Google Is That You? You Look…Different

google-new-and-improvedGoogle has undergone a bit of a face-lift.  In the last month they revamped the default version of Google Maps, which now looks very different, and they’ve updated the look of the regular search results.

The changes to the regular search results weren’t dramatic, but they do now look much cleaner and easier to read.

In addition to Google’s changes (there were more than just those 2 updates), Bing made some important announcements and Yahoo updated their local features.

I’ll tell you all about it in this month’s SEO update.  Plus, hear about a special offer coming from OurChurch.Com.

Full Transcript:

Hey Everyone!  Stick around ’till the end of this video to hear about a great offer!

Hi, I’m Kurt Steinbrueck with, and this is our monthly SEO update, keeping you informed on what’s going on in the search engines.


So let’s jump straight into Google, and we’ll talk about some of the updates that they’ve made. They didn’t make any algorithm updates, but they have made several updates to the way things look, the appearance of their search results.

Google Maps Change:
Google-Maps-Churches-in-TampaThe first one I’ll mention is that Google Maps, they have now launched, officially as the default, the new version of Google Maps. They came out with the new version several months ago, and we actually talked about it back then, but now it has been made the default, which means a lot more people are not using that new version of Google Maps. So this is going to affect search behavior to some extent.

What are some of the differences? Well, the biggest difference is that it’s very map-centered, very map-oriented. Instead of showing a list of results over on the left and the map over to the right of that, everything’s kind of a big map, and the results are just right there in the map, with the organization names listed at their locations. What does that mean? There’s no more rankings there. You’re just on a flat map. Everything’s on equal ground. So if you had high ranking, if you had #1 ranking, you might see a little bit of a dip in how many people are clicking through because you’re no longer in that prestigious spot, whereas if you were 9 or 10, you might see more people, because again, you’re on an even playing field.

Now, you can still get to the results. You can click to see full results, and they’ll put that back up there on the left. But if you don’t take that extra step, you’re just seeing the map. So it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

Google Local – Descriptive Words:
Speaking of Google Local, they have also added the ability to add a single descriptive word to your name. Now, they’re very limited in this, but this could be an opportunity for you to improve your rankings. What they don’t want is just obvious, “we’re just trying to improve our ranking for something.” They want this to actually be useful to people. They don’t really want people just to add a city name if that’s not part of your name. They don’t want people to say “best” whatever, so you can’t just add “best.”

But they are looking of things like if you have a downtown location and you want to specify that so that people know this is downtown, not suburbs, you could put “Your Name – Downtown.” If you have maybe two locations, you want to specify east side/west side, you can do something like that. So that’s really the purpose of it, and they say that they’re really watching this. You’re going to have to watch what you try to do with that. They’re only going to allow certain things. But it’s something to look into, and if you’re a client of ours, we’re actually looking into that for you, and we’ll let you know if there’s an opportunity there for you.

Google Search Results Change:
new-Google-resultsAnother change that Google has made is to the appearance of their regular search result. If you do a search now, you’ll see that there aren’t underlines on the search results in the links. You’ll also notice the ads are just over the white background instead of the gray background, and they’re just annotated, so there’s a little box that says “Ads.”

Probably the biggest change is that they increased the font size, which makes it a little cleaner, a little easier to read, but also means that we now have fewer characters to work with, especially within the title. The title went from I believe 73 down to about 61 characters that are visible. Now, the characters that are not visible are still probably going to influence your search rankings, but they’re not going to influence whether people are going to click through seeing your search result, because of course, they can’t see it. So you may want to take a look at your titles and say “Is there some way that I need to modify these so that I’m getting better click-through rates with this new setup?”

Two other things that Google has launched this month.

Google Scraper Report:
One is a scraper report. Scraper is when somebody takes the content from one site using software and just puts it on their own site, so they’re stealing your content and putting it on their own site. Google doesn’t like this; most people don’t like this. But basically, they’re trying to get people onto their site, usually to get money from advertising and things like that. Well, if you’re actually being harmed by this and they’re outranking you for things, then you can report them to Google. It seems like Google really wants to limit it to when you’re actually being harmed and not just kind of a free-for-all, report whoever you see. But if you are being harmed by that, you can report that.

