Sunday, October 14, 2012

What is Google up to?

It’s “Top Heavy 2″ As Google Rolls Out Update to Its Page Layout Algorithm, From Search Engine Land

Yes, you read that right. Google just rolled out another algorithm update. In fact, this is Google's fourth update in two weeks. To sum up the changes, first was Panda Update 20 on September 27th, then the EMD Update 1 on September 28th, next the Penguin Update 3 on October 5th, and now Top Heavy 2 has rolled out, as of October 9th. If you don’t recall the original Top Heavy update, the long and the short of it is that Google will penalize pages with too many ads “above the fold,” also known as Google’s ‘Page Layout’ algorithm.

Matt Cutts, head of Google’s web spam team, announced on Tuesday that this is a minor change but will noticeably affect about 0.7% of English-language queries. So why, if this isn’t a huge alteration, would Google feel the need to announce this? Because webmasters have consistently been asking for more frequent 'weather reports' related to Google’s algorithm updates. As a result, Google has promised to provide this type of information about updates more frequently. Of course, over the past two weeks, this new protocol has become a great challenge for busy marketers wishing to keep up with Google’s updates. So if you’d like to learn more about Top Heavy 2, you can read the full story here.

YouTube Changes Its Search Ranking Algorithm to Focus on Engagement, Not Just Clicks, From TechCrunch

With all these Google algorithm changes, it’s only natural that Google’s subsidiary, YouTube, would go through some changes too.

Here's the deal: YouTube’s video discovery features previously rewarded videos that attracted clicks, rather than the amount of time a user stayed watching. But when clicks are the only metric being taken into consideration, users simply need a captivating title and thumbnail to be in good shape. But now, users are being judged on hang time, which means they need to pump up the value and optimize for engagement. This seems like a logical, natural direction for YouTube to move toward.

Of course, YouTube isn't just changing its algorithm to benefit users -- its changing it to benefit advertisers, too. In the past, when you saw an interesting thumbnail on YouTube and clicked on it, you could have exited out before an ad even began to play, yet that 'click' would still have counted for the video, contributing to higher rankings. With this new change, however, users will need to actually sit through the ads in order for the video to rank higher. Do you think this was a smart update?

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