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  SEO Newsletter | Volume 143 | April 19, 2016 This Month's News

Page Speed Issues Overview for SEO

Author: Aaron Landerkin & Virginia Nussey

You probably know that page speed is a search engine ranking factor. Not only will your website visitors have a better experience, but a faster loading page gets plus points when Google and Bing are ranking it. So SEOs use tools that help them find ways to optimize page load time, like GTMetrix, Google PageSpeed Insights and YSlow.

But have you ever wondered why recommendations are made to defer JavaScript parsing, reduce cookie size, or leverage browser caching? Our Director of Software Development Aaron Landerkin recently presented page speed issues and why they happen. Read why Aaron advocates a different approach to page load time SEO, with recommendations like:

  • Don't think of page speed improvements as related to content, CSS, JavaScript, or the server.
  • Instead, think about where in the pipeline an optimization opportunity occurs.
  • Understand the three page speed optimization categories: cache, bandwidth, and processing/rendering.

Read more

Back to Basics

PPC AMA: Paid Search Ask Me Anything — An Hour of Q&A with David Szetela

Author: Virginia Nussey & David Szetela

On Reddit this month, David Szetela offered an AMA to the r/PPC community. An AMA, or "Ask Me Anything," is just that — an anything-goes Q&A with someone of interest, whether a celebrity, an expert, or someone with a unique role or experience set. David, our VP of Search Marketing Operations and the director of our PPC services, kept it short and sweet, opening the floor to questions for an hour.

Then he recapped expanded on highlights on our podcast, SEM Synergy. It was a conversation marked by diverse PPC topics, including:

  • The impact of removing right-side ads from Google SERPs.
  • David's formula for a 15-minute PPC audit.
  • His recommended targeting settings for the Google Display Network.

Read more

Hot Topic

F8 Developer Conference Heralds New Family of Facebook Apps

Author: Paula Allen

Facebook announcements filled the tech-news headlines during the two-day F8 Developer Conference last week in San Francisco. The event opened with a keynote by CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who laid out an ambitious 10-year technology roadmap built on three pillars: connectivity, artificial intelligence (AI), and virtual reality/augmented reality (VR/AR). At its heart, the keynote delivered the company’s vision to connect all people on the planet and develop “a family of apps to share anything they want with anyone.” Many speakers followed, and here are highlights of announcements marketers should know about with lots of links for more info:

  • A new Messenger Platform (Beta) is making chat bots available to act as customer service virtual assistants, interacting with customers to fulfill needs (e.g., ordering flowers). A Send/Receive API is also available so that text, images and “interactive rich bubbles containing multiple calls-to-action” can be exchanged within the Messenger app, which represents a huge and growing population currently at 900M users.
  • Facebook Live (video streaming) now has an API that will enable developers to create “immersive and interactive live video experiences on Facebook” that can stream from a variety of devices, not just from phones.
  • Surround 360 is a new camera system that takes spherical footage in 3D and can stitch video from 17 cameras to film virtual reality (VR) footage (available this summer). As a Buffer blog observed, VR is still too expensive for most, but developments like this of personal VR devices and production techniques could soon make it more affordable for marketers.
  • A Free Basics Simulator lets web developers see how their services appear to a Free Basics user. Facebook is also providing demographic insights to help developers better understand their worldwide audience. These new services support the vision of worldwide connectivity.
  • A dedicated Save button can be used anywhere on the web, not just inside Facebook, to tuck away articles, videos, products and more into the user’s personal Saved folder on Facebook. For now, the functionality is available only if developers add the “Save to Facebook” button to their websites.
  • Quote Sharing gives people a simple way to share a snippet of text directly from an article, book or app to Facebook (without having to take a screenshot). For marketers, incorporating a quote button into published content could create more organic sharing and increased exposure within the social platform.

