Panda 3.4: Google Avoids Putting it in Black and White
The latest Panda update almost slipped out under the radar, since Google chose to announce it on Twitter – a departure from its usual practice of drip-feed by blog. Reaction from the online community was muted, particularly since this is a data-refresh update that has little noticeable effect on almost all queries. Search Engine Land, which is keeping count, labels the update “Panda 3.4,” while Search Engine Roundtable infers that no algorithmic changes were applied.
Marketing Land, commenting just prior to the tweet, speculates that Google might now be tinkering for tinkering’s sake, noting that its position has moved from “we never ban anybody” in 1999 to today’s pages of quality guidelines and a far more heavy-handed approach to excluding transgressors. “Where next?” remains the question that most search marketers would like to see answered.
Google’s Autocomplete Losing Something in Translation?
Google Autocomplete clearly doesn’t travel well. Last week, a court in Tokyo, Japan, ordered the search engine giant to remove specific terms from its Autocomplete suggestions, following reports that search results “defamed a Japanese man” after employers searched his name online. Google, which contests the ruling, has suffered at least four similar defeats – two in France and one each in Italy and Argentina – since January 2010, with a further case in Ireland yet to be resolved. It is not clear whether Google has yet complied with any of the rulings, all of which require the suppression of potentially defamatory terms from keyword suggestions.
Mobile Advertising Still Moving Up
Mobile search is firmly on the agenda for local search marketers and, according to a recent white paper, it’s not just natural search that’s taking off. Marin Software reports that 25 percent of paid-search clicks will come from mobile devices by the end of 2012. The report also highlights the impact on Google’s PPC revenues, nearly one-quarter of which are projected to come from mobile campaigns by then. Click-through and conversion rates vary from device to device, warns Marin, and advertisers should research intended audiences carefully.
Everyone’s Got an Opinion: Impacts and Aftershocks of a Seismic Week for Blog Networks
Few SEO practitioners have escaped the fallout from Google’s paid-for link building crack-down, reported last week, and most commentators agree that “do nothing” is not an option. SEOmoz reports webmasters receiving warnings from Google, alerting them to possible infractions of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, and advises removing any questionable links from sites without delay. Search Engine Land recommends a “diverse link profile,” spreading links more widely and ensuring variety in anchor text, follow vs. no-follow and top-level domains. Avoid overusing links from social networking sites or you risk your site appearing spammy – a sure-fire way to provoke the wrath of Google.
Microsoft Offers Clear Directions with OpenStreetMap
Computerworld reports Microsoft’s progress in adopting OpenStreetMap, an open-source map service, as a direct alternative to Google Maps – at present the clear market leader with more than twice as many users as the rest of the market combined. Significant defectors include Apple, social-media service Foursquare and real-estate search engine Nestoria, and all cite Google’s recently introduced charges for map use as the key reason for moving. According to the report, OpenStreetMap looks set to replace AOL’s MapQuest as the #2 player in the online map market.
Senior Yahoo Search Scientists Continue to Head for the Exits
All Things D reports another senior figure leaving Yahoo’s research units – the third to walk in less than a month. Andrei Broder, chief scientist of the Advertising Product Group, is reportedly following Raghu Ramakrishnan, chief scientist for search and cloud platforms, who left to join Microsoft, and Prabhakar Raghavan, the head of Yahoo’s Labs unit who resurfaced at Google. It is not known where Broder is headed, but it’s clear that new CEO Scott Thompson is set on decimating Yahoo’s formerly all-powerful research division. Commentators remain unconvinced of the company’s much-needed recovery.
Pinterest Looking Picture-Perfect?
The social media phenomenon that is Pinterest continues to attract attention from major brands with a heavy visual presence. Ad Age Mediaworks reports that many glossy print magazines, as well as a number of online publications, are rushing to build a following on this rapidly growing platform. Since Pinterest users are predominantly female, aged 22 to 44 and well-educated, publications like Elle, Cosmopolitan Latina and Lucky see this as prime online real estate. Elle.com has even assigned a group of “pinterns” to create content for its boards.
Unpleasant Reactions about Google’s Privacy Changes