The Search News Round Up: Panda 23, Yahoo! CPL Formatting, Cutts on Negative SEO, and More

So, “what’s been going on in the world of SEO over the last week?” we hear you cry. There’s no need for the SEO news-hungry to fear, Fresh Egg’s Search News Round Up is here. That’s enough rhyming for one day: on with the news…

Google Panda 23

Speculation flared last Friday and Google has since confirmed that a Panda refresh has been deployed, the 23rd version of this quality seeking tweak.  Long since established as a routine element of life in search, the update is notable for its proximity to Christmas, though it will have had little effect on Christmas takings considering it came after the majority of final posting dates. The damage assessment: changes to 1.3% of English based queries.

Yahoo! introduces cost-per-lead format to search results

This week, Yahoo! introduced a new format to its search results: cost-per-lead (CPL). This means that websites can now add contact forms containing up to six individual fields to their listings within search results. Users can then directly fill in and submit these forms from the SERPs, without even having to visit the website in question, and websites only pay when a form is submitted. Finally, the ‘thank you’ message that appears after the contact form has been filled in is customisable, too. Take a look at the example in the images below, taken from Yahoo!’s cost-per-lead blog post: Yahoo SERPs Registration Form Process

In the same post, it’s stated that Yahoo!’s data from October 2012 has suggested that this format “has yielded clickthrough rate increases of 6%”. Sounds like good news to us. But what does this mean for the world of SEO? It means you’ve got more user engagement with a particular site directly from the SERPs and, perhaps even more interestingly, searchers no longer have to actually visit a website for that site in question to capture their vital information.

Matt Cutts speaks: disavow tool vs. negative SEO

Earlier this week, Matt Cutts discussed how Google’s disavow tool should be used if webmasters think their site is being attacked by negative SEO. Although we’d all agree it is good news that there’s a tool out there to disavow negative links to your site, the process of getting these links disavowed is pretty laborious. It’s unlikely that smaller businesses are going to have the time or resource to identify and produce a disavow file each and every time, and even larger businesses may struggle to keep up, should their site be affected by negative SEO on a large scale or recurring basis.

Check out the video for yourself and remember to let us know what you think by leaving your comments on this post.

Google Business Photos: indoor Street View images now in search results

Want more SERPs real estate for your business? Of course you do! If you’re in the US, Australia, New Zealand, France, Ireland, The Netherlands or Canada, enlist the services of a Google ‘trusted photographer’ and you could see your shiny Google Business Photo appear right next to the business listings in search results (as displayed in the example from TechCrunch below):

Google Business Indoor Streetview result

Although the indoor Street View images for business have been around for a while, up until this week they’ve been hidden away in local listings and maps. Now, Google is starting to give these photos the chance to take pride of place in the right sidebar of search results. All searchers need to do is click the “See inside” image and they will be taken to indoor Street View. Unfortunately, this feature is yet to be made available in the UK.

Google starts using Meebo Bar

After acquiring Meebo in June 2012, the first signs of Google working with the social sharing software and team were seen this week. So far, it’s only been reported by The Next Web, but the example shows the bar being spotted with the new Google+ integration, which allows users to share and comment directly from the site, without being on their Google+ page.

Google+ integration in Meebo

An increase in the use of the Meebo Google+ bar would essentially make it easier than ever to share content via Google+, which in turn could well lead to increased sharing of content across the network. If, as many SEOs believe, Google+ sharing supports faster indexation of content, then a new social tool bar that promotes such sharing can surely only be a good thing?

Finally, what happened on 13 December?

Everyone may have been talking about the world ending on Friday 21 December, but the SEO world was chattering a week earlier – what on earth happened on 13 December? Was it a major algorithm update? Google says no, but a lot of the signals pointed to ‘yes’. See SEOMoz, Search Engine Land, and Search Engine Roundtable for more.

As the last Search News Round Up from us before Christmas, we’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all a fabulous Christmas and the all the best for 2013!