Here’s our October edition to the world of search, as always I hope you find it as interesting as we did!
Penguin 2.1 Rolled Out
The start of October saw the fifth iteration of Google’s Penguin rolled out across their search engines. A lot has been said about Penguin and so I will not go in to all the details here but it is another sign that Google is continuing it’s clamp down on low quality sites across the internet.
After Hummingbird was released at the end of August there has been a lot of change in the world or search. The update was more of an infrastructure update rather than a change in how it searches but it means that Google has given itself the tools to enhance and improve it’s knowledge graph.
The full impact of hummingbird has yet to become clear but it means that Google is better equipped to not just find answers and websites that are as close of a match as possible to what the user has used but has taken a big step forward in understanding the intent of the users search query.
This could have major implications in the future so as the moment it’s a case of watch this space.
Toolbar Page Rank
An old metric that is still talked about and used to assess websites is Toolbar Page Rank. Page Rank is at the core of Google’s search algorithm but they have always kept individual sites score secret. However there is a tool that Google published to give an indication of Page Rank called Toolbar Page Rank.
Google have confirmed that the tool is broken and they are not going to be fixing it anytime soon. So why keep it? The tool sends usage data back to Google and it doesn’t appear that they want to stop that data coming back.
You may have noticed that where you used to get data about the keywords your visitors used to find you in the search engines most of the results now say “not provided”. Google claims that they do this to help protect their user’s privacy but then they go and share the data with advertisers.
This hypocrisy has caused headaches throughout the online marketing industry, however Google may soon be forced to do something about it as Parse.ly (a content optimisation platform) have reported that some of the world’s top news sites such as Reuters, Mashable and others are seeing 87% of their keywords as “Not Provided” -= with companies like that asking questions we may start to see some good answers from Google.
“Bing it on”
Microsoft has reported a 47% growth in Microsoft Search Ad Revenue – a sign that Bing are getting a larger market share. However before everyone a start rushing off to sign up to Bing the majority of the revenue is from outside of the UK. In the UK Google still absolutely dominates the search engine market.
Matt Cutts, head of Google webspam team, has confirmed that more pages on a site does not equal higher rankings. Adding yet more confirmation, if any was needed that the world of SEO has changed and those that work in the industry need to move with it or be left behind.
Matt has also warned this month that guest blogging needs to be done in moderation. It is still ok to do if you are publishing your articles and blogs on high quality sites and that the content provides real value to the internet; but if you are using guest blogging just to get links then you could fall foul of a Google update in the future.
Although these confirmations are only small news, and not new for anyone that keeps up to date with current trends, it is another reminder (if any was needed following Penguin 2.1) of the dangers of not keeping up to date with current best practice and relying on old SEO techniques.
Site owners and SEOs must focus on creating better websites and content that truly deserves to rank well in Google.
Finally Cutts didn’t bring all doom and gloom to us this month. He also confirmed that “strong” and “b” tags treated the same. Great news for anyone fretting that they may have to change seven years’ worth of content!