Internet Marketing Weekly Roundup and Preview

It’s that time of week again! Start Monday off right with our Weekly Roundup of the top SEO and internet marketing stories from the past several days. Let’s get this started:

19 Obvious A/B Test You Should Run On Your Website – KISSmetrics

KISSmetrics is one of my absolute favorite blogs. More than many sites, they are extremely focused on creating conversions. Getting traffic to your site is only half the battle; creating conversions is what really counts. KISSmetrics repeatedly puts out fantastic content, and this blog is a great piece for all sites to consider, whether struggling to convert or performing well already.

Google Censorship Ruling In Canada Has Worldwide Implications – Search Engine Watch

It’s not the first time something along these lines has happened, but Canadian company Equustek Solutions claimed a rival stole trade secrets and is now ranking well in search results. Consequently, they asked that Google “remove all search results that link to the rival’s more than 300 websites”, and a judge ruled in favor of Equustek. Google offered to do so for, but the judge has mandated that results are removed universally. It will be interesting to keep an eye on this and how it plays with the “right to be forgotten.”

Algorithm Updates and Penalties

Our own Elisa wrote up a great review of Panda 4.0 and how you can navigate the newest update smoothly. Marie Haynes did an excellent review of Penguin as well. With recent updates to Panda and Payday Loan, might we see something for Penguin in the near future? Either way, Marie lays out some reasons why your site is still struggling despite a penalty being lifted. Speaking of penalties, Google is now going to be giving more information if your reconsideration request is rejected. This has been a major source of frustration for many webmasters hit with manual actions, and Barry Schwartz posted some images of what your rejection notice could look like.

This last week saw some interesting developments for the SEO community. What were some of your favorite articles, and what might we expect to see come up in the next few days?

Posted in algorithm updates, General Online Marketing, Google, Google Algorithm Update, Google Panda, Google Penguin, Marketing Tips, SEO, SEO Advice | Leave a comment

Panda 4.0 Gets Technical

For those that have been in the SEO world for a bit, just mentioning the word “update” is enough to cause cold sweat. Having seen the damage previous updates can cause, we know that Google is not one to mess around. When the roll out of Panda 4.0 was announced, there seemed to be a collective breath holding across the web.  Traffic was checked, rankings were checked, and for most, and for the most part, the dramatic drops remained unseen.  Could the days of harsh Google updates be over?

As we reach the one month mark since the rollout out, Panda 4.0, which has been referred to be more “gentle and soft” than previous updates, seems to have come without the stress of having do any major damage control, at least in comparison to updates of the past. But as we all know with Google, looks can be deceiving.  While Panda 4.0 didn’t pack a big initial punch, its quieter approach comes with its own setbacks. With less obvious tell tail signs that you have been hit and the trends of what it seems to be targeting getting far more technical than just keyword density, Panda 4.0 doesn’t seem too soft.  If you have seen traffic, rankings and search queries show a steady decline since May, chances are, you have some clean up to do and need to look at the following on your site:

URL Structure

While it has been a “good practice” suggestion for quite some time, it becoming apparent Google wants a clean URL structure. And what Google wants, Google gets. Since the Panda 4.0 update, any site that has seemingly taken the hardest hit has a URL structure that is less than desirable. This includes confusing navigation paths as well URL’s that seem like they are on the third or fourth version of the original. Cleaning up URL’s is typically not quick or easy task, and for more complicated sites, one that needs to be handled with a great deal of care and attention to detail. If you are wondering if your URL structure is causing problems, the first thing to do is to go to your site and navigate it as you were the customer. Is there a clear path from one page to the next? Can you get back to certain pages without using the back button? Make note of any confusing aspects that pop up. Next, go over to Google Webmaster Tools and check out the “Internal Links” section how every page is linked throughout the site. This give can give you great insight on how Google views your site structure and which pages may need some adjusting.  Finally sit down with your webmaster to devise a strategy as for some sites, the protocol to ensure that everything remains as stable as possible will be equal to that of creating a new site.

