Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Google's Freshness Update Helps Small Business SEO

Google’s Panda update caused havoc earlier this year, affecting 12 percent of all web searches. Now the search giant has updated its ranking algorithm with a change that's even more important for small businesses.

The new Freshness Update, introduced in first week of November 2011, hasn’t caused nearly as much of a stir as Panda. Yet it affects nearly three times as many searches – 35 percent, according to Google. It also offers even small websites the chance to outrank larger sites by favoring the freshest content on any topic.

While the Panda update represented a threat to some websites' rankings, the Freshness update presents an opportunity. Whereas Panda demoted sites with duplicate or minimally useful content, the Freshness update offers the potential for short-term ranking gains to sites posting new information. It can benefit even sites that haven't acquired lots of robust inbound links.

Because most SEO action is reactive rather than proactive, most webmasters will miss out on this new opportunity. There’s nothing like a ranking drop to make your SEO team spring into action - but sadly, the potential for temporary rankings improvement and spiking traffic doesn't seem to motivate people as much as it should.edit What the Freshness Update Means for SEO

The Freshness update rewards:

    * Websites containing the latest information about events that recur regularly (annually, monthly, etc.)
    * Sites with up-to-date info about the latest news stories
    * Pages offering new information about product launches or other popular topics

The Freshness update should signal the end of high rankings for:

    * Pages about last year’s event - for example, the Wimbledon Championships
    * Four-day-old reports about current news events, despite newer reports being available
    * Product reviews from the day of release, when more recent reviews of the same product have been published

As an SEO agency, Custard Media can release a press release or publish a blog post the minute we hear about something related to a client’s product or service, and expect to see big spikes in traffic to our client's site.

For smaller sites, the Freshness update offers a fantastic opportunity to compete with the big boys by offering great content on popular topics. No longer will small organisations with lower profiles have to wait weeks - or even months - to see the fruits of their link building labours before their well-made content starts bringing in traffic.

What’s more, even if a spike in rankings doesn't last, the increase in traffic means that more people are now aware of your brand, as SEOptimise pointed out last week, provides great brand awareness. Once you've seen how well it can work to create good, relevant content, you'll be motivated to do it again - and again, and again. And that's how you build a bigger audience over time.

The Freshness Update is a major opportunity – don’t let it pass you by.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Amazon India’s Junglee.com goes live

As expected, Amazon today launched its India operations with Junglee.com. The platform, which Amazon says is still in beta, offers more than 1.2 crore products from over 14,000 brands and hundreds of retailers. Amazon lists Homeshop18, UniverCell, Hidesign, Gitanjali, The Bombay Store, Fabindia, Bata India Limited, Dabur Uveda, Microsoft India Store, Reebok, and Amazon.com, as some of the biggest ones. Users cannot directly buy anything from Junglee.com as the government is yet to allow FDI in multi-brand retail. Amazon is branding it as a purchase decision making site than a pure transactional site. Read on…

 "Get detailed information about products through our product pages and read what other customers are saying about a given product. You will see reviews written by Junglee visitors as well as millions of real-time customer reviews from Amazon.com. Evaluate buying options from multiple sellers and find the seller who best meets your needs based on price, shipping speed, shipping and return policies, and location. For sellers with physical stores, use the store locator to find the most convenient store location. Once you make a purchase decision, you can visit the seller website or the physical store location to complete your purchase."

With Junglee, Amazon has an ambition “of organizing selection and buying options to make it simple for customers to find anything using Junglee.” The site’s about us page mentions product categories include more than 90 lakh books, and 30 lakh products from more than 14,000 Indian and global brands. Junglee features more than 25 categories including mobile phones, cameras, toys & games, baby products, books, music, movies & TV, clothing, jewellery, kitchen & home products. You can discover a wide range of products from bestsellers to unique products such as a 27.12 carat diamond or a Porsche Carrera Gt – 3666 1:18 miniature model.

Amazon had acquired Junglee Corp in 1998, then a Sunnyvale-based company that provided database technology to help shoppers find products on the Internet.

Some more observations: Existing Amazon users can login using their Amazon credentials. Users can then review products and even ‘Like’ products as well as sellers. (Facebook might like to take a closer look at Junglee’s like button.)

Retailers can upload their product catalogs for free on Junglee.com using Amazon’s Product Ads program. At the moment, the service is free and advertisers can direct traffic to their sites if they have online presence or to their customer care number/stor