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While some people propose algorithmic adjustments to counter the effects of link pollution, I think it’s time to put a simpler and more obvious solution on the table: force website owners to take responsibility for allowing this pollution in the first place.
To be blunt, link pollution is often caused by poor and/or incompetent website management.
When we find links that were placed by hackers, we’re reminded that password security is often the culprit. A 2010 password study shows that nearly 50% of Internet users have easily compromised passwords, and it’s a safe bet that many FTP passwords, WordPress passwords, etc. fall into the “easily compromised” category. How else could all these hacked links be explained?
1. Google should only index sites registered with Webmaster Tools. Assuming that all website owners valued Google search traffic, Webmaster Tools registration would be nearly universal. This would give Google a direct connection to website managers.
2. Mandate regular interaction. If Google were to send website managers a monthly “suspicious link report” – and then require the website manager to acknowledge receipt of this report – they would encourage website owners to actively manage the security and quality of their website.
3. Alert website managers to obvious spam links. While it is impossible for Google to detect every instance of link spam, there are certain occasions when a site has obviously been spammed. In these instances, Google should email the website manager immediately and request that the site be fixed ASAP.
4. De-index sites that fail to acknowledge alerts. Once Google has contact information for each and every website owner, there’s no excuse for failing to respond to Google spam link alerts in a timely manner. If a website manager fails to remedy a warning within a certain time frame, the site should be de-indexed for a period of days or weeks. Repeat offenders should be de-indexed for longer and longer periods until they either a) fix the problems or b) give up and go away.
While my plan to de-index non-conforming websites might sound draconian, imagine the benefits:
Webmasters would close security gaps, reduce the incentive for hackers to attack websites, and subsequently make all of our sites a little safer.
Blogs and forums would improve their moderation systems.
A reduction in link spam would probably make paid links easier to detect.
The rewards for ethical link-building would become even greater.
Social sites like Twitter might do more to reduce incredible amount of spam generated on their platforms.
Most importantly, Google would provide consumers with a better search experience.
To those who would argue against my plan on the idea that universal webmaster registration would make Google too powerful, I would submit that the current “unknown webmaster” free-for-all has no basis in reality. If we can’t drive a car without a driver’s license, why should we expect Google (or any other search engine) to send visitors to our website if we don’t identify ourselves to them first?
Besides, it’s not as if participation in my plan is compulsory. If a website owner doesn’t want to register with Google, they don’t have to…they just won’t be listed in Google search results.
To be clear, I’m not picking on Google. Google’s results are only as good as the websites they index. If tens of thousands of poorly managed websites are compromised with spammy links, it’s unreasonable to expect any search engine to overcome this problem algorithmically. My plan is focused on Google because of their prominence in the marketplace, but Bing could just as easily take action. Perhaps Google and Bing could even collaborate.
Whatever the solution, it’s clear that the current system has a fundamental flaw: there is no penalty levied against websites that are a source of link pollution. While our search environment is resilient enough to deal with some link pollution, regulation is the only way to prevent long-term damage.
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Jordan Koene is a SEJ Summit veteran, having spoke at a few of our search marketing conferences last year. This year, we’re happy to have him at SEJ Summit Chicago, speaking on how to improve search visibility.
Jordan’s insights below are always enlightening and cover everything from moving past a plateau to how e-commerce SEO is different from other channels.Want to see Jordan and other speakers from The Daily Dot, Sapient Nitro, Google, and more? Chicago Early Bird tickets are on sale now! Your SEJ Summit presentation is titled Surviving the Search Plateau: 3 Tactics to Bring Your Website’s SEO Visibility to New Heights. How do you determine if you are in an SEO plateau? What signs would you look for? One of the examples you give for breaking free from the plateau is by igniting your content. Does that mean blending content marketing into your SEO strategy?
That can be a piece of it, though that can take a lot of time and money. From a search perspective, the low-hanging fruit is to simply refresh the content you already have with new material, or by making minor changes. Like layering a cake, you can build on top of your old content with structured data or info to create something interesting and new. Minor changes can bring big rewards.I did a little bit of stalking and saw you are interested in wearable technology. What is your favorite wearable piece of tech—either already on the market or coming soon? You have a background in e-commerce, having worked for eBay in the past. How does SEO differ for big e-commerce brands versus, say, a service based brand.
E-commerce has this mentality of short-term gains: everything is about making short-term progress in a competitive ecosystem, especially here in the US. For that reason, a good deal of the decision making is relatively short-sighted, and you might not see them invest in long-term plays like you would for a news or media outlet. Service-based companies are more focused on having an online to offline presence since they essentially evolved from the big directory business.
