This Week In SEO 15
Penguin Refresh and Facebook Human-Powered Product Search Engine?

Welcome to This Week in SEO #15.  Each week we read and curate the best, most need-to-know SEO news and tops from the past week, and share them with you.

Before we jump into the post, check out our Quick SEO Tip.  In this episode, we use Ahrefs to quickly do some competitor research.

Google Says Penguin Refresh “Months Away”

penguin refresh

Grab a drink and settle in.  If you’re waiting for Google to lift your site back up after it was knocked over by Penguin, you’re gonna be waiting a bit longer.

Gary Illyes, for those who don’t know, is a webmaster trends analyst.  Heart breaker.

According to Search Engine Land:

Google is working towards making Penguin run in real-time, with continuously fresh link data and an algorithm that runs in real time.


Google Reveals More Information on In-Search ‘Buy Now Button’


Last month, we told you that the “buy now button” was headed to the Google SERPs.  Recently, Google made an announcement in New York City with some more details about this feature.

Google will soon be able to rank products in search results, too. So, if you ask Google what the best sunscreen is, it will rank the three best sunscreens based on reviews.

“We built this because we saw a lot of people asking Google for advice,” said Jonathan Alferness, vice president of product management for Google Shopping.

Also, they are currently testing this feature on select mobile searches (no details on which ones, though).
Side Rant… what kind of slippery slope is this giving Google the power to make those decisions?? I look forward to the bazillions of review services popping up to manipulate this 🙂

How to Assess the Risks of Highly Scalable White Hat Link Building


Let’s call this one the “Shut Up and Read It” post of the week.  Michael Martinez gets into a serious discussion on all the risks and rewards of *white hat* link building, a part of SEO that doesn’t see much discussion on the “risks” side of things.

After laying some ground work, he tackles various white hat SEO strategies one by one, giving his opinion of the risk/reward.  This is some solid SEO education, so definitely check it out.

But the greatest danger to effective link building remains your willingness to share your ideas.  The more you share, the less effective these techniques will become.  You may think that all these “X link building experts share tips” articles are a great idea, but you are a crowd of Once-lers cutting down Truffula Trees so that you can make an endless supply of Thneeds.

Trust me: once you burn all the great link building techniques you will go back to writing an endless stream of “SEO is dead”, “link building is dead”, and “Google hates me” articles.  Sharing is not caring in Web marketing.  If you want to reduce the risks associated with your link building, stop participating in all the Expert Roundup Articles.  Stop writing ERAs about link building.  What is coming down the road is easily preventable, but the Web marketing community acts like it doesn’t care at all about the consequences of all these “great articles”.


Google May Answer Queries With Rich Content Results


Bill “Capt. Patent” Slawski wrote about a new Google patent that will potentially make the ‘quick answer box’ for common queries in Google show pictures and video (instead of just text).

This is a bit of a long quote from the article, but it’s the heart of the new patent:

There are a number of important steps related to the process in this patent, which include:

1) This patent works to receive a question query and return an answer responsive to the question query;
2) Using a contextual query that includes an element from the question query and an element from the answer; and submit that contextual query to a rich content search process and receiving rich content responsive to the contextual query, the rich content items ranked according to an order that is indicative of the relevance of each rich content item to a query for which the set was generated;
3) determining first rich content item in the first set of rich content items that meet a context condition that is indicative of a rich content item providing contextual information of both elements of the question query and the answer query; and
4) preferentially selecting from the first content items relative to the second rich content items to be provided as one or more answer images.

Check out the full article for images and an expanded take on things.  Interesting developments!

Facebook Testing Virtual Assistant (named Moneypenny)

facebook search engine

This is an interesting one.  Facebook is testing out a new virtual assistant (think Siri or Google Now… or Cortana, I guess–but a real person).  This will explicitly help you to make a buying decision and then allow you to purchase through the ap.  It seems somewhat similar to Google’s Buy Now button mentioned above, and how they will rank products in response to a query, but with a real person helping you out.

Why is this significant?

Well, first, it will run through Facebook Messenger (which has 700 MILLION active users) and wil help them find products they are looking to buy.  Think of it like a kind of Facebook powered search engine for products.

Secondly, it will be another reason to never have to leave Facebook, which seems to be a goal of the social media site.

We’ll be watching this one closely, so be sure to tune in each week for the latest SEO updates.

With more than 700 million monthly active users, the Messenger app could be a lucrative pipeline for retailers and service providers. Facebook recently added features such as video chats and money transfers to Messenger, and a virtual assistant seems like a natural next step. Facebook also recently opened up access to merchants, allowing them to communicate with users via the app.

No launch date has been announced for the service, which Facebook’s employees are reportedly testing right now.


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Sean Markey

Sean Markey

Obsessive consumer of SEO news and strategies, writes the This Week in SEO column. Loves playing drums and writing fiction. Bets you he can throw a football over them mountains.
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