There have been a lot of major points of discussion surrounding Google and the company’s impact on businesses, marketers and websites over the course of this past week, and that includes things on both the search side of things as well as the social side (though sometimes these are directly related).
What should Google be doing to improve search and advertising? Comment here.
The two major events that kicked off all of these topics were the launch (after months of waiting) of Google+ Pages for businesses, products and brands, and the PubCon event in Las Vegaas, where Google’s Matt Cutts and Amit Signhal spoke about search.
If you’re looking for tips on effectively using your Google+ Page, read this. If you’re looking for how to just set one up, read this. This piece discusses setting the Page up with your AdWords campaigns.
On the PubCon front, the most noteworthy piece of news was that Google is testing algorithms that determine how much content vs. ads are above the fold on a page. Expect this to be an increasingly significant factor in Google rankings. It raises a lot of questions though, and we discussed here.
About that those raters...
Webmasters tend to put a slightly skewed angle on this. The quality raters are actually rating a SERP (that is, a particular algo configuration) as a quality control measure for the algo team. Their ratings do not directly change rankings- but they hep the algo team see if the algo worked as planned or not.
Also, note that this document is not for the spam team. They also have a training document and use human quality raters – but that document has never been leaked.
Morris Rosenthal, who had sites impacted by the Panda update shared some inteteresting thoughts in relation to that.
Prior to PubCon, Cutts also tweeted out a video discussing how Google determines Page Speed:
He says it really only affects the rankings in about one out of a hundred searches, and it’s really only a big issue for about one in a thousand sites. This is pretty interesting considering the emphasis Google has placed on this element over the past year or two.
Transparency and Communication
There were plenty of other takeaways from the Google PubCon Q&A that are worth noting. In a nutshell, Googlebot is getting smarter and better at determining what types of content reside on a page, and at the same time, Google (at least according to Google) is getting better at transparency and communication with webmasters.
Specifically, they said they intend to be more transparent about algorithm updates and announce them as they go (as we’ve already seen them do with the Panda and Freshness updates).
They also gave a few pieces of advice, such as suggesting you tell Google when you publish content using email alerts and seting up pubsubhubbub in Webmaster Tools to help them better see that you publish the content before scrapers scrape it. Also, they emphasized that doorway pages are a bad idea.
Did you know...
A couple of facts they shared: Google has spam fighters in 40 languages and keeps an excel sheet of 500 sties from a thread in the Google Webmaster Help Forum where webmasters report Panda issues (presumably the one discussed here).
While the “Freshness” update may have taken hold the prior week, SearchMetrics released a list of the top winners and losers in terms of search visibility. While there was no clear pattern to the types of sites negatively impacted by it, there were quite a few news sites on the winners list. That’s not to say all winners were sites of this nature. The top winner was actually Last.fm.
There were several Google ad-related developments over the week. For one, Google announced that in the coming weeks, AdMob developers will be able to make their in-app inventory available on Google’s Ad Exchange).
The company announced that mobile site optimization is now a factor in mobile ads quality, as it rolls out to all advertisers. On the Google Mobile Ads Blog, product manager David Nachum wrote, “Ads that have mobile optimized landing pages will tend to perform better in AdWords -- they will generally drive more mobile traffic at a lower cost.”
Then of course there is the ability to tie your AdWords campaigns to your Google+ page.
Is Google headed in the right direction? Do you consider these developments to be good things? Tell us what you think.