Links Still Matter…A Lot!
Lastly, Matt Cutts, who’s the head of Web Spam, fighting web spam at Google, he’d been asked the question “How important are links?” We see this a lot in the SEO world, especially after all the updates, your Penguins, Panda, the Hummingbird update, all these different things that have happened and people are saying “How important are links at this point? Because we know you’re really fighting spammy links, but are links still important?” He very clearly said links are still important. They’ve done tests to see if they can stop using that signal in their search results, get much lower quality. So links are still very important to them and very important, then, to you, to be getting links so that you can improve your rankings.

There’s also been people saying really social is now more important than links, and Matt’s actually addressed that on a previous update where he said they don’t really use social right now, because they don’t trust their access to sites like Facebook and Twitter, because they’ve been blocked before. You can’t have a major signal for your search engine just go away someday because some other site decided to block you. So they’ve been skittish about that. Not that they don’t think that shares and likes would be a valuable signal, but they don’t trust that they’re always going to have access to it. They may even be a little skittish with their own Google+. They say they still don’t use that as a ranking factor. Now, we do see it in personalization, but according to them, they’re saying that they’re not using it as a ranking factor, though there’s some dispute among some SEO people about that.

So links are still the way to go. Social is good, especially because good social tends to lead to more links and things like that, and just bring in more people, which is the ultimate goal, but you want to keep focusing on links as well.


bing-logo-blackMoving on to Bing. They made two announcements, one kind of a mind-numbing thing, and then another one that was rather interesting.

  1. The first was that they announced that they are lowering ranking for people who are keyword stuffing, which that was just mind-numbing to me. Really? You hadn’t been doing that? All the other major search engines, they take action against that, and so Bing is now putting their foot down about five years after everyone else and saying don’t do keyword stuffing or it’s going to harm your rankings.
  2. The more interesting one to me was that they also said that if you have poor grammar on your site, that that can lower your rankings as well. Google has said that poor grammar probably isn’t going to affect you very much, but Bing’s saying “No, we’ll actually lower your rankings if you have poor grammar on your site.” So you want to make sure that you have good grammar, and you want to make sure that you have it for your users anyways, because who wants to read a site that has a bunch of bad grammar on it? It just makes you look bad, right? So you want to make sure you have good grammar on your site.


yahoo-local-300Moving on to Yahoo!. Yahoo!, two things. One is that they are now officially showing the Yelp reviews in their results. We talked about it last month, that they had made an agreement with Yahoo!, and now we’re actually seeing that live on the web. So if you do searches for local things in Yahoo!, you’ll see those Yelp reviews and other Yelp information coming up.

They also added internal maps for major venues, so things like shopping malls, maybe sporting complexes and things like that, larger venues that have these subsections. They’ve now launched several internal maps. It’s something that Google has had for awhile, Bing has had for awhile, and now Yahoo! has it. It’s just a neat little feature to be able to find your way around some of those larger venues.

So those are the things that are going on in the search engines. Just keeping you informed with that, because keep in mind that we live in this internet age, and it’s important to stay strong in the search engines so that you can achieve your mission online.

God bless!

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6 Responses to “Google Is That You? You Look…Different”

  1. So true! We always need to be updated so you can achieve your mission online. I learned so much from your article and I want to thank you for that. I’m just getting into SEO so I have fewer knowledge about it. Anyways, thanks for the information.

  2. There is always a change in the search engine. Although these changes actually makes it easier for people who want to find information on google. But for SEO practitioners that make any changes we have to begin to formulate a technique or the latest in the way of optimizing search engines. Thanks for this information

  3. Google has updated and now there is a new version. And it is looking good and different. Different changes have been occurred. Different techniques are being used in this. And the use is also become much more easier after the changes.

  4. Google is the most vital and wide spread research engine. It is very important and necessary for all terms and conditions. It is very novel and up to date phenomenon. This activity is highlighted for the blog expansion and extension. It is done and utilized for this time and demand.