Don't You Forget About MeIn the aftermath of all the Google+ excitement, I’d like to call attention to some other Google updates that deserve our notice.You may have thought that Google+ was enough to tide you over, but remarkably Google has been dishing out additional updates without pause.Google Products Get a Face LiftYou’ve probably already noticed the new Google homepage’s cleaner, more sophisticated look.
You’ll be seeing this sleek redesign applied to a number of Google products, as Google aims to deliver an experience “founded on three key design principles: focus, elasticity and effortlessness.” How oddly vague.As Google notes, a shot of Botox from time to time never hurts…unless you have a negative reaction. Taking a look at Google’s original homepage in 1997, we ... > Read more
Google+ Has Arrived!Google’s new super-secret social project is finally being rolled out…to a select few, for now at least.But wait to you hear what Google + has got under its hood; more than just a pretty face (and it is quite attractive, thank goodness), the new social project tries to address the gaps and missing pieces in the current social network paradigm.
Vic Gundotra, one of the key players in Google +’s creation, explains:“We believe online sharing is broken. And even awkward…We think connecting with other people is a basic human need. We do it all the time in real life, but our online tools are rigid. They force us into buckets — or into being completely public…Real life sharing is nuanced and rich. It has been hard to get that into software.”Google + has done its... > Read more
There is never a lack of Google additions and updates in the webiverse, and with several happening in recent days, it’s worth taking an in-depth look at the latest concoctions Google is brewing up.Getting Started With Google City SitesGoogle has started creating new city sites, which act as a central portal showing a variety of information in one central location.
The city pages show places, offers, events, business owner resources, and community blogs.The layout of these pages is fun and aesthetically pleasing. As a person who relies heavily on resources like Trip Advisor to tell me what to check out when visiting a new city, I’m looking forward to testing out the new city pages.For now city pages is only available for Austin (TX), Portland (OR), Madison (WI), and San Diego (CA).Check... > Read more
Just over two months ago Google announced their Google +1 Button, and yesterday they expanded on the offering by releasing the Google +1 Button for Websites. Having been signed up for the Google +1 service for a few weeks now, I thought I'd write a bit about my experiences using it so far. Unfortunately, I haven't yet found it to be that helpful.
Does Google +1 Even Work?For starters, my understanding was that Google was going to roll out Google +1 data in their paid and organic search results in order to help get "Recommendations when you want them," as advertised on the Google +1 product page. Take a look at this screenshot:But what I’m seeing is that:The +1 data doesn't get updated very often. 1,401 people have +1'd Facebook and it's been stuck at that number for nearly a month now.&nb... > Read more
Get ready for your site to have more buttons than an 80’s denim jacket.In the ongoing battle over social media, buttons seem to be a popular ammunition tool, attracting users like, well, a shiny button.It may be no coincidence then that today both Google and Twitter are releasing updated or new buttons that can be embedded in websites.
Google +1 Button Now Available for WebsitesWhen Google +1 was first released, the +1 button was designated solely for the search results page. In case you need a quick reminder, the +1 button allows users to recommend certain search results. +1 is Google’s next step in an attempt to beef up their social media influence (especially after Buzz’s relative flop).You can check out our post when +1 was first released for more info, and our review of Goog... > Read more
Google has just released a nifty new addition to Google Labs. Today we welcome Google Correlate.Google Correlate – The Opposite of TrendsWhile Google Trends and Google Insights allow you to enter a search term and see the search trends, Google notes that:Researchers told us they want to enter the trend of some real world activity and see which search terms best match that trend.
In other words, they wanted a system that was like Google Trends but in reverse.Google Correlate is the response, allowing you to upload your own data series and get back a list of search terms that correspond with the real world trend.Taking Google Correlate for a Test DriveUpon first learning about Google Correlate, I was a little more than confused; science has never been my strong suit. But the Google Correla... > Read more
Saturday has come and gone, and the continuously impending apocalypse has been put off once again. No people levitating into the sky, no fiery asteroids hurtling towards earth, just a volcano in Iceland letting off some steam. Even the volcano’s biggest threat was that it might possibly disrupt flights in Scotland.
