Common mistakes in smartphone sites

Here are some common mistakes we see on smartphone-optimized websites and how to avoid them.

Unplayable videos
Many videos are not playable on smartphone devices. This can be due to requiring software or device capabilities that smartphones do not support or due to licensing constraints. We recommend using HTML5 standard tags to include videos and avoid content in formats, such as Flash, that are not supported by all mobile devices.

Regardless, try your best to offer smartphone users the best experience possible to make sure that the videos are playable on as many devices as possible. Also consider having the transcript of the video available on all devices as that may better serve your smartphone users.

Faulty redirects
Many sites have dedicated smartphone-optimized pages and redirect smartphone users based on the user-agent. A common error is to redirect a user trying to access a URL on the desktop site to an irrelevant URL on the smartphone site.

Some common examples:

•Your desktop site’s server is configured to redirect smartphone users to the smartphone site’s homepage, regardless of which URL they originally requested, even if the mobile site has the equivalent page to the redirecting desktop page.

•Desktop URLs with dynamically generated content and URL parameters that don’t map well to the equivalent mobile URL. For example, if a user is looking for a train timetable on a specific date on the desktop site and gets redirected to the general timetable search page on the smartphone-optimized site instead of the actual search.

We recommend that you configure the redirection correctly if you do have an equivalent smartphone URL so that users end up on the page they were looking for.

•Redirecting some mobile devices but not others. For example, a site may redirect only Android users to the mobile site and not redirect iPhone or Windows Phone users.

Smartphone-only 404s
Some sites serve content to desktop users accessing a URL but show an error page to smartphone users.

To ensure the best user experience:

•If you recognize a user is visiting a desktop page from a mobile device and you have an equivalent smartphone-friendly page at a different URL, redirect them to that URL instead of serving a 404 or a soft 404 page. Also make sure that the smartphone-friendly page itself is not an error page.

•If your content is not available in a smartphone-friendly format, serve the desktop page instead. Showing the content the user was looking for is a much better experience than showing an error page.

App download interstitials
Many webmasters promote their site’s apps to their web visitors. There are many implementations to do this, some of which may cause indexing issues of smartphone-optimized content and others that may be too disruptive to the visitor’s usage of the site.

Based on these various considerations, we recommend using a simple banner to promote your app inline with the page’s content. This banner can be implemented using:

•The native browser and operating system support such as Smart App Banners for Safari on iOS6.

•An HTML image, similar to a typical small advert, that links to the correct app store for download.

Irrelevant cross-linking
A common practice when a website serves users on separate smartphone-optimized URLs is to have links to the desktop-optimized version, and likewise a link from the desktop page to the smartphone page. A common error is to have link point to an irrelevant page such as having the smartphone pages link to the desktop site’s homepage.

If you add such links be sure sure that the links point to the correct equivalent page.

Page speed
Optimizing a page’s loading time on smartphones is particularly important given the characteristics of mobile data networks smartphones are connected to. Here are some starting points:

Google Developers

Google Updates to AdWords Trademark Policy To Be The Same Worldwide

Google has made a policy revision that applies to complaints we receive regarding the use of trademarks as keywords. Starting on 23 April 2013, keywords that were restricted as a result of a trademark investigation will no longer be restricted in China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Brazil.

While we will not prevent the use of trademarks as keywords in the affected regions, trademark owners will still be able to complain about the use of their trademark in ad text.

How does the revised policy affect which ads can be shown?
Google will no longer prevent advertisers from selecting a third party’s trademark as a keyword in ads targeting these regions.

Why did Google change its trademark policy?
Google’s goal is to provide our users with the most relevant information, whether from search results or advertisements, and we believe users benefit from having more choice. Our policy aims to balance the interests of users, advertisers and trademark owners, so we will continue to investigate trademark complaints concerning use of trademarks in ad text. In addition, this change means that the AdWords policy on trademarks as keywords is now harmonised throughout the world. A consistent policy and user experience worldwide benefits users, advertisers and trademark owners alike.

