A look back at SEO in 2010
Yeah its been a while since we put up a good post on here, the end of 2010 was a very busy time for us. Poker Affiliates and SEO’s had a serious challenge in 2010, we saw so many changes to the Poker Industry and the massive changes from Google, then introduction of the “new” bing engine, and the phasing out of Yahoo. It was serious tough to just keep up with everything. So here it is, a little late but better than nothing. This is essentially just a repost of info already out there.
Here is a nice post detailing all the major google changes made in 2010
December 11, 2010.
Sentiment analysis added to the algorithm
Following an article on the New York Times, denouncing the fact that a merchant who causes the dissatisfaction of its customers and generates many complaints in blogs and forum gains an advantage with search engines, Google reacted.
Indeed, when we denounce the practices or content of a site, we put links on it to provide examples, and these backlinks are treated as a popularity indice by search engines, which translates into better ranking in the results!
Google therefore developed an algorithm for sentiment analysis, which aims to recognize if the text surrounding a link is positive or negative towards it, depending keywords it contains to penalize sites that we complained.
Google also advises the nofollow attribute to put a link on a site without wishing to contribute to its positioning.
Being bad to your customers is bad for business.
Large-Scale Sentiment Analysis for News and Blogs. Analysis in English of the algorithm.
December 2, 2010.
More results from a domain
A same domain until new did not appear more than twice in SERPS. Now this limit is broken and that could let other websites to lose traffic.
November 17, 2010.
A magnifying glass icon on the right of snippets provides a quick thumbnail of the page corresponding to the result.
It already existed a firefox extension to display a thumbnail of each site beside the results.
November 9, 2010.
Since 21 and 22 October depending on the region, a modification of the algorithm on the ranking in results affected a lot of sites, some losing up to 80% of their traffic. The Alexa search engine, has published graphs showing huge losses or gains equivalent to some sites.
These changes seem permanent.
The purpose of these chan ges appears to be intended to improve the relevance of results.
“You are not alone”, Alexa blog.
November 5, 2010.
It is now possible to define a location. By default the search engine identifies the location of the user and selects the results based on it.
For various reasons, you may want to break free, when for instance you are been searching for the next day where you’ll be in another city!
You must have results already displayed to show the panel of options on the left.
October 18, 2010.
Instant is enhanced with the possibility for the user to use the keyboard to select a row among the rows in the suggestion box.
This can have an effect on the traffic of sites.
Section and explanatory video.
September 30, 2010.
The real-time search goes on the main search engine: a results page is displayed as soon as you start typing a query and its continuous changes based on the words you add.
A suggestion in light gray is proposed also to complete the application.
This works on Chrome, Firefox and IE8.
Instant Will it end optimization for search engines, as some think? This tends to personalize the results page and then it changes the rules, but does not certainly removes the need for optimization. This will at least disrupt statistics in GWT and Analytics.
FAQ Google Instant.
Video: Google Instant by Marissa Mayer Google’s staff.
September 8, 2010.
SVG content now indexed either it is in a file to include or embedded into HTML code.
List of files formats supported by Google.
August 31 2010.
Interactive result page
As you type a query, and the function Suggest proposes to complete the text, another thing may happen: if it is already displayed, the results page may change gradually depending on keywords that you add in the query.
To heve a best understanding of how it feels, a demonstration video.
It is a function under test and only a few netsurfers were able to observe it, but it has been confirmed by Google.
August 21, 2010.
More than two results for the same domain
So far the same domain could not appear more than twice in one page of results (except with the command site:).
Since August 20, 2010, that changed for some specific queries on which a site can be the one to many results, it may appear more than twice.
Showing more results for a domain.
August 20, 2010.
Some webmasters have seen their traffic increased from search engines other than Google Google.com or that of their country.
So Americans can see the arrival of visitors who visit other ccTLD engines, such as google.co.uk or google.fr for example, implying that the engine of other ccTLD includes U.S. sites in the results.
This could reduce the audience for the sites in these countries.
August 20, 2010.
A history link appeared on the page of search engine (on U.S. version only at first). It will displays previous searches and make to reappear results already found in the past.
This only works when you are registered to your Google Account, but it is accessible from any computer or mobile. You can edit the list and delete the results.
You have to activate this feature in the configuration of the account at the option “Save searches”.
Introducing search history link.
4 August 2010.
Definitions at top
Many surfers use the search engine for the definition of a term. Google has so created a special section that appears at the top of the result page and provides definitions from online dictionaries Merriam-Webster, Dictionary.com, Answers.com, The Free Dictionary.
The snippets include pronunciation and grammatical information.
For now only on the English engine.
Example: Search for “persistent”.
July 25, 2010.
Google image modernized
The results pages of the image section enlarge images in a box when you move the mouse over the images and display them in a window with the page that contains them in a grayed background, on the principle of the lightbox.
July 21, 2010.
Caffeine builds a fresher index
Google announced June 8 that the new indexing engine, Caffeine is finalized. It offers a new index with 50% fresher results.
Its operation differs from the previous system which was updating as a whole, by waves. Caffeine updates the index incrementally. New pages can be added and made available for search as soon as they are discovered.
The new architecture allows also to associate a page to several countries.
Caffeine vs. previous system.
June 8, 2010.
MayDay: The long tail evolves
This was confirmed by Matt Cutts at the Google I/O in May, the radical evolution in the month of April comes from the change in the algorithm, to promote quality content on the long trail.
