Archive for the ‘Google’ Category

Matt Cutts Answers Questions About Link Disavow Tool

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012 |

With the recent release of Google’s Link Disavow tool. There’s way too much incorrect info about it being added to the Internet.

In case you missed it, please read the below article, which was posted October 29, 2012. It’s a Q & A with Danny Sullivan and Matt Cutts, and it’s the single most accurate and complete write up you will find. The comments at the end are also worth paying attention to.

PS – Thanks to Eric Ward for this link.

Oh, and if you are wondering if the Link Disavow, plus reinclusion request actually works, you can read about a successful case study at David Naylor’s site:

Google Doodle Pays Tribute to Little Nemo

Monday, October 15th, 2012 |

I feel like this Google Doodle which is a tribute to the comic strip Little Nemo is their best yet. Kudos to the Google creative team for creating this wonderful illustration and animation. Here is a screen shot of the full image, after the animation, which is still beautiful. I also found a video of Little Nemo just in case you have never heard of the little guy. Click the image for a full-size image.


Why Does Google Show a Different Title?

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012 |

Recently a client asked why their page titles were not being used in the search results by Google. For those of you who may not know exactly what a page title is, it is in your page’s source code and looks like this: <title>This is my page title</title> and is the most important piece of on-page SEO on your site. Usually site owners take time to craft a title to help their keywords rankings and/or to help attract searchers when this title is displayed in Google’s search results. Below is an image of Google’s search results for the search term “Create a Website Sitemap for SEO” and you can see our blog post for the top results with the title we chose.

Google usually displays the title you have chosen for your page.

But sometimes Google decides to change the title they display in their search results. Why does Google change your page title? Quite simple, Google thinks it knows better, and Google probably does. Here is one explanation from a Google rep, “Often a single title might not be the best one to show for all queries for a page, so our algorithms may generate alternative titles to make it easier for our users to recognize relevant pages.

You can find more information about Google choosing a better page title here.

A snippet from this page gives some more insight, “Our testing has shown that these alternative titles are generally more relevant to the query and can substantially improve the click-through rate to the result, helping both our searchers and webmasters.

So don’t fret when your title in the Google search results does not match the title on your page, Google is trying to help by showing a more relevant title to help you increase your traffic. You should still always try to craft the the best page title you can, regardless if Google will try to fix it for you later.

What Does Direct Traffic Mean in Google Analytics?

Monday, January 23rd, 2012 |

Since I’ve been looking this up for my own reaons, I thought I would share my findings. Direct Traffic means of course that there’s NO referrer when the visitor came to the site.

This could be because someone:

  • typed in the URL directly in their browser
  • used a bookmark in their browser
  • clicked a link from an email  with a non-web-based email client (like Outlook)
  • clicked a link in a document (PDF, Word)
  • clicked a link from within a secure site (https://)
  • used a mobile app (which could come from twitter, stumbleupon, email, etc.)
  • some JavaScript redirect links may not set a referrer
  • some corporate intranets may strip out referrers
  • if the user has browser plug-ins to mask their referrer
  • some banner/PPC campaigns may not pass a referrer correctly
  • The IE browser can sometimes be problematic & not send a referrer under certain conditions


Has anyone heard of any other reasons traffic would be identified as direct traffic in Google Analytics?

Is Microsoft Launching a Rival to Google+?

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011 |

Microsoft’s PR department has been working overtime thanks to the recent discovery of a “social search” project discovered on a Microsoft-owned domain. The new search engine, titled “Tulalip” on the teaser landing pages, was discovered shortly after the launch of Google’s new social network, Google+.

Though Microsoft claims the leaked site is nothing more than an “internal design project,” media sources all over the Web are asking one question: is Microsoft launching a rival to Google+?

Microsoft Turns Out to Be Mystery Owner of “” Domain


While researching the recent sale of the domain name “,” a reporter made another discovery: “” was also sold on behalf of an unknown client. That unknown client? None other than Microsoft.

Later, reporters discovered a teaser landing page on The landing page read, “Welcome! With Tulalip you can Find what you need and Share what you know easier than ever” (prior capitalization left intact). The site appeared to be a social media addition to Microsoft’s search engine, Bing. The landing page offered log-in buttons for both Twitter and Facebook.

The landing page also held a variety of non-working links that included a link to a “See how it works” demo as well as the project’s terms and conditions. The Twitter sign-in link did function and revealed that if authorized, the Tulalip app would be able to:

  • See the tweets on a user’s timeline,
  • Post tweets,
  • Update the user’s profile,
  • See the user’s followers and
  • Follow new people.

Microsoft’s Response

The Tulalip landing page was ripped from the web shortly thereafter. A message on now reads:

Thanks for stopping by. is an internal design project from a team in Microsoft Research which was mistakenly pulished to the web.