Broken Links

To be honest, I’m kind of with Google on this one. Broken links make a site look sloppy and if you have a number of them throughout the site it’s time to get your house in order. is a great site to check to see if you have any popping up on the site and should be a pretty quick fix for any developer.

Duplicate Content

While this one seems to be obvious, it’s continues to play a factor in a number of sites that are seeing falling numbers. While duplicate content throughout the site is an issue there are a number of less obvious factors that can be throwing up a duplicate content flag. For example, Some CMS systems generate an automatic URL in addition to the one you set as well, basically creating a duplicate of every page on the site.  Issues can also be caused from masked URL’s and pages that haven’t been properly redirected. Again, using can give you a good idea of any technical issues that may be causing duplicate content you are not aware of.

The fact of the matter is it’s once again time for websites to step up their game. With the number of websites estimated to reach one BILLION by the end of 2014, competition is fierce and gone are the days where any site will do if you are looking to rank. Taking the time to build and maintain a quality site is no longer a strong recommendation but a requirement and taking the time to ensure yours is the best it can be in every possible way will provide you with the necessary foundation for great rankings.

Elisa Houghtelin is one of the Account Managers at SEOhaus. If you would like to stay up-to-date on all of the latest SEO industry news and tips, you can subscribe to our blog here. Thanks for reading the SEOhaus blog!

Posted in Google Panda, SEO, SEO Advice | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Payday Loan 3.0? Three Tips to Avoid Being Hit by an Algorithm Update

Several weeks ago I reported that there was an update to Google’s Panda algorithm (4.0), along with an update to the Payday Loan algorithm (2.0). On Thursday, June 12, Matt Cutts reported that another update to the Payday Loan algorithm was rolling out, version 3.0.  This update intends to target very spammy inqueries, and black hat SEO tactics. The 2.0 version targets spammy sites, and the 3.0 version is intended to target spammy queries. These include, but are not limited to: “payday loans”, “Viagra”, “casinos”, and other variations of these terms. In the wake of this, Matt Cutts confirmed update, SEOs are left scratching their heads. Websites that are not considered to be in the spammy category are seeing shifts in their rankings and traffic. For example, consumer electronics was one category that reported great concern.  Little was reported from the Blackhat forums. Some SEOs are speculating that the update was actually a smaller update to the 4.0 Panda algorithm, rather than an update to Payday Loan. Only time will tell what we are actually dealing with here.

If you are concerned about being hit by one of these updates here are a few things to always remember:

Watch Your Content

Maintain unique and valuable content on your website. Ditch the low quality, auto-generated, duplicate, or redundant copy.

Concentrate on Trust

Google ranks websites that exemplify authority, that have a strong voice and those that are engaging to the visitor. They also look for authority within the websites that link back to you. Links to low quality non-trusted websites just don’t work.

Mind Your Ratio

Make sure your efforts are spread out. What I mean by this is to make sure that you are maintaining all aspects of your link building, outreach, etc. Building links to only one, or two websites, or maintaining your Facebook profile, but not your Google+, isn’t going to help build trust to your website.

While thoughtful link building, maintaining a strong social presence, and creating interesting, unique content aren’t the only factors in avoiding a penalty, the sure are a great start. Google’s efforts to maintain a valuable search engine that delivers quality content to their visitors will surely not be ceasing anytime soon. Now is the time to really take a look at what is going on behind the scenes of your website and to start making any changes that will help you to avoid being hit by one of their algorithm updates. Usually, the adjustments are minor, and the result is invaluable.

Jori Stevian is an Account Manager at SEOhaus. If you would like to stay up-to-date on all of the latest SEO industry news and tips, you can subscribe to our blog here. Thanks for reading the SEOhaus blog!

