Google users will soon have the ability to block whole domains from their search results. Next to the “Cached” link within Google search results will be a text link option “Block all [site.com] results”. It is currently being rolled out on Google.com for specific English browsers including Chrome 9+, IE8+ and Firefox 3.5+ and will soon be implemented to other regions, languages and browsers.
This is a move by Google as part of their ongoing campaign to improve the quality of sites delivered within their search results to users. It allows users to personalize their experience on Google and improve the search results they receive.
In order to block a site, the user will need to be logged into their Google Account. Users will also have the option to unblock a blocked site. If a blocked site would normally appear within the search results page, a message will display informing the user that a site has been blocked. They can then go into their Google Account to manage their blocked site list further.
So what does this mean for website owners? At the moment Google states that the “blocked sites” function will not be used as a signal for ranking factors, however they will use the data for analysis and to help them improve future results.
Cooking enthusiasts are in for a real treat with Google’s Recipe Search functionality. “Recipe View” has just been rolled out across the US and Japan to allow users to search for recipes and narrow search results by ratings, ingredients, cooking time and calories.
You’ll see in the example above, that the following components are displayed within the search results for “butter chicken”.
- Ingredients selection (yes or no)
- Cook time (less than 15, 30 or 60 mins)
- Calories (less than 100, 300 or 500 calories)
- Number of Reviews
- Average recipe rating stars (as voted upon by users on the website)
- Cooking time
- Ingredients listed within Rich Snippet display
- Calories listed within Rich Snippet display
Being based in Australia, I am still able to view and use the Recipe View function on Google.com, although it is not available on the Google.com.au and Google.co.nz domains as yet. This is an easy function to roll out by Google once they confirm feedback from users in the United States and Japan.
Food related websites need to understand how this new search functionality works and optimize their recipe content to gain visibility in Google. Even if you’re website is not based in the US or Japan, I recommend that you implement the optimization process as outlined below as quickly as possible to get a jump start before it is implemented in your country.
Google is using their Rich Snippets structured data approach for Recipe View website content. Rich Snippets is based upon a data structure method using one of microdata, microformats or RDFa. Google has provided specific instructions for Recipe content on their webmaster support site, although they state that their code markup is not part of the official hRecipe draft specification as published on Microformats.org.
Following is the range of property data that can be applied to segments of a recipe. You need not provide all properties, however markup elements that relate to recipe content you have published on your website.
Users will be able to search for property attributes within Google such as ingredients, cook time and calories. The more comprehensive your recipe content is, the more likely you are increasing your website pages within Google search results.
||Required. The name of the dish.
||The type of dish: for example, appetizer, entree, dessert …
||Image of the dish being prepared.
||The date the recipe was published, in ISO date format.
||A short summary describing the dish.
||A review of the dish. Can include nested review information.
||The length of time it takes to prepare the recipe for dish, in ISO 8601 duration format. Can use min, max as child elements to specify a range of time.
||The time it takes to actually cook the dish, in ISO 8601 duration format. Can use min, max as child elements to specify a range of time.
||The total time it takes to prepare the cook the dish, in ISO 8601 duration format. Can use min, max as child elements to specify a range of time.
||Nutrition information about the recipe. Can contain the following child elements: servingSize, calories, fat,saturatedFat, unsaturatedFat, carbohydrates, sugar, fiber, protein, cholesterol. These elements are not explicitly part of the hRecipe microformat, but Google will recognize them.
||The steps to make the dish. Can contain the child element instruction, which can be used to annotate each step.
||The quantity produced by the recipe (for example, number of people served, number of servings, etc).
||An ingredient used in the recipe. Can contain child items name (name of the ingredient) and amount. Use this to identify individual ingredients.
||Creator of the recipe. Can include nested Person information.
For those of you who are not coders, the following html code may not make sense. Take the time however to examine some of the property attributes within the code such as <span class=”cooktime”> and <span class=”ingredient”> to understand how content is marked-up within your content html.
