Tag Archives: Google: Algorithm Updates

Google: Our search leads won’t let us talk about the Fred update

Gary Illyes from Google said the techniques Fred went after specifically are mentioned in their webmaster guidelines. The post Google: Our search leads won’t let us talk about the Fred update appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Google launches new effort to flag upsetting or offensive content in search

Using data from human "quality raters," Google hopes to teach its algorithms how to better spot offensive and often factually incorrect information. The post Google launches new effort to flag upsetting or offensive content in search appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Did Google’s Fred update hit low-value content sites that focus on revenue, not users?

Google won't comment about the "Fred update," but based on our own analysis, many affected sites saw up to a 90% drop in traffic. The post Did Google’s Fred update hit low-value content sites that focus on revenue, not users? appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Five most interesting search marketing news stories of the week

Welcome to our weekly round-up of all the latest news and research from the world of search marketing and beyond.

This week, Google’s emoji conquest of the SERP is advancing on AdWords titles, Snapchat influencers may be fleeing the platform for greener pastures, and Facebook is making it easier for advertisers to compare the performance of their Facebook campaigns with their campaigns on other platforms.

Also, Google’s Next Cloud Conference has revealed that Google’s machine learning technology can recognize objects in videos, and an unconfirmed ranking update dubbed “Fred” has been shaking up the SERP over the past few days.

Emoji appear in Google AdWords ad titles

A couple of weeks ago, we reported on the official return of emoji to the Google SERP, after a decision was taken to remove them in 2015. Now, emoji have been spotted in the wild in AdWords ad titles, suggesting that a possible roll-out might be on the cards there too.

Clark Boyd reported on the development for Search Engine Watch this week, looking at where emoji have been identified in ads, and what this could mean for advertisers and marketers if it does become permanent.

As investors bet on Snap, some Snapchat influencers bet on other platforms

Last week, Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, went public to huge investor excitement, closing out the day with a $34 billion valuation, with shares valued at 44% above their offering price.

But as is so often the case with social media, the road for Snapchat hasn’t been completely smooth. Al Roberts reported on our sister site, ClickZ, that some Snapchat influencers are departing for other platforms after experiencing a rocky relationship with Snapchat.

One influencer, Mike Platco, was turned away when he attempted to visit Snap’s offices in 2014. Today, he has some 500,000 followers on Snap and reportedly earns as much as $80,000 for campaigns, but his relationship with Snap apparently hasn’t warmed much over the years. As a result, Platco is working to move his followers over to Instagram.

“Every single bad thing I could possibly say about Snapchat, I could say the opposite of how my relationship is going with Instagram,” he told BuzzFeed.

Roberts looked at the possible reasons for Snapchat’s decision not to roll out the red carpet for influencers, as well as whether this tactic may backfire if its user growth and revenue figures come as a disappointment to shareholders further down the line.

Facebook Advanced Measurement will let advertisers compare Facebook ad performance

This week, Facebook announced the launch of a new service known as ‘Advanced Measurement’, which will allow advertisers to compare the performance of their Facebook campaigns with their campaigns on other platforms.

According to Business Insider, Advanced Measurement will allow advertisers to compare their Facebook campaigns to the campaigns they are running through providers like Google AdWords and the Google Display Network.

Specifically, advertisers will be able to determine which campaigns on which platforms “drove the most purchases on their online store, or had the highest reach among their desired target audience.”

As Al Roberts wrote for ClickZ, by making advanced attribution tools like Advanced Measurement accessible to all of its customers, Facebook could help allay some of the growing concerns advertisers have about the accuracy of its metrics – providing that companies are still prepared to trust Facebook’s reporting.

Google’s machine learning technology can recognize objects in videos

Visual search could be the next big frontier in search development, as developments in artificial intelligence and machine learning make it possible to recognize, compare and analyze images with increasing accuracy.

Until now, it has seemed like Google has been lagging behind slightly in the race for visual search dominance, as other contenders like Pinterest and Bing forge ahead with advanced visual discovery tools and technology. But that may no longer be the case.

Five most interesting search marketing news stories of the week

Image: Google Cloud Platform

The Verge reported Wednesday on a revelation from Google’s Next Cloud Conference, which ends today, that a new “Video Intelligence API” developed by Google has the ability to identify objects in videos, understand the nature of those videos (e.g. a commercial), and can pull up videos with certain types of scenes in them, based on a keyword search.

The Video Intelligence API is currently in private beta, but should it become more widely available to the public, it would further expand the capabilities of visual search and recognition into the realm of video, in the same way that searching “sunset” in Google Photos can bring up your best shots of the early evening sky.

Unconfirmed Google ‘Fred’ update is shaking up search rankings

Another week, and another Google algorithm change has the search community abuzz with speculation about what could be going on.

The first signs that an update might be taking place came early on the morning of Wednesday 8th, and SEO Roundtable’s Barry Schwartz observed that most of the active conversation was centered around the Black Hat World and WebmasterWorld forums. Many users were reporting sharp drops in traffic and keyword rankings taking place late on Tuesday and early on Wednesday, although no-one was able to pin down an exact cause.

Over on Twitter, Google’s John Mueller was typically vague when asked to confirm whether an update was taking place:

However, an amusing conversation then spawned around naming the (suspected) update, which culminated in it being dubbed “Fred” after Gary Illyes declared that “From now on every update, unless otherwise stated, shall be called Fred”.

Have you experienced any ranking turbulence from Hurricane Fred? Do you have any theories as to what kind of sites Google might be targeting with the update? Leave a comment!

