Weekly Rundown: Google & Spam, Search Malware, GM Back to Facebook & More

Google’s Matt Cutts and former ex-Googlers talk spam, rankings, and SEO tips. Google has safer results than Bing, Yandex, and Blekko. GM likes Facebook ads again. Here’s a quick recap of search and social marketing news and tips from the past week.


Bing Delivers Five Times as Many Malicious Websites as Google – PC Magazine
By the numbers: Google (272 malicious results out of 10 million examined); Bing (1,285 out of 10 million); Yandex (3,330 out of 13 million); Blekko (203 out of 3 million), according to study by Germany’s AV-TEST.

Doctor Withdraws Lawsuit About Google’s Autocomplete Suggestions – MediaPost
At contention was the search suggestion “Guy Hingston bankrupt.”


Matt Cutts was back on the YouTube GoogleWebmasterHelp channel answering questions:

Can I buy a domain that used to have spam on it and still rank?

Why does a new page’s ranking change over time?

If my web host has a lot of spammy clients, will that influence my site’s ranking in search results?

Ask the Ex-Googlers Anything at BrightonSEO – Linkdex Blog
Ex-Googlers Fili Wiese, Alfredo Pulvirenti and Jonas Weber talk spam, bad links, link building, content, social signals, and more. More coverage at State of Search.

Introducing “x-default hreflang” for international landing pages – Google Webmaster Central Blog
Says Google: “The new x-default hreflang attribute value signals to our algorithms that this page doesn’t target any specific language or locale and is the default page when no other page is better suited.” Annotation also supported by Yandex.

5 common mistakes with rel=canonical – Google Webmaster Central Blog
Google shares its best practices to avoid the following problems: rel=canonical to the first page of a paginated series; absolute URLs mistakenly written as relative URLs; unintended or multiple declarations of rel=canonical; category or landing page specifies rel=canonical to a featured article; rel=canonical in the < body>.

SSL Web Sites Don’t Get Ranking Boost In Google – Search Engine Roundtable
There are no ranking advantages or disadvantages of having HTTPs websites, says Google’s John Mueller.


Google Tops Facebook in UK Digital Ad Revenues – eMarketer
Google at 44.2 percent; Facebook at less than 5 percent. Overall spending will increase 10 percent to £6 billion ($9.52 billion)…

UK digital ad spend up 12.5% to £5.42bn in 2012: report – Econsultancy
Meanwhile, the IAB reported that UK digital ad spend in the UK increased 12.5 percent to almost £5.42 billion in 2012; £526 million is from mobile advertising…

UK paid search CPCs overtake US for first time – The Drum
Meanwhile, Kenshoo reports that “CPCs in the UK rose by ten cents taking the total CPC to $0.48, overtaking the US CPC of $0.45 in the final quarter and dwarfing the rest of Europe which saw CPCs drop to $0.35 in the final quarter.”

Google pulls all Moneysupermarket ads in crackdown on payday loan vendors that flout AdWords policies – The Drum
UK company’s paid search ads were suspended for ignoring AdWords’ policies on transparency about fees and penalties.

Prepare for Product Ads Coming in Q3 2013 – Bing Ads Developer Blog and Forum
Product Ads are in testing now and, when rolled out this summer to U.S. advertisers, will include image, price, description, and merchant information.

Bing Ads and You: Enhanced Keyword Report Offers Top vs. Other, Keyword Status, and International Time Zone Support – Bing Ads Blog
Keyword Performance Report gets new “Top vs. Other” column, four new status columns (Keyword, Account, Campaign, Ad Group), and time zone support for international users.

EBay Opens Up Its Data for Ad Targeting – Adweek
EBay shoppers can now be retargeted.

Better Quality Score = Better Results? – Portent
A study of 27 small business accounts shows moving from a quality score of 3 to 9 has no conversion rate benefit, while improving from a quality score of 2 to 10 reduces CPA by 90 percent – and going from 6 to 10 can improve conversion costs by more than 50 percent.

Foursquare Planning to Offer Check-in Data to Target Ads on Other Platforms – Advertising Age


NEW – Export Up TO 5000 Rows in Google Analytics Dashboard – hobo
500 rows was the old limit.


