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.
Matt Cutts, Distinguished Engineer from Google posted a video update on Tuesday (2/25/13) on the topic of “What Percentage of PageRank is Lost Through a 301 Redirect?”
What Matt Cutts clarified yesterday is that no extra PageRank is lost when using a single 301 redirect.
In the video he says “the amount of PageRank that dissipates through a 301 is currently identical to the amount of PageRank that dissipates through a link.” It has been common knowledge for a long time that when web page A links to web page B, although minimal, some amount of PageRank is lost. However, it was believed that more PageRank would be lost if a 301 redirect is used.
With a 301 redirect, web page A is linking to web page B that 301 redirects to web page C. Due to past comments by Google; it was believed that a slight amount more of PageRank was lost when a 301 redirect was used to connect web page A to web page C when compared to a direct link. This is certainly not the case. According to Google, a single 301 redirect does not pass any less PageRank to the destination page when compared to a direct link.
However; it is also important to note that he says:
As always, it is important to be cautious and look at all of the factors before implementing any 301 redirects, such as:
It is important to ensure that you take an in-depth look at the reasons to and possible outcomes of implementing redirects. You can find the video from Matt Cutts here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Filv4pP-1nw
Lately there has been a lot of confusion surrounding Google’s search engine updates and how they are affecting the traffic and rankings of the websites that they deliver in their search engine results pages (SERPs). Throughout all of these updates, it is easy for a website to slowly or rapidly begin to lose traffic and/or rankings without knowing the root cause. Often times, the true cause of the lost traffic or rankings is incorrectly assumed to be a penalty.
The good news is that penalties or “manual actions” by Google are actually rarer than people think. Let’s take a look at the main differences between a Google penalty and an algorithm update.
Penalties or “manual actions” are when Google determines that a website has blatantly gone against their guidelines in an attempt to manipulate their ranking within Google’s SERPs. Let’s take a look at what makes up a penalty:
Algorithm updateson the other hand are not manual actions. These are changes to Google’s algorithm that decides how they evaluate a website. It is much more likely that a website was affected by a Google algorithm update than a penalty. Let’s take a look at what makes up an algorithm update:
- Very little on page textual content
- Issues with duplicate content
- Technical issues such as slow page load speed
- Unnatural inbound links
- Filing a reconsideration request is not likely to help. Reconsideration requests will provide more detailed information about manual actions only.
- Even after fixing any issues, there will still need to be another algorithm update for your website’s rankings and traffic to return to more normal levels.
The best way to avoid being negatively affected by either a Google penalty or algorithm update is to stay informed about Google SEO ranking criteria, perform routine SEO audits of your website, create new and engaging content, and offer your customers or clients the resources that they want online and with the best possible experience.
Last week, we brought you an introduction to Google’s Data Highlighter Tool. This week, we will be covering some basic steps on how to use it. First, we’ll go over a quick recap on what needs to be done. Before using the data highlighter, you must have:
The next step is to ensure that the pages you will use the tool on are pages that consistently display structured event data. These pages must also use URLs that follow a simple and consistent pattern. This is called a page set. Currently, the data highlighter can only be used on pages that are in a page set. It allows Google to make sense of the structured data on your site by following this common pattern. Google gives the following URLs as an example page set:
These two URLs are a great example of a page set, because they provide a simple structure and easy to follow pattern. It is clear that they both contain information on music events along with specific genre of music.
After these requirements have been met, it’s time to use the data highlighter. In order to use the tool:
1. Log in to your webmaster tools account.
2. Click the “Optimization” menu on the left side navigation.
3. Select “Data Highlighter.”
Now you will see a video about the tool as well as some more information about tagging pages. You will also notice a blue button that reads “Start Highlighting.” The final steps are:
4. Click the button that reads “Start Highlighting.”
5. A box will pop up allowing you to tag either:
If you will be marking up one page, select “Tag just this page.” If you will be marking up a page set, select “Tag this page and others like it.”
6. Enter the URL of the first page in the page set, or the single page’s URL.
7. Select “OK.”
Now the page of the URL that you input will appear on the screen.
8. Highlight one type of structured data at a time (name, date, location, etc.) using your mouse, just as if you were highlighting something in Microsoft Word.
9. Right click the highlighted information and select the type of data that is highlighted (name, date, location, etc.).
10. Highlight all of the pertinent data on the page and watch it appear in the right hand column.
11. Once done, click the red “Next” button on the top right of the screen.
12. View your final information and if correct, click the red “Publish” button on the top right of the screen.
This is all it takes to show Google the structured data that is contained on pages of your website. According to Google, it takes between 5 and 10 manually tagged pages with the data highlighter for their algorithms to understand the patterns on your website. It also may take some time for these results to appear in Google’s search engine results pages. If you have used the tool properly, and considerable time has passed with no results, your website may be facing other SEO issues that need to be addressed first. Will the data highlighter make structured data markup easier for you?