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Top SEO News: Week of Sept 26–Oct 2

Facebook Releases Atlas, New Tracking System
Facebook has launched Atlas, a new marketing system that is “people-based” rather than “cookie-based.”  The system will allow marketers to follow the activities of users around the web, as long as they remain logged into Facebook on the device they are currently using.  The system will help marketers determine where to purchase ad space outside of Facebook, and promises anonymity to the users themselves.

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Yahoo Directory to Shut Down After 20 Years
Yahoo will be shutting down Yahoo Directory, along with Yahoo Education and Qwiki.  Directory was the precursor to the modern search engine and has been in use since 1994.  Directory will end its 20-year run on December 31st, 2014, along with the other discontinued features, as Yahoo continues making changes to improve search functions.

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Enhanced Sitelinks Launched on Bing Ads in the U.S.A.
Enhanced sitelinks have gone live on Bing Ads U.S. search results.  The new links will include an extra two lines of text appearing beneath the result.  Testing showed an increase of 27% in clickthroughs with the new enhanced sitelinks.  It will roll out to the rest of the world by the end of the year.

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Appearance of Google Answer Boxes up 44% in One Week
A Moz study of the appearance of the Google Answer Box showed that the appearance of the boxes in 100 different searches grew by 44% between September 25th and the 30th.   The increase appears to come mainly in the form of the attributed answer box, which draw information from relevant websites and presents it with a link.  The examination of results further showed that the more broad the query, the more likely an answer box would appear.

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Click-through Study Examines 2014 Rates
Results of a study of click-through rates (CTR) reveal that 71.33% of searches see an organic click on the first page.  Second and third page organic click rates dropped dramatically; 5.59 % of clicks came through on pages two and three.  More than 67% of the clicks on the first page were among the first five results to appear.  The results reinforce the importance of organic search in CTR.

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Study Examines Google Carousel Position Importance
An examination of clicks on Google Carousel style results reveals how the position in the results may impact the likelihood of a click.   The Mediative study found that the Carousel positions that get the most clicks are those on the far right of the screen.  11.1% of clicks landed in positions 4-7, with only 1.4% for positions 1-3.  Ads saw a 60% increase in clicks in the study, which showed that the majority of participants focused on the Carousel before other results.

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New Panda Update Announced by Google
Google has released information regarding a new Panda update being rolled out.  Part of the changes includes the ability of sites previously penalized to improve rankings if changes have been made to the pages.  Page with better quality content can expect to see improvements in rankings, while those who have not improved their content are likely to continue to stay low.

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