Google Understands Punctuation, 'Don't Be Evil' Is Turned On Its Head, People Are Addicted To YouTube, & More

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This Week’s Industry News

Compiled By Rocket Clicks Staff

Google Updates Algorithm With Above-The-Fold Experience In Mind

Google has termed their most recent algorithm update as “minor,” which translates to “major” when the butterfly effect sets in. The most basic change is a heavier focus on above-the-fold content on websites that lead to a frustrated user experience. This announcement is consistent with Google’s stated objective to penalize ad-dominant pages. Source: Search Engine Journal

Google Better Understands Punctuation Now

Punctuation will now have an effect on Google’s search results, although the search engine admits the process is still in production to produce the most relevant pages. For example, the guitarist Slash ranks No. 1 for a (/) symbol search. Source: Search Engine Watch

Google Eases Download-Ability Of Webmaster Tools Data

Google has been on a download-improvement frenzy in Webmaster Tools over the past month. Most recently, Google now allows CSV downloads for search query data charts, making comprehension of data much easier. Google has also improved the user interface to allow for more data displayed per-page. Source: Search Engine Land

About That ‘Don’t Be Evil’ Thingy…

The “Don’t Be Evil” slogan has been floating majestically above Google’s Mountain View, California headquarters since the company’s inception. However, like the banner in the Jurassic Park visitor center draping the roaring Tyrannosaurus Rex at the movie’s end, the slogan has effectively become a punch line. Google recently announced, without reservations, they would be tracking user intentions and movement across all of their services in order to create a “simpler, more intuitive Google experience.” Gizmodo runs down the changes as compared to previous contradictory Google policies, and offers a fairly grim view of the entire situation. Source: Gizmodo

Eye Movement-Controlled Computers, Video Games Are A Reality

A Swedish technology company has developed eye-tracking technology that allows computer users to control PC interactions simply through eye movement. Tobii Technology recently hosted a demonstration with Microsoft Windows 8 at the International Consumer Electronics Show. With the exception of a few necessary mouse/touchpad clicks, the technology utilizes four LED infrared sensors to create patterns on the user’s cornea. From there, two digital cameras pinpoint the pupil/iris position in relation to the computer, and the screen reacts accordingly. This technology is cool by itself, but the video game portion of the demonstration turned out to be the best part. Playing a game called EyeAsteroids, users destroyed asteroids simply by glaring at them for a short time. Source: Scientific American

The Social Media Super Friends Assemble To Create A ‘Don’t Be Evil’ Tool

Controversy knows no stranger at Google, and their “Plus Your World” update has engendered an activist mindset for the web’s other prominent social networks. Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and other unknown social network engineers have bonded together to create the “Don’t Be Evil” tool. Available as a Firefox, Safari, or Chrome extension (ironically), the tool aims to point out Google’s hypocrisy of promoting their products while claiming care for the user experience. It strips the Google+ from your search results, and promotes the “most relevant” results without interference from preferential treatment of Google products. Source: Search Engine Watch

Speaking Of Google+ Integration Into Search Results…

Google now allows you to “Ask on Google+” straight from the search results page, just in case you trust your friends over the algorithm. It can be helpful if the question falls into that group of queries Google still can’t figure out, or if the results you’re getting are irrelevant. Still, seeing a link asking if you need to consult your friends for “how to search on Google,” or other obvious questions may grow to become annoying. Source: Search Engine Land

Google Patent Aims To Use Historical Data To Determine ‘Freshest’ Search Intent

If you search for “Super Bowl Champion,” the odds are pretty high you are looking for the most recent winner of the NFL’s championship game. But how does Google know to return the freshest result, and how do they know you aren’t searching for the winner of the 1994 Super Bowl (San Francisco 49ers)? Google has filed a continuation patent as part of their Historical Data set of patents, which in part draws on general term search history as an indicator of search intent. For example, is a page that consistently sits in the sixth spot is being selected at a high frequency over time, it may be possible that page will rise in the SERPs. Some of the other things covered in this filing include a possible spam signal if a page rises too quickly in the rankings, and Source: SEO By The Sea

Bing No Longer Deciding, Now More Focused On Doing

Bing is undergoing a more activity-based rebranding, emphasizing the search engine’s affinity towards “doing” rather than “deciding.” Look for more advertisements like the one with snowboarder Kevin Pearce to show up sprinkled around your favorite TV stations. Source: Search Engine Watch

People Really, Really, Really, REALLY Love YouTube

Four billion; that’s not the number of stars in our universe, that’s the amount of videos YouTube serves to users ever day. Broken down, that equates to 60 hours of uploaded video each minute, and a century’s worth of videos uploaded every 10 days. The 60 hours/minute stat is a 30% increase spread over the past eight months. Source: Search Engine Watch

Summify Gets ‘Twitter-fied’

