Got Google Glass? Don’t Expect a Repair from Google If You Break It

Well, if you were one of the lucky ones who got Google Glass, you had better take really good care of your Glass. If you are unfortunate enough to break it, then Google apparently is not going to be any help. Deb Lentz, a Google Glass Explorer, slipped outside on slick pavement, they came off, and hit the ground. When she contacted Google about a fix or replacement, they apparently told her she was on her own.

Google Glass Broken

In a Google Plus post, she explained what happened: [Read more...]

The Anatomy of a Google Reconsideration Request: Manual Link Penalty

As you know, I have helped numerous businesses and site owners respond to Google’s manual link penalties. And get those manual link penalties removed or revoked by Google. Every site is unique, every website has different links pointing to them, and some have more bad links than others. And not all sites have received manual link penalty messages from Google. [Read more...]

Google: Watermarks in Google Shopping Images Violates Guidelines

A merchant who participates in Google Shopping has received a warning from Google that the images they are using in their Google Shopping feed violate their guidelines because watermarks are included. According to the message from Google, the merchant has 14 days to comply with Google’s request to remove watermarks in their images–or be suspended from participating in Google Shopping. [Read more...]

Consumer Watchdog Tells FTC: Google Shopping Is Deceptive

Consumer Watchdog, a nonprofit public interest group, has officially complained to United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that the way Google displays results in its comparison shopping engine, Google Shopping, is unfair and deceptive to consumers.

“The way that the Internet giant is featuring results from Google Shopping without making it clear that the highlighted results are nothing more than advertisements for merchants who bid for placement is an unfair and deceptive act, violating Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act,” wrote John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project Director, in a letter to the Commission. “Moreover, consumers are actually being harmed because the featured results from Google Shopping more often than not return higher prices than can be found elsewhere, when consumers would reasonably expect Google’s suggestions to be the best.”

google search google shopping

According to Consumer Watchdog, when someone searches at Google, “Google responds with links to relevant websites, articles and clearly labeled ads. It also offers suggestions from its Google Shopping service, with photographs of specific camera models. Most people likely expect these to be Google’s suggestions for best prices, Consumer Watchdog said. However, if a person clicks on a pictured item, it takes them directly to the seller’s website, although there is nothing to indicate it’s an ad and that the seller pays Google and bids to be featured in Google Shopping.”

“Google’s presentation of the Google Shopping results disguises the fact that the results are in fact advertisements. Clicking on any one of the Google Shopping suggestions takes the user directly to the merchant’s page where the product can be purchased,” the letter of complaint said.

A Consumer Watchdog study found that more often than not, the item featured in the Google Shopping result is not the lowest price.

The Financial Times also analyzed the situation from another perspective and found five out of every six items highlighted on a Google search are more expensive than the same items from other merchants hidden deeper in the Google Shopping service, with an average premium of 34 percent.

Read the Financial Times analysis here: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/8c1f2e90-5501-11e3-86bc-00144feabdc0.html

Google to Remove Image of Slain Teen from Google Maps

Google has decided to accelerate the updating of satellite images in Google Maps that appear to show the body of a slain teen from 2009. At a certain location in Richmond, California, in the satellite view, there it appears that there is a police car and officers standing around viewing something. Apparently, according to reports, “Kevin Barrera, 14, was shot and killed in 2009. Police discovered his body near a railroad track in Richmond on August 15 of that year, at an address that roughly matches the one of the scene in question.”

dubcoe-st-richmond-california

It appears that there is a police car near the railroad tracks if you view that location (as of the time of this post) using the Google satellite feature from within Google Maps.

Brian McClendon, vice president of Google Maps, told CNN that “Google has Google has never accelerated the replacement of updated satellite imagery from our maps before, but given the circumstances we wanted to make an exception in this case.” They say it will take up to 8 days to remove the images.

Is The New Google AdWords Ad Format Too Sneaky?

There are new Google AdWords ads that are starting to show up with different formatting that I’ve seen before. Essentially, the background does not have a color: which in the past has distinguished Google AdWords ads from the regular organic search results. I bet these new ads are going to get a lot more clicks than before.

Here is a screen shot of the new ads that are showing up:

google adwords ads

Click on the image to see a larger version.

This was posted on Imgur, and I’m not sure if it’s just Google testing a new ad format or it’s now being shown to most users.

Do you think these new ads are too sneaky? When I say sneaky, I mean that the ad doesn’t look like a traditional ad, which might cause the typical end user to think that the ad is actually part of the organic search results.

Google Penguin Recovery: Did Your Site Suffer from the Google Penguin Algorithm Update?

How can you tell whether or not your website has suffered a traffic loss or some sort of penalty as a result of the Google Penguin updates? And if your website actually did suffer a traffic loss, you actually might not know it: especially if you are looking at your Google Analytics. Recently, I took a look at a site’s Google Analytics to see if the site suffered from Google Panda, Google Penguin, and if my intervention into the Google Penguin recovery process was needed.

First, I took a look at the Google Analytics for the site as a whole. At first look, it actually appears that the site’s traffic has gone up (not drastically, but actually it is on an upward trend). Take a look at this website’s overall traffic from all sources:

google analytics traffic google penguin, all sources

If you look at the above screen capture (you will probably want to click on the image in order to see the larger version), then honestly it does look like the traffic is just fine. After all, one of the last “key” Google Penguin dates was around the beginning of October according to the Google algorithm update history. I even outlined this during my Google Penguin and Panda update when I spoke at the Pubcon Conference in Las Vegas during late October.

So let’s dig a little deeper into the Google Analytics for this particular website. Same website I mentioned above, but let’s look at the Google organic traffic to the site during the same period of time.

google analytics traffic google penguin, organic traffic

Again, the same thing. Although, there is less of a change in the traffic over time. This normally would look like the site has NOT suffered any sort of penalty on organic traffic because of Google Penguin.