<h1 class="fn">Grandma's Holiday Apple Pie</h1>
<img src="apple-pie.jpg" class="photo" />
By <span class="author">Carol Smith</span>
Published: <span class="published"> November 5, 2009<span class="value-title" title="2009-11-05"></span></span>
<span class="summary">This is my grandmother's apple pie recipe. I like to add a dash of nutmeg.</span>
<span class="review hreview-aggregate">
<span class="average">4.0</span> stars based on
<span class="count">35</span> reviews
Prep time: <span class="preptime">30 min <span class="value-title" title="PT30M"></span></span>
Cook time: <span class="cooktime">1 hour<span class="value-title" title="PT1H"></span></span>
Total time: <span class="duration">1 hour 30 min <span class="value-title" title="PT1H30M"></span></span>
Yield: <span class="yield">1 9" pie (8 servings)</span>
Serving size: <span class="servingsize">1 medium slice</span>
Calories per serving: <span class="calories">250</span>
Fat per serving: <span class="fat">12g</span>
Thinly-sliced <span class="name">apples</span>:
<span class="amount">6 cups</span>
<span class="name">White sugar</span>:
<span class="amount">3/4 cup</span>
1. Cut and peel apples
2. Mix sugar and cinnamon. Use additional sugar for tart apples.
For some websites this will be a large undertaking. If you require assistance with the mark-up of your recipe content, please do not hesitate to contact Jacqui Jones at Keyword Intent.
Google announced today they launched a large change to their algorithm in order to substantially improve rankings. They say it is a noticeable impact of 11.8% which will affect rankings for many websites. Many website owners will not be happy, although the algorithmic change has been a long time coming with much discussion on the Internet over the last year to provide prior warning.
Google believe in a healthy web ecosystem and therefore want to reward high quality content websites. This particular algorithmic change is being rolled out in the United States first, however it will be implemented around the world within time.
So what is a low-quality website?
- Provides low-value add to users
- Content is copied from other websites
- Sites that are not very useful
Google is interested in displaying high quality sites that possess the following criteria…
- Original content
- Provides content as research
- In-depth reports
- Thoughtful analysis, etc.
Although Google have listed “original content” as being high-quality, what other factors will be used within their algorithm to determine the most relevant, authoritative and “best quality” content to display within search results? Does length of copy determine high quality? What about choice of words? Or use of contrast and comparison? Number and quality of comments and number of times shared by influentials?
Time will tell as SEOs around the world examine, test and report ranking results.
Google has rolled out an update to their search results display by “blending” social results throughout normal search engine result pages. Social Circle results were appearing at the bottom of results, however they are now displaying throughout the top ten positions.
If your friend shared a link on Twitter and that page appears within your search results, their name will appear underneath that listing. It will display their Twitter profile picture, their name and the words “shared this”. E.g. Jacqui Jones shared this
Google’s algorithm now takes into account results from a social perspective. Even though Google is keeping the specifics of how social activity affects search results, there is speculation that the more frequently a URL is “shared”, the higher it will move up within rankings.
It’s important to note that Google’s Social Circle feature has been fully rolled out in the United States. It is still yet to be released in Australia and other parts of the world.
Amazon has reached a new milestone with with their Kindle eReader where ebooks have surpassed hardback and paperback sales. For every 100 hardback books and paperbooks sold, Amazon is currently selling 143 and 115 ebooks respectively.
TechCrunch report that these numbers exclude “free” Kindle books. Amazon achieved it’s first ever $10 billion quarter due to their aggressive marketing and promotional activity for Kindle related digital products. The total number of books available in Amazon’s Kindle store is now over 810,000 titles, with 670,000 of them being priced at $9.99 or less.
The team here at Keyword Intent would like to extend our sympathies to all the people affected by the floods throughout Queensland. We have some clients, family and friends personally affected and would like to let these people especially know that we are here if you need anything.
Some of our clients are already offering their services at a discounted (or free) rate, which we all think is a heartfelt, generous act. We commend you for helping in true Aussie Spirit!
In the midst of all this tragedy, we can all use the web to help others.
One good example we have come across is the B105 radio station site, which is listing businesses who are able to help and giving a website link for free.
The B105 page says: “Businesses all around the country are offering help to those affected by the floods. Here are a list of businesses offering help and what they can do for you. If your business is offering help, please email the details to email@example.com and we will do our best to publish the info on this page.”
We would like to suggest to everyone that if you have type of service or discount you can offer, that you send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
You may even get a live announcement on the air.
Jacqui, Dan and Melissa
Google recently rolled out a new search filter within its Advanced Search function called “Reading Level”. It allows you to find websites aimed at a Basic, Intermediate or Advanced reading level.
For example, if you are a teacher wanting to find web based materials on a topic targeted at juniors, you can select “show only basic results” to return results aimed at a basic reading level. In contrast, if you are a scientist, you are able to filter results to display websites aimed at an advanced reading level.
If we are able to display results based upon reading level, then we should be able to assess the level for each website. To run this assessment, simply go to Google’s Advanced Search function and type in a site query analysis command for a website. E.g. site:www.keywordintent.com
Next, select “annotate results with reading levels” and then click the Advanced Search button.
Google will return the reading level for the website tested. In this case KeywordIntent.com has been assessed by Google as having a 100% intermediate reading level. This indicates that a single website could actually target various reading levels for its content.
