Is Guest Blogging Really Dead?

In January, Google’s Matt Cutts proclaimed that the common practice of writing articles and submitting them to be published on other websites in order to gain exposure and traffic for your own blogs was “dead.”  Cutts says that guest blogging, as it’s widely called, has become too dominated by people trying to game the system by posting articles with links back to their own low-quality, spammy sites to be permitted by Google.  With this understanding of Google’s stance on the right and wrong ways of guest blogging, Covario offers recommendations on best practices.

Google’s App Indexing

On October 31, Google announced app indexing, which connects pages from a website with specific content within a smartphone app. App indexing enables smartphone users who have an app installed to open it directly from relevant Google mobile search results. Covario shares its point of view and the resulting SEO benefits.

Google’s Hummingbird Update

Google announced Sept. 26, 2013 an update to its search engine by the name Hummingbird, which ironically is the only bird that can fly backwards, in the garage where the company was founded 15 years ago. This indexing update was launched approximately a month prior to enhance the Caffeine ranking update from 2010, with an estimated impact on 90 percent of all searches. Covario foresaw an update of this nature, and Hummingbird reinforces prior recommendations provided to clients highlighted in this POV.

FTC Updates Search Engine Industry Guidelines

On June 25, 2013, the FTC updated its more than a decade old guidelines meant to help consumers distinguish between paid ads in search engines and those that appear naturally. What the FTC calls a “decline in compliance” fueled the need for the update 11 years later.

Smartphone Rankings Shook at SMX Advanced

Google published a notice on its Webmaster Central Blog on June 11, 2013, about a change in rankings of smartphone search results. Google acknowledged that this was intentionally released just before a “Getting Mobile SEO Right” session that Covario was taking part in at the SMX Advanced conference in Seattle.

Author Rank within Google

Google filed a patent on Agent Rank in 2005, with updates through 2011, describing how to distinguish a portable digital signature aligned to content on the web. In 2011, Google launched Google+ as both a social network and identity service/backplane and also introduced authorship markup. Authorship markup is the key to turn on the Author Rank engine that’s described in the Agent Rank patents. Covario will provide actionable insights to allow clients to fine-tune and fuel the authorship engine to out-pace the competition by achieving better online visibility.

Understanding Yandex and the Russian Market

From becoming Europe’s largest online audience to unveiling Yandex’s $1.3 billion public debut on NASDAQ, Russian Internet (RUNET) has had a rocking couple of years. Gone are the days when Russian consumers were isolated behind the Iron Curtain. A new generation of social Russians is joining the global marketplace and making their voice heard. More than 60 million people are now changing previously held Western preconceptions by blogging, tweeting, liking, and going online to research, buy, but first and foremost, search.  As our clients work to harness this wave of RUNET engagement, we offer a discussion on why, where and how to be found.

Google+ Ripples: Insights & Limitations

With the migration of Google Places profiles onto Google+, the conversation is continued, debating the efficacy of the social platform for user engagement in corporate America. Although Google seems to favor the forced adoption approach – first Google+ SERP integration with Search Plus Your World & now Google Places integration – businesses are feeling coerced to reevaluate its potential impact on web visibility.

Google Search + Your World

On Jan. 10, 2012 Google released “Google Search Plus, Your World” to improve the search experience by integrating social data from your Google Plus account stream and your “circles” to the organic search results, among other features.

Side Out – Google Changes Selected Paid Search Results by Eliminating Side Bar Ads

Like a volleyball player on the beaches of Southern California, Google is calling “Side Out”!  In addition to the new “recency” algorithm changes that are impacting SEO results, Google announced a phased rollout of a new paid search format that changes where paid search listings appear on desktop and mobile search results pages.  The rollout is slow—searchers may or may not see the changes during their casual perusal of their favorite phrases.  But it is coming, or at least, being tested.  The new format will impact CTRs, pricing, and effectiveness of paid search programs. The point of this POV is to describe our views on what the importance of this change is.

Flash and Burn:  Adobe Signals End to Flash for Mobile, Ceding Interactive Web Development to HTML5

Adobe, longtime developer of Flash technology for desktop and now mobile platforms, announced the end to development of the Flash Player for mobile.  The reason is simple.  The Apple iPad and iPhone have such strong penetration in the tablet and smart phone markets, respectively, and their lack of support for Adobe Flash is turning developers away from using the system in mobile and web development.