But, here’s where you have to dig even deeper. Don’t just trust the Google Analytics traffic to show you what’s going on. In fact, I wouldn’t fully trust Google Analytics at all after seeing what I found today, by looking at the Google Webmaster Tools data:

google webmaster tools search queries google penguin

WOW, what a difference! If you look at this chart, you’ll clearly see that around the first week of October the site DID receive some sort of traffic loss. Turns out that I ended up digging into the site a little bit more with some additional analysis (which took some additional time) which I won’t go into right here. But, there were certain keyword phrases (the “money” type of keywords) that the site really converts well for and has a lot of traffic. And it appears that the site was really hit by Google Penguin, which this latest update. There were some previous losses in traffic, but not as drastic as this latest round of updates from Google.

So, why is Google Analytics showing that the traffic wasn’t down but Google Webmaster Tools shows that the site suffered a loss? There are several reasons why this can happen, which could include the GA code not being installed on all pages, or it could be that the site lost rankings for certain keywords because of “over optimization”, or it could be a combination of certain keywords who anchor text links are now deemed to be “over optimized”. In this particular case, it looks to me like there are certain keywords phrases that the site has targeted in its past linking campaigns–and that link text appears much more than the actual brand phrases that are pointing to the site. The only way to tell for sure, though, is to have a real expert review all of the data and, only based on experience, make an informed opinion.

Google Thinks Domain Names Are Like Guns

no 1and1 domain-names

So, here’s an interesting question: when are domain names like guns? Well, apparently if you are searching Google, then domain names are so related to guns that Google shows a popular domain name registrar along with search results related to, you guessed it: guns.

I have to admit that in the past I’ve been quick to “pull the trigger” when I see what I think is a good domain name. (Yes, pun intended here!)

But this really has to be pretty ridiculous. I thought that Google was supposedly providing BETTER search results now, especially since they have all these all-new, fresh, fancy algorithms. Like the Google Hummingbird algorithm, and the Google Penguin and Google Panda updates. Let me show you exactly how good Google’s search results are, folks:

Take a look at the search results for this search:

Get Your FFL

For those of you who aren’t familiar, FFL stands for “Federal Firearms License”. As in (in the United States) the Federal Firearms License (FFL) that you have to have if you are going to buy and sell guns. Many are getting their FFL so that they can buy guns for themselves and ammunition for a cheaper price.

When you search for “get your FFL” at Google, you get a search result that includes 1and1.com, and popular domain name registrar:

Get Your FFL

Apparently Google thinks that the “get your” part of that particular search query is related to “Get Your” that appears on the homepage of 1and1.com, which is CLEARLY related to domain names, and NOT guns. Let’s see. The first 30 search results are about getting your FFL, related to guns, and then whammo! domain names. How appropriate.

All I can do is shake my head on this one. And then go on over to Bing to see if the search result is any better:

Yep! The top 50 search results are all about guns. Now, I’m using Bing from now on.

Google Image Mismatch Penalty: What is It?

There is a new manual Google penalty called the Image Mismatch penalty. What exactly is the Google Image Mismatch penalty, and how can you prevent from getting penalized by Google for issues related to your images? Barry Schwartz first reported about this new penalty.

This particular penalty is a manual penalty action by Google, and not an algorithmic action. Manual penalties by Google are different than algorithmic penalties, such as Google Penguin and Google Panda. So, if you are penalized by Google, then you need to take care of this issue and then use Google Webmaster Tools to get in touch with Google to tell them that you have taken care of the issue.

Search Engine Land describes this penalty:

Image mismatch is when the images on your website do not match what is shown in the Google search results.

This is really a form of cloaking, where you display certain information to Google (or Googlebot, their crawler) and different information to your website visitors. Cloaking can also result in penalties, and even can get your website banned in the search results if it’s too severe.

In the case of the image mismatch penalty by Google, most likely it’s going to only affect certain sections of your website, where only the parts of your website that have to do with the issue are penalized.

Search Engine Roundtable has posted a screen shot of the warning a website owner received.

Google image mismatch penalty

Bottom line? Make sure your site displays the same image in Google search results as it does on your site. And if you get one of these penalties, don’t take it lightly or ignore it. You need to fix the issue and respond to Google, telling them that the issue is fixed.

Google Hummingbird Algorithm Fail: What is the Current Twitter Stock Price?

Google recently launched the new Google Hummingbird algorithm with a huge amount of fanfare. They even announced it in the original Google garage, at a birthday event. Part of what Google is proud of is that we can now ask Google questions and they will understand what we are asking.

Twitter stock price

But frankly, I am extremely disappointed with what seems to be one simple query, that Google cannot answer properly.

Let’s take a look at my search query today:

What is the current Twitter stock price?

What is the Current Twitter Stock Price?

On a day when Twitter is going to start trading on the stock market, Google cannot even understand a basic query. Instead, Google delivers search results that are essentially news about the Twitter IPO, some from even a day ago. All I want is the current Twitter stock price, as in the price right now.

This seems to me that it would be reasonable enough, given the query, that Google would return the actual stock price, just like they do for Google:

Google stock price

Apparently the news about Twitter’s stock price is much more important than answering the question: What is the current Twitter stock price?

Google Hummingbird algorithm. #FAIL Simply because a question about the current Twitter stock price doesn’t in fact bring up the current stock price.

UPDATE: – Once Twitter started trading on the NYSE, Google changed the search results to display the actual Twitter stock price, but only if you search for “Twitter stock price” rather than asking Google something like:

What is the current Twitter stock price?

twitter stock price