These and many more new and promised features will undoubtedly benefit Facebook as a platform, especially by stimulating more original content. But they also give marketers some new ways to engage with people, which will help early adopters get ahead of their competitors. Laying out a 10-year technology plan may be unheard of, but Facebook has proven it can deliver on its promises.

Education Matters

Education Opportunity for the Next Generation of Digital Marketers

Author: Mindy Weinstein

The digital marketing industry is young compared to other fields, making it a huge opportunity for people looking to start a new career. Why? The demand for talent is high, but the number of qualified individuals is still low.

It took a while for some companies to embrace the need for digital marketing, but businesses have largely matured to see its value.

For those in college or weighing career options, you may want to consider whether the digital marketing industry is a good fit for you. There are certain advantages that young professionals bring to the table for businesses and marketing agencies.

  • Internet natives: Millennials and younger individuals grew up on the Internet and don’t know life before digital. In the world of digital, that's a plus.
  • Comfortably connected: The under-35 set understand technology and the power of an always-connected world.

Managers (and I can speak candidly because I have managed digital marketing teams throughout the years) recognize these perks of hiring people just out of college.

Many job opportunities exist within digital marketing — from SEO analysts to writers to social media managers. So, whether you have a creative mind or an analytical mind, there is a digital marketing job for you.

If you are thinking about a new career, consider digital marketing and get a head start on hands-on experience with BCI's SEOToolSet® Training course. It can put you on the right track to understanding the important concepts powering digital marketing.

For more information about our training, visit or register for SEO training today.




Yahoo is officially for sale, accepting preliminary bids for all or part of the company, including its core web properties and possibly its large stakes in Yahoo Japan and in Alibaba, the Chinese ecommerce giant. Verizon, Time Inc., Comcast, IAC and even Google’s parent company, Alphabet, are reported to be among the bidders, although the number of bidders is thought to be less than 10. The April 18 deadline for bids (which Yahoo extended from April 11) is hoped to set the stage for a purchase to occur before the next annual meeting in June or July, at which time shareholders can vote on proxy proposals as well as whether to replace Yahoo’s current board members. Meanwhile, WSJ reports that Yahoo has amended its policies to give CEO Marissa Mayer and other top executives severance pay and their stock options vested in the event of a sale; these changes are meant to ensure management will cooperate during the negotiations.

Several news media organizations announced layoffs and restructuring in the last month. International Business Times (IBT) laid off 15 editorial staff members including Salvador Rodriguez, a tech-industry reporter. Mashable announced layoffs of about 30 staffers including its executive editor, Jim Roberts, and its chief revenue officer, Seth Rogin. The surprise announcements were part of a restructuring away from coverage of world news and politics, and toward producing stories for TV. CEO Pete Cashmore said Mashable will be “focusing on our core coverage — technology, web culture, science, social media, entertainment, business and lifestyle, all told through the digital lens.” Al Jazeera America completely shuttered its operations, laying off about 700 people as a result. And the British newspaper The Guardian plans to cut its budget by 20 percent over the next three years, which equates to approximately 250 jobs.

One bright spot in the digital media world is Verizon and Hearst’s decision to jointly buy Complex Media, a digital operation started in 2002 that focuses on content primarily for the young male.

Amit Singhal has joined the board of GOQii, a fitness-wearable services company that’s based in India but poised to move into the U.S. and China. This is Singhal’s first professional move since retiring from his position as Google’s SVP of search in February.

Facebook has scooped up Regina Dugan to head Building 8, Facebook’s new research and development group focused on building hardware that complements Oculus-style virtual reality and incorporates artificial intelligence. Dugan is leaving Google, where she worked since 2012 and led Google’s Advanced Technology and Products group; previously, she was director of the U.S. military’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). In other news, this week Facebook lost its VP of search, local and developer products, Mike Vernal, who has reported directly to CEO Mark Zuckerberg. After eight years with the social media giant, Vernal departs to join Sequoia Capital as a partner.




