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Just because it’s the holiday season doesn’t mean SEO slows down, and Google is ably proving that with a constant series of updates to its algorithms that are keeping us on our toes. Read about that and more in this week’s Smattering, my friends, and enjoy!

Google News:

  • Google To Shift Penguin To A Continual Update Mode – Since Penguin 3.0 was launched in mid-October, the algorithm has undergone several revisions just in the past week or so, with webmasters reporting fluctuations several times this last week. When asked about it, Google released a statement to Search Engine Land saying not only is the update still rolling, but that they plan on shifting Penguin to a continual update. This will undoubtedly keep us on our toes for a good long while. Search Engine Land also noted, humorously, that all of these updates are breaking Google’s own rule about keeping updates light during the holidays.


  • Google: Content In Tabs Or Behind Expandable Sections Has Been Discounted For Years – Recently it’s come to light that Google has been discounting the content in expandable sections that use an accordion script or tab. While this apparently is relatively new information, Google has been discounting this content for years it seems. This calls into question something we for a long time thought was a valid content technique. What this means for website owners and webmasters is that they’ll have to work harder to make their content fully visible if they want it weighted properly.
  • Google Polling Webmasters On CMS Update Notifications – This is interesting. Google’s Webmaster Central team is running a poll on Google+ to see what kind of CMS-related notifications users might like to see, such as whether their CMS needs an update to a new version, or whether it has known security issues. This would definitely add another level of usability to Webmaster Tools, but I’m unsure how they would actually track such things. Regardless, it’s a fascinating idea.


  • Google Mobile Employs Reactive Prefetch To Increase Speed by 100-150 Milliseconds – Sure, 150 milliseconds doesn’t sound like a whole lot, but when you’re on a mobile phone and need to find a pizza place NOW, every millisecond counts. According to a post by Google’s Ilya Grigorik, Google Mobile is using a new technique called “reactive prefetching” which only downloads resources once the user has selected where to go next. Unfortunately this fascinating reactive technology is only available for those using Chrome on Android, but if more browsers support it, they’ll also reap the benefits.

Other News:

  • Bing Releases Content Quality Documentation – In a nice move toward more transparency, Bing released a presentation on how they determine the quality of content. The three tenets they stick to are: is the content trustworthy (Authority), is the content is useful and detailed (Utility), and is the content well-presented and easy to find (Presentation). Having content that meets all of these criteria definitely helps Bing determine whether content is valuable and worthy of higher rankings.
  • Facebook Search Upgrade Incoming – Facebook is about to begin rolling out a big upgrade to its internal search functionality. The improvements will make it easier for users to search for content that’s been shared with them, using searches like “Jessica’s wedding” or “my friends who live in New York” for example. I for one am itching to see if they can accomplish this given Facebook’s massive database of…well, just stuff, really.


  • Instagram Reaches 300 Million Users, Surpasses Twitter – Instagram recently announced that not only has it recently past 300 million users (passing Twitter’s 284 million users), it’s added 100 million just since March of this year. This tremendous growth has led the image social media service to now share more than 70 million photos and videos every day. Speaking of Twitter, Instagram will soon add “verified” badges for celebrities and brands, similarly to what Twitter implemented some time back.


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