Argghhh. I hate it when websites change the location of navigation and account links you use. There used to be a my account link top right on all Google pages which took you to a page showing all your Google products gamil, WMT’s Analytics… a quick way to get to your products…. it’s now gone

google-my-account-link-missing

But if your on an iGoogle page it’s still there?

google-my-account-link-not-missing

Something I’ve read this morning on the icrossing blog is that Google Insight tool is now showing predictions on some search terms. By looking at previous years movement the next year’s traffic level is predicted. For example SEO.

google-insight-seo

Obviously it’s not going to be able to predict trends that pop out of nowhere e.g. Susan Boyle. Google have also stuck a disclaimer to treat the data as a estimate and not a prediction.

Although it’s been a little quiet recently on the whole UK SERPS issue Matt Cutts did get round to answering the question on why so many foreign sites are popping up in the UK search results. First of all it’s great that there is this platform to get a question to someone at Google but Matt’s missed the point in answering the question.

So basically, Google will now consider more .com sites in the UK SERP’s, but ones that are relevant to UK users for example .com websites based in the UK or promoting UK companies e.g. tesco.com (which ranked before all of this anyway). This isn’t the problem, the issues we are seeing are .com’s ranking when then are American or Australian companies or to the extent using a au.com domain. Maybe Google isn’t able to determine what is a UK based .com ??

An example of this was from a non related blog from Dom the Hodge who had used a screenshot of a UK SERP for the search conference lanyards. Ranking in at number 3 and 4 you’ll find two .com.au sites.

www.freshpromotions.com.au/lanyards/conference-lanyards.html
www.lanyardsandmore.com.au/

promotional-lanyards-serp

It’s up for interpretation but I don’t think that two Australian sites are relevant to a search for conference lanyards. If the search was for “Australian cooking techniques” then maybe it is relevant to show Australian sites ??

Matt eneded the video saying that if there are problems in the results then people should get in touch….. looks like i’ll be “getting in touch often” unless they do make a change.

Big news yesterday was the news that Google will be having a bit of a rejig with some ‘parts under the hood’ and for the first time they’ll released a test version of the search engine for webmaster’s and SEO’s to play about with.

http://www2.sandbox.google.com/ allows you to search the new index which does have some slight alterations to the rankings. They are looking for feedback on the results given out before they go live which is an excellent idea to improve the overall results being given. For example Dave Naylor pointed out a problem with a 301’d result in the serp for SEO.

I’ve noticed that my result on my football blog “Blackpool FC” which is currently at 7 have moved down to 21 in the results with many bigger brand sites appearing in the rankings with inner page rankings e.g. amazon, wikipedia, facebook, youtube, eurosport, bbc.

One thing that are still in the results are domains / inner pages that 302 to another page. This isn’t something new as Matt Cutts showed with his experiment when he changed domain a few months ago and Google ranked the temporary domain.

In my example this inner page is ranking 2nd page for Blackpool FC.

blackpool-fc-serp

It 302’s to a different domain.

blackpool-fc-302

This is very common throughout the UK serps allowing webmasters to get 100’s of domains ranking with only one website. It will be interesting to see if this is something that changes considering the very public related experiment by Matt Cutts.

Matt Cutts has opened up a new vote for Video’s to answer and guavarian from guava has asked a question about the current problems with the UK Search Engine Results.

uk-serps-question2

Currently the vote is 28 yes and 4 no. Head over to the question and get voting! While you are there vote for any other questions that you might find helpful the questions are answered on you tube on the Google Webmaster’s Help Channel

If you’re an avid reader of any UK SEO blogs you should have noticed posts about the recent shift with foreign (predominantly American) sites, outranking many UK sites on certain search terms. The problem has been seen under a wide selection of search phrases from many SEO companies / individuals in the UK. There have also been some indicated of the problem reserved with UK sites ranking well in Australia search results.

So what have we seen?

– 1st / 2nd page can seem unaffected with no movement at all.
– Around 10-30 sites rank from the 2nd / 3rd page thus pushing rankings 2 to 3 pages down.
– Domains are .com and hosting in foreign country or have a country specific TLD e.g. ww.domain.be

What should you do?

– Continue to add relevant unique content to your site be that news or a blog
– Continue to build links to the site, don’t increase this rate rapidly.
– Read SEO blogs to track the changes.
– Clean up any errors showing on Google Webmaster Tools, doesn’t have any effect just something to take your mind of the problem.
Don’t panic and sit this problem out, Google should* reverse this problem.
* Nothing is guaranteed but with so much talk about this problem in the UK Google has to rectify this problem.

The issue seen by many UK SEO companies is that when Google makes a change such as the one seen you can’t really do much to rectify it. Clients will be annoyed about this stance but you can only sit it out and wait for the Search Engine to update, explain the issue to clients and keep them up to date and using services like Stellar SEO in Nashville to help with this. Most importantly you can’t really complain about Google, for all we know they could shut down tomorrow and there is nothing we can do about it!

An Idea

I do have one idea that could help thanks to Bing. Collective pressure from UK SEO companies on Google to either publically acknowledge the problem or get a fix in place. The only way this could succeed is by getting the issue in the public domain, on the BBC, ITV, Sky News etc. This then forces Google into doing something to prevent losing users to Bing, which is actually succeeding in being decent alternative to Google for UK public.

