Google Warns That Next Generation Penguin Will Be Most Talked About Update In 2013

After an SMX West panel on Monday, Google’s head of web spam, Matt Cutts, announced some upcoming algorithm updates which are aimed to further the fight against web spam.

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Updates on the Forefront

Cutts announced that they will be rolling out a Panda refresh as early as this Friday, possibly Monday. The last Panda update we experienced was in January, making this one of the longest gaps between refreshes. He warned that a ‘large’ Penguin update would also be coming sometime in 2013, and subsequently, will be one of the most talked about updates this year. While Penguin is mainly targeted towards spam and unnatural links, SEO’s are staying vigilant for any indication of other variables that may be involved. Google has also identified a couple of large link networks that they aim to take down within the next few weeks, sending the message that they are not tolerating spam from websites.

What Does This Mean For Your Website?

These algorithm updates, are aimed to combat spam and spammy tactics. That means websites that are engaging in link buying, keyword stuffing, and other malicious behavior. If you’re not sure what qualifies as spam, you can review Google’s webmaster guidelines, or contact your SEO agency. For those whose websites have original, quality web content, and do not participate in the activities listed above, then you shouldn’t be negatively impacted by these updates. It’s always a good idea to comb through your website just to be sure. You can do this by fetching as GoogleBOT in Webmaster Tools, looking for hidden links and content that may be considered spam by Google. In addition, you can contact Titan Growth, and we will run our proprietary search engine spider, TitanBOT, through your site and let you know of any red flags.

If you have any questions regarding these updates, how they could affect you, or are concerned that your site may result in a penalty, contact Titan Growth.

Submitted by Erica Machin, Titan Growth

Facebook Newsfeed Redesign Rolls Out Today

The social media world has been abuzz this morning after the press release announcing the new Facebook redesign, which will be rolling out to a limited number of pages today. The redesign features a richer user experience, more visual appeal and better integration with mobile devices. The motive behind the redesign? “We’re trying to give everyone in the world the best-personalized newspaper possible.”  – Mark Z

Some of the Features You’ll See with the New Newsfeed

1. Newsfeed Switcher

While the larger images and links will likely be one of the first things you’ll notice, what’s more, notable is the newsfeed switcher, which gives users the choice to select from different newsfeed categories. This feature gives the user much more control over the content that they see, with the ability to select between the default newsfeed, Most recent, All Friends, Photos, Music, Following, Games or Groups.

2. Streamlined Look Across Platforms

Now, you can have the same look and functionality across multiple platforms. The redesign is derived from mobile-inspired web design, bringing the best from Facebook mobile to the web. You will now receive the same mobile notifications on your PC, and will also have the navigation bar on the left of the newsfeed, so you can easily access what you care about most. And yes, the individual feeds from the newsfeed switcher will also be available on mobile and tablets too.

3. Vibrant Images, Less Clutter

The redesign is all about bigger and better. Shared photos are now larger, images in links are larger, and the entire timeline is really moving towards a more clean and visual appeal. You’re also going to see richer links for upcoming events, better display for videos, and more real estate space for sharing apps like Pinterest. Cover photos will also be the default image for interactions, instead of the traditional thumbnail (so make sure yours is good!)

What Does this Mean for Brands?

The new design offers ways for users to become even more connected to the brands they follow, and easier to interact across different platforms. For brands, there are definite opportunities to leverage the new design and become more connected to your target market.

The Opportunity Lies in Images

The new redesign really pushes brands to a more visual social strategy if they haven’t adopted one already. The brands that will be successful with the redesign will incorporate more imagery into their content marketing strategy and couple their images with great content. There are also big opportunities for brands to leverage Instagram since the newly acquired app will be integrated more closely into the new design.

Another opportunity for brands lies in cover images. Since interactions will now be using the cover photo instead of the thumbnail logo, brands must make sure their cover image is captivating and representative. Also make sure your information is accurate and complete so users can learn about you from interactions in their newsfeed, as well as identify you in Graph Search.

The Controversy: Following Tab

This is a double-edged sword for brands. The new “Following” tab offers an opportunity for brand content to be featured much more frequently when the user has selected that tab. On the flip side, a large shift towards users selecting to see content from ‘All friends” could mean a drop in brand pages’ reach. Don’t worry, there’s a silver lining! The segregation of newsfeed categories also offers more chances for your brand’s content to be seen. For instance, your brand can now be featured in the default, Most Recent, Following or Photos tab. This is all the more reason to utilize images and is now more important than ever to create engaging and interesting content.

Overall, we think the redesign is a great step forward that will benefit both brands and users in the long run. Want to be one of the first to try out the new Facebook design? Sign up for the waiting list HERE

In addition, if you have any questions regarding the redesign, Graph Search, or how to leverage these changes to benefit your brand, contact Titan Growth, your social media marketing agency.

Submitted by Erica Machin, Titan Growth