Does this policy change impact the usage of trademarks in ad text?
No. This policy change relates to the use of trademarked terms as keywords.

Who is affected by the policy change?
Google’s revised trademark policy applies to trademarks held in China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Brazil. This policy is already in effect in all other regions throughout world. Please consult our existing trademark policy for more information.

What will happen to existing trademark complaints?
Starting on 23 April 2013, keywords that were restricted as a result of a trademark complaint and investigation will no longer be restricted in the affected regions. If you have an existing complaint on file that includes both keywords and ad text in one of the affected regions, we will continue to restrict use of your trademark in ad text.

Will Google respond to trademark complaints in the affected regions?
Yes. With respect to the use of trademarks in ad text in the affected regions, advertisers will be able to submit trademark complaints.

What are your plans to extend this policy to additional regions?
We do not restrict trademarks as keywords in any other regions. This policy change in China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Brazil brings these countries in line with our trademark keyword policy in the rest of the world.

Will trademark terms in my account start triggering ads?
Keywords that were restricted as a result of a trademark investigation may begin triggering your ads in the affected regions, starting on 23 April 2013. If you do not want your ads to run on certain keywords, you can remove those keywords from your campaigns or add them as negative keywords.

Does this mean that I can now use trademark terms as keywords?
Google is not in a position to make recommendations regarding the use of terms corresponding to trademarks. If you have further questions, we encourage you to contact your legal counsel and consult the AdWords Terms and Conditions .

How do I change the list of those authorised to use my trademark in ad text?
If you would like to edit the list of authorised users of your trademark in your current trademark complaint, please send us a revised list. Learn more about our trademark authorisation procedure.

Who should I contact if I have further questions about this policy change?
You can email any questions you might have about the policy change to trademark-policy-revision@google.com.

Mar 21, 2013  Google Adwords Policy

SEO’s and Designer’s Ultimate Struggle to Dislike Each Other

SEOs are a unique bunch, in case you haven’t noticed. We have real OCD tendencies (and, for some us, it’s full-blown OCD), we just know better than you (about everything), we are intensely, over-the-top goal driven beings, we are scientists-in-a-vacuum, we are data-miners and data-hogs, we are behavioral futurists, and we make the web a better place for you and yours (for a price).

SEO and Designers Do Battle

As a caveat, the good ones are like that. It’s hard definitely being an SEO, as so eloquently pointed out by Portent’s own George Freitag in “Why Web Professionals Hate SEOs”. George, as a fellow SEO, you know that we are equal-opportunity haters on every other web professional too. They may hate us, but we hate them equally as much. And, really, turnabout is fair play.

After all, if designers and developers had their way, the web would be nothing but a bunch of huge, sexy images with millions of nested DIVs blended with functionality so overwhelming and powerful that it would virtually alienate anyone over the age of 35. No one would ever use the web, but the artists would have their canvas, right?
As a writer myself (by education and training), I’m all for “Ars Gratia Artis”, but that’s successful with consumers about 0% of the time. And, I won’t make excuses for Crap Hat SEOs; they’ve read three blog posts and follow “only the best search professionals on Twitter”.

Unfortunately, it’s simply comes with the territory of a profession that expanded exponentially over the last half-decade. Professional SEOs will always be lumped in with them and have to fight their battles and over-reaches.

The Brave New World Isn’t So Brave. Or New.
Google’s Panda and Penguin didn’t change the game. It just made the rules a lot more evident to those who thought there were no rules. Those SEOs who knew the score long before Google had to put down a heavy hand, have come through unscathed nearly 2 years later.

Designers and developers just kept on polluting the web with “beautiful, functional” brand sites. But, when the Piper comes calling, and accounts are stake, it is really strange how those same developers and designers suddenly are “eager” to work with SEOs.