If you want to read up more on this or need proof to see that this isn’t an isolated case then here are 11 articles on the problem.

Google American Results Conspiracy – Fresh Egg

US websites ranking in Google.co.uk an example commercial laundry equipment – A UK SEO

Google uk mixing in us based queries – SEOptimise

Big Geo Problems Still Exist in Google UK Serps – PPC Blog

Google UK Serps Com On Down – North South Media

Have you noticed Googles shift from UK to US? – Argo IBC

The mystery of the UK SERPS – updated – Search Cow Boys

Will the Real Google Search Results Please Stand Up – SEO Design Solutions

Is Google’s Geo Targeting Off In Web Search? – Search Engine Round Table

UK Ranking Problems – UK Business Forums

Poor State of UK search today – Andrew Girdwood – Big Mouth Media

If you have any more, add them into a comment below and I’ll add them to the above list. Do you think collective pressure would get a responce from Google?

There has been lots of chatter about a recent shift in ranking by Google with US based sites ranking in Google.co.uk, seoptimise and Search Round Table reported in articles and there was plenty of tweets about the movement. It’s caused a few problems with plenty of UK sites moving down the rankings due to the influx of US based sites.

It’s hard to quantify sometimes what has shifted in the rankings has done as you don’t have before and after data of the top 20, 30, 40 rankings.

Fortunately I have a report from January the 18th 2009 for the top 40 sites in google.co.uk on a search for “commercial laundry equipment”.

I’ve then taken the top 40 websites for the same search query today and the difference is concerning with US sites ranking in the place of many good UK sites. There is also sites from Belgium, India, Spain and China ranking in Google.co.uk.

The list is big so I have added it into a Google Docs Spreadsheet which can be seen by clicking the image.

commercial-laundry-cleaning-search-engine-results

It would be great to get someone from Google to have a look over this. If anyone has seen something similar with their clients or SERP’s post the details below in a comment. Also link to your own blog with an example of the movement of US sites in the UK rankings.

UPDATE 17/06 : Fresh Egg have an article on a similar problem with the key phrase Pet Surgery. Check out the article which has a great conspiracy theory behind the US sites ranking.

Google Squared has launched this evening in the UK and after a little play there are a few ideas popping inside my head for quick ways to grab data for link baiting ideas.

google-squared

For example if you have a football website you can write an article looking at football stadiums ordering by capacity, cost, pitch, size.

football-stadium-google-squared

Having all this data on screen so quickly means you can start to write an article along the lines of “the 10 biggest… “the most expensive… etc. This is nothing new but it can speed up the process of gathering data for such articles.

Google Squared is still in it’s early stages and some of the data given isn’t correct, it would also be good to see the ability to export to csv / excel and also order the data by a certain field.

Head over to Google Squared and have a go.

Slipping into TV and Print advertising in the last 6 months are requests to search online for … Asking the user to search online then means agencies can achieve almost direct conversions from TV ads. The first occurrence of such request was from mobile phone company Orange who asked people to search for “I am” so nothing too difficult for the SEO team to implement!

orange-i-am

With no natural listings in sight they had to go with PPC paying for the traffic that followed instructions to search online for I am. The idea was good but the implementation was slated in the SEO community.

Similar to Orange computer animated film Monsters V Aliens asked people to search for MVA, with www.mvaconsultancy.com firmly holding down the number one organic spot PPC was used again to grab the traffic. I made a post with more details about MVA, the PPC campaign wasn’t well implemented and will have costed a small fortune. .

It seemed that most agencies were not getting the grasp of asking people to search online but then along come Tales of the Road from direct.gov, Think! and the Department of Transport.

The advert teaching kids about road safety asked the viewer to search online for “tales of the road”. Not to hard to remember and relatively easy to optimise for. The search result for “tales of the road” is is owned by the website with a PPC ad, number one ranking, site links, number two ranking and a video ranking.

tales-of-the-road

Here a subdomain of direct.gov matches the search term. Using a sub domain then allows for site links (site links can appear for a inner page of a site but easier to gain on a sub domain) and a second listing for a inner page. Placing the video on YouTube a trusted domain then allows for the video to rank easily on the first page page.

One small point is that you can place a nofollowed html link in the description to a video on YouTube.

tales-of-the-road-youtube

For any agencies implementing a “search for” campaigns then the Tales of the Road is an excellent blue print to use.

It appears that Wolfman Alpha search results are appearing Google results. This search for “search for i am” returns a number 9 position for a Wolfman Alpha search result.

wolfman-alpha-in-google-results

But the robots.txt is currently blocking search engines form the results page such as http://www46.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=Where+am+I%3F
www46.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=pirates+vs+ninjas
www46.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=What+is+the+meaning+of+life%3F

User-agent: *
Disallow: /input/

So either Google is ignoring the robots rule or Wolfman Alpha have only just blocked their results as their are 71 results for a site command on http://www46.wolframalpha.com/input/.

Still not found a really good use for Wolfman Alpha… still better than tonight’s Britain’s Got Talent