Hey folks, welcome to another Smattering! I’m gonna get right to it because Google dropped a couple of bombs on us:
- Mobile Usability Will Become A Ranking Factor In Late April – While Google has been inching toward this sort of thing for a while now, the other day they hit us with a huge announcement that as of April 21st, mobile usability will become a ranking signal across the entirety of the search engine. Google says this update will have a worldwide effect with “significant” results, while also making search results much more relevant for searchers. The same announcement also stated that Google has begun to include more app content in their search results as well. The point to all this is, if your site isn’t mobile friendly, that should become a top priority.
- Google Wants To Rank Sites Based On Facts, Not Links – Google announced it’s researching a system that would rank a site based not on how many incoming links it has — as has been the case for years now — but on how many facts the site gets right. This “Knowledge-Based Trust” system hopes to rely on “endogenous signals, namely, the correctness of factual information provided by the source,” rather than what the researchers called “exogenous” signals such as links. This would apply not only to entire sites but individual pages as well. For example, if a page doesn’t have enough facts on it to verify accuracy, Google will pull from other pages on the same site. This could help make textual content even more valuable than ever before, and I personally welcome this sort of change.
- Google Analytics Now Showing Malware Warnings – Google is now taking extra steps to ensure that webmasters who never visit Webmaster Tools still know they have a site possibly infected with malware. Google is expanding its efforts to help websites and web users stay safe by incorporating malware warnings into Analytics along with Webmaster Tools. This is part of an extension to their so-called Safe Browsing apparatus, which also includes new warnings in Chrome and other signals to help determine if a site is a threat to users.
- Google Offering One-On-One Help With Hacked Sites – In a surprise move, this week Google confirmed that it’s sending out emails to individual website owners who have had their sites hacked and are offering one-on-one help. The confirmation comes from Google’s Eric Kuan, who says that an email shared on Google’s message board was legitimate. This is an unusual move for Google, as they usually don’t give such individualized attention like this, but it’s great to see.
- Google Launching Wireless Phone Service – Striving to “drive a set of innovations which we think the system should adopt,” according to Google’s SVP Sundar Pichai, Google has announced it will be launching a wireless phone network in the coming months. While at first they don’t plan to compete with larger national carriers — stating they plan to keep the implementation on the “small scale” side of things for the time being — this is still a massive undertaking. We’ll absolutely keep an eye on this to see how it all pans out in the months ahead. I just wonder if it’ll work with my Nexus 5…
- Yahoo Users Break World Record In Yodeling To Celebrate Company’s 20th Birthday – Earlier this week, Yahoo turned twenty years old. In another year it’ll be able to drink legally, but this year, CEO Marissa Meyer joined 3,400 Yahoo users and employees got together to break the world record in yodeling, previously set by a group of around only 1,700 people. The large group apparently yodeled for over a minute straight, which is a feat in itself.