So, what about your website? Go on, do the test for yourself.
Not only does Google allow you to perform the reading level test on a website using the site: query tool, but you can also get a sense of the reading levels of websites focused on a topic. For example, if you type in the word “news” into Google, the results are 36%, 62% and 1% respectively for basic, intermediate and advanced reading levels across websites.
If you type in the word “photography” into Google, the results are 61%, 23% and 14% respectively for basic, intermediate and advanced reading levels across relevant websites.
Knowing the reading level of your customers will help you to write content at their preferred capacity. Allowing for different levels of reading across your site will help you to cater to the various reading levels of your customers.
For example, do all your customers want information at a basic level or do some of them want more detailed and substantial content? Understanding the range of content that is available online for a specific keyword can guide you as to the level of text required for your own website. It also helps you to understand if there are any gaps in the market.
Even though the Reading Level search filter is only on the Advanced Search page, you never know when Google will consider it as a mainstream function in the future. For now, it is an interesting tool to experiment with.
Google over the last few days has updated its search results pages for Google Places. With a touch of Bing inspiration, the new search results enable you to view the website page before clicking through to it by clicking on the magnifying glass.
The following search for “turf supplier brisbane” shows the new format of the search results page.
Relevant text from the website page is displayed in the side pop-out. Click on any magnifying glass to view the website summary pop-out. Another change is that the map has now moved to the right hand column above Sponsored Links (Google AdWords).
Google Place pages and reviews are also displayed within search results, encouraging users to learn more about the business in a trusted environment. This signals the importance of small and large businesses alike generating positive reviews about their products and services.
The comments from the Search Media industry are that the new Google Place search results indicate another step towards the death of Yellow Pages and other directory businesses around the world.
Google claims that they “clustered search results around specific locations so you can make comparisons and right the best sites”. I think they meant “rate the best sites” as star ratings are also displayed alongside search results.
The “Places” link is available in the left hand navigation links to display only local website listings.
The downside from a user and a business perspective, in my opinion of course, is that the maps box with 10 listings has been removed and now local search results dominate the page. Organic search results are pushed even further down the page, although if Places results are not as relevant to the search query, they too can be pushed down the results page. This may also have an impact for advertisers who rely upon Google AdWords as a way to generate traffic for local terms.
Overall, I find this change quite encouraging as it presents a range of opportunities to businesses.
Google Instant, a new method by the search giant delivering search results to its users, is being rolled out to the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Russia over the next several days. Search results automatically appear on screen as you type the words into Google allowing users to redefine their search queries as they are being typed.
Google likes to think of it as being “search before you type” rather than “search as you type” functionality.
Google claims that Google Instant will not have an impact on the ranking of search results. However Google Instant really is a fundamental shift in search due to results being localized. Google identifies where the user is located and as terms are being typed, it will display predicted results relevant to the local area first.
Google Instant can be accessed by logging into your Google Account and by using specific browsers including Chrome V5/6, Firefox v3, Safari v5 for Mac and Internet Explorer v8. This means that web history and personalized results will influence what websites are returned within predicted search results. So websites that have been searched upon and visited previously are more likely to appear within the new search results.
Even though there may not be a change in Google’s algorithm to determine relevant results, search user behavior is likely to change as search terms can be adapted on the fly. This will reduce the “search buying cycle” time as any irrelevant results can be weeded out quickly.
The upside is that websites that normally do not appear within search results may actually be displayed earlier in the keyword query stem, enabling the user to stop or go back to results that catch their eye. Impulse clicking may encourage users to visit websites that they may not have found normally.
The downside, which is also a benefit (depending how you look at it) is that users are more likely to click on results that are even more relevant to their search queries. Even though some websites may not generate as much traffic from search engines because the initial results are irrelevant, this may help to generate better quality traffic because the visits will be even more qualified. The challenge for site owners is creating content pages that are highly relevant to search users’ needs.
Google Instant will be rolled out to other countries including Australia and New Zealand over the next several months.
Social media and search complement each other and are increasingly becoming more intertwined than ever before. Google has launched its newest search product “Google Realtime” in an effort to provide real time content from comprehensive sources.
So far when I search within Google Realtime, Twitter results are primarily displayed.
Search results can be refined by search type (everything, blogs, news, discussions, videos, maps, shopping, books and more), time period and location.
Twitter retweets and replies to an initial tweet can be viewed as an entire conversation with additional comments indented for easier viewing. Messages are also organized from oldest to newest.
In addition, Google Realtime is integrated with Google Alerts, allowing for updates of specified topics to be emailed to you.