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February 25, 2016

How Google Removing Right-Side Ads from SERPs Affects Organic SEO


Late last week, Google announced that they were dramatically changing the layout of their SERPs by removing right-side ads from the page. At the same time, they added an extra ad to the top of the fold for “highly commercial queries” and three text ads to the bottom of the SERPs. This eliminates the number of paid ads for certain types of SERPs from as many as 11 to a maximum of seven.

There has been much speculation on what impact this will have in the PPC world, but what do these changes mean for SEOs who are more concerned with organic rankings?

Should SEOs be changing their tactics in light of the SERP shakeup? Or is it business as usual? There certainly seems to be a general consensus that organic SEO is the loser with all of these changes, but I’m not so sure that that is the case.

Read How Google Removing Right-Side Ads from SERPs Effects Organic SEO.

February 2, 2016

What Should You Expect from a Search Engine?


Maybe the question is, why should you expect anything?

The truth is, inside an engine is a busy place. I spent nearly six years representing a search engine to the SEO industry and I can tell you that, contrary to many search engine optimization conspiracy theories, neither Bing nor Google have designs on harming businesses. Both do have profit motives, however, just like you do.

Updates happen because … pause for drum roll … something undesirable is happening!

Read more from Duane Forrester in “What Should You Expect from a Search Engine?”

December 18, 2015

SEO in 2015: A Retrospective for the Introspective – Virtual Conference Recap

SEO in 2015

If TIME Magazine were to do an issue on the SEO industry in 2015, the table of contents would look like this.

• 2015 SEO Story of the Year: Mobilegeddon

• Runner-Up: More Mobile – App Deep Linking and Indexing

• Runner-Up: The Penguin that Never Came

• Runner-Up: RankBrain AI

• 15-Minutes-of-Famers in 2015: Millennials are the moment’s hottest market segment, but it’s an attention to audience that has staying power

We don’t publish TIME Magazine, but on the BCI blog, we do publish the SEO industry’s major news stories and marketing practices. A mobile-focused marketing perspective, Google’s MIA Penguin and link removal practices, and a search engine ranking algorithm that learns are the topics covered on today’s Virtual Conference SEO track.

December 7, 2015

2015 Search Quality Rating Guidelines Checklist: Aligning with Google’s Focus on Usefulness

Usefull sign square

Google’s latest update of its Search Quality Rating Guidelines shows a shifted focus at the search engine, and consequently, for SEOs. For years, the buzzword for search engine optimization has been “relevance” — making your site the most relevant result for a searcher’s query. But as Duane Forrester, our new VP of organic search operations, observed: “It’s all about usefulness today and moving forward. The goal of the search engine is simple: increase searcher satisfaction. That’s why ‘useful’ is the new watchword. Previously we said ‘relevant,’ but really we all meant ‘useful.’”

Google annually updates its internal guidelines document that tells hired human quality raters how to evaluate sites as part of Google’s ongoing experiments. The guidelines are not the algorithm. But they do show what Google’s focusing on, and that’s worth paying attention to. Here’s our checklist for making sure your SEO campaign aligns with Google’s priorities.

Review the 2015 Search Quality Rating Guidelines Checklist.

November 12, 2015

Is Google about to Unplug Its Penguin?

Unplug Penguin Feature Square

TL;DR – A theory: The next Google Penguin update will kill link spam outright by eliminating the signals of inorganic backlinks. Google will selectively pass link equity by topical relevance of linked sites, made possible by semantic analysis. Google will reward organic links and perhaps even mentions from authoritative sites in any niche. As a side effect, link-based negative SEO and Penguin “penalization” will be eliminated.

Is the end of link spam upon us? Read why we think it’s a good thing that Google is about to unplug its Penguin.

October 9, 2015

Millennial Expectations and Search Behavior Trends with Google’s Gary Illyes

Googler Gary Illyes_ Generation Y

Getting to know Millennials has been a hot topic at Pubcon Las Vegas 2015. Everyone’s talking about Millennials, including Google’s Gary Illyes (who’s a millennial himself!). He took the stage to deliver the grand finale keynote, and he’s going to tell us how Google is thinking about Millennials and how they’re shaping the future of search.

Read the liveblog report of Googler Gary Illyes’ keynote address at Pubcon Las Vegas 2015.

October 2, 2015

Google Now, Microsoft Cortana & the Predictive Search World – #SMX Liveblog

Predictive search signals

Google Now continues to grow and adapt to the way people search, and it’s important for search marketers to keep up. In this Day 1 SMX session, Cindy Krum covers these changes and what it means for marketers.
Our Liveblog is up.

October 1, 2015

Meet the Search Engines: Bing’s Duane Forrester and Google’s Gary Illyes Answer SEO Questions

Gary and Duane SMX East

Google and Bing are in the same hot seat as SMX East attendees get to ask them anything. Our liveblog covers this insightful session with Bing’s Duane Forrester and Google’s Gary Illyes and reveals big news about the latest Panda update from Gary.

Read our liveblog of Meet the Search Engines.

September 22, 2015

Shining a Light on iBeacon & Google Eddystone: Location-Aware Marketing Made Possible with BLE Technology


BLE technology, including Apple’s iBeacon and Google’s Eddystone — while most digital marketers have heard of it, have they harnessed it? Media Wyse CEO Casey Markee is speaking about the technology powering location-aware marketing next month at Pubcon Las Vegas.

Markee joined me for an interview on all things BLE this morning, starting off with the most important question: just what is this technology? From there, we looked at how BLE technology that makes location-aware alerts and offers possible, fits into the big picture of digital marketing, plus took a look at specific examples and case studies, and where the line between helpful and intrusive may be when it comes to beacons.

Check out the entire interview and/or read along here.

September 14, 2015

Gary Illyes: Panda Will Update Slowly with Refreshes, Penguin Updates Will Be Real-Time ━ Eventually

gary illyes

Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes joined Bruce Clay for a candid chat about topics vital to SEO, including content for mobile, Gary’s dream of a world where everyone employs HTTPS, and the reality of the Phantom updates — plus plenty of talk about penalties and algorithm updates.

Here are key highlights right off the bat:

  • Panda updates will come slow with refreshes and Penguin updates will happen in real time
  • HTTPS can be seen as a tiebreaker between otherwise equal sites
  • Phantom was a core algorithm change
  • Google considers Panda part of the core algorithm now and does not think of it as a penalty
  • We are “months away” from the next Panda update

Watch the entire interview and/or read the transcript!

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