Google and Bing Changes You Need to Know About

A lot happening in search this week

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There have been a whole lot of announcements from the major search engines this week, that all webmasters should be aware of – especially from Google, because while its market share may have slipped slightly (while Bing-powered search has grown a bit), it’s still by far the most used search engine.

Are the search engines headed in the right direction? Tell us what you think in the comments.

Cutts on Why Your PageRank Would Drop

While not exactly an announcement, Google’s head of web spam Matt Cutts did post a video discussing reasons why Google Toolbar PageRank would drop. We talked about this a little bit more here, but you can hear exactly what he had to say in this video:

There is a part in there where he mentions that if you were caught selling links, but have stopped and want to earn Google’s trust back, you should submit a reconsideration request. On that note, Google announced that it is getting “more transparent” with its reconsideration requests.

Better Communication

“Now, if your site is affected by a manual spam action, we may let you know if we were able to revoke that manual action based on your reconsideration request,” explain Tiffany Oberoi and Michael Wyszomierski of Google’s Search Quality team in a joint blog post. “Or, we could tell you if your site is still in violation of our guidelines. This might be a discouraging thing to hear, but once you know that there is still a problem, it will help you diagnose the issue.”

“If your site is not actually affected by any manual action (this is the most common scenario), we may let you know that as well,” they add. “Perhaps your site isn’t being ranked highly by our algorithms, in which case our systems will respond to improvements on the site as changes are made, without your needing to submit a reconsideration request. Or maybe your site has access issues that are preventing Googlebot from crawling and indexing it.”

Google says it’s not able to reply to individual requests with specific feedback, but that now webmasters will be able to find out if their site has been affected by a manual action and will know the outcome of the reconsideration review.

Google Using Blocked Site Data in Algorithm

Earlier this year, Google announced some new domain blocking features, which included a browser extension, and a link next to search results, which allow users to block sites that they don’t like. This was part of Google’s big quality clean up initiative, which also includes the Panda update and the +1 button. Initially, the sites blocked were on a personalized basis, but that is no longer completely the case. Google search quality engineer Johannes Henkel is quoted as saying, “We’ve also started incorporating data about sites people have blocked into our general search ranking algorithms to help users find more high quality sites.”

Pagination and View-All in Search Results

Google is “making a larger effort” to return single-page versions of content in search results, when the content is broken up among multiple pages. Think multiple page articles and content slideshows. Google says users tend to prefer single page versions of content, but sometimes these can load slowly, so there are also times when the multiple pages work better.

“So while a view-all page is commonly desired, as a webmaster it’s important to balance this preference with the page’s load time and overall user experience,” Google indexing team software engineers Benjia Li & Joachim Kupke say in a joint blog post on the Webmaster Central blog.

You can read more about the technical specs here. They summarize it all nicely: “Because users generally prefer the view-all option in search results, we’re making more of an effort to properly detect and serve this version to searchers. If you have a series of content, there’s nothing more you need to do.”

To better optimize your view-all page, you can use rel=”canonical” from component pages to the single-page version; otherwise, if a view-all page doesn’t provide a good user experience for your site, you can use the rel=”next” and rel=”prev” attributes as a strong hint for Google to identify the series of pages and still surface a component page in results.

They talk even more about the specs of using rel=”next” and rel=”rev” in this post.

Rich Snippets for Apps

Google is also showing rich snippets for apps in search results now. They’re getting info for these from various places including: Android Market, Apple iTunes and CNET.

Application rich snippets

“Before you install a software application, you may want to check out what others think about it and how much it costs,” says product manager Alejandro Goyen. “Starting today, you’ll be able to get information about the applications, including review and price information, right in your search results.”

That’s something to consider if your business has an app. It’s a reputation factor.

Editing in YouTube

This isn’t exactly a search feature, but when you consider how big a role video can play in search marketing and that YouTube is the second largest search engine, it’s certainly worth your attention. YouTube has launched new editing tools that allow you to easy edit videos right from YouTube itself.

This should help you improve your videos, which are not only searchable on the second largest search engine and embeddable across the web, but often appear right in the results of regular Google searches. This new editing functionality will make it easier to try new things with less successful videos and potentially make them more viral.

Bing Adaptive Search

Ok, getting away from Google, Bing has launched adaptive search, which is essentially its version of personalized search. The company says it “helps decipher the intent and context of each search you conduct based on your search history.”

“The concept of personalized search is not a new idea, but Bing continues to focus on it and drive progress as the search space evolves,” a representative for Bing tells WebProNews. “In fact, Bing views personalized search as less of a ‘feature’ and more of what to expect from search.”
“Ultimately, the goal is to reduce ambiguity and help people find what they’re looking for more quickly,” he adds. “The personalization can be pretty subtle to the naked eye, but the more Bing learns about your intent the more personal it will become. And Bing also wants to be sure a diverse set of results still show up so people aren’t locked in a ‘filter bubble’. We think this provides a good balance.”

