2015 SEO News Roundups and Insights
What’s Up with Google
Google Search senior vice president Amit Singhal informs us via Re/Code that Google gets over 100 billion searches a month. In addition to that, he mentioned that more than 50% of those searches come from mobile devices. The figures do not include searches made over devices with screens that are bigger than 6 inches like the tablets.
With innovations like voice recognition as well as features added like Google Now, the search engine box is just a peak of the iceberg. Singhal explains that the user environments as well as the device capabilities dictate how people search today, which could be either by keying in a box like most use to do, or by talking directly to the smartphone device to retrieve the information needed.
Singhal adds that search is basically how people interact with computing. Computing or performing the operation required by the user exists in a 4-to-6-inch device. It may exist in a desktop, and it may exist on a 1-inch round device.
In this Code/Mobile conference held at the Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay, California, which was held in October last year, Singhal also mentions that Google has already indexed over 100 billion links within apps as searchable. Moreover, to make the search load faster and give create an increased user satisfaction, Amit express that the company introduced Accelerated Mobile Pages, which develops web pages efficiently as well as easily to enable a quicker loading time for information needed to be retrieved.
Google and its Algorithm
Since 2001 Google has indexed billions of web pages. In fact, according to Statistic Brain – Google had 30,000,000,000,000 pages indexed in 2014, and continues to crawl through more than 20 billion pages a day on the constantly growing World Wide Web. To do this magnitude of work, Mr. Google use algorithms now known as the Hummingbird. Page Rank after Larry Page, one of the founders of Google, a patented algorithm, is one of the more than 200 elements that go into the Hummingbird algorithm, which is a part of the attempt of the Google search engine to make search insightful, provide information from various media, as well as super smart. These amazing data, has been made even more insightful through an article by William Harris via Elumynt, and indicating that given this figure, Google has the lowest indexing growth rate, that is around 8.7%, 4,000,000,000/ 46,000,000,000 = 0.08695652 in 2011 and 2012.
This might not mean much to an average Google user. But to every search engine marketer, figures such as these, and everything Google and page rank related figures say it all.
The “maths that computers use to decide stuff” facilitates ranked pages based on their significance, identifies errors in spelling, presents alternatives to words, predicts auto-complete queries, and does unified searches using images, audio and video as well as voice.
The algorithm also tries to delve into the deeper meaning of the words searched for and interprets it in its most natural form, then recognizes words with similar meanings to include in the retrieved pages containing the searched term or key word. This system allows search engine such as Google to provide the necessary information embedded all over the web and present them based on factors such as significance or relevance, most visited page, and so on, to an anticipating Google user.
Panda, Phantom, RankBrain: What Do These Have to Do with SEO?
Like many innovations, Google rolls out updates as an enhancement to the current algorithms, basically for a better or more appropriate information retrieval system. As such, updates to some of the existing elements of the Hummingbird algorithm codenamed Panda, RankBrain, and Penguin were rolled out last year.
Reported algorithm updates (coined as Panthom updates by Glenn Gabe, a digital marketing veteran and owner of G Squared Interactive) also created a buzz in Feb 5, early May, April 29,2015, Sept 2 and 9, as well as in November 19, 2015.
Panda was first introduced in February 2011. With this search engine update, the ability to look at a site’s quality overall was brought back to Google’s indexing capability. Thus, if a site seemed to be really thin pages with very thin or little content, perhaps duplicates a parent or sister site, or basically a syndicated content from another site/s, signal the Panda to disregard your page or website link, thereby decreasing possible clickers or visitors to the page or site. Panda 4.2 rolled out in July 18, 2015.
Another part of the algorithm known as RankBrain, was announced in October 2015, and is apparently the 3rd most important signal in terms of relevance, according to a Google senior research scientist Greg Corrado. Reports claim that RankBrain appears to be able to score a page depending on its relevance for a given topic, as well as based on the term’s co-occurrence with other topics or sub-topics. It is reported to be using artificial intelligence to filter results.
Google Search United
The conglomeration of these elements in the core algorithm that is Hummingbird, enables Google to provide a better user search experience. These includes:
- Panda, Penguin and Payday that are designed to fight spam;
- Pigeon, which is designed to improve local results;
- Top Heavy, which is designed to demote ad-heavy pages;
- Mobile Friendly, which is designed to reward mobile-friendly pages;
- Pirate, which is designed to fight copyright infringement; and now,
- RankBrain, as one of the “hundreds” of signals that go into Google’s algorithm that defines what results will appear on a Google search page and where they are ordered or ranked.
All of these contribute to how search results are being served whenever you click on or call for Google’s assistance for information.
Google Now, SEO Next, then what?
To be apt with internet trends, including the algorithms set by search engines like Google, publishers who rely on search, whether organic or otherwise, employ search engine tactics or also known as search engine optimization techniques. These are most of the time about making small modifications to part of a specific website. When taken separately, the modifications would seem like incremental upgrades. However, when merged with other optimizations, a sizable impact on a page or website’s user experience as well as performance in organic search results will be evident.
As RKG Chief Knowledge Officer Adam Audette incites, “The days of SEO being a game outsmarting algorithms are over. Today content strategy and valuable, sustainable strategies are essential, not just tricks and links,” search engine marketers need to do more than just providing link baits or farm links to lure a would be customer or reader to a website.
As the internet is becoming smarter, perhaps even better than humans, if I may say, SEO experts need not only rely on links outside of their site, rather they also need to provide quality content for intended users not to think twice whether to click or not to click on your link, even if it would not get the #1 ranking on Google’s indexed page based on the search terms provided. After all content is and always will be king.