SEO Hot Tub – 14th of January, 2011
It’s time to kick your feet up and absorb the latest movements in search engine optimisation again! There’s been a lot happening over the past few weeks, and we’ve covered the bulk of it in our most recent SEO Hot Tub.
The big topics that arose this session were social signals, Bing’s expansion, new activity in webmaster tools, some stuff on Google Chrome, Google Places and Hotpot continuing their growth and some changes in the search engine results pages. So let’s get started!
Google Reconfirms the Use of Social Signals
It’s been an often-talked-about topic in SEO. Do Google and Bing really include social web signals in their search algorithm? Only a few weeks ago, Matt Cutts, a Google engineer, posted a new video on the Google Webmaster YouTube Channel stating that the search engine definitely factors links from social sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Matt explained it is mostly used in the real-time search index but they are “studying” how they may expand it more into other areas of search, including web search. There is however, more to it than just gaining as many followers, friends and fans as you can. The value of a link from a social site may be determined by the credibility or reputation from those that are publishing the link.
Bing Expands Yahoo! Search Power
The process of Bing powering the Yahoo! search engine’s back-end has been a lengthy one, however it was announced recently that Bing is now completely responsible for Yahoo! search results in Australia, Brazil and Mexico.
Bing had been doing the same for the United States and Canada back in August of 2010, and will continue the push into several other countries in the future.
Webmaster Tools Introduces New Alerts
As of the 6th January, Google is now sending new warnings to webmasters when it suspects their sites may have spam-related problems that need to be addressed.
Some users have recently discovered one, or both, of two new warnings within their Webmaster Tools accounts including:
- A notice of detected unnatural links
- A warning about cloaking
The warning about cloaking is incredibly detailed, with examples given based on pages the search engine crawled at the time they detected spam, and even informing the webmaster their site will be temporarily removed from search engine results for a 30 day period.
Check out this recent article published in the Bruce Clay newsletter for more information on cloaking.
Google Chrome Drops Support for H.264 Video Codec
Google is planning to drop support for the H.264 video codec in their self developed Chrome browser. Google explains that the decision is based on wanting focus on “completely open technologies”.
Some critics were quick to point out that if that was the real reason for making such a move, then dropping support for Flash would follow the same rule.
At the same time, Google is developing their own video codec for the web, called WebM. Coincidence?
Google Places and Hotpot Continue To Make Moves
After Google released places search back in late October, many have been noticing an increased emphasis on the importance of local search by the engine. Its association with Hotpot, a personalized recommendations engine based on what you like and what your friends like, has further strengthened the grasp they are putting on being the “go-to” place to find points of interest in your area.
Now, Google places and Hotpot have released their very own application for the iPhone. Google Places with Hotpot allows you to search for places that are nearby and personalizes the results based on places you’ve rated using the service in the past.
“Places makes it super simple to rate a place with your iPhone while you’re there. Just fire up the app and hit ‘Rate now.’ It will use your location to guess your current place and let you post a Hotpot review right from your phone. But it’s not just about getting to say what you think—the more you rate places, the more you’re sharing about your tastes and the more we can give you personally tailored recommendations.”
– Greg Blevins, a software engineer with Google’s Hotpot team.
Hacked Site Notifications Now Appearing in Search Results
Google has added new notifications to SERP’s that helps searchers know when a website has been hacked.
Appearing under each result that has potentially been abused is a linked warning that reads “this site may be compromised”. The link leads to this Google Help Page.
And that’s a wrap for this fortnight’s Hot Tub and the latest happenings in SEO.