Very terrifying. By now we should be well accustomed to being disappointed about end time prophecies. With Y2K still fresh in many minds, hopefully we’ve developed a healthy enough dose of skepticism to be critical of such predictions. Human history has been littered with apocalyptic predictions. Can you guess how many have come true? The World is Ending … Again But I suppose you can’t really place too much blame on people like Harold Camping, who... > Read more
Google has made a series of changes to the way ad text is served and displayed recently, and it’s important to follow how they’re displaying ad copy and what level of control you have.Towards that end, they recently announced that display URLs domains will be included in headlines, stating that:…starting today, we’ll automatically show your display URL domain in the headline for select top placement ads on Google.
As a result, your brand will be featured more prominently in your ad, and you can use the text in the headline to highlight other information. Potential customers, on the other hand, will be able to more easily identify the site to which they’ll be taken after they click on your ad…When shown in the headline, the display URL will be separated from the rest of the text... > Read more
Godzilla vs. Mothra, Freddy vs. Jason, Alien vs. Predator, and now this summer, coming to a theater near you: Facebook vs. Google.It’s no secret that social is the new currency across the internet, but Facebook’s recent attack on Google shows just how precious and coveted such social data is.Facebook Hires PR Firm to Bad-Mouth GoogleOver the past few days, there has been a lot of speculation concerning what mysterious entity hired the private PR firm Burson-Marsteller to encourage mudslinging against Google by pitching anti-Google stories to newspapers.
Dan Lyons at the Daily Beast reports that they discovered it was none other than Facebook – and they found out just by asking.A Facebook spokesman admitted that the company hired Burson for two reasons:First, because it believes ... > Read more
It seems we’re always talking about Google. Whether we consider it a friend or foe, it’s difficult to deny that much of SEO news revolves around every breath Google takes. And it’s true, you don’t hear folks saying “I don’t know, let's Yahoo it.” In keeping with its nonstop release schedule, Google recently announced several new features.
Google Analytics Tracks Page Load Times Google is like an inspirational high-school teacher. He sees the potential in you that you have not yet discovered, and he’s always setting the benchmark higher and pushing you further. Google wants you to be the best you can be – for yourself, and for your users. That’s why with Google Analytics you now have the ability to track your page’s loa... > Read more
Google Tests New SERP Format: Site Links to News Articles Replace Website Description in Branded News Searches
I saw this change in the Google SERP format today on a search for "CNN." Check out how Google has replaced the 2-line website description with up to three sitelinks with full-line descriptions corresponding to the headlines of trending news stories. Take a look here:See how you can click on "Obama won't release bin Laden photos: Reaction" and it will link directly to the article.
It seems to be working this way on other major national media outlets, for example:USA TodayFox NewsWashington PostCBS NewsI guess on branded searches for media outlets, Google might be thinking something like...The anchor text on site links are too small for news articles (they're typically 1-3 words like "contact us" or whatever)The user probably doesn't care much for the website description (they obviously... > Read more
While Twitter, Facebook, and media outlets around the world were ablaze with news of Osama Bin Laden’s death on the night of May 1st, I was fast asleep in bed. It seems I’m always sleeping through important events, having snoozed through the Royal Wedding as well. I don’t wake up at 5 am for anything, and while old ladies in fancy hats are always good for a laugh, I’ve gotten more of my share of darling William and Catherine through the continuous stream of replay coverage.
So naturally it wasn’t until I groggily sat down at the computer with my coffee the next morning that I had any idea of the massive NYC partying I had missed out on. And like many others, I got the startling news via Facebook.Twitter Sets Aflame With an Abbotta-BANG!Osama Bin Laden’s death has once again exem... > Read more
Yesterday Google announced that their Instant Preview feature will now apply to ads. That means you’ll now be seeing that nifty little magnifying glass appear next to ads as well as organic search results. Clicking the Instant Preview magnifying glass brings up a window that lets users preview the ad landing page.
In the image below, you can see that my Google search for “flowers” brought up a few ads. Clicking the magnifying glass next to my 2nd ad, I got to see a preview page and was able to confirm that the ad would, in fact, lead me to a site with an abundance of beautiful flowers to sell (just seeing them all nearly makes me sneeze). Instant Preview allows users to preview the ads they are about to click on to ensure that the content of the landing page matches what... > Read more
In Google’s continuing efforts to get more social, Google’s Map Maker tool made its introduction into the United States yesterday. Map Maker allows users to add and update maps with their own insights. This can mean a number of different things, such as moving place markers to more appropriate spots, pointing out certain parks and playgrounds, building a more detailed map of a college campus, or even marking the bike lanes in your town.