New, unconfirmed Google ranking update ‘Fred’ shakes the SEO world

The webmaster and SEO community, along with the automated Google tracking tools, all show strong signs that there was a Google algorithm ranking update. The post New, unconfirmed Google ranking update ‘Fred’ shakes the SEO world appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Can we machine-learn Google’s machine-learning algorithm?

As Google becomes increasingly sophisticated in its methods for scoring and ranking web pages, it's more difficult for marketers to keep up with SEO best practices. Columnist Jayson DeMers explores what can be done to keep up in a world where machine learning rules the day. The post Can we...

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Google: No comment on possibility of a Feb. 7 algorithm update

Did your rankings in Google get better or worse over the past week? Many webmasters and SEOs are noticing some significant changes in Google's search rankings algorithm. The post Google: No comment on possibility of a Feb. 7 algorithm update appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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The impact (and lack thereof) of Google’s mobile popup algorithm

Back in August 2016, Google warned that it would be releasing an algorithm to crack down on interstitials on mobile pages. Now that the update has been live for a month, columnist Glenn Gabe shares his findings on the impact. The post The impact (and lack thereof) of Google’s mobile popup...

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What’s been going on with Google’s mobile indexing?

Back in October, Google announced the impending rollout of a mobile-first search index, a sure to be massive overhaul of the way Google indexes its search results which has had SEOs scrambling to prepare their businesses.

In fairly typical Google fashion, a few months on from the announcement, we’re still no closer to a definitive date on when the change will take place. But some strange behaviour in mobile search results, combined with turbulent search ‘weather’ over the past few days, indicates that we could be approaching a launch.

What happened?

The first sign that something a little strange was happening came on Monday 6th February, when Glynn Davies, Head of Search Strategy at Pi Datametrics, noticed separate mobile sites dropping out of mobile search on Google, to be replaced with their desktop versions.

As alarming as it might seem, this situation isn’t without precedent on Google. Google confirmed back in 2015 that it uses the desktop version of a site for ranking on mobile, while still comparing the two to check for any major discrepancies (such as users creating a spammy desktop website purely for the purposes of ranking high).

And last November it was revealed that desktop pages might be ranked over AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) in certain circumstances in the upcoming mobile-first index.

Still, this sudden switch seemed unprecedented, and Mozcast’s weather report – which reflects the current turbulence of Google’s algorithms by how hot and stormy the weather is – was showing some distinctly tempestuous weather on Sunday 5th and Monday 6th November.

Image: Mozcast

There was some speculation on Twitter as to whether this could be due to Google’s recently-implemented penalty against intrusive mobile interstitials, but there appeared to be no link between the presence of interstitials and the sites which were being affected.

Of course, in these situations one of the best ways to gain clarity is to ping Google on Twitter. As it happened, Twitter user Vishal Marathe had already contacted John Mueller, Google’s webmaster trends analyst, a few days earlier about the same issue. Mueller’s theory was that the swap in rankings might be due to a problem in the way the sites themselves were set up.

Glitchy Google

Pi Datametrics tracked the ranking of the affected sites on both mobile and desktop with its data-driven SEO platform, in order to try and determine what might be causing the change. Glynn Davies explained Pi’s thinking in trying to determine the cause:

“Our first suspicion on noticing this was an error in configuration that was being “punished” by Google’s switch to mobile-first indexing. Google recommend a bi-directional rel=“canonical”/rel=“alternate”, which identifies the relationship between equivalent but separate mobile and desktop pages.

However, that doesn’t appear to be the cause. Some affected sites are correctly configured, others appear not to be. Plus, all examples we’ve seen conditionally redirect, i.e. clicking the desktop site result on a mobile device will pass the user back to the mobile site.”

What’s been going on with Google’s mobile indexing?

An image from Pi Datametrics’ platform highlighting the sites that were affected by the mysterious change – and those which weren’t. | Image: Pi Datametrics

What’s been going on with Google’s mobile indexing?

Fashion retailer ASOS is one of the brands whose sites were affected by the switch in rankings. Image: Pi Datametrics

Major fashion retailer ASOS was one of those affected, and its mobile and desktop sites exhibited some particularly strange behaviour with regard to US and UK search. Davies explained:

“One of the examples, a large fashion retailer (ASOS), is further complicated by the fact that the US mobile page ranking 1st in UK mobile search has been replaced by the UK desktop equivalent (which now still redirects to the US version when accessed through SERPs).

In short, there doesn’t appear to be either a clear cause or a reason why some are affected while others aren’t.”

Things became significantly clearer when, on Wednesday 8th February, John Mueller tweeted to confirm that this was in fact a glitch (or “quirk”) on Google’s end, rather than intentional behaviour, and that Google was actively looking into the issue.

As of right now, the glitch seems to still be ongoing while Google looks into things. There is a chance that the issue could be unrelated to mobile-first indexing – after all, Google has any number of algorithm updates, both big and small, in the pipeline for throughout the year – most of which we won’t even know about until they’re on top of us. Mobile-first indexing just happens to be a major one that we know is coming.

But given the fact that this glitch affects mobile sites specifically, and the timing of it, it doesn’t seem too far-fetched to conclude that it could be the result of tests that Google is carrying out ahead of a full implementation of the new index.

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What were Google’s biggest search algorithm updates of 2016?

Yes, we’re well into 2017 now and Google has already rolled out a significant algorithm update this year. But of course every SEO worth her salt knows that last year’s algo updates are significant indicators of the changes to come – search engines are known for making slow and incremental adjustments to their filters.

So while we’re still piecing together lessons from wins and losses in organic search last year, here’s a visual and entertaining summary of Google’s moves in 2016 that might well help us in predicting where SEO will take us in 2017.

Google’s Biggest Search Algorithm Updates Of 2016 – a visual representation by E2M