This is the first edition of a new feature on the Optimized Times. We will be looking back at some of the posts related to search and SEO from the previous week, and pointing out some of the ones that we find interesting.

These might include posts and articles from the search engines, blog posts from other sites that present an interesting perspective on Search and SEO, and even an occasional retro post from years past.

New Google Link Warnings

Google’s chief webspam fighter Matt Cutts gave us the details on New Notifications about inbound links on Friday afternoon. These link messages that arrive through your Google Webmaster Tools account (a great reason to verify your site through GWT) aren’t considered by Google to be as severe a warning as the previous link warning messages sent out by Google in previous months, but they are still worth taking very seriously. Matt noted in the post that these notifications might go out to sites that are “mostly” good but:

…might have some spammy or artificial links pointing to it (widgetbait, paid links, blog spam, guestbook spam, excessive article directory submissions, excessive link exchanges, other types of linkspam, etc.).

If Google takes action on links pointed to these sites, the impact might not directly affect the rankings of the sites receiving these messages, but they could have trouble ranking for some phrases.

GWT New Download External Links by Date Feature

Google’s webmaster Tools evangelist John Mueller pointed out on Google Plus a new feature in Google Webmaster Tools that enables you to download the latest links to your site that Google knows about by date. We’ll definitely be exploring this feature.

Google Handwrite

Google shows off a new way to enter searches into devices that have touch enabled screens with Google Handwrite:

Definitely another reason to make sure that your site is readable on the smaller screens of tablets and smartphones.

Broadening how Analytics are looked at

An article from last Thursday presents some very thoughtful points about measuring the consumer paths to purchases on ecommerce sites in The Dangers of Direct Response Metrics for Online Retailers. It includes some great insights from Google’s Zero Moment of Truth Model and study.

SEO for Apps

The reach of SEO is expanding in some places you might not have expected or anticipated. An Apple patent application published last week, Generation of Topic-Based Language Models for an App Search Engine, tells us about Apple’s exploration of search for their App Store, letting people search for an application based upon its function rather than just its title.

How Important is Anchor Text in 2012?

A very interesting survey of people in the search industry took place recently by Giuseppe Pastore, on their opinions about how the search engines treat anchor text these days. The post is Anchor text future according to 19 experts

As a bit of a disI didn’t provide an answer to the survey questions themselves, but Giuseppe was kind enough to include within the post my response, which starts out with the statement, “I don’t think that there’s some percentage of hypertext relevance that triggers some penalty that can be easily spotted or identified.”

The post is definitely worth a look to see the opinions of others involved in the survey, which range widely but include some very intersting thoughts.

Interview with Sagar Kamdar, Head of Google’s Authorship Program

According to the Q&A with Sagar Kamdar at Search Engine Journal, Google isn’t using signals from Google Plus to rank pages in Web search, yet. But it is something that Google is experimenting with. It’s a nice introduction to the topic, and as an added bonus, it includes a presentation on Google Authorship with Webimax’s Director of Consulting, Chris Countey.

Retro Corner

Sometimes an old post finds some relevance in your life, and I’m pointing to this old classic post from Dr. Jakob Nielsen from September of 1998 this week as one that has still has some significant meaning today, not only for SEO, but also for improving communications with the people whom you correspond with on a daily basis.

In Microcontent: How to Write Headlines, Page Titles, and Subject Lines, Dr. Nielsen provides some excellent advice for how to effectively write email subject lines, titles for pages, and headlines on pages. I’d love to hear what the good Dr. has to say about miro-blogging content these days.

Please let me know what you think of this roundup, and how we might make it even better.

Thanks.

  • http://keithbrown.com/ Keith

    When you say Google isn’t using factors from Google+ do you believe that extends to authorship markup as well? Though authorship is technically dependent on Google+, it has to be a signal of quality when comparing one website to another. Assuming “factors” is more speaking to the aggregate number of +1′s, shares, comments a user receives?

    • Bill Slawski

      Hi Keith.

      It is possible that the authorship markup badge (photo) that appears next to posts in logged out web searches may be influencing people to click upon posts more, but in the interview with Sagar Kamdar, we’re told that Google is still experimenting with how authorship might be used to influence rankings in web search.

      It’s definitely a signal of quality, but the question is probably how best Google might use such a signal.

      From one of the continuation Agent Rank patents that was published after the original one, we saw a claims section that told us things like how an endorsement (such as a +1) might count differently based upon the reputation score of a person leaving that endorsement. It’s possible that those might be part of what Google is experimenting with at this time. The same many be true with shares. Comments might not be part of the picture until Google releases a third party commenting system, if they decide to do so (and I suspect that they will).

  • Giuseppe

    Hi Bill,
    thanks for citing the survey, and my pleasure having had the opportunity to add your considerations!

    • Bill Slawski

      Hi Giuseppe,

      You’re welcome. It was great seeing all of the other answers from the people responding to your questions, and the points that they raised.