Essentially, it makes Google Maps into a Wiki.Google’s Lat Long blog notes that since the release of Map Maker, the percentage of the world’s population that has detailed online maps of their neighborhoods has jumped from 15% to 30%. Users have mapped road networks, bike lanes, schools, and even entire cities that were not documented ... > Read more
If you were ever wondering how Google Suggest is so good at predicting your desired search, Google today revealed (through a job posting) some rare insight into exactly what powers Google suggestions.If you search on Google today with Google Instant on, you'll see a little link on the bottom of the suggested searches that says "We're Hiring Autocompleters", as shown here:Clicking on the highlighted link will take you to the job description of a Google Autocompleter (click here for a screenshot).
And here are some of the job description highlights... Required Responsibilities of a Google AutocompleterWatch anonymized search queries as they come in to Google.Predict and type completions based on your personal experience and intuition.Suggest spelling corrections when relevant.Keep ... > Read more
All day yesterday I watched the news of the Google +1 beta launch reverberate around the SEO space (see WordStream's own coverage for Google Plus One screenshots and impact on AdWords). There is a lot of great coverage and some interesting insights, including (but I can guarantee you not limited to): Danny Sullivan's take SEO Moz's response Coverage on Tech pubs And the list goes on.
Obviously if you're here at the WordStream blog, you're likely concerned with what this all means for SEO and AdWords. Let's try to unpack that step-by-step, thinking through the following questions: What's the actual, honest-to-goodness impact on SERPs tomorrow and in the next few months? How is Google likely to implement this data? What impact (if any) should this have on your marketing efforts -- today, ... > Read more
Stemming from Facebook’s popular “Like” button, the search engine colossus Google is joining the social fray once again. Google’s new “+1” feature has just been introduced, and it’s quite exciting. Starting today, a small percentage of Googlers will see a +1 button next to search listings.
If you aren’t seeing it and just can’t wait to try this new feature out for yourself, head over to Google Experiment and click “Join this experiment.” With Google’s new tool, when you click the +1 button next to a search result, it will light up, basking in the glory of your approval. Now, when you or a friend search a similar topic, they can see that you recommended certain results. And if your buddy recommende... > Read more
Last night I performed a Google search on my home computer, using Firefox. I only got four results back on the first page, though there were over 55,000 results total (see below). I was not signed in but Instant was on. It looks like Google is testing this style of SERP when it thinks a handful of pages are clearly the most valuable, relevant results for the query.
Presumably, some users would prefer fewer choices as long as those choices clearly addressed the query. Didn't either Sergey or Larry once say that in a perfect world, Google would return only one result? This page did not address my needs as a searcher, because I was specifically trying to determine where my own blog ranks for this query -- i.e., whether I rank on the first page. If this experiment became the norm, "the f... > Read more
Yesterday, the New York Times published an article exposing the black hat SEO tactics of J.C. Penney, explaining how jcpenney.com was able to obtain #1 organic search rankings (unpaid or natural search listings) for virtually everything the retailer sold including searches for "bedding" or "dresses" or "Area Rugs," and enjoyed near-the-top first page rankings for searches like "skinny jeans," "home decor," "furniture," "comforter sets" etc.
The New York Times looked into JC Penney's link profile and uncovered a massive web of thousands of pages of blog spam and paid links linking to the J.C. Penney website, rich with relevant, descriptive anchor text designed to fool Google’s ranking algorithms. The New York Times presented their findings to Google. Googler Matt Cutts, head of SEO websp... > Read more
The newswires are today reporting that Google is accusing Bing of copying their results. In a ridiculously dorky plot, Google spent months developing a Bing sting operation. They created random words such as "mbzrxpgjys" or "hiybbprqag" that had no legitimate matches on Bing or Google searches. Google then it created its own "honeypot page" (yes, they actually called it a honey pot page! lol) with Research in Motion at the top of the page.
Within a couple of weeks Research in Motion began appearing at the top of Bing searches for mbzrxpgjys. The following screenshot illustrates the search results for mbzrxpgjys on Bing and Google: Stefan Weitz, director of the Bing search engine at Microsoft, admitted in an interview that the company studies how certain users interact with Goog... > Read more
On Black Friday, the New York Times ran one if its oh-so-savvy pieces about Google, demonstrating once again its deep understanding of SEO. </sarcasm> The article, titled "A Bully Finds a Pulpit on the Web," tells the story of DecorMyEyes, an eyeglasses business with an ungrammatical brand and a bad attitude.
