Saturday, October 26, 2013

Google's Moonshot Changes Shared by Matt Cutts in Pubcon 2013

Matt Cutts, head of Google's web spam team, shared some of the most valuable insights regarding what Google is planning for the future. These insights are immensely useful for webmasters and inbound marketers who want to enhance the visibility of their websites in Google.

The Moonshot Changes

Here are the moonshot changes that Matt Cutts discussed in Pubcon 2013:-

The Knowledge Graph

Google has introduced the Knowledge Graph in 16th May 2012 and further kept on enhancing it. This was a move to change from the old concept of finding strings of words to finding things or entities. Knowledge Graph did exactly what Google was missing in the older days as a string finding search engine. Amit Singhal, head of Google's core ranking algorithm describes it as a move where Google finds "Things not strings". As for example Google can now distinguish between New York Times, New York City, Times Square as different entities and return accurate results based on information gathered from Knowledge Graph.
knowledge graph
The Knowledge Graph

Voice Search

For those of you who have not experienced the voice search capability of Google, can do so by clicking on the microphone icon in the search area.

Conversational Search

Conversational search empowers Google the ability to perform queries over a session. As an example like "Who is is the President of USA", "How Old is He?" etc.

Google Now

All the information you need throughout the day are delivered at just the right time. Learn more about Google Now here.

Deep Learning by Applying Vectors

This is one of the biggest changes that Google did. It enhances the search model by analysing deeply and finding out the relationship between words. Google does this by applying some vectors. You can think of this deep learning as a set of learning modules that empowers Google to know how to read and write in the same manner as a human would do in its early stages. Google is 15 year old and now it has started to learning how to communicate and answering clearly what the user is searching. It is improving day after day.

As an example, if Google can encode "Beijing is the capital of China" then following a similar pattern of vectors, it can find the relationship between New Delhi and India, Washington DC and USA, Canberra and Australia etc. This is what is known as "deep learning" and Google is learning for the better!

Voice Search

The conversational search pattern is more powerfully implemented by the voice search. Think of Google as a smart friend who knows answers to your queries and you can actually engage in fruitful conversations with Google. The Knowledge Graph is the basic database working behind the scenes for identifying the entities used in voice search.

The Hummingbird Algorithm Update

This change which is one of the biggest to happen after Caffeine helps to process the natural language queries in a much better manner than it did before. A query like "What is the capital of Texas my dear" can be interpreted solely as "What is the capital of Texas" and words like "my dear" can safely be ignored. Hummingbird affects 90% of search queries but only to a small degree. It would make results better for long tail queries. Read more about Hummingbird here.

Panda Softening

Panda was a new signal which was launched in 2011 and acted as a signal for judging the quality of the site especially its content. You can find some information about rolling Panda updates here.

Authority Sites will Get a Boost in Rankings

Sites that are having lots of authority like those related to the medical niche will receive a boost in the rankings.

Smartphone Ranking

If your phone is not intended for flash, you are less likely to see results containing flash. If pages on the site redirects to the home page then rankings of those sites would be decreased.

Web Spam Changes

Penguin 2.0

Penguin 2.0 received a soft landing and had a less effect which was not noticeable. But Penguin 2.1 was a booster update for reducing web spam and had a noticeable effect.

Google Penguin
Penguin can catch spam

Payday Loans

Queries related to payday loans which see less spam.There are couple of different algorithms which will also work towards reducing web spam on specific niche.

Paid Advertorial Content

Some news sites and other authority sites that are selling paid advertorial content passing Page Rank is a clear violation of Google guidelines and these sites would get affected soon.

Poll for Taking Down Spam Networks

Matt Cutts also hinted at conducting polls for taking down spam networks. However, currently they have a pretty good list of spam networks, they will try and reduce the effectiveness of those networks.

Helping People with Malware

The web spam team is also working towards educating the webmasters regarding malware and how to tackle them. Maile Ohye, Developer Programs tech lead has uploaded several videos regarding this.

"How Search Works"

Google has also launched a resource called "How Search Works". Excellent information related to crawling and indexing, algorithms and fighting spam can be found here.

Big Future Trends

Google is getting smarter and smarter in interpreting queries and extracting all kinds of useful information. Here are the biggest future trends:-

Mobile is Huge

The percentage of YouTube traffic from mobile devices followed a tremendous increase in trend with 6% in 2011, 25% in 2012 and a whopping 40% in 2013. This truly suggests the way mobile traffic is booming and sites that are not optimizing itself for mobile users would be missing on some huge numbers. In some countries, the mobile traffic has already surpassed the desktop traffic.

Read some articles related to Mobile Seo:-

Mobile SEO
Mobile Seo Checklist

Social Identity Authorship

Google authorship along with social identity authorship are going to be biggest factors for ranking. If the web spam team knows who are the people having real and authoritative social identity then it would be easier to keep spam away.

Retweets, Likes and Plus Ones

Social signals like retweets, likes and plus ones would be useful under personalized results in the short term. However, in the longer term, having good social signals would help Google analyse that you are the authority and people listen to you. This would act as a strong signal to rank higher.

Some Secret

Matt also hinted out that Google would be working on things that most people won't see.

Next Generation Hacking Detection

Hacking is something that Google is seriously considering to wipe out. They would be working on the next generation of hacking detection technology. Matt also admitted that queries like "Buy Viagra" has some spammy results due to hacking. So, Google would be improving this technology in order to remove spam from the search results.

No Child Porn

Google will also be working to ensure that its harder for people to search results related to child porn.

No Hurry in Toolbar Page Rank Update

Matt also suggested that Google is not in a hurry to update the toolbar Page Rank. Actually the Page Rank gets updated almost on a daily basis but for the toolbar it gets updated in every 3-6 months. He also suggested, do not get obsessed with Page Rank but instead focus on improving the quality of your site and brand value.

Things To Do on Your Website

Now, comes to the interesting part of what should you do to make your website Google friendly:-

1- If your site is using Flash, you are not going to be seen on a large number of mobile devices. Hence, if you are using flash, you might losing on many audiences. The suggestion is not to use excessive Flash.

2- "Request Auto Complete" is a new feature being added on Google Chrome and sites that have special mark up for request auto complete can enable users to fill up the forms in just a single click. People actually hate filling forms and this can affect your conversion rate. So, just by adding simple markup in your site which will take around 3-4 hours, you can enable the functionality of request auto complete for Chrome users on your site. This will allow the users to fill up the forms in just one click and help to increase the conversion rate. It is therefore better to use auto complete markup on your site.

3- Google is also working on a new version of algorithm targeted for ad heavy pages. The next generation algorithm will take action on ad heavy pages. If your site is using too much ad then it would be better to remove them and follow an appropriate ratio of ad to content.

4- In the coming months, only high quality authors will be shown. Currently each and every site owner has the option to display authorship in the search results but very soon Google will decide which author to display in the search results. Hence, it is suggested to improve your author rank and become reputable in your niche to let Google analyze the value of author and display it in the search results.

5- In the similar manner as authorship, Google will decide on the quality of the site before displaying the rich snippets associated with them. If you are having a low quality spam site and if you have implemented rich snippets on your site then its less likely that Google will display rich snippets associated with your site. The point is, you should improve the quality of your site so that Google approves the display the rich snippets associated with your site.

Apart from the above suggestions, it is also recommended to follow Google Webmaster Central Tweets and Google blogs in order to keep yourself updated.

Also See:-

Hard Time Ahead for Black Hat Seo's
Seo Factors That Have the Biggest Impact on Rankings
Utilizing Tf-Idf Score to Increase Site Rankings
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