Good morning, happy start to the week.

These days, it’s common for people to move around between in-house positions, agency roles and everywhere in between. Listening to Mel Carson talk about his transition from working at Microsoft (on the team that helped launch Microsoft AdCenter, as it was first named) to being laid off by Microsoft to then being hired as a consultant by Microsoft is an excellent reminder that relationships matter, and how we handle transitions can be pivotal for our businesses and careers. 

Mel, who now runs PR firm Delightful Communications and remains intimately involved in the search industry, spoke with Barry Schwartz about that transition (and much more). Barry asked how it felt to be hired by Microsoft shortly after being laid off. “It was great,” said Mel. “I mean, I knew that that would be an option. That’s why I didn’t burn any bridges when I left.” Microsoft remains a client seven years later. Watch the full interview with Mel Carson here

Client transitions are going to be a topic of discussion at SMX East in November, as part of our track dedicated to agency operations. Mel provides a great example of why the way we handle transitions — incoming and outgoing — can have long term consequences. Check out the full  SMX East agenda

If you’re working in local search, a new free tool might be of interest. Local SEO platform BrightLocal launched a Google local algorithm tracking tool called Local RankFlux last week. The tool offers tracking for 26 verticals with roughly 560 keywords tracked per industry in 20 cities, plotting the ranking position of each business within the top 20 search results. The tool is free and could be a useful way for you “to reality check against broader industry benchmarks, to confirm whether there was indeed a local algorithm update,” reports Greg Sterling.

Read on for a Soapbox on Google and subdomain leasing and more.

Ginny Marvin,


Subdomain leasing and the giant hole in Google’s Medic update

ConsumerAffairs provides buying guides for everything from mattresses to home warranties. But they also direct consumers on purchasing hearing aids, dentures, diabetic supplies and even lasik surgery. Many have questioned the legitimacy of ConsumerAffairs’ buying guides, largely because top-rated brands often have financial relationships with the organization. ConsumerAffairs’ health content has been hit in the post-medic world, but now it seems they’ve found a way to circumvent the algorithm update by hosting slightly modified versions of their buying guides on local news websites around the country. Search “hearing aids in Phoenix” and you’ll discover just how well this strategy is working. Local ABC affiliate station ABC15 hosts all of ConsumerAffairs’ buying guides, including those in the health category, on their new “reviews” subdomain. So far, I’ve counted almost 100 of these ConsumerAffairs content mirrors. Despite cracking down on low-authority medical advice and subdomain leasing, Google seems to be missing this huge hack on their ranking algorithm.

– Abram Bailey, CEO of


[Webinar] Call Tracking Demystified: Uncovering New Opportunities for Digital Marketers

Sponsored by Invoca

Close the online/offline marketing gap. Track and attribute calls to paid search, social, display, emails and landing pages. Our experts will explain the differences between basic and advanced call tracking techniques, and where your company’s call strategies can benefit from automation.

Register now... »

Search Shorts

Friday the 13th Google algo update?

Google algorithm update chatter. I am seeing some chatter around a possible Google search algorithm update. Dare we call it the Friday the 13th Google update?

Redirects. John Mueller of Google said with redirects, try to link directly to the canonical URL and do as few hops as possible.

Word count. There is no fixed number of words per page, nor amount of unique content per page, that will guarantee good rankings. Make a 110% awesome & outstanding site that works well for your users, John Mueller of Google said.

Many types of SEOs. Google’s John Mueller said there are all types, flavors, sizes and kinds of SEOs. There is room for all of us in this SEO space.

What we're reading

We've curated our picks from across the web so you can retire your feed reader

An Agency Workflow for Google My Business Dead Ends – Moz

E-A-T and the Quality Raters’ Guidelines – Whiteboard Friday – Moz

Explainer: Advertising executives point to five ways Google stifles business – Reuters

Google Lens gets first grocery AR integration – 9to5Google

Google Showing More Videos In List View Vs Carousel – Search Engine Roundtable

Google to pay $1 billion in France to settle fiscal fraud probe – Reuters

Google Updates Quality Rater Guidelines: Reputation for News Sites; Video Content Updates; 

Quality for Information Sites – The SEM Post

How to search the web with Bing in Notepad – OnMSFT

Is Page Depth A Ranking Factor? – Botify

Relive your best memories with new features from Google Photos – Google Blog


Houston SEO