The big news this March was Google confirming that the ‘Fred’ algorithm tweak had gone live. Many within the industry already suspected something was afoot, with numerous sites having experienced a seemingly inexplicable drop in rankings.
Whilst not the biggest update; what Fred does is penalise websites that are heavy on advertising at the expense of content. In particular, many of these were notorious for swiping articles from elsewhere or just posting pure nonsense. Ideally with them pushed to the bottom, the cream of the crop can rise to the top where they rightfully belong.
Despite having been a permanent fixture across the Internet for nearly 2 decades, the Open Directory Project ‘DMOZ’ at last came to the end of its lifespan. Boasting thousands upon thousands of listings, many digital marketers and business owners at one point or another turned to the site for a quick and easy source of links.
But as with all but the most specialist niche directories, the demise of DMOZ is reflective of the dominance of search engines such as Google and Mozilla who surpassed the previous generation of websites with aplomb. DMOZ did, however, outlast their rival over at Yahoo, and the influence the site has had over the sites of today is undeniably immense.
After a spate of adverts showing up on Google that many have found offensive or promoting hate, a number of countries and corporations were quick to accuse the Search Engine of not doing enough to counter such malicious promotion.
In response, Google has unveiled a new set of controls for companies advertising with them, enabling users to mark specific adverts they do not wish to appear beside. This may seem like an over-reaction on Google’s behalf, but with high-profile names such as AT&T and Verizon amongst those outraged, the reality is that many millions of dollars were on the line. If the content in question though is as unsuitable for public consumption as many appear to believe, hopefully, the source of the issue can be clamped down upon rather than risk such a situation getting out of hand in the future.
Having been taking over the digital arena ever since they were first conceived, Emojis now appear to be a constant presence within the AdWords platform. Having previously only been available via a flaw in the system, they have been spotted popping up in more and more places.
Whilst there is no official statement regarding this issue, current speculation is that this is Google testing the waters for another update down the line. It’s not yet clear though how this will affect searches, whether those sites with Emojis will perform better or worse than those that don’t utilise them. Searches can already be done that include the graphics, but whether or not they are the next must-have for SEO success is yet to be seen.
Moving away from Google though (for a change!), another piece of interesting news came out of Pinterest. The picture sharing site has released ‘Lens’ a ‘visual discovery’ tool, that aims to use point-and-capture technology which enables users to snap an image, and then search for it and other image results like it without any text involved.
Internally, Lens will rapidly analyse the object in question, assessing its colour, shape, etc. before feeding back similar results to the user. This concept has already been attempted in such forms as Amazon’s ‘Firefly’, but Pinterest aims to take things a step further. By memorizing each individual’s most popular captures, Lens can then calculate which image is likely to be that which they are searching for. Although not currently a threat to more traditional search methods, it pays for digital marketing firms of all types to be aware of such a development. Many firms are already plotting how best to utilise such technology to get a head-start on the competition, so make sure you’re on the ball to avoid being left behind!