Tag Archives: Search Engine Algorithms

Google search algorithm changes for April 2012 announced

Google Search Insights LogoIn an ongoing series, Google has just announced their most recent search algorithm changes for April 2012. Google is often cryptic when describing their changes, so the exact impact will be clearer over time. From an initial reading, many changes will impact international issues. It also appears there may be even less use of a page’s own title tag for the snippet title (More concise and/or informative titles).

Supplemental index is now called index tiers and there’s a new index tier

In the past Google would label some results as coming from a supplemental index, a type of secondary index. There are pages that Google generally values less and will turn to for results only after searching the primary index. We know now that Google calls secondary indexes “tiers”.

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Between the Lines: Google’s March 2012 Search Algorithm Updates

If you try reading Google’s search updates, it might seem as if they’re speaking another language. Reading between the lines, here’s one quick interpretation as to what the main changes are:

  • Google will now support a limited set of characters besides letters and numbers in search queries and search suggestions. This is primarily driven, I suspect, by the introduction of Google+, but will be very useful for anyone who has tried to search for an email address including the @ sign.
  • Ranking of news articles may change in the main search results. News results may be more prominent.
  • Searches for names (vanity, reputation management) will return profiles from a greater number of sources (two-hundred social sites), especially if you’re a celebrity.
  • More Sports rich snippets, including the Russian Hockey League (Yandex anyone?)
  • Less porn when you’re not looking for it
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Italian press to Google: you’re unfair (and we’re confused)

This past week the Italian antitrust authority (Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato) conducted a search of Google’s Italian office and announced it was beginning an investigation into Google’s possible abuse of its dominant position in the Italian search engine market. The case was triggered by a complaint from the Italian Federation of News Publishers, FIEG (Federazione Italiana Editori Giornali). FIEG represents publishers of newspapers and magazines, together with press agencies.

So what’s the problem?

The news industry has struggled since the mid 1990s to figure out a profitable internet strategy. “Free” content needs to be supported by advertising revenue, yet poorly targeted banners and the like don’t pay much. Google’s indisputable success as an advertising powerhouse1 has captured the press’ attention.

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Why SEO & Usability are like two peas in a pod

Good user experience is fundamental for the success of a website:

On the Internet, it’s survival of the easiest: If customers can’t find a product, they can’t buy it. Give users a good experience and they’re apt to turn into frequent and loyal customers. But the Web also offers low switching costs … Only if a site is extremely easy to use will anybody bother staying around. – Usability guru Jakob Nielsen1

While Nielsen probably had site design and information architecture in mind, his point also encompasses search engine visibility. Without search engine visibility a website is hidden away on a dead-end street instead of being front and center on main street2, where the people are.

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So many aspiring SEOs! – the SEO Quiz results are in

15 questions, 5 weeks and 5 books: almost 700 people took the 2008 SEO quiz challenge.

Note to the reader: this article was originally posted on our Italian blog on December 2nd. The quiz targeted an Italian audience; we’ve published this translation in order to allow a wider audience to follow search marketing developments in Italy.

Why a SEO quiz

The idea of the quiz came from reflections on the state of SEO knowledge and usage in Italy, observed from the perspective of a SEO practitioner.

Search engines, with Google in particular (question 1), are the gate keepers between us and the net. We use search engines not only to search for information that we imagine is out there somewhere, but also to navigate to a specific site, such as Fiat, or to perform a task, such as buy a ticket for a Tiziano Ferro concert (question 15).

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15 questions, 5 weeks, 5 free books: the SEO quiz is here

Note to the reader: this article was originally posted on our Italian blog on October 28th. The quiz targeted an Italian audience; we’ve published this translation in order to allow a wider audience to follow search marketing developments in Italy.

It seems that the summer fun is now over, but not so fast: it’s time to check, just for fun, your SEO knowledge! We’ve prepared 15 multiple choice questions on topics which appear frequently in SEO projects.

Only for a limited time

The quiz will be available for just 5 weeks, from 28 October to 1 December 2008. Once the quiz is over, the correct answers and the overall results will be published here. Participants will receive an e-mail with their results and a certificate of participation.

Five lucky participants will receive a free copy of Internet PR

Where there’s a quiz, there’s training. Marco Massarotto has lent us a hand, kindly offering 5 copies of his excellent book Internet PR.

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Links and Algorithms behind Blog Statistics: BlogBabel reopens.

I couldn’t help but notice the reopening of Italy’s primary blog classification service, BlogBabel. Just over a year ago I wrote about BlogBabel:

“While it is worth keeping in mind that BlogBabel’s ranking is just one measure of the importance of a particular blog, Ludo deserves kudos for the transparency in which BlogBabel’s rankings are calculated.”

Since then, the ranking factors have changed a bit. Currently BlogBabel says the following parameters are considered1:

BlogBabel Ranking FactorDescriptionWeight
Google PageRankThe “official” global weight Google assigns to a site. (Its worth noting that this is updated only once every 3-4 months and is not what Google uses internally.)1
FeedBurnerNumber of feed subscribers for blogs.0, thus not considered
Link/6Inbound links from posts on other sites, added within the last 6 months.1
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The Google Webmaster Dashboard, a.k.a. Google Sitemaps

In order to index and display web content in their search results, search engines need to be able to find the content. The first generation of Internet search engines relied on webmasters to submit a site’s primary URL, the site’s “home page”, to the search engine’s crawler database. The crawler would then follow each link it found on the home page. Problems soon emerged – much site content can be inadvertently hidden from crawlers, such as that behind drop-down lists and forms.

Update: Google Sitemaps was renamed Google Webmaster Tools on 5-Aug-2005 to better reflect its more expansive role.

Fast forward to 2005. Search engine crawlers have improved their ability to find sites through from other sites – site submission is no longer relevant. Yet many web sites are still coded in ways which impede automatic search engine discovery of the rich content often available in larger, complex web sites.

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