Gianluca Fiorelli’s Super Search Update Sept 7 – 2012

Gianluca Fiorelli’s Super Search Update Sept 7 – 2012

7th September 2012

Hi and welcome to the second issue of my curated list of the best content about Search shared on Twitter.

In this post I have looked at the period between 20th August and 5th September and have pulled together all the best bits of content (in my opinion) that was shared between these dates.

I don’t know about you but between 20th August and 5th September my time was dedicated mostly to sun bathing on the beaches of the Mediterranean Sea! But despite the lazy summer (SEOs have to go on vacation too, right?), I could not stay completely offline! But, let’s face it, can real SEOs can consider themselves 100% on holiday during their vacations? The answer is no – at least for me – especially after what happened last year, when Google had the brilliant idea of launching the Panda Update across its continental Europe search engines on 12th August, right in the middle of summer holiday season.

Therefore because I couldn’t spend my entire holiday relaxing in the sun, here is a list of content, that in my opinion was exceptional during that period.

Luckily, this year Matt Cutts & Co. decided to be kind. Not that there hasn’t been any updates (Panda 3.9.1 rolled on 20th August), but no new Penguin or stronger Panda were unleashed. But, oh yes!, Google was able to make people write thousands of words in their blogs for several reasons:

The Shrinkage of the SERPs

It is becoming more often that we notice absurd and nonsensical Google SERPs and it isn’t really new:

  • The same domain occupying all or almost all of the organic results
  • The domain diversity in the SERPs is falling

But starting from 14th August,  the phenomenon has become even more evident.

The people on Twitter mainly shared snapshots of these results, but Peter Meyers has gone beyond the pure witness and did what SEOs do best: investigate.

He published the results of his investigation in this post on SEOmoz and what better evidence than this chart to prove the shrinkage of the SERPs:

serp crowding
From SEOmoz

And if you think that nothing can be worse, I would like to remind you how Barry Schwartz reported recently how someone had seen 4 organic results.

Google and the “Transition Rank” Patent

A lot has been written about the Rank-Modifing Spammers Patent. Experts like Bill Slawski, Aaron Wall and Rand Fishkin posted about it. But, personally, the content I found more useful was the post Shaad Amid wrote for SEOptimise. Why? Because it explains it in plain English (the language of the patents tends to be oracular), it’s not biased on a totally negative Google and it presents the opinions of some of the most respected figures within our industry.

Synonym Matching, Rankings (and Social Signals) and our Beloved: The Penguin

Synonym Matching

Vanessa Fox, someone I’d love to see writing more frequently, shared her research about Google’s synonym matching.

Google have moved well beyond word matching and onto matching based on intent. The exact words in the query don’t have to be anywhere on a page for it to rank. Google’s Matt Cutts talked about this in a recent interview:

“Keyphrases don’t have to be in their original form. We do a lot of synonyms work so that we can find good pages that don’t happen to use the same words as the user typed.”

What was especially interesting is her conclusion about how “SEO copywriting” is something to avoid and how much we must use keyword research for figuring our intent. Something that is everyday more evident is how brand authority is important for ranking.

But, what about ranking number one for our most desired keyword? Did you ever ask yourself if it is really worth it?  Gabe Domini tried to answer this question on Marketing Land, who analyzed a study done by Chikita. If you are interested in Data Analysis, that post is for you.

Social Signals

Related to rankings, an evergreen discussion is if Social Signals may improve them. This topic has been hot since October 2010.… and so many incorrect things have been written and studies misinterpreted. Will Critchlow, from Distilled tried to make some order in this post on SEOmoz and I cannot cover this better than citing it here below:

“The important thing to note is that the size of the correlation or the degree of confidence in the correlation have no bearing at all on the likelihood of a causal relationship.

This is one of the common misconceptions with the interaction between social signals and rankings – when people say things like:

But the correlation is too high – social signals must be a ranking factor

I’m afraid my response is:

I’m sorry to inform you that you have been taken in by unsupportable mathematics designed to prey on the gullible and the lonely.”


I can imagine that you are saying “Hey, we saw lot of posts about Penguin too!” Yes, I saw them too, but I started to see them as the same old post spinned again and again and now I try to look for posts that can really give something to fight against the Penguin or, better still, prevent it.

Based on this, over the past couple of weeks my preferred Penguin related post is this one by Lunametrics. This post offers a very actionable methodology (and brilliant step by step “how to”) for monitoring Penguin Updates with Google Analytics.

As Penguin is all about Link Building, this post by Daniel Tynski on BlueGlass was very interesting: Rethinking Enterprise Link Building in a Post-Penguin Era, which is accompanied by this equally interesting presentation:

Content, oh my!

Content, content, content… to be considered a thoughtful and trustworthy leader in your niche you need aaaamazing content! All right, we all know that, don’t we?

But amazing content IS NOT EASY (sorry, but I wanted to be clear).

“Sometimes, one word can completely change how your brand is perceived. Every piece of content your company publishes, whether it’s a tweet, blog post, newsletter, webinar, etc., should reinforce, clarify and/or strengthen the message of your brand.”

This quote above is extracted from a great post by Kerry Jones published by BlueGlass: 33 Things to Ask Before Hitting Publish. The post, which offers also the checklist to personalize and print here is IMO perfect in applying to the Content for the Web the methodology of the best (classic) Publishers. If people were to ask those questions, probably the Enter key would not be that s**t bomb fire button it is so many times now, and Internet would be an even more useful place.

Unfortunately, as I was saying, amazing content is not easy. We can commit outrageous errors, as described by Ian Lurie in this post on Outspoken Media, or confuse guest blogging with article marketing, as reported by Carson Ward here. Or, simplier, people really do not know how to do Content Planning.

No, to make your site trustworthy is not easy, but it is possible. How? Maybe you can start following the suggestions of Peter Da Vanzo on SEObook.

We Luv Toolz

And I love it too! But today I’ll be monothematic, both for the tool and the source of the posts:

  • The tool: Screaming Frog;
  • The source: the Seer Interactive blog.

If you think that the Screaming Frog SEO Spider is just for auditing a website, well… you are a newbie (#sorrybutitistrue). So, please, go visit Seer Interactive and discover how you can do linkbuilding with Screaming Frog  (and thank Ethan Lyon) or how to do prospecting combining its power with the Link Prospector one (and thank John-Henry Scherck).

And that’s all for today! Good sharing days.


Written By
Gianluca Fiorelli is an SEO and Web Marketing Strategist, who operates in the Italian, Spanish and English speaking countries market. He also works regularly as independent consultant with bigger international SEO agencies.
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