Beyond the shindigs we highlight below, you can find hundreds of SEO, content marketing, paid search and social media marketing events happening around the world in our updated Digital Marketing Conference Calendar.

Social Media Strategies Summit takes place April 26–28 in Chicago, Illinois.

Our next SEOToolSet Training class is the week of May 16 in Los Angeles. Be part of the learning experience that will update your SEO strategy and equip you with better tools!

The Marketing Land conference series SocialPro takes place in Seattle, June 20–21. Our social media editor Kristi Kellogg is speaking! Go to learn the best social analytics and management tools and tactics. Sign up before Saturday, April 23, to save $300.

SMX Advanced is happening June 22–23 in Seattle, Washington. You can register with a 10 percent discount on all passes and workshops using code SMXA16BRUCECLAY.


Sound Bytes


Like what you read? Enjoy the weekly digital marketing podcast SEM Synergy with host Bruce Clay. Here are the latest episodes available to stream online or download to your podcast app. Subscribe on iTunes to get new episodes sent straight to your mobile.

The Latest News on Images: Updates to Google Photos & Twitter Images

This month, both Twitter and Google Photos updated the way images are handled. Listen in to find out about these changes. After Virginia Nussey and Kristi Kellogg fill you in on the news, Bruce Clay, Duane Forrester and Robert Ramirez talk best SEO practices for images, including how to use alt tags, file names, captions and links to images.

Life After the Removal of Right-Side Ads

Right-side ads were removed from Google recently and in this show, you'll get the paid search perspective and the organic search perspective on this hot topic. On the top half of the show, hear how this change is affecting the SERP. Later in the show, PPC expert David Szetela discusses how this affects paid search.

SEO Overview of Page Speed Issues & Why They Happen

Optimizing for speed is critical. But why do speed issues happen? And what exactly happens when you make a speed recommendation? BCI’s Director of Software Development Aaron Landerkin explains speed optimization from a technical perspective.




Amazon has set up a temporary shelter for up to 200 people in a property it has acquired that was formerly used as a college dormitory and a hotel. The company plans to offer this refuge for a year, in collaboration with Mary’s Place, a nonprofit that serves homeless women and families. According to the Seattle Times, Amazon is responding to the state of emergency declared by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray to address skyrocketing homelessness.

Twitter now allows you to add descriptions to images using a new setting available in Twitter's iOS and Android apps. Like alt attributes, the image descriptions will help the visually impaired and others using screen readers, as well as be indexable.

Facebook unveiled the ability to automatically describe the content of photos for blind and visually impaired users. The new feature, called "automatic alternative text," recognizes objects in photos (a result of machine learning) and uses a device’s voiceover ability to read the description aloud. Developed by Facebook's accessibility team, the automatic alt text feature is available first on iOS, then Android and the web.


Word on the Wire


For businesses looking for hints of a Penguin update release, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller said that when the algorithm update goes live, the search engine will announce it to the SEO community. Some controversy followed when WebProNews published the Hangout in which Mueller made his comments under the headline "Google Will Announce The Long-Anticipated Penguin Update."

Google released a new version of its Search Quality Rater’s Guidelines [PDF] at the end of March. Jennifer Slegg’s review of the changes highlights the fact that Google emphasizes E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness) even more now as indicators of quality. The guidelines have also de-emphasized the role of “Supplementary Content” (i.e., extra info or links that supplement the main content on a page), and all references to local search are now referred to as “visit in person.”

Google cracked down on outbound link spam by issuing a spate of penalties against websites the weekend of April 8–10. Affected sites received a manual spam action notice in Google Search Console stating that “Unnatural outbound links from [domain] violate Google Webmaster Guidelines” and instructing the websites to remove or nofollow those links and then submit a reconsideration request.

Google Analytics has added a User Explorer report in beta that shows all the website interactions for each individual visitor (anonymized). The new report is rolling out gradually, so check the Audience section of your account analytics to see if you have it.