Posted in algorithm updates, Google Panda, Payday Loan Algorithm | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Pandas Back on the Attack: Google’s Panda 4.0 & Payday Loan 2.0 Updates

Panda 4.0 & Payday Loan 2.0

Over the last few weeks, we have noticed some pretty intense weather on, and the reason was revealed yesterday, May 21, 2014. Google unleashed its latest update to their Panda algorithm, Panda 4.0, which is said to be more “soft and gentle” than previous updates. If you recall, Google Panda’s algorithm, which was originally released February 23, 2011, aims to crack down on thin content, content farms, and spammy, ad-heavy sites. Basically, it works to prevent low quality sites from ranking in the top positions of their search engine. In contrast to the continual data refreshes that are made to these algorithms, this is an actual update, which likely means slightly more significant change. This update is said to have impacted 7.5% of English queries. Only time will tell which sites will feel the impact; however there have been some early reports of the winners and not-so-winners (“Losers” seems rather harsh. They already lost a bunch of traffic this week. There’s no need to kick ‘em while they’re down!).

Top 10 Not-So-Winners:

The Biggest casualties that are currently being reported are:,, and has lost 50% of traffic, while, and lost 33%.

Panda 4.0 Top 10 Losers





Top 10 Winners: has seen a 100% traffic increase,, has seen a 500% increase, and which has shown a 25% increase in traffic.

Panda 4.0 Winners

One of the immediate signs that you have been affected by Panda, or any algorithm update, is a strong spike, or decline in traffic to your website. If you’ve been hit, it may be time to consider a content refresh. Keeping your website’s content fresh and exciting, not only engages visitors, but it also keeps Google happy!

Payday Loan Update 2.0

Now that we’ve covered all of our Panda bases, I feel that I must also mention another, yes ANOTHER, algorithm update that was released this week. Google’s Spam Algorithm, also referred to as the Payday Loan Algorithm, released its 2.0 update last weekend. This update particularly targets spammy queries such as Payday Loans, Viagra, and related queries that spammers heavily target. It is said to have impacted English queries by roughly 0.2%.

Of these two updates, Panda will surely create a few more “not-so-winners”!

Jori Stevian is an Account Manager at SEOhaus. If you would like to stay up-to-date on all of the latest SEO industry news and tips, you can subscribe to our blog here. Thanks for reading the SEOhaus blog!



Posted in algorithm updates, Google, Google Algorithm Update, Google Panda | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Weekly roundup: Top 5 SEO trends and more – SEOhaus

Looking for a fresh take on SEO and internet marketing? We did the research for you.

Here’s our roundup of notable SEO marketing news and pointers from the week:

SEO for several hundred products.

Zahid Aslam of StudioForty9 offers helpful hacks for the most troublesome issues facing e-commerce SEO. Our favorite: how do we deal with discontinued items? Aslam considers the pros and cons of 301 redirects to the most relevant category page as well as ‘discontinued’ messages on unavailable products.

Nine content experts can’t be wrong.

Arnie Kuenn of Marketing Land compiles a roundup of his own, asking nine SEO hotshots for insights for optimizing your web content. One of the standout recommendation comes from Avalaunch Media president Mat Siltala, who insists that if there is one essential tip for content optimization, it is making sure “all of your content is set up correctly to positively impact your Google Authorship.”

Take notes on original content from Shakespeare and Wu-Tang.

While this may digress from standard notions of SEO, it helps to reinforce the case for fresh, original content over repetition and trite words. Designer and data wiz Matt Daniels compares the legendary vocabulary of Shakespeare against those of renowned hip-hop artists. Sifting through the first 35,000 lyrics of each respective rapper, Daniels emerges with an interactive chart to show the occurrence of unique vocabulary. As far as original content goes in Daniels’ study, Wu-Tang flaunts four of its members’ solo works in the top twenty (and no, Ol Dirty Bastard was not one).

The Largest Vocabulary in Hip hop_Regional is the industry standard for structured data markup.

Our very own Brian Carver lays out the basics of, the online vocabulary that allows webmasters to markup data for their websites in a coherent fashion. Just about any attribute of an event, person, place, or thing can be marked up using schemas to display that information on SERPs. While it requires some basic understand of HTML to implement, Carver outline shows how effectively you can display relevant information to users with fewer clicks.


The ongoing debate: does social media factor into SEO?

There’s no unanimous judgment on the degree to which social media enters into the Google algorithm. Still, Leujay Cruz insists it’s naïve to exclude social media from your SEO campaign. He makes a case for the effect social media has on link potential, volume, and personalization and authority. For example, social shares and +1s are substantial yet underused tools for creating more link potential and contributing to your campaign. Cruz’s article is a great reminder not to put all your internet marketing eggs in one basket.


