This day in search marketing history: January 19
Google's page layout algorithm, plus: Matt Cutts resigns from Google, Top Stories deduplication, mobile usability warnings and more.
Google’s page layout algorithm launches
In 2012, Google announced it would penalize sites with pages that were top-heavy with ads.
The page layout algorithm update took direct aim at any site with pages where content was buried under tons of ads.
According to Google:
If you click on a website and the part of the website you see first either doesn’t have a lot of visible content above-the-fold or dedicates a large fraction of the site’s initial screen real estate to ads, that’s not a very good user experience. Such sites may not rank as highly going forward.Google’s Matt Cutts, Page layout algorithm improvement
On the same day, a message from Google’s AdSense team went out, encouraging some publishers to add more ads to their sites.
Isn’t it ironic.
Also on this day
2022: Google said it deduplicates a link from its main web results if that same link appears in the first Top Stories slot, so long as the Top Stories section appears before the main web results.
2022: Google removed all references to using time ranges in the recipe schema markup help documents.
2022: The legislation would have been a game-changer for every digital marketer who advertises on Google, Facebook and other advertising platforms.
2022: Advertisers no longer had to create a separate campaign draft and changes made to the original campaign are automatically synced to the experiment as well.
2022: Ads for sex toys, liquor and high-risk investments were discovered in Google’s search results, which violated the company’s attempts to comply with UK regulations.
2021: This was just a reporting change and any change seen in crawling was not reflective of any change in search results.
2021: DuckDuckGo served 102,251,307 search queries for the first time, breaking past the 100 million query milestone.
2021: In this installment of Barry Schwartz’s vlog series, he also chatted with Thune about how SEOs changed how they approached content development after Panda and Penguin.
2018: The latest images culled from the web, showing what people eat at the search engine companies, how they play, who they meet, where they speak, what toys they have and more.
2017: Cutts became the new director of engineering at the US Digital Service. He had been on leave with Google since 2014.
2017: Study examined the top 50 keyword “stems” to find what terms helped spur clicks and, more importantly, what terms didn’t.
2017: The search engine said 4 billion of those searches happened in 2016.
2016: The resource got a new design, better organization and three new features (webmaster troubleshooter, popular resources, event calendar).
2016: When expanded, PLAs muscled out other ads and organic listings to take over most of the above-the-fold real estate.
2016: Bypassing the need to visit the Google Play store.
2015: These notifications warned there were critical mobile usability errors on 100% of the pages on the site and thus the pages would be “displayed and ranked appropriately for smartphone users.”
2015: Advertisers increased spending by 31% year-over-year on the Yahoo Bing Network (through the Bing Ads platform). Spending on Google AdWords rose by 5%.
2015: The whole page looked right out of Google’s search results design.
2015: The Doodle featured Martin Luther King, Jr. in locked arms with fellow civil rights activists with the American flag in the background.
2012: More people were clicking on ads, but those clicks were costing advertisers less money per click.
2012: Nokia branding would soon be showing up on Bing Maps for mobile.
2012: Google Maps added a feature where it would highlight in a pink color the borders of a city, postal code or other borders based on your search.
2012: PolitickerUSA let you access the non-stop real-time stream of tweets from Senators, Reps, President Obama, governors, and a few of the Republican presidential candidates.
2011: “Even if Google listed itself first for [email] … is it really anti-competitive when its competitor is prominently listed in second place? Wouldn’t it really be more of a concern if Google didn’t list its competitors at all?”
2011: 23.1% of Chinese search users wanted Google.
2011: In an academic article, an NYU associate law professor closely examined and deconstructed the arguments behind the idea of search neutrality.
2011: Google fixed a bug that made Knol look like a ghost town.
2011: Google formally launched a new Google Maps display that made the different viewing options much more visible.
2011: Let the court record show, for the education of “The Good Wife” writers, and good citizens everywhere – when “SEO” or search engine optimization is performed according to the best practices and guidelines set forth by major search engines, then SEO is considered to be a useful, effective and legal technique for driving visitors to a website.
2011: After years of not allowing those in Iran to download their software, Google opened up downloads of their Google Earth, Picasa and Chrome applications.
