Google Increased Width of Organic Search Results
May11

Google Increased Width of Organic Search Results

16SHARESFacebookTwitter Table of Contents Extended Headlines for PPC Organic Search Extended Headlines What does this now look like for Organic Search? (Do a Google search!) Answer Box / Featured Snippets Normal Search Results When did this happen for Organic Search? How prominent is this layout change? Extended Headlines for PPC In the SEO community, we always hear of updates on PPC that can potentially impact organic in a negative way, but I’m here to give some good news for SEOs that Google have applied to the search results – without even telling us! Shock, horror… So you’ve probably heard the latest round of news that Google are running a closed beta that will expand the PPC meta data – therefore potentially making their ads more prominent. And for simplicity – whether this is the official name or not, I’m going to call it Extended Headlines… just because I can. You can find more on this subject on Search Engine Land where they cover the Extended Headlines closed beta that Google are running with probably only the bigger brands. This change is unheard of in SEM and is big news, and can potentially take away eyeballs from Organic Search. You can see the example screenshot below of what I’m talking about: Moving on to the good news from the bad news… Organic Search Extended Headlines Yes, that’s right. Google have actually released this before they have done so for PPC. I know through watching interviews with Matt Cutts, ex Head of Webspam at Google, and through watching a very recent Q&A with Paul Haahr, a software engineer at Google, that the paid search team and the organic search team at Google work completely separately. However, I am wondering if this idea of the Extended Headlines originated from the organic search team, then moved over to the paid team at Google who took this idea as a way of increasing ad clicks, based on potential tests that the organic search team at Google have conducted. Speculation. What does this now look like for Organic Search? (Do a Google search!) Answer Box / Featured Snippets First up is the Answer Box or Featured Snippets, these have increased significantly in width, but have seen a decrease in height. The before shows that the Featured Snippet box has gone from a width of 557 px to 644 px (+87 px), but the height has seen a decrease from 195 px to 176 px. This is a significant decrease, but this is potentially beneficial to results below the Featured Snippets as they will have become slightly more visible as a result of the decrease in height for results with the...

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Large Google Update on the 16th of June?
Jun17

Large Google Update on the 16th of June?

14SHARESFacebookTwitter There have been talks of small scale and high scale Google updates occurring in June, with webmasters reporting that they’ve either seen a drop in rank or an increase in rank for their respective niches. Looking at the SEO weather tools, they have identified that there have been big changes in the SERPs in June. Tools 1: MozCast http://mozcast.com/  Moz has their own tool called MozCast, which attempts to identify any turbulence in Google’s algorithm by assessing the volatility of a sample of 1,000 keywords. Its most recent report shows that on Tuesday, 16th of June, there was major turbulence that pushed the MozCast metric to 102°. To put this in perspective, the first ever Penguin update clocked in a figure of 93.1°. Tool 2: Algoroo https://algoroo.com/ Another tool called Algoroo samples 17,000 keywords and looks for fluctuations in a similar way to MozCast. This tool is also reporting a high amount of SERP flux and volatility in the same time periods as MozCast. If we look at when Google’s Phantom II / Quality Update occurred we can see that a recent increase, on the 16th of June, shows a far larger fluctuation in the SERPs than the Google Quality Update on the 3rd of May: Google’s Response Google have confirmed that this is neither a Panda, Penguin, nor HTTPS update. It was thought that this could have been an HTTPS update because recently (12th of June) Wikipedia encrypted their entire website in HTTPS/SSL. With a large percentage of Wikipedia pages being dominantly displayed in the top 10 search results this could have caused fluctuations, as Google indexes the HTTPS version of the site. This may have been the cause for the fluctuations in the SERPs where tools have shown high volatility. Pete Meyers at Moz explains this in more depth, here. However, Pete asked Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst, Gary Illyes, if there was an HTTPS update that could have caused these high fluctuations. He wouldn’t go into further detail and responded on Twitter stating: At the time of writing, further details explaining the extent of this change haven’t been made available by Google. However, they did confirm to Search Engine Land that this was not a Panda update, stating: “This is not a Panda update. As you know, we’re always making improvements to our search algorithms and the web is constantly evolving. We’re going to continue to work on improvements across the board.” The reason there was speculation around a Panda update is because Gary Illyes announced on June 2nd at SMX Advanced that webmasters should expect a Panda refresh within the upcoming weeks. At the same time, he announced that...

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Google Releases New Panda 4.0 Algorithm Update
May21

Google Releases New Panda 4.0 Algorithm Update

10SHARESFacebookTwitter Matt Cutts recently announced on his Twitter feed that Google would be rolling out Panda 4.0. It’s however believed that Panda 4.0 was rolled out much earlier and it’s likely that it originally was released over the weekend or on the 19th according to many of the tools that I subscribe to. The latest update affects ~7.5% of English related queries, which is a noticeable change that even normal users of Google would likely notice.  Matt Cutts later retweeted an article on Search Engine Land that detailed Google were rolling out an updated Payday Loans Algorithm as well that would target “spammy search queries.” A great resource that is useful if you’d like to see the timeline of Panda updates would be via Search Engine Roundtable, which lists all of the Panda related updates. Additionally, feel free to read this guest post written by Amy Harris in January this year called “6 SEO Trends for 2014 by Amy Harris“. It’s really relevant, as she talks about how you should be looking at your on-page content to see if there is actually enough content on the page – essentially showing Google that you are an authority on the subject you’re writing about. What is Panda? Panda mainly looks at content, whether that be duplicated content, thin content, or generally low quality content. It’s heavily content focused unlike its sister, Penguin, which looks specifically at the quality of backlinks going to a site. These are essentially variations of specific and big algorithms updates that Google rolls out every so often to keep SEOs, such as myself, on their toes. What have I noticed? The update definitely has focused on rich content. I’ve seen my almost 2,000 word article on what I think are the “Best SEO Tools” increase in rank by 4 positions – from 10th to 6th position. Although not scientifically proven to be Panda, I’ve not actually updated this site in a while and I haven’t made any recent on-site changes that would have affected rankings for that article for the keyword “best SEO tools” (720 searches per month on Google US and 210 searches per month on Google UK). The only thing I can put this down to is the Panda update. Has eBay been penalised? Also, from the looks of this eBay has also suffered as a result of this update. This story did make the rounds around my office today. Pete Meyers of Moz.com wrote a brilliant analysis of this on the Moz blog. Further to this, Rishi Lakhani of RefuGeeks did some very interesting analysis behind why eBay may have been penalised. Could it have been site architecture? It’s looking like that may be the case. So, those that...

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