What seems to be a rather large test of a new Google search results layout caused a mixed reaction from users on Twitter and blogs over the weekend. The new looks don’t seem all that new, especially if you’ve ever visited Blekko or DuckDuckGo, which both sport similar, though not identical, search layouts.
Google’s New Looks
There are actually two new Google layouts floating around.
The first layout Google is testing puts a much larger emphasis on white space between the website links and descriptions, as well as between results — which likely is pushing down organic results further down the page, and would make it harder to rank “above the fold” and further increase the value of a top spot in Google.
Google Instant Previews allow searchers to preview the layout of a website from within the search results page before clicking on the blue link. Google launched the feature last year and added the feature to Google Mobile in March.
Google’s previews work in two manners. Many websites are crawled using a special Google crawler. For those that aren’t, a special on-demand Google bot goes and fetches the page preview when you attempt previews that aren’t in Google’s cache.
Google has had very little to say to hurting webmasters who saw their rankings tank overnight due to Google’s rollout of the Panda Update. Many of these webmasters have depended on traffic from Google to pay mortgages and feed their families — and many sites were forced to lay off staff and no doubt others have just shut down.
Previously, beyond telling webmasters to identify and remove (or improve) low-quality or “shallow” content, Google hasn’t had much to say. Until today, at least. In a new blog post on Google Webmaster Central, Google’s Amit Singhal has posted what he calls “guidance” to webmasters in the form of 24 questions you should ask yourself as you go about recovering and determining “quality.”
Google has released Search Globe, a Chrome experiment that breaks down a 24-hour period of global searches. With a click of your mouse, you can spin the globe and see which countries have the most searches with protruding bars in a variety of colors, each color representing different languages (e.g., blue for English, orange for Spanish).
The black areas represent countries with limited or no Internet access. Brighter countries include the U.S., Europe, and parts of Asia.
People searching for news, breaking news, or mainstream newspapers or cable television news channels on Google are now being served clickable news headlines rather than a site description. Not sure if this feature is a test or fully rolled out, but I’ve asked several people today who are all seeing it.
Here’s what the new feature looks like:
Compare this to what you find on Bing, which is CNN’s usual description about delivering the “latest breaking news and information on the latest top stories, weather, business, entertainment, politics, and more.” Also, notice Bing highlights the “Latest from cnn.com” which are being pulled straight from CNN’s RSS feed.
After comparing search visibility for 2,000 keywords eHow ranked highly for before Panda (Feb 13) to last week (April 27), Conductor reported lower rankings on 72 percent of those keywords (or 1,440 keywords) — with 42 percent of keywords (840 keywords) dropping below the fourth spot in Google’s organic results, and another 17 percent (340 keywords) dropping entirely off Page 1.
Google has had their share of problems with authorities in Europe regarding data collection practices. Now South Korea has targeted Google for allegedly collecting and storing data against local laws. Specifically, Google is targeting the AdMob division, which handles ads on mobile platforms.
Earlier today, the Korean National Police Agency (KNPA) raided Google’s offices in Seoul, on allegations the search giant had collected location data without permission. The investigation stems from Google’s AdMob mobile ads product. To collect personal information, Google must first receive consent or approval from the Korean Communication Commission.
Less than 48 hours after news of the killing of Osama bin Laden, related searches are still trending on Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Details of bin Laden’s death, news coverage, and even conspiracy theories have dominated on the search engines. Here’s a roundup.
Geronimo — the code name of the Navy SEAL operation that killed bin Laden — was the top search on Google earlier today, and remains on the list at fourth as if this writing. Jon Stewart checked in on the hot searches at number 13, likely related to his “To Kill a Mockingturd” coverage from last night.
I thought it was an interesting question, so had a stab at the answer. I’m quite fond of all of these tools for their own specific purpose, so much so the list runs to 7 (rather than 5). Nonetheless, feel free to suggest any useful addons, bookmarklets, and plugins not listed.
Below are some of most useful Firefox Addons and plugins for an SEO and their day-to-day workflow.
1. SEOmoz’s Pro Toolbar, AdMax Toolbar, or SEOBook Toolbar
Last year Chitika tried to determine the value of a top Google result, reporting that the top organic position drove 34.35 percent of all traffic — and we recently reported on Optify’s findings that the top Google results gets 36.4 percent of clicks.