SEO Opinion Round-Up: Recent News


Posted by Sam Battin, Senior Natural Search Specialist

This week we'll be presenting you with links to interesting stories about recent goings-on with Google.

Our first story is about how Google apparently lifted Overstock's ban for trying to game Google by buying links from college sites.  If nothing else, it shows how quick Google can change their results when it feels like it:

http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/110426-092709

Next, we found out that Google and Bing have whitelists.  In other words, Google has stopped pretending that its results are entirely the result of algorithms.  This may explain why some sites which appear to be doing everything wrong are still getting high ranks, or it may mean that you have to optimize more:

http://searchengineland.com/google-bing-have-whitelistsexception-lists-for-algorithms-67732

Google did a study on smartphones, and it released the results on April 26, 2011.  The article is here; if you read it you'll see that the results seem to suggest that smartphone marketing will be the biggest thing ever, like bigger than sliced bread AND red bricks put together.  The following article, however, takes a closer look at the results Google posted and asks the question "Do you really expect us to believe all that?"  This is read-worthy because of the clever way it challenges the assumptions of the study:

http://www.broadstuff.com/archives/2497-How-dumb-are-smartphone-users.html

Also in the news are Google and Bing’s relationships to social content sources such as Twitter and Facebook.  SEOMoz’s data in the following link suggest that sharing a URL with your friends on Facebook can improve the visibility of that URL.

http://www.seomoz.org/blog/facebook-twitters-influence-google-search-rankings

This next was also interesting; Google’s now including kiosks in their Google Places.  Use your smartphone to look for an ATM or a vending machine the next time you’re out, and you'll be pleasantly surprised.  This is probably even more useful in Japan, where they sell clothes and beer out of vending machines:

http://www.blueglass.com/blog/google-places-and-the-rise-of-the-vending-machines/

Finally, Apple addressed the rumor that it was tracking location data for their iPhone users.  The short story is that it wasn't, but the takeaway for users should be that Apple is certainly capable of it.  Some data suggests smartphones will outnumber feature phones by the end of 2011, and no doubt this will result in entirely new ways for people to interact with their environment through search.  Auto-logging your location may soon be offered as a “service”. 

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