SEO is the Thing
Unless you’re Coca-Cola or another one of the Fortune 50, unbranded search is how people are going to find you. Sorry, but them’s the facts.
So, while designers and developers have thousands of things to contemplate (how to make the brand logo “pop” or make a cart add products), SEOs are contemplating the strategy and schema, from content to information architecture to technical foundation to link graphs and the multitude of things each encapsulates.

Each and every one of those things matter in the quest for findability. Is there any sense in making a brand logo visible if no one is going to be there to see it? Or, a cart that will make you a ham sandwich after you finish the purchase, if no one is there to use it? Instead of treating SEOs as a nuisance and as someone who’s only trying to impede your progress, you might actually find that we can make your job easier in the end.

Jack of All, Master of None
The fact that I can’t write an entire array or code in extensive JavaScript, doesn’t mean that I don’t know enough to be dangerous. And, it also doesn’t mean that I can’t see the Charlie-Foxtrot of spaghetti code your writing that’s going to make my life a nightmare in two months.

The countless duplicate pages you’re making every single time a user uses your product filters, or how you wrapped all those reviews in an I-Frame instead of attempting to take the extra hour or two to use the API, or that mistake you made by mistyping the page name and just created a new one. Yeah, I found that too.

Those things have a big effect on a site authority and trust. Also, don’t let the fact that I can’t create a CSS sprite on my own, fool you into thinking I don’t know how to create a cascading style sheet and know how they work.

SEOs (the good ones) know enough to intervene when it looks like a disaster-in-the-making and will end up as a dumpster-fire for search in two months. You may not care, but just remember, we’re ones that are accountable for “success” at the end of the day. You know, the “hard metrics” that clients need before renewing an engagement.
Here again, the professional SEOs know exactly what we are asking for when we ask for it. Most will actually hate asking you do it because we know how much time is involved and the rework we’re causing. But, in the end, we’re helping you to build a better site for the consumer and site that gets found in the SERPs.

We Don’t Know The Entire Algorithm, But We Know Enough
My guess is that not even Matt Cutts is clued into the ENTIRE Google algorithm, and that guy is the Head of Search Spam at Google and (un)official Google-SEO spokesman.
Being a jackass and claiming that I don’t know the entire algorithm simply tells me you’re a defensive person (and possibly a lazy one too). We know enough factors of the algorithm, and whether they have a positive or negative effect, on a website that the changes we ask for have a purpose.

If not knowing the entire algorithm is cause for loss of credibility for an SEO in the eyes of a designer, then that can be transposed to a designer not have full knowledge of Nielsen’s Heuristics Evaluation. Moreover, I’ve never heard anyone say, “Cause’ the algorithm, dude!” Just doesn’t happen. And, if it does happen, point in the direction of said person(s), we’ll have a chat.

SEOs will fully explain these things to you if you have the time. Seriously. Ask a question about why or how this is going to affect the website or search engine indexation. Any SEO (the good ones) will be more than happy to walk you through why it matters and why it should be the way we need it.

How Designers, Developers, and Copywriters Can Ease the Pain
Short of locking you in a room and playing professor for a few days straight, the best way, as George points out, is to communicate. That word makes it sound easy and effortless, but it’s anything but. When you’re under deadlines and shuffling between projects, ain’t nobody got time for that.

The real key is to sit down next to that SEO (that’s right, put down the email and step away) and let them walk you through it. Sure, it’s 10-20 minutes out of your day, but when you can see it from their point of view as they walk through your code or design, it breaks down barriers that email can’t. It’s that human element. It may not solve the issue, but it will help both parties gain a healthy respect for one another.

And, that’s first step to compromise. SEOs, as much as we know we need it our way because it’s right, we have to be willing to step down off the soapbox. You have to be willing to capitulate some things in order to get the bigger win for search. You may not be able to get that direct 301 you need on duplicate content, but with communication, explanation, compromise, you can convince that developer to work in a rel=canonical.
SEOs need to be able to compromise, just as developers, designers, and copywriters need to be able to learn to compromise. Because at the end of day, it’s about creating wins for the client not for own egos.

