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Google Reviews Their April Algorithm Changes, Semantics Play A Bigger Rankings’ Role, Bing Has A Unique Differentiator, & More

This Week’s Industry News

Compiled By Rocket Clicks Staff

Google Releases 52 April Algorithm Changes

April was Ground Zero for Google’s Penguin and Panda 3.5/.6 updates, and Google outlines some of their most significant features (along with others) in their monthly transparency blog post. Among the updates:

–          A 15% bigger index base.

–          Improving on-page keyword scoring.

–          Better understanding of “fresh” seeking queries.

–          Better local results based on user location search intent.

–          Smarter, more relevant sitelink choices.

Source: The Official Google Inside Search Blog

Semantic Search Is One Step Closer To A Permanent Google Reality

Google has hinted at its extensive research into semantic-based technology that would allow its algorithm to guess user intent based on related terms rather than a literal keyword interpretation. We’ve provided a screen shot example below:

It appears the first implementation of Google’s semantic update is becoming a permanent fixture in its search results. This is a significant update in the sense that it provides users searching for information (the majority of searches) with an answer without requiring a click.

Source: Search Engine Journal

Bing Search Gets Three Columns

Bing’s current Google-y looking search results may look quite different for everyone over the next few weeks. The Burger King of search engines is moving closer to a three columned approach. The layout consists of the standard results on the left, a middle column with more detailed information (similar to Google Sources), and a right column with social media expert/user commentary on the query in question.

The social layout is one area where Bing could have an advantage over Google, who opted for a Google+ only promotional strategy. Bing, in contrast, is able to display data from much more popular social networks (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare).

Source: Search Engine Watch

Showdown: Google Vs. Antitrust Regulations

Google and legal nerds unite! Google is facing worldwide anti-trust lawsuits, and the U.S. leaning towards RSVPing to the party. However, Google’s purported First Amendment-based defense strategy adds a new level of intrigue to this story.

Commissioned by Google themselves, a UCLA law professor has concocted a legal brief arguing that, since search results are ultimately editorial speech/judgments, they cannot be regulated by standard anti-trust laws. Basically, search results are a form of speech as protected as newspaper columns.

Source: Search Engine Land

‘Sources’ Tests Are Back, With Books, Movies, And Music Galore

It seems that Google is rehashing its November 2011 testing of “Sources” results, which display people, movies, books, music, and television shows relevant to a given query. Because most, if not all, searches involving these various nouns are informational in nature, it’d be a good idea to bet on this change becoming permanent sometime in the near future.

Source: Search Engine Land

Google Lumps All Your Places Editing Into One Area

Many businesses, local and national (obviously), have more than one location. As such, Google has responded to this quiet dilemma by offering a new bulk listing option for Google Places. The management tool will now allow businesses to edit all of their locations in one spot, and search their listings by location and fix errors individually.

Source: Search Engine Land

Facebook Profiles Offer A New Form Of ID Verification

Kids hoping to utilize fake IDs might now have to get a fake Facebook account to match.  Bouncers in some countries are now asking to see potential patrons’ Facebook pages on their smartphones. The justification is that it is just another way of verifying the person is who the traditional ID they present says they are. Still, the practice has already drawn criticism from several organizations who claim it is a violation of the basic right to privacy.

Source: BBC

A Real Life Transformer: He’s No Optimus Prime, But He’ll Do For Now

In news of the cool and ominous, it appears that transforming machines are not too far outside the realm of reality. Mashable has a video of the Bravo Robot, a toy car that literally transforms into a standing robot in a few seconds. It’s not nearly as fast as the movie Transformers, but it’s a step in that direction. Color me skeptical, but I doubt it’d do much against a Decepticon invasion at this point in time, even with Shia LaBeouf and Michael Bay at its side.

Source: Mashable

Who Would’ve Thought Internet Explorer Would Stymie Innovation?

It has been over 10 years since Internet Explorer became the one and only useable browser in South Korea. In a late 1990s effort to further secure e-commerce transactions, South Korea’s government decided to require all users to provide a digital certificate as proof of their identity. The problem is that the certificate only runs with a Microsoft ActiveX plug-in.

The result a decade later has been an IE monopolistic rule over the South Korean Internet, a suppressed market for innovation, and a convoluted bureaucratic process requirement if any business or company wants to use an alternative to the ActiveX plug-in.

Source: Tech Dirt

Notable Commentary

Filled With Natural Links

85 Unnatural Links On The Web, 85 Unnatural Links, Take One Down, Notify Google, 84 Unnatural Links On The Web

There’s a bit of hyperbole in the headline above, but the same could be said of the actual headline in Eric Ward’s recent Search Engine Land piece on unnatural links. Eric identifies 15 different species in the Internet wild, and explains the grey area that often surrounds these prevalent creatures.

Analysis By: Eric Ward, Search Engine Land

E-Commerce Link Building Got You Down? Fear Not, For There Are Creative Possibilities Abound

Link building has its share of difficulties, but no strategy under that umbrella is harder than consistently finding resources for e-commerce links. Stephanie Chang has a good article on SEOmoz on how to think outside the box when you’re attempting to build links to product pages without the benefit of compelling content.

Analysis By: Stephanie Chang, SEOmoz

Corporate Culture Matters

Harvard Business Review says the most successful companies are those with an excellent corporate culture. With motivation to succeed and grow, employees will want to stay on-board and create opportunities in a job they love.

Analysis By: Harvard Business Review

Don’t Bother Watching The Travel Channel; Dan Pink Has Got You Covered

Who better to offer advice for traveling than Dan Pink, a nationally renowned public speaker? Pink offers 12 travel tips in a short video, coincidentally recorded in an airport.

Analysis By: Mark Frauenfelder, BoingBoing

Natural Anchor Text Optimization Is Crucial

One of the major components of the new Penguin update seems to address anchor text over-optimization of backlinks. The finding highlights just how crucial natural anchor text optimization is. A solid natural anchor text profile is composed mostly of strongly branded anchor text, some broad/partial match keyword anchor texts and other anchor texts (click here, website etc.). A natural anchor text profile only uses an exact keyword match anchor text in very rare instances.

Analysis by: Adam Thompson, Search Engine Journal

Predictive Data Analysis Part Of The 21st Century Dairy Industry

Now the dairy industry is using genomic mapping to determine which bulls will produce the best offspring.  This isn’t the first time dairy farms have analyzed data to decide which bull would ultimately sire offspring. The difference is in the past, a bull’s semen would be tested by using it to impregnate about 50 cows. Then data would be collected on how much milk each of his resulting daughters produced. Now by looking at certain genetic markers, scientists can predict which bull will produce the best offspring without the need for a proven test, and so far predictions based on genetic data have been extremely accurate.

Analysis by: Alexis Madrigal, The Atlantic

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