2011: Bing was the official search engine of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival website, and YouTube had two special channels for the event.
2011: The company took “a step back” to retool its approach.
2011: “What I’d like to do someday…”
2011: The logo was first created as a real oil painting by a Googler and then digitized.
2010: Rather than only bolding direct variants of words (like “photos” for “pictures”), Google “extended this to words that our algorithms very confidently think mean the same thing, even if they are spelled nothing like the original term.”
2010: Bing added “breaking news and hot trending queries” into autosuggest, with updates being pushed out every 15 minutes.
2010: Microsoft became the first of the major search engines to agree to the European Union’s demand that data retention be cut to six months.
2010: The new network distribution and import campaigns went live for Yahoo advertisers.
2010: What Google Suggest had to say about what men and women were really thinking.
2010: Google was expanding its already humongous New York office by 57,000 square feet.
2009: Users who were in this experiment could add a list of sites in their search preferences page as their “preferred sites.”
2009: Advertisers who spent less than $50,000 on search ads cut their spending by 23% year-over-year, while advertisers that spent more than $200,000 on search per month cut spending by 9% during that time.
2009: 65% said there was one dominant player in the online ad market and that there were “limited choices and price options for online advertisers.”
2009: Google said the reason they dropped the iPhone version was because they “want to ensure you’ll all see the same version” of the iGoogle mobile page.
2009: You could get these alerts via email either once a day, twice a day or weekly and you could subscribe by section or by search phrase.
2009: Both Barack Obama and incoming Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz were taking charge of their respective administrations at times of crisis.
2009: Renewed buzz and speculation.
2009: How the search engines commemorated Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
2007: Some thoughts on a travel search alternative.
2007: This new sub-site offered “free tools and how-to guides for tax planning, budgeting, real estate planning, and saving for college and retirement.”
2007: The initial launch would be about 1,000 books, with the hope of having 3,000 book titles in Google Book Search by year’s end.
2007: An overview of the different ways search engines like Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Ask.com used “spin off” sites to test new features.
2007: Yahoo said they did not violate any copyright laws for “publishing snippets and links” to their newspapers.
2007: This move was to help the companies’ ventures into China and help paint a better picture for the search giants in the public view.
2007: Results were plotted on a map, and you could sort by school district, distance from a specific location, grade level, or school type (public, private, charter).
2007: Looksmart also made it easier to create and find topics to help organize saved web pages, and improved the browser buttons and toolbar used to save pages.
2007: Google was expected to spend about $600 million on their new data center and employ 210 people.
From Search Marketing Expo (SMX)
Past contributions from Search Engine Land’s Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)
These columns are a snapshot in time and have not been updated since publishing, unless noted. Opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.
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- 2018: The unique selling proposition: A key element for SEO success by Fili Wiese
- 2017: Relaunching your website? Don’t forget an SEO audit! by Janet Driscoll Miller
- 2016: Evaluating Link Quality For SEO Campaigns by Andrew Dennis
- 2016: Link Wars: The Force Awakens by Winston Burton
- 2015: This Small Business Redesigned Its Website & You Won’t Believe What Horrible SEO Thing Happened Next by Andrew Shotland
- 2015: How To Present Your SEO Plan by Chris Marentis
- 2012: To Centralize Or Decentralize SEM – That’s The Question by David Roth
- 2012: Increase Retail Sales From Mobile Devices In 2012 by Paul Bruemmer
- 2012: Search Rankings are Dead: Long Live Search Placements by Tom Schmitz
- 2011: Reflecting On What I Have Learned As An InHouse SEM, Time To Move On by Duane Forrester
- 2011: Enterprise SEO: 5 Tips To Create A Governance System by Chad Godfrey
- 2010: 2010 Is The Year Global Search Marketing Finally Arrives by Bill Hunt
- 2010: Twitter Is Pointless – Just Like Phones Are by Ciarán Norris
- 2010: 10 Tips For Working On A Collaborative Link Campaign by Julie Joyce
- 2009: 2009: Is The Glass Half Full Or Half Empty For the Yellow Pages Industry? by Neg Norton
- 2009: The SEM RFP: Questions You Must Ask by George Michie
- 2007: Google Librarian Central: Talking At Librarians by Phil Bradley
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