Written by Anthony Verre
Hate Web Professionals (Mostly)

It takes at least 10,000 hours (5 Years) of dedicated practice in a given field or area of expertise allows a person to become truly “expert”.

Having years (and thousands of hours) of dedicated focus and practice within a specific niche is obviously highly valuable and allows a person to have a unique, proprietary perspective on that niche (and usually highly valuable expertise). But how many hours is “enough” to achieve expertise status? One take on the subject we (and many others) found interesting was Malcolm Gladwell’s in the book Outliers where he popularized the theory that 10,000 hours of dedicated practice in a given field or area of expertise allows a person to become truly “expert”.

10,000 rule of hours practiced to claim to be an expert

5 Reasons to Diversify Your Search Strategy with PPC Advertising

By Elisa Gabbert
July 18, 2012

Yesterday we published the results of a study showing how sponsored advertisements on Google (PPC ads) are taking over territory previously reserved for organic listings, AKA “free clicks.” This is both good news and bad news for marketers. On the plus side, Google continues to roll out more and better types of search advertising to help marketers target their customers. On the negative side, you (obviously) have to pay for those clicks.

But the fact is, organic clicks aren’t really “free” either – gone are the days when it was relatively easy to rank on the first page in Google for your target keywords. Given the increasing costs and complications involved with SEO, it’s important to diversify your marketing channels. You can’t rely on organic search alone for traffic and leads – you never know when the next big algorithm update is going to murder your rankings.

Here are five reasons to shift some of the time and budget you spend on SEO to PPC.

#1: For Commercial Queries, Paid Clicks Outnumber Organic Clicks By Nearly 2 to 1

Organic clicks still account for more clicks overall in the search results – but different types of keywords have different value to businesses. For search queries that show high commercial intent – i.e., they indicate that the person searching wants to purchase something – more and more of the page (85% of above-the-fold pixels!) is devoted to sponsored listings. The organic results for transactional keywords like “best email software” or “waterproof digital camera” are mostly pushed below the fold. The top 3 ad spots for a commercial query take 41% of the clicks, and the Product Ad Listings take another 20%. Overall, sponsored results account for 65% of clicks on these keywords, compared to 35% for organic results.

#2: Google’s Sponsored Ad Formats Keep Getting Better

You have minimal control over how your organic search listings appear in Google. (For example, they’ve recently started applying new titles, when they think they can serve up a better one than the title you put on the page.) But you have lots of attractive choices when it comes to ad types. Here are just a few of the ad options that Google now offers:

Mega Site Links: This huge ad format offers up to 10 additional places to click, greatly increasing your chances of presenting a relevant link.Remarketing: Remarketing or retargeting allows you to track site visitors with a cookie and chase them around the Web, displaying relevant banner ads until they click and convert.Social Ad Extensions: With social extensions you can display who has +1’d your site, lending credibility and potential name recognition – it also makes your ad look less like an ad (see below).

#3: About Half Your Audience Can’t Tell the Difference Between Paid and Organic Search

A lot of people think that “nobody clicks on Google ads.” And it’s true that eye tracking studies suggest most people ignore the sponsored ads in the right column. However, one study showed that about half of people don’t recognize the ads above the search results as ads – in other words, they couldn’t tell the difference between the organic and paid results.

Top ads get clicked first whether paid or organic

Top ads get clicked first whether paid or organic

If users don’t know your ad is an ad, they can’t be suspicious of its intent – and why should they be, if it gives them what they want? Secure one of those coveted positions above the organic results for a commercial query, you’ll take the lion’s share of clicks without sacrificing trust with users.

