Not even officially out of the 1st Quarter of 2011 and look what we have….a Top 5 story list! It is certainly going to be an interesting year if the SEO community has four quarters of news like this. In fact you could say it would be a record year of events, success stories and failures if this keeps going. It’s hard sometimes to stay up on all of the search engine news, so we’ve taken the time to go through and pick out what we feel is the top 5 stories of the year so far and give you a little paraphrase of each one along with a link to a more comprehensive article on each of the subjects. Enjoy !
#1 – Google’s Panda Update – Arguably the most prolific Google algorithm update in recent history. This update sent shockwaves through the SEO community and affected an astounding 11.8% of search results. Google admitted that some sites were caught-up in the “collateral damage” of this spam killing algorithm change, but did not apologize for it, nor did they make any adjustments to the algorithm to correct these issues. They are leaving it up to the site owners to correct any issues they may have had that led to a mistaken identity by Google and then wait to be re-crawled and indexed. At click-finders you can read more about the Google’s Panda Algorithm Update: How Did It Affect Your Site? .
#2 – JC Penny Scandal – Who would have thought JC Penny, of all companies, would have been caught up in a link-buying scheme / scandal such as this? Tsk tsk and shame on JC Penny! The fact that one of the most reputable and respected retailers in the world was caught up in a scandal like this is absurd to me. Of course they claim to have no direct knowledge of the act of buying links and they have fired their SEO firm, my take away is they had to know what was going on, or least someone at JC Penny did. At click-finders you can read more about the New York Times Exposes JC Penny Black-Hat SEO Scandal.
#3 – Google Launches “Site Blocker” – Have you ever done a Google search looking for a specific topic, part, article or information piece…only to click on a link in the search results to find that it is not only not what you were looking for, but also something you might never search for? Well Google understands your frustration and has added a new feature that allows you block all “example.com” results for a bad domain. That way that site will never show up again in your personal searches. Read more about this new feature here at Hide sites to find more of what you want.
#4 – Social Media is a Key Element to SEO in 2011 – That’s right, you heard it correctly. Both Google and Bing have come forward and admitted that they have been using Social Media indicators to help rank sites in the search engine results pages. Just how much and to what extent is still unknown and a closely guarded secret, but you can be sure that every “retweet”, “like” and “comment” you receive via social media is being not only counted and indexed, it is also being applied to your overall search engine results score card. So if you own a web site and you want it to rank better in the search engine results pages and you are not doing Social Media, you SHOULD BE! At click-finders you can read more about Social Media and SEO: How does it affect your rankings?
#5 – Clickstream-Gate – Google accuses Bing of using “clickstream data” from Google searches conducted with Internet Explorer to place web sites in the search engine results on Bing. The ironic part to me is that I am fairly certain all of the search engines that have developed browsers are using “clickstream data” to their own benefit, including Google. Nonetheless, Google got a lot of free PR and media coverage out of the whole debacle. In the end, I am not sure the general public cares all that much about the Google vs. Bing war, in fact, I would venture to say that most users are going to use their favorite internet browser and search engine no matter what they find out about “how they get results”. At click-finders you can read more about Bing Caught With Their Hand in the Google Cookie Jar | Search Engine Wars.
So what’s your take on these stories? Were they headlines in your world? Do they affect the way you see these corporate giants? Or is just business as usual and this is all just noise? Give us your thoughts below in the comments section, it’s FREE and you don’t even have to register!