Each month we like to take a look back at industry changes and news stories that affect SEO for the automotive industry. If you have any questions about anything in this post feel free to reach out to Chris Desrochers our SEO Specialist at 972-905-2004 or by email at email@example.com.
Google announces new “over-optimization” penalties
Google’s Matt Cutts mentioned a new over optimization penalty that will be introduced into the search results in the upcoming month (or weeks). The purpose is to “level the playing field,” Cutts said. “To give sites that have great content a better shot at ranking above sites that have content that is not as great but do a better job with SEO.” Although no specific guidelines have been released, the SEO industry has been speculating what this could mean for sites. Our own Bill Allen posted some thoughts on what Google may consider “over optimized”.
Google Algorithm changes for March 2012
For years Google has made algorithm changes in secret causing rumors and misinformation to abound in the SEO community. Over the past few months Google has become more transparent in their algorithm changes and have begun to release monthly updates. This month Google announced a Panda refresh which affected about 1.6% of all searches. This algorithm change is expected to target and remove low-quality, stale results. While the primary focus has been around increasing fresh, relevant results and pushing down stale content, tweaks have been also been made to sitelinks, anchor text, and personalized search signals; just to name a few. Check out Google’s blog post which details the changes.
Bing and Google target link networks and online junk to reign in quality
Several news stories surfaced in March showing a focus on eliminating link building network sites and online junk from results pages. Dr. Harry Shum of Bing highlighted several improvements the search engine was making to remove dead links, soft 404s, parked domains, and other low quality content. A few days later, BuildMyRank.com, confirmed that Google deindexed an “overwhelming majority” of their network as of March 19, 2012 causing the site to shut down. BuildMyRank.com is one of many link building services that charge to provide inbound links to a subscriber’s domain in hopes that it boosts their organic ranking. This practice directly violates Google’s standards and BuildMyRank.com is just another example of why website owners should stick to “white hat” SEO practices.
Bing tests new Local infused results pages
Bing has been busy tweaking how local results appear on their search engine results pages (aka SERPs). Following Google’s footsteps, Bing has been testing a number of layout changes to put a great emphasis on local search. We believe these changes will have significant impact on traditional organic results. Dealer’s that have their local business listing up to date will benefit the most from these changes. Myles Anderson of BrightLocal.com discusses these changes in greater detail and includes some helpful screenshots.
Firefox considers enabling Google Secure Search by default
In October, Google announced that users who we’re logged into Google would have their search queries encrypted by default. As a result website owners have begun to see an increase of (not provided) when reviewing organic keywords in Google Analytics. Today we’re seeing 8-15% of all organic search queries affected by this change. On March 21st, we received word that the popular Firefox browser is considering enabling Secure Search by default for all Google queries. The problem is that Firefox users represent about 21% of the browser market meaning that we could see more of our valuable analytics data missing in coming months. We will continue to monitor this story and keep our dealers posted.
comScore releases February 2012 US search rankings
Google continues to dominate the search market with 66.4% market share as of February 2012. Bing/Yahoo!’s search alliance now accounts for a combined 29.1% of the US market. This means that 95.5% of all search traffic is coming through Google or Bing. That’s 14.4 BILLION search queries for the month! Not too shabby. Take a moment and read more about comScore’s findings here.