If you depend on Organic website traffic for new and returning business, it’s important to understand the effects that search engine algorithm updates can have on your web traffic. Usually run to prevent search spam and improve the SERPs, search engine algorithm updates can be confusing for web masters and interactive marketers. Learn about the latest algorithm updates and what they mean for your website.
On September 15, 2011, Google announced a new way to handle “pagination” issues for articles and product pages which “spreads” content throughout several pages. A fundamental issue that many webmasters have with any series of pages that contain related and highly similar data is how to alert the search engines to their preferred indexing priorities.
With the new rel=”next” and rel=”prev” link tag elements, webmasters are now able to indicate to the search engines that an interrelated series of products or articles should be indexed and assigned link value as a series:
Implementation is relatively simple; the rel=”next” tag would be placed in the section of “Page 1″ of the series, both rel=”prev” and rel=”next” would be placed on the second page, same again for the third, and rel=”prev would be placed on the last page.
Much like the rel=”canonical” link, which lets you alert the spiders to the “preferred” version of a page, this recent innovation is more of a suggestion than a directive and Google will take the rel=”prev” and rel=”next” directives into account, in addition to other factors, when determining a page’s relevance.
We have all probably viewed site links within Google’s organic search results before. The site links that you have most commonly seen, until recently, have probably looked something like this:
The purpose of site links is to help searchers navigate your website more easily. They are essentially shortcuts to help funnel searchers to the specific page they are in need of as quickly as possible. However, earlier this week when searching, I noticed something very different about how Google was showing site links. Instead of site links looking similar to the image above, they now are appearing more prominently on the search engine results page. Below is an example of how these site links are now being displayed:
These enhanced site links appear most frequently when a brand name or specific website name is searched. As you will see, there are quite a few more links displayed (up to twelve) in the newer version of site links, versus eight in the older version. In addition, the URL and one line of text are displayed, making them stand out even more.
At this time, these site links are automated; marketers can’t specify which links they want to appear. These site links can also change from query to query leading to better results for the searcher, and hopefully for the marketer, too. These changes are now reflected in Google Webmaster Tools where you can manage your site links. Although marketers can’t select specific site links to show, they can demote site links (removal is not guaranteed).
So how do you get site links like this to show for your organic listings? The best tactic is to make sure that the search engines can easily crawl all of the pages on your website and that you have a proper website structure. If your site does not have an optimal structure, these site links may not appear. In addition, optimizing your meta data for every page should help, as a portion of title tag appears within the site links.
Check to see if site links are displaying for your website. If not, search engine optimization may be in order.
There is no magical phone line to reach the organic search department at Google. As much as we would love to have the equivalent of the number to the flashing red phone used to reach Batman (Adam West version) in the original series, we have instead a twisted maze of online submission links and help forums. But do not lose hope, depending on your problem, the next step is simply finding the right contact form or help piece.
First, if you are a webmaster, you should bookmark the following five websites:
Second, you should identify your problem. Is it something that you and your team can work out using the above guidelines, blog posts or videos? Do you need to bring in expert help such as an agency? Or are you looking for the page on which to contact Google about your issue?
The following graphic illustrates a few hurdles that Webmasters may face while in charge of a website (the blue boxes). The next course of action to take in order to contact Google about such hurdles is delineated in the arrows. You can read more about the following submissions and requests and find the links on Google’s Webmaster Forum Page: Webmaster Help and Contacts.