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 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.
Today’s Thursday, September 18, 2014, which is another “Throwback Thursday”. I thought today we’d look back at Ask.com and see what Ask looked like on my birthday, November 27, 1999. Back in 1999, we had this guy named “Jeeves” who you could ask a question.
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…]
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…]
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…]
Today is Thursday, and every Thursday I try to feature one search engine or search engine website. Today, because of the official announcement that Danny Goodwin is leaving Search Engine Watch, I thought I would feature Search Engine Watch.
Let’s take a look at what Search Engine Watch looked like back when Danny Sullivan owned and operated it, back in 1999:
SEW was a part of Internet.com, and Danny Sullivan was the editor. [Read more…]
There’s a website (domain name) that shows 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 making it look like there are visitors from their domain name to your website. Real visitors are generally not coming from a website called Semalt.com to your website. 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 set up a filter in Google Analytics to filter out this domain name (or any other domain name) in your Google Analytics.
First, you need to log into Google Analytics. Then, click on the “Admin” tab at the top, as shown below.
Do you remember LookSmart? Back in 1999, the LookSmart website looked like this:
Back in 1999, you could search the web from the site’s home page, or you could click on one of their categories, and then a few more clicks… and then finally get to their content. For example, there was shopping content: [Read more…]
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…]
Back in 1996, I was spending my spare time (early mornings and evenings) trying to rank web pages that I built in raw html code. There were no WYSIWYG editors out there, or at least I didn’t have access to any. I created websites using notepad and html code. And it worked really, really well. It wasn’t that difficult to get your web page ranked in most of the search engines, as long as you had a good title tag, meta tags, and the right content on the page.
Today is Thursday July 3, 2014, and that means that it’s Throwback Thursday. Each Thursday I’m starting a new tradition here on my blog: to feature an old search engine. There were quite a few, so I think I’ll be able to keep the tradition going for quite some time.
Today’s Throwback Thursday search engine is iWon.com, circa 2001. [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. [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…]
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:
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…]
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…]
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.
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…]
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…]
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.” [Read more…]
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. [Read more…]
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. [Read more…]