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Two Penguins, a Phantom and a Manual Action: How Watchshop.com Recovered on Google

9. May 2017, 12:12

Visibility of Watchshop.com on Google.co.uk

When we reported about the Winners of Penguin 4.0 in October 2016, a domain that stood out was Watchshop.com. Almost exactly 4 years ago, in May 2013, Watchshop.com was hit by Google’s Penguin Update 2.0 (losing 40% of their visibility). 5 months later, in October 2013, it was hit again by Penguin 2.1. At the end of 2013, Watchshop.com had lost 70% of their market share on Google – which their competitors were left to pick up.

For more than three and a half years, Watchshop.com was trapped. Today though, the story is quite a different one. So what did they do? Read Full Article

Emojis in the Google SERPs

25. April 2017, 11:29

User signals are one thing that you cannot imagine to be missing from a modern search engine optimization: show Google that your result is better than the others. In order to even get a chance at doing so, users need to click on your results. And this is where snippet optimization comes into play: your own result on the Google result pages needs to pop and grab the users’ attention.

A few weeks ago, Google gave the green light for using emojis and other special characters within the snippets. You can now use ❤, ✈, ☎ as well as many other characters aside from (just) normal letters, in both the title as well as the meta-description. And, as you can imagine, such a result will certainly call attention to itself (at least for the time being).

In order to evaluate which emojis are shown by Google, we looked at about 250 million search results – both desktop and mobile data – and checked out both the title as well as the snippet text.

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Google’s Fred Update – What Do All Losers Have In Common?

28. March 2017, 16:47

Considering the facts that there are more than 600 Algorithm Updates by Google, every year, and that Google will not announce all the updates to their Ranking Algorithm, we are very glad to have Barry Schwartz who is collecting, writing and distributing current information about Google for over 13 years. Barry’s perseverance made it possible for us to know that, as far as the Google update is concerned, Fred was remarkable, even though the name Fred was to be a joke from the beginning.

As Barry reported, this update was confirmed by Google and rolled out in March 2017. Knowing where to look, I analyzed 300 domains on Google Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom and the USA which lost Visibility after March 13, 2017.

Nearly all losers were very advertisement heavy, especially banner ads, many of which were AdSense campaigns. Another thing that we often noticed was that those sites offered little or poor quality content, which had no value for the reader. It seem that many, but not all, websites are affected who tried to grab a large number of visitors from Google with low quality content, which they then tried to quickly and easily monetize through affiliate programs. Here are some of the most interesting examples from the USA, the United Kingdom, Germany and Spain.

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100 Winners Of The Latest Google Update

23. February 2017, 11:27

On February 7th, Google seems to have rolled out one of the most far reaching updates of the last few years – with the fascinating fact that nobody really knows what exactly Google changed.

If we analyse the changes on a directory level, we can quickly see that, in many cases, only certain parts of a domain are affected:

Directory Visibility of Allrecipes.co.uk

This would indicate a granular change at the directory level. If we take a look at the last and the following example we can nicely see how some directories profited from this Google update while the others stayed the same:

Directory Visibility of Cracked.com

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IndexWatch: Losers 2016 in Google.co.uk

16. February 2017, 10:40

With our Google Ranking Factors 2017 videos under out belt, it is now time for our yearly IndexWatch for the United Kingdom. For our IndexWatch 2016, we had a look at all Visibility increases from January 4th, 2016, until January 2nd, 2017. We considered all domains with at least 5 points in the Visibility Index at the start of 2016. The decreases are shown as percentages.

Something quite interesting on this list is the fact that some of the domains on here were hit by a “unknown Google Update” last year, but now, they profited hugely from the Google Update last week! More on that later, now the list: Read Full Article

Has Pinterest.com been hit by Google’s Interstitials Update?

9. February 2017, 10:20

Within the past few weeks, we released our Winners&Losers list for Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain. One domain that stood out for their SEO-success in 2016 was Pinterest.com. We even linked to an interview with Casey Winters, former growth product lead at Pinterest, where he explained how important SEO is for Pinterest and its strategy. Nevertheless, one week after releasing the article, we observed a remarkable drop of Pinterest’s mobile Visibility in Google’s most competitive markets.

Visibility Index of Pinterest.com for Desktop and Smartphone on Google

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International comparison of competition within the SERPs

3. February 2017, 11:27

Back in 2012 I held a conference talk about international and multilingual SEO and was thankful that Johannes gave me some great data from the Toolbox. At the end of last year, I was able to speak at the Inbound conference in Boston (which is nothing like what we know of online marketing conferences in Europe and which is huge, even for US standards. More than 19.000 conference-attendees!).

And seeing how it’s not every day that you get to hold a talk at a US conference, it is only natural that I wanted to put my best foot forward. So I, once again, asked Johannes if he could refresh the data and got some highly interesting data back.

The following four charts are even more interesting than what I got in 2012 due to these reasons:

  • We have data for more countries, as the Toolbox “grew” in that direction
  • We can compare how the data developed since 2012 as we have data for both years
  • and this gives us a different angle from which to consider the situation, which makes the overall picture much more complete

Enjoy. I will always show the graph first and then add my thoughts.
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IndexWatch: Winners 2016 in Google.co.uk

25. January 2017, 16:44

Our yearly IndexWatch for the United Kingdom is ready. For our IndexWatch 2016, we had a look at all visibility increases from January 4th, 2016, until January 2nd, 2017. We considered all domains who had at least 5 points in the Visibility Index at the start of 2016. The increases are shown as percentages.

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How widespread are AMP results in the UK?

16. December 2016, 11:11

The mobile/desktop scale is tipping towards mobile for more and more Google search markets. And the number of users who do their shopping on their mobile devices are also steadily increasing. No wonder that Google is irked by the fact that they do not have such a nicely controlled ecosystem as Facebook or Amazon. In order to change this they invented AMP, which they market as wanting to make mobile loading times faster for users. These are trimmed down HTML-pages which are delivered directly from Google’s servers and they make it possible for Google to simulate something akin to their own ecosystem. Such pages look like this in the mobile SERPs:


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Is Google or Facebook the main traffic source for publishers?

9. December 2016, 11:27

In August 2015, Parsely.com – a content analytics platform – released an Authority Report where they suggest that Facebook has surpassed Google as a top referring source to publishers. But is this true? Many European publishers would disagree. Anyway, one and half years and a number of report updates later, it is quite surprising that, in many American and European institutions and sectors (universities, website owners, publishers, e.g.) this statement has been accepted as the only truth, which it is not.

No wonder, if you analyse how this statement has been received: The Nytimes.com writes: “Facebook eclipsed Google for the share of referral traffic to publishers“. Fortune.com begin their article with “Facebook is no longer just vying with Google but has overtaken it by a significant amount.“ And even Marketing Land writes “Facebook has landed the latest punch in the heavyweight battle with Google for referral traffic supremacy“.

Today, I would like to take a closer look at this study and offer additional numbers.

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