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The Week We Searched For- November 3, 2011

October 31- November 3, 2011

New Google algorithm update targets content “freshness”- On Thursday Google announced [1] 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 [2] 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 [1] announcing the change:

“We completed our Caffeine web indexing system [2] 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.”

Google revamps Location Targeting- Google unveiled [5] 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:


Generation App: new demographics on smartphone users- Nielsen released [8] 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” [9] 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 [10] 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 [11] 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 [12] an article in Fast Company on the growing competition between tech companies like Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook. The article [12] 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 [13] interview with Manjoo this week on the waging war between today’s tech giants. It’s worth a listen [13].

Your Facebook Comments, Coming Soon to a Google Search Near YouScott Gilbertson [14] from Wired online investigates Google’s new plans [15] 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 [16] 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”) [17]


About Camille Canon

Outside of summer jobs and not-for-profit internships, The Search Agency is my first official place of employment. I recently graduated from Mount Holyoke College, where I studied Art History and German. I am an avid cook, baker, and destroyer of diets. My specialties are cream cheese brownies, biscotti cookies and lemon bars. I am also an Art enthusiast. Living in Berlin enables me to follow a young, emerging Art scene complete with “eccentric” performance pieces and temporarily converted butcher shop galleries. I also enjoy running, traveling, and handy work. Camille Canon + [23]