Google Updates September 2012

Another great post from Canada's leading ecommerce platform provider....

August was a busy month for Google. With updates to Panda, PageRank, Analytics and AdWords, many businesses saw shifts in search engine rank and search results. Here’s what was changed, how it affected businesses, and what these changes mean moving forward.

Google Search & Panda 3.9.1
Google tweeted on August 23 about the Panda 3.9.1 update, stating “Panda data refresh this past Monday. ~1% of queries noticeably affected”.  Effectively, this meant the refresh was deployed on August 20, less than a month after the Panda 3.9 refresh on July 24. Google has not made any additional comments to elaborate on exactly what the refresh was meant to address.

On August 10, Google announced on their Inside Search Blog the implementation of a new ‘signal’ to indicate when copyrighted information is being violated. The signal has been nicknamed in the online community the ‘Emanuel Update’ after Ari Emanuel of William Morris Endeavour asserted earlier this year that Google has the ability to filter copyrighted content from search results, the same way it does with child pornography. Emanuel stated, “stealing is a bad thing, and child pornography is a bad thing”. The new signal sends copyright removal notices to Google when it suspects copyright infringement; the more notifications Google receives regarding any given website, the lower that site will rank in search results. However, this is the most Google can do to websites suspected of copyright violations; they cannot de-index sites that are repeatedly accused of copyright violations unless a copyright holder actually approaches and asks them to. Those de-indexed can submit counter-notices thereafter to petition to be re-indexed. This is the first Google update pertaining to copyright management in two years.

An unannounced change to Google Search Results has also been fueling conversation in the online community: 7-result SERPS. Search Engine Land saw the following results when Googling themselves:

<<Read the full blog at: OrderDynamics September 2012 Google Updates>>

On-Page SEO Checklist, Top 10 Tips

Here are 10 important on-page SEO considerations for everyone who runs a website. follows these simple principals when we optimize websites for our clients.

#1 Standards-Based Pages: 
It is very important build your website following HTML W3C Standards which basically means your website will be read properly by a search engine and people browsing your website. A great designer isn't typically a great HTML coder. You really do need to think about the performance of your HTML pages to ensure they're error-free with lowest possible load times and that you aren't violating basic SEO rules. 

#2 Page Title Tag: 
This is the title of your page and one of the most important factors in SEO. Page titles should reflect the individual product you're selling. Title tags are shown in the search engine results page. 

For example: 1968 Rookie Card of John Smith -

#3 Keywords: 
Start thinking about your keywords right away as this will drive many of the decisions below. Pick keywords and phrases that your target customer will use to find your product. If you're using Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising, these keywords and Ads should align. 

For example: 1960s Rookie Hockey Cards

#4 Page Content: 
You've probably heard this a million times already but its key to a successful SEO strategy. If your pages do not have relevant content they will not service your Customers and the search engines will not rank your page effectively against your keywords.

#5 Page File Name (URL): 
This is the actual html page name. 

For example:

#6 Meta Keywords Tag: 
These are the most likely words or phrases that will help a customer find your product and are embedded in the HTML code. 

For example: Rookie Hockey Cards, John Smith Hockey Cards, 1960s Hockey Cards.

#7 Meta Description Tag: 
This a description of your pages and should be a short, 1-2 sentences (max 200-250 characters) that describes the content on the page. It is also shown in the search engines below the page title. This should briefly describe the product and be unique from the page title. 

For example: Millioncards provides rare Rookie Hockey Cards for collectors or gifts for hockey fans. This John Smith Rookie Card is in mint condition and includes protective case.

#8 Anchor Text (text links): 
Anchor text is very important in keyword use. This is the text found on your website that appears as a hyperlink. Anchor text should be relevant and can be used to link within your website to relevant pages.

#9 Header Tags: 
Allows you to organize your pages into relevant sections by topic from the H1 Page topic header, H2 main topic, and H3 and sub topics, and so on. Headers give the search engines and understanding of where the important information is on the product page and allow you to utilize your keywords for topic areas that describe the product.

#10 Alt Image Attribute: 
Alt image attributes should be used for every image on your website. Alt attributes, provide a description to the search engine about what the image is (since search engine robots cannot "see") and displayed to the user prior to loading the image. Keep these short and relevant to what the picture is illustrating.