October SEO Update – Google Changes Core Algorithm

Beside the birdbath

Hold onto your hats, it’s about to get crazy up in here.

Google has added another animal into their menagerie (panda, penguins, and …?), Bing made a major overhaul, and even Yahoo got into the mix revamping their maps.  Also, Apple has made some changes that could have a pretty big impact on search.

The biggest news of the month is that Google has updated their core algorithm.  The very thing that runs their search engine.  So, what kind of impact has that made on the rest of us and what do you need to do to deal with it?

I’ll discuss that and lots of other things in this month’s SEO Update video below.

Video Transcript:

Hi, I’m Kurt Steinbrueck, Director of Marketing Services with OurChurch.com, and I’m here with this month’s SEO update so you can stay informed on what’s going on in the search engines. There’s actually a lot that’s been going on this past month, including a lot of changes that happened in Google. We’ll get to that in just a minute, but we’re going to start with Yahoo! because well, quite frankly, we don’t get to talk about Yahoo! very much.

Yahoo! has actually changed the way that their local search is displaying now. They’ve changed the look, they’ve added pedestrian and mass transit maps to their local maps search, and made some other minor changes to it as well. If you haven’t been to Yahoo! Maps lately, you might want to go check it out, see how that all works now. Especially if you are a walker or someone who takes mass transit, they’ve got some things for you now. That’s about it for Yahoo!, but that’s actually pretty good for Yahoo!.


Click for larger image.

Click for larger image.

Moving on to Bing, Bing has completely reformatted their search. They didn’t change the way that the search rankings were being figured out, they didn’t change the algorithms at all; but what they did change was the way the Bing search looks and the way that it presents information.

Now Two Columns
If you remember before, Bing used to have three columns. They had the actual search results, and then they had two other smaller columns, one that had various types of information and the other that had social information. Now they’ve combined those two other columns into one. So, they’ve put Snapshot, which was the middle one, and the social column together and it’s all presenting this information together.  So, you find information that’s just general information, maybe information on a person that you’re searching for, kind of a biographical information.  You also find social references. Maybe, if someone’s posted something about that person, you would see a post about it. Or you  might just see your friends listed there saying “Hey, ask your friends about this person. What do they think?” So, they’ve put all that together and they’re presenting it in a bit of a different way now.

New – Page Zero
In addition to that, they’re doing what they’re calling their “Page Zero” results, where they’re actually trying to give you your answers before you’re seeing the results, so as you’re typing in the results, they’re going to give you information that they think will answer your question, even before you see your search results. Hopefully, it answers your question quicker, is what they’re driving at.

The other thing is that they’ve now adjusted Bing so that it’s able to do adapt to any type of computer that you’re on. So, whether you’re on your mobile phone or a tablet or your desktop computer, it should display properly. I haven’t heard that it wasn’t. But it should display properly no matter what kind of device you’re on.

So, a lot of changes that Bing has been making to the way their search results are displayed, which of course always affects the way that people search and the information that they find. We’ll have to watch how that all plays out.

Bing – Klout
bing-and-klout-300Bing has also teamed up with Klout. Klout is a social clout-rater. They determine how authoritative people are in the social sphere. So, you can sign up with your various social accounts, connect them all to Klout, and Klout looks at how much activity you have, how much are people liking and sharing and re-tweeting your posts. All that kind of stuff, they put it all together in a clout score. So now Bing and Klout have teamed up in what seems to be Bing’s response to the Google+ Authorship concept. It seems like they will probably be trying to gather authority and figure out who’s trustworthy and things like that, based off of the Klout relationship there, and then that might start affecting search results. Again, this is all pretty new, so I’m not sure exactly how it’s all going to play out, but we’ll keep watching it.

Siri Dumps Google and Hooks Up with Bing
Does Ritual Roasters pay for these ads within ads?The bridge here between Bing and Google is that Apple, when they updated the iPhones/iPads and they came up with OS 7, they changed how searches work, and now Siri actually defaults to Bing. When Siri doesn’t have the answer herself, it defaults to a Bing search result instead of Google, so they’ve switched that over. And of course, if you know anything about Apple and the iPhones and the various – iPad uses OS 7, and various other devices – they’re very popular, and so that switch could start to affect how much of a hold Google has on search. We might start seeing a little bit of a gain from Bing against Google.

Google Hummingbird
Speaking of Google, what has Google been doing? Google has been doing a lot. Google updated their core algorithm. We’ve talked about updates before, things like Penguin and Panda that were their add-ons. They were software things that were put on top of the core algorithm to try to deal with spam and poor results and things like that. This month, Google actually updated the core algorithm, how it’s dealing with search in general? The change really was designed to be able to interpret people’s questions more, working with the Knowledge Graph and some other aspects that Google has developed, and trying just to be able to understand people’s questions and deliver results that are appropriate for the question.

So, that’s been a big change, but at the same time, we actually didn’t see much in the change of rankings, which was interesting. For such a major core algorithm change, no one actually even noticed. Google announced it just about a week ago or so, but they had actually released it a month prior, and you saw nothing of it. There were no rumblings about it in the SEO world; no one was writing, “Hey, what happened to all my rankings?” None of that. It really went undetected until Google decided to let us know. So there wasn’t a huge change to it. They said that it probably affected about 1%, 2% of the searches that you would notice, but it’s sure to change things as they continue to develop it. I think what they’re doing is laying a foundation, and they’re going to be able to work Knowledge Graph and some of the things into the way they interpret queries and things like that.

Penguin 2.1
Another big one for Google is they also released another Penguin update. If you remember a few months ago, they released Penguin 2. This is the first adjustment to Penguin 2, what they’re calling Penguin 2.1. They’re just trying to hone it down and get Penguin working a bit better. It only affected about 1% of search results, so not huge, but for this type of an update, it actually is pretty significant. Usually you expect, like if they went to Penguin 3, you would expect 1% or 2%. For just these little minor adjustments, they’re usually less than 1%, but this one was. So that was another big thing.

Google Shared Endorsements
Google-Shared-EndorsementsAnd then lastly, Google has announced what they call Shared Endorsements. What Shared Endorsements is is that now, when you comment on someone’s post in Google+ – not just liking it or clicking the little G+ symbol there, but actually commenting on it – they are now reserving the right to use that comment in advertising. So, if you like a post from Barnes & Noble and they post something, and then you comment on it, Barnes & Noble can now use that in their advertising. Just be aware of that. This is another thing where you may think that you’re commenting and it’s just in this one place, but with all things Google, they reserve the right to use anything that’s out there. You might see that comment show up in advertising.

So a lot going on. Major updates in Yahoo!, Bing, and Google, but not a huge impact on actual search results, but a lot of core changes there. I’m sure they’re going to develop out into the coming months, but we’ll keep you informed on it. I’ll be here every month, letting you know what’s going on. Just remember, we live in this internet age, so it’s important that you stay strong in the search engines so that you can achieve your mission online.

God bless!


Share Your Thoughts:

  • Do you like Bing’s new design?
  • Has Google’s Hummingbird Update affected you?
  • What do you think about Google’s Shared Endorsements?
photos by: wolfpix & Eric Fischer

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