#4: SEO Is a Full-Time Job – Or Several Full-Time Jobs

As the number of sites competing for rankings has sky-rocketed, Google’s algorithms have gotten more and more complex, and it’s become much harder to achieve – and maintain – high rankings in the organic results. Where in the past businesses could get away with hiring a single SEO point person (usually a pretty junior position), now it often requires a full team to develop and execute on an SEO strategy (a content writer, a link builder, etc.). We believe that PPC – once your campaigns are set up and running – requires significantly less time to manage. According to Perry Marshall, author of The Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords, “if you focus on the areas that bring the most traffic, I find that once you find a rhythm, you can really do this with a few minutes a day, at most a few hours a week, and that’s with a large campaign with a $10,000+ spend per month.”

#5: Algorithm Updates Don’t Affect Your PPC

Google’s rolling algorithm updates ensure that SEO gets harder and more confusing over time. The Panda and Penguin updates in particular have addressed the kind of “optimizations” that have tended to work for site owners and marketers in the past. The only way to find out if Google thinks your SEO techniques are over the line (AKA “over-optimization”) is to take a hit on rankings, and then scramble to figure out – and fix – what you’ve been doing wrong. Google does suspend AdWords accounts on occasion, sometimes without clear reason, but in PPC you’re much less likely to experience major flux or drop-offs in rankings and traffics due to changes on Google’s end.

These are all good reasons to re-allocate some of your marketing budget to PPC, if you’ve been depending on SEO for traffic and lead generation. We would never advocate giving up on SEO – you won’t hear us saying “SEO is dead” anytime soon. But strive for a balance between your search marketing channels, and you can minimize the damage incurred as SEO gets incrementally harder.

Link Building New Dimensions

Local Leads Online Marketing algo experts

Local leads Online Marketing Algorithm Experts

Much has been said about the importance of a natural backlink profile since Google released the Penguin algorithm update. Is it possible to actively build links and still have a natural backlink profile?

Real link building is more important than ever

The importance of link building hasn’t decreased with Google’s Penguin update. Actually, link building has become more important than before. The difference is that link spamming doesn’t work anymore.

Blasting your link to thousands of sites and fully automated backlink networks have lost their power. Given the fact that these links never were useful to real Internet users, it’s remarkable that Google took so long to devaluate that type of backlinks.

Link building is not about manipulating search rankings (surprise)

Higher search engine rankings are a natural by-product if you build links correctly. The main purpose of link building (and SEO in general) is to get targeted visitors to your website.

Backlinks can help you with the following:

  1. backlinks can increase the search engine rankings of your site
  2. backlinks can help you to get targeted visitors
  3. backlinks can help your company reputation

If you focus your link building activities on 2 and 3 then 1 will come naturally.

Link building can lead to a natural backlink profile

The reason why some people think that link building leads to an unnatural backlink profile is that they confuse link building with link spamming. SEO is not spamming and the whole SEO industry has suffered a lot from people using the term ‘SEO’ to sell their spamming products.

The key to a natural backlink profile is a simple question: “Could the link exist without asking for it?” Many people just don’t link to your site because they don’t know it or because they don’t have the time to research links about a topic.

Help these people who would naturally link to your site by informing them about linkworthy content on your site that is related to their site. Asking the right people for the right reason often leads to much better results than the scattershot approach that is used by many companies.

For the foreseeable future, good backlinks will remain one of the leading factors in Google’s ranking algorithms. 

 

Last Big Panda Roll Out Definitive Expository

2/27/12

In February 2012 we have many improvements to celebrate. With 40 changes reported, that marks a new record for our monthly series on search quality. Most of the updates rolled out earlier this month, and a handful are actually rolling out today and tomorrow. We continue to improve many of our systems, including related searches, sitelinks, autocomplete, UI elements, indexing, synonyms, SafeSearch and more. Each individual change is subtle and important, and over time they add up to a radically improved search engine.

