Google’s always changing. It’s a fact of life that makes search engine optimisation such an exciting practice for marketers, yet also one of the most frustrating arts to master.
But when rankings are earned in an ethical manner, your traffic increases, your content gets shared through social media and your products start flying from your virtual shelves then the initial investment (and patience) is more than worth it.
But while Google changes on a daily basis, there has been a flurry of activity recently that’s caught the collective eyes of the search community:
01: Penguin 2.0’s on its way
The activity that’s caught the most attention is the impending release of Google 2.0, which should be released by the search giant any day now.
Penguin 2.0 is the next generation of the original link detection algorithm first introduced to weed out unethical back links from merchants. Penguin 2.0 is expected to have a much bigger impact than the first release, and has a number of SEO agencies quaking in their boots.
Especially since Google has also pointed out that webmasters also won’t be alerted to Panda algorithm updates anymore. But, of course, those that have been following Google’s guidelines and have been focusing on providing a quality service have nothing to worry about!
Take a look at our tips on how to protect your website against the upcoming Penguin release for more information.
02: European results will change dramatically
A number of sites use Google’s shopping results in an effective manner to advertise and sell their products. Google is set to change how these results appear to shoppers however, though at the insistence of the European Commission (EC).
It’s part of the antitrust investigation launched by the EC over a year ago with the body seeking feedback on the cosmetic changes to Google’s European search results soon. Take a look below at the search results you may soon be looking at:
Google is committed to clearer labelling on its shopping search results – on its desktop and mobile search results – to give searchers a clearer idea of which products belong to Google and which don’t. Shopping results will also display three clear links to rival sites for products.
And it’s not just shopping results that will see a change. Local results in Google places will also likely see a similar change with SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) showing ‘other relevant search providers’ to provide more variety. News results and image searches should also be affected in the long-term.
There’s no doubt these changes will happen thanks to the antitrust investigation. The investigation has come about due to concerns that Google was abusing its market position on the web, with complaints lodged by rivals including Microsoft.
The EC highlighted four areas of concern, saying Google “could harm consumers by reducing choice and stifling innovation in the fields of specialised search services and online search advertising”.
Google’s upcoming changes should prove a satisfactory conclusion to the EC’s investigation.
03: Instant preview has been ditched
Instant preview caused something of a stir when it was released in 2012, but Google has confirmed that the site preview feature has been phased out due to low usage.
The feature used to allow people to get an instant preview of the site when they hovered over a magnifying glass icon next to the site name in the SERPs.
Instead SERP links now give searchers the ability to view similar or cached sites via a dropdown menu, as well as the ability to share the link on Google+. Mobile and video instant previews have also disappeared.
“Instant previews saw very low usage by our users, and we’ve decided to focus on streamlining the page to benefit more users,” commented a Google spokesperson on the official Google Search Forum.
04: Google has spent millions on Wavii
Whilst Google has been streamlining and amending its core service the company has also been expanding in other areas. Google has recently purchased Seattle-based Wavii for $30million.
Wavii classes itself as a news summarisation service. An official statement from the company recently said: “You probably know us best for our app that takes the deluge of information streaming across the web and condenses it into fast, fun updates.
“While we won’t continue to offer this particular service, we’ll be using our natural language research at Google in ways that may be useful to millions of people around the world.”
Rumours online have speculated that Apple was also interested in Wavii and was looking to pair it with its Siri technology. Google, though, have got there first.
So what exactly does Wavii provide? Wavii sorts online news into varying topics that its users care about most – something that Yahoo! currently provides with an iPhone app it’s just launched that fully utilises its Summly acquisition.
Google will likely develop Wavii’s natural language processing technology alongside its own services in order to create a better user experience for its searches. How it will affect future algorithm updates is purely speculation at the moment.
05: SERP Authorship profiles have been amended
Amazingly Google has also streamlined authorship snippets on its SERPs. Google authorship shows searchers pictures of the article author in the SERPs if they add their Google+ profile link alongside an authorship code within the body of the article.
Search commentators have noticed however that authorship profiles have also been toned down. They’re more intrigued, however, at how quietly Google has gone about it.
Google has removed the ‘More by’ link which directed people to other stories written by the author. Instead clicking on the author’s picture will take searchers to a set of similar results instead of the author’s Google+ profile.
Clicking on the author’s picture originally took searchers to the author’s Google+ profile. Searchers now have to click on the number of people that have circled the author to get there.
To learn more about Google’s algorithm changes and how they affect your website, contact Webpresence today to speak to one of our expert search advisors.