Danny Sullivan

Heather Fletcher is senior content editor with Target Marketing.

Amanda is the founder of Searching for Profit, a search marketing strategy consultancy; and CEO of City Square Consulting, a management consulting firm. Amanda is an internationally recognized author, speaker and search marketing pioneer. Her consultancy focuses on using organic search to drive traffic to customer sites. She is an expert on the use of language for search. Her clients have included well-known and emerging brands.
The purpose of this blog is to provide insights and tips for how to use search profitably. It will cut through the volumes of information that threaten to overwhelm the busy marketer and will focus on what is truly important for making search work.

Recently several key figures, who have made enormous contributions to the search industry, have either left (Matt Cutts) or stepped back from day-to-day activities in the companies they have helmed (Danny Sullivan and Rand Fishkin). It is a sign of the times — a generational shift in the industry. Not a generational shift determined by the age of the participants, but one determined by how the industry as a whole has aged and matured.

I'm not complaining. I'll say that right away. However, I was a bit surprised on Tuesday to see a notification on the page above my search engine results about a package delivery slated for Wednesday, while I was searching for information that was completely unrelated. Before I could click on "Lyris," I found out that my "Excursion II Rolling Duffle Bag, Medium" from LLBean was on its way to my home.

Google has announced that soon anyone with both a Gmail account and a Google+ account will be able to message anyone else with a Gmail account and Google+ account, even if they don’t know their email address. Spam city! Potentially, but Google has some safeguards built in that it hopes will keep this as a useful feature rather than a nightmare. It’s complicated, so here’s our FAQ on how it all works, based on conversations with Google

Last month, I asked you to imagine the future of SEO with a focus on "Entity Optimization" as I interviewed veteran semantic strategist Barbara Starr. We discussed an “answer engine” that uses relevant, machine-recognizable "entities" on Web pages to answer specific, well-refined queries. On Sept. 26, Google took another step toward becoming that answer engine with its Hummingbird update. In Danny Sullivan‘s live blog about the Hummingbird algorithm, he explains how Google is rapidly adopting semantic Web technology while still retaining parts of its old algorithm. This is Google’s solution for evolving from text links to answers

Yesterday it emerged that Google is planning to encrypt even more organic search queries, thus removing even more search keyword data from sites. The already tricky task of measuring natural search data has been made even harder by this latest move. I've been canvassing opinions of search marketing experts on the latest move from Google. According to Google, "We want to provide SSL protection to as many users as we can, in as many regions as we can

At SMX Advanced, Google’s head of search spam, Matt Cutts, announced that if you have the same or fewer ads than Google does in its search results, then you are safe from its top-heavy algorithm. In short, if your ad-to-organic ratio is the same or less than what you see in Google’s search results, you are safe. This came up during the "Ask The SEO" session, where Matt Cutts was encouraged to come up on stage to answer some questions. One question was around why Google has so many ads in the organic results. Danny Sullivan joked

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