We didn’t mean to, honest.

The Punches Kept Coming

Just north of Microsoft headquarters, there’s a Native American reservation with a familiar name: the Tulalip tribes. Upon hearing the news of Microsoft’s impending search engine of the same name, the tribes wasn’t exactly flattered. The Tulalip name is a trademark of the tribe, which operates a successful casino under the trademark. ”We just don’t want anyone using it in a bad way. It’s our name,” a tribe member told a local news station. Microsoft met with the tribe to explain that the name was strictly intended to be an internal code name and would not be used publicly.

What’s the Future for

Most agree that it doesn’t look like Microsoft is crafting an entire new social network, especially given Microsoft and Facebook’s partnership. Instead, the Tulalip project will probably be more of a social-infused search. Some sources are predicting that Microsoft is trying to beat Google to the social search game since G+ hasn’t been combined with standard Google searches yet.

So what could be the future for Would all Bing + Socl searches include your friends, families, and colleagues’ interests? For example, if a freelancer “likes” a copywriting blog or a content writing services company on Facebook, would that freelancer’s Twitter followers see those results first in a Bing search for “writing?” If your niece tweeted a link to an upcoming photography exhibit, would that exhibit be highlighted in a local “things to do” search?

New network? Bing supplement? Mere “internal design project?” Whatever the Tulalip project may be, it’s clear that the Bing vs. Google battle is far from over.

Image Source: Ronada via Flickr

Google Plus Games Feed

Monday, August 1st, 2011 |

Google Plus is introducing a Games feed – or so the rumor goes. Google has been shooting itself in the foot a little with Google Plus – like the debacle with Google Plus business profiles and subsequent favorable treatment.

As with the forthcoming business profiles, with the confirmation of a Games feed to come in Google Plus, Google is trying to one up the social behemoth of Facebook. Probably one of the most annoying things that I find with Facebook is that everyone’s game updates and notifications clog the chatter from your friends, your enemies, and those random people you haven’t talked to since elementary school.

Why wouldn’t Google try and add and refine a Games section? They are a major investor in Zynga – the creators of the Facebook addiction, Farmville. It will be interesting to see what kind of games they roll out on the Google Plus games feed or however they will be doing it – the ‘confirmation’ of Google Games was a mention in the help center of ‘shared games,’ and someone who had a lot of time on their hands went really deep into the code of Google Plus and found the logo for Google games and also some very interesting API actions.

We are an ADD over-stimulated disaffected internet population these days – we aren’t in the yesteryears in middle-of-nowhere Worcester MA. Heating oil is not how we power our devices, and we aren’t easily amused by staring at the ceiling all day – kids are glued to the computer, are pasty white from lack of sun…Long story short, we have short attention spans, and if Google can’t recognize that and leverage that, and do it better than Facebook has, people will return to what it familiar and continue to clog our Facebook news feed about the new farm they just built or the person that they just shot or whatever.

Some of the games that might be going into Google Plus include some of the typical Facebook games – there are speculations about everything from zombie killing games to puzzle games, poker and retro shooter games.

As there has been no official announcement from Google about the Games stream and what kind of capability it has, we are just going to have to wait and see what happens, and what news Google is going to release – and when.

Google might be tied up at the moment with the bad press from the business profiles business – and might be wary of releasing any new features in Plus at the moment. Or – it could be the exact opposite and Google will want to release new features on their social network to push the previous mess out of people’s minds.

Hopefully Google will be introducing Games soon – I’m curious what this clash of social networking titans will look like when all the cards are on the table, and the two end up being fairly comparable.

Emma Taylor is a writer for an international consulting company, and has been for the past four or five years. A geek at heart, she has always been interested in technology and the digital world.

Marketing Your Business on Google+

Friday, July 29th, 2011 |

Google+Chances are you’re in one of three categories regarding Google’s latest social network, Google+. You’re either:

  1. Banging at the gates of Google+ to get a prized invite,
  2. Already in Google+ but struggling to understand it, or
  3. Still clueless about the whole G+ ordeal. Aren’t Facebook and Twitter enough? Now Google throws this into the social media mix?

Right now, getting into the walls of Google+ is kind of like getting through an airport: it’s all hurry-up-and-wait time. You raced to get an invite, but now you’re sitting and twiddling your thumbs, waiting for users to arrive.

Most people still aren’t on Google+, and those that managed to get an invite still have no idea what to do with the thing. Circles? Sparks? Hangouts? The most common stream on G+ is “I have no idea what I’m doing on this thing.”

The good news for savvy businesses? You get to gain a jump on the competition by being an early adopter of G+. As fledgling Plus users slowly figure out their latest social media acquisition, you’ll one of the first up-and-running Plus users in the field.

