In case you haven’t heard, a format change for Google search results pages.
Google has just confirmed that all U.S. searchers will soon be getting the new interface — one that highly resembles Google’s mobile search results pages. Options to search verticals like Images, News and Maps are moved from the left-side of the page up above the top search results.
If you’re wondering, below is the share of space dedicated above the fold to editorial search results vs sponsored results and listings:
This article about the scary dependence of many small sites on Google Search starts with an interesting story about Nextag and how they dealt with the recent algorithmic changes implemented by Google that penalized sites with duplicate content:
STARTING in February, Jeffrey G. Katz grew increasingly anxious as he watched the steady decline of online traffic to his company’s comparison-shopping Web site, Nextag, from Google’s search engine.
In a geeky fire drill, engineers and outside consultants at Nextag scrambled to see if the problem was its own fault. Maybe some inadvertent change had prompted Google’s algorithm to demote Nextag when a person typed in shopping-related search terms like “kitchen table” or “lawn mower.”
But no, the engineers determined. And traffic from Google’s search engine continued to decline, by half.
Nextag’s response? It doubled its spending on Google paid search advertising in the last five months.
The move was costly but necessary to retain shoppers, Mr. Katz says, because an estimated 60 percent of Nextag’s traffic comes from Google, both from free search and paid search ads, which are ads that are related to search results and appear next to them. “We had to do it,” says Mr. Katz, chief executive of Wize Commerce, owner of Nextag. “We’re living in Google’s world.”
Zuckerberg on search.
“We do on the order of a billion queries a day, and we’re basically not even trying.” Most of those are people trying to find people, but it’s also people trying to find brands and apps.
The “legacy” search business: “You type in some keywords and it does some magic.” It’s changing into giving you answers. “Facebook is uniquely positioned to give you answers.” He gives examples of finding sushi restaurants your friends have liked, or finding a job at companies where your friends work.
“We have a team working on search.”
Interesting argument but hard to really build a case without expending a lot of resources:
Webmasters and SEOs at WebmasterWorld say paid clicks are up because organic search results are poorer and Google is showing more ads in place of organic results. They point fingers at the Penguin update.
I took the liberty of checking their site traffic and it looks like they are down in 2012.
Most people believe that when they type “convection microwave oven” or “biking shorts” into Google, they will receive a list of the most relevant sites. Not true. That’s how Google used to work. Now, when someone searches for these items, the most prominent results are displayed because companies paid Google for that privilege. In addition, Google often uses its prime real estate to promote its own (often less relevant and inferior) products and services, prohibiting companies from buying its best advertisements.
Saw this on twitter the other day and was surprised by it:
“Google doesn’t use bounce rate” @mattcutts told @tomschmitz yesterday, tom says #smx #11c
Stat: 40% of all searches on Yelp are done on the Yelp mobile app by 6.3M users.
The Panda update puts a premium on original, high-quality content and clean, canonical sites. Duplicate content can be a bigger problem now than it was before the update hit. The rule of the day post-Panda is a ‘less is more’ strategy and a focus on user engagement. Now Penguin puts a premium on natural links and anchor text. In early 2011 we preached that SEOs should quit obsessing on anchor text. For those who followed my advice back then, congratulations. You’re well positioned to take marketshare from those who may have taken shortcuts in the meantime.