There have been two recent and notable impacts to the Google Search algorithm. Google's Caffeine has been fully rolled out and made permanent, although not necessarily new. It isn't really an algorithm update, but more so a different approach on scanning and then indexing content. Content will now get indexed very fast and appear in results almost immediately! Therefore SEO for new pages is mission critical before they get posted to a website, versus handling content optimization efforts post-launch.
As Google's Matt Cutts explains, the "May Day" update is an algorithmic change. It is specifically looking for the most relevant content on long tail keywords relative to organic rankings. The changes could really impact ecommerce sites, and specifically their product pages, in either a positive or negative fashion. Online retailers may want to revisit the content on those pages if they have seen a drop in positions/traffic lately from their long tail search terms. Since many of these types of pages are fed by a product feed/database, it could be a major undertaking for large retailers to update them with more unique, optimized on-page text.
Yahoo + Microsoft = Search Alliance
Well, the transition is just about here, but I have some definite concerns about how it will roll out, particularly relative to Paid Search (cpc). It seems from preliminary discussion there will be only one campaign with one set of tracking URLS which will be targeted to the new "search universe" this alliance creates. Meaning that you will not have the chance to track Yahoo or Bing separately anymore, nor see transparency into where your traffic from this new Alliance is coming from. This presents a tremendous challenge for advertisers as far as targeting searchers! The behavior of searchers from these two engines is unique; therefore the ad campaigns were never built identically and certainly didn't perform the same. Advertisers really need to think through this new alliance and determine a strategy for launch. The campaigns will be run out of Microsoft's AdCenter, but supported by the Yahoo teams. The launch could be as early as end of Q3/beginning of Q4, so be prepared. Following are some helpful resources describing the transition:
Microsoft Transition Center
The Search Alliance Website
I recently spoke at the Internet Retailer annual conference, which was held in Chicago. There was a very good turn out, with retailers from all over the globe – both big and small. After speaking with many attendees, it seems etailers are committed to allocating some of their marketing budgets toward testing out new channels and strategies this year. Social Media and Mobile Search were hot topics throughout the event, as was the ever-constant popular topic of SEO. My session was interactive, as we provided on-the-fly website SEO evaluations. This is interesting, because it gives people a chance to validate what they may already know to be a problem on their site or we identified something they weren't aware of, which could be impeding their organic search results. Either way, the session was jam-packed and attendees took home some SEO Best Practices to use in critiquing their own sites.
Internet "Kill Switch"
Have you heard about the new Senate bill which proposes to give the president the authority to seize control of or even shut down portions of the Internet? Regardless of which party you represent or support, this is a bill worth understanding in greater detail and following its progress.