These are the best SEO articles I’ve stumbled upon this week. What articles or trends contributed to your workflow this week?

Posted in Content, SEO, SEO tips | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Yahoo: The Underdog of Search

We all love a good underdog story. The geeky girl takes off her glasses and become prom queen. The team that seemingly had no shot comes back to win it all.  The inner nerd in all of us can’t get enough of seeing the impossible become possible. These tales aren’t just limited to high schools and playing fields and if you think the search engine arena is exempt, think again.

The story begins the same. Popular kid, Google, has held the market for quite some time taking on the role of trendsetter, determining how we should search as well as how we should be found. While Bing has made some attempts to take down the giant, little Yahoo has seemingly been pushed aside and taken on role of search’s quintessential nerd. For a while, they seemed to embrace their Mom friendly persona but it seems as late, they have realized these lovely ladies might not be around forever and are making moves to stay a player in the game.

First, they followed the classic rule, if you want to be like the cool kids, do as the cool kids do. Early this year, Yahoo switched to having all searches going through a secure sever, just as Google did in September 2013. This protects searches from being recorded by third parties, and made a major buzz last year when “Not Provided” keyword percentages began to climb. While this seemingly could have gone unnoticed for Yahoo, in classic nerd style they failed to make a major change in how “referrer” data is recorded and in turn this caused Yahoo organic traffic to begin showing up as “”.  For users just glancing at traffic data, it would appear as though their Yahoo organic traffic dropped suddenly without reason, making the search engine appear less popular than ever. No one said being the underdog was easy.

While this lack luster attempt at becoming the next Google may have fallen short, Yahoo does not appear to be giving up with the recent announcement of some major partnerships.  First there were quiet rumors that Yahoo was vying to become the default browser for Safari. While nothing has been confirmed, this would be a major feat for Yahoo as it would essentially force millions of Apple into using Yahoo until they take the initiative to change it. If forcing people to like you doesn’t work, then perhaps buying them will. Last week it was announced that Yahoo is teaming up with Live Nation to stream one new concert a day for a year starting late this summer. The shows will be featured on Yahoo Screen, a new music-dedicated channel that is aimed to be what MTV used to be. I’ll admit, my interest is peaked.

With a strategy that clearly is targeting a younger, hipper audience, Yahoo isn’t stopping with music. Yahoo Screen will also feature two new comedy series set to air Netflix-marathon-binge-watching style and again I’ll admit, I’m a little excited for both. The first comes from the director of The Office, Bryan Gordon, and follows a Silicon Valley tycoon purchase of a fictional basketball team. The second comes from Freaks and Geeks director Paul Feig (also of Bridesmaids fame) and focuses on a group of misfits trying to fit in an alternate universe.  I can’t think of a more perfect fit for Yahoo, can you?

Can Yahoo be the ultimate comeback kid? While it may seem too early to tell, their effort is definitely noticeable and keeping media a buzz with their efforts as of late. If there’s one way to entice America and break a somewhat negative stereotype, it’s allowing them to day dream about seeing Beyonce, Lady Gaga and Justin Timberlake up close and personal in their living room.

Posted in Search Engines, Search News | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Using to Enhance Your Search Engine Listings

We’ve talked about structured data before but in this blog I’d like to discuss a website that’s extremely helpful for structured data markup. Most websites are created from structured data stored in databases. Once that data is put into HTML, that structured data can be lost or very hard to recover. This structured data can be of great use to search engines, as it helps them read and display a website more dynamically. offers different “schemas” that webmaster can utilize to markup the data on HTML pages to improve the appearance of the website within search results. has become recognized as the industry standard by the major search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Bing. Search engines like structured data markup as it helps improve users more easily find what they are looking for, thus improving the overall user experience for that search engines. For these same reasons, structured data markup can have a positive effect on SEO for your website.

Essentially, provides a shared vocabulary that webmasters can use when marking up data for websites. In other words, has taken the guesswork out of structured data, offering a uniform and easy way to apply these data markups to any website.