STUDY: What Do Millennials Like On Facebook? – AllFacebook
A look at the favorite activities, brands, movies, music artists, TV shows, sports, sports teams, and athletes among 18- to 34-year-olds.

Facebook Fatigue Among Teens Should Freak Out Marketers – Bloomberg Businessweek
Facebook and YouTube are on the way out, Reddit and Twitter (plus Snapchat, Vine, and 4chan) are in with teens, according to Piper Jaffray.

GM Returns to Facebook Advertising After Public Split a Year Ago – Advertising Age
No details on why GM is back, or how much they’ll be spending.

Adding What You’re Doing to Status Updates – Facebook Newsroom
Facebook status updates can now include what you’re watching, reading, listening to, eating, or drinking, and how you’re feeling.

Turns out Google didn’t sell social followers back to Arthur Frommer – Skift
All of the @FrommersTravel followers are now following Google-owned @ZagatTravel.

LinkedIn buys Pulse for $90M as its publishing ambitions take shape – VentureBeat
Pulse, a news reader app, has 30 million users and aggregates updates from social networks and 750 news publications.

Twitter Use Drives Up, LinkedIn Stalls in the UK – eMarketer
Kinetic Worldwide survey finds social network usage was led by Facebook with 72 percent (up from 60 percent two years ago), followed by Twitter at 28 percent (up from 13 percent), and LinkedIn at 11 percent (up from 9 percent).

Report: 46% Of Social Login Users Still Choose Facebook, But Google Is Quickly Gaining Ground – TechCrunch
Janrain, which recently began partnering with Google+, reports that Facebook’s share of social log-ins fell by 3 percent to 46 percent, while Google has grown 3 percent to 34 percent. Facebook has now lost ground to Google in two straight quarters.

What you told us – Digg
As Digg works on a Google Reader replacement, it shares survey results: 80 percent check Google Reader many times a day; 40 percent of users follow more than 100 feeds; 75 percent use it for both work and play. “Search is a huge investment in terms of development time and infrastructure costs. We don’t yet know if we’ll have the necessary infrastructure up and running in time for our initial beta launch, but it’s definitely on the roadmap.”

Would You Tweet This Article if It Earned You Points? – Bloomberg Businessweek
Sharing content socially will earn online magazine’s readers more access.

Hashtag Madness: the NCAA Tournament on Twitter – Capture the Conversaion
Minute-by-minute tweet analysis of 5 million tweets about NCAA tournament games.

Twitter OAuth feature can be abused to hijack accounts, researcher says – PCWorld


Sharing new data and stories about U.S. small businesses on Facebook – Facebook Marketing
Facebook reports there are more than 2 billion connections between local businesses and people; in an average week, there are over 645 million views of, and 13 million comments on, local business Pages; about 70 percent of monthly active users in the U.S. and Canada are connected to a local business.

Category Relevant Search Results, Query Suggestions, and Advertisements Based on Location? – SEO by the Sea
Google has been granted a new patent, “Determining relevance scores for locations.”

Google brings Map Maker tool to UK with Bletchley Park update – V3
Brits now able to add details on their areas.

Google ‘removes word favela’ from Rio maps – The Telegraph
Pressure from city hall and tourist boards, and not everyone is happy about the change.

Structured Data, Google Highlighter, and How Can They Help Your Business – ClickZ
If you’re a small business, Google has actually made it pretty darn simple, easy, and cheap to implement structured data on your site if you have any kind of event information there.


Apple and Yahoo said to be in talks for deeper iPhone partnership – Los Angeles Times
Yahoo wants to open up more sports and news content to Siri on iPhones and iPads.

Google Updates Search iOS App With Minor Bug Fixes, Still No Sign Of Google Now – TechCrunch
Minor bug fixes and improved voice search.

The new Foursquare, 4 years and 3.5 billion check-ins in the making – Foursquare Blog
With v. 6.0, company had added a prominent Explore search box in the top nav of its iPhone app, and has made a ton of behind-the-scenes improvements to make the search experience even better.