The owner, whose name, believe it or not, is Vitaly Borker, claims that horrible service – we're talking criminally bad – is his business strategy, because (ex-)customers leave negative reviews on the Internet, driving up his rankings: "I never had the amount of traffic I have now since my 1st complaint. I am in heaven." Danny Sullivan did a long write-up of the article, calling it "great." But I was immediately suspicious of the NYT bla... > Read more
Seeing as 2010 is winding to a close, I had the idea to do a sort of year in review for keywords, using Google Insights for Search to find patterns in the year's keyword trends. However, I got so distracted by the screwed up categories, I abandoned the post. Instead I'm just going to complain about how useless they are.
When you filter your Google Insights results for a given time period (I used 2010), the default results call into "all categories," but you can further sort those into 27 (by my rough count) categories, including "Business," "Entertainment," "News & Current Events," "Shopping," "Sports," and so on – sounds potentially useful, right? Unfortunately, whatever method they're using to sort the rising search qu... > Read more
Yesterday Google launched a new feature in Instant Search: Google Instant Previews. When this feature is activated, you can click the magnifying glass icon to the right of a search result to view a pop-up preview of the page before clicking through. It appears that the preview is sometimes an accurate representation of the page, as above; in other instances Google will remove and/or magnify a portion of the page to show relevancy, as below: The pop-out quotes show where the keyword ("civet coffee") appears on the page.
On this particular SERP, Google altered the appearance of the preview for about half the results on the first page. It's not entirely clear what governs this. Will this affect the behavior of the typical Google user? It's hard to say what impact this will ha... > Read more
As I went through the blog rounds this week collecting interesting links, I noticed a pattern: everything was turning up Google. Not exactly shocking in the search industry, I know. But for some reason this week seemed especially Googley. Here are some of the many Google stories I read this week. First up, Google has made a significant change to its local search results pages called "Place Search.
" According to Google, "We've clustered search results around specific locations so you can more easily make comparisons and decide where to go." As Patrick Altoft puts it, Google is phasing out organic search results for local queries, giving local results all the prime real estate: "The impact of this change is that in the long term any site that doesn’t have a physical address in the location... > Read more
It appears that Google is testing a new sitelinks format in the SERPs. I haven't seen this mentioned before in the blogosphere and it's the first time I've seen this new format so it's new to me. Anyway, I'm only seeing the new format with branded/navigational queries. With the new sitelinks format, Google has rolled up paired listings along with multiple domain and subdomain listings for a brand into a new expanded sitelinks format.
Here's one for "WordStream" And here's one for "Compete" At first blush, I'm a little torn as to whether I like it or not. It's definitely better for user experience and someone running a navigational query. However, from a SERP management standpoint, rolling up my paired listings and subdomain listings into one big sitelinks section all... > Read more
This weekend at home, I was surprised to find Google was giving me way more than ten results per page—more like twenty, though I confess I didn't bother to count. (It seems Google no longer does the counting for you.) I quickly sent an email to Tom and Ken about it, but it appeared it was "just me," or rather an experiment that was only affecting some users (as reported by Andy Beard and Barry Schwartz).
I was still thinking about this experiment on Wednesday, contemplating a post called "No More 'Ten Blue Links'" when Google unveiled a much bigger change—big enough to warrant a live press conference, big enough to get everyone on Twitter talking, and not just the "tweeple" in my web marketing column. This big change is Google Instant. It sounds a little like a joke—for a while now G... > Read more
There's always been a fair amount of discussion that Google's reliance on links is the bane of the internet. From the insanely dynamic tin foil wearing crowd to those that muse. From the link economy to the spam that litters social sites and blogs. The never-ending thirst for more links has turned some people I know into freaking link machines (yeah, I'm lookin' at you – BOOYAKA).
But why? You get the impression from some folks that it is some evil master plan or sheer bumbling and incompetence. I submit to you that those people have never built a search engine of the magnitude of what Google is today. It is a certainty. And let us not forget that Yahoo and to a lesser extent Microsoft have also had the same apparent link addiction. But can no one tell me WHY? The Spam Funnel Effect Now,... > Read more