Step One: Choose Your Profile Picture Wisely

Even more than Facebook or Twitter, finding a killer profile pic is essential on Google+. Your picture acts as your virtual calling card; it’s the first and the only thing G+ users see when they come across your name.

Google+ requires square-shaped avatars, so choose accordingly. Select a high-resolution image that will immediately grab G+ users’ attentions– but make sure it’s relevant to your business.

Step Two: Sort Out Your Circles

You know how you have one lump of people who “follow” or “like” you on Twitter and Facebook? That one lump is comprised of various interested parties: potential clients, colleagues in your field, or the three immediate family members you convinced to join your page when it was still in its infancy. Whatever you share goes out to the entire lump of people.

On G+, everything’s sorted out in separate circles, and you choose what you share amongst those circles. It’s kind of like having various virtual mailing lists for all of the people in your life. You can send an article you’ve written solely out to your colleagues or share a business special amongst your past clients. Create a VIP Club for your frequent customers or post pictures of your newborn that only your family can see.  

Step Three: Invite People to Follow You

Google+ allows you a relatively lengthy introduction space, so use it wisely. Write an engaging introduction that invites people to follow you. G+ introductions also allow links, so  be sure to link to your website and your various social media profiles. Also, make sure your page’s searchability is set as “Visible in Search” so people can find you on Google.

Step Four: Utilize Sparks

Sparks are essentially a live Google feed for something you’re interested in. For example, a “Movies” spark would keep you easily updated on movie reviews, upcoming films, or casting rumors. Utilize this for your business by easily following industry trends. For example, if you’re a content writing business like Copypress, you’d follow things like “SEO Copywriting,” “Social Media Marketing,” “Blogging,” etc. Then with the click of a “Share” button, you can easily share applicable links with one or more of your circles.

Since G+ is still brand new, you’re not competing with mega-businesses like you would on Twitter or Facebook. Jump in now and build your audience before the G+ waters get too crowded for you to stand out!

Image Source: Topgold via Flickr

Related articles

Block Sites from Your Search Results

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011 |

Google has added a wonderful new feature: the ablity to block sites from your search results. You can read all about it on their blog post. Here is a snippet.

You’ve probably had the experience where you’ve clicked a result and it wasn’t quite what you were looking for. Many times you’ll head right back to Google. Perhaps the result just wasn’t quite right, but sometimes you may dislike the site in general, whether it’s offensive, pornographic or of generally low quality. For times like these, you’ll start seeing a new option to block particular domains from your future search results. Now when you click a result and then return to Google, you’ll find a new link next to “Cached” that reads “Block all results.”

As always, Matt’s been gracious enough to let us use him as an example. His site is awesome, though, and we doubt many people will want to block it!

But this does make me wonder. If you block a site, we can safely assume Google will track that. And if a site gets blocked too much will it drop in rankings where it hasn’t been blocked. I still believe this is a great tool and will be used by power users more than casual searchers, but it may have a more positive affect on overall search rankings than we realize. And that is probably a good thing.

Google’s April Fools Joke

Thursday, April 1st, 2010 |

Google has always added their fair share of April Fools shenanigans to the popular search engine. In years past they have made fun of Yahoo and Microsoft.  Currently Google has renamed itself Topeka in honor of a return gesture the Kansas town made to acquire a special Google project.

As part of the ongoing Google April Fools jokes they have adjusted the the search time from seconds to a host of odd units for measuring time.

You can see the full list below in the screen shots. Look to the right to see the time unit. The first one is my favorite, from Monty Python’s The Holy Grail Fame, “times the velocity of an unladen swallow.” Other time units used include microweeks, microfortnights, jiffies,  parsecs, centons, centibeats, epochs, nanocenturies, hertz, warp, and 23.00 skidoo

Click each image for a larger view.

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Seo Predictions for 2010

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009 |

SEO Predictions for 2010

Another year of search engine madness is about to come to a close. In 2009 we have seen the Google search engine display many variances and ranking fluctuations. So before we put on the swami cap and bring out Nostradamus SEO quatrains into the light, let’s recap some of the major Google changes and initiatives.

In 2009 The Google Search Engine:

Put more weight toward the keywords in the domain. In fact, keyword-rich domains could achieve top 10 rankings in less competitive phrases just on the weight of the domain name and a few onsite optimization tweaks.

We saw Google increase the visible space for the Adwords Sponsored PPC displays. The money maker for Google is encroaching more and more on the organic search results territory.

We saw name branded companies get extra weight in the organic results, not from normal SEO algorithm enhancements and features, but from manual Google manipulation.

Searchers’ IP addresses were instrumental in displaying Google Local results for major keyword terms in various 1 box or 4 box positions in the organic search results.

Customized Search and IP captured-related searches made search results for the unknown more focused on what you have visited in the past rather then the “true” organic listings.