Google “Likes” +1

On March 30, Google released yet another innovation to the search results page called “+1”.  The purpose of the +1 button is to allow Google users to show which links they like or don’t like.  This allows searchers, over time, to identify useful and relevant content for their network of friends or contacts, and has, we believe, some importance for advertisers, which we will describe later in this point of view.  This is, at its heart, a direct assault on Facebook’s “Like” button.

The Google+ Project:  A New Social Network Populated by People, Run by Android

Google announced today the launch of its most formidable competitor to Facebook yet – The Google+ Project or “Google+”.  This comes hot on the heels of their launch, just 8 weeks ago of “+1” – a way that users can vote on web content and search engine results that they like.  Google+ is a huge extension to this concept.

If Attribution Modeling is the Answer, What was the Question?

Gartner Group, the syndicated research firm, published a classic research report in the 1990’s called “If SAP is the answer, what was the question?” The report was about how the concept of Enterprise Resource Management (ER—where SAP was the leader) had become a catch all term for a series of programmatic workflow issues facing large enterprises. If the system didn’t work—buy some ERP software. If the financials were not up to par—buy some ERP software. If the coffee didn’t taste just right—buy some ERP software.

The Second Wave of Display: Math and Science Rule the Day

Earlier this year, Wenda Harris Millard, former head of display ad sales for Yahoo!, and more recently co-CEO of Martha Stewart Online, was quoted widely for her rant at the January IAB annual meeting that we needed “More Art, Less Science!” in online advertising. She issued her rallying cry, “we must not let our assets be traded like pork bellies!” The word “Google” wasn’t mentioned until the third day, when [now former] president of Display Advertising for Google, David Rosenblatt, took the stage, and the word “algorithm” was nearly shortened to a four letter word.

Google’s Markup for Multilingual Content: rel=”alternate” hreflang=”x”

Last month, on Dec. 5, 2011, Google announced it was rolling out a “new markup for multilingual content”.  The purpose of this is to help multilingual/multi-regional websites better target audiences and assist users to find the most relevant content based in their location. In other words, if a user performs a search on a Google local domain, Google seeks to direct the user to the most relevant page based on geographic location and assumed language.

Google+ Brand Pages

On November 7th, Google officially announced Google+ Pages for businesses, opening up a series of new questions for advertisers and SEO professionals across the globe. Covario has analyzed its current features and offers a point of view as to why brands should create a Google+ Page, what to expect, and what should advertisers and SEO professionals be doing.

Extra, Extra, Read All About It: Google Launches New Organic Search Algorithm to Emphasize Breaking News!

Google is very busy these days.  In addition to the recent changes announced for how paid search advertisements will be listed, Google also rolled out a major change to the way organic search listings are ranked—the new Freshness Algorithm.

Google Introduces New Encryption Process for Organic Search Queries:  Results May Vary

Google announced that starting October 18, 2011 a new privacy protection process for organic search analytics.  Organic search queries executed by those consumers logged into Google products will no longer be available to web analytics systems (including Google Analytics, Adobe SiteCatalyst, WebTrends, Coremetrics, etc.).  Note: this does NOT impact paid search analytics, even if a searcher is logged in to a Google property.

Instant Gratification Spills into Search

Google introduced a new capability to its search engine results page this week, a functionality called “Google Instant”.

Content Farms, and Link Buying, and Dubious Cures – Oh My!

The Google Algorithm Changes and What It Means for Large Advertisers. Over the past three weeks, there has been a spate of discussion in the search engine market about the reduced quality of Google’s natural search results.

The Value of Bidding on Branded Terms

What is the value of continuing to bid on branded terms? At some point in time any company running a paid search program will be asked the question as to why they are bidding on their own brand terms.  The most common rationale is that the brand term will show up in the organic search results, so why should you pay to have an ad show up in the paid search section as well?

One of the biggest announcements in digital marketing that [almost] everyone missed last week

Last week, amid the major announcements of Adobe buying Omniture and Google launching Doubleclick Exchange 2.0, a third and very important announcement occurred that most people missed: Covario clients Accenture and P&G announced a new practice called Accenture Interactive, with P&G lauded as the first anchor client. Accenture Interactive is “a new business that Accenture has established to help companies develop world-class digital marketing capabilities and optimize online/offline investments.