October 31- November 3, 2011
New Google algorithm update targets content “freshness”- On Thursday Google announced  new changes to its search algorithm, focused on making search results “fresher.” The changes are expected to affect 35% of all searches, making it one of the biggest changes to Google’s search algorithm to date. (Google’s Panda Update affected roughly 12% of results.) Building off their Caffeine  structure, Google’s latest changes will enable Google to serve fresher results at a faster rate. As Amit Singhal, Google Fellow, explained in a blog post  announcing the change:
“We completed our Caffeine web indexing system  last year, which allows us to crawl and index the web for fresh content quickly on an enormous scale. Building upon the momentum from Caffeine, today we’re making a significant improvement to our ranking algorithm that impacts roughly 35 percent of searches and better determines when to give you more up-to-date relevant results for these varying degrees of freshness.”
Of course Google isn’t only concerned with content “freshness.” “Different searches have different freshness needs,” explains Singhal. “This algorithmic improvement is designed to better understand how to differentiate between these kinds of searches and the level of freshness you need, and make sure you get the most up to the minute answers.”
- Check out Claire Cain Miller’s article “Google Changes Search Algorithm, Trying to Make Results More Timely”  on the NYTimes Tech Blog for an insightful explanation on how growing competition from Facebook and Twitter is putting pressure on Google to improve the timeliness of its search results.
- And before you start manically refreshing your site’s content, make sure to read Grant Simmons’ article “Does Your Web Content Have an “Expired by” Date?”  Grant points out that what’s most important is generating quality content that adds value to your user’s experience.
Google revamps Location Targeting- Google unveiled  several changes to its location-targeting tool in AdWords, aimed at making location targeting on paid ads easier and more accurate. By linking Location Targeting in AdWords to Google Maps, Google hopes to provide advertisers with “more information about locations, make relevant location suggestions, and improve the level of accuracy of our location targeting.” Here are the key changes to location targeting:
- Easily discover locations- Start typing your location into your Campaign Settings tab and Google will start suggesting other locations that are (1) similar to your city, (2) locations that encompass your location (e.g., state, county) or (3) related locations that may be near your location, that have a similar name or are enclosed in an area with a similar name.
- Location on maps- Now you can view and edit your location on Google maps.
- More detail on locations- “We now offer reach numbers  to help you estimate the audience within your selected target. These reach numbers are based on the number of users seen on Google properties and may differ significantly from census numbers. Reach should be used only as general guidance to help you determine the relative number of users in a location target compared to other locations. For example, you can see from the screenshot below that targeting the Dallas metro area could result in three times the reach of the city of Dallas.”
Generation App: new demographics on smartphone users- Nielsen released  its third quarter survey of mobile users, revealing 62% of the 43% of US mobile users who own smartphones are between 25-34 years old. The smartphone penetration rate is roughly 54% for owners between 18-24 years old and 35-44 years old. Android remains the most popular smartphone operating system with 43% of the market vs. 28% of Apple iPhone users.
Facebook expected to grab 72% of social advertising in 2012- New data from eMarketer’s report “Worldwide Social Network Ad Revenues: A $10 Billion Market by 2013”  suggests that social media ad revenues will exceed $8 billion in 2012. “As more companies build out their marketing presence in social networks, they are also increasing their focus on spending ad dollars there,” stated  Debra Aho Williamson, eMarketer principal analyst and the report’s author. The report also predicts that Facebook will be the largest benefactor of increased social media ad spending. As Williamson explains, “Social networks have cemented their place in advertising, not just marketing. With $7 of every $10 in social network advertising flowing to the company, Facebook is taking not only a greater share than ever of social network ad spending, but also an increasing proportion of total online ad spending. Although its ad offerings and metrics aren’t perfect, marketers still feel they need to be there to reach their target audience.”
New Ad Placements on search- Google announced  on Wednesday that some of its paid search ads that previously appeared to the side of the organic results will start appearing below them. The aim, as always, is to provide users with the best SERP experience possible. As Google’s Jerry Dischler, Director, Search Ads Product Management, explains “In many cases, we have found that displaying ads below search results fits better into the user’s flow as they scan the page from top to bottom. On average, this placement performed better than side ads in terms of click-through rate in our tests.”
This Week’s Must Reads
The Great Tech War of 2012- Last week Farhard Manjoo authored  an article in Fast Company on the growing competition between tech companies like Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook. The article  itself is incredibly interesting, as Manjoo has such a precise understanding of where digital media is heading and the role Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook are playing in the progression of that technology. But I would also suggest listening to Terry Gross of NPR’s Fresh Air  interview with Manjoo this week on the waging war between today’s tech giants. It’s worth a listen .
Your Facebook Comments, Coming Soon to a Google Search Near You– Scott Gilbertson  from Wired online investigates Google’s new plans  to index Facebook comments and present them on the SERP. Gilbertson predicts mixed reactions from users and webmasters alike.
Google’s Ron Gorodetzky: Making YouTube more social- LATimes’ Nathan Olivarez-Giles takes a closer look  at how Google’s Ron Gorodetzky, co-founder of Digg, plans on incorporating YouTube into Google Plus. (Also check out Olivarez-Giles’ article “Google+ gets new YouTube and Chrome integration”) 
- The Week We Searched For- May 11, 2012  - May 11, 2012
- Interview with Cassandra Caswell-Stirling  - May 10, 2012
- The Week We Searched For- April 30-May 2, 2012  - May 4, 2012
- eRetailers Winning Customers at the Zero Moment of Truth  - May 3, 2012
- The Week We Searched For- April 20, 2012  - April 20, 2012
- The Week We Searched For- April 13, 2012  - April 13, 2012
- The Week We Searched For- April 6, 2012  - April 6, 2012
- An Interview with Erik Freeman  - April 5, 2012
- The Week We Searched For- April 2, 2012  - April 2, 2012
- The Week We Searched For- March 23, 2012  - March 23, 2012