Google Developers wrote a blog post explaining common mistakes they’re seeing with AMP in order to help websites avoid problems when publishing Accelerated Mobile Pages.

Google began rolling out Fiber Phone, a landline phone service that provides unlimited nationwide calling for a disruptively low $10/month, including cloud-based features. The service will be available in a few geographic areas to start.

Google announced that it is bringing podcasts to Google Play Music, beginning with the web and Android apps. Listeners can find podcasts contextually (based on how they feel, for example) or by looking up a specific show. Podcasters who want to add their content can do so in the Google Play Music podcast portal.

In local SEO news, leaving a Google review no longer requires a Google+ account. Users may be logged in to any Google account (Gmail or other) and write a review of a business.

Microsoft denies a report that it’s building ad blockers into its new Microsoft Edge web browser.

Instagram began showing notifications on the web of new followers, likes, and friends who’ve joined Instagram. This change may foretell additional enhancements to its desktop version. Instagram also rolled out a new iOS app version that includes multi-clip videos, and began making available longer videos, up to 60 seconds.

Snapchat launched Chat 2.0, its next-generation software that aims to make transitions between text, video, audio and stickers seamless, just like talking. Also announced was Auto-Advance Stories, which will automatically load the next story when someone finishes watching a story.

Yahoo has decided to close down its API that provides developers with search engine ranking data. This affects our SEOToolSet users in that going forward, Yahoo rankings data will no longer be collected. The SEOToolSet will continue to collect ranking data from the user’s selected Google and Bing search engine markets worldwide via those engines’ official APIs.

The European Commission is considering granting “neighbouring rights” to publishers — basically a Google tax on snippets. Search engines and possibly others would be required to pay publishers for showing snippets of their content to link to their sites. Similar laws enacted in Spain and Germany resulted in a large drop in traffic to publishers, and particularly hurt smaller news sites. The commission has launched a public consultation on the matter; anyone (even outside the EU) can respond by completing an online questionnaire.

In the U.S., the Federal Communications Commission has advanced a proposal that would protect users’ personal info by requiring ISPs (broadband providers) to obtain customer approval before collecting and sharing user data. A final vote will take place after allowing a period for public comments.

Medium announced Medium for Publishers, a platform to attract content publishers to make Medium their home with features like customized layouts, branding, and migration of their existing blog with timestamps and links preserved. Publishers also have two options to make money on the platform (still in beta): promoted stories and member-only content.

WordPress announced it will implement free HTTPS for all custom domains hosted on, something that has been provided for all subdomains since 2014. Site owners don’t need to do anything; encryption will be turned on by default.

WordPress has added three new share-button options that WP bloggers can put on their websites: WhatsApp, Telegram and Skype.

Even in the days leading up to its F8 conference, Facebook was announcing enhancements to Facebook Live, the video-streaming feature available in the iOS and Android apps. New features include: Live Reactions (in which viewers can select any of the Like emojis and have them appear across the video in real-time); the ability to invite friends to watch your video; and new metrics to see the number of live viewers for your videos. In addition, Facebook Messenger contains a new Video tab to help users find live videos, and on the desktop only, a new Live Map shows where public live broadcasts are happening globally.

Facebook has made Instant Articles available to everyone. Previously, the feature was open only to select publishers. This feature lets you create “fast, interactive” articles on Facebook, which can be branded content with tags indicating the sponsor. Facebook also announced more partners for publishing tools and analytics tools that work with Instant Articles. (For more Facebook announcements, read the Hot Topic.)

Apple is working on improving its App Store. The focus is on making the search function better, and Apple is also considering letting developers pay to appear higher in the results.

Hot Topics




Sound Bytes


Word on the Wire




Top Blog Posts

Digital Marketing Keynotes from Google, Microsoft, LinkedIn & Disney

Social Media Manager Interview Questions

Mobile Friendly SEO Ranking Boost Gets Boosted


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