Panda Speculation… Is It True?

Lately, there have been some rumors flying around about a Panda update that hit last week. Some sites have seen a fluctuation or even large drop in rankings, although, not enough buzz to indicate a major update. That doesn’t necessarily mean there weren’t any updates either, or that it wasn’t Panda. Google makes roughly 500 updates in one year; their latest post reveals 30 changes that were made just last month. Any number of Google updates can cause changes in rankings for some sites, but webmasters have gotten so used to pinning the blame on Panda.

So… was it Panda? The answer is: at this point, there is no way to tell.  Knowing whether it was in fact Panda or not has no other purpose than curbing your curiosity. What does matter, is making sure your website is up to Google standards, so when updates do hit, your site won’t suffer.

If you have any questions about updates and how they can affect your rankings or want to know how to keep your rankings intact in 2012, contact your SEO agency.

Submitted by Erica Machin, Titan Growth

“Viralocity”: Video Trends To Watch For In 2012

A recently-released study conducted by Yahoo! illustrates several surprising changes in the evolution of online video consumption since 2009. This study may have significant implications for the way marketers engage potential clients, by leveraging a media that is gaining more and more traction with a greater number of online viewers.

Online video viewing has increased by 33% from 2009, and now roughly 57% of people surveyed watch some type of video online every day. The most prominent type of video watched falls in the “Short Clips” category, at 74% of all video views. However, this type of video is down by 10% since 2009, while Full-Length TV Shows and Full-Length Movies are up, by 7% and 3%, respectively.

One of the most interesting shifts in online video viewing is the increase in number of viewers between the hours of 6pm-9pm. In 2009, views in this time slot would drop to just over 10% of total views by hour; in 2011, however, views in this time period have jumped up to the 40%-50% range, most likely due to the prominence of video-capable mobile devices and streaming video from sites like Netflix and Hulu. On the flip side, viewership dropped slightly during business hours.

Despite the increase in overall viewership and overall video sharing, the percentage of people who actually share online videos have dropped from 34% to 26%, a fact that Yahoo! attributes to the slightly older age of the video-watching demographic and type of video being viewed. Older demographics are less likely to share videos, and are less receptive to ads associated with online video content, gravitating instead toward professionally-created media. The study showed ads created by professionals for business, entertainment, or news sites were more frequently linked to brand recall, relevance, and personal acceptance. Videos produced by individuals were more frequently seen as “intrusive”, “annoying”, and irrelevant.

Marketers will also benefit from videos featured in articles, blogs, websites, and other “mixed media” scenarios.  Of those surveyed, 57% indicated they enjoyed watching a video that helps to enhance or help explain an article, concept, or news source.  What’s more, audiences tend to find this type of video professional and claim it aids with brand awareness and product recall.

For online advertisers concerned with staying abreast of constantly changing technology and trends, online video production is an area in which to pay close attention.  While this media may not serve every business well, it is likely to grow as a prominent form of online engagement.  If you have any questions or concerns about your online marketing presence, or how to keep pace with the competition in 2012, contact your SEO agency today.

Contributed by Amanda Finch, VP Operations

Gravitating Toward More Social Search


It should come as no surprise that search is becoming more social. Since web 2.0 has arrived, individuals had no problem bringing their social lives online;  it only seems practical that social and personalized results should manifest in normal search results as well. With the recent launch of Google’s ‘Search, Plus Your World’, we are beginning to see just that, but with some controversy.

Google’s Search Plus Your World, which for blogging purposes will be referred to as SPYW, now incorporates results from Google+ for users who are logged into Google. While it is a great idea to connect searchers with social results, Google is getting slammed for favoring their platform Google+, which is undeniably true.

Now, when conducting a Google search, you have the option of viewing personalized results up top and on the right-hand side of the results, Google suggests people/pages on Google+ to add to your circles. The suggested pages to add, mind you, are all from Google+. We have yet to see any suggestions for Facebook or Twitter pages. The same goes for the results. If you decide to follow the link to your personalized results, you will find that 90% of the results are people or articles for Google+, the other 10% is Youtube. And Google wonders why they’re being accused of nepotism?

Some are not taking very kindly to this change. Twitter says that SPYW is “bad” for web users and makes it more difficult for searches to find relevant information. Relevancy is a main argument against the new SPYW. In his recent post, Danny Sullivan says:

 “Google’s job as a search engine is to direct searchers to the most relevant information on the web, not just to information that it has its own particular interest in.” 

Many webmasters and SEOs are speaking up, saying that Google’s bias is getting in the way of their job to deliver what is most relevant, regardless of whether the results are from competition or not. Some even go far enough to refer to SPYW as spam, like SEO Book’s tweet:

“After Google flooded the SERPs with inferior & marginally relevant Google+ junk, are spam debates even relevant at this point?”

Matt Cutts, head of the web spam team at Google responded to comments about SPYW on his own personal blog, saying “Search plus Your World does surface public content from the open web, not just content from Google+.” If surfacing public content means maybe including another result other than Google+ or Youtube every now and then, then Matt Cutt’s is right on the money.

It will be interesting to see how this continues to play out. Hopefully, Google will begin to incorporate other social media sites into the results as well as pages suggestions, because when it comes down to it,  social search is awesome. When it’s done fairly, incorporating social results reinforces everything we already love about the web: convenience, relevant results, and now, a new way to stay connected to what we care about most.

Questions? Comments? Contact your SEO Agency to understand more about SPYW and the implications for your website.

 Submitted by Erica Machin, Titan Growth