A lot of service companies are moving into a transactional service model to marry in e-commerce behaviors, like Yelp, which now offers a bidding service for consumers looking to nail down a service for a particular price. In that way, they’re becoming more similar as more companies adopt that model.Bonus Question: What was the last book you read?
I’m currently starting Shoe Dog by Phil Knight. I’ve been interested in selling in an era where e-commerce didn’t exist, and was looking for parallels into how shopping is changing today. People like Phil Knight are pioneers who broke down lots of barriers in the market to rise to success, but it’s interesting to dig into how much of his success was based on societal changes at the time – and how societal changes today might reflect market changes to come.Thanks Jordan! Phil Knight is a legend in sports & business. Along the same line, I’m hooked on the 30 For 30 documentaries– super inspiring sports stories. See you in Chicago!
Don’t forget, you can buy your ticket for our SEJ Summit Chicago conference, taking place June 23 at the Navy Pier. Or, come see us in NYC Nov. 2nd!
Google Photos: Original vs High Quality [Quick Explanation]
can select High
when uploading images.
explains the difference between the
Our Digital Photography Hub includes many other useful articles on this topic.
Check out the Web & Cloud section to browse through other thorough guides.
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The Google Photos web app provides 15 GB of free storage space for your favorite photographs and images. With this app, you can edit photographs and set up slideshow albums for them.
Google Photos includes two alternative upload options for photos. And this can confuse some people.
You can select an Original or High Quality setting for uploading images.
If you’re wondering what the difference is between those settings, you’ve come to the right page!High quality vs. Original Google Photo upload options What’s the difference between the Original and High Quality upload settings?
The primary difference between the two upload options is that the High Quality setting compresses photographs. Selecting that option can reduce both the resolution and file size of uploaded photos and videos.
In contrast, the Original option doesn’t compress snapshots. Thus, uploading them with that setting will ensure they are saved with their original resolutions.What should I choose to preserve the original picture quality?
The Original setting is certainly the best for preserving original picture quality as no compression is applied to photos or videos. That’s especially the case for photos that eclipse 16 MP as the High Quality option will reduce them to exactly a 16 MP resolution.
Selecting High Quality won’t have so much impact on lower resolution images. However, photos with resolutions less than 16 MP might still be scaled down when uploaded to Google Photos with this option selected.What’s the best option to select for saving storage space in Google Photos?
High Quality is the best option for saving storage space in Google Photos. Its compression will always reduce the file size of photographs uploaded to Google Photos
High quality is even better for saving storage space as it comes with unlimited with free storage. That means photographs and videos uploaded with that setting selected won’t consume any of your Google Photos storage space at all.
In that respect, the High Quality image compression might seem a little pointless.
However, remember that your image files will still be the same reduced file size when you download them to your hard drive.How can I change the photo upload setting in Photos?
Open Google Photos in your browser.
Select the High Quality or Original radio button.
So, select the Original option if you need to retain the original picture quality of your photos and photos.
The High quality setting will impact picture quality primarily by reducing image resolutions, but it will save you a lot of storage space in Google Photos.
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In a Google Webmaster Hangout, a publisher asked if it makes a difference whether an image is published using a regular image tag or by displaying an image via CSS as a background image.
Mueller’s response was interesting because it could explain why some images don’t perform well in Google image search. Here is what he said:
“…from our point of view, for image search, we would use the image tag with the source attribute pointing at the image… and as far as I know we don’t use CSS images at all for image search. So for normal web search it doesn’t matter. You can use whatever works best for you. If you want to have these images indexed in image search then I would definitely use a normal image tag for that.”Takeaway:
If that’s true, then for publishers who wish to keep an image out of Google’s Image Search, this represents yet another way to do that. The images are still indexed, but they won’t be found in Google Image Search. But for publishers who do want to have their images displayed in Google Image Search, this is a wake up call to use standard image tags and avoid using CSS to display images as background images.Will This Harm My Featured Snippets? Implications for Site Auditing
I don’t know how many search marketing professionals check how images are displayed, via regular HTML image tags or CSS background images, but this may be yet another issue to look into. I myself am going to pay increased attention to the default image handling by CMS themes. If you or your client want your images to be indexed by Google Image Search, then you may wish to check how those images are coded.What is Google Image Search and Should I worry?
Google image search is one of several kinds of specialized searches Google provides. For some publishers it’s an important source of traffic. But for many it’s not a big concern. You may wish to review your traffic logs and traffic analytics to see how much traffic is coming from Google Images and if that traffic is important.
Screenshot by Author, modified by Author
A report from Google looks into search data to discover what careers people are pursuing following a record number of resignations over the past year.
The report begins by highlighting that the “Great Resignation” isn’t limited to USA.