Here’s the list for February:

•More coverage for related searches. [launch codename “Fuzhou”] This launch brings in a new data source to help generate the “Searches related to” section, increasing coverage significantly so the feature will appear for more queries. This section contains search queries that can help you refine what you’re searching for.
•Tweak to categorizer for expanded sitelinks. [launch codename “Snippy”, project codename “Megasitelinks”] This improvement adjusts a signal we use to try and identify duplicate snippets. We were applying a categorizer that wasn’t performing well for our expanded sitelinks, so we’ve stopped applying the categorizer in those cases. The result is more relevant sitelinks.
•Less duplication in expanded sitelinks. [launch codename “thanksgiving”, project codename “Megasitelinks”] We’ve adjusted signals to reduce duplication in the snippets for expanded sitelinks. Now we generate relevant snippets based more on the page content and less on the query.
•More consistent thumbnail sizes on results page. We’ve adjusted the thumbnail size for most image content appearing on the results page, providing a more consistent experience across result types, and also across mobile and tablet. The new sizes apply to rich snippet results for recipes and applications, movie posters, shopping results, book results, news results and more.
•More locally relevant predictions in YouTube. [project codename “Suggest”] We’ve improved the ranking for predictions in YouTube to provide more locally relevant queries. For example, for the query [lady gaga in ] performed on the US version of YouTube, we might predict [lady gaga in times square], but for the same search performed on the Indian version of YouTube, we might predict [lady gaga in India].
•More accurate detection of official pages. [launch codename “WRE”] We’ve made an adjustment to how we detect official pages to make more accurate identifications. The result is that many pages that were previously misidentified as official will no longer be.
•Refreshed per-URL country information. [Launch codename “longdew”, project codename “country-id data refresh”] We updated the country associations for URLs to use more recent data.
•Expand the size of our images index in Universal Search. [launch codename “terra”, project codename “Images Universal”] We launched a change to expand the corpus of results for which we show images in Universal Search. This is especially helpful to give more relevant images on a larger set of searches.
•Minor tuning of autocomplete policy algorithms. [project codename “Suggest”] We have a narrow set of policies for autocomplete for offensive and inappropriate terms. This improvement continues to refine the algorithms we use to implement these policies.
•“Site:” query update [launch codename “Semicolon”, project codename “Dice”] This change improves the ranking for queries using the “site:” operator by increasing the diversity of results.
•Improved detection for SafeSearch in Image Search. [launch codename “Michandro”, project codename “SafeSearch”] This change improves our signals for detecting adult content in Image Search, aligning the signals more closely with the signals we use for our other search results.
•Interval based history tracking for indexing. [project codename “Intervals”] This improvement changes the signals we use in document tracking algorithms.
•Improvements to foreign language synonyms. [launch codename “floating context synonyms”, project codename “Synonyms”] This change applies an improvement we previously launched for English to all other languages. The net impact is that you’ll more often find relevant pages that include synonyms for your query terms.
•Disabling two old fresh query classifiers. [launch codename “Mango”, project codename “Freshness”] As search evolves and new signals and classifiers are applied to rank search results, sometimes old algorithms get outdated. This improvement disables two old classifiers related to query freshness.
•More organized search results for Google Korea. [launch codename “smoothieking”, project codename “Sokoban4”] This significant improvement to search in Korea better organizes the search results into sections for news, blogs and homepages.
•Fresher images. [launch codename “tumeric”] We’ve adjusted our signals for surfacing fresh images. Now we can more often surface fresh images when they appear on the web.
•Update to the Google bar. [project codename “Kennedy”] We continue to iterate in our efforts to deliver a beautifully simple experience across Google products, and as part of that this month we made further adjustments to the Google bar. The biggest change is that we’ve replaced the drop-down Google menu in the November redesign with a consistent and expanded set of links running across the top of the page.
•Adding three new languages to classifier related to error pages. [launch codename “PNI”, project codename “Soft404″] We have signals designed to detect crypto 404 pages (also known as “soft 404s”), pages that return valid text to a browser but the text only contain error messages, such as “Page not found.” It’s rare that a user will be looking for such a page, so it’s important we be able to detect them. This change extends a particular classifier to Portuguese, Dutch and Italian.
