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May 7, 2010

Google unveils two new innovations

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Wow the big G has been busy lately, rolling out this, debuting that. Two of the newest innovations that have been revealed are the new keyword data within Google webmaster tools and a redesign of the Google homepage, not only in the US for chrome users but now in Australia for most browser users, most of the time.

Google Redesign of their homepage

Now the new Google homepage on the face of it seems like a purely aesthetic change, but if you delve a little deeper, we start to understand that Google had redesigned their homepage as regular, everyday searches are becoming power searches. As a result of this, they are demanding more from the search engines and I believe the new homepage is a result of this demand. Essentially they have added a left hand navigation, full of options that look like this:

Google sidebar
I like it, unlike my counterparts in the US, who have actually built a plug-in to hide the options. I think it will help user’s find what they are looking for more easily by tweaking some preferences, instead of relying on Google’s past “one size fits all methodology”. They also adjusted the actual logo by dropping the shadow and making it seem brighter, I approve. Some other Google designs they tested are listed below:

Test 1
Test 2

Test 3
Test 4

I actually also liked the blue search button used in the examples above, but I guess it didn’t test that well.

New keyword data in Google Webmaster tools

Now this is something seriously useful for people in the SEO field. Google has updated their webmaster tools so that there is more keyword information. Previously, GWT just reported the average position at which your site’s pages appeared in the search results for a particular query. Now you can click on a given search query in the Top search queries report to see a breakdown of the number of impressions and the amount of clickthrough for each position that your site’s pages appeared at in the search results associated with that query. In the past, you were limited to 100 keywords that yielded information, now you get a much bigger slice of keyword data, it is only limited to the amount of keywords of yours that appear in the SERPs.

You also get a nifty graphical representation of the keywords, very similar to the Google analytics interface. You can find out your best performing keywords in terms of clickthroughs and modify page content, title and description tags of pages that are not converting as well as you would like. Some people have questioned the validity of the data provided, but even if the data is somewhat incorrect, it’s a great tool for viewing trends and gaining insights into how people interact with your keywords in the SERPs.

Another Google update that I will cover in greater depth another time is the Brand refinements in search results, from the official Google Blog. “Sometimes when searching for product information on Google, you may not know some of the brand names relevant to your particular search. For example, if you’re taking on a new river-rafting hobby, it’s quite likely you don’t have a clue about kayak manufacturers just yet. So, we wanted to make it easier for you to find the brands other people consider useful for popular product searches. So this week we launched a search refinement that calls out brand names related to your query in a single line above the rest of the results. Determined algorithmically, these highlighted brand names may help you find what you’re looking for faster, and make your research and shopping experience all the more enjoyable.

Example searches: [wedding dress], [digital camera] and [stroller]”

This actually has some pretty big implications, essentially brands will get even more visits while smaller mom and pop type business’s will suffer.

Have a good weekend all.





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