Based on searches for “how to leave your job,” the top countries participating in this movement include (in order):
In an effort to learn what workers are planning to do next, Google analyzed searches around the phrase “how to become,” such as “how to become an SEO.”
That’s just an example, as SEO isn’t among the top 10 career paths.
Though that may be good news for people currently in the field, as they won’t suddenly be competing with an influx of aspiring search professionals.
The top career paths people are turning to are more traditional, in fields such as real estate, skilled trades, and public services.
Here are some highlights from Google’s report.Top 10 Jobs People Want According To Google Search Data
The most-searched “how to become” jobs — from January 2023-January 2023 — include:
Real estate agent
“People in the South and Midwest were interested in becoming a notary (with the exception of several Appalachian states). Large portions of the Northeast, Northern Midwest and Western U.S. were interested in real estate careers.
Notably, only two states’ most-searched jobs did not include notary, real estate agent, electrician or pilot: New Mexico, where people were most interested in becoming a flight attendant, and Montana, where people sought information about personal training over any other profession.”
Related: LinkedIn: Top 15 In-Demand JobsTop Trending Professional Certifications & Training Programs
These are the top trending professional certifications and training programs in the United States, based on search data from January 2023-January 2023:
Google data analytics professional certificate
Child development associate certification
Eyelash technician training program
Electrician training program
Real estate training program
Barber training program
Related: Google Career Certificates: A Complete ListSEO Tips For Employers
Are you seeking candidates for positions in any of these top trending fields?
You can make it easier for people to find opportunities by utilizing structured data for job postings.
Can candidates apply for the job directly on your website?
If you offer a short a straightforward application process, you can make your job postings stand out even more.
In addition to the standard structured data for job postings, you can use a special type of markup specifically for postings that offer easy online applications.
Is the job remote? There’s specific structured data for that too.
Use job posting structured data with caution, however, because Google has strict rules around it.
For example, if you’re no longer seeking candidates for a position, then you have to remove the job posting markup or your site could get a penalty.
Featured Image: Screenshot from blog.google/products/search, February 2023.
Twitter suddenly becomes more important to marketers with the latest integration – now rolled out to desktop as well as mobile
Importance: [rating=5] For Digital Marketers, Social Media Marketers and SEO consultants
Recommended link: Google’s original announcement of new Twitter Integration
So, they’ve made up! You may remember how Google used to partner with Twitter and take their firehose to display tweets in near real-time – I remember it was sub ten seconds. Then they fell out and this feature disappeared back in July 2011. Well a new form of the integration is back as has been previewed over the last few months. I’ve been taking a look to see how significant it will be for businesses. It looks like a great deal for Twitter to me and an acknowledgment by Google that Twitter, not Google+ is THE source for real-time updates as it had hoped.What marketers need to know about Google’s Twitter integration
1. The new ‘Popular on Twitter’ feature was available on mobile only to start with, now on desktop too.
This integrated was first launched in mobile on the 19th May 2023, when we originally announced it, but we’ve updated this post since it’s now live on desktop as well, meaning it has finished rolling out worldwide.
Google announced the rollout with a Tweet to Twitter, and Twitter was pretty happy about it!
You got it, @google. We’ll bring the Tweets. ?
— Twitter (@twitter) August 21, 2023
One example of the importance of this change shows in this example of a brand or navigational or search, which you’ll know is one of the main ways people reach sites when they’re already aware of the business.
You can see that Twitter is now in second natural position after the Google Sitelinks and displacing Facebook to third even though this is more important.
If you update your Twitter regularly it will populate results straightaway – within seconds and displays the time of the update with an image to help show your brand as more dynamic.
In some cases, as here for a celeb, the carousel appears right at the top of the listing. I’m surprised about this since I’m not sure this is what users will want, but it does vary by type of search and Google’s OneBox featuring different types of content such as images automagically changes position depending on how popular it is.
3. It’s typically displaying for ‘trending topics’ only not for product or brand information. As would be expected, it only displays for when something is being shared actively on Twitter. This means the ‘Popular on Twitter’ often displays below the ‘News’ box when that is triggered. Adding a hashtag also makes the carousel more likely to appear.
So it looks like it’s should encourage more ‘Real-Time marketing’ where brands look to be involved in broader conversations.
Google’s intro post suggests this too:
‘It’s a great way to get real-time info when something is happening. And it’s another way for organizations and people on Twitter to reach a global audience at the most relevant moments’.
Brands may appear if Twitter is added to the search string:
4. It was in English only originally but it is being rolled-out to all languages. Google say:
‘To start, we’re launching this on chúng tôi in English in the Google app (on Android and iOS) and on mobile browsers, rolling out gradually. We’re working on bringing it to more languages and to desktop, so stay tuned’.
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