Is there ever a week where Google doesn’t make headlines? In short, no. This week we’ve got a lot of news to cover including: Google CEO Larry Page’s letter to investors; Google’s list of algorithm changes from March; does page load speed affect rank?; and a wrap up of the Panda update and what it means for websites.
In a letter to shareholders Larry Page talked candidly about Google’s direction and where he sees the company going in the next few years. The letter to investors talked about everything from hardware to search. Most interestingly was his take on the personalization of search results; whereby right now search results are pretty similar from person to person. The future of Google is to learn more about you and your connections, then personalizing your search results using that data. It’s a big task considering how many search terms one types in over the course of a day, week, month and year.
Google finally released its list of algorithm updates for March. No, these aren’t the ingredients to the secret sauce; it’s more a description of what the sauce tastes like. A few highlights include better synonym handling and an increased focus of freshness. Google will continue to favour websites that produce fresh and relevant content on an ongoing basis. So it’s not just about producing fresh content for today, instead it’s about continually creating that fresh, relevant content. A blog is probably the best way to do this.
This video (even though it was released last year) still offers up some interesting food for thought when it comes to thinking about page load times, ranking and user experience. It turns out that only about 1 in 100 searches are affected by page load times. That translates into about 1 in 1000 search results (ten results per page x 100 searches). The interesting take away comes from how we think about the user experience on your site; in that a slow loading site can decrease engagement and result in fewer leads.
This past March Panda took aim at paid link networks, they also hinted at re-writing your page titles and placed high emphasis on Google+ and social media. This article talks about what SEOs need to focus on in the Panda era. The list includes: building an awesome site, building recognition, authority and trust, consistently producing great content , optimizing on-page, and natural link building. If you’re not producing content on a regular basis, it’s now more important than ever.