This is an algorithmic change in Google, looking for higher quality sites to surface for long tail queries. It went through vigorous testing and isn’t going to be rolled back.
Remind that the long tail is the set of queries with multiple keywords, each being rare, but which together form the bulk of traffic to a site.
Webmasters gave the evolution the name of MayDay. I have previously called Black Tuesday. This has been disastrous for some sites well established but having not enough content in deep pages. This happened in late April and early May depending on the sites, even though other sites have experienced a loss of traffic for other reasons.
This has boosted traffic on scriptol.com.
Google confirms Mayday impact. By Vanessa Fox that says also Caffeine is not live yet.
Matt Cutts explains Mayday in a video. It is not related to Caffeine and is definitive. Webmasters must add content to their page to retrieve the traffic lost.
May 27, 2010.
From the Squared engine as the previous technology, short answer is trying to directly answer a query that looks like a question.
For example if one asks the “date of birth x”, the engine will give a direct answer, date of birth of the person, then follows a list of pages containing information related to the birth date of x.
May 12, 2010.
In certain queries may appear in the sidebar to search by category, a new section: “Something different” and a list of query below.
In the case of a search on an actress, it will be a list of other actresses.
This has been developed for the Google’s alternative engine , Squared and integrated to the standard search engine.
May 12, 2010.
Black Tuesday: Ranking changes on the long tail
The long tail is the set of pages on a site that make few visit each but all together have a large traffic.
Queries on multiple keywords, make the long tail.
Many sites have seen a change in traffic of these pages since April 27. Some have lost up to 90% of their traffic. They attributed this change to Caffeine, the new infrastructure of Google indexes more pages and creates more competition, but it has been confirmed later by Google it is a change in the algorithm (see May 27).
April 27, 2010.
For a while the search engine has a feature sites offering similar content. The “similar” link to a similar page near a result in addition to “cached” to the cached version.
This function becomes more important. We can now possibly find a block of sites similar to results at the bottom of results page.
April 28, 2010.
Rich snippets go international
Including rich snippets for recipes.
April 26, 2010.
Real time improved
MySpace, Facebook, Buzz, Twitter are integrated in search results. When, after viewing the results page you ask to show more options and you clicks on “Update”, you can see activities on social networks about the query, for a given period.
Replay accross Twitter.
April 14, 2010.
Snippets for recipes
The recipes are displayed differently in results, provided that their page has an internal format that is suitable.
Google supports 5 formats including RDF and microdata.
Introducing rich recipe snippets.
April 13, 2010.
is officially a ranking factor
This was announced a few months ago, it became reality: a site that is too slow is now downgraded in SERPs or at least has a chance to be in conjunction with other factors.
Today we’re Including a new signal in our search ranking algorithms: site speed.
It is possible to know if your site is too slow from Google Webmaster Tools (Labs -> Site performance).
Using site speed in web search ranking.
April 9, 2010.
Microdata as specified in HTML 5 are now included in the description of the results if they are defined in the page.
They adds social data about the site.
Microdata in snippets.
March 12, 2010.
Public data in search results
The search engine now provides access to public statistics and displays graphs directly instead of links, like Wolfram Alpha.
To do this, you type in the search bar keywords like “unemployment rate ” with the name of a country or region and the image of a graph is displayed under a link to click.
You can check with “unemployement rate usa” that things are not going very well in USA.
This service works only for USA in March 2010.
More information and video.
March 9, 2010.
Assigning stars to results
Google abandons the SearchWiki service which imitated the principles of Wikia and allowed users to annotate, vote for or delete pages in results. (Wikia dropped this service for a while).
But it retains a feature that is extended to the general search engine: the user can assign a star to a link in results. When he returned on the search engine, links that received a star appear at top of the page ion a special list.
This rating is personal, it does not change the results for other users.
February 4, 2010.
Local Search option
A new option “Nearby” appears in the panel of specialized search. It restricts searches to regions.
The advantage is that the search will no longer depend precisely on keywords but on a region, without the need to found all the different terms used to designate towns and various places…
Refine your search by location.
February 26, 2010.
Sponsored links in results
As an experiment and for the cities of Houston and San Jose only, Google highlight sponsored links in search results listings. They are marked with a yellow rectangle.
The sponsored links on the side or top of the page still remains, this is a new different service named “Google Enhanced Listings”, costing $ 25 per month.
This subscription does not guarantee a better position in results.
More details and examples.
February 16, 2010.
Search engine and answers
To add the feature of the Wolfram Alpha engine, Google now wants to offer real answers to questions from webmasters. For this it offers a richer snippet (description under the link in results) and includes the response in bold.
Clearly, if we ask how many people are living in China, the snippet should contain the answer. What we can easily check …
The difference with Wolfram is that the user can click on the link for more details. In addition, the snippet has a limited size, while Wolfram can provide an answer on a full page … that the Web site linked by Google can also do. Webmasters may have to change their writing habits to adapt to that.
For example, to use Ajax to give to his visitors an unique information. If the information is not unique, they will find it in snippets of other sites and it is not recommended.
Explanation: Answer highlighting.
The speed of a site will be a ranking factor in 2010
This is what Matt Cutts has just said in an interview.
“Historically, we haven’t had to use it in our search rankings, but a lot of people within Google think that the web should be fast.
It should be a good experience, and so it’s sort of fair to say that if you’re a fast site, maybe you should get a little bit of a bonus. If you really have an awfully slow site, then maybe users don’t want that as much.