You’ve been dealing with this kind of thing with Google for quite some time, but it does throw in another SEO factor to consider for Bing, which as previously mentioned continues to gain market share.

WebProNews is interviewing Bing’s Stefan Weitz as I write this, so check back at WebProNews for more on this soon.

New Analytics Tool from Blekko

Finally, alternative search engine Blekko has released an interesting search analytics tool, which some of you might find useful. It’s called “Web Grepper”.

“The Web Grepper searches for unique data information and trends that are embedded in code and cannot be found on any other search engine,” a spokesperson for the company tells WebProNews. “For example, you could search to see how many pages request your user information when you visit, the types of  targeting information the site collecting, or how many sites have ‘Like’ vs ‘+1′ buttons, etc.”

Users can submit questions to the tool and the Blekko community votes on a daily basis on which questions will be analyzed.

These aren’t the only things going on in search this week, but these are some of the more noteworthy things that are likely to have a bigger impact on most site owners, than say things like Flight Search and Baseball scores.

Do any of these items concern you? Make your life easier? Let us know in the comments.

Google and Bing Changes You Need to Know About
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  • http://top10cdrates.wordpress.com/ Top CD Rates

    The idea of competitors being able to get people to block someone’s site and thus affect the site seems like a potential problem. I would hope if there were enough signals that a site was being blocked by a large number of people that Google would manually review it.

    Hopefully some sort of trust is built into the system so a bunch of day old accounts can’t wreck havoc.

    cd :O)

    • Graeme Hunter

      The original search engine was much better than the one they have too. That original search enginem you could go on the sight and imediately get what you asked for. This sight you do not get what you put in you get related sights as well and by the time you go through them all, well you want to give up. Please go back to the search engine that you could get instant access to the sights.

  • http://www.absolutewebworks.com/ Absolute Webworks

    I’m not totally clear on what is the purpose of blocking sites. With these constant improvements in search, will Google or Bing ever offer real time search?

    • moonlight

      For real time search you have to use other engines. There are many engines giving true results instead of the kindergarten kiddy games being employed by Google. Those tricks are for kids.

      Personally, I like DuckDuckGo. The results are true and they don’t track you. I view G as more for the 12 yr. old/teen crowd. For serious search, you’ll need to go elsewhere.

      I want relevant search results and I can’t get that with Google. I expect them to continue losing market share as more and more people wise up and realize you don’t have to be a slave to a freaking search engine. It is there to serve YOU, not the other way around.

  • http://www.jtzenterprise.com John

    The changes Google made replacing Base.google.com with its merchant ‘solution’ has really left car dealerships and car buyers out in the cold. Because autos can not be shipped they are excluded. Yet, in the base plan our car dealership clients saw dozens of car shoppers come their way as a result of their Base listings. That all has come to an end with Google. Is this a sign they will do the same as Yahoo and allow a big car classified company power their auto searches? Are they instead, moving to a pay to play system for the automotive industry? Right now, they are basically telling all car dealers and car buyers not to list or search for cars here…

  • http://www.cosmeticsurgerymarketingguide.com/ Ashish Chauhan

    After reading the post, I have just filed reconsideration request to Google. Hope I will get back reply soon.

  • http://www.macoway.com Ovi

    Today SEO Services need to be changed and updated much more ofthen than 2 – 4 years ago. The SEO Market is a neverending jurney. People should be aware search is still one of the most ROI of Advertising.

    • moonlight

      Ovi, just what do you think needs to be changed about SEO? If you are using pure organic white hat techniques no change is needed. However, if you’re using grey or black hat in your SEO, then yes, you need to change things.

      As stated by many others in prior articles similar to this, stick with white hat and you will have nothing to worry about.

      I do wonder why I’m seeing so many get away with using black hat. The SERPs are rife with it as well as spam.

  • http://www.sitetruth.com John Nagle

    Social is bad for search, and search is bad for social.

    These latest attempts to use “social signals” look like desperation measures. Google is having so much trouble with web spam that they’re piling patch on top of patch trying to make it work. Even though using social signals has been a disaster for Google (see Google Places spam), Google is trying even more social signals.

    As others mentioned above, now that Google has added a “block” button (should these be called “hates?”), that a new class of attacks becomes possible. Google already has enough trouble with their “This business is closed” flag in Places. That’s reached the New York Times. This week, even Fox News is criticizing Google (See “Could We Start Trusting the Internet Again?” by John Quain.)

    When the New York Times and Fox News both say there are serious problems with something, there’s real trouble.

  • http://www.51blocks.com Local Search

    Nice article! Do you really think the pagerank has much of an effect on search engine results still?

    Is Bing’s new personalized search replacing? or is it in addition to the Facebook integration that they have been using?

  • http://www.sefati.net/ Al Sefati

    Nice post I RTed. I also wish you talked about the bulleted snippets that was discussed on SEOMoz. I like the Bing’s adaptive search though I like how Bing is trying to stay relevant and up to date.

