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SEO Weekly Roundup: Page Penalties, Hashtags, +1s & More

Posted on 3.17.2014

:: Each week, Travis Bliffen of Stellar SEO recaps the recent news affecting search and rounds up a collection of highly relevant content and an actionable SEO tip to help Website Magazine readers with their online marketing efforts. :: 

In the news

Bing is taking another step in the attempt to close the gap with Google by adding image match. Bing announced on its blog a few days ago that you can now upload well-known images and use them to conduct a search. You can also sort images by size, allowing you to quickly find the right image.

Yahoo continues to lose its share of search traffic in 2014. A recent polled showed that Google reached a record high in Dec. 2013, Bing saw a small growth, but Yahoo reached its all-time low of 10.8 percent of searchers. If you are a Yahoo fan, you are part of a small club in 2014.

Ad heavy sites are feeling the pain as Google rolls out the Page Layout update. On Feb. 6, Google unleashed their algorithm to penalize sites with too many ads above the fold. Having been at work for more than a month now, you can see a noticeable shift in where ads are placed on most sites.

A recent post on Website Magazine announced the launch of, a search engine with a completely new concept behind returning relevant results. You can read more about in their post and it is worth playing around on if you have time. The results are pretty good for most searches I tried.

Marketing Resources

Everyone is always asking how they can get more traffic to their site or blog. If you don’t have much traffic then this is the right question to be asking. If your blog has a lot of traffic but few conversions, you should be asking how you can optimize for conversions

Last week, I interviewed Crystal Childs about Google Plus and many of you enjoyed, shared and commented on that post. If you are looking to further improve your Google Plus pages, the recent post from Bill Slawski is definitely worth looking into.

Stale content and the Web do not play well together. Regularly refreshing your content, images, and videos can be a good way to spur engagement and gain new followers. With spring just around the corner, you should consider the following spring cleaning ideas for your brand.

The ToolBox

Hashtags are hot in the world of online marketing. Hashtags were first used all the way back in 1988 on one of the first online chat rooms, known as Internet Relay Chat. Just like today, these tags were used to group information to make it searchable.

Fast forward 26 years and they are all the rage. Twitter was one of the first modern social sites to use hashtags, starting in 2007. Facebook rolled out hashtags in 2013 and Google + followed suit rolling out hashtags on their platform as well.

Although popular, not everyone knows how to use hashtags effectively. In case you are a #novice, here are five excellent articles to get you started.

1. Hashtags become more Actionable (pictured) by Allison Howen 

2. Doing Facebook Hashtags the Right Way by Pete Prestipino

3. How to Effectively Create, Market and Use Hashtags by Tony Ferraro

4. The More Hashtags the Merrier? By Allison Howen

5. 30 Days of Social by Allison Howen

Hopefully those articles will point you in the right direction. If you are still not using hashtags, you are missing out on connecting with interested searchers. Incorporating hashtags is a must in 2014, so get started today. 


This week’s tip comes from Allen MacCannell, of Web CEO

Allen started by saying: 

"It's bad advice these days to tell someone that they should take everything that Matt Cutts says as Gospel. One needs to be street savvy in SEO and not obsess too much about what he just said yesterday."

He went on to share what he thought to be the three of the most important SEO factors in 2014.

1. Number of likes or shares a post on Facebook has received that has your domain in a link. Anyone could have made that post on any page.

2. Number of +1s or shares a post on Google+ has received that has your domain in a link. Anyone could have made that post on any page.

3. Number of Favorites or Retweets a post on Twitter has received that has your domain in a link. Anyone could have made that post on any Twitter feed.

Looking Ahead

Next week’s SEO roundup is going to knock your socks off. We are going to focus on local SEO and leave you feeling like an expert in local. If you aren’t familiar with local search, you will be after next week. If you have any questions about local SEO, leave them below and I will answer them in the next post.

If you are thinking you don’t need to use local search, you will think differently after next week.

About the Author

Travis Bliffen is the founder of Stellar SEO, a search marketing firm near St Louis, Mo. Travis enjoys researching and writing about SEO and search marketing. He has been featured on several industry related sites and enjoys sharing actionable marketing advice. Connect with him on Twitter or Facebook.

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