Google’s ranking of TLDs

What does Google do with the new TLDs? Nothing. And now it seems Google doesn’t give preferential ranking to .edu or .gov.

Google Explains How It Handles The New Top Level Domains (TLDs), Barry Schwartz, Search Engine Land (July 21)

In summary, there are no TLDs that Google finds preferential to others; they are all treated equally in rankings. There are some geo-specific TLDs that Google will default to a specific country and use that as an indicator that the website is more important in a specific geographic region. But all TLDs are treated equally.

SEO Periodic Table of Ranking Factors

Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land has announced a new version of the Periodic Table of SEO Factors (June 1). This is always useful to review as searchers to know the factors that matter for ranking results whether on-the-page or off.

Key in this report are three new factors:

  • Vertical search – meaning that the site must have a variety of resources – images, news, video etc.
  • Direct answers – can be a good thing to be able to provide answers – and construct the page so that Google sees this
  • HTTPS – a secure site using the https protocol

Among the changed factors is structured data – it’s more important to design and designate.

Google Search on a Timeline

This slideshow – A History of Google Algorithm Updates – reminds us of the ways Google search has changed over nearly 15 years. It’s quite stunning and we can only wonder – what next? The timeline was created by DPFOC, an online marketing agency offering SEO services.

Context Pervades the Smartphone

Personalizing results is all about context – where you are, what you looked at before, and probably several other factors, which Google NOW is determined to identify. This is especially true for activity on the smartphone. And it’s not just Google – it’s in apps, in the fitbit you wear, Facebook, everything – as you will read in this article.

The Future Of Search Engines Is Context, Aaron Friedman, Search Engine Land (April 6)

Google Search Can Penetrate Databases

Google explains in this patent a prototype for surfacing content from structured databases.

How Google May Index Deep Web Entities, by Bill Slawski, SEO by the Sea (April 5)

Bill Slawski presents this takeaway

If you’ve been looking for a connection between the SEO of web-page Crawling, and the use of Data from sources like Knowledge-bases, this paper describes such a connection – using data from a knowledge-base such as freebase to query the content of a deepweb database, such as an ecommerce site where content doesn’t surface to be crawled unless it is queried first.

Entities and the search query

Microsoft identifies entities and expands on them to improve Bing search results – or so it seems from this patent – “Query Expansion, Filtering and Ranking for Improved Semantic Search Results Utilizing Knowledge Graphs”.

How Bing May Expand Queries Based Upon Finding Entities Within Them, Bill Slawski, SEO by the Sea (April 3)

“The patent is telling us that it might provide improved search results by expanding queries using information about entities involved.”

Blekko Farewell

Blekko, a modest-sized search engine with a distinctive approach to indexing curated sites, has been taken over by IBM Watson. Blekko’s volunteers identified quality sites (thereby keeping out spam) and classified them using #slashtags – and searchers used those tags for more exact searches. There was more to it – and it is likely the “more” that IBM Watson wanted for its work in cognitive computing.

“Blekko brings advanced Web-crawling, categorization and intelligent filtering technology. Its technology crawls the Web continually and gathers information from the most highly relevant and most credible Web pages. It uses classification techniques to create thousands of topical categories, making that data more useful and insightful.”

[From Data, Data Everywhere – Now a better way to understand it, Building a smarter planet, March 27]

Matt McGee at Search Engine Land gives a recap of Blekko’s short live, 2008 to the present.  Goodbye Blekko: Search Engine Joins IBM’s Watson Team