May is small business month, so as a follow-up to a blog post I wrote recently, I tracked this small business owner, Ira Zoot from TicketStub.com, and interviewed him. Mr. Zoot originally claimed that he, as a small business owner, has been crushed by Google. He’s been only for over 10 years, and, in the past several years Google has taken steps through various algorithm changes and other policies, to crush his business online. [Read more…]
On Thursday, April 16, 2015, Google announced that they are beginning to remove the domain name from the mobile search results. Rather than displaying a URL in the search results or a domain name, Google has begun to display a website name or a website name and a breadcrumb of the website’s page. Domain names generally have been removed from the mobile search results. This move by Google is wrong, and ultimately increases internet user vulnerability to potential fraud and deception. Furthermore, it undermines the whole entire Domain Name System as we know it. [Read more…]
An interesting post was written by a small business owner, sharing his experience about being crushed by Google. In the article, he claims that after working hard for 12 years building his online business, Google reduced the site’s traffic from 2000 visitors a day to a few hundred a day: all without warning. [Read more…]
ZDNet recently bought a new domain name from the domain name aftermarket (a domain name auction), and almost immediately got their trusted, authoritative, 2 year old website banned in Google. ZDNet wrote a scathing article on their site, blaming Google for the error, claiming that Google got it all wrong. But, that’s not the case. Google absolutely got it right, and was correct in banning the site in Google. Here’s how ZDNet bought a domain name, redirected their trusted, authoritative site to this new domain name, and then got their website banned in Google. [Read more…]
In Google Webmaster Tools, Google is reporting Bing’s search result URLs as actual backlinks to a website. Google has as history of sometimes making a mistake and indexing Bing’s search results, like I found a while back. But this is the first time that I have seen that Google is actually telling webmasters that there is a link to their website: and that link is a Bing search result URL. Google shows Bing search results URLs. Definitely something that I don’t think Google planned on. [Read more…]
By now, you probably heard about the April Fool’s prank that I came up with this year–and with the help of Jeff and Amanda on our Globe Runner team, I think we pulled it off. So much so that we had trouble keeping the website up and running that weekend. And on April 1st, we followed up with another post, welcoming the other team members who recently joined Globe Runner, Darth Vader and Elvis Presley. By the way, if you haven’t seen the post, it’s titled “Globe Runner Welcomes Matt Cutts as Director of Search“.
On the April 8, 2015 “This Week at Google” Twit.tv show with Leo Laporte and Jeff Jarvis, Matt Cutts commented my our April Fool’s prank. I’ve edited the video to pull out Matt Cutts’ comments so you don’t to have to listen to the whole entire hour-long show. [Read more…]
I am not sure if anyone has noticed, but today I was looking through the search results and am seeing a new tag in the search results called “April Fool’s Prank”. This appears to be similar to the “Mobile Friendly” tag, whereas Google is flagging certain sites that are “mobile friendly.” Here is a screen capture of the search results, where a recent post of mine about Matt Cutts shows up (look for it around the 2nd page of the SERPS for “Matt Cutts”:
If you look closely at the search results, you will see that my post that appeared recently on the Globe Runner site is tagged with “April Fool’s Prank”. [Read more…]
The Not Provided keywords are NOT being expanded to Google Webmaster Tools. In only what I can call an “April Fools prank posted days before April Fools”, Search Engine Watch posted this article that says that Google is expanding the Not Provided keywords to Google Webmaster Tools, taking away even more keyword data from site owners.
