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.

Search turns mobile

The smartphone is changing people’s search practices and Google, in the face of a multitude of apps, is fighting to stay King of Search. Leading the charge is Amit Singhal, Google’s search chief.

Reinventing Google for a Mobile World, Conor Dougherty, New York Times (July 9)

“My job is not to just look at the trend today. My job is to look at what’s beyond the horizon,” Mr. Singhal said in the interview. “And beyond the horizon, there is so much more people can do on their devices that is not possible today.”

Does Google favour its own services?

Google has been accused again of promoting its own services over others in search results. The latest study was sponsored by Yelp which has complained about this before.

Study Claims Google Is Delivering “Degraded” Search Results, Adding Steam To EU Antitrust Case, Search Engine Land (Jun 29)

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, researchers from Columbia University and Harvard Business School claim Google is delivering a “degraded version of its search engine,” outranking its own services over more relevant results for local searches on restaurants and hotels.

Problems with Google Answers

Google’s expanded use of answers at the top of search results has some problems.  As always, the searcher has to know enough to vet the results received from a search engine.

When Google Gets It Wrong: Direct Answers With Debatable, Incorrect & Weird Content, Search Engine Land (June 17)

The addition of more direct answer content is fraught with problems as Google’s algorithms attempt to find answers to tricky queries. With no human review process in place for the results, the opportunity grows for debatable, incorrect and sometimes completely inappropriate content showing up as a top search result.

Google gives preference to mobile-friendly

ResearchBuzz picks up the darnedest items — What Google’s Algorithm Change Means for Library Websites (Public Libraries Online, June 9) —

“On April 21, Google changed its algorithm to give preference to mobile-friendly sites on searches performed on mobile devices. This means that sites that aren’t designated as “mobile-friendly” by Google sink to the bottom in mobile search results while sites that do pass the test appear toward the top.”

Article advises libraries on what to do to make their websites more mobile-friendly.

Of interest – “WordPress, for example, offers WPtouch, a plug-in that automatically enables a mobile theme for visitors reaching you by way of their phones”

Changes with Google Cache

Google Operating System describes the New Interface for Google Cache (June 19).

Cache holds the page as Google indexed it.  Viewing it  can often help when a link goes dead or there are very recent changes.  Click on the down arrow beside the link in the search result and select “Cached”.

Google lets you switch between:

* the “full version”, which is displayed by default
* the “text-only version”, which doesn’t load images, scripts and other resources
* the page source – a new feature that shows the source code of the HTML page.

Google Search Operators

Jeremy Gottlieb gives some pointers on using search operators at Google for researching competitors in the SEO industry.

Competitor Research Using Search Operators | A Launch Point For Beginners, distilled (May 21)

He recommends

  • searching for keywords in the title – using intitle:
  • limiting the search to a particular site – using site:
  • limiting the search to part of the url – using inurl:

All are good, but you may run into problems with inurl. Repeated use of inurl: triggers Google’s anti-hacker system that will drive you crazy with captcha to prove you are human.