This Week In SEO #26
New Spam Algorithm, Unlinked Mention Tool, Optimizing for iOS 9 Spotlight, and More


New Google Algorithm Targets Hacked/Spam Pages in SERPs

If your site has ever been targeted for a spam attack, you know it’s not a fun process. Trying to figure out how they got in, deleting the pages the hackers created, disavowing links built to your site–it’s a messy thing.

But perhaps one of the most frustrating parts of this is when the spammy pages created by the hackers remain in the Google’s index for your brand. But Google are rolling out a new algorithm to combat these pages, and worrying about the indexed spam will be greatly minimized.

We are aggressively targeting hacked spam in order to protect users and webmasters.

The algorithmic changes will eventually impact roughly 5% of queries, depending on the language. As we roll out the new algorithms, users might notice that for certain queries, only the most relevant results are shown, reducing the number of results shown


This is due to the large amount of hacked spam being removed, and should improve in the near future. We are continuing tuning our systems to weed out the bad content while retaining the organic, legitimate results


Find and Reclaim Unlinked Mentions

Built Visible took a tool they found from RankTank and gave it an upgrade to make it more powerful. The new “link reclamation” tool helps you find unlinked mentions of your brand, and tells you how powerful that link would be if you can get it.


From the site:

The Link Reclamation Tool will help you:

– Easily find unlinked brand mentions in Google (Search / Google News)
– Find unlinked content mentions in Google
– Spot check search results and see which URLs link back to you
– View search results domain authority and number of linking root domains
– Find URLs that already link back to your client but are not recorded in your database of links gained for that client

You can display results for your search query, up to 30 at a time, from Google Web (organic) or News.

I played around with it a bit, and it’s pretty nifty. It doesn’t work as well if you have a smaller site (as some of the tests I ran only returned results from website data displaying sites. YMMV, but definitely check it out for some white hat linky goodness.

How to Optimize for Spotlight Search in iOS9

Things continue to be exciting for search in the iOS/Apple space. Andrew, from has put up the slideshare for a presentation he gave at SMX 2015. There are some interesting trends and some solid tips. Looking forward to see how this plays out…


On-Page Issues Affecting SEO Performance

This isn’t so much a “how to on-page SEO guide” as it is a “here’s the numbers on all the ways people are screwing up their on-page SEO.

[side note, stay tuned for the last On Page guide you’ll ever need — coming soon from Smash Digital]

Raven Tools is an SEO reporting tool that has access to a lot of sites, and a lot of data. For the first time, Raven Tools is sharing the numbers on some pretty interesting things:

Google image search receives over 1 billion page views every single day. It’s safe to say, image search is part of many searchers’ daily Internet activity. The higher your images rank in image search, the more likely people will visit your pages through image search.

Despite the opportunity, Image optimization is still an untapped resource for many websites today. We found that the average website crawl had:

2,487 instances of images with missing title attributes.
1,153 instances of images with missing attributes.
32 instances of broken images.
The alt and title text attributes help search engines decipher the subject of an image and therefore when to include it in search results. Broken images provide a poor user experience for readers and therefore can cause websites to rank less prominently.

If images are a cornerstone of your website, optimizing them could be important. If not, optimizing images shouldn’t necessarily be your top priority. Optimizing images that don’t add much to your content may not make sense if you have a list of more severe SEO issues that could be tackled first. Here is how to prioritize SEO issues after an audit.

Some good stuff here, definitely check it out.

Decoding Google Speak
This is not the hardest-hitting piece of SEO writing, but it could serve as a nice intro to some of the more popular Google employees (as they relate to search)–good for new SEOs to catch up.

The next Googler most of us came to know and appreciate is John Mueller. He’s a Webmaster trends analyst out of Switzerland. He was popularized during Webmaster hangout videos, where he just hangs out with other SEOs on a Google Hangout and answers questions — some of which are voted on in Webmaster Forums and some of which are posited by the SEOs in attendance. Mueller is also very active on Google+ and more than once has answered a key question on that network.

The real purpose of this article is to help you figure out what the Google employee REALLY means when they say something, but analyzing that person and how they deal with dispensing data.

TWS27: Yahoo + Google, 301 Redirects, and Competitor Research
Voice Search, Local Pack, Social Search Engines, and SERP Displays

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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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