Updates from Google this week you need to know about

- - SEO Trends

So, this week was pretty active. With Google rolling out its updates and people complaining about losing and gaining traffic, there was lot of hub-bub over the changes.

google-changes

Google kept us busy with couple of product launches as well – which added to the excitement.

So, what happened in Search Marketing last week?

Google Drive launched on April 24th. It had nothing to do with SEO or SEM directly, but this website (Sanil) found something interesting. Google was ranking its own page for the search term “Google Drive” in a matter of hours and with err…not very impressive SEO stats (that we’re told will be counted). Add a poor meta and poor basics there, I was surprised. But hey, this isn’t the first time, you know.

Google’s new search algo changes

Google’s major update was the algorithm changes which they said would roll out in the coming days on April 25th, was aimed at rewarding high quality sites.

In Google’s own words –

“In the pursuit of higher rankings or traffic, a few sites use techniques that don’t benefit users, where the intent is to look for shortcuts or loopholes that would rank pages higher than they deserve to be to be ranked. We see all sorts of webspam techniques every day, from keyword stuffing to link schemes that attempt to propel sites higher in rankings.

The goal of many of our ranking changes is to help searchers find sites that provide a great user experience and fulfill their information needs. We also want the “good guys” making great sites for users, not just algorithms, to see their effort rewarded. To that end we’ve launched Panda changes that successfully returned higher-quality sites in search results. And earlier this year we launched apage layout algorithm that reduces rankings for sites that don’t make much content available “above the fold.”
In the next few days, we’re launching an important algorithm change targeted at webspam. The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s existing quality guidelines.

While the motive looks very positive and is welcomed by all, as always changes are always met with criticism, and this time too. There were several discussions that started over whether the changes Google made were good or bad.

Google Algorithm change: Traffic Fluctuations

Danny Sullivan found several interesting instances where Bing was performing well against Google on certain queries. It might have been the Google changes that made it to perform lower (very marginally though).

Panda Update is going on (3.5 latest) still in many unconfirmed nodes and as a result, many websites have been showing significant traffic fluctuations. Panda Update hit around April 19 as confirmed by Matt Cutts. The last update was Panda 3.4 on March 23 and doesn’t seem to have affected websites in any big ways.

Image optimization tips from AdSense team

Google AdSense team wrote a pretty detailed post on Image Optimization.Which in my opinion was very basic and summarized only the things Google has been talking about for years. However, the Webmaster’s team gave a fairly thorough article on how to move content to new websites, the different methods and the right ways of doing it. That was a great post.

Several tools from Google Webmaster’s Tool are pulled off

Amidst all that frenzy, Google Webmaster’s tool pulled out several inactive tools from the arsenal, including Robots.txt generator, Subscriber stats and Site performance tool.

New Google Plus Share button

Google also found time to bring us a new Google plus share button, amidst all this. Not a big change there, but a sweet one. The new Google+ share button will feature two roll over and mouse out states and actually have a “share” text on it, which was missing earlier. IT automatically updates the current buttons, so many might have already noticed it already on the websites.

user time and website performance details on Google Analytics

Another major and interesting update was from the Analytics team who introduced a new feature to Google Analytics called “User Track Timing”. This addition will now let webmasters figure out how much time it took per user to load a website and measure the performance accordingly. Its sort of a fine tuning to page speed times, and for those who’re obsessed with it would love it.

Better Ad planning in AdWords with Keyword Ideas

AdWords on the other hand brought out some really useful changes, like “Keyword Ideas” grouping option and Traffic Estimator integration. Both of which would offer a better options for managing campaigns. The Keyword Ideas at first, looked much like an intrusion but got used to it later, and is actually helping a lot grouping keywords.

Understand Quality Score in AdWords better

adwords-quality-score

Google AdWords got a bit generous this time and are offering us a better understanding of Quality scores for particular keywords. Using the status hover for a keyword in the Keywords tab, you’ll see the traditional 1-10 numeric score and new ratings for each main factor in Quality Score.

And finally, Gmail is now 10 GB of storage. Yay!

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