Industry UpdatesGA Site Speed Reports No Longer Require Custom Tracking• All Google Analytics accounts will automatically have the „Site Speed‟ report available with no extra work.• Previously webmasters had to add a custom line to their analytics tracking code. – _trackPageLoadTime()• http://analytics.blogspot.com/2011/11/site-speed- now-even-easier-to-access.html
Industry UpdatesGoogle Evolve Their Design Even Further• The new Google bar that will enable users to navigate quickly between Google services, as well as sharing content easily on Google+.• Instead of the horizontal black bar at the top of the page, links to Google services will be in a new drop-down Google menu nested under the Google logo. It will show a list of links as well as allowing access to additional services by hovering over the “More” link.• This provides even tighter integration between services and offers a seamless experience for Google users.
Industry UpdatesNew Markup For Multilingual Content• Google have launched a new meta tag which helps with multilingual websites - http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2010/09/unifying-content-under-multilingual.html• This is pretty complicated post, but essentially it‟s saying you can specify one URL as the de- facto page (so all link equity is consolidated to there) but then reference different language translations and get those pages ranking in their local language Google (google.fr, google.dk etc)• And updated it to new tags Dec 11 http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2011/12/new-markup-for-multilingual- content.html?spref=tw• Example usage – http://www.example.com/ - contains the general homepage of a website, in Spanish – http://es-es.example.com/ - is the version for users in Spain, in Spanish – http://es-mx.example.com/ - is the version for users in Mexico, in Spanish – http://en.example.com/ - is the generic English language version
Industry UpdatesNew Parked Domain Identifier• Google have improved their parked domain detection so that these domains, which are often used by spammers and stuffed with ads, should appear less in search results.• “New “parked domain” classifier: This is a new algorithm for automatically detecting parked domains. Parked domains are placeholder sites that are seldom useful and often filled with ads. They typically don’t have valuable content for our users, so in most cases we prefer not to show them.” – http://insidesearch.blogspot.com/2011/12/search-quality-highlights-new-monthly.html• “Ironically, Google’s own AdSense For Domains program has fueled much of the parked domain industry that its web search team is now penalizing against.” – Danny Sullivan – http://searchengineland.com/google-parked-domains-scraper-sites-targeted- amongsearch-changes-103302
Industry UpdatesRewarding Original Content• Google also announced that they would be making some further changes to help identify original content.• “We added new signals to help us make better predictions about which of two similar web pages is the original one.” – http://insidesearch.blogspot.com/2011/12/search-quality-highlights-new-monthly.html• Although Google doesn‟t specifically state the change is aimed at scraper sites, it should help prevent the problem of publishers having their content stolen by scraper sites, an issue that Google‟s has been trying to tackle since launching its Panda Update earlier this year.
Industry UpdatesLess Host Crowding• Another interesting update was Google saying that it is now preventing a single site from occupying too much of the top search results.• “This code handles extra processing on the top set of results. For example, it ensures that we don’t show too many results from one site (“host crowding”). We rewrote the code to make it easier to understand, simpler to maintain and more flexible for future extensions.” – http://insidesearch.blogspot.com/2011/12/search-quality-highlights-new-monthly.html• This is a bit of a „U turn‟ as Google was previously giving brands more prominence in it‟s search results (see the previous announcements below) – http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2010/11/petits-fours-in-your-search- results.html – http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2010/08/showing-more-results-from- domain.html• The change means that that brand owners will now occupy less of the search results page for searches on their name. Competitors or critics are now more likely turn up more meaning that this represents more of a challenge for brands with reputation management issues.
Industry UpdatesFurther Announcements• Google announced several other tweaks to it‟s algorithm this month which included;• Related query results refinements: Google is now more likely to return results for queries that feature rare words that might have previously been dropped. For example, if you are searching for [rare red widgets], you might not be as interested in a page that only mentions “red widgets.”• More comprehensive indexing: Making long-tail documents more likely to rank for relevant queries.• Fresher and more complete blog search results: We made a change to our blog search index to get coverage that is both fresher and more comprehensive.• Image result freshness: We made a change to how we determine image freshness for news queries. This will help us find the freshest images more often.
Industry UpdatesRich Snippets Now Showing Everywhere• Google seems to have taken out the „whitelisting‟ process for several types rich snippets.including review and review-aggregate types which are some of the more common rich snippet types.• This appears to be the case with both microformat hreview markup and schema.org markup and both methods are displaying rich snippets, even when hidden.• Interestingly, Google had always stated that you shouldn‟t hide your code for rich snippets and this appears to be a „u turn‟.• It does mean however that SERPs could be flooded with star ratings so much so that it will now have less of an effect in terms of CTR.