Digital Marketing News Round Up: #GoogleGate, Google Answers Advanced rel=author FAQs, and Matt Cutts on Mobile Page Speed and the Effect of +1s on Rankings
This week’s digital marketing news roundup comprises a gaggle of Google stories, including the #GoogleGate voice mail controversy, and comments from Cutts regarding +1s and mobile page speed.
The #GoogleGate controversy
On Monday, inbound marketing director at Expedia EAN, Martin Macdonald, published a voice mail recording of a Google AdWords account manager on his blog. Assumedly, the AdWords employee in question thought he had already hung up his phone, but he was recorded saying a few things considered unsavoury by many working in the digital marketing and SEO industries.
As well as several swearwords, the employee was also heard discussing intentional Google guidelines infringement, and seemed particularly focused on the up-selling of Google products, as opposed to the best interests of the client (note: the client referred to is unknown). The employee was clearly irked by the fact his client upgraded to AdWords’ enhanced campaigns without telling him, and that he would now need to “pitch call extensions, and sitelinks” (presumably to ensure he had personally achieved a sale).
Transcripts of the recording also indicate the employee said he would willingly promote black hat bridge pages (sometimes referred to as ‘doorway’ pages) for paying clients – the employee stated “[Bridge pages are] pretty bad… I don’t even care.”
To hear the recording and read the full (but slightly patchy) transcript, visit this page.
In response, Google has commented:
“We’ve addressed these issues with our vendor, and the person that was involved was removed from the AdWords team several weeks ago.”
It has been suggested that the additional voices heard on the sound clip are those of external contractors called in by Google to help with smaller accounts. Regardless, as the title of Macdonald’s post prompts, we need to ask: can we trust Google?
Cutts confirms +1s do not directly affect rankings
On Tuesday, Moz.com published a blog post in which apparent positive correlation between +1s and higher search rankings was discussed. Moz’s research indicated that the only factor more significant in Google’s ranking algorithm is Page Authority.
However, Google’s head of web spam, Matt Cutts, felt the need to ‘debunk’ this idea, leaving the following comment on a Hacker News discussion thread just a few hours later:
“If you make compelling content, people will link to it, like it, share it on Facebook, +1 it, etc. But that doesn't mean that Google is using those signals in our ranking. Rather than chasing +1s [for] content, your time is much better spent making great content.”
As a digital marketing company with a very experienced content team, Fresh Egg couldn’t agree more with the need to create fantastic content in the first instance! However, it will be interesting to see whether any similar research will prove a strong correlation between social signals and ranking positions.
Google answers frequently asked advanced rel=author questions
On Wednesday, Google published a new post on its Webmaster Central blog, in which the search engine answered some more advanced questions they regularly face regarding its authorship microformat: rel=author.
The post answered a total of seven questions, but Fresh Egg feels the responses to these two provided the most interesting takeaways:
What type of pages can authorship be applied to?
Google answered this query by stating the pages most likely to show authorship in SERPs are those with a single piece of content on them. Google also said that authorship markup will not work properly for pages on which the content is changed frequently (for example, a page with a frequently updated list of resources). The engine also stated that the microformat works best for pages that contain a clear indication as to who the author is on them and, ideally, the included name should match that on the author’s G+ profile.
Can I add two authors on one article?
Google’s response confirmed that it is currently only possible to apply one author to a piece of content. However, the search giant also said it is experimenting with multiple authorship options for collaborative pieces
It will be interesting to see what changes Google applies to rel=author (and rel=publisher) in the future, and how the use of the revised microformat iterations will influence the search visibility of sites and content therein.
Cutts states page speed is considered equally for mobile search
Thursday meanwhile, saw Matt Cutts discuss page speed in relation to browsing conducted via mobile devices, within a new video uploaded to the GoogleWebmasterHelp YouTube channel.
In short, Cutts said that when it comes to the visibility of sites in mobile search results, page speed is not considered “any more or less” than it is for searches conducted from a desktop PC. However, Cutts also stated that Google is aware that page speed is an increasingly important factor when it comes to mobile web surfing, since the users of mobile devices “expect faster loading times”.
It remains to be seen whether page speed will be a more significant factor for Google’s mobile search algorithm in the future but Cutts’ comment strongly suggests it could be.
Want to learn more about how the stories in this week’s digital marketing news could affect your online business? Contact us today.