The introduction of Caffeine by Google displayed more real time results from news, Twitter, Facebook and other sources and was displayed in various locations on the organic search results page.

There were many other factors that changed in 2009, but the ones above are the most prevalent (in our eyes) and affect the potential customer click through rate.

Now for the 2010 predictions:

With the introduction of  the Caffeine Google Search Engine enhancements and the ability to display real time results, and more of the old “Universal Search” parameters of images, news, videos, et al.  traffic from first page SEO results will decrease for organic results if you are not in the Top  3 for that respective search term.

Google will be displaying so much more data and manipulating the organic displays with their data enhancements that normal percentage click through traffic for front page results positions of 4-10 will dramatically decrease.  Here’s what this should mean to the average reader and company: it’s time to increase your SEO budget now rather then be caught with your search engine traffic results in the gutter and scrambling to attempt to catch up.

Social media’s impact on search results will be misguided.  Many will attempt and are attempting to divert budgets to create social media campaigns to attract visitors and catch the wave of potential search traffic.  Organic search results in the future will display social media mentions in a live format. However, they will only be displayed for milliseconds as their display order is chronological.  Link values from social media campaigns will have little impact on the organic ranking results.

Social media done correctly and for branding awareness and bringing like-minded people together is a great concept and can improve your marketability. But in terms of SEO rankings, the affects will be dismal at best. Your ROI will be your measuring tool to determine if social media is effective for you or not.

Google will continue its push to become a Broadcast Network for the Internet.

Many in the industry view Google as a Search Engine with products and services to display websites and enhance a webmaster’s efficiency. Unfortunately, that view is misguided.  In 2005-ish this prediction was made, and every year Google positions itself away from a Search Engine environment and into a source to view data online. The broadcast network business model is like the major television networks (ABC, CBS, NBC Fox etc.) that display shows to attract  viewers.  Commercial advertisers pay for that model.

Google will continue to promote, provide, and display data to attract viewers. They are targeting IP addresses to identify your location. They have brought the Google iPhone application to capture your mobile consumption.   Google wants to know as much about you as it can so that it can tie advertisements directly to you.  In terms of advertising dollars,  knowing you can get your message directly to a “buyer in need” rather then a “channel surfer” will pay huge dividends in the end.

As Google continues to move forward and push the envelope of data distribution, Search Engine Optimization will become more target-focused.   The ROI in SEO is up for grabs and will remain significant, as long as your budget, focus and SEO company can see the big picture and be able to adapt.

When going the extra mile pays off

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009 |

Big Oak’s Client Success

Search Engine Optimization, known as SEO, is the ability to rank a website in the top search results. That’s what we do here as an SEO Company. However there are times that clients need more than SEO, they need marketing, website functionality, and a plan to increase their ROI.

Clients either are well versed in Search Engine Optimization and need someone to do the heavy lifting, or they come with no knowledge of the subject, but know they need exposure to their websites and heard SEO is the way to go. The bottom line for most clients is an increase in profits. That’s what is measurable to their business. Increased web site visitors or traffic normally increases the bottom line or profit.

Big Oak SEO Company took on a new client in February 2009. The client had a successful brick and mortar store and ventured into the online arena. The client operates a Yahoo Store with over 300 products in a niche market. As their SEO Specialist along with our Keyword Researching Specialist we optimized their Yahoo Store for their keywords and started a link building campaign.

The net results in just over 1 month was an increase in $2,000 of sales, and a doubling of orders from the prior month. Under normal circumstances we would consider this a huge success. However the client was lacking a fundamental marketing tool for their website, namely a presence in Google Shopping.

This was beyond the scope of our SEO contract, but Google Shopping presence for this clients products would positively effect the clients ROI. After all ROI, Return on Investment is what the client is really after. Being ranked #1 for a term that doesn’t bring in sales will not benefit the client nor keep a happy customer.

It took a several hours over the course of a few days and several tweaks to establish, create and optimize a Google Base Feed for Google Shopping. (BTW this extra effort was free of charge – no extra billing.) In just 3 days after the first Google Feed went live, the Client reported their first sale from Google Shopping. I am still tweaking the feeds for Higher Google Shopping Results and the client is adding more products to the feed, but this is definitely a case where going the extra mile pays off.

In SEO it not only what you know, but who you know at times as well. Having a SEO Company that is well versed in Google Shopping, Google Adwords, Google Maps, Web Design and Web Functionality can mean the difference between Ranking and Rankings along with Increased ROI.

Big Oak SEO Blog

This SEO blog is provided by Big Oak SEO, a SEO Company. Most blog posts are related to search engine optimization, short reviews, SEO tips and increasing site conversions. Email us at or give us a call 804-741-6776 to see how we can help your company. More

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