This is absolutely a prank article, and you should not believe it. [Read more…]
Well, um, this is embarrassing. Especially at a time when Google is pushing the mobile version of websites, wanting all of us to make sure that our websites are mobile friendly by April 21st. A recent search this morning revealed that the mobile version of Google.com is ranking well in Google’s own search results. I searched for the title of a blog post I wrote on Saturday night about a lawsuit. And, low and behold, Google’s mobile version (of Google Plus) is ranking #3 for that search query. Take a look:
I was just granted access to the new Google Webmaster Tools Search Impact report, which is going to be available in Google Webmaster Tools. The Search Impact report is currently in Alpha (not even in Beta yet), but it offers a lot more insight into what’s going on with your website. If you’ve been granted access it should show up at the URL above. It will eventually show up for everyone who has a Google Webmaster Tools account, and you’ll be able to analyze more search data about your site. Here is a sneak peak of what the Search Impact report looks like and what you’ll be able to do and see with this report. [Read more…]
If you are using structured data on your website, or marking up your website’s code using schema.org code, it could ultimately cost you page views and visits from Google. By allowing marking using structured data on your website, you are allowing Google to use the data in any way they see fit–and Google is taking full advantage of that. [Read more…]
Google is shutting down Open ID 2.0 and migrating Open ID 2.0 to the Google Plus Sign-In. Open ID 2.0 and Google Plus Sign-In is a way that allows website owners to let their users log into their website using their Google account credentials.
Google has removed the Google Carousel from the search results. A search for keyword phrases such as Dallas Hotels, Chicago Hotels, and New York Hotels, popular searches that previously showed the Google Carousel, now shows a different type of search result, which is similar to the traditional map pack. This has been phased out, and there is no Google Carousel anymore for any of the local searches. Google removed carousel. For good. Does this mean that the Google Carousel failed?
So, instead of showing photos of the hotels at the top of the search results that, when clicked, caused a branded search to occur and another set of search results to appear, more “traditional” type of search results are now showing. The search results for cityname + hotels shows specific hotels, but the PPC ads are prominent along with the organic, natural search results. [Read more…]
Google has decided to shut down its operations in Spain, and will no longer include any Spanish publishers in Google News. Google’s reasoning behind this is the new Spanish law that requires every Spanish publication to charge services like Google News for showing even the smallest snippet from their publications, whether they want to or not. [Read more…]
While searching Google today for a random search query, I noticed that the first search result was kind of odd. The Instragram post was a travel photo and it had nothing to do with the query that I just searched for. But that’s actually what didn’t surprise me. I’m not surprised by Google showing off-topic results for certain search queries. What shocked me was that apparently Google says that the post was made on Jan 17, 1970.
Yep, you got that right. Take a look at the screen capture:
Google has started displaying new mobile friendly tag in the search results to show which sites are mobile-friendly and which sites are not. So, if your site is mobile-friendly, and someone is searching on a mobile device, and your site shows up in the search results, it will get a special tag in the search results.
Google just updated or “refreshed” the knowledge graph data within the past 24 hours. I have knowledge graph data showing up for a search for my name, Bill Hartzer, and I’ve been constantly watching the data, as it was previously incorrect: and it appears that they just updated the information within the past few hours.
Here is what the previous knowledge graph data/sidebar in the Google search results looked like for my name:
The new Inbox by Gmail, launched just recently, does not work with email accounts set up through Google Apps. My company, for example, uses our Gmail accounts for our email. And, I use Gmail even on my phone for email. So, I was kind of excited to try the new Inbox by Gmail. But, when I got the invite from Google, I downloaded the app, and got the following after installing it:
Don’t worry, it’s not your fault or your organization’s fault. Inbox by Gmail won’t work with Google Apps.
Wow, this is something that I found rather funny… Google just announced Inbox by Gmail, a new type of service that handles all of your appointments, calendar, and emails (and some other stuff) in one place. OK, so that’s really cool. If it works. I’d like to be one of the first to try it. [Read more…]
Starting yesterday, Google started showing Knowledge Graph results from Freebase in the search results for my name, Bill Hartzer. What’s interesting to note is that this is the first time that I’ve seen a direct example of Google using Freebase data. We’ve known for quite some time that Google owns Freebase, but for the first time I have proof that Google’s pulling data from Freebase. [Read more…]
There’s been a lot of chatter lately about whether or not sites should move their sites from HTTP to HTTPs. In fact, there apparently was a study done that said that apparently proved that you should not move from HTTP to HTTPS because there’s no benefit. Well, all I can do is continue to report my specific results for this site, on www.BillHartzer.com, and show you my data. [Read more…]
Over the weekend, Jim Hedger noticed that there were huge fluctuations in the numbers of links that were being reported in Google Webmaster Tools. He’s reportedly seen as much as 500,000 links reported, and then at a later time it was less than 1,000 links. Based on my own site’s link data, I’m now seeing over 200,000 links being reported.
