At first glance, DuckDuckGo appears to be one of the most unlikely contenders to ascend to Google’s position as the world’s top search engine, but in reality, it may actually stand a pretty good chance in due time.  The small, privately-held company based outside of Philadelphia in Paoli, PA has grown rapidly and garnered substantial attention from the public and press without a multi-billion dollar ad campaign, but instead by simply offering an interesting alternative to the competition.

DuckDuckGo’s business model emphasizes “better search”; which its developers have attempted to achieve by utilizing data obtained from Wikipedia and other crowdsourced sites to supplement results, eliminating user tracking and “personalized results” and even open sourcing parts of their code.  DuckDuckGo’s radical departure from its competitors has also intrigued SEOs, with many wondering what fundamental differences and similarities exist between DuckDuckGo and Google from an SEO perspective.  After conducting a few searches of my own, here’s what I learned about DDG’s algorithm:

Starting With the SERPs
When entered into both DuckDuckGo and Google, the term “WebiMax” yielded relevant (albeit, drastically different) results.

WebiMax on Google

WebiMax on DuckDuckGo

Perhaps the most curious omission from the above-the-fold results on DuckDuckGo is the WebiMax.com homepage.  Interestingly enough, DuckDuckGo recognizes our Careers page and the Website Analyzer tool subdomain as being of greater relevancy.  However, when the term “webimax” is entered into DuckDuckGo in all lowercase letters, WebiMax.com is the first result and the SERP looks significantly different.  The emphasis on case-sensitivity within DuckDuckGo is important to note and clearly impacts rankings.

Result Relevancy
As I already mentioned, both search engines returned relevant results.  Commonalities such as social media profiles, news articles and review sites were noticeable, indicating that like Google, DuckDuckGo also finds these to be highly relevant and authoritative sites.

Rich Content Within Universal Results
Unlike Google, DDG does not feature image or video packs on the SERP.  This will be crucial for rich content producers and video SEO practitioners to consider when attempting to gain visibility within DuckDuckGo’s results.

The Bottom Line
DuckDuckGo is very similar to an early Google in its sheer simplicity and SEOs will need to take that into account when designing campaigns.  I’m interested to see how DDG’s continuing evolution will affect its algorithm, but for now, there are discernible contrasts between both search engines and optimizers should definitely monitor their rankings closely on the up-and-coming Google challenger.

Have you checked out DuckDuckGo?  What do you think?  Leave a comment or reach me directly via email: brymshaw@webimax.com or @brwebimax on Twitter.

IGoogle on a Tabletn recent years, mobile Internet usage has increased dramatically and smartphones, tablets and other mobile computing devices are now the primary point of connectivity for a rapidly growing mobile demographic.  For Internet marketers, reaching this massive user base is essential in creating more effective campaigns.

In order to truly achieve optimal visibility throughout social media, developing mobile-friendly sites, pages and content are a must.  With Facebook and Twitter ramping up their mobile advertising efforts, it has become easier for social media marketers to build campaigns which target tablet and smartphone users, but even with some help from the networks themselves, it is still important to fully understand the metrics of mobile online marketing.

The Big Difference
The most critical aspect to keep in mind when developing mobile-specific content is compatibility.  Does your site have a design that looks good and loads quickly on a tablet or smartphone?  Is your rich content mobile-friendly?  If not, any pages or content shared throughout the mobile Web is virtually useless.  Additionally, social media marketers can take full advantage of popular apps such as Instagram in order to generate more original content geared toward mobile users.

The impact of mobile device usage on social media campaigns is already being noticed and as new “must-haves” such as Apple’s iPad Mini, Google’s Nexus 7 and Microsoft’s Surface make their long-anticipated debuts this holiday season, the market is expected to grow even larger in the months ahead.  Every social media marketer should pay attention to their mobile audience and understand the value of building campaigns with this ever-increasing demographic in mind.

Share your thoughts on social media marketing in the comments section below or drop me a line at brymshaw@webimax.com or @brwebimax on Twitter.

Every SEO wants the “perfect” link profile, amongst other things.  Many digital marketers hope to one day achieve a solid link profile consisting entirely of high-quality, high-authority pages from well ranked, reputable domains.  However, a majority of websites, at one point or another, have received a less-than-desirable link or two.  Despite the occasional (and virtually inevitable) flaw in an otherwise pristine link profile, there is one important fact that all SEOs must remember: A few bad links don’t necessarily equate to bad rankings.

After Google algorithm updates such as Penguin debuted and affected the rankings of many sites and even caused de-indexation of others, the SEO community became extremely wary of low-quality links.  Rightfully so, as such links were amongst the primary targets of the now-notorious update.  In the months following the Penguin update, however, some SEOs noticed a surprising trend when analyzing their site’s link profile… a few bad links didn’t always hurt a site’s position in the SERPs.

Although “white hat” search engine optimization practitioners stand firmly behind the principles of natural, high-quality links, some sites have actually managed to avoid penalties even with several bad links pointing toward their domain.  In reality, a “good” link profile is all about diversity.

Natural links from blogs or online news and media sites are important.  As are links originating from relevant pages and domains.  Remember, a few bad links won’t ruin an otherwise strong profile.

