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Epiphany’s digest of search marketing updates from this week.

The author

Andy Heaps

Group Operations Director

Here’s our weekly update on the important changes in the fast moving world of organic search and PPC for our clients and regular visitors to our blog.

Organic Search

Google To Go Public With Human Search Quality Rater Guidelines

In Google's latest Google Webmaster Help video, Matt Cutts answers a question about how Google uses the data it collects from its human search evaluators namely if Search Quality Raters influence which sites are impacted by Panda.

Matt Cutts answers this by stating that they "don't influence our algorithm in any direct sense".

To recap a little, Google use human search quality raters and have done so for many years and it is their job to analyse search results and the quality of web pages. Like with all finer details on how Google actually choose to rank sites/pages, the use of Search quality raters has been a bit of a mysterious entity with only a slight glimpse into what they actually do when their guidelines were leaked – see the interview with a Google seach quality rater on Search Engine Land back in June.

So, knowing there are human "moderators" at work it always leads to questions about whether they have a say in algorithm updates or how certain sites a ranked – as in: they see your site, hate it, then devalue it. So, with the above in mind when Matt Cutts finished his video saying that "we might be able to make those human quality rater guidelines — that we make available to people at Google — available to the larger world.

I think that would be a good thing, because then people would be able to read through it" a few eyebrows were raised. If Google do release these guidelines, then we agree that it will be a good thing as it will help build an even clearer picture on the things that Google look at.

Google: Remove Links First Before Disavowing

The disavow tool was released by Google on the 17th of October and allows webmasters a little more control over the destiny of incoming links to your site. More about this tool and what it does can be found in our post from the 18th October.

As we discussed in the post, we advised that Webmaster's should not dive straight in to use the tool as it can do more damage than good. On top of this we suggested that it is still better to remove links at the source if possible, over using the disavow tool.

Well, this week Google have echoed our sentiments in their statement:

"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.

If you’ve done as much as you can to remove the problematic links, and there are still some links you just can’t seem to get down, that’s a good time to visit our new Disavow links page…."

For more information you can read our post on this, however the key takeaway is that you should still look to remove any problematic links. It may take a little more time however will still have the biggest impact.

Paid Search

1. Google Analytics have a new feature in beta

Super helpful and easy to use, Shortcuts allow you to save a few seconds for every report you look at within analytics, including sorting, secondary dimensions and any other small changes that you don’t think about making on a daily basis.

2. Measure App downloads in AdWords If you have an app within Apple’s app store, you’re now able to measure downloads within Adwords.

3. Analytics attribbutions modelling

Google analytics attribution modelling to be made available within the free version of GA (courtesy of the GA Summit in America this week)