Google Changes First Half 2011


A lot has been happening this year regarding the major search engines and internet marketing.  Google launched the Panda aka “Farmer” update that affected many websites attempting to increase their organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  While these changes did not directly affect Broadvox (we actually saw organic PageRank boost), Panda did affect quite a few of our partners, VAR’s, and even some of our competitors.  Sites influenced by Google’s update saw varying punishments ranging from temporary lower search engine results, temporary bans from the results pages, or in some harsher cases permanent bans of domains by Google.   If you have seen substantial drops in web traffic or leads over the last 3 months, I highly recommend auditing your search traffic to insure you were not affected by the major changes Google has incorporated into their search algorithm.  Additionally, Google offers free valuable resources to monitor search data including Google Analytics, and Google Webmaster tools.  Both of these cloud applications provide daily granular traffic information that can be used for BI and marketing purposes.

While the Panda Update is a substantial shift in the way Google plans to process their future search engine results, it has recently taken the backseat to two major changes to their social strategy.  At the end of March, Google announced the Google+1 Button.  This new feature had immediate impact on both social and organic marketing because it allows users to directly affect how the search engine results are affected within their network of contacts.  In a nutshell, if you have a Google account that is signed in, you will now see a +1 button after every search result displayed.  If you click that button you have shown Google your affinity for that link.  If a colleague does a search that would garner a result you have +1’ed, that result would get an automatic boost by Google to assist your colleague in finding the most valuable information for that search.  While this new feature doesn’t bolster +1’ed items to the top spot within the results, it does provide some lift.

The next major announcement is the Google+ Project, not to be confused with the previously mentioned +1 Button.  Google Plus is the first viable competitor to the dominant social network Facebook.  While it is unlikely this new network will take any real market share in the short term,  the increased privacy settings and revolutionary ability to group friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and family, will more than likely be imitated by other social networks in their next major updates.  Plus is still very limited in its release and Google has specifically asked that businesses refrain from creating accounts for the time being, so we must take a wait and see approach on this until more information is available.  It will be interesting to see how a business can influence search or paid results with a Plus page.

The final shifts that occurred were more tweaks than major rollouts to Google Adwords.  While these changes aren’t fundamental, they are important because this is where ad dollars are being spent.   The first Adwords change focuses on integration between Analytics and Adwords accounts.  It is now seamless to see your Adwords data within your Analytics accounts.  Through this process, you can now easily measure funnels and conversions from your paid search efforts along with your organic keywords.  This data helps show how ad dollars are being spent and exactly what people are doing while on your website.  You can now track precisely how much money you’ve spent to get someone to download a pdf or fill out a form on your website.  Other changes include new Geo-targeting algorithms for more precise local campaigns.

Last but not least, Google launched Call Metrics in the 1st quarter of 2011.  This new feature allows Businesses to make phone numbers readily available to potential leads through ad campaigns.  These numbers are included within Adwords campaigns and you can see how many calls have been generated, along with the length of the call.  In doing so, you can measure with even more granularity how your ad dollars are being spent on the internet.

As you can see, the internet marketing world is an ever changing landscape with constant shifts and innovation.

Job Board SEO – some thoughts

A few years ago I had the pleasure of briefly working for an amazing startup “job board.”  They are a niche job posting site focusing on high-end analytics jobs.  I truly enjoyed my brief stint with the company. I joined this company with aspirations of expanding my skillset with a focus on sales.  While I was moderately successful in helping the company achieve their sales numbers, I found myself being more useful offering ideas on SEO and marketing.  After about half a year, I came to terms with the fact that I would never be truly comfortable cold-calling and smile and dialing and parted ways with the company.

Although my stint with this company was brief, I was and am lucky enough to call all the employees and owners my friends.  To this day, I still assist the founders from time to time with recommendations and strategy to help point them in the right direction.

That’s just a little back story to the real reason I am posting today.  My friend shot me a message with a unique issue that I honestly found very intriguing.  This board has hundreds of recruiters and business posting jobs on their board at a time.  After each position is filled, it must be taken down, and the page must be expired.  What is the best way to handle the pages once they expire? Do you take them down with a 404, 301, or a custom this job has been filled page?  I highly recommended avoiding the 404.  I think that is the worst way to handle the response.  I am also a little finicky about the 301 redirect, but this was my first thought.  The final thought was to create a new page saying something like “this job is filled, but please check out the following similar jobs” and post a table with current similar jobs on the site.

I am not sure how this current Lose Weight Exercise will play out, but I am still researching some other methods and plan to suggest some more A/B testing, but it is obvious that their rankings are hurting.  They also may have gotten a little grief from the google #panda / #farmer update.  Which is also unfortunate because they’re not scraping content, all jobs are posted by companies, recruiters, or representatives.  Needless to say, this is my first post with more questions than advice.  I will post again next month with results from these events.

What you measure depends on your business goals

I was listening to a podcast earlier today and unfortunately I forgot exactly which podcast it was, so if you know where this quote comes from please let me know. One of the hosts was discussing how online marketers and analysts are constantly measuring statistics through google analytics, omniture, or another web analytics tool.

This concept of measurement has become a convoluted dilemma as we march into 2011.  More and more companies are utilizing web tools such as Google Analytics, Omniture, and the fossilized urchin analytics to measure web traffic.  Some companies have even started tracking conversions, funnels, and other metrics within their chosen platforms to measure online success.

The real question is, what are your keys to internet success?

3 Questions you need to ask to be successful in online tracking

Are you trying to brand your website through internet marketing?

Are you trying to engage lead generation for your sales force?

Are you trying to offer customer service or special offers through your website and social strategies?

By asking yourself these simple questions, you can start to figure out what you need to be measuring, how it needs to be measured, and how you can gauge success in your online goals.  I plan on writing about this more, but make sure to take some time and ask yourself these questions.  I think you’ll be surprised about what you need to focus on vs. what you’re focusing on currently.

More to come soon.

Web Analytics – A look at Google Analytics

Analytics software is a vital tool for any online company.  Luckily, the folks down at Google created an amazing toolset for FREE!  Google Analytics is incredible.  While there are other web analytical tools available online, they can be avoided because Google is just that good. 

Why do you need Web Analytics Software?

Analytics tools allow you to find out an amazing amount of information about who’s coming to your site.  Once the system is set up, you can track everything from number of unique visitors to how people have come to your site.

For instance, with google analytics installed on my other blog, I can find out what percentage of traffic is coming from referred websites like Digg and reddit.  I can also find out the average time spent on my website and see which articles are the most popular.  With that information, I can customize my future blogs to maximize traffic.  On top of that, I can find out which keywords people are using to come to my website.

 For the sake of explanation,  I have included this sample screenshot of the Google Analytics Dashboard. 

From this example, you can see a graph showing the average time people spent on this particular website.  If you were to click the links on the left, you could see similar graphs with their respective breakdowns. 

As you move down the page, the information gets more complex when further breaking down the information.  As you can see, this is a very comprehensive program that can provide an amazing amount of information.  With this information, you can optimize your website to generate more traffic – which in turn will generate more revenue.

Google also continually updates this product.  New Features are always being added to help you get more out of your websites.


If you do not have this system installed for your website, I highly recommend setting it up today!