•Improvements to travel-related searches. [launch codename “nesehorn”] We’ve made improvements to triggering for a variety of flight-related search queries. These changes improve the user experience for our Flight Search feature with users getting more accurate flight results.
•Data refresh for related searches signal. [launch codename “Chicago”, project codename “Related Search”] One of the many signals we look at to generate the “Searches related to” section is the queries users type in succession. If users very often search for [apple] right after [banana], that’s a sign the two might be related. This update refreshes the model we use to generate these refinements, leading to more relevant queries to try.
•International launch of shopping rich snippets. [project codename “rich snippets”] Shopping rich snippets help you more quickly identify which sites are likely to have the most relevant product for your needs, highlighting product prices, availability, ratings and review counts. This month we expanded shopping rich snippets globally (they were previously only available in the US, Japan and Germany).
•Improvements to Korean spelling. This launch improves spelling corrections when the user performs a Korean query in the wrong keyboard mode (also known as an “IME”, or input method editor). Specifically, this change helps users who mistakenly enter Hangul queries in Latin mode or vice-versa.
•Improvements to freshness. [launch codename “iotfreshweb”, project codename “Freshness”] We’ve applied new signals which help us surface fresh content in our results even more quickly than before.
•Web History in 20 new countries. With Web History, you can browse and search over your search history and webpages you’ve visited. You will also get personalized search results that are more relevant to you, based on what you’ve searched for and which sites you’ve visited in the past. In order to deliver more relevant and personalized search results, we’ve launched Web History in Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Morocco, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Estonia, Kuwait, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Nigeria, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Bosnia and Herzegowina, Azerbaijan, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Republic of Moldova, and Ghana. Web History is turned on only for people who have a Google Account and previously enabled Web History.
•Improved snippets for video channels. Some search results are links to channels with many different videos, whether on mtv.com, Hulu or YouTube. We’ve had a feature for a while now that displays snippets for these results including direct links to the videos in the channel, and this improvement increases quality and expands coverage of these rich “decorated” snippets. We’ve also made some improvements to our backends used to generate the snippets.
•Improvements to ranking for local search results. [launch codename “Venice”] This improvement improves the triggering of Local Universal results by relying more on the ranking of our main search results as a signal.
•Improvements to English spell correction. [launch codename “Kamehameha”] This change improves spelling correction quality in English, especially for rare queries, by making one of our scoring functions more accurate.
•Improvements to coverage of News Universal. [launch codename “final destination”] We’ve fixed a bug that caused News Universal results not to appear in cases when our testing indicates they’d be very useful.
•Consolidation of signals for spiking topics. [launch codename “news deserving score”, project codename “Freshness”] We use a number of signals to detect when a new topic is spiking in popularity. This change consolidates some of the signals so we can rely on signals we can compute in realtime, rather than signals that need to be processed offline. This eliminates redundancy in our systems and helps to ensure we can continue to detect spiking topics as quickly as possible.
•Better triggering for Turkish weather search feature. [launch codename “hava”] We’ve tuned the signals we use to decide when to present Turkish users with the weather search feature. The result is that we’re able to provide our users with the weather forecast right on the results page with more frequency and accuracy.
•Visual refresh to account settings page. We completed a visual refresh of the account settings page, making the page more consistent with the rest of our constantly evolving design.
•Panda update. This launch refreshes data in the Panda system, making it more accurate and more sensitive to recent changes on the web.
•Link evaluation. We often use characteristics of links to help us figure out the topic of a linked page. We have changed the way in which we evaluate links; in particular, we are turning off a method of link analysis that we used for several years. We often rearchitect or turn off parts of our scoring in order to keep our system maintainable, clean and understandable.
•SafeSearch update. We have updated how we deal with adult content, making it more accurate and robust. Now, irrelevant adult content is less likely to show up for many queries.
•Spam update. In the process of investigating some potential spam, we found and fixed some weaknesses in our spam protections.
•Improved local results. We launched a new system to find results from a user’s city more reliably. Now we’re better able to detect when both queries and documents are local to the user.