J.C. Penney penalised by Google

Fight for the top positions in the Google’s organic search results can turn nasty for the companies which use unethical black-hat SEO techniques .

In the cut throat retail environment it’s no surprise that some companies are tempted to abuse the system. Securing a position at the top of the first page of Google’s SERPs for any specific business or product related term may mean huge spike in revenue from online sales for the business.

Google takes its search rankings very seriously and when companies violate or abuse the rules, it isn’t long before they suffer the consequences.

In a recent search engine showdown, Google buried several J.C. Penney links in its search rankings after discovering that the company was accused of employing unethical link buying techniques to push their pages higher in SERPs.

According to the investigation performed by the New York Times, J.C. Penny allegedly paid to have thousands of links added to hundreds of websites across the Web in order to dominate rankings for search terms like “black dress,” “bedding,” “area rugs” and other consumer searches.

Paid links to J.C. Penney pages boosted the retailer’s presence on the Internet because Google’s algorithms consider a site more search-worthy if it’s “voted” more popular online by the amount of links pointing to it. But paying for links is a definitive Google no-go zone.

Google has confirmed that the tactics employed by J.CC Penny clearly violate their guidelines and that “corrective action” has been undertaken.

J.C. Penney commented that they were unaware of the unethical paid links pointing to their website and currently works on taking irrelevant links down.

Google Android market worth $10 billion

Google Expert indicates that Mobile is the key in present Google’s 2011 market strategy. With core search growth maintaining a 15-20% annual growth, mobile (and converged devices like tablets) bring Google revenue growth over 20% next year. With total net revenues estimates of $27 billion in 2011 and $32 billion in 2012, a $ 10 billion gross revenue estimate for Android would represent a very significant business for Google.
PCs will continue to sell but the centre of gravity has shifted to mobile devices. And Google has smartly — and remarkably — positioned itself in the centre of that new universe. Arguably only Apple stands between Google and global mobile domination. Even on the iPhone most web searches are Google searches. So while the iPhone doesn’t drive as much revenue for Google as Android devices, it still fuels Google’s mobile growth.
What started as a vision of Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt looks now more and more like a reality.
Today Google’s mobile ad business is worth roughly $1 billion on an annualized basis. But it’s growing rapidly.
According to a discussion of the forecast in eWeek:
Using Google’s self-stated figure that its mobile ad business was operating at a $1 billion run rate through 2010, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said Google generated $850 million in mobile ads for the year. Android, Munster said, accounted for $130 million of this total, good for $5.90 average revenue per user (ARPU). For perspective, Google’s advertising totalled $25.77 ARPU, while its Web search engine accounted for $18.85 a head. . . Looking forward, the analyst said Google could have an average of 133 million Android users by 2012, each generating $9.85 per year on advertising, meaning Android would kick in $1.3 billion to the company’s ad revenues.
Regardless of whether the precise figures are correct it’s clear that mobile has quickly become a material contributor to Google’s bottom line. And it will only continue to grow.

Longer headlines for select ads on Google

Google has recently announced changes to the format in which top PPC Ads are being displayed.
For some ads the first description line will be moved to the headline and separated by a hyphen.
As a result, some top placement ads will have longer headlines.
Google admits correlation between length of the ad title and higher click through rates and also emphasises a better experience for users by highlighting more information in the ad.
I would expect that we’ll see some nice increase in CTRs on PPC campaign whilst the top organic search results may be slightly cannibalised by the PPC ads imitating the organic search results.
That change will definitely increase revenue for Google.

Improving Your Page Rankings

A search engine result consists of a title, description and URL. The URL that shows up is chosen by the search engines but can be influenced by how you link to your site. The other two pieces of information are also chosen by the search engines, but they can be influenced by using several different methods. Yahoo and MSN will usually use the meta description and title for your listing in the search result. Google is more arbitrary with how they display search results and will sometimes use your meta description, but will often pull a snippet of text from elsewhere on your page, depending on the search keywords. When writing the meta descriptions and titles for your site, keep in mind that your site will be judged by these in the SERPS. The better your listing looks, the better chance you have of getting people to click through.
When I search for a topic in a search engine, I don’t always click on the top listing. I scan the titles and results for what seems relevant and interesting. If you want people to come to your site AFTER you are ranking well in the SERPS (search engine results pages), you need relevant and interesting content in the SERPS.

Writing good titles;
1. No longer than 70 characters
2. Relevant to the page and compel the reader to find out more
3. Comfortable in their keyword usage

Writing good meta descriptions:
1. No longer than 160 characters
2. Contain a call to action
3. Entice the reader to find out more

Concise titles and meta descriptions will keep your fine work from getting truncated by the search engines. Don’t underestimate the value of a well-written title and description and always take the time to write good titles and descriptions. Never leave your titles or descriptions blank.
If your site has a link in DMOZ or the Yahoo Directory, the title of that listing is sometimes used as the title in the SERPS. If you would rather have your normal title show up all the time rather than the DMOZ or Yahoo directory title, you should include the following meta tag on your site.

“Noodp” refers to the DMOZ and “noydir” refers to the Yahoo Directory. This code applies to all search engine bots that use DMOZ or Yahoo directory listing data.
Finally, there is the topic of sitelinks. Sitelinks typically appear when someone performs a navigational search for your company or site name. Google determines what shows up in those links by looking at how the site links internally. Google tries to show the most prominent pages of the site to make it easier for the searcher to find the specific page of the site they are looking for. Although you don’t have complete control over your site’s sitelinks, if there is a page showing up in the sitelinks that you don’t want to show up, you can remove it through your Webmaster tools account.
So if you want people to click through to your site you need to have something good on the SERPS pages. If you don’t have something good then get in the game and make some changes to make your listing more clickable.

SEO has changed – Google Buzz has arrived

Google now automatically personalises search results. By default; people get different search results! One aspect of the personalisation algorithms is to look at where people go online and another is to study what people do online. Google Buzz affects both those things.

A really clear example of how Google Buzz impacts SEO is how it will integrate with the real-time streams that Google now produces for trending keywords. It’s all too likely that in the future these real-time streams will link to Google Buzz pages. This is a content play from Google. Searches take searchers back to Google.

Over the past decade we have seen the ways that search engines refine information – if the 1990s was about search engines sorting our Relevancy algorithms and 2000s were about search engines sorting out Trust algorithms then the 2010s are about Authority. When faced with two equally Relevant sites; both of which are trusted by Google, which one does the search engine pick to rank? Google will pick the most authoritive site. Google Buzz helps Google determine which sites have the authority as Google Buzz gives the engine an insight into what people are talking about, which sites real people recommend to one another, which news events inspire the most interest in people, how people tend to describe things, e.t.c

In addition, it is also worth noting how heavily Google Buzz leans on geographic data. Google does alter the search results to match different locations around the world and even around the UK. Google Buzz will help them with this geographic tailoring.
google buzz