IDC: For Mobile Advertising Networks, Era of Dominance Is Over – IDC
Mobile ads to hit $7 billion this year; $2.8 billion spent on mobile search ads (up from $1.6 billion in 2011) and Google dominates with $2.166 million in revenue; Facebook was tops in mobile display with $234 million.

11% quarterly growth in downloads for leading app stores – Canalys
Google Play (sidenote: it also got a redesign) leads in downloads (about 51 percent), but Apple’s App Store leads with 74 percent of all app revenue.

Nearly 60K Low-Quality Apps Booted From Google Play Store In February, Points To Increased Spam-Fighting – TechCrunch
Spring cleaning boots a bunch of apps, including many of the MP3/ringtone variety.

Google Play Music Arrives In 7 More Countries – The Next Web
Now in Australia, New Zealand, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, Ireland, and Portugal.

37% of consumers think that most mobile sites are difficult to navigate – Econsultancy
47 percent of respondents will stop using or delete a bad app; 38 percent will stop using sites that are difficult to use.

Automotive: Mobile and social media playing bigger path-to-purchase roles in Australia – Econsultancy
During online auto research stage, smartphones and tablets were used in 29 percent and 26 percent of searches.

Rethinking Mobile Search in Light of New Data From Google/Nielsen and Pew – ClickZ
Mobile search is clearly having a very disruptive impact on brick-and-mortar retailers, and yet these same retailers are under-investing in mobile because the proof is hard to come by.


Google launches beta test allowing creators to connect Google+ pages to YouTube channels – The Next Web
New program in beta lets creators link Google+ pages with YouTube accounts.


Google Wants To Operate .Search As A “Dotless” Domain, Plans To Open .Cloud, .Blog And .App To Others – TechCrunch
Google plan for http://search/: to use it as a “redirect service” that will “enable users to easily conduct searches with firms that provide the search functionality that they designate as their preference.”

Knight Foundation-Backed Mobile Sensor Startup Behavio Shuts Down As Founders Join Google – TechCrunch
Company used smartphones to detect social and real-world behavioral trends.

Silicon Valley’s Mouthwatering Tax Break – The Wall Street Journal
A couple professors are complaining that Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter, and other companies are feeding their employees. It’s not clear if the IRS is actually investigating anything here.

Google Adds Information About Nonprofits to Knowledge Graph – Google
Google now highlights the nonprofit’s financials, cause, and recent Google+ posts.

Google adds local safety alerts to search results – CNET
A partnership between Google and tech startup Nixle will allow safety notifications from local authorities to appear at the top of search results.

Google Notifying Searchers In EU That They Use Cookies – Search Engine Land
Users now seeing a message that “Cookies help us deliver our services. By using our services, you agree to our use of cookies,” and links to a page explaining how Google uses cookies.

Every character counts: Google secures new URL shortener domain, YT.be – The Next Web
Google might be switching from youtu.be to yt.be for shortened links soon.

Google to invest nearly $400 million in Belgian data center to ‘meet growing demand for its online services’ – The Next Web
At this data center, which employs about 120 people, the climate is used cool water without electricity in a process called “free cooling”.

Foursquare nabs $41m in loans and convertible debt ahead of its big ads push – The Next Web
Dennis Crowley compares Foursquare to Google, saying it’s how people find things in the real world.

Yahoo! Searches this Week Show People Gearing Up for Coachella and Camping Trips, Allergy Concerns, and Mad Men Mania – Yodel Anecdotal
Coachella festival searches spiked 129 percent, while pollen searches are up 190 percent.

Pegman: Google’s Weird Art Project Hidden In Plain Sight – BuzzFeed
The history of Google Maps’ Pegman in all its various forms – man, woman, tofu, and various Easter eggs.


Shodan: The scariest search engine on the Internet – CNNMoney
Nothing connected to the Internet is off limits to Shodan, which collects information on servers, webcams, iPhones, routers, traffic lights, control systems, security cameras and much more.

Google Maps reveals tax cheats – Associated Press
StreetView helps identify 100 homeowners and 30 construction companies as suspected tax dodgers in Lithuania.

Feedly, the Google Reader alternative, adds Amazon affiliate ads – Andrew RH Girdwood
After adding 3 million+ new users, Feedly looking to make money.

Gmail: 9 years and counting – Gmail Blog


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