  • Chris

    I would like more information about “selling links” and Google policy? What is considered by google as “selling” link? Example, you have on the side of your site a “sponsor” section in which the logo of your sponsor appears with of course the link of their site, is it considered as “selling links” or another example, you do targeted article about a a product and you are paid by the brand to make it, is that count as “selling link”?

    Maybe you start to get my point, site like TLA are selling links between webmasters but if you run your own campain of advertising, is it not another way for Google to seat its position of monopole? It’s a bit Mafia style behavior, you work for us or you don’t work at all. What is doing the Anti trust commission?

    Frankly, since Panda update, my income is close to oblivion, so, if I don’t do sponsorship for my sites now, I can go begging on the street. When you got one website and have to correct it to please google is ok, but when you got many, it takes times (I need at least 6 months to finish that, unless Google change its mind again)

    By the way, Google is stupid, he put classifieds sites in the same basket as content sites, so because a guy post always in more than one site, if he doesn’t post with you first, you’re screwed. Classifieds isn’t content and never will be, so, Google stop with is Panda, it’s enough. I hope Bing will overthrown him, will make Google being less D..k H..d.

  • http://www.weballways.com Web AllWays

    Good work would always be in upper hand ad great value.

  • http://www.ASTBearings.com Paul Wharton

    Our website, http://www.astbearings.com recently lost its PageRank from a 4 to a 1 for no apparrent reason. We have searched high and low for any probable cause and can find none. All of our SEO/SEM efforts have been above board without getting even remotely close to questionable practices. We are at wits end on trying to figure out why the drop to the bottom.

    In the article and video it mentions making a “reconsideration request” to Google. How is this done?

  • http://www.whiteoutpress.com Whiteout Press

    Google may have destroyed themselves with their new search. It’s horrible. The simple fact is, it doesn’t provide helpful search results anymore. It’s too busy reading my mind. Here’s yesterday’s example. Researching data for an article about unemployment rates in the Midwest, I started my search for “Wisconsin unemployment rate August”. Great results. Minutes later, I search for “Indiana unemployment rate August”. What do I get? 10 million results for ‘Wisconsin’ again. I try “Illinois” and what do I get? 10 million results for ‘Wisconsin’. You get the picture.

  • http://www.model-train-help.com/ maeve cruz

    Well sometimes change is hard to accept but if it’s for the better then I glad for the changes.

  • http://www.kentuckyspecialfx.com Mike Bisch

    With constantly updating our site over the past few months since a lot of changes have take place in regards to google it’s been a real battle to for us to figure out what changes have helped and hurt.
    On one side were getting more traffic, lots more traffic, but, the traffic were getting is not quite that of better quaility / refined or targeted, meaning we get a lot of browsing courious customers now, AKA just looking which dosen’t bother me one bit cause any one of the browsings could be a potential but I started pro mo ads and really pushing the site this year in terms of advertising and being specific with search engines picking us up and between the pushing and marketing on my end and the changes with google its been a headache to really figure out whats working for us and what isnt.
    Im no wizz when it comes to seo but I im not totally brain dead either, I know sales are down across the board in our industry and our site http://www.kentuckyspecialfx.com it’s just gotten so confusing as to know what changes we need to make to get back on track with pushing certian products in the right direction since our company is kinda broad with it’s items.

  • http://www.orlandoescape.com Kiks

    Thanks for all this information in a summary and the videos as well.

  • http://www.excitebuzz.com/ Maria Jenua

    One thing I noticed which you don’t mention is that not all airlines permit the posting of fares. The one that I noticed ws Delta I ran a search on a simple trip from DCA (Reagan National) to ATL (Atlanta Hartsfield) and while the AirTran and other carrier fares were shown, I had to slect and use the “I want to book” tool to see the pricing for Delta. This may be a minor, start up related glitch; but, if it isn’t, then the benefit of using the site is reduced.

  • http://www.modeltrainhobbyist.com Lionel Bachmann @ Model Trains

    Thanks for the updates. It’s good to see the changes in the search engines, and staying on top of what they are looking for. I’ve never been a big fan of personalized search. It goes to far into trying to figure out what the intentions of the searcher is. Google’s algorithm is great at delivering results, why try to personalize it? You can get stuck looking at useless results because of what you searched for in the past.

  • http://www.encountersnepal.com rishi nepal

    from Mt.Everest, Annapurna and Kanchenjunga massive. Lord Buddha (Light of Asia) took birth on this amazing country Nepal…
    The great massive Himalaya stretches from Afghanistan to Burma across Pakistan, Northern India, Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan. Where the world’s greatest highest peaks lies within Nepal

  • http://www.marketingchristian.com Marketing Christian

    I believe the ability to remove a site from search listings AND allow that to influence the overall algorhythm arbitrarily is a potentially dangerous option that invites abuse. Since the individual user now influences the serps in the algorhythm, what is stopping people from abusing the removal of sites systematically from multiple ip addresses and geographic locations to attempt the devaluation of the site being removed from the results? From my perspective, it seems like a feature better left out of the ranking algorhythm altogether and making it a personal preference only.

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