Inside metatags

The keen searcher should know the factors on a web page that affect ranking – specifically the metadata. This article explains how title and meta description.

Meta Tags: Writing Meta Data for Search Results & CTRs, Aimee Beck, SEM Post (Mar 29)

Special message to the SEM people:

I’ve said (countless times) that these two SEO elements can make or break the visibility of your web pages. That’s because the search engine results pages are your first opportunity for conversion – to get the click. And now, as the search landscape changes yet again, getting that click not only means getting traffic to your site, it also means a ranking boost … which means even more traffic to your site.

Directions at DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo now offers maps and directions in a very handy, and meta, way to local services. It is described in the DDG blog post  Directions! with an example from the US. This works in Canada (in Toronto), although Apple Maps is not one of the map choices  –  Bing, Google, Here, and OpenStreetMap. Select the service you prefer and carry on. OpenStreetMap doesn’t have a public transit .

In running the query it can help to include directions! ( although not essential). This search feature is mostly for restaurants. It worked for Queen’s Park, the legislature for Ontario, but not for Art Gallery of Ontario.

DuckDuckGo screenshot of search for Paramount restaurant in Toronto

DuckDuckGo shows maps and directions

ntario or Archives of Ontario.  This limitation seemed true in US cities too.


Google SERP and text ads

Your eyes and memory aren’t playing tricks – Google has changed the display of text ads and organic search results. The reason – to make Google desktop look more like mobile. (And exactly why is that desired?)

On February 19 Google began rolling out changes to its desktop search results, expanding the vertical real estate given to paid search results and eliminating right-rail ads.

What the Google Desktop SERP Update Means for Organic Search, ALexis Sanders, Merkle (Mar 24)

  • no text ads in right panel
  • four text ads at top of page – before organic results (which was why you ran the search)
  • “product listing ad packs” when relevant will be in right panel
  • knowledge panels – still on the right
  • three text ads at bottom of page
  • will be fewer text ads in total – dropping from 11 to 7 – this was the good news.

Dark side of social media

If you have read comments at newspaper sites, you have already been shocked by bad manners and vitriolic speech. But it is even worse – much worse. Behind the scenes at Google, Amazon, Facebook etc there is a very large army of people reading everything and deleting the really vile comments. They do the same with images and videos. The people are all on confidentiality agreements, are poorly paid, suffer from overload and stress, and must process each item in seconds – not minutes – seconds. TVO’s Steve Paiken interviewed Sarah Roberts of Western University (Ontario) about her research into this very dark side of the Internet.

Moderating Social Media: The dark side of the web, The Agenda, TVO March 23 [Video]

US desktop search market share Feb 2016

Desktop search was at its highest in 2013 – and since then mobile (phone and tablet) has taken over. According to comScore Google dominates the US market in desktop search at 64% (no data on mobile); Micorosoft is holding to its 21%; Yahoo is slipping further; and Ask and AOL are barely registering. Statcounter does track mobile – it sees Google at 90%.

Data show that search query volumes on the PC peaked in 2013, Greg Sterling, Search Engine Land (Mar 22)

Size of Web

Hard to say what the size of the web is – other than very big and growing, and if we didn’t have computing power growing faster than the data we’d be in a jam. That’s my summary of Stephanie Pappas’ admirable attempt to answer this question. A few bits we can pick out: about 1 billion websites; 4.66 billion searchable web pages; and one zettabyte of storage (that’s 1,000 exabytes – yikes).

How Big Is the Internet, Really?, Stephanie Pappas, Livescience (March 18)

Categories in Google Image Search

Google has new filter buttons in the US version of image search – as seen in this posting at Search Engine Land Google Image Search launches colored filter buttons. The new buttons let the search filter by colour or category. This is not showing up in Canada, at least not in full. Colour does not show, but category does. In this search for daffodils, Google distinguishes between wallpaper, a poem, and a drawing.

Google Image Search showing categories Image Search showing categories