For the first time in what feels like a dog’s age, this week seemed pretty quiet. No algorithm updates, no lawsuits, no European committees demanding things, etc, etc. The news is full more of “huh, that’s neat” stories than stuff that might be considered “newws.” That said, let’s dive in! Enjoy!
- Study: Google Results Could Influence 2016 Presidential Election – According to a study released by the folks at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, they believe that Google’s search results could have up to a 20% positive or negative effect on undecided voters. This is due to what they call the Search Engine Manipulation Effect. The influence of this effect, as a form of “social influence” they phrase it, could be a “serious threat to the democratic system of government.” Google responded by saying that they strive to provide relevant answers as a cornerstone of their approach to search. It’ll be fascinating to see if this “manipulation effect” has any sway in the upcoming election.
- Google Only Discovers Links On Pages With 200 OK Header Codes – This is less news and more “Huh, that’s interesting.” Google’s John Mueller was asked on Twitter if Google crawls links on non-200 pages, such as those with 404 or 500 error codes. Mueller responded that Google only goes after links on pages with proper 200 OK header codes. They also sometimes have to determine if a page should actually be a 404 Error page rather than a 200 OK page. One more reason why you should strive to eliminate all 404 pages on your sites, folks!
- Google Will Email Business Owners With Inactive My Business Accounts – A little while back, we noted that Google will be shutting down inactive My Business accounts. Google announced that they’ve also begun emailing business owners recently to remind them to log into their account to keep it active. Basically, if you log in at least twice a year, you are golden, so set a reminder for yourself or possibly lose those accounts!
- Google Re-Opens Map Maker In US And Other Countries – After an incident earlier this year in which someone placed an image of an Android mascot urinating on an Apple logo, Google shut down access to its Map Maker feature for a time. However, Google recently opened up access to Map Maker in the US and dozens of other countries with the new caveat that submissions will now be moderated, which should hopefully avoid embarrassing images like the one mentioned above in the future.
- Poll: 36% Of Webmasters Tell Google Their Sites Suffered Hack Attacks – Google’s Webmaster team recently had a #nohack week, wherein they posted a bunch of information about hacked sites on their Google+ page. One interesting tidbit is that 36% of respondents to one of their polls said that their sites had suffered hacks. Even more interesting, I think, is that 66% of respondents said they fixed the hack themselves (which is awesome), while 10% have been sadly unable to fix their hack (which is far less awesome, if at all). The other 17% of folks had help either from their web hosting company or someone they had to hire. Interesting stuff.