From my past experiences, I’ve come to find out that Google Webmaster Tools, in the past, would not show more then 100,000 links, even for websites that I’ve worked on that have over 8 million links. So, doing a link cleanup project on a site with 8 million links: Google Webmaster Tools was pretty much useless. [Read more…]
I rarely disagree with advice given by authors of articles that appear on Search Engine Land, but in this case, I wholeheartedly, and undeniably, disagree with some recent advice about HTTP and HTTPs sites. In a recent article, Daniel Cristo recommended that “if you’re running a blog, brochure site, news site, or any sort of information site where users don’t provide you with any personal information, I would recommend not using HTTPS.” He provides several reasons, which are completely false and unjustified, and generally gives advice that I disagree with. [Read more…]
In Google Webmaster Tools, there is a useful report called the Search Queries report. This report shows your website’s impressions in Google organic search, the clicks to your website, and the average position (of your ranking). Typically, I review this repor from time to time, but I don’t necessarily look at it as often as I look at Google Analytics. What should you do if your impressions and clicks go down drastically? Perhaps like this:
While reviewing Google Analytics for a few websites today, it appears that Google Analytics has a problem with deciding whether or not Google Plus is a website–or if it is a social media website. In Google Analytics, some of the traffic to your site will be reported as a referral, while other traffic, seemingly a random number, will be reported as social traffic.
Let’s take a look at a random site that I have Google Analytics access to, and look at referrals from Google Plus. In this case, I filtered the “All Traffic” down to only plus.google.com: [Read more…]
Exactly one week ago, I moved my site from HTTP to HTTPS, making my whole entire site serve up content securely. As you may recall, Google officially came out and said that HTTPS is a search engine ranking signal now. One week after I moved the site, here is an update. Overall, traffic from Google organic search is up 9.58 percent. And the overall quality of the traffic is much better, as well. [Read more…]
Having been in the Search Engine Optimization business for well over 10 years, it’s a shame that we are at a point when Google’s organic search team makes a change to their algorithm, decides on a whim that a legitimate marketing technique is unethical, or makes an official announcement that SSL is now a ranking factor. It’s sad that we’re at a point that when Google says, “Jump!” we say “How High?” [Read more…]
Due to Google’s recent official announcement that an https site is a search engine ranking factor, I’ve decided to move my site, BillHartzer.com, to https from http. Just to see if I can get a better rankings for the pages on my website. Currently, I do not accept any sort of payment for the content that I write here on my site, so that’s not the reason I’m moving the site from http to https.
Trust is the biggest factor in my decision to change from http to https, and that’s one major way you can get a higher visibility in web search. My web host, Hostdime, offers secure certificates at a very reasonable rate, which is $30 per year for a basic certificate. It’s good for www and non-www. [Read more…]
Update: I got a call from a someone who claimed they were a representative of Katapult SEO, based in San Diego. Apparently one of their employees had alerted them to this post, and they wanted to talk to me about it. During the call, I indicated to them that they needed to contact the original poster or recorder of the conversation, and that I was only reporting on this situation, as a blogger. What’s interesting is that they obviously had never read this post (based on the types of questions they were asking). Seriously–if you’re going to call someone about a blog post then don’t ya think you should actually read it before calling them? Maybe that’s besides the point here. Anyhow, it turns out that the caller claimed that this call, recorded below, was a “former employee” acting only on their own. And that “former employee” doesn’t work for the company anymore.
