Google Updates A Ton Of Algorithm Ranking Factors, Twitter Creates A User Directory, Zagat Reviews Are Fading, & More

Google Updates A Ton Of Algorithm Ranking Factors, Twitter Creates A User Directory, Zagat Reviews Are Fading, & More

This Week’s Industry News

Compiled By Rocket Clicks Staff

Google Releases Monthly List Of Algorithm Updates

Google has had an incredibly busy week updating its algorithm and refreshing data, so it’s only fitting the search engine would release its 65 most recent search updates (spanning August and September). We have covered some of these modifications in past Weekly Updates (snippet generation, better Knowledge Graph usage). However, among the less obvious, yet notably interesting, changes, Google has upgraded its local and mobile relevance signals, improved video indexing, and better semantic query comprehension.

Source: Search Engine Watch

Google Announces New Penguin Update

Google announced the release of its latest Penguin update last week. Matt Cutts said the “data refresh” would affect searches across multiple languages and noticeably effect 0.3% of English language searches specifically.   This is Penguin’s third update.

Source: Search Engine Land

Google Continues Algorithm Marathon By Tweaking Page Layout Signifier

For the fourth time in two weeks, Google has made a significant change to its algorithm. In this case, it involves “Top Heavy” landing pages, or ones that don’t feature content prominently on the page. Matt Cutts confirmed the change and said it would only affect ~.7% of all English queries. This has been a bugaboo of Google for some time, and is an update that clearly benefits the user as well as the search engine.

Source: Search Engine Land

Twitter Creates User Directory For Better Search Engine Exposure

In a stealth move, Twitter has released a crawlable user directory that will display specific profiles in Google’s search results (if they aren’t already). The move is likely intended to further expose the site to searchers in the hopes they click-through and open the door for more revenue-generation opportunities (a la Twitter’s indexed search results).

Source: Search Engine Land

Google Moves Page Speed Module Out Of Beta

It took Google 18 beta releases, but their Apache HTTP server module, mod_pagespeed, is now an official tool. The search engine said over 120,000 websites use mod_pagespeed, which is designed to speed up loading times and overall navigation speed across all CSS, JavaScript, images, and other technical site features.

Source: Search Engine Land

Bing Makes Changes To “People Who Know” Sidebar

Bing announced that news reporters will now appear in the “People Who Know” section of the Bing sidebar.  Previously, the “People Who Know” section just included people who’ve answered a question related to the search topic on Quora or who tweet regularly about the subject.  According to Bing, the authors and reporters included in the side bar are being handpicked by the Bing team. There are about 45,000 authors currently in the group.

Source: Search Engine Land

Bing It On, Spam Links!

According to a recent study run over a two-week period, two-thirds of all redirected malware links reside within the search results of Bing. Conversely, Google’s results are responsible for 30% of all malicious redirects. Boiled down, an alarming 92% of these bad links live in image searches. These results run contrary to a two-year-old study that dubbed Google as the “King of Malware.”

Source: Search Engine Land

Google Knows Its Zagat Review System Kind Of Sucks

Google is subtly phasing out the prominence of Zagat reviews in its local search results, implementing their own system to letting users rate businesses. Rather than a 1-3 scale, Google’s review interface looks more like a restaurant questionnaire, which is probably a more preferential system for businesses anyways.

Source: Search Engine Land

Facebook Will Soon Release ‘Want’ Button For Retail Businesses

Nearly everything Facebook has done over the past few months has been aimed at improving the company’s faltering stock, and the “Want” button is no different. Open to retailers such as Pottery Barn and Victoria’s Secret, the button will allow users to click-through to the chosen product and let friends know they desire said product.

Source: Fast Company

LinkedIn Alters Company Page Designs

LinkedIn is making a push towards becoming a go-to resource for business-to-business and business-to-consumer marketing, and its newly re-designed company pages are part of this movement. LinkedIn will also allow businesses to choose which status updates they would like to feature above-the-fold.