For an example, let’s take a look at using structured data markup for an event:


Whoa, whoa– hold the phone. What are we looking at here? Well, basically the different properties in the “Property” column on the left can be inserted into the HTML code with the proper “Expected Type” to display that information on search engine result pages. For instance, the HTML for a page without markup looks something like this:


Using the Event markup properties above, the coding would look something like this:


So basically, nearly every key aspect of an event, such as date, time and place can be marked up using schemas to display that information on search engines. The end result of using structured data markup for an event would display something like this on a Google search page:


As you can see, the date, time and place are all displayed within the Google search engine result page. Users can now readily view all relevant information of the event without having to dig around on your website. offers a plethora of different types of markups for products,  places, people, organizations and reviews. Pretty much if you can think of it, there’s probably a markup for that. Implementing these schemas does take some HTML knowledge so I recommend speaking with your developer or webmaster if you are keen on utilizing structured data for your site.

Brian Carver is an Account Manager at SEOhaus. If you would like to stay up-to-date on all of the latest SEO industry news and tips, you can subscribe to our blog here.

Posted in Advice, Bing, Google, Onpage Optimization, Search Engines, SEO, SEO Advice, SEO Coding, SEO tips | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

10 Useful Websites That Aren’t All SEO Focused

I recently stumbled upon this BuzzFeed article that lists 33 of the coolest websites – some that would be relevant to SEO, web design, internet marketing, and some that I thought could be useful. Here are my favorites from the list.

1. What the Font?

Panda Meme

I typed in “Panda Meme” and chose this one since it’s a bit easier to read. This would be a great tool if it was a bit more accurate. The results they gave me did not match the photo, but they do have forums on the site that are viewed by font gurus whom may be able to tell you what the font is. Though I wanted to share it since it’s such a great idea, and I’m sure there are times they can be extremely accurate.


2. Account Killer

Account Killer

Easily delete your social accounts with this account killing tool.

3. Adobe Kuler

Adobe Kuler

Here you can find complimentary color palletes — for websites, interior decorating, and more!

4. GifprintGifPrint

Print .gifs for free and make them into mini flip books!


5. The Rasterbator


This one is my favorite idea of all the printing sites featured on BuzzFeed. You can make huge printable (and affordable) posters out of any image. This one’s great especially if your walls are bare and you’re on a budget!


6. TwoFoods: Instant Food Comparison


I compared honeydew to hello panda cookies because that’s what I was deciding between after dinner last night. Glad I went with the honeydew (although, I had already eaten a packet earlier that day)! I was just surprised they had Hello Pandas on there, I’m guessing they have everything! If you haven’t had this delicious chocolate (or strawberry, or vanilla) filled cookie treat, you’ve got to!


7. Is it Iced Coffee Weather?

Iced Coffee WeatherYes
I mean, it’s kind of always iced coffee weather to me, but this website will tell you “NO” if you’re in a cold location.

8. 10-Minute Mail

10 Minute Mail

You can get a free e-mail here that will self-destruct in 10 minutes. This would be great to sign up for Groupon! I’ve pressed “unsubscribe” or “this is junk” at least 50 times, but somehow their e-mail gods still send me deals in my inbox daily.

9. Word Frequency Counter

Word Counter

Great for blog posts, essays, website content, general writing, and more! They even feature a phrase frequency finder.

10. Down for Everyone or Just Me?


This is my favorite out of the 33 websites listed on the BuzzFeed article linked above. It is an extremely useful tool I can use every day. There are tons of times a website has gone down due to a server issue, IP issue, cache issue, programming issue, user issue, or any other issue. This website is short and to the point. You type in the website and it will tell you if the site is down, or it’s just your browser. Easy peasy!

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What about my rankings?

For most people an SEO campaign has one objective and one objective only: to increase their search engine rankings. I mean that’s what SEO is for right? At the start of the campaign you pick your keywords, you measure where you’re ranking for those keywords and then you measure the success of your SEO by where your rankings for those keywords end up. Simple, right? Well, not exactly.

