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What’s New In The World Of Google Meetup – December 18, 2013

Everspark’s What’s New In the World of Google meeting on Wednesday (12/18/2013) brought in a crowd of professionals all eager to learn more about Google’s latest updates, tips and tricks. Everspark has a passion for education, and thus invites the community into their offices every Wednesday from 8-9:30am.

You can join the next meeting on Wednesday, January 8th 2014 by RSVP’ing on the link below. If you can’t make the meeting, ESI will be providing catch up notes should your schedule not permit it.

The meetup takes place at the EverSpark Interactive offices located at:

6 Concourse Parkway, Suite 900
Atlanta, GA 30328

RSVP here –

This Week’s Recap:

Google’s Search Quality Team Evaluator’s Guidelines 2013

Google Slightly Relevant Example

Google expert and Everspark Principal, Jason Hennessey, went over the findings from the first 38 pages of the leaked Google document, highlighting the most important information learned. Essentially, Google is an algorithm that can only understand so much. It needs to be trained and taught what to look for. At the end of the day, Google just wants to be right in what it looks for and to achieve that, it requires the intervention of human eyes to make it so.

Of course, Google doesn’t expect all of their human raters to know everything about the web. So they’ve helpfully provided a glossary of terms that are frequently used – extremely helpful for the outside world, too!

Identifying the Queries

When you type a search into Google, it looks at several things to try to identify your intent, including what you’ve typed in and your location. Ideally Google wants to bring you the most relevant information on the first attempt. When looking for the right search results to bring you, the title tag of a site, it’s meta information and it’s search rankings come into play. Occasionally, queries have multiple meanings (see example below) which the search engine also takes into account, erring on the side of the most popular results. Meanings can also change over time, which requires the search engine to update and expand as often as it does.

Apple Dominant Search Interpretation Example

There are three different intents as to why users use Google:

  • Action queries (do queries)
  • Information (know queries)
  • Navigational queries (go queries)

By thinking of the intent of the searcher, a website can write content based around these opportunities.

Identifying Content

Obviously one of Google’s main jobs is identifying content and bringing the most relevant to their searches. At its most basic, content is divided up into the following categories:

  • Main content (what’s prominent on the page)
  • Supplemental content (navigation of the page, or other extraneous content)
  • Advertisements

Unsurprisingly, having too many advertisements “above the fold” (where the page naturally cuts off on a browser) can be detrimental to search results. Ads are often recognized by Google as being part of API, written in Javascript or being part of an advertising network. While there is some concern by websites that a large image above the fold could be recognized by Google as an advertisement, this is not the case. However, if you are using advertising on your site, adding in “this is an advertisement” somewhere is hugely important, and failing to do so can result in being penalized by Google. A very famous case of this was Forbes Magazine, who was penalized for failing to identify their ads.

What Do Human Raters Look At First?

Though there are a variety of things Google’s human raters look at, the top three up for investigation are:

  • Title tags
  • URL
  • Landing page

The human raters are looking at how helpful the result is, dependent on the query, and categorize it as such.

  • Vital
  • Useful
  • Relevant
  • Slightly relevant
  • Off topic

It goes without saying that pages that are categorized as “vital” and “useful” will generally get the preferential treatment when coming to the top of the search rankings. There are several things that can knock a site down to “slightly relevant,” and all are easy to fix. Grammatical and spelling errors can not only make your site look untidy, but it can also dramatically affect  your search rankings. Additionally, when a site is poorly written, Google will assume you’re not taking the site seriously. And as discussed last week, if they don’t think you’re taking your site seriously, they won’t take you seriously.

Google Auto-Complete Team

You know when you put in a search term to Google and it makes spelling suggestions? There are people behind that trying to figure out what you’re really looking for. 🙂

How to scrape Google’s Massive Auto-Complete Database?

If you’re looking to grab on to some of the data that Google is using to auto-populate, then the keyword researcher tool at is definitely one for you. This tool essentially mines the data that Google is spilling out in auto-populate, and can give you an idea of what your customers are searching for using *wild cards.*

If you think about Google as answering a question that a user might have, it can give you an insight into the kind of content you need to create. “Try creating an informative page that answering the question in great detail,” says Jason.

Duplicate Content

As discussed last week, duplicate content from other sites can be detrimental to your rankings on Google. This can even mean if someone is using your content. But how can you find out if someone is using your content? Here’s what Matt Cutts has to say:

Additionally, online programs such as Copyscape or Siteliner can help you to identify sites that are using your content. If you do find that someone has “taken over” your original content, a simple e-mail will usually rectify the problem. However, should you run into resistance, a DMCA takedown request can be used. Siteliner is also helpful as it acts like a web crawler, and can identify broken links and more – all important for a webmaster to know.