Bruce Clay SEO Hot Tub 24th June 2011
Over the last few weeks, there have been a lot of changes happening within the industry. Search engines have been upping their game on the SEO side of things and Google have also unveiled their social network baby to the world. Here’s a snapshot of what’s new in June 2011.
2nd June – Google, Bing and Yahoo Sitting in a Tree, S-C-H-E-M-I-N-G
Google, Yahoo and Bing have combined forces to create standardised tags to help improve the indexation of structured markup data on the web.
The new schema will now support more types of mark-up formats, including but not limited to: music recordings, TV series, books, group deals & discounts plus much more.
7th June – Giving more credit to the authors: Google Authorship Markup
Google has begun supporting the rel=”author” tag in search engine result pages (SERPs).
Finding a live example proved to be more difficult than initially expected. I finally managed to track down the following SERP results with the author markup:
It’s interesting to note that K Fisher is actually short for Ken Fisher. It’s unclear how Google determines which word to shorten since there is no indication on Ken Fisher’s author page shortening his name to K Fisher. Some authors could have more than one word in their first name, such Anne Marie.
Quick note: If you are marking up the authors using microdata from schema.org, it will be honoured as well.
8th June – Bing Sweetening up Their Deal on Webmaster Tools
In a bid to entice more webmasters to use Bing Webmaster Tools (BWT), Bing have introduced a raft of new changes, termed the ‘Honey Badger’ update. The update was named after a viral video, with Steve Weitz saying that BWT represents the same ferocity and focus as the honey badger. Three major changes include
- Crawl setting management: users can ask Bing to crawl a website less during busy times of the day and more during off-peak hours
- Role management: set different access levels for different users in the account
- Toolbox help info: a suite of new videos, data and how-to information
Full details can be viewed on their Honey Badger blog post.
14th June – Google Instant is now even more ‘Instant’.
Google has unveiled a new feature called ‘Instant Pages’ that enables the first search result of a SERP to be pre-loaded. Rather than waiting for 2-5 seconds for the page to load, you will now be able to instantly view the page itself. Watch the following video to see Google Instant Pages in action. Note that Google will only trigger Instant Pages when they have very high confidence that your site is the exact result users are looking for.
If you are an avid fan of tracking data, this may be triggering some alarm bells in your head as you may think that this pre-loading process will distort the number of Pageviews etc in Google Analytics, Omniture and other programs. Fear not, Google has clarified that the visits counted only include those that click through to the page.
This feature is currently only being released onto the Chrome Browser Platform, with no mention of a date for other browsers such as Firefox or Internet Explorer. Google did say the code is open source and can be used to implement Instant Pages.
The rough dates for release are:
- Available today in Chrome developer version
- Available this week in Chrome beta
- Available in coming weeks on Chrome stable version
- Available in coming weeks on mobile device
15th June – What’s been happening on your Google Maps?
Just like how Google can store your search history, now they can also record the places you have viewed so you are now able to toggle a ‘map history’ of the addresses and places you’ve searched for in Google Maps.
To access the map history, just click on the ‘My Places’ text as shown below.
The different types of activity recorded are
- Maps you’ve made (My Maps)
- Business listings you’ve starred
- Businesses you’ve rated/reviewed
15th June – Google Keyword Tool Tweaked
The Google Adwords Keyword Tool has been tweaked. When you now input keywords into the Keyword Tool, the seed keywords and the keyword ideas are now separated.
This should alleviate any frustrations that users had when they wanted to just find the seed keyword search volume. Great move Google!
29th June – Google Analytics Gets Social
Google Analytics is getting social by incorporating new metrics to track social mentions. The +1 buttons are tracked automatically and there is an option to add other social sharing buttons.
The main additions to the report include:
- The inclusion of Social Engagement reports which show website owners how to understand whether there is a different behaviour between visitors that share and visitors that do not share or between different types of “sharers”.
- The Social Actions report shows the number of social actions (+1 clicks, Tweets, etc) taken on the site. This can be helpful to prioritise which share buttons should be in the header of an article, for example:
- The Social Pages report shows the number of pages on the site that drive the highest number of social actions. This is very useful to learn which content is highly viral and what your visitors are most likely to read and share with friends and people within their circles.
This change is so significant that Google also created a new feature called the Social Interaction Tracking, a new tracking function that will be used for social tracking only. View the details on the social interaction tracking code page.
21st June 2011 – Google Panda Update 2.2 is Live.
For all of you that don’t know, it is an improvement to the scraper detection which was implemented in the Panda 1 update. It is targeted at websites which are deemed to have “thin content” by scraping content from other sources on the web, re-publishing it and then out-ranking the original sources.
30th June 2011 – Google+ is here
Big News! Google has launched their Google+ social networking platform. I have had a bit of a play and I must say having Google+ tie in with all other Google products (especially my Gmail) is a very welcome addition.
There’s a lot to talk about but I think the post by Greg Finn in Search Engine Land is great starting point, so please do check it out.
Previously you could only access it by invite , but now you can simply go to the Google+ site to login.
We hope you have enjoyed this month’s post . If you would like to learn more about this month’s exciting updates, please visit our blog and look out for the June Monthly Update, written by my fellow colleague Matt for more awesome news.