search engine user’s search query. The better the relevancy, the higher it will place your web page in their search results. The first thing a webmaster should do is to make sure their website or blog is optimised for these key factors that the search engines use to determine relevancy.

Although it isn’t 100% known just what these search engines look for, research and tests done by the many SEO-ers out there manages to give us a good idea of some things that do make a difference. Keywords help determine how relevant a website or blog is to any particular search query. Where these keywords are placed is crucial. So first you have to decide on the best keywords that will describe your website and then place them in your website or blog in a correct manner.

The main areas where search engines look for relevancy seems to be in page titles, meta descriptions, and any written content. It may be tempting just to cram your keywords into these places but search engines can penalise websites and blogs that use this kind of ‘keyword stuffing’. So finding the right balance is always important.

If it is your own blog, you may be able to read up on a few basic SEO techniques and optimise it yourself but if you have an ecommerce site where the visitors and conversion is really important, it may be beneficial to contact a digital marketing agency or SEO specialist.

In the digital marketing agency where I work, they offer a wide range of opportunities for businesses such as Web Design, Web Development, PPC, Affiliate Marketing and of course their very own SEO.

The Search Engine Optimisation services they offer are done by a dedicated team with many years of experience, working on many different clients from various business sectors.

Jerry Yang resigns from Yahoo!

Jerry Yang has quit Yahoo, the company he co-founded with David Filo in March 1995. His resignation is effective immediately just weeks after Yahoo had announced Scott Thompson as their new CEO.

Yesterday Yahoo announced that Yang had resigned from the Board of Directors and all other positions within the company. Yang had been on the Board of Directors spanning nearly 17 years. 

In 2007, Yang replaced Terry Semel as CEO but stepped down from the job a year later. This led to Carol Bartz becoming the CEO in 2009 but 2011 seen Bartz ousted from the position and was eventually replace by Scott Thompson.

Thompson said of Yang “I am grateful for the warm welcome and support Jerry provided me during my early days here. Jerry leaves behind a legacy of innovation and customer focus for this iconic brand, having shaped our culture by fostering a spirit of innovation that began 17 years ago and continues to grow even stronger today. Jerry has great confidence in the future of Yahoo!, and I share his confidence in the enormous potential of Yahoo! in the days ahead.”

Jerry Yang had this to say about his time at Yahoo “My time at Yahoo!, from its founding to the present, has encompassed some of the most exciting and rewarding experiences of my life. However, the time has come for me to pursue other interests outside of Yahoo! As I leave the company I co-founded nearly 17 years ago, I am enthusiastic about the appointment of Scott Thompson as Chief Executive Officer and his ability, along with the entire Yahoo! leadership team, to guide Yahoo! into an exciting and successful future.”

Yang still owns 3.6 per cent of the company.

Bing has become the number 2 search engine in the United States for December 2011 according to the latest figures released by comScore.

Bing was first launched by Microsoft in 2009 and landed just over 8 per cent of the search engine market share. Bing user numbers have steadily increased over time and the search engine now holds a 15.1 per cent of the search engine market share.

Google not only continues to lead the way in terms of market share, it also increased its share to 65.9 per cent. Yahoo has seen its share drop to third with 14.5 per cent of the market share. This is nearly a 4 per cent decrease from numbers in November where it had a 15.1 share.

Ask remained at 2.9 per cent while AOL also remained at 1.6 per cent.