I specifically told this representative of Katapult SEO that they could email me a statement and I would be happy to update this post with the information that they provided. That rep from Katapult SEO never ever emailed me–and the offer still stands. I’d like to hear their side of the story here, and if it was a former employee and they’ve changed their company operating ways, that would be good to hear. I have given them my email address, and it’s on this site. And the offer still stands. I will update this post with the information that Katapult SEO provides, if, in fact, this call is from a company called Katapult SEO.
Here’s the original post:
During an recent unsolicited telemarketing call, a representative from an SEO firm, located in California, claimed that a company’s local business listing on Google Places (now called Google My Business) would be taken down and deleted if they are not paid $299 to re-verify and re-boost the local listing. [Read more…]
I am not sure if this is something that has been done on purpose or not, but Google has removed the Google Authorship stats that were previously available in Google Webmaster Tools.
The page, which was previously located here: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/labs-author-stats-1 is now showing a 404 error:
There’s a rogue website that is showing up as a referral in your Google Analytics. Semalt.com bills itself as “Semalt is a professional webmaster analytics tool that opens the door to new opportunities for the market monitoring, yours and your competitors’ positions tracking and comprehensible analytics business information.” Okay, fine. But to be honest with you, most likely you do NOT want any traffic from Semalt.com. In fact, it’s not real visitors, it’s just a “bot” that is wasting your website bandwidth and costing you money. Real visitors are generally not coming from a website called Semalt.com. So, to accurately see your referral and website visitor traffic in Google Analytics, I recommend removing this or “excluding” semalt.com in your Google Analytics tracking. Here’s how to do that.
First, you need to log into Google Analytics. Then, click on the “Admin” tab at the top, as shown below.
Google just dropped their real name policy. So, starting now, this means that there are no restrictions on names you can use when signing up for services such as Google Plus and YouTube. As you might recall, Google+ had revised their real name policy back in 2012, saying that only .1 percent of users have submitted name appeals, and the majority (60%) of these users want to simply add nicknames. But now, they’ve changed all that. You can use any name you want.
I just got ahold of the latest copy of Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines, with a date of March 2014. It’s an interesting read, all 160 pages of this document. There are a lot of new phrases and concepts that are included in this latest version, but honestly there’s are really not many new surprises. But, if you’re in the online marketing business, are an SEO, or own a website, then you really should take a look at the latest guidelines, if just to make sure that your website or your client’s website(s) are compliant with Google’s latest Quality Rater guidelines. There may be some things that you can improve, I’ve found a few things that I’m going to pay attention to from now on when I perform complex SEO Audits for clients. [Read more…]
Relevant content in organic search results distracts people from clicking on sponsored search advertisements.
— Bill Slawski (@bill_slawski) July 11, 2014
I know that’s a really long title for this post, but I wanted to get to the point with the headline. We all want to know the real reason why Google removed Google Authorship Photos from the search results, right? [Read more…]
I just checked the CookieChoices.org website again, and it turns out that the website is really now live. As you might recall, I was the first one to break the news that Google bought the CookieChoices.org domain name, right after the EU ruling. Then, for some reason you could use the website for Google search. Then it went away. But now, it looks like they’ve quietly launched the website with real content.
I’ve always been a big fan of the photos that appear in the Google search results when the author of an article or blog posts has claimed their Google Authorship for that content. Maybe because I’ve always tried to claim my Google Authorship on everything I write, and have always had great success when it comes to my photo appearing in the search results. But now, there’s official word from John Mueller at Google that the Google Authorship photos as we know them are essentially going away.
Here’s an example of my Google Authorship photo appearing in a search result for “search engine optimization audit services”. Note that my search result listing isn’t the first one. I’m not ranking number one for that keyword phrase. However, because my photo appears in the search results, I believe I get a lot more clicks than @sugarrae’s company, who doesn’t have a photo. [Read more…]
With everyone talking about responsive web design, and creating websites that will work on any device, Google Web Designer seems to be a pretty good option. I have my reservations, though, when it comes to it’s SEO-friendliness. But most of that can be easily fixed.