Twitter traveled north of the border on their continued shopping spree, acquiring Vancouver startup Summify. Summify is a news aggregator with a twist of social, and Twitter is a major engine that drives real-time news in a social setting; it’s a match made in cyberspace heaven. Twitter plans to gradually streamline and integrate Summify’s main products into its interface, so be on the lookout for some new Twitter features in the next few months. Source: Wired Epicenter

Twitter To Soon Offer Right-To-Left Languages

Once the spring equinox arrives, Twitter’s Translation Center will make the social network compatible for right-to-left reading languages. These languages include Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew, and Urdu, all dialects located in the Middle East and South Asia. Source: Mashable

Apple Doesn’t Need Your Sympathy; They’re Profiting Just Fine

Apparently the death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs had little detrimental effect on the company’s stock in the fourth quarter. Blowing away expectations, Apple sold a record number of iPhones (37.04 million) and iPads (15.43 million) during the holiday season. The company also experienced a 73% jump in revenue ($46.33 billion), smashing the Wall Street estimate of $38.91 billion. Apple’s stock rose 8 percent to $452 per share following the release of this earnings report. Source: Reuters

Notable Commentary

Heavy On The SEOmoz Sauce

SOPA/PIPA Are On Life Support, But Not Dead Yet

With the same jubilation we’d have if Nickelback made the same announcement, the Internet community threw itself an Ewok victory party last week when Congress announced an indefinite hiatus for SOPA/PIPA. However, anti-piracy legislation is still a major concern of both parties, and Miranda Miller offers some details as to how they may proceed with similar bills in the near future. Analysis By: Miranda Miller, Search Engine Watch

Rand Fishkin Answers Your Twitter Townhall SEO Questions

Rand Fishkin took some time recently to answer 43 questions on Twitter, ranging in topic from conversions to content to SEO to general interest industry. Some of the questions are fairly obvious (Will Google soon use “author trust” as a ranking factor?) but the other side of the spectrum yielded interesting responses from Rand (What single site on the web would you most want to see analytics for?; How many people click on related posts lists?). Analysis By: Rand Fishkin, SEOmoz

SEOmoz Offers Strategy For Tackling Boring Content Necessary To Rank

Not all content required to rank in Google’s SERPs is going to get your heart racing with excitement, or is immediately sharable among readers. What do you do when your writing subject is particularly snore-worthy? Last Friday, Rand Fishkin explored this topic in detail, as well as ways to keep yourself awake during the writing process. Analysis By: Rand Fishkin, SEOmoz

Save Time Setting Up a YouTube/Vimeo Video Sitemap With This Handy Dandy SEOmoz Guide

SEO for video is essential for anyone looking to go viral with a YouTube video or video ad campaign. Thankfully, SEOmoz has easy-to-read instructions for setting up a video sitemap that will increase search engine crawlability, even if the video is hosted on YouTube or Vimeo. Analysis By: Justin Hammack, SEOmoz

Using Eye-Tracking Heat Maps To Help Create Awesome Landing Pages

Eye-tracking heat maps are nothing new; a simple Google search can tell you that. However, applying those studies to real-life can sometimes be tricky. Unbounce has some actionable steps that lead to improved landing pages and their resulting conversions. Analysis By: Angela Stringfellow, Unbounce

What Constitutes A ‘Good’ Idea?

Why do some of the greatest artists and thinkers produce some awful ideas/creations, and what really goes into discovering a good idea? That is the root question Jonah Lehrer seeks to answer in a recent Wired column. Analysis By: Jonah Lehrer, Wired

Best Practices For SEO Watch-Dogging

Will Critchlow stopped by SEOmoz to offer some tips for effective SEO monitoring. Some techniques covered include traffic drops, robot exclusions, and status codes. Analysis By: Will Critchlow, SEOmoz

Are Online Press Releases Costing More Than They Make?

Tim Grice argues that money is almost always wasted when a business opts to distribute an online press release as part of its “link building” strategy. Tim supports his position with SEO-driven logic, as well as some insight from fellow SEO professionals. Analysis By: Tim Grice, SEOmoz

QR Codes Are Still The Rage; Here Are 10 Ways To Market With Them

QR codes are growing in popularity, alongside Internet-compatible mobile devices. As such, marketers still don’t know what to make of them as a sustainable resource. Ekaterina Walter has 10 outside-the-box ways to utilize this infant technology. Analysis By: Ekaterina Walter, Mashable

The Real Motive And Origin Of Craigslist

The myths around the genesis of Craigslist, and its original intent, have run rampant for quite some time. Its founder, Craig Newmark goes on record to explain why he started it, and what he’s doing now. A few colleagues also chime in with outsider perspectives. Analysis By: Craig Newmark, Quora

When To Ask Questions And When To Listen To Your SEO Consultant

There are a lot of snake oil peddlers shilling black hat SEO advice to businesses everywhere. Knowing what to ask your SEO provider, and when to do it, is essential for learning how to spot red flags and get the most out of a legitimate SEO company. Analysis By: Kristi Hines, Search Engine Watch

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