Source: Search Engine Watch

The New eBay Design Looks Pinterestingly Familiar…

See if you can guess what website they’re using as a main inspiration:

eBay redesign

Source: Mashable

How Facebook Zero Connects Remote, Impoverished Countries To The Internet

At, you won’t find the same familiar layout we’ve come to expect from the world’s leading social network. Rather, the site is free of charge, in a text-only format that still features the same menu options we expect from Facebook’s normal interface.

This may not be attractive to the average American, but Facebook doesn’t want it to be. Their target is more focused on many countries where Internet connections are made almost entirely through mobile devices (such as Kenya, where it comprises 99% of all web connections). Facebook Zero is getting so popular in places such as the Philippines and Latin America that many people consider it to be a synonymous term with “the Internet.”

Source: Quartz

Apple Maps Reveal Location Of Top Secret Taiwanese Government Base

Basically, the new Apple Maps revealed a secret, super-high tech radar tracking station in Taiwan. Legally, Taiwan can’t do anything, so they publically asked for the maps to use lower resolution to help the government hide things better. Did I do that?

Source: International Business Times

Notable Commentary

That Won’t Give You Heartburn

Improve Your Local Link Profile With These Five Strategies

Utilizing David Mihm’s stellar 2012 Local Search Rankings survey, Matt Green pulls out a five of the most important off-page factors and explains how you can tailor link building strategies around them.

Analysis By: Matt Green, SEOmoz

Thinking Ahead To An Inevitable Facebook Search Engine And 12 Possible Ranking Factors

Facebook itself has hinted at joining the search game, and with a claim of 1 billion daily searches (without active promotion of the tool), it’s fairly evident Facebook could easily become Google’s biggest competitor. Here are a dozen potential ranking factors that could go into Facebook’s future social data-driven search engine, and how you can prepare for this inevitable game changer.

Analysis By: Glenn Gabe, Search Engine Journal

Ten Innovative Google AdWords Features You Should Monitor

If you’re an exceptional PPC professional, you probably already use or pay attention to this list of 10 Google AdWords features that are the wave of the paid search future. Still, it’s always good to double-check your knowledge and apply it accordingly.

Analysis By: Lisa Raehsler, Search Engine Watch

Matt Cutts Discusses Pros, Cons Of Guest Blogging

This week, Google’s resident Spam buster, Matt Cutts, addressed a webmaster question about the effectiveness of guest blogging. Cutts approached the question from a both the publisher and writer’s point of view; he also didn’t shy away from acknowledging the presence of low quality guest blogging tactics.

Analysis By: Matt Cutts, YouTube

Why Do Some Sites Rank Faster

“How long until I see results?” remains the ultimate question posed by prospective SEO clients.  It’s a basic question, but far from easy to answer. The answer depends on a number of factors, including your definition of results. Mark Jackson of Search Engine Watch attempts to answer why some sites rank faster than others.

Analysis By: Mark Jackson, Search Engine Land

How Businesses Try To Game Google’s Local Ranking System By ‘Relocating’

One of Google’s strongest 7-Pak ranking factors is proximity to a certain area. Obviously, this can leave some businesses closer to the outskirts of town in the dust, however prominent their presence may be among a city’s consumer base. An increasingly popular solution has been to “relocate” that business within a certain geographical area; however, Chris Silver Smith explains why this will ultimately fail in the long run and why Google is already wise to the practice.

Analysis By: Chris Silver Smith, Search Engine Land

How Google’s August And September Updates Can Impact Your Link Building

Google has updated its algorithm at a break-neck pace over the past couple months. As such, SEOs need to update their strategies accordingly, link building included. Eric Ward parses out the changes that most have an impact on link outreach, and how you should adjust your approach to link requests.

Analysis By: Eric Ward, Search Engine Land

Here’s A Dozen Of This Year’s Best SEO Tools

Hobo-Web has a list of the best SEO tools of 2012, some predictable (Screaming Frog, Microsoft Excel) and some not-so-predictable (Dropbox, SEO Powersuite).

Analysis By: Hobo-Web