I took 2 minutes. Really, only 2 minutes, to download and test out Google Web Designer on a recently-acquired domain name, Streaming Video, where I wanted to put up a real basic web page. Since that domain was previously a parked domain, and Google typically doesn’t parked domains, I wanted to put up a real basic web page so that it get re-indexed again. Once the site’s re-indexed again properly and not considered to be a “parked domain” by Google, I’ll work on developing the site. [Read more…]
Back in mid May, right after the European ruling came down related to the “right to remove” your details from Google, a mysterious domain name called CookieChoices.org was registered. The whois record showed that it was, in fact, owned by Google and pointed to their name servers. [Read more…]
Back on May 16, 2014, I wrote about Google registering the domain name CookieChoices.org. Well, now I have discovered today that it looks like there is a version of Google’s search engine on CookieChoices.org.
Currently, several of the links (like the links to the “sign in” doesn’t work), but most of the Google search engine is there. There are links to Gmail, images, and soforth. [Read more…]
US Patent US8515941 B1 granted Aug 20, 2013, is titled “System for unique automated website generation, hosting, and search engine optimization”. And their websites still rank well in Google despite Google Panda 4.0.
It’s pretty rare that I out another SEO firm or company (okay, well maybe not). But this one really has me fuming this time. So blatant that they have been awarded a patent for creating web (search engine) spam. And apparently they’re pretty proud of the fact that their automated generation of websites and “invisible content” that’s read only by search engines that they tout it in their sales literature.
The system generates both unique visible content and also unique invisible content read by search engines but not typically visible to end users.
The problem I have is that Google hasn’t caught this automated spam, even with the latest Google Panda updates (which should be penalizing these types of sites). You would think that if you have a patent on your process of generating search engine spam Google would have caught it by now. Nope. Rankings are as good as ever for this company’s websites. [Read more…]
In what looks to me like a possible response to the European Union’s ruling this week about the right to be forgotten, Google has just registered the domain name CookieChoices.org. I am going out on a limb here and speculating, but Google could use this website to inform the public about how to delete cookies and their private personal information.
Here’s the domain name whois for the CookieChoices.org domain name that Google has just registered:
One of several search engine optimization tasks that I am involved with is cleaning up a website’s link profile. Doing a link cleanup. With the Google Penguin algorithm update affecting so many websites, I have personally be involved in cleaning up a LOT of websites’ link profiles. So much so that I’ve quickly become the resident expert at cleaning up link profiles. This also involves cleaning up link profiles because websites have been manually penalized by Google because of unnatural and inorganic links pointing to a website. [Read more…]
I am always amazed at the business opportunities that people create on the internet. But when it comes to certain types of businesses and services that people offer, I get really ticked off when I see someone or another business offers a service that isn’t right. By now I am sure you have heard about the Google AdSense program. It’s been going on for about 10 years now. If you have a legitimate website with unique content and your website meets or exceeds Google’s Acceptable Guidelines for webmasters, then most likely you will be able to run Google Ads on your website and share a portion of the revenue with Google. Each click or impression of an ad on your site could make you money. [Read more…]
In the past 24 hours, Google appears to have added a new page as a part of their quality guidelines: a page that explains how to report spam, paid links, malware, and other problems. Previously this page was not a part of their quality guidelines located here.
You can see the new page listed below, which has also been added to the sidebar navigation of the Link Schemes and other pages that are a part of the quality guidelines: [Read more…]
Oh, the irony. Google is hosting the very articles that contain links that Google is telling us that they want removed. Wait. What?!? That’s right, in what can only be a unique twist of irony, Google is playing web host to thousands of low quality spammy articles, the exact same type of articles that Google wants us to remove. And the links that they’re penalizing websites for having. [Read more…]
Here’s a first. Well, actually I’m not surprised when it comes to Google, but this is the first time I have seen a website disallow the search engines from indexing their website. But the website still ranks number one in Google for their primary keyword phrase. [Read more…]
At this point, I have become pretty used to Google encrypting all search queries at Google.com. At least for their organic search results. You just won’t get to see what someone searched for at Google (what keyword they used) when hitting your site. But, apparently Google is not encrypting all search queries. [Read more…]