While tools such as the new Google Disavow are helping many webmasters eliminate the risk of particularly harmful links pointing toward their site, it can be even more problematic for a site’s rankings if used incorrectly.  Even with innovations such as the Disavow tool, it is still critical for SEOs to monitor their site’s link profile closely and frequently to determine where the real concerns are.

Read more about Matt Cutts and the disavow tool related to the Penguin update.

That being said, a few bad links are not a concern for a site with an otherwise solid profile.  On the other hand, a few hundred low-quality links will almost certainly negate the value of even the most authoritative sites.  Overall, the best link profiles are the ones which look the most “genuine” to the search engines and as the saying goes:  Nobody’s perfect.

To analyze your own site’s link profile, try our new Website Analyzer tool and feel free to share your insights on link building and monitoring techniques with me on Twitter, by email or in the comments below!

SEO is almost constantly evolving, growing and becoming more complex, but regardless of how search engine optimization techniques change; content will always be an important component of online marketing initiatives.

While a majority of my posts emphasize the benefits of rich content and multimedia within Internet marketing campaigns, the role of blogs, articles and other on-site text is as crucial as ever before.  In fact, creating more effective and “SEO-friendly” content is a primary objective of many campaigns.

Since Google’s Panda and Penguin updates made their now-infamous debuts, words like “quality” and “relevance” have become prevalent in the SEO community, but creating strong, relevant content is only the first step.  Search engines actually encourage the promotion and distribution of such content and have even developed useful tools to help authors achieve greater visibility within the SERPs.  The following strategies are amongst the most effective in the industry for authors and marketers looking to enhance the reach and visibility of their content:

Utilizing Authorship
When properly utilized, Google Authorship can be an excellent resource for content creators and can help to increase overall visibility and social engagement within Google+.

Chris Countey - Google Authorship

Notice how a Google search of the term “Chris Countey” returns results from sites on which our own SEO guru is featured as an author?  Additionally, when Chris is mentioned by other contributors with authorship enabled, those results appear prominently on the SERP, as well.  Authorship offers distinct advantages to content creators and definitely provides value within SEO campaigns.

Social Media Promotion
Outside of G+, networks such as Facebook and Twitter provide prime promotional real estate.  Sharing, tweeting and liking have played a part in social media marketing and optimization campaigns for quite some time now, but using these platforms to promote blog posts, articles and other content has also helped many SEOs achieve greater success and higher visibility.

PR & Media Outreach
There are opportunities for content creators that go beyond guest blogging and social promotion.  PR efforts such as press releases, media outreach and interviews provide major platforms for content creators to enhance their audience on a local, national and even global scale.  Some Internet marketing firms are already offering PR services and more are likely to jump on the bandwagon in the months ahead due to its proven success.

Speaking of PR, I’ll be presenting at next week’s Agile SEO Meetup and further elaborating on the role of public relations and media outreach within online marketing campaigns.  Click the link to check it out live next Monday (the 12th) at 7pm EST or tune in online via Webex.

As always, I’d like to hear your thoughts on content marketing and optimization and all things SEO.  Reach out to me directly at brymshaw@webimax.com or find me on Twitter: @brwebimax.

As our own Chris Countey reported just moments ago, Google’s Matt Cutts announced at #PubCon in Las Vegas earlier today that the world’s most prominent search engine is releasing a “Disavow Links” feature within Webmaster Tools.

Formerly, the removal of damaging, low quality links from Google’s consideration was a tedious and often difficult process.  Going forward, removing such links (once they are located) will be a much less complex procedure and the tool is expected to be one of the most useful resources in the digital marketing industry.

The Disavow Links page, which is now live within Webmaster Tools states:

“If you believe your site’s ranking is being harmed by low-quality links you do not control, you can ask Google not to take them into account when assessing your site.”

The tool will utilize a new “disavow.txt” file, which will work similarly to the long-standing “robots.txt” and specific pages containing links (or even entire domains) can be added to the file and subsequently eliminated as a ranking factor.

While this tool has been rumored for quite some time and even hinted at by Cutts since July, the official announcement and debut of the new resource is a major leap forward for SEOs and is certainly going to impact the industry for the foreseeable future.

 

Matt Cutts, Google’s head of webspam, announced at Pubcon that a new tool: Disavow Links within Webmaster Tools.

Google Webmaster Blog:

If you’ve ever been caught up in linkspam, you may have seen a message in Webmaster Tools about “unnatural links” pointing to your site. We send you this message when we see evidence of paid links, link exchanges, or other link schemes that violate our quality guidelines. If you get this message, we recommend that you remove from the web as many spammy or low-quality links to your site as possible. This is the best approach because it addresses the problem at the root. By removing the bad links directly, you’re helping to prevent Google (and other search engines) from taking action again in the future.

Link (Use the disavow tool with caution!): https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/disavow-links-main

Google Disavow Links Tool

In Webmaster Tools, select a site you control:

 

Google Disavow Links Tool in Webmaster Tools

Google Disavow Tool Case Studies

SEOWizz.net recently posted some real examples of success stories using Google’s new Disavow Tool: http://www.seowizz.net/2012/10/the-disavow-tool-works-real-sites-real-recoveries.html