First let’s take this all the way back to the basics. Why do you want those rankings to improve? Sure it’s nice to be able to type in a keyword and see your website right there on page 1 but if SEO was only about ego keyword research would be a whole lot easier. At the end of the day SEO is about exactly the same thing that any other marketing effort is about, increasing your exposure to potential customers, it’s about traffic and it’s about conversions. The reason you’re spending your time or money on an SEO campaign is because you want to get more customers. So, if your rankings don’t move for your chosen keywords does that mean that SEO has been a failure?

Not necessarily.

What if your chosen keywords don’t move but you start getting traffic from new variations in those areas? What if the number of search queries generating impressions and click-through traffic grow despite static rankings on the core keywords? What if your SEO company isn’t able to get your website featured organically in a highly competitive market but creates Yelp and social media profiles that grow your audience and start driving calls and conversions? In all of these scenarios, the basic objective of your marketing efforts has been fulfilled and you’re making more money as a business than you were before.

Rankings are by no means irrelevant and any good SEO campaign will lead to an increased search engine presence but with Google’s new algorithm updates and move towards exact match search results instead of the broad matches of yester-year specific keywords are no longer as important as they once were. Keywords that previously showed search volumes in the high hundreds to low thousands are now in the high tens. Other keywords that registered several hundred searches a month have seen their volume disappear altogether. So does this mean that the online markets for those areas have plummeted? No, instead it means that we need to re-think the way we are targeting those markets.


Another thing that has devalued keywords as a key performance indicator is the increase in focus on individualized and tailored search engine results. Search engine algorithms have become increasingly complex in the factors that they consider when creating a search engine results page for a user and many of these factors are based on the user. Google’s localized search engine results have been well known for some time but they are becoming increasingly focused and tailored as Google’s focus on mobile search and ability to recognize local business relevance grows.  Even your personal browsing history and social media use can influence what you see and you can bet it’s going to differ from what other searchers are seeing.

SEO is a constantly evolving industry, with the flick of a switch Google can, and has, completely changed the game more than once. That means that the way we think about success in SEO needs to change too after all, rankings are nice, traffic and conversions are better.

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Local SEO tips made simple

Assuming your product or service is of the local variety, people won’t be flying into town solely for the purpose of acquiring it. You supply to a demanding audience within a set geographic area.

While that sounds limiting, it’s quite the contrary in the eyes of local search. That is because your service, be it legal defense or a food truck, only has to compete with businesses in your area. Smaller region means smaller competition.

Like any SEO agency will tell you, the first step in a successful campaign is defining a tangible business objective. For local businesses, you’ve already identified your target market and region. So defining your business campaign means asking yourself: Why does my website exist? And what do I want my website to accomplish? Your SEO optimization objective will reflect your overall business objectives.

With the right search engine marketing strategy, your local business may display in Google search engine results in one of two ways: in a carousel, or in a listing format. The first format collects both organic and paid results, complete with mapping functionality. The listing format is indented from the rest of the results and prominently showcases the important points: address, phone number, and reviews if available.

SEOhaus - Google Search 2014-04-30

Here are a few local SEO tips for optimizing your website and fast results:

  • Create a Google+ Local page, or claim your page if it already exists in local search. A variety of online service can help you claim your listing, even if you weren’t the one who added it. In your new Local page, the most important factor is making sure to feature your correct address and phone number. In a recent survey by Placeable, over 70% of respondents lost trust or loyalty in a business because the address listed online was incorrect.
  • Reviews are becoming more and more important (and visible) factors in search engine ranking. This is the part of your web presence you have the least control over. Your responsibility is to provide a likable product, and politely remind customers to share thoughts. This is even more important to searchers than it is to crawlers.
  • Search engine marketing strategy is just as much about smart UX and content as it is about keywords and meta data, so make sure it’s a site you wouldn’t bounce from immediately. Make sure copy is readable and engaging without keyword stuffing, turn large chunks of text into bullets, and reduce the number of clicks required for conversion by using strong calls to action.

If you’ve found any other strategies that produced results for your local business SEO campaign, feel free to comment!

Posted in SEO tips | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments