Google’s Disappointed Founders Get it Wrong With Alphabet; G is for Greed

Larry Page took to Google’s official blog yesterday to declare that “G is for Google,” and went on to tell the world that “Alphabet Inc. will replace Google Inc.”

If you have not done so, please go read Larry’s announcement in it’s full context, available here.

If you have read Larry’s comments – I’d like to extract a few quotes here and focus your attention on some of the words and phrases that stuck out to me… And keep in mind that I’ve been known to compare Google to an organized crime family to help make my points.

“…You need to be a bit uncomfortable to stay relevant.”
Telling us that technology companies struggle for relevance, Larry asserts that revolutionary ideas and uncomfortableness are necessary elements for relevancy. While that may be true in emerging markets and technology sectors, Google has more brand recognition than Xerox or IBM, so there is no way that Google has struggled for relevance.

For clarity, perhaps Larry could have consulted his aforementioned billion-plus users making use of “Google Maps, YouTube, Chrome, and Android” each day.

Larry’s decision to start such an important message with such a critical stance and implied disappointment proves one thing to me; Larry and Sergey are “over it.”

More on that a bit later.

“Alphabet is mostly a collection of companies.”
Understanding the historical significance of Google’s growth makes it easy to see why competing organizations have scrutinized the company, going so far as to claim that the Internet-based conglomerate has monopolized Internet services and search.

While the FTC has cleared Google in the past, ongoing claims are surely being submitted to the FTC and similar organizations. Investigations are ongoing and while they champion privacy issues (mainly because they’re now required to do so) – Google has implements some of the most pervasive methods for interacting with their users in recent years.

The creation of this umbrella company allows for Google to diversify and show the world that they’re not just a technology company. And really, I mean that they can stand behind that claim in a federal court when having to defend their upcoming moves.

This became abundantly clear to me when Larry used his post to educate readers on how he intended to use the phrase “far afield.” Thanks, Larry, for confirming too that you “can run things independently that aren’t very related.”

A judge or committee will surely revisit that in the coming years. It’ll be much easier to recall that statement instead of having to shell out millions to settle those pesky FTC complaints.

This newer Google is a bit slimmed down…
The strongest statements that I took away from Larry’s announcement had to do with Google, Inc. itself. On two separate occasions in his post, Larry highlighted how the “new” Google would be “slimmed down.” For a company that has built a reputation around a culture encouraging side projects, ideas and developments, a slimmer, more efficient company represents a fundamental shift in ideology.

While newly appointed CEO Sundar Pichai may be of the right management style to see that through, I cannot help but to expect a bit of turnover for the fundamental Google purists who have long championed the organization’s larger efforts.

Larry went on to compliment Pichai, stating that Sundar is doing, saying and suggesting things that he himself would have in the past. In my own words, the message I interpreted there is that Larry is out of the Google business and looking to move on – but wants to protect his assets in someone that’ll represent a bit of an organizational autopilot for years to come.

Why? Because it’s a fantastic money making machine.

“Sergey and I are seriously in the business of starting new things.”
Aside from the fact that Sergey really hasn’t said anything himself in this announcement, it’s again clear that the Google founders as we’ve known them are simply over it.

Alphabet represents a financial opportunity for them to move money and investments around, improve Google’s bottom line results and use the financial gains to make additional moves outside of pure search and technology.

At the end of the day, I applaud that effort and the entire business strategy makes sense. Just don’t take everyone for a bunch of fools, Larry. G is not for Google — G is for Greed.

7 Ways to Win Organizational Buy-In for SEO Projects

Whether you are working in-house or within an agency environment, you have probably had difficulties getting others to support your ideas and help to see them through. For an SEO, though, cross-functional collaboration is critical.

Here are some effective ways that I have learned throughout the years to help win others over and help you to see your project through:

Establish Vision & Strategies for Success
Motivating others to support your efforts is much easier when they can visualize how they play a role, how they can benefit – and why you should work together. This is a great method for turning key decision makers and executives into advocates for your cause.

Show your lead developers how their sites will run more efficiently. Show your designers how their user interface design solves for Google’s new mobile algorithm updates. Show business leaders how a more comprehensive SERP will generate more sales and leads… But always remember to show them examples. Visualization is a powerful tool.

Benchmark Your Beginnings
The moment you get started, you need to record where you are in terms of key analytics and project KPIs. From traffic sources and levels to site efficiency and conversation rates – record as much as you can. A great SEO initiative will deliver results across the board – and showing these gains over time to different teams who may become involved in your project can be a great way to acquire more support and momentum down the line. It also helps you to up sell yourself after the fact and earn more freedom to launch new projects when you have a solid track record.

Be Aware of the SEO lifecycle
When you (or your ideas) are new, there’s a lot of excitement and support. As the honeymoon period fades though, others will become jaded and turn their attention to other (seemingly) more pressing matters.

Keep your collaborators actively engaged with the project by maintaining a plan, sharing insights with them – and keeping their interests in mind. Great SEO takes time to mature, so be sure to stockpile and share the incremental gains along the way if you expect to have a steady supply of resources available.

Empower & Educate Others
It is rare that an SEO project can be completed by SEOs in a vacuum. If you need to rely on the support of others from a creative, technical or development background – be very clear about the rewards they can expect. Will they be learning new skills? Acquire a deeper understanding for search or facets of online marketing?

Marketability in today’s economy is a powerful chip to bring to the table – and your colleagues will latch on to opportunities if you can show them solid gains.

Practice Your Pitch
Realize that you’re selling search. You need to own your ideas, present them well and make sure your audience of colleagues have a clear understanding of why they need to support you.

One of the easiest ways to derail a project is to talk over the heads of critical stakeholders or fail to present your ideas and objectives in a meaningful way. You cannot have the same conversation with your executive team as you can a PHP developer, so be very aware of your audience at all times.

Plan for Growing Pains
Assuming you are working towards a significant project resulting in long term change – be ready. Growing pains can and will happen often. To help move you from a one hit wonder to a headline act, you will need to help your organization scale for success. This means that you will need to have practice guides, case studies and guidelines available for your organization to learn and live from. To accomplish this, be sure to establish an accessible reference center, add to it often – and eliminate your own distractions. It’s tough to get things done when you’re spending a majority of your time keeping everyone on-board.

Institutionalize Success
One successful project can alter an entire organization. From improved bottom lines to more efficient workflows – ending a project confidently is key to setting yourself up for the next project. Once you have seen your first project through to completion, show others how your project can be directly tied to organizational success. By keeping your completed projects top of mind, company leaders will be more ready to support your next internal project pitch.

105 Days Later,  Google’s “Mobilegeddon” Has Been Forgotten

Google unleashed their mobile update, affectionally named “Mobilegeddon” back on April 21st, 2015. Thanks to the update being first introduced to site administrators through Google’s Webmaster Tools interface (since renamed Search Console) – the web marketing industry was, in a word, scared.

For the first time in years, Google was forthcoming with details on an algorithmic update.

The search marketing industry knew exactly when to expect the update to be released. We knew what Google was looking to emphasize, demote and encourage. We also knew that we should expect significant changes in how mobile traffic and impression level data would be shared.

Leading up to late April, major industry publications showcased the algorithm update with mushroom clouds, explosions and implied carnage alongside careful dissections of how thousands of websites would suffer immediate and significant losses of traffic because of their inability to fully cater to mobile audiences.

And yet here we are – some 105 days later… And it’s almost impossible to find fresh news on the Mobilegeddon update.

What happened?

I’d argue that the marketing industry and site owners have simply moved on from Mobilegeddon as a topic, because like most other items we hear about from Google in advance — it was riddled with rhetoric and simply compounded a number of obvious responsibilities that website designers, marketers and administrators needed to account for.

The search industry Internet is increasingly mobile.

More searches are conducted through mobile technology. The nature of information consumption has had to change as a result. And, despite the best efforts from Samsung and Apple, handheld device’s screen real estate is still at a premium.

Combine that with the fact that bandwidth, accessibility and content clarity are all critical in a mobile environment… And you have the basis for “MOBILEGEDDON!”


Google hasn’t exactly gone out of their way to emphasize the update since it was introduced, either.

Since April 21st, Google has done a number of arguably more significant things, including:

Given all of that, and the many changes others like Facebook have made in that same timeframe – should we have expected anything different?

A number of industry peers have gone to great lengths to dissect the Mobilegeddon update and advise on how to handle it’s related changes – but the point I’m here to make today is that we knew this was coming. It wasn’t significant, and, it’s served as a significant distraction at times.

Have you found or experienced anything different? Weigh in on the comments section below and continue the conversation!

Google Panda 4.2: “New” Spam Algorithm or Just an Update?

Earlier this week, Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable gathered links from discussion boards and solicited responses from Google regarding a possible algorithm update in the wake of Panda 4.2 having been announced.

The theories, centered around observations in online discussions, are that the algorithm was most noticeable by site owners and marketers previously affected by Penguin updates in the past.

In the past 10 days or so, I’ve observed a number of significant changes in highly competitive (often littered with spam) keyword spaces.

These changes include a major reshuffling of rankings across the top three pages – and in one instance – I have seen a 35% increase in organic traffic. While the destination URLs for those searches seem to coincide with the most altered keywords and related SERPs, it’s impossible to prove out thanks to our old friend, (not provided).

The sites winning though have clearly demonstrated a commitment to ongoing content publishing and natural outreach across social, PR and offline media. The sites losing out are those that are not as active in any of those spaces.

In other words, Panda appears to be continuing on with a rolling update as expected.

The question though is whether or not this is a significant and noticeable update tied to a specific timeframe, or, coincidentally obvious updates that are part of that rolling algorithm we have all seen and heard about.

While I happened to see positive movement in a site I closely analyze, others were not as lucky. Martin Ice Web from Webmaster World made the following comment nearly two weeks ago – discussing changes to a German ecommerce website he began observing on July 18th:

Since saturday we are seeing a 40% drop in traffic. And this traffic is fully unrelated. Conversions droped about 80%.

I wonder why every time a “quality algo” ends in killing sites that had been good traffic / low bounce / good conversions.

You can read more from Martin and many others commenting on Netmeg’s thread, Google Panda 4.2 Rolling Out, published back on Jul 22nd.

What have you observed in the past month or so of reviewing your analytics and SERPs? Leave a comment below and share your experiences!

For more information on Google Panda 4.2, please see the following links:

Help Shape Search Engine Land’s New Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

If you have been involved in search engine optimization over the past few years, you have likely come across Search Engine Land’s Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors. Whether I’m working on a consulting arrangement with one of my clients or I’m working with my staff at the agency – the printouts are everywhere – from cubicle walls to internal training binders.

The value of the table is simple; It shows you in clear and concise ways how all of the general areas of ranking factors involved in SEO can be used (or not) help shape your rankings and traffic earning potenitial. If you’re carefully addressing all of the items in green and avoiding the red items consistently – you’re likely to be successful.


The greatest aspect about the Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors to me though is that it’s a crowd-sourced collaboration. And since the current version was last updated back in July, 2013 – it’s time to give this amazing resource an overhaul.

If you’d like to provide some input and direction on the current state of SEO, I’d strongly encourage you to spend 15-20 minutes to take the Periodic Table Of SEO Success Factors Survey.

Mobile SEO Tips from #SEOChat Community

Over the past year we have seen mobile search queries surpass those conducted on desktop environments.

In that time I have seen agency marketers, web designers and standalone webmasters all scramble to solve for a variety of challenges, including:

  • Reliably displaying content to support full topical comprehension on smaller screens
  • Capture and utilize device level analytics for improved content marketing initiatives
  • Prioritize technical aspects of on-page and on-site optimization for improved organic search performance
  • Utilize responsive design capabilities to promote mobile-specific calls to action and conversions

On Thursday, Twitter’s #SEOChat community got together at 1PM ET, rallied behind the host of the week’s forum, BloomReach Inc. (@bloomreachinc) – and jumped head first into the topics of mobile search engine optimization.

The following highlights are straight from the #SEOChat Twitter activity – and I’ve peppered in my own commentary along the way.

Pretty simple topic to get us started, but I was surprised by the number and variance of results provided during the chat.  Scanning the hashtag in TweetDeck, a few of the #SEOChat leaders really jumped out at me:

And for me – right out of the gate – these responses proved that there are a number of unique perspectives on mobile search engine optimization.

I highlighted the above responses for a few reasons:

  1. As Jason White (@Sonray, Dragon Search) points out, mobile SEO’s objective is capture and serve the user irregardless of device. At d50 Media, our creative director preaches “right audience, right time, right screen…” and it’s stuck. I’m simply an advocate of this because I have seen first hand how incredibly important this is.
  2. Connecting the right person with the right content through requires what Kristi Kellogg (@KristiKellogg, Bruce Clay, Inc.) introduces: the science of technical optimization.  With mobile devices criss-crossing from 3G to WiFi to 4G and public hotspots, connectivity is the only guarantee. When data speeds slow down, it’s up to you to deliver clean and efficient code in order to serve your audience before they tune out. If you can  you need to have a website that loads fast, works with mobile services and leverages device location and content intent to truly serve folks at a hyperlocal level… you win.
  3. Tying the previous reasons together, Lisa Buyer (@lisabuyer, Social PR Secrets) suggests that this is a PR thing. If we’re to look at PR as true and simple public relations, know that I could not agree more. Lisa’s assertion is spot on and really wraps up the “right audience, right time…” argument succinctly. Success means that you’re actively engaged in mobile. If you’re not, you’re flirting with a PR disaster.

The second question of the afternoon really required the audience to focus in on the agency/vendor relationship. I would have liked to see more activity on this particular question, but fear that as it was asked – it may have been a turn off for those working in-house or even on their own websites.

Regardless, the quality responses continued…

And again, Lisa is on her game. Brands and organizations do not have a choice when it comes to mobile presence. They’re either there, or they’re not. There is no fence to ride on or middle ground to occupy.

While Lisa boiled it down for everyone, Jason and I both provided a response more aligned with Google’s technical initiatives:

While I cannot speak for Jason – I get the impression that he and I were really trying to reinforce the importance of what Google has done over the past year.

That is, innovate – and invest – in mobile search.

From Webmaster Tools inclusion of more search query details to Google Analytics shedding more light on the device use of your content, it’s clear – Google is treating “mobile” as a leading actor in it’s primetime show.

Making more and more appearances, webmasters and marketers are encountering this “mobile” character in many different places. I tend to see Webmaster Tools as being the de facto home for all things mobile SEO these days and have found the Mobile-Friendly Test and the ability to track mobile usability in Webmaster Tools as being jumping off points for many mobile SEO initiatives.

As the #SEOChat continued, the host then asked for a little more details around technical optimization efforts. The responses were mixed in with those from the previous answer, but I found the following exchange to be deserving of a callout:

Now, the embed feature doesn’t do Jason’s Tweet any justice. Click on through to the full details and just look at the replies Jason received on his initial response.

While there were all sorts of tangents, my absolute favorite was this:

…and it’s pretty clear that when you mash up Google’s Hummingbird, Siri, desktop voice search and all of these technical devices leveraging active listening technologies… well, that’s where we are going. Major kudos to Jason for not only being aware of the movement, but advocating for it too in this group setting. In years’ past, many SEOs would simply skirt the topic altogether with an inclination of using it as a competitive advantage.

Question five was a little light for me both in substance an response, but Jason’s agency – DragonSearch provided the following which I did think could be used for more conversations down the line:

We do in fact need to be careful to note that being “mobile friendly” is not strictly limited to appeasing a search engine’s criteria or recommendations. It’s about the user. It’s always about the user.

Thankfully, the next question latch onto those user needs.


I really loved watching the responses to this one come in. On one hand, I could spend hours talking about how content is consumed and how conversion requirements change on mobile devices. On the other hand, I really liked how the following users focused on the comprehensive experience of viewing mobile search results and using that as their basis for mobile SEO work:

….And all in all, this week’s #SEOChat ranks up there amongst my all time favorites. Thanks to everyone involved this week – it was great to see so many folks participating and providing their take!